EXCLUSIVE Cuba Gooding Jr. Plays a Boxing Champion in Trailer for His Directorial Debut Bayou Caviar

By Alexia Fernandez

“Show me you can be great.”

Cuba Gooding Jr. does just that in a PEOPLE exclusive trailer for his directorial debut Bayou Caviar.

The actor, 50, plays former boxing champion Rodney Jones who dreams of reclaiming victory in the ring from his dull life as a night club bouncer.

Despite his attempts to stay on a narrow path, he is unwittingly dragged into business with mafia members after he witnesses them murder his boss. Jones sets out to bring down a rival mafia boss but finds himself struggling with the life or death consequences.

Gooding Jr. directs and stars in the film alongside Richard Dreyfuss and X-Men: The Last Stand’s Famke Janssen. The Oscar-winning actor also co-wrote the script with Eitan Gorlin.

This is Gooding Jr.’s first time in the director’s chair and it was a long time coming. The actor shared a photo of himself in the editing room in December 2017 in which he shared, “Directorial debut coming soon….”

He’s been hard at work in the theater as well, with a turn as Billy Flynn in the West End’s Chicago the Musical earlier this year — one he will reprise on Broadway beginning Oct. 6.

Gooding Jr. has dabbled in TV as well, with star roles in American Horror Story and American Crime Story as O.J. Simpson, for which he was nominated for an Emmy award.

In 2014, he was also in Ava DuVernay’s critically acclaimed film, Selma.

The movie opens in select theaters and will be available on VOD platforms Oct. 5, 2018.


Cobie Smulders Comedy ‘Alright Now’ Lands at Gravitas Ventures (EXCLUSIVE)

by Dave McNary

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Broadimage/REX/Shutterstock (9641317ae)
Cobie Smulders
Chanel Tribeca Film Festival Artists Dinner- Arrivals, New York, USA - 23 Apr 2018
CHANEL Tribeca Film Festival Artists Dinner - Arrivals[/caption]

Gravitas Ventures has acquired all North American rights to the Cobie Smulders comedy “Alright Now,” Variety has learned exclusively.

Jamie Adams, whose credits include “Black Mountain Poets,” directed from his own script. “Alright Now” is produced by Unstoppable Film & Television and Dignity Film Finance through its Fivelanes label. The film will be released in select theaters across the country and on demand on Sept. 7.

“Alright Now” follows Smulders as a rock musician who drunkenly enrolls in college after she breaks up with her boyfriend and her band falls apart. Convinced she will give the youngsters a run for their money, she is shocked to discover that no one knows who she is, and they could not care less about her rock star past.

“Working with Gravitas Ventures on ‘Alright Now’ is incredible, to know that my latest improvisation-led comedy is being released by such a legendary distributor is exciting,” Adams said. “Cobie Smulders and the rest of ‘Alright Now’ team had a lot of fun making this movie and we can’t for everyone to see it!”

Smulders stars in the Netflix series “Friends From College.” She portrays S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Maria Hill in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, appearing in “The Avengers,” “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” “Avengers: Age of Ultron” and “Avengers: Infinity War.”

“Cobie Smulders is a comedic force to be reckoned with in this feel-good comedy about one woman’s search for a new beginning,” said Nolan Gallagher, CEO at Gravitas Ventures.

Gallagher negotiated the deal with James Norrie from AMP Films.

See the trailer for “Alright Now” below:

French Thriller ‘Just A Breath Away’ Acquired By Gravitas Ventures

by Patrick Hipes

EXCLUSIVE: Gravitas Ventures has acquired U.S. rights to Just a Breath Away (Dans la brume), the French-language apocalyptic thriller directed by Daniel Roby and starring Romain Duris and Olga Kurylenko.

The deal was struck just ahead of its North American debut later tonight as the opening film of the Fantasia Film Festival in Montreal, and a 2019 theatrical release is in the works.

Duris and Kurylenko play parents who are desperately trying to save their daughter from a deadly toxic mist that has engulfed Paris after an earthquake. Only those lucky enough to escape to the rooftops of the city were able to survive; their daughter, who suffers from a genetic condition requiring her to live in a hermetic box that filters the air, is trapped below.

“This is a thrilling story of survival, set against the backdrop of an apocalyptic Paris,” said Tony Piantedosi, Gravitas’ director of acquisitions. “We are very excited to be partnering with the filmmaking team behind Just a Breath Away.”

Guillaume Lemans, Jimmy Bemon and Mathieu Delozier penned the script for the genre thriller. The Quebec-born Roby’s previous credits include Louis Cyr and Funkytown.

“I directed this for the French market but the story is universal, the backdrop is exotic and never seen before in a movie like this,” Roby said. “I hope the heart-wrenching dilemmas this family, in survival mode, is facing will captivate audiences all over the U.S.”

Piantedosi negotiated the deal with Aurelia Tahar, VP International Sales at TF1, which has already made deals in more than 130 territories.


Jeremy Irons-Jack Huston Comedy ‘An Actor Prepares’

by Dave McNary

Gravitas Ventures has acquired all North American rights to the comedy “An Actor Prepares,” starring Jeremy Irons, Jack Huston, Ben Schwartz and Mamie Gummer, Variety has learned exclusively.

Steve Clark directed from a script that he co-wrote with Thomas Moffett. The project was introduced at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival, where international sales were launched.

Irons portrays a famous, hard-drinking actor who suffers a heart attack and is forced to drive across the country to make it in time for the wedding of his daughter, played by Gummer. His only hope of making the wedding lies with his estranged son, played by Huston, is a devoted husband and professor who couldn’t be more different from his father. As the two set out on their adventure, they become closer and realize they are more alike than they thought.

“Jeremy Irons and Jack Huston make a hilarious father and son duo in this delightful comedy,” said Laura Florence, VP of sales and marketing for Gravitas Ventures.

Gravitas Ventures plans to release “An Actor Prepares” in theaters and on demand on Aug. 31. Nolan Gallagher from Gravitas Ventures negotiated the deal with CAA.

Watch the first trailer above.


Variety’s 2017 Dealmakers Impact Report

Jan David Frouman and Nolan Gallagher



Germany’s Red Arrow Buys Gravitas Ventures, Moves Into Film

By  | 

Red Arrow Entertainment, the Munich-based content arm of German broadcast giant ProSiebenSat.1 is getting into the movie business, buying L.A.-based Gravitas Ventures.

The two parties have been in talks since March and have now sealed a deal which sees Red Arrow buy a majority stake in Gravitas, with a view to eventually taking full ownership. Red Arrow International, the company’s distribution arm, and Gravitas will work side by side but remain separate distribution brands.

“We weren’t explicitly looking to be in the film business, but we were looking to be deeper in the content business. And the fact is being better at distribution and having more capacity to access, finance, and own projects, and then distribute more compelling packages and catalogue, is key for us,” Red Arrow Entertainment Chairman and CEO Jan Frouman told Variety.

Gravitas releases about 400 new films annually, recently picking up sci-fi thriller “Alien Invasion: S.U.M.1,” which stars “Game of Thrones” actor Iwan Rheon. It has a library of more than 2,400 English-language titles. Red Arrow and Gravitas said they intend to make significant investments in global film and TV projects via acquisitions, co-production, and co-financing.

“The amount of creative firepower that is coming through their door every year is remarkable,” Frouman said of Gravitas. “A lot of people who make TV make movies and vice versa. And [with] the ability to have relationships with all of them on a broad basis, to have production shingles you can attach to projects, have a distribution arm that can handle formats, finished product, TV shows, and movies, you become a much more dynamic player.”

Gravitas CEO and co-founder Nolan Gallagher and his fellow senior managers at Gravitas, Michael Murphy and Brendan Gallagher, will remain with the business. “We were looking to find a strategic partner,” Nolan Gallagher said. “We have relationships with hundreds of filmmakers, and we saw an opportunity to, over time, bring that talent to bear in future opportunities with Red Arrow.

“Creative people want to explore different mediums,” he added. “It allows us to have a deeper conversation with our producers and directors. Before, we were so focused on finding the next film and distributing the next film. Now we can say to filmmakers, ‘What is it you want to achieve over the next five years [in film and TV]?'”

Red Arrow has built an international network of production companies during a sustained period of M&A. Many of these are based in the U.S., including Fabrik Entertainment, Left/Right, Half Yard Productions, and Kinetic Content. Red Arrow companies program about 15% of the grid of ProSiebenSat.1 channels, one of the biggest broadcasters in Europe. The U.S. business, however, accounts for the lion’s share of Red Arrow revenues – about 70% – and that was before the Gravitas deal.

Salem Partners and Greenberg Glusker advised Gravitas Ventures on the transaction. Red Arrow was advised by Stella EOC and Milbank.


SVOD Surges as Multiple Services Become a Trend

By: Joseph O'Halloran

Oct 17, 2017

Bundling services is now a driving force in a subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) market that continues to escalate across Europe in particular, according to the latest Ampere Analysis SVOD report.

ampere 16oct2017The analyst found that nearly three-quarters (71.6%) of Internet users in the US have at least one SVOD subscription and in nine of the 13 markets researched at least half have one or more subscriptions. Right behind the US was Denmark (69.9%) and Sweden (66%) with the US around ten percent points behind.

Looking at where SVOD was growing, the survey showed that the subscriber base in Spain increased from 14.1% in Q3 2015 to 51.5% in Q3 2017. During the same period the audience increased by 33 percentage points in Italy and 30 percentage points in Poland. Spain also recorded the largest subscriber base increase between Q1 2017 and Q3 2017, with eight percentage points.

The survey also highlighted that bundling multiple SVOD services is a growing trend, with over two-fifths having a custom-built package. A quarter of Netflix customers were found to also subscribe to Amazon Prime video, while one in five have a Spotify premium subscription, 8% have Apple music and 5% have Google Play Music All Access. Games were also a popular choice: 15% had PlayStation Plus and 10% Xbox Live Gold.

Pluto TV Raises $8.3 Million in Funding Led by Samsung

By: Todd Spangler

Oct 17, 2017




Pluto TV, the startup aiming to build a Spotify-like free service for TV content, has received $5 million in funding from Samsung Venture Investment Corp., the venture-capital arm of the Samsung Group. The financing is part of an $8.3 million round that included participation from other investors.

The funding brings L.A.-based Pluto TV to a total of $51.8 million raised to date. A year ago, the company raked in $30 million in Series B funding led by Germany’s ProSiebenSat.1 with participation from investors including Scripps Networks Interactive.

Pluto TV said it will use the funding to further build out its product, content and marketing efforts. Founded in 2013, Pluto TV offers more than 100 channels of free, ad-supported curated content in a cable-like guide.

“Samsung is the global leader in the TV market, changing the way people experience entertainment through constant innovation,” Pluto TV CEO Tom Ryan said in a statement. “Their investment in Pluto TV is a great vote of confidence in our mission to bring free internet television to consumers everywhere.”

Added Jihong Kim,‎ senior investment manager at Samsung Ventures, “Pluto TV is the leading free internet TV service in America, and we see huge potential for the company as they scale their cutting-edge offering to viewers around the world.”

In 2017, Pluto TV has announced over 40 content deals. Its partners include Warner Bros., Lionsgate, MGM, Bloomberg Media, Al Jazeera English, Cheddar, Gravitas Ventures, Asylum, Viz Media, Electronic Music Awards, Big Sky Conference, Stadium, Jukin Media, and JASH, the comedy studio formed by Sarah Silverman, Michael Cera, Tim Heidecker, Eric Wareheim, and Reggie Watts.

Other investors in Pluto TV include U.S. Venture Partners, Sky, Luminari Capital, Chicago Ventures, Third Wave Capital Partners, and LionTree Advisors.

Global OTT Revenues Set To Double By 2022

by Andrew McDonald
October 2, 2017

Global over-the-top TV (OTT) revenues will more than double between 2016 and 2022, driven by the success of subscription video-on-demand (SVOD), according to a new study.

Digital TV Research claims that online TV episode and movie rentals for the 138 countries covered in its report will climb from US$37 billion in 2016 to US$83 billion in 2022, with US$9 billion added in 2017 alone.

Fuelled by the success of services like Netflix (pictured), SVOD became the largest OTT revenue source in 2013 and is tipped to generate half of over-the-top revenues by 2022, having added US$24 billion in revenues between 2016 and 2022.

In 2022, SVOD is expected to generate revenue of US$41.2 billion, compared to US$29.0 billion for advertising-supported VOD, US$8.1 billion for download-to-own and electronic sell-through, and US$5.2 billion for rental.

“OTT revenues will exceed US$1 billion in 14 countries by 2022 – double the count at the end of 2017,” according to the report. “The top five nations will command two-thirds of global revenues.”

The top five countries by online TV and video revenues are expected to remain the same in 2022 as they are in 2017 – with the US leading the market, followed by China, Japan, the United Kingdom and then Germany.

“The US will remain the dominant territory for online TV and video revenues by some distance. However, the US share of the global market will fall from 51% in 2016 to 40% in 2022,” the report noted.

“Contributing half the Asia Pacific total, China will add a further $7.6 billion, with its total revenues reaching US$12 billion in 2022.”

Overall, the top five countries are expected to generate the following online and TV revenue in 2022: US US$33.1 billion; China US$12.2 billion; Japan US$4.4 billion; UK US$4.2 billion; and Germany US$2.3 billion.



‘Beach Rats’ Seduces In Debut, ‘Terminator 2: Judgment Day 3D’ Starts Slow – Specialty Box Office

BY: Brian Brooks

August 27, 2017

Beach Rats

UPDATED with more details: Neon opened its Sundance Film Festival 2017 title Beach Rats from Eliza Hittman in three locations, grossing a cool $45,000 this weekend at the specialty box office. The opening was a bright spot in a weekend that has traditionally been a tough one at the specialty box office, coming at the end of the summer season ahead of the fall awards hopefuls.

Oscilloscope bowed French-Russian dance drama Polina in two locations, grossing $13,250, while FIP headed out with its latest Bollywood title, A Gentleman, in 135 theaters for a $195K weekend.

Opening somewhat quietly was James Cameron’s 3D remastered version of his 1991 sci-fi action pic Terminator 2: Judgment Day. The title hit 386 theaters Friday, roughing up more than $582K in its three-day estimate, averaging $1,509 per screen.

Gravitas Ventures added a run for California Typewriter in its second weekend, holding well with a $16,336 gross. Samuel Goldwyn Films expanded Gook to two dozen locations in its second frame, taking in $75,734, while Fox Searchlight took Patti Cake$ to 59 runs, for a flat $105K Friday to Sunday. Neon expanded Ingrid Goes West to 647 theaters, holding well at nearly $782K for the three days, while A24’s Good Time played 721 locations, grossing nearly $611K. Both films now have reached seven figures.

Beach Rats doesn’t boast big stars, and the Sundance debut was directed by a second-time feature filmmaker, but the title clearly resonated. The film grossed $45K in three theaters in New York and L.A., averaging $15,003, by far the best per theater average of the weekend —
though of course Beach Rats played far fewer runs than many titles reporting.

Starring up-and-comer Harris Dickinson who plays an aimless teen who balances time between his delinquent friends and picking up older guys online, was No.1 at each of its engagements at the Arclight in L.A. as well as the Sunshine and the Film Society of Lincoln Center in New York, according to Neon, which said Sunday the film particularly found support from the younger art house and gay audiences.

The company also lauded its reviews and marketing material, which highlighted the fact it’s a “sexy film” in propelling its debut. Beach Rats also had a boost from Barry Jenkins, director of last year’s Oscar Best Picture winner Moonlight.

Neon will continue to roll out Beach Rats slowly in the next couple weeks, adding locations in New York and L.A. while opening a couple additional select markets. It will head to major markets later in September.

Oscilloscope’s opened Valérie Müller and Angelin Preljocaj’s dance drama Polina in two locations Friday. Starring Anastasia Shevtsova and Juliette Binoche, the film grossed $13,250 for a $6,625 PTA. Oscilloscope said the title’s early grosses were “an encouraging start” and that it expects positive word-of-mouth to propel the title as it expands around the country heading into fall. Said the company’s Andrew Carlin earlier this week: ““Anyone with even a passing interest in ballet or contemporary dance will want to seek this one out.” Molina will bow at the Nuart in L.A. next weekend.

Both FIP’s A Gentleman and Terminator 2: Judgment Day 3D played far more theaters in their debuts, though they were still limited. Distrib Films US handled distribution for James Cameron’s restoration of his 1991 classic starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. The latest manifestation opened in 386 theaters Friday (exclusively AMC locations), grossing an estimated $582,300 this weekend — averaging $1,509 per location. That stands in the huge shadow of Cameron’s remastered Titanic 3D, which was also a wide release. Its first weekend in April 2012, Titanic 3D grossed $17,285,453 in 2,674 theaters, averaging $6,464. Still, T2’s latest manifestation in theaters does have social media momentum. Distrib Films US said it has “around 4M fans” on Facebook.

FIP’s A Gentleman, meanwhile, grossed $195K in 135 locations, averaging $1,444. No word on expansion plans for the title as of Sunday.

Some second-weekend titles maintained momentum as they added locations. Gravitas Ventures’ California Typewriter added one run in its second frame, grossing $16,336 in two theaters. Of that total, $12,443 came from Lincoln Plaza in New York; the pic debuted the weekend prior at Metrograph in New York.

“We are thrilled Director Doug Nichol’s labor of love and insightful documentary California Typewriter is being well received by critics and fans alike,” said Laura Florence, VP Marketing & Sales, on Sunday. The title will head to Los Angeles next Friday and continue to roll out to additional markets later in September.

Crown Heights expanded to 10 theaters from its initial three in its second weekend. The title grossed $32,800, averaging $3,280. In its debut, the Amazon Studios/IFC Films release grossed $27,552, averaging $9,184. It has cumed $69,812.

Samuel Goldwyn Films’ Gook had last weekend’s top debut with a $31,100 gross in two theater. This weekend, the title moved to 24 runs, taking in $75,734, averaging $3,156. It has cumed $109,678.

FilmRise added four locations for Marjorie Prime in its second frame. In 10 theaters, it grossed $23K. The title took in $24K the weekend prior, averaging $4K. The title’s two-week cume is $53,890.

Searchlight’s Patti Cake$ jumped to 59 theaters in Week 2 from its launch in 14 locations. The title continued to struggle, grossing $105K, averaging $1,780. Patti Cake$ grossed $66K last weekend, averaging $4,714. Its cume is now $197,394. Searchlight’s documentary Step, meanwhile, is closing in on $1M. In its fourth weekend, the Sundance title grossed $66K, averaging $559 in 118 locations, placing its cume at $972,590.

Neon’s Ingrid Goes West, which it picked up out of Sundance earlier this year, went from just 26 runs to 647 in its third frame. Starring Aubrey Plaza and Elizabeth Olsen, the title took in $781,750, averaging $1,208. The feature grossed $265,567 last weekend, averaging $10,214. Ingrid Goes West has now cumed $1.32M.

A24 also jumped Good Time in its third weekend from just 20 runs to 721 this weekend. Starring Robert Pattinson and directed by Josh and Benny Safdie (the latter who also stars in the film), the title grossed $610,890 averaging $847 placing its cume just over seven figures at $1.029M. Good Time grossed $173K in its 20 locations last weekend, averaging $8,652. A24’s Menashe, meanwhile, is moving close to seven figures. The title grossed $172,510 in 103 theaters, averaging $1,675 for a cume of $973,593.

And Columbus by filmmaker Kogonada and starring John Cho is maintaining momentum in its fourth weekend. This is notable because it is a self-released title through the Superlative Films/Depth of Field label, which received guidance through Sundance Institute’s Creative Distribution Fellowship. In 22 locations, the film grossed $68,680, averaging $3,122 giving it a cume of $242,727.


Beach Rats (Neon) NEW [3 Theaters] Weekend $45,008, Average $15,003

A Gentleman (Fox International Productions) NEW [135 Theaters] Weekend $195,000, Average $1,444

Polina (Oscilloscope) NEW [2 Theaters] Weekend $13,250, Average $6,625, Cume $13,250

Terminator 2: Judgment Day 3D (Distrib Films US) NEW [386 Theaters] Weekend $582,300, Average $1,509


California Typewriter (Gravitas Ventures) NEW [2 Theaters] Weekend $16,336, Average $8,168, Cume $21,442

Crown Heights (Amazon Studios/IFC Films) Week 2 [10 Theaters] Weekend $32,800, Average $3,280, Cume $69,812

Gook (Samuel Goldwyn Films) Week 2 [24 Theaters] Weekend $75,734, Average $3,156, Cume $109,678

Marjorie Prime (FilmRise) Week 2 [10 Theaters] Weekend $23,000, Average $2,300, Cume $53,890

Patti Cake$ (Fox Searchlight) Week 2 [59 Theaters] Weekend $105,000, Average $1,780, Cume $197,394


Good Time (A24) Week 3 [721 Theaters] Weekend $610,890, Average $847, Cume $1,029,354

Ingrid Goes West (Neon) Week 3 [647 Theaters] Weekend $781,750, Average $1,208, Cume $1,321,500

The Only Living Boy In New York (Amazon Studios/Roadside Attractions) Week 3 [289 Theaters] Weekend $175,627, Average $607, Cume $385,856

The Trip To Spain (IFC Films) Week 3 [56 Theaters] Weekend $132,048, Average $2,358, Cume $284,048

Columbus (Superlative Films/Depth of Field) Week 4 [22 Theaters] Weekend $68,680, Average $3,122, Cume $242,727

Step (Fox Searchlight) Week 4 [118 Theaters] Weekend $66,000, Average $559, Cume $972,590

We Love You, Sally Carmichael! (Purdie Distribution) Week 4 [10 Theaters] Weekend $5,625, Average $562, Cume $91,835

Wind River (The Weinstein Company) Week 4 [2,095 Theaters] Weekend $4,410,610, Average $2,105, Cume $9,840,823

Brigsby Bear (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 5 [94 Theaters] Weekend $30,118, Average $320, Cume $458,773

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth To Power (Paramount Pictures/Participant Media) Week 5 [127 Theaters] Weekend $80,000, Average $630, Cume $3,325,000

Menashe (A24) Week 5 [103 Theaters] Weekend $172,510, Average $1,675, Cume $973,593

The Fencer (CFI Releasing) Week 6 [5 Theaters] Weekend $11,874, Average $2,375, Cume $37,658

Landline (Amazon Studios/Magnolia Pictures) Week 6 [30 Theaters] Weekend $15,300, Average $510, Cume $896,113

Lady Macbeth (Roadside Attractions) Week 7 [41 Theaters] Weekend $19,650, Average $479, Cume $1,052,909

The Little Hours (Gunpowder & Sky) Week 9 [26 Theaters] Weekend $21,408, Average $823, Cume $1,550,538

The Big Sick (Amazon Studios/Lionsgate) Week 10 [706 Theaters] Weekend $745,000, Average $1,055, Cume $39,127,805

Lost In Paris (Oscilloscope) Week 11 [16 Theaters] Weekend $19,000, Average $1,188, Cume $535,645

Maudie (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 11 [96 Theaters] Weekend $91,051, Average $948, Cume $5,781,011

The Hero (The Orchard) Week 12 [37 Theaters] Weekend $15,498, Average $419, Cume $4,023,748

Love, Kennedy (Purdie Distribution) Week 13 [8 Theaters] Weekend $2,840, Average $355, Cume $382,135