Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne confirmed on Tuesday night that the UK’s relationship with Star Wars will continue. The MP was at Pinewood – where JJ Abrams’ Episode VII moved onto soundstages about 10 days ago – and tweeted, “On set of Episode VII tonight, can announce another #StarWars film will be made in UK. A #LongTermEconomicPlan in a galaxy far far away.” The Conservative politician caught a lot of flack on Twitter for the latter remark, but by and large the Star Wars movies, and other big Hollywood projects, are bringing a flood of money into the UK which has very lucrative film tax breaks. The currently filming Episode VII is due for release on December 18, 2015 and the standalone Star Wars Osborne referred to last night will also be shot next year. The spinoff is being directed by Gareth Edwards. Per local reports, Culture Secretary Sajid Javid added last night, “Given Lucasfilm’s decision to film another Star Wars movie in the UK, it is clear that the Force is strong here.”
Global Showbiz Briefs: ‘Star Wars’ Spinoff Makes Date With Pinewood; India’s ‘Holiday’ Travels Well; Nordisk Film TV Appointment
UPDATE, MONDAY AM: Indian actioner Dhoom 3 has set new benchmarks for a Bollywood movie at home and abroad. Distributor Yash Raj Films made a calculated decision not to release the movie with Thursday night previews and to instead go out day-and-date in key markets on Friday, increasing the frenzy surrounding the title. In India, it took $17.64M, breaking all previous records. On the international front, it took $3.435M in North America on 236 screens, outpacing the earlier estmate of $3.305M for the best Bollywood opening weekend ever. In the United Arab Emirates, it was at $2.801M; the UK was $1.451M, for the highest Bollywood non-holiday three-day weekend. In Australia the take was $765K and in Pakistan it was $630,500 for the biggest Bollywood openings of all time. Dhoom‘s total international weekend cume was $10.17M for a worldwide total of $28.11M. The next territories to release over the coming days are Morocco, the Maldives, Rwanda, Lebanon, Egypt, Germany, Peru, Romania, Japan, Russia, CIS and Turkey, with others to follow.
Global Showbiz Briefs: Anurag Kashyap Takes On India’s Anti-Smoking Disclaimer; ‘Krrish 3′ Tops Local Boxoffice; More
Anurag Kashyap Battling India’s Anti-Smoking Disclaimer Over ‘Ugly’
Last month, Woody Allen pulled his Blue Jasmine from release in India, rather than allow government-mandated anti-smoking warnings to be inserted onscreen during two scenes when characters light up. Now, local director Anurag Kashyap is reportedly refusing to have the disclaimer stamped on his film Ugly. The movie, which debuted in Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes, is set for release on January 3 in its home territory. India’s censors cracked down on smoking last year, and the Bollywood Hungama blog says Kashyap and the censor are in talks over the issue. Kashyap is one of a new breed of directors who steps out of the norm of Bollywood using the influences of Scorsese, Tarantino and Leone. He also produced Cannes darling The Lunchbox, which was controversially not chosen to be India’s Oscar entry this year. Coincidentally, in 2007, Kashyap directed a film titled No Smoking.
‘Krrish 3′ Tops India Box Office, Eyes Top Spot For 2013
Bollywood superstar Hrithik Roshan’s latest outing, Krrish 3, is the third in a superhero franchise that’s skyrocketed to the top of the local box office charts. With 166.52 crore ($26.5M) at the end of its first week, the film has become the 3rd-highest grosser for the year and could be on track to overtake the No. 1 and No. 2 movies if things keep up apace. Krrish 3, which opened over the Diwali holiday, already has broken a first-week record set by 2013′s No. 1 movie, Chennai Express, the Shah Rukh Khan-Deepika Padukone starrer that opened over the Eid al Fitr holiday in August. Chennai took $24.8M in its first week. Krrish 3 bested the No. 2 film of the year, Yeh Jawaani Hai Dewaani, in opening day, weekend and week’s takings. That film’s final tally was $29.8M which Krrish now looks set to overtake. It will need a little extra muscle to displace Chennai which has a total cume of $35.8M. In the UK, Krrish 3 beat Yeh Jawaani’s opening weekend gross of £405,784 with £408,627. It lagged Chennai Express which had opened there with an impressive £934,118 in August. In the U.S. Krrish 3 brought in $1.1M in its opening weekend last week, according to Bollywood Hungama figures. Roshan next stars in Fox Star’s Bang Bang.
Listen to (and share) episode 9 of Deadline’s audio podcast Global Showbiz Watch With Nancy Tartaglione. Deadline’s international editor talks with host David Bloom about the ongoing controversy over India’s candidate for the foreign-language Oscar; a capacity crunch at suddenly too-popular London production facilities; BAFTA’s move to recognize online video in its TV awards process; and the outcry over the unexpected demise of a favorite character in Helen Fielding’s next sequel to her Bridget Jones books.
India Oscar Controversy: Film Body Demands Apology From ‘Lunchbox’ Helmer As Questions Linger Over ‘Good Road’ Pick
Ever since it debuted in Cannes and was acquired by Sony Pictures Classics, Ritesh Batra’s The Lunchbox was largely considered the favorite to be submitted by India as the Foreign Language Oscar entry. But last week, the selection committee chose Gyan Correa’s The Good Road. In the intervening days, The Lunchbox filmmakers, local and international press and other pundits have decried the choice. The committee in turn demanded an apology from Lunchbox helmer Batra for “unsavoury comments” that crossed a boundary, it said in a long letter. Batra produced his mea culpas today, but also urged a rethink of the way films are chosen. Batra wrote, “I sincerely hope that the annual reactions to our Academy selections from the national press, and this year from even the international press, prompt a new policy for the selection. Sir, please use your good offices to give us a transparent, objective process with a public and not a secret jury. It is a direct and humble request, not a criticism.”
After doubling their box office takings over the past five years, the BRIC countries will see combined revenues of $12.1B and account for 25% of global sales by 2017, according to research group IHS. That would put the Big Four on a par with where IHS expects the North American box office to be at that time. (It was $10.8B in 2012.) Driving growth are increased ticket prices and new construction — China is building cinemas daily and is expected to have about 20,000 screens by 2015 alone. IHS analyst Charlotte Jones also noted the loosening of quotas in China for 3D and IMAX films, the popularity of premium pics in Russia and the rise of shopping centers in Brazil as market drivers.
Global Showbiz Briefs: Silvio Berlusconi, Nicholas Hytner, India Channel Crunch, ‘Vigilante’ Launched
Silvio Berlusconi To Appeal Wiretap Verdict
Italian media mogul and former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was handed a one-year jail term today by an Italian court over an illegal wiretap. It’s highly unlikely the Mediaset chief will do any time as he has appeals available to him and, under Italian law, isn’t expected to go to prison until all appeal attempts are exhausted. Berlusconi is already appealing a four-year sentence that was handed to him in Milan last year over fraud on movie rights deals. Today’s punishment comes for making public the taped contents of a confidential phone call in a case related to a 2005 banking scandal, Reuters reported. Berlusconi has oft been in court before over his business dealings, but he’s always been cleared or seen the statute of limitations expire.
‘Life Of Pi’, Keanu Reeves’ Doc At Plus CameraImage
Plus CameraImage, the International Film Festival of the Art of Cinematography, kicks off its 20th anniversary edition this weekend in Bydgoszcz, Poland. Fest opener is Keanu Reeves’ filmmakers documentary Side by Side, followed by the Polish premiere of Ang Lee’s Life of Pi. Reeves and Life of Pi cinematographer Claudio Miranda are scheduled to attend the opening gala. Fest runs November 24 through December 1st. Other attendees include directors David Lynch, director Steven Okazaki, Michael Lindsay-Hogg and film editor Alan Heim. As preveiously reported, Gus Van Sant will accept the Director Duo Award on behalf of his late friend and collaborator Harris Savides.
Slumdog Millionaire star Anil Kapoor knows first-hand how Fox/20th TV’s real-time drama 24 was produced, having co-starred on the series’ final season. Now he will apply his knowledge to an Indian incarnation of the Emmy-winning drama, in which he will play an Indian version of Kiefer Sutherland’s signature character Jack Bauer. Kapoor has closed a rights deal with 20th Century Fox TV Distribution and will produce the new 24 through his Anil Kapoor Films Co. Pre-production is set to begin mid-2012 in India. “It will be a great honor for me to play Jack Bauer,” Kapoor said. “Kiefer has created an iconic character which has inspired me to bring the franchise to India. This will be my first foray to Indian television and I look forward to duplicating the standard of excellence Fox has so successfully created.” Kapoor, one of the best-known Indian feature actors, made his American TV debut on 24 where he played the Middle Eastern leader Omar Hassan, who comes to the U.S. on a peacekeeping mission. He will next be seen in Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol.
A report today from the UK’s Financial Times headlined “Disney Axing Local Language Film Unit” wasn’t really news for most in Hollywood and certainly not Burbank. Disney backed away from its strategy of producing local language films with local actors and made the decision to close the small Burbank office overseeing the effort in June. That was spelled out in a Fast Company profile of studio chief Rich Ross, who early on in his tenure had set up the team to focus on limited-release Disney-branded films in Brazil, Russia, India and China. The economics were always tricky and the good will generated was tough to quantify. When Ross saw big box office returns on Pirates Of The Caribbean 4 ($65M in Russia) and Cars 2 in those same countries, he decided it made more sense to spend the money on marketing and distributing the studios’ franchise films than to bank on local talent. Disney will still consider attaching its brand to local productions. But the decisions are made on a case-by-case basis.
American Author To Head Edinburgh Film Festival
Chris Fujiwara has taken over leadership of the festival at a critical juncture. That fact was underlined by today’s news that the chief executive of the festival’s parent body, Gavin Miller, had resigned. The former BBC marketing executive was rocked by the resignation of previous artistic director Hannah McGill and a 2011 edition of the fest in June that was short on funding, premieres and star power. Fujiwara told The Scotsman that he was “well aware” of the criticism leveled at the festival this summer. “Edinburgh is clearly a festival that is going through a transitional phase,” he said, “but that means there is an opportunity for positive change and to make a real difference.” Fujiwara said it was almost certain that the next festival would keep remain in June, rather than returning to its traditional August slot.
Simon Cowell Tries To Deflect Flak From ‘Red Or Black?’
The music and TV mogul said today “human error” was to blame after a man who did time for domestic abuse, Nathan Hageman, won the £1M jackpot on the game show’s opening night. Producer Cowell said that ITV bosses were “delighted” with Red or Black? despite the cloud over the debut and predicted that the show would be in 30 territories –-including the US-– within 12 months. He described as “disgusting” the allegations of violence against a woman, but stopped short of urging Hageman to hand back his jackpot. “I know what I would do,” he said. “I would give away part of the money to the person he had the altercation with and a charity.” Also today, news emerged that ITV ordered a pilot episode of Red or Black? eight years ago, but decided the skill-free format wouldn’t work. “I didn’t believe people would like to see someone win a vast sum of money, with no skills at all involved. Second, gambling is not a spectator sport, you get an adrenaline rush from participating in it,’ said ITV’s Claudia Rosencrantz, who commissioned the pilot. Cowell, whose X Factor debuts in the U.S. on Fox on Sept. 21, was not involved with the show then.
Hollywood Going Beyond Bollywood With Indian Releases
It’s natural to think of Bollywood when the subject of Indian film comes up. But India’s film industry is among the world’s …
Solid First Half For UK’s Pinewood Shepperton Studios
Revenues are up 68% over the first half of the 2011 according to interim results released today, from $27M to $42M over the same period a year ago. The largest film production based at Pinewood Studios during the period was Dark Shadows (Warner Bros), and the largest production based at Shepperton Studios was Wrath of the Titans (WB). Other films that used Pinewood Shepperton facilities included The Iron Lady (DJ Films/Pathé), Gravity (WB), Woman in Black (Hammer Films), 47 Ronin (Universal) and Ridley Scott’s Prometheus (Fox). Universal’s Snow White And The Huntsman has just begun shooting at Pinewood. The surge in film business offset a drop in TV revenues from $8.3M last year to $7.6M, which the studio attributed to using more space on movie productions.
Off-Track Bond 23 May Exit India For South Africa
Unhappy that permission to shut down portions of two railways outside Mumbai still has not been granted, Take One Productions is threatening to move production of Bond 23 from India to South Africa. Originally scheduled to shoot in the fall, the Sam Mendes-directed project starring Daniel Craig is now pointing for a January start. “South African authorities are waiting to provide everything that is required to support this movie,” said Take One’s Pravesh Sahni. “If we can’t get this cooperation from India, the film will no longer be shot here.” The railroad scenes will be a major part of the film, Sahni told The Times of India.