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13 April 2007

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  • 300, Bean 2 lead spectacular international weekend

    300 returned to winning ways as Warner Bros Pictures International's (WBPI) action hit beat Mr Bean's Holiday by a whisker to the number one spot overseas.The film added an estimated $32m from 6,500 prints in 61 markets to raise the tally to $173m. It shot to the top in Germany on $6.3 including previews and scored the industry's biggest April opening weekend in Australia with $4.6m from 337 prints.
  • Apichatpong withdraws Syndromes from Thai cinemas after censors row

    Acclaimed Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul is withdrawing his latest film Syndromes and a Century from theaters in response to local censors' demand for four cuts in the film.The film, which premiered at Venice last year and recently won best editing at the inaugural Asian Film Awards in Hong Kong, was scheduled to open in Bangkok on April 19. The limited two-print release would mark Thai-language film magazine Bioscope's first foray in
  • Bermek tapped for tax at European Audiovisual Observatory

    The European Audiovisual Observatory has announced plans to start studying tax law. Hasan Bermek, a lawyer of Turkish nationality, has joined the Strasbourg-based Observatory to head the tax law study team. He will build a network of tax specialists in eac hof the Observatory's 36 member states. Dr. Susanne Nikoltchev, head of the observatory's department for legal information said: 'The field of tax law in Europe has far-reaching consequences for the audiovisual sector and we are
  • Bingham Ray to head new Kimmel distribution arm

    Bingham Ray has joined Los Angeles-based financing and production company Sidney Kimmel Entertainment (SKE) as president of the newly formed Kimmel Distribution.Ray's appointment begins immediately and he reports directly to SKE president and chief operating officer Jim Tauber.SKE president of marketing and distribution Mark Kristol will continue his duties within the new division and reports to Ray.The new division will manage and oversee the creation and imp
  • Blades continues to dominate North American box office

    Easter crowds favoured comedy and family fare as Paramount's Blades Of Glory and Buena Vista's Meet The Robinsons beat off R-rated Grindhouse and three other new releases to hold on to the top two spots.Blades Of Glory added an estimated $23m to raise the running total to $68.4m after two weeken
  • Box-office analysis: what dreams may come

    The merger between London-based HanWay Films and France's Celluloid Dreams promises to produce 'bigger' films (see In Focus, p6-8). We'll have to see what 'bigger' encompasses in this case - but do not expect anything quite as grand as the sort of film Graham King produces or some of the past efforts of Saul Zaentz.Each of the companies has a long string of critical successes, including Rabbit Proof Fence, L'Enfant, The Dreamers, The Edukators, Nobody Kn
  • Broadband service Clickstar gets 25 Film Movement movies

    North American distributor Film Movement has announced it has signed a licensing deal with the broadband entertainment company Clickstar!As reported in Screen recently, 25 Film Movement titles will be made available for electronic sell-through or rental through ClickStar's internet delivery service.Films include Vinko Bresan's Croatian war drama Witnesses from Croatia and Tony McNamnara's Australian comedy
  • Buy the book

    From Oscar-feted films such as The Last King Of Scotland and Notes On A Scandal to the new wave of fantasy films led by Eragon, book adaptations are scoring at the global box office and reaping critical acclaim. The literary option market is showing no sign of deflation, with producers hungry for the right material.In the UK, Film4 has perhaps been busiest, with some of the hottest novels of the past 12 months on its slate: Zadie Smith's Orange Prize-winning campus
  • Celestial strikes Malaysian, African deals for Shaw Brothers titles

    Celestial Pictures has signed a home video distribution deal with Movie Master for the DVD release of more than 500 films from Shaw Brothers film library in Malaysia over five years. The titles include Justice, My Foot and Out of the Dark starring Stephen Chow and the Casino Tycoon series starring Andy Lau as well as martial arts classics such as
  • Celluloid Dreams and HanWay Films: the power of two

    There is a temptation to see the merger between Hengameh Panahi's Celluloid Dreams and Jeremy Thomas' HanWay as a commentary on the scary state of today's arthouse business. But the real issue is what it says about the digital future.The most obvious conclusion to draw from the merger of two of the world's leading film sales businesses is that size counts.While the coming together of HanWay and Celluloid Dreams has been this month's big talking point, it is not really a shock. C
  • Cherry Lane Music signs longterm deal with ContentFilm

    Cherry Lane Music Publishing Company, whose clients include TWC, DreamWorks, Lakeshore and Walden Media, has signed an exclusive, multi-year, worldwide administration agreement with London-based ContentFilm.ContentFilm's library of film assets includes The Cooler, Rules Of Engagement and Thank You For Smoking, as well as more than 2,000 hours of television programming.'Our new agreement with
  • China - The balance of power

    Inspired by the Chinese classical novel Romance Of The Three Kingdoms, multiple award-winning Hong Kong director Mabel Cheung (The Soong Sisters, An Autumn's Tale) is putting together a project, Red Rose And White Rose, based on the story of two women caught up in male power plays.The first is Princess Sun Yan, who is to be married off by her brother, the Emperor of Wu, to the Emperor of Shu. The other is Wang Shuan, a maid ordered by the Emperor of Wu to spy on his siste
  • China Film Group unveils new plans to support young film-makers

    Chinese government-owned China Film Group announced to introduce 'young filmmaker developing project' and 'author film series' to develop young filmmakers and mid-budget filmmaking, as a new direction of the group's film production plan in 2007, according to China Film president Han Sanping. While the group is involved in big-budget co-productions such as Peter Chan's Warlords, Red Cliff by John Woo, A Hope with Stephen Chow and Mei Lanfang with Chen Kaige, Ch
  • China's CRIFST opts for secure Dolby digital system

    Dolby Laboratories announced yesterday [April 12] that the China Research Institute of Film Science & Technology (CRIFST) has selected its digital compression, encoding, packaging and encryption SCC2000 Secure Content Creator for its facilities.CRIFST has also ordered a JPEG 2000-compatible Dolby Digital Cinema playback system for its facilities, to be supplied by local Dolby product distributor ACE. Digital deployments in China, one of the most prolific piracy markets in the world,
  • Chum International executives move to Peace Arch

    Kevin Byles has joined Peace Arch Entertainment Group as president of international distribution and Victor Rodriguez as executive vice president of international distribution.Both executives arrive from Chum International and will be based at the company's Toronto offices handling the theatrical and television slate.Byles will report directly to Peace Arch Entertainment Group president John Flock. Rodriguez joins the international distribution team of executive vice pres
  • CMG picks up remaining rights on La Mujer De Mi Hermano

    Edward Noeltner's LA-based Cinema Management Group (CMG) has acquired all remaining international rights to Ricardo de Montreuil's La Mujer De Mi Hermano (My Brother's Wife).CMG will commence screenings at Cannes next month; the company's new vice president of acquisitions and development Jacqui Barcos, a former colleague of Noeltner's at Miramax International, brokered the deal.Fox International released the film last year in Lati
  • Costa Rican film-maker wins Buenos Aires Film Lab

    Agua Fria Del Mar (Cold Water of the Sea), a project by Costa Rica's Paz Fabrega, won the first prize of the fourth Buenos Aires Lab (BAL), which ended on Sunday as part of the Buenos Aires Film Festival (BAFICI). The prize was presented by European cultural TV network Arte and consists of a cash award (Eu5.000) in addition to free production and post-production services.Other winners at BAL
  • Debuts dominate Crossing Europe Linz's European Competition

    Debut features dominate the lineup for the European Competition at the fourth edition of Linz's Crossing Europe Film Festival (24-29 April) which will open on April 24 with the world premiere of the music documentary Attwenger Adventure by Markus Kaiser-Muhlecker and the Austrian premieres of Marcus J. Carney's The End of the Neubacher Project and Marc Recha's August Days.
  • Distribution - TV and film sales - Two's company

    Not so long ago, film and TV markets were different worlds. Independent film sales agents who attended the American Film Market (AFM) and Cannes might attend events such as Miptv and Mipcom to exploit their library, but theatrical buyers were rarely seen. That position is now changing as film-makers and distributors look to exploit both markets simultaneously."Years ago, you would never see a film buyer at a TV market or a TV buyer at a film market. Now you go to markets and you see th
  • Disturbia

    Dir: DJ Caruso. US. 2007. 105mins. A smart teen thriller that ably mixes suspense and adolescent melodrama, Disturbia boasts an articulate script and nuanced performances. Though Rear Window's voyeuristic premise provides the inspiration, this Paramount/DreamWorks release adds hints of Kubrick-ian chills and nicely understated insights into the tumultuous lives of young people to add freshness to a conventional horror set-up. When Disturbia
  • Dreamachine licenses Last Emperor to Image Entertainment

    Dreamachine, the new company formed by the merger of HanWay Films and Celluloid Dreams, has struck its first deal. Image Entertainment signed an exclusive North American licensing agreement with Dreamachine over four films in the Recorded Picture Company library: Bernardo Bertolucci's Oscar-winning The Last Emperor, Nagisa Oshima's Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence, Stephen Frears' The Hit and Nicolas Roeg's Insignificance. Jeremy Thomas, who founded RPC and
  • Elan Cross Stephens joins Welsh film agency's board

    Elan Closs Stephens has joined the board of the new Film Agency for Wales. She was present for the Film Agency's first meeting of the Film Education Forum, to encourage the education sector to work together to encourage film education. Cross Stephens also chaired an open consultation about the Agency's revised strategic vision in context of the UK-wide Film Education Strategy Review.'As a Film Agency, we must engage with the public and with education,' she said. 'We should consi
  • Forston, Kisilevsky take key positions in Overture Films

    Greg Forston has joined Beverly Hills-based Overture Films as senior vice president of theatrical distribution and Lauren Kisilevsky has arrived as vice president of production and acquisitions.Forston will be based in Overture's Beverly Hills offices and reports to executive vice president of theatrical distribution Kyle Davies.Kisilevsky arrives from Reese Witherspoon's Type A Films and will report to Robert Kessel, executive vice president of production and acquisition
  • Fracture

    Dir: Gregory Hoblit. US. 2007. 113mins. Dramatic thriller Fracture has a taut script and an attractive look, but what really elevates it above the genre norm are tasty performances from Anthony Hopkins and Ryan Gosling as, respectively, a clever murderer and the cocky young attorney assigned to put him behind bars. The stars' enjoyable double act should ensure at least a solid mid-level theatrical gross for the New Line/Castle Rock production and a strong showing in anci
  • Freestyle picks up domestic rights to Civic Duty

    Freestyle Releasing has scheduled a May 4 North American release for Jeff Renfroe's pyschological thriller Civic Duty after picking up domestic rights.Peter Krause stars as a happily married accountant who becomes obsessed with America's war on terrorism after he loses his job. Richard Schiff, Kari Matchett, Ian Tracey and Egyptian actor Khaled Abol Naga also star.Andrew Lanter, Tina Pehme, Kim Roberts, Krause and Andrew Joiner pro
  • French first-quarter box office drops 3% compared to strong 2006

    France's box office took a 3% hit in the first three months of 2007 compared with last year. The total number of admissions came to 51.2m versus 52.8m in 2006 for the period of January through March, according to figures announced Wednesday by France's National Cinema Federation (FNCF). It should be noted that the first quarter of 2006 was especially profitable thanks to Patrice Leconte's Les Bronzes 3, which was released in February and raked in 10.3m admissions in two months bef
  • Gael Garcia Bernal to serve as Cannes Critics Week ambassador

    Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal will act as ambassador to Critics Week in Cannes this year. Organizers announced the news on Thursday and said that the Babel star will unveil his first directorial effort, Deficit, during the fortnight. Bernal is well-known in Cannes having come to the festival several times including with Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's Amores Perros which won the Critics Week grand prize in 2000, followed by Walter Salles' The Motorcycle Di
  • Greenberg, Kassorla option Kassorla's Miracle

    Randy Greenberg, the former head of Universal's international theatrical division, and TV producer Jackie Kassoria have teamed up to option psychologist and talk radio host Irene C Kassorla's book Miracle At Springfield Hospital.The story charts Dr Kassorla's early career in London when she revived a catatonic schizophrenic mental patient who had remained mute and immobile for 30 years. Nancy Hendrickson has been hired to adapt the screenplay.
  • Henry Winterstern to work closely with Avi Lerner at First Look

    Henry Winterstern will play a more hands-on role in the future of First Look Studios than originally thought, following an announcement that he and Avi Lerner will act as co-chairmen of First Look Holdings (formerly Nu Image FLS Investments).Lerner and Winterstern will jointly focus on feature acquisitions and theatrical releases, with Winterstern seeking out financing and mergers and acquisitions opportunities.Danny Dimbort, one of the three Nu Image principals along wit
  • Hot titles at the London Book Fair 2007

    Oscar Wilde & A Death Of No Importance by Gyles BrandrethBrandreth has turned Wilde's life into a detective story, 'intertwining all the intrigue of the classic English murder mystery with a compelling portrait of one of the greatest characters of the Victorian age.'
  • Huntsiger named Telluride Film Festival managing director

    Julie Huntsinger has been appointed managing director of Telluride Film Festival, set to run this year from Aug 31-Sept 3.Huntsinger will develop and manage all aspects of the festival's business administration including budget, corporate accounting, legal affairs and personnel.She will oversee implementation of company policy and shape festival policy alongside co-directors Tom Luddy and Gary Meyer.Huntsinger started out in the film business in 1993 when she
  • India's UTV to float film production arm on London AIM

    Indian media conglomerate UTV Software Communications is to transfer all its worldwide film production activities into one of its overseas subsidiaries, which will move to be listed on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) of the London Stock Exchange.The move is a clear signal of the interest of the group in international production.UTV's slate includes current North American releases The Namesake from Mira Nair and
  • Industry moves

    STAMBLER JOINS THINKFILM FROM MAGNOLIABen Stambler has left Magnolia Pictures and joined ThinkFilm's New York office as director of acquisitions. Stambler served for three years as manager of acquisitions at Magnolia and played a key role in the acquisitions of The Host, The Signal and Jesus Camp. He will jointly report to ThinkFilm's head of US theatrical Mark Urman and senior vice-president of acquisitions and business affairs Randy Manis. The company has also pr
  • Israel venture capital fund JVP launches Animation Lab

    Israel-based international venture capital fund Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP) has launched Jerusalem and Los Angeles-based Animation Lab.Commercials producer Ayelet Weinerman will serve as president for Animation Lab, Israel's first fully equipped feature animation studio, and has spent the past year scouting creative and managerial talent.Weinerman, who served as executive producer for Frontier pictures in the UK and Neue Sentimental Films in Los Angeles, anticipates
  • Italy's Far East Film Festival announces 51-film lineup

    The Far East Film Festival has announced a fifty-one film official line up boasting eighteen international festival premieres from for its ninth edition which runs in the Northeastern Italian town of Udine April 20-28.This year's film and guest highlights include the international festival premiere of Teng Huatao's The Matrimony starring popular Chinese actress Fan Bingbing; Korea offers the world premiere of
  • Japan - Secrets and lives in modern Tokyo

    Director Kiyoshi Kurosawa is one of the few modern Japanese film-makers with worldwide recognition, both as a genre director and as an auteur. With films such as Cure, Pulse and Retribution (which screened at Venice last year) Kurosawa's name is synonymous with J-horror.Yet his filmography offers much more than scares. In License To Live, Charisma and Bright Future, which competed at Cannes in 2003, Kurosawa crafts unique depictions of human re
  • Japanese pay TV company Wowow establishes feature film label

    Major satellite pay tv provider Wowow has announced the establishment of a feature film label, Wowow Films. 'In looking at the image Wowow has for its subscribers, the overwhelming response was 'movies'. We're answering that demand by eagerly entering feature film production,' said Wowow CEO Nobuya Wazaki. Wowow Films announced its first production as Hannin Ni Tsugu (Inform The Criminal). The film centers around a police detective trying to solve a series of
  • Japan's JDC sets up international acquisition fund

    Japan Digital Contents Trust Inc (JDC) has established a foreign film acquisition fund in partnership with three Japanese distributors.The first phase of the 'Cinema Trust: Acquisition Fund' will provide from $16.76m-$33.52m (Y2b-Y4b) for the acquisition and distribution of foreign-produced feature films. The three distribution partners, chosen for their proven success and longevity, include Movie-eye Entertainment (producer of Nightmare Detective, distributor of
  • Japan's Nikkatsu opens international office in LA

    Nikkatsu Corp will open an international office in Los Angeles in mid-April under the name Nikkatsu Pictures International (NPI).Nikkatsu has invested $500,000 of capital to establish NPI, as part of a strategy to position itself at the global film industry's front lines. NPI will focus on strengthening Nikkatsu's international sales and acquisitions. In addition, NPI has entered a partnership with US-based Action5 Inc, which specialises in acquisitions of foreign project
  • Julie Sultan joins Peace Arch from Lakeshore

    Julie Sultan has joined Peach Arch Entertainment Group as executive vice president of international theatrical film sales.Sultan arrives from Lakeshore Entertainment where she served as vice president of international sales. She will be based at Peace Arch's expanded California offices in Marina Del Rey and reports to Peace Arch Entertainment president of international distribution Kevin Byles.Sultan served six years at Lakeshore and previously held the post of director o
  • King steps into evp production role at Participant

    Jonathan King has left Focus Features as executive vice president of production and joined Participant Productions as executive vice president in charge of production. King commences work on Apr 16 and will report to Participant president Ricky Strauss.Prior to Focus he served as president of production for Laurence Mark Productions, working on such titles as Dreamgirls, current release The Lookout, and
  • Lena Headey and Lily Cole join cast of St Trinian's

    Ealing Studios has added to the cast of St Trinian's, the contemporary update of the popular 1950s film franchise about a girl's school. Joining the cast are Lena Headey, Lily Cole, Toby Jones, Celia Imrie, Anna Chancellor, and Gemma Arterton. Playing some of the modern-day students are rising talents Talulah Riley, Tamsin Egerton, Amara Karan, Paloma Faith Bloomfield and Antonia Bernath. As previously reported, the cast is led by Rupert Everett, Colin Firth, Caterina Murin
  • Marshall reunites with Weinsteins for Nine

    Harvey Weinstein and Rob Marshall are reuniting for the first time since the Oscar winning 2003 musical Chicago on an adaptation of the Broadway show Nine.Marshall will direct the production with music and lyrics by Maury Yeston, composer and lyricist for the original 1982 Broadway production that won the Tony Award for Best Musical.Marshall and his LUCAMAR Productions partner John DeLuca wi
  • Media Asia set to go private with eSun takeover

    Media Asia, the Singapore-listed Hong Kong producer of Infernal Affairs, is set to go private through a buyout led by Hong Kong-listed media conglomerate eSun Holdings. eSun, which already owns 37.33% of the company, is offering to acquire all outstanding shares to make Media Asia its wholly owned subsidiary. The company says the takeover would be a good move because of 'thin trading volume and volatile financial performance' as well as 'high administrative and compliance expenses
  • Melkonian gets new marketing position at Sunset Gower

    Terri Melkonian has been promoted to the newly created position of vice president of sales, marketing and corporate communications at Sunset Gower Studios.Melkonian joined 10 months ago as vice-president of sales and marketing and previously served as a production representative at Universal Studios for nine years.0Sunset Gower Studios is currently undergoing extensive refurbishment of its 12 sound stages and support facilities. Construction is underway on a new 96,000 sq
  • MGM pacts with Salma Hayek on Latin film co Ventanazul

    MGM and business associates Salma Hayek and Jose Tamez have set up Ventanazul to develop, produce and acquire Latin-themed filmed entertainment featuring Latin and non-Latin film-makers and stars. Hayek will serve as president and chief executive officer and Tamez as president of production in the equal partnership with MGM.The company plans to deliver two to four diverse features each year, with MGM handling worldwide marketing and distribution. Ventanazul will be based
  • Mr Bean wins epic battle

    UK comedy Mr Bean's Holiday kicked action epic 300 from the top spot after expanding in an additional 16 territories including Italy and Mexico; Bean took $30.7m at the weekend. But the Spartans fought on as 300 generated $29.9m from 54 territories, bringing its international total to $173.3m after just five weeks. Hilary Swank thriller The Reaping fared well, entering at number four after grossing $5.3m from 16 territories this weekend. And Danny Boyle's UK sci-fi adventure generated $2.8m f
  • New Zealand actor and film-maker Don Selwyn dies

    Maori actor and film-maker Don Selwyn has passed away in New Zealand. The New Zealand Herald reported that Selwyn died today in hospital after a long illness. 'Don is known to many New Zealanders as an actor but his role in the Film Industry as both a producer and educator played a major part in bringing the voices of Maori and Pacific Island people to our screens - both in front of and behind the camera,' the New Zealand Film Commission's chief executive Dr Ruth Harley said. 'He
  • Northwest England's proposed new agency lands two leaders

    As the northwest UK 's two audiovisual organisations are planning to merge, the chief executive and managing director of the combined organsation have been named. Alice Morrison has been appointed chief executive with Lynne McCadden taking the MD post of the as-yet-unnamed organisation. The merger talks are ongoing between North West Vision and Media Training North West. McCadden is currently head of Media Training North West, with Morrison heading North West Vision.
  • Opening doors: Singapore International Film Festival

    The Singapore International Film Festival (Siff) celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, opening with a Sri Lankan film for the first time - Prasanna Jayakody's feature debut Sankara, a Buddhist fable.This is in line with Siff's main function of forging bridges with lesser known cinema regions. When it was the South-East Asia representative of the Hubert Bals Fund in the late 1990s, the festival played a key role in securing finance for, and promoting the careers of, then unk
  • Opinion: the digital dream

    Consolidation in the independent sector has been an absolute inevitability, particularly in Europe, for some time. The position of the traditional sales agent has been quietly changing during the past couple of years, and the state of today's market makes the acceleration of that process virtually certain.So the news of the merger between Celluloid Dreams and HanWay comes as no surprise. Neither is the nervous reaction from some quarters.The new entity - Dreamachine - has been v
  • Parzania to open India Now in New York City

    Parzania, Rahul Dholakia's account of the 2002 Gujarat riots, has been confirmed to open the India Now exhibition presented by The Museum of Modern Art at New York's Roy and Niuta Titus Theaters on Apr 22.The English-language film recounts a family's search for their missing child during a pogrom organised by radical Hindus against Muslims that resulted in more than 1,100 deaths.Parzania won India's National Award in January for be
  • Penguins march into India with aims for 1m admissions

    The Oscar-winning French documentary March Of The Penguins sees its Indian release this week under the name Penguins - A Love Story. Luc Jacquet's film has been dubbed in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu and will be released in four languages (including English) for the Indian market. Indian actor Amitabh Bachchan provides the voiceover for the Hindi and English versions to a script by Black Friday director Anurag Kashyap. Sunil Doshi, CEO and Director of Alliance Medi
  • Perfect Stranger

    Dir: James Foley. 2007. US. 109minsPerfect Stranger is perfect trash, crafted with all the costly polish and production values that Hollywood can muster. A throwback to lurid sex thrillers from the 1990s like Disclosure, Jade and Colour Of Nigh
  • Sarsgaard, Hopper, Harry join starry Animal cast for Lakeshore

    Peter Sarsgaard, Dennis Hopper and Deborah Harry will join Penelope Cruz, Ben Kingsley and Patricia Clarkson in Lakeshore Entertainment's Philip Roth adaptation Dying Animal.Production is set to start in Vancouver in May with Isabel Coixet directing from an adapted screenplay by Nicholas Meyer (The Human Stain).Lakeshore's Tom Rosenberg and Gary Lucchesi are producing and the company will in
  • Seattle Festival to launch Northwest ProductionMarket

    The 33rd Annual Seattle International Film Festival, running from May 24-Jun 17, has announced that it will launch the Northwest Production Market programme.The market will provide a forum for film-makers to discuss their projects with production companies and financiers. A companion programme, the Northwest Production Forum, will offer advice to film-makers about developing future projects.The festival is currently considering applications from film-makers to attend the
  • Set report: Kim Ki-duk's Breath

    Kim Ki-duk's eyes gleam with concentration as he surveys his actors taking their places for the final scene of Breath, the director's 14th film. It is a freezing cold day in Seoul and Kim is shooting in a former Japanese colonial prison where Korean independence movement fighters were once tortured in their cells.Shot in just 10 days, Breath tells the story of a death-row inmate who falls in love with another man's wife. She has recently discovered her husband's infidelit
  • Shanghai Film Group takes over two cinemas from WBIC

    Warner Bros International Cinemas (WBIC), the international cinema division of Warner Bros, and Chinese government-owned Shanghai Film Group (SFG), announced today that SFG will take over two WBIC Cinemas in Shanghai and Nanjing. Both cinemas were joint projects of WBIC and SFG. Before today's deal, WBIC with its partner SZITIC Commercial, had sold three other cinemas to China Film Group. The equity transfer agreement was signed by SFG and WBIC on Feb 12. SFG will buy WB's 49% int
  • Singapore: getting into bed with overseas partners

    Given its tiny market - last year's box office amounted to just $86.5m (s$131m) - co-productions have become a practical necessity for Singapore to access the wider world.Daniel Yun's pioneering MediaCorp Raintree Pictures is leading the way when it comes to overseas partners. Yun has a long-term relationship with Hong Kong producer-director Peter Chan on films including The Eye and The Eye 2 and, more recently, Protege, which was a box-office hit during Chinese New Year
  • Sony rebrands A+ as Animax and plans mobile, VOD offerings

    Sony Pictures Television International (SPTI) has rebranded its A+ Channel as Animax. The dedicated anime channel is available in Hungary, Romania, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. SPTI also noted that it is in advanced negotiations to launch the channel in the UK, Germany, Italy, Spain and France. Animax is already an established brand in Asia and Latin America, and SPTI said it had plans to expand Animax across multiple platforms including mobile and VOD.
  • Sony signs VOD deal with VirginMega in France for TVs and PCs

    Sony Pictures Television International (SPTI) has struck a new video-on-demand (VOD) deal with France's VirginMega.The deal will cover content online at and subscribers to the Alice IPTV platform and Mes Videos a la Carte service. Viewers will get 48 hours of unlimited viewing on either platform, with downloaded films held on a PC for up to 30 days and on the Mes Videos service for up to 7 days. The pact covers recent Sony hits such as
  • SPRI's Perfect Stranger hopes to seduce 37 markets

    Warner Bros' Veteran campaigner 300 will step into the ring against Universal's Mr Bean's Holiday this weekend as the films slug it out in their latest bout for international supremacy.The two releases have played musical chairs over the last two weekends, swapping the number one and two spots while the rest of the pack have trailed far behind. They will face a new challenger this weekend, h
  • SPTI promotes Noemi Weisse for French and Portuguese territories

    Sony Pictures Television International (SPTI) has promoted Noemie Weisse to senior vice president, sales, for French-language territories, Portugal and Portuguese-speaking Africa. Weisse, who heads distribution sales for the region from the company's Paris office, will continue to lead the company's distribution sales activities related to TV broadcasters. She also takes on a new remit in SPTI's electronic distribution business with VOD, mobile platforms and other new technologies.
  • Sundance to play 21 features, 27 shorts at New York's BAM

    The Sundance Institute and BAM (Brooklyn Academy Of Music) have announced full details for their second annual Sundance Institute At BAM series, set to run from May 31-Jun 10.The series comprises a highlights showcase of 21 features and 27 shorts from the festival last January, including the features Son Of Rambow, Snow Angels, Delirious, and Manda Bala.
  • Taiwan's Gay Pride

    Taiwan can stake its claim as the gay movie capital of Asia in 2007. Internationally, its position was crowned in February when lesbian drama Spider Lilies won the Teddy Award for best feature at the Berlin International Film Festival. At home, the three local releases of the year to date have all had a gay theme with Lilies becoming that rare thing, a Taiwanese box-office success.Opening on March 30, Zero Chou's Spider Lilies scored $71,000 (t$2.4m) on its opening
  • The London Book Fair: turning over a new leaf

    The London Book Fair (LBF) has become a crucial forum for the European and US film adaptation market, both for new material and discussions of ongoing projects.Both Lionel Shriver's The Post-Birthday World and Steven Hall's The Raw Shark Texts were buzz books at last year's event, and a slew of new manuscripts are circulating among scouts, agents, publishers and producers in the run-up to this year's fair.The event gives a focus to adaptation discussions, with US a
  • The smart money is on Singapore

    As the Singapore International Film festival opens, Screen International examines how the territory is aiming to pull in new backers. A key global economic hub, Singapore has set its sights on becoming a media-financing centre for the 21st century and is positioning itself as a meeting point of finance and media.The Asian city-state's business infrastructure has already attracted players such as Lucasfilm, Sony Pictures, Discovery Networks, Walt Disney Tel
  • Trendwatch: 'Franchise is still the magic word'

    From the resurgence of chick-lit to the continuing appeal of the thriller franchise, these are the hot genres for film adaptation in 2007.THRILLERS'Producers are still asking for the new Bourne Identity - but there aren't many of those around,' says Nick Harris of Rwsh. He is backed up by Rebecca Watson of Valerie Hoskins Associates: 'Franchise is still the magic word - authors who can build a profile across a series of books.' Roz Kidd, head
  • TWC, Lionsgate team on domestic for The Forbidden Kingdom

    Principal photography is set to begin on May 2 in China on the action epic The Forbidden Kingdom featuring the first ever pairing of Jackie Chan and Jet Li.Lionsgate will co-release with The Weinstein Company (TWC) in the US in summer 2008 and Lionsgate UK will release in the UK. TWC will distribute in Spain, France and Latin America and Relativity Media will handle foreign sales in remaining territories.Rob Minkoff, whose credits
  • Tyldum replaces Hennie as director of Fallen Angels

    Norwegian director Morten Tyldum will replace Aksel Hennie as director of Fallen Angels, the second theatrical production for SF Norge's $12.9m (Euros 9.8m) Varg Veum detective series, Norway 's largest film project to date. Tyldum's 2003 feature debut, Buddy, won the Amanda - the national film prize - for best film and sold 275,000 tickets domestically. 'It has been a bit of a challenge to find the right director for the film in time, but with Tyldum now on b
  • United Kingdom - Re-animated

    When Bristol-based Aardman ended its deal with DreamWorks in late January 2007, the early dissolution of the pact did not come as a surprise - there had long been talk of culture clashes between the UK animation company and its publicly traded Hollywood partner.Aardman remained quiet at the time because it was busy plotting its next move, which came earlier this month with the news it had struck a three-year exclusive first-look deal with Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) and its heads
  • United States - A man of the world

    When Catherine Hardwicke's The Monkey Wrench Gang hits the screens in 2008, it will be the result of 15 years of careful nurturing for its veteran producer Edward R Pressman.The story of environmental activists fighting over-development in the American West has just been waiting for the right time to find an audience, says the producer of more than 70 films."I've always believed in the project but it lay dormant for many years," Pressman explains. "It's based on a book wr
  • United States - India meets Hollywood

    Los Angeles-based Christina Marouda had always enjoyed Indian cinema. But it was only when she worked at the city's two biggest film festivals, Afi Fest and the Los Angeles Film Festival, that she realised Indian films needed a better platform in the world's movie capital."Apart from Cannes and Berlin, Indian producers don't know how to submit their films onto the Western festival circuit," she explains. "Those festivals just don't get many submissions from India, and there are so many
  • United States/United Kingdom - Arcane Worlds

    Producer Meg Thomson has had an interesting journey since growing up in Pennsylvania. At Harvard University, she met her UK-born future business partner in Arcane Pictures, George Duffield. She worked in the Los Angeles film production world before moving to the UK eight years ago to work on Arcane's first feature, William Brookfield's Milk.And now with Arcane backing a growing slate of high-profile films, Thomson is returning to her roots.This autumn, she will be in Penn
  • Universal offers downloads to own in Germany through T-Com

    Universal Pictures International Entertainment, NBC Universal International Television Distribution have signed agreements for new download-to-own offerings and renewed VOD offerings through Germany's T-Com and it's T-Online VOD, T-Home and IPTV service.This makes T-Com the first retailer offering studio content as secure download-to-burn in Germany. The service will launch in the second quarter of 2007, and consumers will get two copies of the films to watch on their PC and portable dev
  • Withoutabox partners with Cannes Market on Short Film Corner

    Independent film online resource Withoutabox will serve as the exclusive partner on Cannes Film Festival's Fourth Annual Short Film Corner.Withoutabox will manage the event's film registration process, including solicitation, management and promotion of films. Film-makers registering films with the Short Film Corner will either use their existing Withoutabox control panel, or be directed to a branded, integrated website located at
  • Yu establishes Ming Yue Tang to develop Chinese co-productions

    Hong Kong-based production house October Films has established a Beijing-based company, Ming Yue Tang Film and TV Cultural Ltd, to develop Chinese-language co-productions between China, Hong Kong and Korea. Daniel Yu, former COO of Andy Lau's Focus Films, will be in charge of developing the company's first four projects. Yu and his wife Lorna Tee, former marketing and distribution chief, left Focus Films at the beginning of this year but the duo said they would continue working wi