Posts Tagged ‘product placement’

Hannibal Classics to sell Robert De Niro’s “Bus 657” at Cannes

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015

Hannibal Classics to sell Robert De Niro’s “Bus 657” at Cannes

May 6, 2015 – 15:43 AMT

PanARMENIAN.Net – Hannibal Classics has come on to sell the star-studded action-thriller “Bus 657” at Cannes. The heist movie, which stars Robert De Niro, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Kate Bosworth, Morris Chestnut and “Guardians of the Galaxy’s” Dave Bautista, will be screened for the first time to world buyers, TheWrap reports.

Described as a mix of “Dog Day Afternoon” and “Speed,” with the added twists and turns of such heist movies as “Ocean’s Eleven” and “Inside Man,” the movie stars Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Luke Vaughn, a broke father desperate to save his daughter’s life as her medical bills pile up. Vaughn soon turns to his boss, casino owner and retiring mob-boss Francis “Pope” Silva (De Niro), for help. Pope rejects his pleas, forcing Vaughn resort to other means. Facing an impossible deadline for his daughter’s life-saving surgery, Vaughn joins forces with a psychotic co-worker (Bautista) to rob Pope’s casino. When the daring heist goes awry, Vaughn and his partners take refuge on bus 657, taking several commuters hostage. The cops and Pope close in as Vaughn’s deadline approaches.

Scott Mann (“The Tournament”) directed from a script by Stephen Cyrus Sepher and Max Adams. Randall Emmett and George Furla produced “Bus 657,” which was executive produced by Hannibal’s Richard Rionda Del Castro and Patricia Eberle.

The film will be distributed in the U.S. by Grindstone Entertainment through Lionsgate, and final delivery will be available to international distributors in June.

Founded in 2010 by Richard Rionda Del Castro, Hannibal Classics specializes in the production, financing and distribution of feature-length theatrical motion pictures with large budgets.

Heading for Cannes this year, Hannibal Classics will be selling John Travolta‘s “I Am Wrath” and Nicolas Cage‘s “USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage,” as well as “Warbirds,” “Red Squad” and “Dobermann: Cops Blood Never Dries.”

Source: PanArmenian.net

Coming Soon to Theaters Near You: E-Cigarettes

Monday, September 15th, 2014

LOS ANGELES—A new film adaptation of William Shakespeare’s “Cymbeline” stars Ethan Hawke and takes place in the present day. It even gives one lead character a very current accessory: an electronic cigarette.

Throughout the movie, actress Milla Jovovich puffs away on an e-cigarette called a SmokeStik. In one scene, signs for the brand hang in a convenience store next to condoms and calling cards.

The product’s cameo appearance comes courtesy of Canada-based SmokeStik International Inc.—in just the kind of paid-product placement that has been off-limits to traditional tobacco companies in Hollywood for nearly two decades.

“I don’t see a problem with glamorizing something that saves lives,” says SmokeStik’s chief executive, Bill Marangos. Like others in his business, he considers e-cigarettes to be a less-harmful alternative to traditional smokes.

“Cymbeline” is a movie with limited distribution. But the SmokeStik deal has far-reaching implications for Hollywood and big tobacco—two industries that have been entwined in a complicated relationship for more than half a century.

The film business was hooked on smoking by the time Audrey Hepburn wielded an elegant cigarette holder in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and Humphrey Bogart lighted up at Rick’s Café Américain in “Casablanca.”

But for the past 16 years, cigarette companies have been blacklisted in Hollywood. Thanks to a sweeping settlement agreement between the state governments and big tobacco intended to minimize smoking’s glamorous sheen, cigarette brands aren’t allowed to pay for product placement in films or hire celebrity spokespeople.

E-cigarette companies, however, aren’t bound by that 1998 agreement with 46 state attorneys general, and are moving quickly to enlist Hollywood in pitching their products.

At the same time, big-tobacco firms have been snapping up the makers of e-cigarettes, whose exemption from traditional marketing rules opens the door for the old guard to do business with Hollywood once again through their new subsidiaries.

The collaborations come as federal and state authorities have yet to issue broader rules on marketing and permitted use that would cover most of the e-cigarette industry.

“I think they’re quite aware that at some point, regulation is going to happen,” says Pamela Ling, a professor at the University of California San Francisco who studies tobacco marketing. “There is a spirit of, ‘As long as we can get away with this, let’s do it now!’ ”

Meanwhile, e-cigarette sales grew to more than $710 million last year, up from $2.2 million in 2009, according to IRI, a Chicago-based market-research firm. That doesn’t include sales conducted over the Internet or at specialty tobacco or “vape shops,” pushing the number closer to $2 billion, according to some industry estimates.

High-profile manufacturers have hired celebrity representatives to feed that growth, like Lorillard Inc. Blu brand, which enlisted former talk show host Jenny McCarthy. But the most aggressive moves have come from small, independent operators who say their distance from traditional tobacco makes Hollywood more willing to work with them.

Such is the case with SmokeStik, which plans to feature products in “Cymbeline” and about five other films, says Mr. Marangos. “Cymbeline” producers didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Mr. Marangos wouldn’t say how much the company paid for the placements, but he does allow: “They know we pay well.”

Vapor Corp. , a publicly traded company whose brands include Krave, is getting ready for its close-up with direct help from Hollywood: In March, Relativity Media LLC CEO Ryan Kavanaugh joined the Vapor Corp. board of directors. He is paid in company shares to present opportunities for Vapor Corp. integration into films and television shows.

Mr. Kavanaugh, whose studio has distributed movies like “Don Jon,” starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and produces MTV’s “Catfish,” described his marketing strategy at an investor conference in March.

“What I offer: having access to the other side of the world, which is access to entertainment and film and talent and athletes and television, digital, music,” said Mr. Kavanaugh, according to an audio recording of the presentation.

Vapor Corp. is a client of Relativity’s marketing arm, and plans for the company include a “natural, integrated, viral campaign” for Vapor Corp.’s products over the next two years, he said. In a media environment where viewers often fast-forward through commercials, an advertising campaign must be so integrated into a feature that audiences don’t know they’re being marketed to, he said.

Vapor Corp. CEO Jeffrey Holman said the promotional strategy is likely to involve product placements in Relativity movies and TV shows, beginning at the script stage. He wouldn’t comment on specific plans while deals are still being negotiated. Mr. Kavanaugh recently helped get the company’s e-cigarettes into glitzy parties at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, he added.

If a traditional tobacco company were to participate in such a promotional partnership, Dr. Ling says, it “would be seen as totally distasteful and unethical behavior.” Mr. Holman called that an “unfair analogy,” saying his industry shouldn’t be lumped in with combustible cigarettes. “We’re the guys in the white hats,” he said.

The e-cigarette’s arrival in Hollywood comes as tobacco products are still seen in many films—appearing as props written into the script rather than paid-placement items. About 38% of top-grossing PG-13 movies in 2013 featured tobacco imagery, compared with 80% in 2002, according to a UC San Francisco report.

The same study, which covered about 1,700 films over an 11-year period, found tobacco imagery in just over 20% of G- and PG-rated movies and in more than 80% of R-rated movies in 2013—the highest share since 2007.

When he founded SmokeStik nearly seven years ago, Hollywood wasn’t on Mr. Marangos’s mind. A Toronto engineer and former three-pack-a-day smoker, Mr. Marangos attracted new customers by giving away e-cigarette starter kits in Ziploc bags.

Then a business associate met actor Justin Neill about five years ago in a freebie “gifting suite” at the Academy Awards. Mr. Neill’s career was fizzling; he’d started in commercials as a child and hadn’t worked much since a bit role as a pushy jock in 2002′s “Spider-Man.”

Mr. Neill, now a 33-year-old marketing executive, quickly became SmokeStik’s man in Hollywood.

His tactics were on full display on a recent Thursday night. He began the evening at a party for personal assistants of celebrities. Carrying a box of complimentary SmokeStiks for the crowd, he said, “I’ve seen firsthand the power of assistants.”

An old friend of Mr. Neill’s who worked for “Grey’s Anatomy” star Katherine Heigl got a SmokeStik to the actress. When Ms. Heigl used it during a 2010 appearance on “The Late Show With David Letterman “—something SmokeStik says it didn’t ask her to do—the company couldn’t keep up with demand for two months. SmokeStik thanked Ms. Heigl by donating a portion of sales to an animal-rescue charity that the actress founded.

While Mr. Neill was spreading SmokeStiks across Hollywood, the e-cigarette began making its first unpaid appearances on screen. The effect wasn’t exactly glamorous.

In “The Hangover Part III,” for instance, actor John Goodman plays a mob kingpin who smokes e-cigarettes. The movie’s writer, Craig Mazin, appreciated the irony of an overweight hit man with the affectation of an e-cigarette.

Traditional cigarettes are “part of our collective film vocabulary,” says Mr. Mazin. “The e-cigarette is such a ridiculous analog. It just seems like such a goofy substitute.”

“Cymbeline” was recently screened at the Venice International Film Festival and was acquired for distribution in spring 2015 by a branch of Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.

For Mr. Neill, placing a SmokeStik into the hand of Ms. Jovovich, a former supermodel, can only enhance the product’s status.

“If Hollywood is doing it,” he says, “then it must be the best.”

—Mike Esterl contributed to this article.

By Erich Schwartzel at Wall Street Journal

New Cymbeline Trailer Online

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014

With the film at the Venice Film Festival for its world premiere, Lionsgate has nabbed the North American rights to Michael Almereyda’s present-day take on Shakespeare’s Cymbeline. To announce the fact, a new trailer has arrived.

The Bard’s story of lust, greed and revenge has been updated to a filthy, corruption-riddled urban American setting, where an epic battle between dirty cops and a drug-dealing biker gang is set to explode into life thanks to bad decisions and the raging hormones of two young lovers.

On the page, the story is a labyrinthine romance that includes deception, disguises, cross-dressing and supernatural intervention. We don’t see much evidence of the spookier elements, but there are a lot of guns and cars on display, plus a cast that includes Ed Harris, Ethan Hawke, Milla Jovovich, John Leguizamo, Penn Badgley, Dakota Johnson and Anton Yelchin brushing up their Shakespeare.

Cymbeline should see US cinemas next spring. We’ll have to wait and see if – or more probably, when – it travels to these shores.

Source: Empire Online // James White

Ken Jeong Will Try To Kill David Hasselhoff in new comedy

Thursday, August 21st, 2014

Ken-Jeong-New-Comedy

EXCLUSIVEThe Hangover‘s Ken Jeong has signed on to star in a comedy currently known as Untitled Celebrity Death Pool, to be co-produced by Ashok Amritraj’s Hyde Park Entertainment, Image Nation Abu Dhabi, and WWE Studios. Jeong will play a struggling nightclub owner in debt to a loan shark who sets out to win his long-running celebrity death pool by offing his chosen celebrity: David Hasselhoff.

The Hoff himself is aboard to co-star and also will produce with WWE Studios President Michael Luisi, Hyde Park’s Amritraj, Michele Berk, Patrick Hughes and Warren Zide. Wrestling icon Hulk Hogan also has signed on for a role. Diary Of A Mad Black Woman helmer Darren Grant is directing from a spec script by Peter Hoare. It’s the latest collaboration between WWE Studios and Hyde Park, which pacted last year on the Dwayne Johnson film adaptation of The Fall Guy, a rare comedic venture for WWE Studios. Eric Gardner will executive produce and Hyde Park International will handle foreign sales.

As with its previous film properties, WWE Studios will leverage its multi-platform network to promote the film. The LA-based production arm of wrestling megabrand WWE first dove into features in 2002 and has been placing its ring stars on the big screen since in such films as The Scorpion King, See No Evil, The Marine, and 12 Rounds. The company has been branching out of late, joining with Relativity and Blumhouse on the TIFF horror picOculus and pacting with Lionsgate on a six-film action deal. They also collaborated with Warner Bros. Animation on March’s co-branded animated feature Scooby-Doo! WrestleMania Mystery.

WWE Studios’ Bradley Buchanan negotiated the Celebrity Death Pool deal with Hyde Park Entertainment’s Allen Babakhanloo. Jeong, who is filming Universal’s Ride Along 2, is repped by CAA and Aligned Entertainment. Hoare and writing partner Chris Lilli have sold pitches to Comedy Central and have buddy comedy Everybody Wants Head set up with Sentinel Pictures and David Permut. Hoare is repped by manager Kailey Marsh and Stone, Meyer, Genow, Smelkinson & Binder, LLP.

Jim Caviezel Has a ‘Hoosiers’ Moment with ‘When the Game Stands Tall’

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014

Clockwise from top, producer David Zelon,

CHRISTOPHER POLK/GETTY IMAGES

AUGUST 5, 2014 | 12:40PM PT

Teamwork was at the top of everyone’s mind Monday as the cast and creators – and real-life inspiration of “When the Game Stands Tall” arrived at the ArcLight for the film’s premiere. Inspired by the true story of football coach Bob Ladouceur, the De La Salle High School Spartans and their legendary 151-game winning streak, the film takes viewers off the field and into the lives of the players and Coach Lad, as his players lovingly call him.

“It’s such a great story about what it is to be on a real sports team,” said Matthew Daddario, who plays Danny Ladouceur, the son of the coach. “I don’t think I’ll ever be part of a project that is quite as meaningful to my life. This is a very special story.”

As they walked the astroturf-esque green carpet complete with goal posts, the entire team gushed over their pride in being the first to tell the story, and remarked over what they learned from Coach Lad and his team in the process.

Actor Joe Massingill told Variety that he had been aware of De La Salle’s story from his own time in high school, and was thrilled to have the opportunity to combine his love of acting and football for the film after having to quit playing in college for medical reasons. “I pulled out all the stops,” he said of prepping for the role that reaffirmed to him that hard work pays off. “A lot of the stuff we do as kids in sports and in school is not about achieving some fame status or professional sports status – it’s about learning about accountability, responsibility and what hard work is.”

“We need to know that we’re here for each other to help us get back up,” added Ser’darius Blain about the film’s message. Blain said that working on the project also brought the actors closer together and that he and his castmates now spend time together off the clock. “It’s a true sense of brotherhood that we’ve been able to build throughout this process. It’s an amazing story of endurance and perseverance, brotherhood and family.”

Jim Caviezel, who stars as Coach Ladouceur saw a bit of his own past in the film. As a high school basketball player Caviezel and his team had gone to see the 1986 pic “Hoosiers” before playing a big game. “That night we played our hearts out and beat them, and I felt in my career if I could ever find something like ‘Hoosiers’ to be a part of…” he mused, “and this was that movie.”

“The coach never focused on winning,” remarked Caviezel, “he would say ‘I’m not asking you to play a perfect game, what you should be asking of yourselves is to give a perfect effort.’”

“He doesn’t just coach, he teaches,” said the film’s director Thomas Carter. “He’s interested in building character in these kids, not just winning football games, and that’s more rare than it should be.”

Coach Lad himself and his best friend and assistant coach Terry Eidson walked the carpet, still reeling over the excitement.

“The first thing we thought was ‘This might get made into a movie? Why would you want to do that?’” laughed Eidson.

“I think we’re really lucky to have our story told,” added Ladouceur, still just as humble as he appears on screen. “There’s hundreds of coaches out there who put together some great teams and programs that probably do the same things we do. We just kind of got plucked out and singled out for that and I hope we represent those coaches well.”

Real-life highlights from Lad’s coaching career with the Spartans played throughout the film’s credits while excerpts from the pic lined the walls of Lure at the afterparty, further proving that the film and the story is not about winning – it’s about being part of the team.

Tri Star releases “When the Game Stands Tall” on Aug. 22.

(Pictured: Producer David Zelon, clockwise from top, Ser’Darius Blain, Alexander Ludwig, director Thomas Carter, Matthew Daddario, Terry Eidson, Bob Ladouceur, Jim Caviezel and Jessie Usher at the “When the Game Stands Tall” premiere)

Source: Variety / by Shelli Weinstein