By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com


 Director of “District 9” and “Elysium” to Begin Production This Fall

CULVER CITY, Calif., August 13, 2013 – Sony Pictures Entertainment and MRC have agreed to co-produce and co-finance Chappie, the next film from writer-director Neill Blomkamp, it was announced today by Doug Belgrad, president of Columbia Pictures and Hannah Minghella, president of Production for the studio, and MRC.  The film will be marketed and distributed worldwide by Sony Pictures.

Blomkamp will direct the film from a screenplay he has written with Terri Tatchell.  He will also produce the film with Simon Kinberg.  Production is expected to begin this fall.

Chappie tells the story of a robot imbued with artificial intelligence who is stolen by two local gangsters who want to use him for their own nefarious purposes.  The film will star Sharlto Copley as the voice of Chappie, with Ninja and Yolandi Visser, voices of the South African Zef counter-culture movement and members of rap-rave duo Die Antwoord, as the two gangsters.

Commenting on the announcement, Belgrad said, “We’re huge fans of Neill Blomkamp – it’s a real thrill to be continuing our relationship with such a visionary and important filmmaker.  Neill has proven that he is a true original voice and we expect that Chappie will strike a chord with worldwide audiences in the same way that District 9 and Elysium have.  We love the script he and Terri have written and we’re looking forward to working again with our friends at MRC.”

“Neill is an incredibly talented and bold artist and we are proud to continue to support his work.  We are looking forward to partnering with the team at Sony on Chappie,” said Modi Wiczyk, co-CEO of MRC.

The announcement comes as Sony Pictures and MRC released Elysium, Blomkamp’s second feature, starring Matt Damon and Jodie Foster, which Blomkamp wrote and directed and also produced with Bill Block and Simon Kinberg.  Elysium opened at #1 in the U.S. this weekend, and was also #1 in Russia, Sweden, Taiwan and Ukraine. Sony Pictures also released Blomkamp’s first feature film, District 9, which took in over $200 million worldwide and earned four Oscar® nominations, including Best Picture.

Hannah Minghella and Rachel O’Connor will oversee Chappie for Sony Pictures; Brye Adler will oversee for Media Rights Capital.

About Media Rights Capital:

MRC is a leading independent film and television studio, specializing in the creation of premium entertainment content in partnership with the industry’s foremost creative talent and distributors.  In film, MRC has financed and produced 16 films distributed by Universal, Sony and Warner Bros., as well as leading international distributors. Ted is currently the #1 highest grossing R-rated original comedy of all time worldwide.  In television, MRC’s projects have been licensed to a number of broadcast and cable networks including ABC, HBO, Netflix, Lifetime, Comedy Central and CBS.  MRC’s latest series, “House of Cards,” was nominated for 9 primetime Emmy® awards, including Outstanding Drama Series. For more information, visit www.mrcstudios.com


About Sony Pictures:

Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) is a subsidiary of Sony Entertainment Inc., a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Sony Corporation. SPE’s global operations encompass motion picture production, acquisition and distribution; television production, acquisition and distribution; television networks; digital content creation and distribution; operation of studio facilities; and development of new entertainment products, services and technologies. For additional information, go to http://www.sonypictures.com.

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“We now have a situation where audiences very often prefer commercial trash to Bergman’s Persona or Bresson’s L’Argent. Professionals find themselves shrugging, and predicting that serious, significant works will have no success with the general public. What is the explanation? Decline of taste or impoverishment of repertoire? Neither and both. It is simply that cinema now exists, and is evolving, under new conditions. That total, enthralling impression which once overwhelmed the audiences of the 1930s was explained by the universal delight of those who were witnessing and rejoicing over the birth of a new art form, which furthermore had recently acquired sound. By the very fact of its existence this new art, which displayed a new kind of wholeness, a new kind of image, and revealed hitherto unexplored areas of reality, could not but astound its audiences and turn them into passionate enthusiasts.

Less than twenty years now separate us from the twenty-first century. In the course of its existence, through its peaks and troughs, cinema has travelled a long and tortuous path. The relationship that has grown up between artistic films and the commercial cinema is not an easy one, and the gulf between the two becomes wider every day. Nonetheless, films are being made all the time that are undoubtedly landmarks in the history of cinema. Audiences have become more discerning in their attitude to films. Cinema as such long ago ceased to amaze them as a new and original phenomenon; and at the same time it is expected to answer a far wider range of individual needs. Audiences have developed their likes and dislikes. That means that the filmmaker in turn has an audience that is constant, his own circle. Divergence of taste on the part of audiences can be extreme, and this is in no way regrettable or alarming; the fact that people have their own aesthetic criteria indicates a growth of self-awareness.

Directors are going deeper into the areas which concern them. There are faithful audiences and favorite directors, so that there is no question of thinking in terms of unqualified success with the public—that is, if one is talking about cinema not as commercial entertainment but as art. Indeed, mass popularity suggests what is known as mass culture, and not art.”
~ Andrei Tarkovsky, “Sculpting In Time”

“People seem to be watching [fewer] movies, which I think is a mistake on people’s parts, and they seem to be making more of them, which I think is okay. Some of these movies are very good. When you look at the quality of Sundance movies right now, they are a lot better than they were when I was a kid. I do think that there have been improvements artistically, but it’s tough. We’ve got a system that’s built for less movies in terms of how many curatorial standard-bearers we have in the states. It’s time for us to expand our ideas of where we find our great films in America, but that said, it’s a real hustle. I’m so happy that Factory 25 exists. If it didn’t exist, there would be so many movies that wouldn’t ever get distributed because Matt Grady is the only person who has seen the commercial potential in them. He’s preserving a very special moment in independent film history that the commercial system is not going to be preserving. He’s figuring out how to make enough money on it to save these films and get them onto people’s shelves.”
~ Homemakers‘ Colin Healey On Indie Distribution