The veteran Beijing-based studio will executive produce and distribute the sci-fi disaster epic in China.
Veteran Chinese film studio Huayi Brothers Media has boarded Roland Emmerich's sci-fi action epic, Moonfall, CEO James Wang announced Friday. The company will executive produce the film and take all China distribution rights in the deal.
The project has all the makings of a classic Emmerich Independence Day, 2012 action-disaster vehicle. As it title implies, the film begins when a mysterious force knocks the Moon from its orbit and sends it hurtling towards Earth. Against all odds, a ragtag team then launches an impossible last-ditch mission into space to land on the lunar surface and save Earth from annihilation.
Emmerich will direct from a spec script he co-wrote with Harald Kloser co-writer of 2012 and Spenser Cohen. Casting is currently underway and production is scheduled to begin this spring.
Moonfall was the presales hit of Cannes last year, where it quickly sold out for most of the world. China, a key anchor in the film's financing model, proved a tougher territory to land, however. Complicating matters was the then-raging trade war between Washington and Beijing.
Emmerich will be looking to bounce back from his 2019 World War II film Midway, which cost $100 million to make but received middling reviews and earned just $123 million at the worldwide box office. Huayi Brothers also is in recovery mode after a series of setbacks last year, including the Chinese government's surprise censorship of its costly and much anticipated war epic The Eight Hundred, which was set to premiere in the summer but has yet to see release.
Working in Moonfall and Huayi Brothers' favor is the enduring popularity of the sci-fi genre in China. Last year's domestically produced sci-fi breakthrough The Wandering Earth earned a whopping $700 million, and Hollywood imports in the genre over the years — The Martian $95 million, Interstellar $123 million and Emmerich's own Independence Day: Resurgence $75 million — have consistently performed well.
“Roland Emmerich is a cinematic master, and his films — 2012, The Day after Tomorrow and Independence Day — are so deeply loved by Chinese audiences that Huayi Brothers is proud to partner with his latest science fiction saga, Moonfall, in both its production and distribution,” said Wang. “We believe that the most effective way to facilitate worldwide cultural exchange is in collaboration with top artists, and this project marks a milestone for us as a solid content creator in the international film business."
As it did with Midway, Centropolis is independently producing and financing Moonfall, overseeing all aspects of production, financing and delivery. Stuart Ford's AGC Studios is co-financing and handled worldwide sales, along with CAA Media Finance; Lionsgate...
The cuts, numbering in the high teens, go into effect this week.
Lionsgate has laid off a number of employees within the film marketing and distribution team, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
According to a source familiar with the matter, some 15 to 20 employees across the entire company were given pink slips, many as part of an ongoing restructuring of the film group's marketing and distribution divisions. The source added that the layoffs had been in the works for months and were not impacted by the shutdowns caused by the growing coronavirus pandemic. No other layoffs are currently planned at the studio, which concludes its fiscal year on March 31.
Lionsgate's movie studio has seen success with Rian Johnson's Knives Out which grossed $311 million worldwide, and with a sequel in the works, Jay Roach's Bombshell $60 million worldwide and its newest release, the faith-based film I Still Believe which grossed $10 million earlier this month before theaters shuttered.
The layoffs come as Hollywood grapples with the closure of film and TV productions and movie theaters going dark to prevent the growing spread of COVID-19 amid the global coronavirus pandemic.
Lionsgate was forced to push back the bows of the upcoming films Antebellum originally slated for April 24, Run May 8 and Saw spinoff Spiral May 15, opting to hold for a theatrical release rather than an early VOD release. I Still Believe and Brahms: The Boy II are receiving early digital releases to cater to the audience at home.
This is the second round of layoffs under Joe Drake, who was named chairman of the film group in 2018. In January 2019, some 25 employees were let go from the marketing and distribution teams in the company's Santa Monica headquarters amid restructuring of the theatrical marketing division, run by Damon Wolf.
In its most recent earnings report, the studio's motion picture revenues were $473.9 million, up from $362.3 million a year ago, on strong box office from Knives Out and John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum.
Source: Hollywood Reporter
Though “The Plot Against America” took its time to get going, it’s full steam ahead for David Simon’s Philip Roth adaptation by Episode 4 — but to what end? With just two episodes to go, the drama has certainly flared up: The Levin familial bonds are being pushed to the brink as Sandy falls increasingly under Lindbergh’s spell, with the help of Aunt Evelyn and her new boyfriend Rabbi Bengelsdorf. The lines have been drawn, and it’s not looking good for either side. While this was by far the most exciting episode so far, it still feels as though Simon is obligingly following Roth’s outline rather than forging his own path.
In both the novel and the series “The Plot Against America,” there’s an unmentioned but implicit rhetorical question reaching out from beyond the page and screen. To borrow from the musical “Cabaret,” one of the only pieces of pop culture to artfully grapple with this unthinkable dilemma: What would you do? If a fascist were elected president of your country, if your sister started dating one of his shills, if your son was secretly sketching his visage by flashlight — how would you behave? Would you flee to Canada, organize the resistance, or stick your head in the sand and hope for the best?
The fourth episode hones in on these questions with laser-like precision, enjoying the fruits of the preceding three episodes that felt, both in retrospect and in real time, mostly like set-up. Having returned from his “Just Folks” adventure in Kentucky, a Hitler Youth-esque recruiting tool of Rabbi Bengelsdorf’s John Turturro design, Sandy has quite literally become the poster child for assimilationist Jews. Evelyn Winona Ryder proudly features him in a brochure for the program, against Bess’ Zoe Kazan wishes.
Sandy’s transformation has been building since the pilot episode, which ended with him surreptitiously sketching Charles Lindbergh from of a newspaper clipping. Having planted the seeds deliberately, the show earns its most uncomfortable moment so far when Sandy spits at his parents, calling them “ghetto Jews — narrow-minded ghetto Jews.” His transformation is complete. When Bess slaps him across the face, it’s hard not to let out a silent cheer. Your Jewish firstborn becoming a Nazi sympathizer may be the rare instance when a kid deserves a good wallop.
Less effective is a Shabbas dinner argument between Herman Morgan Spector and Bengelsdorf, where Herman puts aside any last shred of civility to tell the Rabbi what he really thinks of his man Lindbergh. Maybe it’s the fact that only the men are talking while the women make sidelong glances of...