Global Showbiz Watch 20 – The Overseas Oscar Shortlist Shakeout Podcast

Global Showbiz Watch podcast 20Deadline International Editor Nancy Tartaglione and host David Bloom talk in their latest podcast about which films survived the record-setting competition for Oscar’s best foreign-language feature to make the shortlist, as well as surprise exclusions such as The Past and Wadjda.

They also look at the week’s international box office, led by a still-scorching The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug but also by a surprisingly strong showing from the second Anchorman movie, even as Bollywood product Dhoom 3 sets yet more global records for an Indian-made film; a Chinese court’s troubling verdict for a troubling case of copycat violence based on a children’s cartoon; and J.K. Rowling’s next Harry Potter project, headed to the London stage.

Global Showbiz Watch podcast 20 (.MP3 version)
Global Showbiz Watch podcast 20 (.M4A version)
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Deadline’s Best Film Stories Of The Week

If you missed Deadline’s top film stories this week, check them out here:

UNIVERSAL SHAKEUP: Adam Fogelson Out, Donna Langley Sideways, Jeff Shell In, And Ron Meyer Up As Studio Taken By Surprise
By Mike Fleming Jr – BREAKING… SHOCKER! In a shocking development, Adam Fogelson will exit his post as Universal Pictures chairman, with Jeff Shell taking over Universal Studios. Ron Meyer is becoming the sole vice chairman of NBC Universal through 2017, and Donna Langley has been promoted chairman of Universal Pictures.

‘Insidious 2′ Stuns As Sept’s 2nd Biggest With $41M For Year’s 2nd Best Horror Pic; De Niro’s ‘The Family’ Forgotten For $13.9M
By Nikki Finke - No surprise that a genre scarer did so well on a weekend frontloaded by Friday The 13th… Read More »

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Universal, Scott Stuber Acquire ‘Sleepaway Camp For Postmodern Cowboys’; Who’ll Get J.K. Rowling’s ‘Cuckoo’s Calling’?

By | Thursday July 25, 2013 @ 5:47pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Universal Pictures and producer Scott Stuber are optioning “Sleepaway Camp For Postmodern Cowboys”, an article by Josh Eells that was published in the July 19 issue of The New York Times Magazine. It describes a competition staged at King Abdullah II Special Operations Training Center in Jordan that pits elite international forces against each other in contests to establish supremacy. The countries competing ranged from America to China, and numerous others. It turns into one giant bonding session as the warriors find common ground with one another. CAA brokered the deal.

It is about that time when the town checks out until Toronto, but this was one of two literary properties that got multiple studio bids this week. Another that just about every studio is chasing is The Cuckoo’s Calling, the mystery by Robert Galbraith that sold few copies and received a pass from at least one studio before it became public that the writer was Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling. Read More »

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J.K. Rowling May Return To Magical World Of Harry Potter; Also Warns Of “Massive Resistance” To UK Press Reform

By | Thursday September 27, 2012 @ 6:55am PDT

The celebrated author says that she may produce “director’s cut” versions of two of her Harry Potter novels, and doesn’t rule out additional books in that world — but without Harry. When it comes to the boy wizard’s story “I’m done,” she … Read More »

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Is Harry Potter The Antichrist In Alan Moore’s Latest Graphic Novel?

Alan Moore Harry PotterJK Rowling and Harry Potter studio Warner Bros have been fiercely protective of the boy who lived, so it will be interesting to see what they make of graphic novelist Alan Moore’s new book. Over the course of his career, Watchmen, V For Vendetta and From Hell author Moore has summoned fictional characters including Captian Nemo, Dr Jekyll and Dracula. He’s also had fun with Wonderland’s Alice, Oz’s Dorothy and Neverland’s Wendy. But his latest borrowing may take the cake: an Antichrist character who’s got a fair bit in common with Harry Potter — and reportedly shoots deathly lightning bolts from his nether regions. Details of The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Century 2009, the latest installment in the series, have been kept close to the vest, but reviewer Laura Sneddon has provided her take on the tome that’s out this week. The boy wizard’s name never appears, but references are made to a hidden scar, a magical train between platforms at London’s King Cross Station, and the magical school to which it leads. There’s also a mentor called Riddle — although the Tom Riddle in Rowling’s books ultimately became Harry’s archnemesis, Lord Voldemort. According to The Independent, “Characters resembling both Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger also appear and, at one point, the Potter character kills someone with a lightning bolt from his flaccid penis.” Copyright infringement or acceptable parody? Rowling and Warner are expected to take a wait-and-see approach. Read More »

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J.K. Rowling Reveals Her New “Adult” Novel: ‘The Casual Vacancy’

By | Thursday April 12, 2012 @ 10:40am PDT

Will grownups stand in line, the way young Harry Potter fans did, to be among the first to get their hands on what the author calls her “blackly comic” tale when it’s released on September 27? Rowling says on her web site that it’s her first novel for adults. Hachette will release The Casual Vacancy in the US, with Little, Brown Book Group doing so in the UK. It will be published worldwide in English in hardback, ebook, an unabridged audio download and on CD.  The book runs about 480 pages, according to Little, Brown. Rowling’s Harry Potter series of seven books sold over 450 million copies in 200 territories and 74 languages worldwide, spawning a pop culture gold mine and a lucrative movie franchise from Warner Bros. Here’s Rowling’s synopsis of her new book:

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UK Press Complaints Commission To Fold Amid Ongoing Criticism

When Harry Potter author JK Rowling gave evidence to the Leveson Inquiry into UK media ethics last November, she called the Press Complaints Commission “toothless.” Now, the British newspaper watchdog is to be formally defanged as it movesRead More »

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‘Harry Potter’ Author J.K. Rowling To Go Adult With New Novel

By | Thursday February 23, 2012 @ 12:08pm PST

The Harry Potter series made author J.K. Rowling one of Britain’s richest citizens and now the writer is ready to tread new literary territory with her new book geared toward adults. Publication for the new novel and further details … Read More »

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Harry Potter Attraction Riding Into Universal Studios Hollywood

Harry Potter will materialize sometime in the future in Universal City with his own special section of the theme park much like “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” at Universal Orlando Resort. NBC Universal is expected to announce plans … Read More »

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Hugh Grant And J.K. Rowling To Join Other Celebs Testifying About News Corp Scandal

This will be another bad week for James Murdoch and News Corp as 21 witnesses including several celebs line up to tell a government inquiry how overzealous and unethical reporters turned their lives upside down. The investigation is led by Lord Justice Leveson who Prime Minister David Cameron asked to examine both the phone hacking at News Of The World, and problems with the country’s press culture. The parents of Milly Dowler, a 13-year-old who was murdered in 2002,  will kick things off tomorrow. The NOTW scandal broke open this past July when it was disclosed that after Dowler was missing the tabloid hacked into the girl’s phone and deleted messages, giving her parents false hope that she might still be alive. Grant will follow them, and is expected to continue his assault on reporting tactics used by NOTW and the Daily Mail. Also due on Monday is the lawyer for actor Jude Law. On Tuesday the panel will hear from actor Steve Coogan and soccer star Garry Flitcroft. On Thursday Harry Potter author Rowling and one time Formula One chief Max Mosley will testify. Next Monday singer Charlotte Church and UK TV personality Anne Diamond will appear.

Coogan outlined his views in a biting commentary he wrote for The Guardian on Friday. “No amount of respectable, well-modulated management-speak from James Murdoch can disguise the direct link between Read More »

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Art Directors To Honor ‘Harry Potter’ Creative Team

By | Tuesday November 1, 2011 @ 9:58am PDT

The Art Directors Guild said today it will bestow its honorary Outstanding Contribution to Cinematic Imagery Award to the creative team behind the Harry Potter films during the 16th annual Excellence in Production Design Awards, set for February 4 at … Read More »

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Hacking Update: UK Seeks Tighter Media Controls In Wake Of Scandal

By | Wednesday September 14, 2011 @ 4:49pm PDT

Chase Carey Says His Role “Hasn’t Changed” With Hacking Scandal

The fallout from News Corp’s phone-hacking scandal continued to reverberate today. U.K. Culture Minister Jeremy Hunt said he was backing new legislation that would tighten controls on cross-media ownership. Under the proposal, rolled out at the Royal Television Society Convention in Cambridge, politicians would be barred from approving major media deals and inquiries on media plurality could be launched by regulators Ofcom and the Competition Commission without the trigger of a takeover bid. Hunt said that News Corp’s near takeover of BSkyB in July, abandoned in the scandal’s wake, convinced him changes were needed. “I was very conscious in the recent BSkyB bid that however fairly I ran the process, people were always going to question my motives,” he said. Read More »

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Harry Potter Inc: Warner Bros’ $21B Empire

Final Harry Potter Already Wrecking Foreign/Domestic Records

EXCLUSIVE: With history’s most successful movie franchise coming to an end with the Friday release of Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2, it’s a good time to ask: How much loot was conjured up en masse? And the answer is startling. You can find about $21 billion by adding up gross sales the series has generated since 1998 from films, videos, video games, licensed merchandise, and books. (See detailed breakdown below.) Time Warner has already seen an estimated $1 billion in profit from the films and its work as custodian of a global entertainment brand. The tally should continue to grow, probably by a lot, with the release tomorrow of Warner Bros’ Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows – Part 2 — although Hollywood accounting has a way of making profits vanish. (Here‘s how the black magic worked for Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix in a studio accounting statement obtained by Deadline’s Mike Fleming. Though the film grossed $938.2 million worldwide, the document conveys that the film is still $167+ million in the red)

Things have turned out so well that it’s easy to forget what a huge risk Warner seemed to be taking more than a decade ago when it bought the Potter rights. The studio didn’t know how the series would end. And J.K. Rowling, who wrote the series, was a wild card. Many wondered whether U.S. audiences would warm to the all-British movie cast that Rowling required.  “The casting of the kids was the biggest place where it could have gone wrong,” Warner Bros Pictures Group President Jeff Robinov tells me. Some Warner executives also chafed at Rowling’s demands that there be no Potter-related fast food offerings and that Warner show restraint in product licensing. “I can only say now to all the parents out there, if the action figures are horrible, just tell the kids that I said don’t buy them. Sorry, Warners,” Rowling told a 60 Minutes interview.

Virtually everybody agrees now that Rowling was right to keep the franchise faithful to her vision. And Warner was right to embrace that vision down to small details in licensed merchandise. “We had a guideline that was perhaps frustrating to our colleagues in Consumer Products but has held well for us as a company which was to look to create artifacts, not souvenirs,” DC Entertainment President Diane Nelson tells me. She oversaw the Potter franchise from the beginning. Marketing plans also adapted as fans became older and the Potter saga grew darker. “We held on to fans as they aged in a way that’s never been seen before,” Nelson says to me.

Here’s how all of the Potter business decisions have turned out so far:

Movies. The first seven films accounted for nearly $6.4 billion in ticket sales, with 68% of the total coming from overseas, according to Box Office Mojo. The only other franchise that comes close is James Bond: Its 23 films beat Potter if ticket prices are adjusted for inflation.

Home Video. Consumers have spent nearly $3.9 billion globally — with 44% of that coming from the U.S. — to buy 302 million videos of the first six Potter films, Warner says. IHS Screen Digest says that Warner probably collected about $1.5 billion just from domestic video sales, which would more than cover the studio’s estimated $1.4 billion production budget for all eight films. Read More »

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Lawsuit By J.K. Rowling & Warner Bros Starts In U.S. Court Monday To Stop Publication Of “Harry Potter Rip-Off”; UPDATE: Sued Publisher Responds

UPDATED: rowling-potter.jpgI’m told that reclusive author of the 7-volume Harry Potter series of books, J.K. Rowling, is flying from Scotland to NYC in order to testify Monday when the trial starts in the lawsuit she and Warner Bros jointly filed last October against Michigan-based … Read More »

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