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Disney-Fox Deal Unleashes Flood of Free-Agent Executives, Talent

16 December 2017 7:37 AM, PST

Disney’s $52.4 billion deal to scoop up most of 21st Century Fox marks the beginning of an historic realignment of Hollywood’s Big Six studios. It may also lead to an industry-shaking redistribution of executive and creative talent.

Rarely has such a large number of high-level executives suddenly become free agents, from Stacey Snider and Emma Watts on the 20th Century Fox film side to TV heavyweights John Landgraf, Dana Walden, and Gary Newman — not to mention 21st Century Fox president Peter Rice, who oversees all TV.

Beyond the boldface names, there are ranks of seasoned executives at Fox and Disney/ABC who are nervous about their future, after hearing Disney’s promise of delivering $2 billion in cost savings within two years of the deal’s closing. But this flood is also hitting at a time when Netflix, Amazon, Apple, Facebook and other upstarts are beefing up their operations as they launch the push into the content »


- Cynthia Littleton

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Arnon Milchan Sues Warren Beatty Over ‘Rules Don’t Apply’ Flop

15 December 2017 6:15 PM, PST

Last year, Arnon Milchan was effusive in his praise of Warren Beatty, whose film “Rules Don’t Apply” he had agreed to help finance. In an interview with Variety, the Israeli-born financier said he put his full confidence in “the master.”

“We all put in the money and said, ‘Go make your movie. We will leave you alone,'” Milchan said at the time. Beatty was effusive in return, calling Milchan “the Medici of the movies.”

Cut to: one year later. The film flopped, grossing $3.9 million worldwide, and Milchan’s company is now suing Beatty for $18 million. »


- Gene Maddaus

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South Australia Uncaps Post-Production Rebate Scheme

4 hours ago

The state of South Australia is to expand its existing rebate scheme for post-production, digital and visual effects. The move is intended to attract more large-budget and international productions.

The new Post Production, Digital and Visual Effects Rebate comes into effect from Jan. 1., 2018 and will see companies receive a rebate of 10% of their South Australian expenditure. The current scheme is a grant capped that at $115,000 (A$150,000).

The scheme is intended to mirror and complement the Australian federal government’s Pdv Offset of 30%. That means South Australian post-production and effects companies, such as Adelaide Studios, Rising Sun Pictures and Kojo, can now offer international films a combined 40% rebate on spend in the state.

“The Pdv rebate is not limited by funding, increasing the scope and diversity of productions who are able to bring their post to South Australia. The rebate is un-capped, automatic and non-discretionary for productions that meet the guidelines,” the South Australian »


- Patrick Frater

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Korea’s Gang Dong-won to Star in Simon West’s ‘Tsunami La’

8 hours ago

Top Korean actor, Gang Dong-won will star in “Tsunami La,” a disaster action movie to be directed by Simon West (“Tomb Raider,” “Con Air”).

The film, featuring a massive tidal wave that hits Los Angeles, is to be produced on a budget of $55 million through Hannibal Classics and Foresight Unlimited. It is now in pre-production in the U.K. and will begin lensing in March, 2018. Release is set for 2019. Hannibal Classics and Foresight handle international sales.

Production is by Richard Rionda Del Castro (“USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage,” “Rage”), Moshe Diamant (“The Black Dahlia”), Michael Tadross, Jr. (“Gangster Squad”) and Mark Damon (“Lone Survivor”).

Gang starred in two of Korea’s top-grossing films of 2016: “Violent Prosecutor” and “Master” as well as 2015 hit “The Priests.” His acting awards include the Star of Asia prize at New York Asian Film Festival for his role in “Vanishing Time: A Boy Who Returned.”

“I found the »


- Sonia Kil

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Korea Box Office: ‘Steel Rain’ Defeats ‘Star Wars’ to Dominate Weekend

8 hours ago

Korean action thriller, “Steel Rain” opened on top of the South Korean box office. It comfortably beat global blockbuster “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.”

“Steel Rain” is directed by “The Attorney” director Yang Woo-suk. It focuses on the nuclear threats after a coup in North Korea forces its leader and his elite guard to come South.

The film was released on Thursday by Next Entertainment World release and earned $12.1 million from 1.63 million admissions over four days. As a measure of its success, the film accounted for 55% of total weekend box office.

Opening on the same day, “Star Wars” debuted in second and earned $5.17 million between Thursday and Sunday. That is lower than the opening four-day score of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” which was $8.62 million in 2015.

Korean animation “Pororo Dinosaur Island Adventure” earned $1.26 million between Friday and Sunday in third place, for a total of $3.89 million after two weekends. Japanese animation, “Witch’s Flower »


- Sonia Kil

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Mediawan Closes In on Acquisition of Dimitri Rassam’s On Kids & Family

10 hours ago

Mediawan, a special-purpose acquisition company headed by media industry veterans Xavier Niel, Matthieu Pigasse and Pierre-Antoine Capton, is in exclusive talks to acquire a majority stake in Aton Soumache and Dimitri Rassam’s On Kids & Family.

Under the deal, which is estimated in the €100 million ($117.4 million) range, Mediawan would inject €15 million in equity capital into On Kids & Family, France’s No. 1 producer of animated series and one of Europe’s leading producers of big-budget independent animated features.

The indie banner has a track record in producing franchise-based films and series, notably Mark Osborne’s “The Little Prince,” the Cesar- and BAFTA-winning feature which was released in more than 120 countries and grossed $120 million worldwide, becoming the highest-grossing French-made animated film overseas. On Kids & Family’s “Playmobil” movie, budgeted at $80 million, is being directed by Lino Di Salvo (“Frozen,” “Raiponce”) and will be released in April 2019.

Mediawan would own 51% to 54% of On Kids & Family. Soumache, who is »


- Elsa Keslassy

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China Box Office: Local Titles ‘Youth’ and ‘Dunjia’ Dominate Weekend

10 hours ago

A two-and-a-half-month delay did not harm the release of Feng Xiaogang’s “Youth.” It opened on top of the Chinese box office with a strong $43.2 million first weekend.

In second place was Yuen Woo-ping’s “Thousand Faces of Dunjia,” which opened a day earlier on Thursday. The fantasy actioner earned $27.3 million over three days and $31.3 million over four days.

“Youth,” which takes a nostalgic look at China through the focus on a military entertainment troupe, had been scheduled to open in the Oct. 1 holiday slot, following a premiere at the Toronto festival. But a late and unexplained government intervention – widely thought to have been related to sensitivities about the National Party Congress taking place later in October – meant that its release was abruptly canceled.

The rescheduling, however, had the effect of propelling the film’s outing from a holiday season to another peak period. December is usually the busiest or second-busiest period in Chinese theaters, and the latter »


- Patrick Frater

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