France’s Studiocanal will co-finance the upcoming adaptation of Macbeth that has Michael Fassbender and Natalie Portman toplining. Snowtown‘s Justin Kurzel is directing from a script by Todd Luiso and Jacob Koskoff. Principal photography starts in January in the UK. See-Saw’s Iain Canning and Emile Sherman will produce the project that was developed with Film4 who’s also a co-financier. Studiocanal takes distribution rights in the UK, France and Germany and will start international sales in Cannes. The company recently backed the Coen brothers’ Cannes competition title Inside Llewyn Davis.
Global Showbiz Briefs: Searching For ‘Wicker Man’, Londoño Upped At Fox Int’l Channels, Chinese Authorities Eyeing Zhang
UK distributor StudioCanal has launched a worldwide appeal to locate original film materials relating to the 1973 horror classic The Wicker Man. This year is the Robin Hardy-directed film’s 40th anniversary, and StudioCanal is aiming to release the most complete version of the film possible. The Christopher Lee starrer originally was released with minimal promotion as the second feature of a double bill with Don’t Look Now. The version shown was significantly shorter than Hardy’s original. The negatives then disappeared from storage at Shepperton Studios and allegedly were used as landfill in the construction of the nearby M4 highway, and are considered lost forever. The company is appealing to film collectors, historians, programmers and fans to support the campaign and come forward with any information relating to the potential whereabouts of original materials.
Londoño Upped At Fox International Channels
Fox International Channels has appointed Diego Londoño as COO of its European and African units. He will take over the new post immediately and retain his role as president of FIC Italy and Germany. The appointment adds decision-making responsibilities across pan-European and African programming, production, branding, communications, research and strategy to his responsibilities. Londoño, a 15-year veteran of FIC, will be charged with strengthening and expanding the company’s portfolio and exploring new growth areas.
Cannes Briefs: Ed Westwick Joins ‘Bone In The Throat’; Jessica Chastain Hosting ‘Cleopatra’ Event; 108 Media’s ‘Jug Face’; Wild Bunch Ups Carole Baraton; More
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Ed Westwick Has A ‘Bone In The Throat’
EXCLUSIVE: Ed Westwick will play the lead in the film adaptation of Anthony Bourdain’s foodie noir thriller novel Bone In The Throat. Burn Gorman (The Dark Knight Rises, Revenge) and Liam Cunningham (Game Of Thrones) have also joined the cast of the film to be helmed by commercials director Graham Henman in his feature debut. He co-wrote the screenplay with Mark Townend. Lenny Beckerman and Peter Heslop are producing the story of a sous-chef at the hottest restaurant in London’s East End who becomes embroiled in his uncle’s underground mob activity when he witnesses him commit a murder. Executive producer Maggie Monteith of Dignity Film Finance is backing the picture set to shoot in London in the fall. Westwick is repped by Michael Hallett at Emptage Hallet. Cunningham and Gorman are repped by Management 360 and the UK’s Independent Talent.
Fox, Bulgari Roll Out Red Carpet For Cannes ‘Cleopatra’
Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment is partnering with jeweler Bulgari to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s legendary Cleopatra. A restored 243-minute version will have its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival on May 21, hosted by Jessica Chastain and attended by members of the families of stars Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. The screening will be followed by a reception featuring pieces on display from Taylor’s personal jewelry collection. The exhibition also will include original costumes from the film which are on loan from Cinecittà. Following the Cannes premiere, Twentieth Century Fox will release Cleopatra in limited theatrical engagements in more than 200 theaters around the world. The 50th anniversary Blu-ray Cleopatra debuts May 28.
BREAKING: StudioCanal has filed suit against Universal Pictures alleging failure to honor fiduciary and contractual responsibilities in their longtime joint venture to fund movies produced by Working Title Films. StudioCanal says Universal owes “tens of millions of dollars and likely much more” as a result of an October 2012 audit of the joint venture’s development and overhead expenses on six of 44 movies made through the joint venture. The audit of the expenses, which according to the suit were managed by Universal, revealed that it had hidden certain off-balance sheet financing arrangements and misreported ancillary revenue from music publishing and other sources. The suit (read it here) also claims Universal double-charged the partnership for producing and other fees paid to Working Title without StudioCanal’s approval and deducted millions of dollars in unsubstantiated expenses before reporting results to StudioCanal. ”
StudioCanal says it has attempted unsuccessfully to discuss the audit and claims with Universal. StudioCanal executives flew to LA from Paris in late October for what they believed based on emails was a scheduled meeting with Universal’s team to discuss the situation. When they arrived, the Universal execs claimed they didn’t know anything about such plans, according to the suit. After that meeting Universal stopped providing accounting statements and payments, and StudioCanal alleges that subsequent attempts to communicate with Universal have proved similarly fruitless: “Universal is behaving as if its partner StudioCanal does not even exist”. The suit says Universal’s lack of cooperation has forced StudioCanal to litigate the matter.
EFM Roundup: ‘Rising Star’ At Content; Studiocanal Selling French ‘Starbuck’ Redo; 108 Media’s ‘Honour’
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Content Hooks ‘Rising Star’
Content Film will handle sales on romantic comedy/drama Rising Star at the EFM. Marty Lang won the Best Premier at the Seattle True Independent Film Festival last year with the …
‘Great Expectations’ To Close London Fest
In addition to screening next month in Toronto, director Mike Newell’s version of Great Expections has been selected as the closing night presentation of the 56th BFI London Film Festival. The Dickens classic adapted by David Nicholls will screen October 21 at the Odeon Leicester Square. It stars Helena Bonham Carter, Ralph Fiennes and Jeremy Irvine as Pip, the orphan who’s given a chance to rise from humble beginnings owing to a mysterious benefactor. It also stars Holliday Grainger, Robbie Coltrane, Ewen Bremner, Jason Flemyng, Sally Hawkins, David Walliams and Tamzin Outhwaite. Great Expectations is produced by Number 9 Films partners Elizabeth Karlsen and Stephen Woolley. Producers for Unison Films are Emanuel Michael and David Faigenblum. The movie was financed by BBC Films, the BFI Film Fund, Lipsync Productions, Unison Films and Hart/Lunsford Pictures.
HBO Launches Web-Only Service In Nordic Markets
HBO will launch a streaming service in Nordic countries that won’t require customers to be signed up with a cable or satellite pay TV. HBO Nordic, a joint venture between Time Warner’s HBO and Parsifal International, will roll out both a premium TV service and the Web service in Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland from mid-October. HBONordic.com compete with with Netflix which is expected to launche its own Nordic streaming service soon. All of HBO’s shows including Game of Thrones and Boardwalk Empire will be available on the HBO Nordic streaming service for less than 10 euros (about $12.50) a month. In the U.S. HBO has resisted consumer calls to offer HBO Go online without requiring subscriptions to cable or satellite packages. Meanwhile the company is roling out HBO Go on-demand movies to subscribers in nine European countries.
StudioCanal Acquires Hoyts Distribution Down Under
European production and distribution giant StudioCanal has expanded its footprint to Australia and New Zealand, acquiring Hoyts Distribution, which releases the Twilight franchise Down Under. Hoyts Corp, which owns the second-biggest circuit in Australasia, had been looking to unload its distribution unit before The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 opens here in November. No price was disclosed for the 11-year-old distribution company, which has a library of more than 120 titles, but industry executives estimated it would have fetched $A20 million-$A30 million. The existing team led by CEO Robert Slaviero remains in place.
Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF), a leading global entertainment company, and media giant STUDIOCANAL have extended and expanded their partnership with a longterm renewal of the agreement under which Lionsgate distributes the STUDIOCANAL library of more than 2,000 titles as well as a new agreement for STUDIOCANAL to distribute the next installment of THE HUNGER GAMES franchise, CATCHING FIRE, in the German speaking territories, the two companies announced today at the Cannes Film Festival.
March 20 2012: STUDIOCANAL announced today that Robb Smith has been promoted to Chief Operating Officer of the UK operations (reporting to CEO Danny Perkins), and to Executive Vice President Global Digital Strategy (reporting to Matthieu Zeller).
Having joined the company in 2009, Robb Smith was previously STUDIOCANAL’s Head of Television & New Media in the UK, and Executive Vice President, International Television.
As COO of the UK operations, Robb Smith will be responsible for the management and growth of STUDIOCANAL’s home entertainment, television and new media businesses on the UK market.
As craftily built co-productions become increasingly attractive, Studiocanal executive Léonard Glowinski is moving on to launch Paris-based production structuring and financing group 22h22. Glowinski, who started out as a banker for BNP Media in the 90s, spent 10 years at Pathé before joining Studiocanal in 2009 as head of French and European productions. He tells me the new company will bring European backing to international producers on films with substantial budgets in order to best optimize financing and reduce risk. He intends to work with a small number of films from the outset, creating co-production packages that take advantage of the various mechanisms available throughout Europe including subsidies, local incentives and private equity. Films that Glowinski had a hand in structuring at Pathé include Oliver Stone’s Alexander, box office hit Asterix And Obelix At The Olympic Games and Julian Schnabel’s The Diving Bell And The Butterfly which he executive produced. At Studiocanal, he was involved in putting together Liam Neeson-starrer Unknown and Oscar nominee Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.
Legendary horror studio Hammer has announced a global restoration project for its library of films. In partnership with Studiocanal, Pinewood and other international players, more than 30 films will be revamped in HD for Blu-ray and other new media supports. Hammer’s original U.S. production partners, 20th Century Fox, Warner Bros and Paramount, are also participating in the project. The first title to be released is Dracula Prince Of Darkness, which will go out in March in the UK. The studio was founded in 1934 and went on to make such titles as The Plague Of The Zombies, Frankenstein Created Woman, The Witches and The Mummy. Since 2008, it’s been a division of the Exclusive Media Group. After ceasing production in the 1980s, Hammer returned to features in 2010 with Matt Reeves’ adaptation of Swedish hit Let Me In. This year, it will release Daniel Radcliffe-starrer The Woman In Black. Here’s the release: