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Thompson on Hollywood

'Fifty Shades of Grey' Brings on Writer Patrick Marber for Script Polishing; Search for New Christian Grey Continues UPDATED

UPDATE: On the heels of star Charlie Hunnam dropping out of "Fifty Shades of Grey," leaving the Universal/Focus Features production to find a new Christian Grey STAT, it's been announced the film has brought on Oscar-nominated scribe Patrick Marber ("Notes on a Scandal") to do some clean-up work on the script.
  • By Anne Thompson and Beth Hanna
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  • October 15, 2013 11:52 AM
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  • 4 Comments

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: '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

How to Make Sense of the Universal Shake-Up

It doesn't matter if you turn the studio around and score the number one summer market share. The firing of Universal co-chairman Adam Fogelson reminds us that what matters is whether or not your bosses like you. I remember seeing Adam Fogelson speak at CinemaCon a few years ago, when he was head of marketing at Universal. I thought he came off cocky. The man does not lack for confidence.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 12, 2013 10:36 PM
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  • 0 Comments

'Fifty Shades of Grey' Gets a 2014 Release Date UPDATED

UPDATE: The global release of "Fifty Shades of Grey," to be directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson, will kick off in North America on August 1, 2014, via Focus Features.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 27, 2013 1:05 PM
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  • 7 Comments

'Oblivion' Hauls in Nearly Half of Friday's Top 10 Gross

With much of the nation's eyes glued to coverage of the Watertown manhunt (which ended after 9 p.m. E.D.T.), Universal's Tom Cruise-starrer "Oblivion" still managed a solid $13 million opening day gross (which includes early shows late Thursday night). The total for the Top 10 films for the day overall was around $29 million, down from $39 million last year and $32 million last week. Grosses for the rest of the weekend will likely improve with competition from real-time drama no longer a factor.
  • By Tom Brueggemann
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  • April 20, 2013 4:17 PM
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  • 1 Comment

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

Universal Preps for Change, from Meyer's Upstairs Move to Courting DreamWorks' Snider and Spielberg

Changes are under way at Universal Studios. And the LAT's revelation that studio president Ron Meyer will be heading into an advisory role at NBCUniversal prior to his retirement paves the way for new leadership. The longest- running studio chief in Hollywood has arranged his own graceful exit.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 9, 2012 3:53 PM
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  • 0 Comments

Review: Gilroy's 'The Bourne Legacy' Delivers, Thanks to Renner

I was looking forward to "The Bourne Legacy" more than most studio sequels that have lost their signature director and star. That's because Universal turned to writer-director Tony Gilroy to reinvent the "Bourne" franchise without Paul Greengrass and Matt Damon, who became a movie star playing the title character originated by Robert Ludlum.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 6, 2012 1:40 PM
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  • 0 Comments

Universal, Focus Pick 'Fifty Shades of Grey' Producing Team

The winners of Universal Pictures and Focus Features' bidding war to produce the movie version of EL James' erotic Number One bestseller "Fifty Shades of Grey" are "The Social Network" producers Michael De Luca ("Magnolia," "Moneyball") and Dana Brunetti ("21"), who runs Trigger Street Productions with Kevin Spacey...
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 9, 2012 10:58 PM
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  • 0 Comments

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