DAILY NEWS: IFILM Takes Pop.com; Lions Gate Saves "Urbania"; Sony Classics Grabs "Mirth"
>> Pop Goes the Dotcom; IFILM Steps in to Salvage Un-launched Pop.com
(indieWIRE/ 8.31.00) — Hollywood bigwigs and $50 million were apparently
not enough to launch what was too have been the highest profile
next-generation entertainment dotcom. While it was announced with major
fanfare nearly a year ago and teased at this year’s Yahoo! Internet Life
Online Film Festival, Pop.com will reportedly merge with IFILM, even
before the site officially launches. By all accounts the move will mark
another major Hollywood misstep in the development of online content
While many specifics about the future of Pop.com have yet to be addressed,
an article in today’s Hollywood Reporter indicates that that IFILM and
Pop are in advanced talks with a deal likely in the next couple of days.
“We have many details to figure out, but we hope to have a deal within
48 hours,” IFILM CEO Kevin Wendle told The Hollywood Reporter.
The news is hardly a surprise as Pop.com has been rumored to be seeking
a major merger for months, but as recently as three weeks ago a Pop.com
spokesperson told indieWIRE that the site would be launching this fall.
Reports of the company pursuing a purchase or deal with AtomFilms were
widely circulated some time ago, but the Pop crew were reportedly fazed
by Atom’s high valuation. The move would certainly be a feather in
IFILM’s cap, potentially putting them in business with Pop.com founders
Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Ron Howard, David Geffen and Brian Grazer.
A number of questions will clearly be raised within the filmmaking
community as a deal progresses. Of key concern will likely be the
fate of Pop’s recent acquisition of Undergroundfilm.com and its much
hyped deal with John Sloss to develop the indie-minded “Popfest” brand.
The failure of Pop.com will certainly echo throughout Hollywood, as
is noted by Marc Graser in today’s Daily Variety.
“Reverberation within the dot-com biz could be significant,” wrote
Graser, “If Spielberg and company couldn’t create a successful
Netcaster, who can?” Clearly many might argue that IFILM and
AtomFilms have been successful so far. [Eugene Hernandez]
>> Lions Gate Rescues Jon Shear’s “Urbania”
(indieWIRE/ 8.31.00) — Lions Gate Films is coming to the rescue of
another homeless feature film. A few months after it picked up “But
I’m a Cheerleader” after the film lost its deal with Fine Line, Lions
Gate will release Jon Shear‘s “Urbania” because Unapix will be unable to distribute the movie.
A Lions Gate spokesman confirmed the move yesterday, indicating that
the film will be released on September 15th as planned. While a
Unapix representative did not return calls seeking comment, word
is that the distributor was forced to drop the film after cashflow
problems. An article in today’s Variety confirms as much.
The film, which stars Dan Futterman and Josh Hamilton was a fixture
on this summer’s gay and lesbian film festival circuit after its
debut at the Sundance Film Festival. [Eugene Hernandez]
>> BRIEFLY: Sony Closes Deal on “Mirth”
(indieWIRE/ 8.31.00) — Terence Davies‘ “The House of Mirth,” set for
screenings on the Fall festival circuit, was reportedly set to skip a
theatrical release despite offers for a distribution deal. However,
according to co-producer Showtime, the film has found a theatrical home
at Sony Pictures Classics.
Set to screen at the Toronto and New York festivals, the film stars
Gillian Anderson. [Eugene Hernandez]