24 Frames

Movies: Past, present and future

Category: Relativity Media

From ‘I’m.mortal’ to ‘In Time,’ from ‘War of Gods’ to ‘Immortals’

October 31, 2011 | 10:06 am

Henry Cavill in

Picking a movie title is often a fraught affair. Just ask sci-fi alum Andrew Niccol, whose latest journey into the future, “In Time,” hit theaters Friday.

That wasn’t always the title 20th Century Fox had penciled in for the movie. The Justin Timberlake-starrer was previously titled “Now” and, before that, “I’m.mortal." 

As Fox was working on Niccol's film back in spring 2010, Relativity Media was preparing its own fall 2011 film, a Greek epic by Tarsem Singh (“The Fall,” “The Cell”). It was initially dubbed "War of Gods."

The “I’m.mortal” title hadn’t been registered with the Motion Picture Assn. of America yet when “Immortals” switched its title from “War of Gods” in April 2010.  Relativity, Niccol said, demanded Fox give his sci-fi flick a new name to avoid confusion with their Nov. 11, 2011, release. 

Niccol recalled his aha moment when he came up with "I'm.mortal." “I was so happy when I finally saw that ‘I’m mortal’ is inside the word ‘immortal,” the writer-director told 24 Frames. “And then someone goes and steals it from you,” he added with a laugh. (Not everyone, though, was as enthusiastic as Niccol was about "I'm.mortal" — online opinions about it ranged from “sure-to-be-tweaked” and “dumb” to “cute, quirky.” )

Re-titled “Now” last fall, the movie became "In Time" in May.

“[‘Now’] was just more difficult for people to grasp. So we made it something even more accessible,” Niccol said.

As for that title revision for Singh's movie, Relativity and the filmmakers decided "Immortals" was a more original-sounding title that better spoke to the novel take on Greek mythology than "War of Gods."

“We love ‘Immortals.’ It’s a strong title. It sounds like an event movie and very epic,” a spokesperson for Relativity Media said.

Niccol is no stranger to having to think up new titles. His 1997 cult favorite, “Gattaca,” was filmed under the name “The Eighth Day,” a reference to Genesis and the genetic engineering that defines the film’s “not-so-distant future.” When a Belgian film with the same name, “Le huitième jour,” made it to theaters before Niccol’s movie, he was forced to come up with a new title. He decided on the name of the spaceflight corporation in the story, Gattaca, derived from the four letters of DNA bases.

“That [title] actually got better, I think. It was just so unique,” Niccol said. “It’s sort of lasted the test of time.”

Whether “In Time” and “Immortals” stand that test of time remains to be seen, but their test at the box office comes first. "In Time" opened Friday to challenge "Puss in Boots" and "Paranormal Activity 3," finishing in third. Starring the new Superman, Henry Cavill, "Immortals" opens Nov. 11 against Leonardo DiCaprio's "J. Edgar" and Adam Sandler's "Jack and Jill."

RELATED:

‘In Time’: Time is money in the Justin Timberlake sci-fi film

‘In Time’: Young actors on the secrets to playing old characters

Comic-Con 2011: ‘Immortals’ brings young Greek gods to the screen

— Emily Rome

Left photo: Henry Cavill and Joseph Morgan in "Immortals." Credit: Jan Thijs

Right photo: Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried in "In Time." Credit: Stephen Vaughan / 20th Century Fox.


The Navy SEALs are ready for their closeup [Trailer]

October 12, 2011 |  5:12 pm

ActofvalorStory
The Navy SEALs certainly have been depicted in any number of films. Charlie Sheen’s turn as Lt. Dale Hawkins in 1990’s “Navy Seals” -- “For God's sake, be careful out there!” -- perhaps being the low point.

But not until next year’s “Act of Valor” have the typically secretive elite warriors played themselves.

In a feature film helmed by the hot Los Angeles commercial directors the Bandito Bros. (Mike McCoy and Scott Waugh), seven active Navy SEALs star in a global thriller about a terrorist plot targeting the United States. “This thing is way bigger than we thought it was,” a voice intones in the new trailer for the film, which opens Feb. 17. “They’re going to hit us at home.”

By working with the Navy, the filmmakers had access not only to lots of hardware (the trailer shows glimpses of a submarine, an aircraft carrier, helicopters, drones, gunships and high-powered sniper rifles) but also to the SEALs themselves, who staged the film’s action scenes. Relativity Media bought domestic rights to the finished film for $13.5 million, a small fortune for an independently financed feature.

“The characters in this film are portrayed by active-duty U.S. Navy SEALs,” the trailer informs us. “The story is fictional, but the weapons and tactics are real.” As the trailer also makes clear, “Act of Valor” could very well be a recruiting tool. Top that, Mr. Sheen.

 

 

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Relativity Media deal opens the film door to China

-- John Horn

Photo: A scene from "Act of Valor." Credit: Relativity Media.

 

 


'Machine Gun Preacher' gets new distributor, and Sept. 23 release date

July 7, 2011 |  4:33 pm

1
Marc Forster may have brought Lionsgate an Academy Award with “Monster’s Ball,” but the studio says it can’t make room for the director’s new movie, “Machine Gun Preacher,” and has sold it to Relativity Media.

Lionsgate and Relativity said Thursday that Forster’s new film will switch studios, with Relativity scheduling the fact-based drama starring Gerard Butler for a limited release starting Sept. 23 in the hopes it might attract some awards attention.

Lionsgate, which released 2001’s “Monster’s Ball” (which won star Halle Berry the best actress Oscar), acquired the independently produced “Machine Gun Preacher” from financier Gary Safady last summer, with tentative plans for a fall 2011 release. The film stars Butler as Sam Childers, a former drug dealer who becomes a minister to refugee children in Sudan. 

“We didn’t feel we could give it the attention it needed,” Mike Paseornek, Lionsgate’s president of motion picture production and development, said in explaining why it was selling the film to Relativity. “The slate was just packed." At least one other distributor looked at "Machine Gun Preacher" but did not buy it from Lionsgate.

Lionsgate does not currently have a film scheduled for release between Oct. 29 and the end of the year. But the studio is set to release six films in the next few months, including the mixed martial arts drama “Warrior” on Sept. 9. The studio also has several films set to debut in early 2012. Relativity's fall slate includes "Immortals" on Nov. 11.

Lionsgate will continue to handle “Machine Gun Preacher’s” international release. Said Paseornek: "We love the movie."

RELATED:

In Darkness, Marc Forster Sees the Light

Gerard Butler begins playing the field

-- John Horn

Photo: Marc Forster. Credit: Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times


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