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Thompson on Hollywood

Universal Replaces Schamus with Schlessel to Expand Focus Features Brand

Universal is under new management. And another specialty division bites the dust. I may be overstating it, but safe to say, the old Focus Features--a high-class specialty division with an eye for awards worthy content--is no more. Longtime Focus CEO and co-founder James Schamus, a New Yorker of discernment who managed to work within a major studio's financial expectations for 12 years, is finally leaving the specialty division.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 2, 2013 3:06 PM
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  • 4 Comments

In the Works: Derek Cianfrance On Board to Direct 'ESPN: Those Guys Have All the Fun' for Focus

Derek Cianfrance ("The Place Beyond the Pines") is attached to direct "ESPN: Those Guys Have All the Fun." The book by James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales follows the rise of the eponymous cable network, via interviews with past and present ESPN personalities and producers.
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • September 25, 2013 1:54 PM
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  • 0 Comments

IN THE WORKS: 'Mother of George' Director Dosunmu to Helm 'Fela Kuti' Musical Biopic for Focus

Focus Features is developing a drama about famed Nigerian musician/activist Fela Kuti, who was also front and center in the hit Broadway musical "Fela!" "Mother of George" filmmaker Andrew Dosunmu will direct "Fela Kuti," which Focus is describing as a "drama with music," as opposed to a fullblown musical.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 16, 2013 4:14 PM
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  • 1 Comment

Jude Law Captains the Cast of Kevin Macdonald's 'Black Sea,' Now in Production in U.K.

Focus Features and Film4 have kicked off the UK production of director Kevin Macdonald's maritime thriller "Black Sea." Starring Jude Law as an intrepid sea captain, the film sails into theaters in 2014.
  • By Ryan Lattanzio
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  • August 9, 2013 1:08 PM
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  • 0 Comments

Focus Features International Nabs Deals on Mike Leigh's J.M.W. Turner Passion Project, and on Amy Winehouse Documentary

Focus Features International has announced multi-territory sales on writer-director Mike Leigh's J.M.W. Turner biopic, a long-gestating passion project starring Leigh regular Timothy Spall as the renowned Brit painter; and on Asif Kapadia's untitled documentary on troubled singer-songwriter Amy Winehouse, who died in 2011.
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • June 3, 2013 4:22 PM
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  • 0 Comments

First Look: Focus Unveils Summer Slate, 'The World's End' and 'Closed Circuit'

Focus Features will release two films this summer as counterprogramming aimed at the smart demo.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • April 22, 2013 4:21 PM
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  • 0 Comments

Berlin: Focus Features Reteams with Laika for 'Boxtrolls,' Snaps Up Rights for Upstairs-Downstairs Jane Austen Spin 'Longbourn'

Focus acquisitions from Berlin include LAIKA's "The Boxtrolls" and Jane Austen-inspired "Longbourn"...
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • February 7, 2013 1:51 PM
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  • 0 Comments

Focus Features Adds Kujawski to Sundance Acquisition Team

Universal Pictures is sending Executive Vice President of Worldwide Acquisitions Peter Kujawski to the Sundance Film Festival, which starts Thursday, to search for film acquisitions for not only the studio but specialized film division Focus Features. The studio wants to centralize and streamline its global acquisitions efforts.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 16, 2013 1:59 PM
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  • 0 Comments

Weekend Recap: 'Only God Forgives' Teaser, Naomi Watts as Princess Di, Twenty-Somethings on 'Girls,' and HBO/Hulu Changes

Film Comment posted the "50 Best Undistributed Films of 2012," beginning with "Our Children" (Joachim Lafosse, Belgium/Luxembourg/France/Switzerland), followed by "Memories Look at Me" (Song Fang, China) and "First Cousin Once Removed" (Alan Berliner, U.S.). Read their full list here.
  • By Maggie Lange
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  • January 7, 2013 3:08 PM
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  • 0 Comments

Disney Screenwriter Kelly Marcel to Write 'Fifty Shades of Grey' Adaptation

Moving from "Mary Poppins" to erotic fiction overnight, screenwriter Kelly Marcel has been hired to write the adaptation of E.L. James' bestseller "Fifty Shades of Grey." Universal and Focus Features have the rights to all three books. Michael De Luca and Dana Brunetti ("A Social Network") are producing.
  • By Anne Thompson & Sophia Savage
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  • October 8, 2012 3:42 PM
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  • 0 Comments

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