Simon Dickson Exiting As Managing Director Of Shine Group’s Dragonfly
Simon Dickson, Managing Director of Shine Group factual producer Dragonfly, is leaving the company after three years. The exec will step down next month, with Dragonfly Creative Director Mark Raphael and COO Lucinda Hicks taking over as Co-Managing Directors. Dickson joined Dragonfly in April 2011 as the company’s Creative Director before becoming Managing Director in November 2012. Prior to joining Dragonfly, he served as Deputy Head of Documentaries at Channel 4. At Dragonfly, Dickson was executive producer on event documentary The Plane Crash (Discovery and Channel 4) and celebrities-in-the-wilderness series Bear Grylls’ Wild Weekends (Channel 4). Under his stewardship the company has delivered such documentaries as The Horsemeat Banquet (BBC Three), Terror At Sea: The Sinking Of The Concordia (Channel 4) and Hurricane Sandy: Anatomy Of A Superstorm (BBC Two) alongside series People Like Us and What Happens In Kavos for BBC Three and Channel 4, respectively.
Global Showbiz Briefs: Simon Dickson Leaving Shine Group’s Dragonfly; ITV Agrees To Revive ‘Hollywood Squares’ Format; More
Simon Dickson Exiting As Managing Director Of Shine Group’s Dragonfly
Sony Pictures Lands New Republic Article For Film On China’s First American Football League Championship Team
EXCLUSIVE: As The New Republic turns 100 years old, Sony Pictures and Escape Artists have made a pre-emptive acquisition of “The Year Of The Pigskin,” a just-published feature by Christopher Beam about the unlikely success of the Chongqing Dockers, one of the first teams in the very first American football league to form in China. The catalyst was a 26-year-old American, the son of police detectives whose pro football dreams were dashed after a shoulder injury incurred while he was a star player at the University of Michigan. He became the team’s coach and star player. The feature is a template for a Bad News Bears-like film that will be shot in China, as the Dockers and its players with names like Fat Baby, Bobo, and Weezy get molded from undisciplined players afraid to hit one another into a group of warriors that battled for the championship against archrival Shanghai Warriors.
Last week, an event was held in Hong Kong where, among other things, it was said that a second distribution license to import and release movies in China is being issued to the China National Culture & Art Corporation (CNCAC). Such a license could spell the demise of China Film Group‘s exclusive grip on Mainland revenue-share releasing — and create another potential partner for Hollywood. While there has been talk that a new government-approved distributor could emerge, a number of China-watchers have remained cautious on the timing, and just who the involved parties would be. One told me recently, “Many believe they can in due course obtain a second license.” Now, reported comments from an official at the Chinese state watchdog, and the revision of an announcement by Hong Kong-based China Railsmedia, which held the press conference and has business connections with the CNCAC, seem to confuse things even further.
Johnny Depp started his Chinese promotional tour for Transcendence in Beijing tonight, playing guitar for about 1,000 invited guests and fans. The event was held at the 798 art zone inside a decomissioned factory that was built during the period of military-industrial cooperation between the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China. Depp is in Beijing to boost the profile of Wally Pfister’s directorial debut, which opens day-and-date with the U.S. on April 18. Warner Bros is releasing Stateside. Hollywood stars are increasingly traveling to China to promote their films in the world’s second largest box office market. This two-day tour is hosted by DMG Entertainment which produced Transcendence with Alcon Entertainment and Straight Up Films. Last year, DMG pulled off a similar one-of-a-kind event in support of Iron Man 3, bringing Robert Downey Jr to town for a gala inside the Forbidden City. That show looked a little more formal, while tonight’s was more rock-and-roll, with a massive fan base coming out to see Depp. Joining him onstage was Taiwanese R&B/hard rock artist David Tao, a big local star. Depp jammed on guitar while Tao sang a tune made famous in the early 1990s by Cui Jian, aka “The Father of Chinese Rock”. Here’s an exclusive snap of the duo:
In this week’s podcast, Deadline International Editor Nancy Tartaglione and host David Bloom look at a big Chinese tour by star Johnny Depp ahead of Wally Pfister’s directorial debut on April 18 with Transcendence. They stay in China to discuss Discovery’s consulting and content deal with a new pay-TV channel from Wasu Digital, then jump to the UK, which has again beefed up its tax incentives for film and TV production, even with existing facilities there already straining to accommodate demand. Nancy and David also take their weekly peek at trends in the international box office, led by Need For Speed and Noah. The U.S. champ for the weekend, Divergent, opened in 18 territories, but remains a mystery as Lionsgate holds off reporting its numbers.
In a deal that gives it further access to the Chinese market, Discovery Communications has partnered with China’s Wasu Digital TV Media Group to supply content for new local pay-TV channel Qiu Suo. The subscription channel launched earlier this …
In this week’s podcast, Deadline International Editor Nancy Tartaglione and host David Bloom look at what’s behind the big buying spree in U.S. and European TV production companies, try to make sense of Bruno Wu’s latest complicated and confusing international deal and note another win for the U.K.’s booming production scene, thanks to a Disney Channel production there.
Nancy and David also will take their weekly look at the international box office, led by the surprisingly fast finish for Need For Speed in China, the continued global rise of 300: Rise Of An Empire, Frozen’s stretch run for the all-time box office record for an animated film, and Universal’s Spanish success.
It’s been two years since China passed Japan to become the world’s No. 2 box office territory, and Columbia Pictures is making a big push to raise its profile there. The company said today that it has sealed partnership deals with Chinese filmmakers and companies to expand its local-language production in the planet’s most populous country. The first project on tap is The Monk, a martial arts action from Palme d’Or-winning director Chen Kaige, which is shooting on location in Hebei Province. Sony Pictures Releasing International plans a summer 2015 bow for the Chen Hong-produced pic, which follows a young monk who is forced to leave his impoverished monastery and must rely on his extraordinary martial arts skills to survive on the outside. He comes across a rare book about a lost martial art — a book coveted by a sinister father and son who will go to any lengths to obtain it. New Classics Media will distribute The Monk in China. The pic marks Columbia’s second recent production in Mainland China, following the upcoming Gone With The Bullets, Jiang Wen’s follow-up to his 2010 action comedy Let The Bullets Fly, which made $140M worldwide.
Making good on a promise to get tough with exhibitors who manipulate box office figures, Chinese authorities have banned nine movie theaters from screening new films. The state-controlled Xinhua news agency says cinemas in such areas as Shandong Province and northern Shanxi have been found reporting fake numbers to the government, selling hand-written tickets (or none at all) or interfering with official box office inspections. The news was issued in a statement from the China Film Producers Association and the China Film Distribution and Screening Association, two semi-official bodies that fall under the purview of the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television. The suspensions are a reaction to what’s believed to be a long-held industry practice of hiding income from the government which takes a 3% value-added tax on revenues as well as a 5% film fund tax. Increased scrutiny should be welcome news to Hollywood studios who are entitled to a 25% revenue share with exhibitors. China’s reported box office in 2013 was $3.6B, but industry experts believe the real figure is at least 10% higher.
UPDATE: Int’l Box Office: ‘Lego Movie’ Builds $93.5M Overseas; ‘Desolation Of Smaug’ Sets Records In China; ‘Frozen’ Hits $980M Worldwide; ‘Robocop’ Big In Brazil; More
3rd UPDATE, 3:20 PM PT Monday: The Lego Movie has upped its overseas weekend cume to $24M in its 48 markets due to stronger UK and France numbers. It now has an international total estimated at $93.5M. …
Global Showbiz Briefs: China Says Not Raising Film Quota; César Awards To Honor Scarlett Johansson; Taylor Lautner To BBC3
Not So Fast: China Says It Isn’t Increasing Movie Quota
Contrary to reports earlier this week, China is not planning to increase its quota on films imported from Hollywood. Official state news agency Xinhua said Tuesday that the quota will remain unchanged at 34, citing an official with the country’s film governing body, SAPPRFT. In February 2012, China and the U.S. signed a pact to increase the number of films approved for theatrical release in China from 20 to 34. The parties also agreed on an increased revenue share of 25%. In the first year the change was implemented, local Chinese films lost market share but since have rebounded strongly with about 58.7% of box office takings in 2013. In a statement on Monday, MPA Asia chief Mike Ellis said the org was unaware of any official plans on changing the quota system but noted that the belief that an open market “best serves filmmakers and audiences alike. … Removing the quota for international films is something we’ve been advocating for some time and would provide the widest possible movie experience for audiences while benefiting the Chinese screen community and our member studios.”
Global Showbiz Briefs: ITV Orders Quiz Show ‘The 21st Question’; Eyeworks’ ‘Beat The Blondes’ Format Adapted For China
ITV Orders Quiz Show ‘The 21st Question’
ITV has ordered The 21st Question, a new tactical quiz show from Chocolate Media. In the game, one power player faces 10 challengers through a series of tense “winner stays on” rounds …
In this week’s podcast, Deadline International Editor Nancy Tartaglione reports from the Berlin Film Festival opening today, previewing the Berlinale with host David Bloom. They also take a look at China’s new plan to crack down on box-office fraud and what it means for Hollywood’s products in the No. 2 film market; detail the UK’s big jump in film production from overseas; and plumb the surprising overlap of real-world political scandal and fictional drama that made the Cesar Award nomination announcements far more titillating than usual.