Source: Empire

UPDATE (8:30 PM PST): Tom Cruise has confirmed that Brad Bird has signed on to direct the fourth entry in the Mission: Impossible series. The film will mark Bird's first foray into live-action; previously, he helmed the traditionally-animated sci-fi film The Iron Giant, which gained a cult audience on video, and went on to make the incredibly successful films The Incredibles and Ratatouille for Pixar.

Original report follows...

Source: Deadline Hollywood Daily

Paramount has set a date for the fourth entry into the big-screen Mission: Impossible franchise, which will explode onto the screen on December 16th, 2011. J.J. Abrams is returning to produce.

The previous Mission: Impossible opened amidst the controversy over Tom Cruise's appearance on Oprah, and suffered at the box office as a result, grossing only $134 million in comparison to the $215 million of II (unadjusted) and $180 million of the original (unadjusted). At the time, Paramount chief Sumner Redstone claimed he wouldn't make a movie with Cruise again, but the two later reconciled, and the fourth film was greenlit. Even so, the studio appears to be hedging their bets, picking winter over an already-crowded Summer 2012 spot.

In recent weeks, several names have been considered for the director's chair, including Scott Pilgrim's Edgar Wright and Zombieland's Ruben Fleischer. The front-runner, however, seems to have been (and still is) animation director Brad Bird, whose live-action passion project 1906 has stalled at Warner Bros. over budget issues. Bird likely hopes that putting a successful blockbuster under his belt will be enough to convince Warner to move ahead with 1906. However, no director has been confirmed.

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Source: Deadline Hollywood Daily

After the successful reboot of the franchise with last year's Fast & Furious, Universal is chomping at the bit to get rolling on a fifth film, and, having locked in stars Paul Walker and Vin Diesel, is looking at Dwayne Johnson to play the film's antagonist.

In the past few years, Johnson has focused on phasing out his pro-wrestling persona (going from The Rock to Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, and finally just using his real name), while starring in a string of family comedies (The Game Plan, Race to Witch Mountain, and this year's Tooth Fairy). Now, the actor seems to be making a return to the action movies that helped get him into movies, playing a supporting role in the cop comedy The Other Guys, and starring in the revenge drama Faster. Fast Five (the movie's tentative title) would have Johnson play the role of an FBI agent tailing Walker and Diesel's characters. Justin Lin is set to direct.

In addition to Fast Five, Diesel has a third Riddick film tentatively lined up at the studio, as well as a third xXx movie gestating at Paramount. With or without Johnson, Fast Five is slated to hit theaters on June 10th, 2011.

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Source: Variety

20th Century Fox has tapped director Rupert Wyatt (The Escapist) to helm a tentatively titled project called Rise of the Apes for a June 24, 2011 release.

Tim Burton's Planet of the Apes was met with a mixed reception back in 2001, but it was still able to gross $180 million domestically. That translates to $253.2 million when adjusting for inflation. A sequel never happened.

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MORRISTOWN, N.J. -- Cinedigm Digital Cinema Corp. ("Cinedigm") (NASDAQ: CIDM) today announced the closing of a $172.5 million credit facility co-led by Société Générale Corporate & Investment Banking and GE Capital Markets. This new credit facility will refinance all existing senior and mezzanine non-recourse debt in the Company's Phase 1 deployment subsidiary, Christie/AIX, through a newly formed bankruptcy remote subsidiary called Cinedigm Digital Funding I, LLC. The facility has received a provisional rating of Ba1 from Moody's Investor Service. The new credit facility will replace the Company's credit facility led by GE Capital Markets in 2006.

The new 6-year term loan, provided by a syndicate of 19 institutional lenders led by Société Générale and GE Capital Markets, will be at a rate of LIBOR +350 basis points with a 1.75% LIBOR floor, improving upon the previous rate of LIBOR +600 basis points with a 2.5% LIBOR floor. This new facility significantly improves upon the terms of the previous credit facility through a combination of reduced borrowing costs to Cinedigm Digital Funding, a more flexible covenant package, a 32 month maturity extension and improved free cash flow to support the payment of service fees to Cinedigm Digital Cinema Services, our service division. This new non-recourse credit facility is secured by the assets of Cinedigm Digital Funding 1, LLC.

"We are very pleased to complete this refinancing and to have a provisional rating of Ba1 by Moody's," said Bud Mayo, Chairman and CEO of Cinedigm. "This successful refinancing of our existing debt reaffirms the value of the Phase 1 digital cinema asset base and the critical role Cinedigm plays in driving the exhibition industry's conversion to digital cinema."

Adam M. Mizel, CFO and Chief Strategy Officer of Cinedigm, added, "This refinancing marks the next step in our efforts to strengthen Cinedigm's balance sheet, to improve our access to capital and to continue to position the Company for growth. We appreciate the strong capital markets execution and lending support from our long time partners at Société Générale and GE Capital. "

"We are excited to have successfully delivered institutional investor commitments for the refinancing of Cinedigm's Phase 1 digital cinema deployment," said Richard Knowlton, Managing Director, Sociéte Générale, Leveraged Media and Telecom Finance. "Together with GE Capital, we have expanded funding options for the Company's current and future digital cinema rollouts."

Michael Rhea, Vice President, GE Capital, Media, Communications & Entertainment, commented, "GE Capital is a long-time supporter of the exhibition industry and of digital cinema. We are pleased to be helping Cinedigm with their Phase 1 refinance and look forward to continuing our strong relationship."

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UNIVERSAL CITY, CA - Universal Pictures Chairman Adam Fogelson announced today Jimmy Horowitz has been promoted to President, Universal Pictures. In his new role, Horowitz will work with Fogelson, Co-Chairman Donna Langley and Vice-Chairman and COO Rick Finkelstein to shape and implement domestic strategic business initiatives and help manage day-to-day business operations. He will report to Fogelson and Finkelstein.

"Jimmy is a critical gatekeeper for our company, someone who all our filmmakers know and respect," said Fogelson. "His deep knowledge of our business and the people we work with make him a trusted strategic advisor who will play a major role in helping us shape the future of this studio."

A key member of Universal's senior management team who has worked at the studio for 18 years, Horowitz previously served as Co-President of Production and Executive Vice President of Universal Pictures, a position he held since July 2006. In that role he has supervised non-creative aspects of production at Universal and has overseen Universal's growing live stage business. Under his leadership, Universal Pictures Stage Productions has had box-office and critical success with Wicked, which has grossed over $1 billion worldwide and Billy Elliot, which won 10 Tony Awards, including Best Musical in 2009. As President, Horowitz will add the oversight of Chris Meledandri's Illumination Entertainment and Universal's relationship with Relativity Media to his portfolio.

"Jimmy is a trusted colleague and friend," said Langley. "He's a skillful negotiator who has the right instincts and judgment to help us move forward Universal's agenda in the face of any challenge. This is a well-deserved promotion."

Horowitz was appointed Executive Vice President, Business and Legal Affairs for Universal Pictures in January 2002. In this position, he oversaw the business and legal affairs departments and all of Universal's term deals. Previously, he served as Senior Vice President, Business and Legal Affairs starting in October 1999. Horowitz joined Universal's feature legal department in 1992.

Prior to joining the studio, Horowitz served as counsel for the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). He also practiced labor law at Manatt, Phelps, et al. and later at Greenberg Glusker, et al. until 1990. Horowitz earned his JD degree from George Washington University Law School and graduated cum laude from Tulane University in 1983 with a BA in political science.


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