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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
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
Amblin Partners Inks Exclusive Music-Publishing Deal With BMG
43 minutes ago
Amblin Partners has signed an exclusive deal with BMG to administer its music publishing rights worldwide.
Recent films under the Amblin Partners umbrella include “Bridge of Spies” (pictured), “The Girl on the Train,” “Office Christmas Party” and “A Dog’s Purpose” as well as the upcoming Steven Spielberg-directed project “The Post.” Current productions from Amblin Television include “The Americans” on FX and “Bull” with CBS, with “Reverie” (NBC) and “The Haunting of Hill House” (Netflix) on the way. The deal includes scores, transition cues, themes, and feature songs.
BMG Svp and general counsel Keith Hauprich said: “We are proud to partner with the Amblin team as BMG continues to grow in the arena of Film and TV. Mr. Spielberg and his handpicked team are a national treasure, continually bringing timeless stories to the silver screen.” Chris Floyd, Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel said, “We are delighted to begin this new relationship with BMG, and couldn »
- Variety Staff
Gus Van Sant’s ‘Don’t Worry’ Among First Berlinale Competition Titles to Be Unveiled
1 hour ago
Gus Van Sant’s “Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot” is among the first several competition titles to be unveiled for the 2018 Berlin Film Festival. The other titles announced Monday are all European productions or co-productions.
The Berlinale previously announced that Wes Anderson’s “Isle of Dogs” would open the fest.
Alex German Jr.’s “Dovlatov,” Benoit Jacquot’s “Eva,” and Laura Bispuri’s “Figlia Me” all feature in the competition, as do Thomas Stuber’s “In den Gangen,” Philip Goning’s “Mein Bruder heißt Robert und ist ein Idiot,” and Małgorzata Szumowska’s “Twarz.”
“Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot” is based on the eponymous John Callahan memoir and will star Jonah Hill, Rooney Mara, Jack Black, Udo Kier. Berlin will hand it its international premiere. All of the other competition titles announced Monday hail from Europe and will also all have their world premieres in Berlin, in February »
- Stewart Clarke
Japan Box Office: ‘The Last Jedi’ Opens Big Ahead of ‘Yokai Watch’
2 hours ago
Disney’s “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” topped the Japanese box office for the Dec. 16-17 weekend. Released on Dec. 15 on 937 screens, in 377 complexes, the film earned $9.9 million on 737,000 admissions. The film’s four-day cumulative total, including sneaks on Dec. 14, was $14 million on 1.06 million admissions. This opening was some 10% less than “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” which finished its Japan run with $103 million in 2016.
Debuting in second was “Yo-kai Watch Shadowside the Movie: Resurrection of the Demon King,” a follow-up to a 2016 film about a boy able to control the monsters from Japanese folklore with a magical watch, with the action set 30 years in the future. It is the fourth feature in the “Yo-kai Watch” franchise. Released on 366 screens by Toho, the film made $3.5 million and is expected to finish near the $25 million mark.
Bowing in third place was Takahisa Zeze’s “The 8-Year Engagement,” a drama about a woman who falls into a coma just before »
- Mark Schilling
South Australia Uncaps Post-Production Rebate Scheme
8 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 uncapped, automatic and non-discretionary for productions that meet the guidelines,” the South Australian Film Corp. »
- Patrick Frater
Korea’s Gang Dong-won to Star in Simon West’s ‘Tsunami La’
12 hours ago
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.
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
Korea Box Office: ‘Steel Rain’ Defeats ‘Star Wars’ to Dominate Weekend
12 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
Mediawan Closes In on Acquisition of Dimitri Rassam’s On Kids & Family
13 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
China Box Office: Local Titles ‘Youth’ and ‘Dunjia’ Dominate Weekend
14 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