The Warner Bros. Theatrical Ventures production of Charlie And The Chocolate Factory had its West End opening at London’s iconic Theatre Royal Drury Lane Tuesday night. The show, directed by Skyfall helmer Sam Mendes, has been in previews for the past few weeks but opened tonight to a crowd that inclduded Uma Thurman, Sarah Jessica Parker, Matthew Broderick, Episodes stars Stephen Mangan and Tamsin Greig, new Downton Abbey addition Nigel Harman and a host of other UK TV personalities. Olivier and Tony Award winner Douglas Hodge stars as imagination impresario Willy Wonka in a performance that was warmly received. At a three-story event in the Connaught Hotel afterwards, I asked Mendes how involved he’ll be in the production going forward and he said he’d check in every couple of weeks but is looking forward to a vacation – he worked on Charlie somewhat simultaneously with Skyfall. As for his potentially directing the next James Bond movie he says it’s on the table, but he’s been so busy with the musical that he’ll take some time before talking about Bond. His take on Roald Dahl’s classic story of a selfless boy whose life is forever changed by one chocolate bar has songs by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman. The show provides a stunning first half introducing the hopeful Golden Ticket winner Charlie Bucket and his family. The second half brings the audience and Charlie and his four fellow Golden …
Sam Mendes’ ‘Charlie And The Chocolate Factory’ Bows On London’s West End; Director Still Mulling Next James Bond Pic
Sam Mendes Sweet On ‘Charlie And The Chocolate Factory’ And Focus Feature ‘On Chesil Beach’ With Carey Mulligan
EXCLUSIVE: With James Bond postponed because of MGM’s woes, Sam Mendes has firmed the next two projects he intends to direct. Following a successful reading of the first act of the stage musical Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in New York last week, Mendes has committed himself to direct the musical production that will shoot for a holiday 2011 premiere in London. A move to Broadway will follow.
Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman will continue writing songs and David Greig will complete the book and a designer is being hired to construct the elaborate chocolate factory. While that goes on, Mendes will squeeze in a feature. I’m told he plans to direct On Chesil Beach, and that he is having discussions with Carey Mulligan to play the female lead in the Focus Features adaptation of the Ian McEwan novella. The author is scripting the drama, which takes place in the UK in 1963 and revolves around two repressed virgins in their early twenties whose attempt to consummate ends badly. Their futile attempt at lovemaking leads to doubt and recriminations. Mendes and Pippa Harris are producing.
Mendes is bullish enough that the film will happen that he has informed Disney he should no longer be considered to direct The Great and Powerful Oz. But Mendes remains committed to the Bond film and intends to direct it once the MGM ownership situation gets sorted out.
Mendes’ commitment …
EXCLUSIVE: LD Entertainment has signed on to produce and finance Santa School, a Karen Janszen-scripted family film. Patrick Aiello is producing with LD Entertainment CEO Mickey Liddell, and Pete Shilaimon. The film has elements of Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, in that Santa Claus is confirmed to be real, and he wants to retire. That leads to a lengthy search for a worthy replacement. Aiello, who is producing As Above, So Below for Legendary, hatched the concept. Jennifer Monroe and Patrick Raymond will oversee for LD Entertainment. The company began by acquiring finished films, but now is branching into production.
Janszen’s script credits include A Walk To Remember, Duma, Gracie and Dolphin Tale. She’s separately adapting the Ingrid Law novel Savvy at Walden Media. She’s repped by Gersh and Rain Management.
Deadline reported in May that Sony Pictures and MGM were in talks for Skyfall helmer Sam Mendes to return behind the camera for the next installment of the James Bond franchise. The studios, along with producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, today confirmed Mendes will direct, with Daniel Craig reprising his role as Bond for the fourth time. There was a lot of speculation about Mendes returning. In March, he said he had made the “very difficult decision” not to return, citing theater and TV commitments. Wilson and Broccoli seemed resigned and they moved on, but they ultimately circled back and decided to wait for Mendes to work through the other commitments. Those include a musical version of Charlie And The Chocolate Factory which bowed on London’s West End last month. At the premiere, he told Deadline that Bond was indeed a possibility. It’s good news for Skyfall fans. The Mendes-helmed pic grossed over $1.1B worldwide to become the biggest 007 film and the eighth-highest-grossing film of all time. John Logan is writing the next, as-yet untitled movie, which will bow in the UK on October 23, 2015 and in the U.S. on November 6, 2015. Here’s today’s official release:
CULVER CITY, Calif., July 11, 2013 – Producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, EON Productions; Gary Barber, Chairman & CEO, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer; Michael Lynton, CEO, Sony Entertainment, Inc, and Amy Pascal, Co-Chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment today announced that Daniel Craig will once again return as the legendary British secret agent in the 24th James Bond film and Sam Mendes will also return to direct the screenplay written by John Logan. The film is set for release in UK theaters on October 23, 2015 and in US theaters on November 6, 2015.
SKYFALL™, the 23rd James Bond film, took in $1.1 billion worldwide and set a new mark as the highest-grossing film of all time in the UK; it was the best-selling Bond film on DVD/Blu-ray and was the most critically acclaimed film in the history of the longest-running film franchise.
Commenting on the announcement, Wilson and Broccoli said, “Following the extraordinary success of SKYFALL, we’re really excited to be working once again with Daniel Craig, Sam Mendes and John Logan.”
“I am very pleased that by giving me the time I need to honour all my theatre commitments, the producers have made it possible for me to direct Bond 24. I very much look forward to taking up the reins again, and to working with Daniel Craig, Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli for a second time,” said Mendes.
Fox Rebrands Sports Channels In The Netherlands
Fox International Channels is rebranding the home of the Dutch national soccer leagues, Eredivisie Live, to Fox Sports Eredivisie and also is launching Fox Sports in the Netherlands. The switch to Fox Sports Eredivisie goes live on August 1 followed by the launch of Fox Sports on August 17. Fox Sports, will become the Dutch destination of top international soccer, including the Premier League, Série A, the FA Cup, the League Cup, Coppa Italia and the UEFA Europa League. The Fox Sports launch in the Netherlands follows a recent announcement of FIC’s plans to launch Fox Sports in Italy.
Mendes’ ‘Charlie’ Adds Six Months To Run
Sam Mendes’ Charlie And The Chocolate Factory just opened Tuesday night on London’s West End, but it’s already adding six months to its run. The adaptation of Roald Dahl’s children’s story will be performed until May 31, 2014, The Guardian reports. Reviews have been somewhat mixed, but already the show was seen by more than 70,000 during previews. Tony and Olivier Award winner Douglas Hodge plays Willy Wonka with songs by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman. A New York transfer for the Warner Bros. Theatrical Ventures production is still uncertain.
EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros has set Norwegian helmer Morten Tyldum to direct Ghostman, an adaptation of the bestselling Roger Hobbs novel. Tyldum is best known for directing an adaptation of the Jo Nesbo novel Headhunters, which led him to be hired to helm The Imitation Game, which Graham Moore wrote for Benedict Cumberbatch to star as Alan Turing. Peter Craig adapted Ghostman, a phrase that refers to a professional who cleans up messes and helps fugitives disappear. He is careful but gets sucked into a casino heist gone terribly wrong. His former mentor bankrolled the casino heist, which left several dead, and a crack addict in the wind with $1 million in cash that was supposed to pay off a drug debt. The Ghostman finds himself in a race over 48 hours to clean up the mess or his mentor will be in the cross hairs of a ruthless drug kingpin called The Wolf, and there is an attractive CIA agent in the center of things. The film’s being produced by Kevin McCormick’s Langley Park. Warner Bros bought the novel for McCormick last year.
EXCLUSIVE: FilmDistrict is nearing a deal to acquire U.S. rights to Rocketman, the Michael Gracey-directed biographical musical film about Sir Elton John. The script is by Billy Elliot‘s Lee Hall, and Tom Hardy is circling to play the lead role. This film was the talk of Cannes, where it was shopped by UTA, which structured the financing. It was there that UK-based Icon’s production arm AI Film agreed to come aboard to co-finance the film with Rocket Pictures during the Cannes Film Festival. I’m told that FilmDistrict is betting big here, with Peter Schlessel’s distribution company paying around a $10 million minimum guarantee for a guaranteed wide theatrical release and size-able P&A. There is also a generous gross corridor after the film recoups.
The film follows John’s journey from 5-year old musical prodigy who by age 11 won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music, to a young man who rebelled against his strict upbringing, wore outrageous costumes and became a global icon who teamed with songwriter Bernie Taupin to sell more records than just about any musical artist of his era. John’s musical catalog is part of the mix, so this is going to be a major film. Steve Hamilton Shaw and David Furnish are producing the project along with Lawrence Bender for AI Film. Sir Elton John and Access Industries’ Len Blavatnik are executive producing the film, along with Icon/AI Film CEO Aviv Giladi and FilmDistrict CEO Schlessel.
EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros has acquired Rasputin, a pitch by American Sniper scribe Jason Hall that will be developed for Leonardo DiCaprio to play the Russian mystic who became an advisor to the Russian Imperial family the Romanovs. Embraced by Tsar Nicholas II and Alexandra as a healer for their only son, Tsarevich Alexei, who secretly suffered from hemophilia, Rasputin’s influence with the family in all matters grew to the point that rivals tried several times to kill him, finally succeeding in 1916. The film will be produced by Langley Park’s Kevin McCormick, by DiCaprio’s Appian Way partner Jennifer Davisson Killoran and Peter Morgan, who’s a producer on the Hall-scripted adaptation of American Sniper, which Steven Spielberg will direct with Bradley Cooper playing Navy SEAL elite sniper Chris Kyle.
This will become the blind script commitment I wrote that Hall had made at Warner Bros, this coming after that studio and DreamWorks teaming up on American Sniper. The screenwriter is also in early talks to adapt as a possible Spielberg project the David Finkel book Thank You For Your Service, about the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder syndrome that is becoming a major issue for vets returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.
There have been numerous movies made about Rasputin and the controversial role he played in the Russian court, but there were new elements here unearthed by Hall …
EXCLUSIVE: Sony Pictures and MGM have started talks for Sam Mendes to return and direct Daniel Craig in the next installment of the James Bond franchise. Mendes helmed the last installment, Skyfall, an audience-pleasing film that grossed over $1.1 billion worldwide to become the biggest Bond film and the eighth-highest-grossing film of all time. John Logan is writing the next film.
There has been much speculation on whether Mendes would come back — right now he’s knee-deep preparing for the West End launch of the stage musical Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, which will then move to Broadway. That happened because Mendes bowed out, claiming that musical and King Lear were his new priorities and producers Michael Wilson and Barbara Broccoli seemed resigned and they moved on. Recently, he and the producers got back in touch. While Mendes’ first love is theater, it became clear that the producers wanted him and he wanted to return, and the only thing standing in the way were these stage commitments that Mendes felt obligated to do. So, they’ve decided to wait for him to work through those other commitments, and he’s now making a deal to start production probably next year. What’s the hurry? Craig doesn’t seem to have aged since he took the Bond role; he’s always in rocking shape. While Mendes looked doubtful, a bunch of names have been floated in the press, from Ang Lee to Nicolas Winding Refn and Christopher Nolan. I’m not sure there is much validity to any of them, but now it is a moot point, because Mendes will be the director of the next Bond.
Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden, the film and TV facility the major owns outside of London, is to be officially inaugurated today during a visit from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry. At the same time, and in partnership with BAFTA, the studio is announcing the Prince William Scholarships in Film, Television and Games. Three students per year will receive £10,000 to study a post-graduate course. The studio is also setting up a new training program which it will launch in September. Warner Bros. Creative Talent will include 12 scholarships; six apprenticeships and two trainee positions on every Warner Bros. film produced in the UK; 25 training course spots at theater company Chickenshed; 20 work experience placements; and five work placements on Sam Mendes’ upcoming West End musical, Charlie And The Chocolate Factory. Warner says the program is part of its “long-term commitment to the UK’s creative industries.” The studio has been in business in the UK for many years and most lucratively with the Harry Potter films, all of which were shot at Leavesden. Warner purchased the facility outright in 2010 and invested £100M in its expansion. It also houses The Warner Bros Studio Tour London – The Making Of Harry Potter, a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the movies that’s housed just next to the main lot.
EXCLUSIVE: Rocket Pictures has set commercials director Michael Gracey to helm Rocketman, the biographical musical film about Sir Elton John. I’ve told you about this one before. There is a script in by Billy Elliot‘s Lee Hall, and Gracey will direct a feature that follows John’s journey from 5-year old musical prodigy who by age 11 won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music, to a young man who rebelled against his strict upbringing, wore outrageous costumes and became a global icon who teamed with songwriter Bernie Taupin to sell more records that just about any musical artist of his era. “Michael has an innovative, imaginative and compelling vision for the film,” said Rocket CEO Steve Hamilton Shaw. “We want to create an experience that surprises and moves audiences and knew immediately that he was the perfect director to take them on this journey.”
He directed the highest-grossing James Bond movie of all time, but with a full dance card, Skyfall helmer Sam Mendes has told Empire Magazine that he will not return to the 007 franchise for the next installment. “It has been a very difficult decision not to accept Michael and Barbara’s very generous offer to direct the next Bond movie,” he said. “Directing Skyfall was one of the best experiences of my professional life, but I have theater and other commitments including productions of Charlie And The Chocolate Factory and King Lear, that need my complete focus over the next year and beyond.” Mendes is also working with Skyfall co-writer John Logan on psychosexual horror series, Penny Dreadful, for Showtime with production eyed to begin in London in the second half of the year. Logan is penning the next two Bond pictures.
Producers Michael Wilson and Barbara Broccoli didn’t rule out the possibility of working with the director again, however. “We thoroughly enjoyed working with Sam, he directed our most successful Bond movie ever, Skyfall. We would have loved to have made the next film with him, but completely respect his decision to focus on other projects and hope to have the opportunity to collaborate with him again,” they said.
David Konow contributes to Deadline.
With the Writers Guilds West and East tonight presenting their awards to last year’s most respected practitioners of the craft, it’s a perfect occasion for Deadline to examine the cottage industry of screenwriting conventions, expos, coverage services, and pitchfests. They’re supposed to help writers learn their craft and get their scripts out into the world. It goes without saying that this is a hot button issue in Hollywood. “Those who can’t write, teach seminars.” That’s what John August, screenwriter of Big Fish, Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, and Corpse Bride posted on his website under the category of ‘So-Called Experts’. As he further elaborates to Deadline, “Most seminars feel like scams, and pitchfests give me nightmares. I don’t know any movies that have come out of them. The important thing to remember is that pitching only means something when the person hearing your pitch already thinks you’re a good writer.”
Yes, the business of screenwriting will always attract shysters willing to prey on people with a dollar and a dream. Yes, there are many people who talk a similar rhetoric about ‘paradigms’ and ‘character arcs’ so it all feels like a con or cult built around scripting for showbiz. But some people must find it all useful, right?
Though it’s not clear when the industry around screenwriting may have started, but some feel it grew exponentially in the late 1980s after the Writers Strike. “The industry pipelines were dry and million dollar spec sales were the order of the day,” recalls Den Shewman, former editor in chief of Creative Screenwriting. “I still remember agents Alan Gasmer and Rob Carlson having some kind of uber sale competition, each scoring a million dollar spec sale a month.” Not to mention the big script paydays Shane Black and Joe Eszterhas which became the stuff of wannabe movie writers’ dreams. As recently as last fall, the well-known Black List launched a pay service for unrepresented screenwriters to have their work analyzed by industry professionals. Its first over-the-transom success story wasn’t: the scripter Justin Kremer (McCarthy) had previously been an intern there. On the other hand, Kremer had uploaded his script to the site and paid for a single read. When the screenplay got a high score, it was included in the site’s weekly member email spotlighting the highest rated scripts. After dozens of downloads from Black List industry members and more ratings from those who read it, McCarthy became the site’s highest-rated uploaded script. That’s when Kremer, who’d gone to NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and graduated from the Dramatic Writing Conservatory at the State University of New York/Purchase, was signed by CAA.
It goes without saying to let the buyer beware when looking for a pitchfest, coverage company, or screenwriting teacher. “There were a lot of people in early 2000, even now, who decided to hang up a shingle and call themselves an expert,” warns Jim Cirile of the script coverage company Coverage Ink. “There’s 87 coverage companies out there right now. How many of them are run by people who’ve had a studio deal or have sold anything? How many of them are run by some college kid who figures he can make a couple of extra bucks by reading a screenplay?” InkTip’s Gato Scatena adds, “Before we allow someone to come in and teach at our seminars, we do vet them out and call referrals.”
It’s believed that pitchfests, where you meet face to face with industry professionals and try to sell your idea, started back in 1996 with the Writer’s Network. The argument for pitchfests is the supposed access you get to people who can potentially sign you or buy you. “It’s one thing to send out query letters. It’s another thing to literally get in an executive’s face and try to sell them on yourself,” says Cirile. “It’s a really fast way of opening some doors for yourself, and you get an unprecedented level of access.”
“Screenwriting is one art form. Getting out there and networking is a completely different art form,” says Gato Scatena, VP of Marketing at InkTip, a networking and pitching company. “Learning how to pitch, learning how to be comfortable in front of strangers, all of these things are important. It’s good to meet other screenwriters, it’s good to meet other executives, it’s good to meet assistants.”
Erik Bauer, who founded Creative Screenwriting Magazine, says the access you get to industry people at a pitchfest “would be very difficult for writers to arrange on their own. And some writers and filmmakers make good use of that access, showing trailers for their movies, and making contacts that helped them in their careers.”
Jack Epps Jr., who wrote Top Gun and Dick Tracy with the late Jim Cash, and who also teaches screenwriting at USC, says, “The expos that are well run bring in really good people, and it allows a very wide range of the public to take screenwriting classes. And for the cost, the access is pretty good.”
So those are the pros. But the first con is the costs, which can be $200-$500 a weekend and more if you’re traveling in from out of town. The second con is that pitchfests rarely produce made movies or even films in development. “I don’t think there’s been any big spec sales that’s come from any of these that I’m aware of,” says Cirile. “What happens more often is you make connections that help down the line.”
Anthony D’Alessandro is Managing Editor of AwardsLine
In the final stretch before the Oscar ballot deadline, there’s still hope that voters remain undecided in the animation category. Though Disney has cornered the Oscar slot with three titles, its Frankenweenie, directed by Tim Burton, stands as an island against the epic Brave and the existential crisis comedy of Wreck-It Ralph. The film is an auteur’s youthful dream short, once buried by the studio that has resuscitated it as a 3D stopmotion feature — the first in black and white. This Frankenstein homage about a boy who brings his dead dog back to life is signature Tim Burton. Many will argue Burton is overdue for an Oscar. He was nominated in the animated category for 2005’s Corpse Bride. His 1994 absurdist biopic Ed Wood garnered a supporting actor win for Martin Landau (as Bela Lugosi) and best makeup, while 2007’s Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street won best art direction and earned noms for Johnny Depp as best actor and for Colleen Atwood’s costumes. Another appealing Burton attribute for Oscar voters is that he remains an iconoclast among big-studio directors working today — he’s a visual artist with a spooky canon that appears alienating with its deep subtext but lures the masses with its fanciful spins on children’s tales such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Alice in Wonderland. AwardsLine recently spoke to Burton about his career and Frankenweenie’s place in it.
AwardsLine: Why was this the best time to make Frankenweenie as a stopmotion feature. You could have conceivably made it in 1993 instead of Nightmare Before Christmas.
Tim Burton: All these projects take a long time. I remember when I first designed Nightmare, it took about 10 years to get that in place because nobody really wanted to do stopmotion, and in a way, there weren’t a lot of facilities that were doing it. We did the Frankenweenie short many years ago, and I never really planned on it being anything else. Over the years, I just kept kind of thinking about the relationship with my dog, but also other monster movies, the kids and teachers from my school, and even the downtown places in Burbank. A lot more thoughts came into Frankenweenie,
The six-part video series Behind The Ballot that launched today on Oscar.com features panels of experts breaking down what Oscar voters look for in contenders for Production Design, Cinematography, Makeup & Hairstyling, Film Editing, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing and Costume Design. In the seemingly endless chatter about the marquee categories during an awards season that seems to get longer every year, it’s a refreshing initiative that shines a light on the behind-the-scenes folks that form the backbone of the year’s best movies. A new video will debut each week — the lead-off panel is Cinematography, which features a chat with DPs Daryn Okada, Theo van de Sande and Mandy Walker (check it out below). Here’s the full lineup announced today by the Academy:
Next season on London’s West End is shaping up to be a who’s who of British talent. Helen Mirren, Judi Dench, Daniel Radcliffe, Ben Whishaw and Jude Law are all starring in plays and Whishaw and Dench’s Skyfall director Sam Mendes is prepping a musical production of Charlie And The Chocolate Factory. James McAvoy is the latest to commit to walking the boards, taking on the title role in Macbeth which veteran theater director Jamie Lloyd is mounting as part of the Trafalgar Transformed season. McAvoy has played Macbeth before, albeit in a modernized BBC version in which the Scottish lord was transformed into a top chef. He was last on stage in 2009′s Three Days Of Rain, which Lloyd also directed. He’ll next be seen on screen in Danny Boyle’s Trance and is reprising his role of a young Charles Xavier in Bryan Singer’s X-Men: Days Of Future Past. In a growing trend to reach out to wider audiences,
EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros has acquired Boston Strangler, a thriller pitch about the desperate search for the murderer who terrorized the Boston area during the early 1960s. Kevin McCormick‘s Warner-based Langley Park shingle will produce, and the pitch was bought from Casey Affleck and fellow Boston native screenwriter Chuck Maclean. Affleck hopes to star as one of the detectives who were part of the Strangler Squad responsible for solving the crime, and he will be exec producer.
The script will be written by Maclean, whose script Bridges On The Fort Point Channel made the 2011 Black List and who is writing Storming Las Vegas for Summit. With a tone similar to Se7en and Zodiac, they will cover the most haunting unsolved serial murder story in U.S. history. While Albert DeSalvo was convicted of crimes unrelated to the Boston Strangler case, the public was spun to believe he was the man behind the 13 gruesome murders of women in Boston for over a year and a half. There is still belief that more than one killer was involved, and that DeSalvo was a pawn in a bigger conspiracy.
Looking to expand its TV slate, Neal Street Productions has appointed BBC director of UK drama Nicolas Brown as a company director. He will start his job early next year and take a seat on the Neal Street board alongside founders Sam Mendes, Pippa Harris and Caro Newling. At the BBC since 2006, Brown this year took responsibility for the delivery of all BBC network drama including EastEnders, Silent Witness, The Paradise and Luther. Prior to joining the BBC, he was a producer in his own right and recently executive produced two short films for Danny Boyle’s Olympics Opening Ceremony — notably one in which Daniel Craig’s James Bond escorts Queen Elizabeth II to the Olympic stadium via helicopter. At Neal Street, he’ll work with Skyfall director Mendes and Harris on both film and TV projects. In the past year, Neal Street’s Call The Midwife was the BBC’s highest-rated new drama ever. The 1950s-set series recently completed a successful run on PBS in the U.S.
Global Showbiz Briefs: News Corp Spinoff, ‘Homeland’ Vs. Beirut, Joe Wright On West End, Josh Berger, ‘The Audience’ In Canada
News’ Publishing Co. Valued at $10.2B by Australian Broker
After News Corp. splits in two next year, the publishing company will be worth $A10.2B assuming it’s debt-free, according to Australian broker CBA. That’s a much higher valuation than earlier estimates due to the $2B acquisition of Australia’s Consolidated Media Holdings, which gives News full ownership of Fox Sports channels and boosts its stake in pay-TV platform Foxtel. The publishing company, which will house Foxtel, its 61% stake in Realestate.com and 44% of Sky New Zealand, will derive 75% of its pre-tax earnings from Australia, the broker said. It predicts Foxtel and Fox Sports will account for 46% of that unit’s pre-tax earnings in fiscal 2014, with newspapers and HarperCollins contributing 37%. CBA expects News to focus on lifting U.S. investors’ awareness of the non-publishing assets’ strong cash flow, probably involving a global roadshow next year. It values the entertainment company at $54.6B with an earnings margin of around 21%, close to Disney’s but much lower than Discovery’s. It assumes News’ net debt of $5.4B will be shouldered by the entertainment arm. -Don Groves
Lebanon Takes Issue With Its Image In ‘Homeland’
Lebanon is considering legal action against the award-winning American TV series Homeland for its portrayal of Beirut as a city riven with terrorists. In the second episode of the second season of the CIA thriller, shown on the UK’s Channel 4, millions of viewers watched the protagonists hunt terrorists through the narrow, dirty and dangerous streets of Beirut. But Lebanon’s minister of tourism Fady Abboud expressed outrage at the “serious misrepresentation” of the city, which once was considered the Paris of the Middle East. “I raised this at the cabinet meeting and the president asked the minister for justice and the minister of communications to see what can be done.” Abboud added “I am calling on all young Lebanese adults to do what they need to do; to write blogs, to call the BBC and CNN to try to raise awareness that Beirut is not a city of Kalashnikov and war.” In the show, Claire Danes’ character continuously dons the hijab, but women in the part of Beirut where the scene is set are more often seen in skin-tight jeans, bouffant hairdoes and Jimmy Choos. Abbout urges Lebanese “youths to splice images of the war-torn Hamra of Homeland with the real street.”