×

Film News Roundup: Disney Developing ‘Flora and Ulysses’ for Streaming Service (EXCLUSIVE)

In today’s film news roundup, Disney is developing “Flora and Ulysses” for its streaming service, Luke Wilson’s “The S—heads” gets distribution and Taika Waititi’s “Jojo Rabbit” rounds out its cast.

FAMILY DRAMA

Disney is in early development of a family drama based on Kate DiCamillo’s novel “Flora and Ulysses” for its upcoming Disney DTC (direct-to-consumer) service, Variety has learned exclusively.

“Flora and Ulysses” centers on a cynical girl who spends her time reading comic books and a squirrel who is run over by the neighbor’s vacuum cleaner. The squirrel’s brush with death causes him to develop superpowers.

The book won the John Newbery Medal from the Association for Library Service to Children. Gil Netter is producing and Lena Khan will direct from a Brad Copeland adapted script. Sam Dickerman is the Disney exec.

The Disney-branded DTC streaming service will launch in the latter part of 2019, streaming the latest Disney, Pixar, Marvel, and Star Wars feature films. The studio will produce four to five feature films a year exclusively for the service.

Disney is also planning to produce a number of original series for the new service, including a series based on Pixar’s Monsters franchise, a “High School Musical” series, a series from Marvel Television, and a live-action “Star Wars” series that Jon Favreau will executive produce.

DISTRIBUTION DEAL

Slate Entertainment Group has acquired worldwide distribution rights to Macon Blair’s road comedy “The S—heads,” starring Luke Wilson and Ron Funches, for its blockchain video on demand platform Binge.

Danny McBride, David Gordon Green, and Jody Hill’s Rough House Pictures, Alex Orr, and Filmscience will produce alongside Jeremy Saulnier, Blair’s Bonneville Films and XYZ Films. SEG is fully financing the project with production to commence at the beginning of 2019.

Although it’s a global streaming platform, SEG said Thursday that it is committed to supporting the theatrical experience and will give selected films on the Binge platform theatrical windows.

Blair is directing from his own script, which follows a pair of deeply unqualified bozos who’ve been hired to transport a troubled teenage millionaire to rehab. XYZ Films, an SEG strategic partner, will oversee production on behalf of SEG and brokered the deal with CAA Media Finance, which also packaged and arranged financing for the film.

PRODUCTION START

Fox Searchlight Pictures has launched production on the satire “Jojo Rabbit” in the Czech Republic with “Thor: Ragnarok” director Taika Waititi helming.

Previously announced cast include Scarlett Johansson, Sam Rockwell and Rebel Wilson. The studio announced Thursday that New Zealand actress Thomasin McKenzie (“Leave No Trace”) has joined the movie along with newcomer Roman Griffin Davis as Jojo. Producers are Waititi, Carthew Neal and Chelsea Winstanley with Kevan Van Thompson serving as executive producer.

“I’m stoked to begin shooting my anti-war satire,” Waititi said. “We’ve assembled an incredible cast and I couldn’t be more excited to finally ridicule Nazis and their beliefs. This film is going to piss off a lot of racists and that makes me very happy.”

The story follows an awkward young German boy, played by Griffin, raised by a single mother (Johansson). His only ally is his imaginary friend Hitler, played by Waititi. His naïve patriotism is tested when he meets a young girl, played by McKenzie, who upends his world views.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon

    Film News Roundup: Stephen King's 'Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon' Movie in the Works

    In today’s film news roundup, a Stephen King horror movie is in the works, “Downton Abbey” is seeing strong sales and a project about Revolutionary War soldier Deborah Sampson is in development. KING ADAPTATION Stephen King’s “The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon” has been set up as a movie at George A. Romero’s Sanibel Films, [...]

  • Moviepass

    MoviePass Confirms Security Issue With Customer Records

    MoviePass, the struggling movie ticket subscription service, has confirmed a security issue may have exposed customers’ records. In a statement, MoviePass said Wednesday that the security lapse was recently discovered and its system was immediately secured. Reports of the data breach first surfaced Tuesday through the Tech Crunch site, which alleged that tens of thousands [...]

  • Matthew Modine

    Matthew Modine Accused of Violating Labor Laws With Campaign Videos

    Matthew Modine has been accused by SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris of violating federal laws in his campaign to unseat Carteris. The production of three campaign videos for Modine by the for-profit New York Film Academy — on whose board Modine sits — has been blasted by Carteris for alleged violations of federal labor law prohibiting [...]

  • Ready or Not Movie

    'Ready or Not,' 'Angel Has Fallen' Enter Box Office Race

    Three more contenders are joining what has lately been a hostile box office arena. Can anyone emerge from August victorious? Fox Searchlight’s “Ready or Not,” a black comedy about a diabolical game of hide-and-seek, will debut in 2,244 North American theaters on Wednesday. The low-budget film is expected to earn upwards of $6.5 million over [...]

  • Rules Don't Apply

    Warren Beatty and Arnon Milchan Settle Suit Over 'Rules Don't Apply' Flop

    Arnon Milchan and Warren Beatty have settled their two-year legal battle over the disastrous release of “Rules Don’t Apply,” Beatty’s period drama about Howard Hughes. Milchan’s attorneys have filed a notice with the court dismissing his suit against Beatty. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed. Milchan’s company, New Regency, sued Beatty and other investors [...]

  • Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro attends a

    Bolsonaro LGBTQI Outburst, Subsidy Freeze, Stirs Outrage

    Ramping up the drive into censorship in Brazil, its Minister of Citizenship, Omar Terra, has suspended a call for applications for governmental TV funding – until new criteria are established for its application. The country’s secretary for culture, Henrique Pires, who reports to Terra, has resigned in protest of the incentive freeze. The suspension, for [...]

  • Adam Brody'Ready or Not' film premiere,

    Adam Brody to Executive Produce, Star in 'The Kid Detective'

    “Ready or Not’s” Adam Brody has signed on to star in “The Kid Detective.” Sophie Nelisse will co-star in the dramedy from writer-director Evan Morgan. Brody will star as a once-celebrated kid detective, now 31, who continues to solve the same trivial mysteries between hangovers and bouts of self-pity until a 16-year-old client (Nelisse) brings [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content