EXCLUSIVE: In a whopping deal, Tom Rothman’s TriStar Pictures has won the right to finance and release the $30 million budget Money Monster, a Jodie Foster-directed thriller that will star George Clooney as a Jim Cramer-like TV stock tout who is held hostage on air by a man who followed the huckster’s advice, lost his money and put his young family in precarious straits. Jamie Linden wrote the script. The thriller takes on a Network-like sensibility in that the hostage-taker warns he’ll execute the smooth-talking stock tipper the moment cameras are turned off, and the nation becomes obsessed with the drama that unfolds on their TV screens. The film begins production in the spring after Clooney completes the Coen brothers-directed Hail Caesar.
The film was packaged independently and is being produced by The Allegiance Theater’s Daniel Dubiecki, Lara Alameddine and Smokehouse’s Clooney and Grant Heslov. Drafts of the script were also done by Jim Kouf and Alan DiFiore. The huge deal was spearheaded by CAA, which reps Smokehouse and Dubiecki, and UTA on behalf of Foster. Linden is repped by Paradigm.
This becomes the latest example of a major Hollywood studio being aggressive on a fully percolated movie with star elements that is instantly ready to be added to a release slate. The budget doesn’t really seem that high, considering the star power of Foster and Clooney, and their upside will come in the film’s success from the back-end. It is also another high-profile project for Rothman’s TriStar. Much is being written about Sony Pictures, but as usual its long-term success will be determined by its picture pickers. And the former Fox film chief continues to show promising prowess in that regard during the short time since he relaunched TriStar as a studio under the Sony umbrella. Money Monster becomes the latest high-profile film he has secured. TriStar is in production on The Walk, the 3D film directed by Robert Zemeckis and starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt; Ricki And The Flash, the Meryl Streep-starrer that Jonathan Demme will direct from a Diablo Cody script; an untitled comedy by Bridesmaids scribes Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo; an adaptation of Alan Bennett’s The Lady In The Van in which Maggie Smith will reprise her stage role; and What Alice Forgot, an adaptation of the Liane Moriarty that The Devil Wears Prada’s David Frankel will direct.