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TCA: FX’s “Revolting” ‘The Strain’ Bucks Romantic GQ Vampire Trend, Creator Guillermo Del Toro Says

By | Monday July 21, 2014 @ 4:32pm PDT

TCA: FX’s “Revolting” ‘The Strain’ Bucks Romantic GQ Vampire Trend, Creator Guillermo Del Toro SaysBefore FX developed The Strain for its lineup, Guillermo del Toro says a broadcast network suggested developing it as a comedy. The Strain, based on the trilogy of novels by del Toro and Chuck Hogan, follows Dr. Ephraim Goodweather (Corey Stoll) as the NYC head of the Centers for Disease Control Canary Team, leading the effort to discover the root of a viral outbreak that seems to have killed all the passengers and crew of a Berlin-originated airplane that turns out to be a strain of vampirism.

Back in 2006, del Toro told TV critics this afternoon at TCA Summer TV Press Tour 2014,  the project was sent around for possible development as a TV project. At that time he said, the the only way anybody envisioned vampires was “as a romantic conception of vampires — that sort of GQ version of vampires,” he said. But he was pitching a show in which vampires would be “truly revolting, physically and spiritually.” At one network, he said, he got asked, ” ‘Could you turn it into a comedy?’ I said ‘no’.”

thestrain01-is-the-strain-posterSeries exec producer Carlton Cuse, meanwhile, says that while there are horror elements to the show, he thinks of it much more as an adventure show, along the lines of Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade, he worked on in its development. “It’s not that scary — it’s not just a horror show,” Cuse insists of The Strain. “The material lent itself to a big pulpy engaging type of storytelling.” Read More »

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Sky News Apologizes After Reporter Rummages Through Malaysian Airlines Victim’s Luggage On Air

By | Sunday July 20, 2014 @ 7:20pm PDT

Sky News Apologizes After Reporter Rummages Through Malaysian Airlines Victim’s Luggage On AirSky News issued an apology after one of its reporters sifted on air through luggage from one of the victims of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17, the jetliner shot down earlier this week over the Ukraine by what U.S. officials said were pro-separatist rebels using sophisticated anti-aircraft missile systems. All 298 passengers and crew members were killed, their bodies, luggage and other wreckage scattered across several square miles of countryside. One of the reporters covering the resulting investigation, Colin Brazier, was recorded live picking through some of the belongings in a victim’s small yellow suitcase, showing what appears to be a child’s belongings and talking about the enormity of the tragedy. After a few seconds, Brazier can be heard in the clip saying, “We shouldn’t really even be doing this, I suppose.”

The incident sparked a huge negative response on Twitter and beyond, with protesters calling for Brazier’s removal. Sky News quickly issued an apology through a spokeswoman: “Today whilst presenting from the site of the MH17 air crash, Colin Brazier reflected on the human tragedy of the event and showed audiences the content of one of the victims’ bags. Colin immediately recognised that this was inappropriate and said so on air. Both Colin and Sky News apologise profusely for any offence caused.”

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Dustin Lance Black To Adapt ‘Lindbergh’ for Paramount TV; Based On A. Scott Berg’s Pulitzer-Prize Winning Book

Dustin Lance Black To Adapt ‘Lindbergh’ for Paramount TV; Based On A. Scott Berg’s Pulitzer-Prize Winning BookOscar-winning writer Dustin Lance Black (Milk) has been hired to adapt Paramount TV’s event series ‘Lindbergh’ based on A. Scott Berg’s Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of the same name. The project will be produced by Berg, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Killoran and Kevin McCormick. The story of Lindbergh both in his flight achievements in 1927 and the subsequent kidnapping of his young child in 1932became international news.

The project once captured the attention of director Steven Spielberg (he bought it preemptively before it published) but he apparently decided against it once he learned more and more about the aviator. Lindbergh, of course, had Charles Lindbergha colored history with Germany and had been accused of being antisemitic. He and his wife Anne attended the Olympic Games in Germany in 1936 and became very impressed with the Germany military force. By 1938, they were planning to move to Berlin. That same year he was presented with the Service Cross of the German Eagle for his aviation contributions; it was presented on behalf of Adolf Hilter. He never wore the Service Cross nor took it from its box, according to Berg. At the same time, he was secretly reporting on the German aviation force. However, he was dead set against going to war. In speeches, he repeatedly urged America to stay out of intervening and became one of the leading voices of the America First movement (which promoted non-intervention).

He had a long history of being at odds with … Read More »

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One More World Cup Record: Final Seen Live By 40,000 In-Flight Passengers

By | Tuesday July 15, 2014 @ 4:37am PDT

One More World Cup Record: Final Seen Live By 40,000 In-Flight PassengersAll throughout the past month, we’ve covered the World Cup ratings bonanza for broadcasters from ABC, ESPN and Univision in the U.S., to BBC One, ARD, ZDF, and TF1 in Europe, among others. While we know a lot of those numbers don’t take into account folks watching in bars, cafés and town squares, what about fans who were in the air? The sky as a content destination is a fast-growing business with companies like Global Eagle, Gogo and Panasonic Avionics connecting entertainment and airline passengers in new ways. In a historic first, and courtesy of Panasonic’s in-flight Sport 24 channel, Sunday’s World Cup final was shown live by nine international carriers. According to the company, Germany’s defeat of Argentina was seen by 40,000 people, 35,000 feet above Earth. Bloomberg reports the figure is a record for a live in-flight TV broadcast. Throughout the World Cup and across such carriers as Lufthansa, Turkish Airlines and Emirates, Panasonic estimated that 1.5M passengers will have seen the tournament live on its systems. The matches were delivered over satellite WiFi and shown free of charge — in all classes. Carriers in the U.S. also allowed travelers to watch many of the matches via traditional satellite TV services from DirecTV and Dish Network, Forbes reported. ESPN is beamed directly to seat back televisions in many aircraft, but not ABC which showed many weekend games and the final.

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Paramount Television Inks First-Look Deal With Robert Zemeckis

By | Monday July 14, 2014 @ 11:09am PDT

Paramount Television Inks First-Look Deal With Robert ZemeckisThe two-year, first-look deal includes all television programming developed by Oscar-winning filmmaker Robert Zemeckis, Jack Rapke and their production company, Compari Entertainment, Paramount Television announced today. Their first project will be a drama series inspired by Nicholson Baker’s bestselling novel The Fermata, which is being adapted by David Hollander.

“Not only is Bob one of the all-time greatest filmmakers but he has been an important member of the Paramount family for more than 20 years,” said Brad Grey, Chairman and CEO of Paramount Pictures. “His ability to tell and capture a story so brilliantly on any screen is second to none and we look forward to partnering creatively with him, Jack and their team on the television side of our business.”

“I know Brad and Amy share a deep appreciation for creating inspired entertainment and I look forward to making great television together,” said Zemeckis.

“Bob is a masterful storyteller, and we’re thrilled to be developing character-driven, visually creative programming in the television space that reflects his beloved cinematic approach,” said Amy Powell, President, Paramount Television.

Zemeckis’ relationship with Paramount Pictures goes back to the 1994 Oscar-winning pic Forrest Gump for which Zemeckis won the Best Directing Academy Award. The film starring Tom Hanks, Gary Sinise and Robin Wright grossed $677 million worldwide and won a total of six Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Actor for Hanks. In 2012, the studio and Zemeckis partnered on  Denzel Washington-starrer Flight, which received two Oscar noms.

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Next At Bat: A Miniseries On Baseball Slugger And War Hero Ted Williams

Mike Fleming

Next At Bat: A Miniseries On Baseball Slugger And War Hero Ted WilliamsJust in time for the All-Star break, when America’s Pastime tries to snatch back some of the spotlight from the World Cup, Atmosphere Entertainment’s Mark Canton has teamed up with Mandalay Sports Media’s Mike Tollin and Peter Guber to option the Ben Bradlee Jr book The Kid: The Immortal Life Of Ted Williams. They will turn the complex life of baseball’s most prolific hitter into a miniseries they will shop once they hire a writer. Canton, Tollin and Guber will be exec producers, and David Hopwood will be a producer. Guber became an owner of the L.A. Dodgers only to watch that team’s iconic player, Jackie Robinson, get movie treatment from Legendary Pictures (and Pittsburgh Steelers part owner) Thomas Tull. Here, Guber gets another shot with a player with almost as rich a story as Robinson.

ted williams pilotWilliams is one of those larger-than-life when-men-were-men characters — Frank Sinatra in a baseball uniform. His baseball exploits were legend, and he was a hero on the battlefield as well as the ball field, twice interrupting the prime years of his baseball career to serve as a flight instructor in WWII and a fighter pilot in the Korean War. He also was an ornery, enigmatic man who had a love-hate relationship with Boston Red Sox fans and media, along with several wives, who quickly learned they were third in importance to him after baseball and fishing. He had a long rivalry with the Yankees and its star outfielder Joe DiMaggio, whose team won a bundle of World Series titles while the Red Sox were always the bridesmaids.

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Global Eagle Entertainment Taps Dave Davis To Be CEO

global eagleTo refresh everyone’s memory: Global Eagle is the airline entertainment and Internet company founded by former CBS and Sony exec Jeff Sagansky and former MGM chief Harry Sloan. They, along with others on the board, just gave the company’s pilot wings to Dave Davis, who was CFO and COO after serving for years as CFO of Northwest Airlines. He spent most of his career in finance, and helped Northwest navigate its merger with Delta. Davis replaces John LaValle, who will continue to serve the company as a consultant.

“I initially invested in Global Eagle because I saw so much potential for delivering content thru digital delivery to airline passengers getting connected ” Sloan says. “Since then, Global Eagle has become the dominant player in delivering movies, TV series and games to the commercial airline industry. As airline connectivity becomes more ubiquitous around the world, the demand for content will be even greater, and Dave’s excellent relationships with the airlines will serve Global Eagle well, as he leads our expansion.”

Davis may have to steer  Global Eagle through some choppy air. The company’s stock price is -23% so far in 2014 as it competes with rivals including Gogo and Panasonic to connect and serve planes in flight. But Global Eagle — which reaches planes via satellite transmissions, not terrestrial ones – hopes to gain altitude from a deal to serve Southwest Airlines, and other overseas airlines. The company reported a loss of $26.3M on revenues of nearly $86M … Read More »

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TCA: NatGeo Documentary Looks At September 10, 2001

By | Tuesday July 8, 2014 @ 3:05pm PDT

TCA: NatGeo Documentary Looks At September 10, 2001National Geographic Channel announced this afternoon it will re-trace the day before the September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon — what it calls “the last day of innocence” — in a two-hour documentary premiering Sunday, September 7, called 9/10: The Final Hours.

Here is NatGeo’s announcement, setting up the premise:

Few images in history are as seared in America’s consciousness as that of American Airlines Flight 11 crashing into the North Tower of the World Trade Center in 2001. In the days, months and even years following the attack, the horrific events of that day and the aftermath have been relived through the media — so much so that it’s hard to remember a time before Sept. 11.

Premiering Sunday, Sept. 7, at 9 p.m. ET/PT, 9/10: The Final Hours takes us moment by moment through the day before everything changed, before the “war on terror” became a part of the world’s everyday vernacular. We’ll hear from those who worked inside the World Trade Center, whose snap decisions resulted in narrow misses of the attack, as well as men and women who confronted the terrorist mastermind of the operation, Mohamed Atta, during his sudden — and still unexplained — detour to Portland, Maine.

We also see the World Trade Center from another unique perspective, that of the artists who lived and worked on the 91st and 92nd floors of the North Tower. This combination of perspective brings this last day of innocence into new — and

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Movie Academy Invites 271 New Members

Movie Academy Invites 271 New MembersThe Oscar organization has unveiled its annual invitees list for 2014. Check out the release below:

LOS ANGELES, CA – The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is extending invitations to join the organization to 271 artists and executives who have distinguished themselves by their contributions to theatrical motion pictures. Those who accept the invitations will be the only additions to the Academy’s membership in 2014. “This year’s class of invitees represents some of the most talented, creative and passionate filmmakers working in our industry today,” said Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs. “Their contributions to film have entertained audiences around the world, and we are proud to welcome them to the Academy.”

The 2014 invitees are:

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CBS News Hires Vladimir Duthiers As Correspondent

By | Thursday June 26, 2014 @ 11:03am PDT

CBS News Hires Vladimir Duthiers As CorrespondentCBS News today named Vladimir Duthiers as a new correspondent; he will begin work in August, based in New York. Duthiers joins CBS News from CNN, where he was an international correspondent based in Lagos, Nigeria. Most recently, Duthiers reported on the more than 200 girls kidnapped from their school in northeastern Nigeria by Boko Haram and was one of the first Western journalists to interview family members of the abducted children.
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Google Unveils Android TV And Software Updates Targeted To Mobile Devices

By | Wednesday June 25, 2014 @ 10:54am PDT

Google Unveils Android TV And Software Updates Targeted To Mobile Devices“TVs are primarily entertainment interfaces,” engineering director Dave Burke said as he introduced AndroidTV to developers at the Google I/O conference today. The company wants app makers to support its effort to tightly integrate Android phone and app capabilities to TV navigation. For example, those with AndroidTV supported sets or set top boxes will be able to use a smartphone or watch to make search commands, including by voice, tailored for TV: If you ask for Breaking Bad, then it will offer to play an episode available for streaming, and provide info about stars. Users also can find programming by making indirect search requests: It can call up Oscar nominated movies from a particular year, or find actors from inquiries about the parts they play. Sony’s 2015 Ultra HD 4K TVs will support the platform as will next year’s models from Sharp and TP Vision. Others on board include Marvell, Intel, and Qualcomm — and Razer and Asus plan to make AndroidTV set top boxes.

Noting that Android phone users check the devices 125 times a day, the company raised the bar in smart watches — a market that Apple’s expected to enter this year. Google’s Androidwear software can respond to voice commands, tell you your heart rate, and provide information tied to what’s on your calendar or where you are. It knows when you’re at home to offer ordinary for reminders. If you’re traveling it can provide flight status, a boarding pass, and weather forecast at the destination.

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Jeff Robinov Back With Investment From Fosun Int’l; Others In Mix As Studio 8 Looks To Set Up At Sony

Jeff Robinov Back With Investment From Fosun Int’l; Others In Mix As Studio 8 Looks To Set Up At SonyBREAKING: Jeff Robinov’s back and with an investment from Fosun International Ltd. which will help finance his war chest that brings in a total of what sources say is a combined equity/debt structure of around $1B. Fosun just filed their paperwork with the Hong Kong stock exchange, stating that it entered the agreement on June 6.

Details of the Fosun deal structure is, as yet, unknown as the company did not disclose it nor have they disclosed any governance issues, the deal breakdown of how much equity vs. debt. In other words, its as ambiguous as can be at the moment. It is also understood that RobImage (1) Sony-Pictures-logo__130125035333-200x312-1__140530164135.jpg for post 738072inov is in talks with other possible financial partners as well. Huayi Brothers still could be involved in the final deal as a distributor in certain territories and Robinov is also talking to European investors. The entire financial structure of the deal is currently being worked out, sources said.

Meanwhile, Fosun said in its filing, “pursuant to the Agreement, the company will exercise significant influence over the distribution arrangements of movies produced by Studio 8 in the mainland of China, Hong Kong, Macau and  Taiwan regions.” They also just put out a press release which is translated from Chinese that states through its investments, the deal gives Fosun the opportunity to share “Chinese elements and stories in Studio 8′s Chinese co-productions and wants to “build a global culture platform covering movie, entertainment, culture … Read More »

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`Newsies’, Disney’s Accidental Broadway Hit, Will Shutter In August

By | Sunday June 22, 2014 @ 2:28pm PDT

`Newsies’, Disney’s Accidental Broadway Hit, Will Shutter In Augustschumacher2Disney, which has been quick to drop the axe on its Broadway flops, including Tarzan and The Little Mermaid, announced today that its accidental hit, Newsies, will close on August 24 at the Nederlander Theatre, while still earning respectable money at the box office after a run of more than two years and grosses of over $100 million.
Based on Disney’s 1992 film — a $42.8 million box-office dud whose video built a cult following — Newsies opened in the fall of 2011 at New Jersey’s Paper Mill Playhouse, where it was planned as a dry-run for a regional tour. But a new book by Harvey Fierstein (La Cage Aux Folles, Kinky Boots) and songs from Alan Menken and Jack Feldman, along with an upbeat, high-energy production staged by director Jeff Calhoun and choreographer Christopher Gatelli impressed the New York critics, compelling Disney Theatricals chief Thomas Schumacher to change course and head for Broadway. The show, which cost about $5 million, opened the following May and won Tonys for score and choreography.
Since then, however, the Nederander box office has weakened incrementally as several other family-friendly shows came in and amped up the competition for dollars from the Disney demo, notably that company’s own Aladdin along, of course, with the now-and-forever blockbuster Lion King.

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Imagen Award Noms Unveiled

By | Thursday June 19, 2014 @ 1:21pm PDT

Imagen Award Noms UnveiledThe Imagen Foundation is out with the nominations for its 29th annual awards that honor portrayals of Latinos and Latino cultures in TV and film. Up for Best Primetime Television Program are FX’s The Bridge, NBC’s Chicago P.D. and Law & Order: SVU and ABC Family’s The Fosters and Switched At Birth. Nominees for Best Picture are A Miracle In Spanish Harlem, After School, Cesar Chavez, Coyote and Sleeping With The Fishes. Trophies will be handed out August 1 at the Beverly Hilton, and the Imagen Awards will air as an hourlong special on PBS SoCal (date TBA). Here is the complete list of this year’s nominees: Read More »

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Amazon Prime Nabs Exclusive ‘Wallace & Gromit’ Streaming Deal With Aardman

By | Thursday June 19, 2014 @ 8:05am PDT

Amazon Prime Nabs Exclusive ‘Wallace & Gromit’ Streaming Deal With AardmanAmazon today announced it had snagged a U.S. content licensing agreement with Aardman Animations that will make Prime Instant Video the exclusive subscription streaming home for the TV and short film series Wallace & Gromit, Shaun The Sheep, Timmy Time and classic animation Rex The Runt.  In addition, new shows from the Shaun The Sheep and Timmy Time series will be added to Prime Instant Video, including Seasons 3 and 4 of Shaun The Sheep, the Shaun The Sheep: Championsheeps special, and two new Timmy Time specials. Read More »

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DreamWorks Animation Acquires Felix The Cat And Unveils High-Tech Santa Greetings For Malls

DreamWorks Animation Acquires Felix The Cat And Unveils High-Tech Santa Greetings For MallsFelix the Cat, created in 1919, is “known everywhere” and is “especially popular in Asia,” CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg told the Licensing Expo in his keynote address today. And the feline character “goes beyond evergreen status and rises to something even more uncommon, as he is a true icon. We plan to make him one of the most desired fashion brands in the world.”

He also disclosed his plans for “DreamWorks’ DreamHouse,” a location-based entertainment initiative scheduled to begin this holiday season. Shoppers “will be treated to a fully immersive story that will appeal to parents as well as kids,” Katzenberg says. “It will be hosted by our characters and will include a thrilling four-minute flight on Santa’s sleigh to visit the big guy in his home at the North Pole.” The studio is already talking to mall owners to cut deals for them to offer what the CEO calls “a complete overhaul of the Santa experience, utilizing all of the high-tech gadgetry in our storytelling toolbox.”

Image (1) obama-katzenberg__130903221945.jpg for post 577183Katzenberg’s announcements  buttressed a larger point about his belief in brands and retailing — where brick-and-mortar store owners have been struggling to compete with online rivals. Although the Internet “has added a whole new dimension to shopping,” the DreamWorks Animation chief adds that “the cyber experience is limited. You can’t try on the clothes, you can’t interact with people … you can’t meet Santa.” He says that the “Chicken Littles who have predicted that online shopping will destroy retail remind me of the doomsdayers who, time and again, have predicted the demise of moviegoing.” They were wrong because  ”People like to get out of their homes and, equally important, theater owners have continually upgraded the experience with enhancements like digital projection, 3D, great sound as well as quality food and beverage offerings. In much the same way, retail will continue to flourish … because people enjoy getting out and interacting with their world, and because you continue to make the shopping experience more inviting and dynamic.” Read More »

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Subrata De Joins ABC News As VP Multi-Platform Newsgathering

By | Tuesday June 17, 2014 @ 7:54am PDT

Subrata De Joins ABC News As VP Multi-Platform NewsgatheringABC News has snagged NBC News’s Subrata De to become VP of Multi-Platform Newsgathering.  ABC News President James Goldston announced De’s hire this morning in a memo to staff.  De most recently had been exec producer of MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports since January of ’12. Before that, she was producer for NBC News’s Brian Williams.  In her new gig, De will have oversight of ABC News’s domestic, foreign, digital and social media newsgathering; the new post is intended to unify the division’s editorial operation—”expanding cooperation across our broadcast and digital platforms to improve our reporting and to use our resources more effectively,” as Goldston explained. The job is an expansion of the one held by Kate O’Brian, until she departed ABC News last year to become president of Al Jazeera America. Today’s announcement also includes news of expanded roles for David Reiter and Wendy Fisher.

More from Goldston’s memo after the jump:
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UPDATE: World Cup Ratings: ESPN Draws 3.1M Viewers To Spain v Netherlands

By | Saturday June 14, 2014 @ 1:22pm PDT

Spoiler alert if you haven’t seen match…

Fifa-World-Cup-2014-BrazilUPDATE, 1:22 PM PT: Friday’s Spain-Netherlands game, which rematched the 2010 World Cup final adversaries, scored a 2.0 rating for ESPN with 3.1M viewers on Friday. That was down from the record 4.4M total viewers the network had for Thursday’s opener between Brazil and Croatia. Univision, which is also airing the games Stateside, has offered up its household ratings with the LA market pulling a 5.1 for the Spaniards versus the Dutch; New York was a 3.2. Today (or at midnight tonight if you’re in Europe like I am) England faces off with Italy in what is expected to be a massively watched game, on this side of the world for sure.

PREVIOUS, 2:35 AM PT: Last night’s match between defending World Cup champions Spain and their adversary in the 2010 final in South Africa, the Netherlands, was eagerly anticipated at home and abroad. But in what was an unexpected rout, the Dutch team bested the Spaniards by a staggering 5-1. spain netherlands world cup In the Netherlands, the match was watched by an average 7.2M on Nederland 1. The audience peaked just before the end of play with 8.3M. In Spain, it was watched by 11.2M for a 68.5% share according to local reports. Watching from the sidelines, the UK registered an average 8.22M … Read More »

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Pinewood Opens Iskandar Malaysia Studios; ‘Marco Polo’ Already Filming

Pinewood Iskander Malaysia Studios OpenPinewood Studios is today confirming its ambitious offshore strategy with the official launch of Pinewood Iskandar Malaysia Studios. Already open for a handful of months, the studio is currently hosting The Weinstein Co. and Netflix series Marco Polo. Pinewood CEO Ivan Dunleavy tells me, “You have a UK studio in Malaysia with Weinstein the production company and Netflix the distribution platform – I think that says it all about the new world.”

Along with Malaysia, the Pinewood family now includes the flagship South Buckinghamshire location, nearby Shepperton Studios, and outlets in the Dominican Republic, Toronto, Berlin and Atlanta — where Marvel’s Ant Man is colonizing. The group is also advising Wanda Dalian on a new film and TV studio complex, Qingdao Oriental Movie Metropolis, which is expected to open in 2016. Read More »

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