Movie News: Production Round-Up Week of 5.28.10

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Hollywood is having the same financial ups and downs as the rest of business world.

On the down side, MGM , which is almost $4 billion in debt, said on Thursday that its lenders agreed to let it skip interest and principal payments until July 14. In a news release, the struggling studio said “The lenders took this action in support of the company’s ongoing efforts to evaluate long-term strategic alternatives to maximize value for its stakeholders.” While MGM is treading water to keep from sinking, the creditors are attempting to fend off a take over bid by Time Warner, whose offer they feel is way too low. The creditors are instead trying to figure out a way to restructure the company and keep it as a stand-alone studio.

On the upside, In the first major film financing deal to hit Hollywood since the economic downturn, Village Roadshow Pictures Group on Thursday closed on a $1 billion credit facility to finance its current and future slate of movies. Bruce Berman, chief executive of Village Roadshow Pictures had this statement to make about the lucrative deal.“This new financing enables us to expand upon the solid foundation we’ve established within the industry and grow our slate of tentpole and star-driven films.”

Village Roadshow, which was formed in 1997, has been one of the industry’s leading financiers and producers of studio released motion pictures. Sixty-one of their library of sixty-five movies have been released in partnership with Warner Brothers. This is the longest running partnership that the venerable studio has had with an independent production studio.

Outside of these ups and downs, a lot of new projects are in the works for the folks out in Hollywood land last week. Here is around up of the movies audiences can look forward to seeing.

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Ron Howard is taking on directing duties in a new Universal Pictures project titled Cheaters. The comedy, which began production on 5/25/10, stars Vince Vaughn as a man who finds himself losing faith in relationships after discovering that the wife of his best friend (played by Kevin James) is cheating on his friend.

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The highly anticipated Johnny Depp/Angelina Jolie action flick The Tourist wrapped production on 05/24/2010. The Tourist is an English-language remake of the 2005 Belgium thriller, “Anthony Zimmer.” Johnny Depp plays an American tourist in Italy who gets seduced by a beautiful woman played by Angelina Jolie and also gets mistaken for a criminal mastermind.  

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Jesse Eisenberg stars in the Columbia Pictures,  Ruben Fleischer directed action/comedy “30 Minutes or Less”. Eisenberg will play a pizza delivery man who ends up with a bomb strapped to his chest and is forced to rob a bank in “30 Minutes or Less.”

Jerry Bruckheimer Films and Walt Disney Pictures are teaming up to work on a scifi adventure movie titled Lightspeed. Written by Terry Rossio and Bill Marsilii, Lightspeed is about an interstellar pilot who must race his ship across a galaxy which is on the brink of war. The movie is currently in the pre-production and casting stage.

Akiva Goldsman will make his feature directorial debut with “Man and Wife,” 20th Century Fox’s drama about a professional killer who becomes emotionally attached to the family he is supposed to kill. The movie is in pre-production and casting stage.

Apparently “The Final Destination”, wasn’t. New Line Cinema in conjunction with Warner Brothers films is amping up for a new installment in the franchise. “Final Destination 5”, which will be written by Eric Heisserer – based on characters created by Jeffrey Reddick and produced by Craig Perry is going to stay true to the basic premise set up in the first “Final Destination” movie, but will be an attempt to breathe life back into the franchise by overlooking some elements of the last three “Final Destination” movies. Final Destination 5 is still in the early pre-production stage and is slated for a 2011 release.

Check back next Thursday for more production news round-up.