Back in March it was MPAA chief Chris Dodd tub-thumping China‘s box office prowess after the organization’s Theatrical Market Statistics report showed that China accounted for $2.7B in box office sales in 2012. That vaulted the country past Japan to become the world’s No. 2 movie market and justified the onslaught of U.S.-China co-productions geared toward gaining an extra foothold in the lucrative market. But it turns out there now may be a snag in that silver lining: Several studio sources are confirming that the Chinese government has not paid studios for their hits in that country for films released in 2012 and 2013, and an insider says that the MPAA recently stepped in to work on a deal with governing body China Film Group to pay U.S. studios for their share of Chinese grosses. Sister publication Variety reports that at the heart of the dispute is a value-added tax that the Chinese government is looking to impose that cuts into Hollywood’s 25% revenue share, and that the U.S. Trade Representative has stepped in with the MPAA to broker a solution. So far, though, no studios are willing to accept the lower payments in fear that it would validate China’s VAT proposal. A source close to the matter says the situation is “in flux at present”. Local films have gained market share in China this year, but Hollywood studios still see nothing but dollar signs when they look at China, so expect this one to get resolved quietly so as not to rock the boat. Stay tuned.
UPDATED, 8:07PM… Both sides are claiming victory — of course — in the battle over The Butler. As Deadline first reported Thursday and then updated this morning, the MPAA said tonight that its original ruling in the case went too far, and it has overturned the part that excluded the Weinstein Company from using the word “butler” in the title of its historical drama. The MPAA Appeals Board’s decision — read it here and decide for yourself — says TWC can use the word “butler” in the title, but all words in the title have to be of same size/prominence. If the company indeed decides to title the film Lee Daniels’ The Butler, though, “Lee Daniels” has to be 75% the size of “The Butler.” TWC has to pay $400,000 to the Entertainment Industry Foundation as sanctions for violating the July 2 award and must pay the charity $25,000 per day to for violating today’s award, which increases to $50,000 a day if they don’t issue new digital materials (trailers, TV ads, etc.) for the film by July 26 and new print materials by August. TWC also has to pay Warner Bros’ $150,000 in legal fees. Some background, for those who might have been on safari the past few weeks, after the jump:
If the MPAA was less diplomatic, it might have headlined its response to the Obama administration’s latest anti-piracy initiative, “Are You Kidding Me?” Even without the direct language, the studio lobby made it clear that it believes U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator Victoria Espinel served up thin gruel yesterday when she teamed with tech companies to promote voluntary best practices to reduce the flow of ad dollars to sites that traffic in pirated content. MPAA chief Chris Dodd called it “an incremental step forward that addresses only a narrow subset of the problem” and places “disproportionate amount of the burden on rights holders”. The response was a bit of a surprise: Just last month the MPAA praised the administration when it released its Joint Strategic Plan On Intellectual Property Enforcement, which called for voluntary initiatives to fight piracy. That was far less than Hollywood wanted last year when it lobbied Congress to pass tough anti-piracy legislation.
WASHINGTON – The Motion Picture Association of America, Inc. (MPAA) today announced that Shanna Winters has joined the organization as a Senior Vice President, Global Policy. In this newly-created position, Winters will oversee the day-to-day operation of the MPAA’s Global Policy team in addition to being responsible for a significant policy portfolio. She will report to Michael O’Leary, Senior Executive Vice President, Global Policy and External Affairs.
UPDATE, 9:04 AM: CBS This Morning‘s hosts read part of Warner Bros‘ statement on the air but not all of it. Here it is in full:
UPDATED: California state Attorney General Kamala Harris today announced criminal charges and the arraignment of three brothers who face up to five years in prison for operating an illegal website that allowed users to watch bootleg versions of copyrighted TV shows and movies. Hop Hoang, 26, Tony Hoang, 23, and Huynh Hoang, 20, were arraigned in Alameda County Superior Court today for allegedly operating the website mediamp4.com, which allowed users to illegally stream more than 1,000 copyrighted titles on computers and mobile devices. The three have each been charged with one count of conspiracy, four counts of receiving stolen property and one count of grand theft after their computers were seized.
Listen to (and share) episode 36 of our audio podcast Deadline Big Media With David Lieberman. Deadline’s Executive Editor talks with host David Bloom about Apple’s taxing day on Capitol Hill; whether production tax incentives pay off the way the MPAA says they do; and Marissa Mayer’s big gamble with Yahoo’s $1.1 billion Tumblr acquisition.
The new study provides some statistical ammo for those in the Commonwealth who like the tax break, and are still smarting from a state Department of Revenue report in March that raised questions about whether it makes sense. The …
WASHINGTON-Today, the Motion Picture Association of America, Inc (MPAA) announced the launch of www.WheretoWatch.org, a new website that will serve as a resource for audiences to access movies and TV shows seamlessly and legally. Today’s media landscape offers audiences the opportunity to watch movies and television shows in more ways than ever before, an environment created in part through a copyright system that empowers creativity and promotes innovation.
WASHINGTON – The Motion Picture Association of America, Inc. (MPAA) today announced key changes to its communications team, led by Executive Vice President for Global Communications Laura Nichols. Kate Bedingfield has been elevated to Vice President, Corporate Communications and will report to Nichols. In her new capacity, Bedingfield will serve as the association’s chief spokesperson and continue to be a critical player in developing and implementing communications strategy behind all of the MPAA’s policy priorities. Howard Gantman will assume a new role as Vice President, Global Strategic Communications. In this role, Gantman will focus on global message coordination and communication strategies for international initiatives, litigation, research and internal communications for the MPAA. He will also work with key stakeholders, entertainment industry alliances and other third parties on strategic communications priorities. Additionally, TJ Ducklo has been promoted to Deputy Director, Corporate Communications and will report to Bedingfield. In this newly created position, Ducklo will play a key role in advancing the association’s communications initiatives and assist Bedingfield with her responsibilities.
WASHINGTON — A new analysis released today on the economic impact of Marvel’s Iron Man 3 filming in North Carolina finds that the film is responsible for $179.8 million in spending and 2,043 jobs in the state. The analysis was conducted by MNP LLP and assesses the economic impact of the production filming in North Carolina between December 2011 and December 2012. The analysis also finds that the production is responsible for $104.1 million in labor income across North Carolina, and that spending associated with the film engaged 719 vendors in 84 communities across the state.
This is a taller order than the former Senator might realize: Theater owners are notoriously press shy. Still, he told CinemaCon attendees today that “it’s crucial for all of us to tell the story of our industry’s impact” …
LAS VEGAS – MPAA Chairman and CEO Senator Chris Dodd delivered remarks today at CinemaCon, the annual National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) convention. During his address, Senator Dodd together with NATO President John Fithian revealed a new campaign intended to remind parents about the important tools at their disposal which allow them to make educated decisions about content appropriate for their children.
The MPAA‘s yearly report on theatrical box office trends, out today, is a little more buoyant than it’s been in recent years. It shows global box office rising 6.4% to $34.7B last year, with the U.S. and Canada + …