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Global Showbiz Briefs: Smaller Chinese Cities Seeing Box-Office Boom; Wimbledon Studios Selling Off TV And Movie Sets

By | Wednesday June 12, 2013 @ 10:13pm PDT

Panjin Among ‘Fourth-Tier’ Chinese Cities Seeing Surge At Box Office
Like other so-called fourth-tier Chinese cities, Panjin is experiencing a box-office boom. Theaters there are selling nearly as many tickets in a month as they previously were in an entire year. It’s part of a growing trend that has smaller cities gaining momentum. According to figures from EntGroup Consulting and reported by China Daily, annual box-office revenues in the city near the Liaoning province jumped to $4.17M in 2012 from $432,000 the year prior. It also now has 40 screens compared to 19 in 2011. As of May 12, box office revenues in China for 2013 were up 39% with domestic pictures repping 63% of the total. Small and medium-sized cities were the major driving forces for those local films. EntGroup has said that in 2012, 284 third- and fourth-tier cities accounted for 34% ticket sales. That’s expected to jump to 42% by the end of 2015.

For Sale: Wimbledon Studios’ Movie And TV Sets
The UK’s Wimbledon Studios is rebooting an auction of film and TV sets after an attempt to sell them on eBay went awry. From June 21, suitors can bid on the House of Commons set from The Iron Lady and a replica court room and prison set, both featured on The Bill. They were initially sold on eBay for £123,400, … Read More »

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Producer Damian Jones Inks First-Look Pact With Pathé UK

By | Monday February 20, 2012 @ 9:55am PST

In a third first-look deal for the studio, Pathé UK has entered a pact with The Iron Lady producer Damian Jones’ DJ Films Limited. Jones’ producing credits also include Nicholas Hytner’s The History Boys, urban hit Kidulthood and Michael Winterbottom’s Welcome To Sarajevo. DJ Films is currently in post-production on sports drama Fast Girls. Pathé also has first-look agreements with Slumdog Millionaire and 127 Hours producer Christian Colson via his Cloud Eight Films and with Matt Wilkinson of Stigma Films, with whom the studio is developing a slate of genre titles.

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Argentines Take New Look At ‘The Iron Lady’

By | Saturday February 4, 2012 @ 5:35pm PST

Argentine moviegoers are seeing Margaret Thatcher from a different, perhaps more sympathetic perspective after “The Iron Lady” opened Thursday in Buenos Aires, according to Reuters. Thatcher was reviled among Argentines for her role in the 1982 war with Britain over the Falkland Islands. Argentine opposition lawmaker Gabriela Michetti said the film humanizes Thatcher. “You can see her youth, how much she fought against obstacles in a man’s world and as a grocer’s daughter … It’s the first time I see her this way.” Ernesto Alonso as a young conscript fought in Las Malvinas, as the Falklands are known in Spanish. “She was the harshest symbol of the policies of the empire,” Alonso said. “It’s important to see the war through a movie and see what kind of legacy this kind of character leaves behind.” Read More »

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UK’s Channel 4 To Invest Record £450M In Local Production, Scale Back On US Fare

By | Wednesday January 25, 2012 @ 9:39am PST

Britain’s Channel 4 has pledged to invest nearly £450 million towards original UK content in 2012, chief exec David Abraham announced today. The sum is an historic high for the network and should come as good news to the UK film industry where Channel 4 has lately been involved in such films as 2011’s local hit The Inbetweeners Movie as well as other notable indies Submarine, The Iron Lady, Shame and Tyrannosaur. It might not be such good news for US content creators, however, as Abraham noted the new spend is in part derived by pro-actively shifting some investment away from acquired, mainly US, programming, into UK commissioned content. A recent review of UK film policy urged Britain’s broadcasters to invest more in independent British film production with the head of the review committee noting Channel 4 had already done “pretty well by British film over the course of recent years,” Read More »

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Meryl Streep To Receive Berlin Festival’s Lifetime Achievement Golden Bear

The Berlin Film Festival is giving Meryl Streep a Valentine. Organizers today announced that on February 14 the festival will pay tribute to the actress with a Lifetime Achievement Golden Bear ahead of a screening of the Weinstein Co’s The Iron Lady. Streep has won prizes in Berlin before, beginning with the 1999 Berlinale Camera, which is given to friends and supporters of the festival. In 2003, she shared the best actress Silver Bear with Julianne Moore and Nicole Kidman for Stephen Daldry’s The Hours. A retrospective of some of her work will screen during the fest’s 62nd run from February 9-19 including Kramer Vs. Kramer, Sophie’s Choice, Out Of Africa, The Bridges Of Madison County and A Prairie Home Companion along with Phyllida Lloyd’s current Iron Lady, the latest film to put Streep in the midst of awards-season action.

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Hot Trailer: ‘The Iron Lady’

By | Thursday December 8, 2011 @ 7:35am PST

Another trailer has gone up for The Weinstein Company release The Iron Lady. Meryl Streep plays Margaret Thatcher who was prime minister of the UK from 1979 to 1990. Jim Broadbent plays her husband Denis Thatcher and Richard E. Grant is Conservative Party challenger Michael Heseltine. Directed by Phyllida Lloyd, screenplay by Abi Morgan. It opens December 30 in limited release.

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HAMMOND: Red Hot Best Actress Oscar Race Heats Up Even More As Meryl Streep’s ‘Iron Lady’ Screened

Pete Hammond

One of the last pieces of this year’s increasingly hot Best Actress race puzzle fell into place this week as The Weinstein Company unveiled Meryl Streep’s The Iron Lady at an exclusive media screening Tuesday night at the Warner Bros Screening Room in New York and Thursday morning for a handful of journalists at the 10-seat Weinstein Co. screening room at their new offices in Beverly Hills. Deadline was represented on both coasts. If there was any question about Streep’s viability as a major Oscar contender again this year, her performance as British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher will erase all doubts. Again she is extraordinary, absolutely capturing the essence of Thatcher in every way, but is particularly powerful in those scenes depicting her enveloping dementia. She shows a poignant side, not really known about this woman who rose to the top of an exclusive men’s club and triumphed for nearly 12 years in the top job in her country. Jim Broadbent as her husband Dennis also has his moments but the film, expertly directed by Mamma Mia’s Phyllida Lloyd, belongs to Meryl. Even in England where Thatcher is sooooo well known and dissected, both early reviews in The Guardian and Daily Telegraph are singing her praises.

Her unbelievable 17th Oscar nomination is assured and perhaps the only thing standing between her and a third Oscar is well, Streep herself. The problem is … Read More »

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Hot UK Trailer: ‘The Iron Lady’

By | Monday November 14, 2011 @ 12:13pm PST

The UK trailer for the Weinstein Co’s The Iron Lady hit the web today. It’s the best glimpse yet of Meryl Streep as Margret Thatcher, a performance that has positioned her as the Oscar Best Actress frontrunner. The biopic, directed by Phyllida Lloyd and co-starring Jim Broadbent, hits U.S. theaters on December 30.

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Meryl Streep’s ‘Iron Lady’ Gets End-Of-Year Release Date

Pete Hammond

EXCLUSIVE: Meryl Streep is waiting until almost the last possible minute to jump into this year’s Oscar race. Although many places list her Margaret Thatcher biopic The Iron Lady as a December 16 release, The Weinstein Company has decided it is best to keep us waiting a little longer. So the official opening date for the movie that co-stars Jim Broadbent and is directed by Phyllida Lloyd is now December 30 in a limited platform release, with a wider break to come on January 13 to cash in on those expected Golden Globe and Oscar nominations. Streep is expected to be a front-runner for lead actress, which would be her 14th nomination in that category and 17th overall (she has three in supporting) with two wins, the last coming in 1982 for Sophie’s Choice. The records she keeps breaking are her own. Although an impressive statistic, Streep likes to remind people she has also lost more times than any other actor in Oscar history. The closest competitor for number of Best Actress nods is Katharine Hepburn who stopped at 12 (although Kate’s ahead in the actual gold count with four wins).

Will her portrayal of Thatcher bring Streep that elusive third Oscar?  She has tough competition from potential nominees Michelle Williams as Marilyn Monroe in My Week With Marilyn, Glenn Close in Albert Nobbs, Charlize Theron in Young Adult, Viola Davis in The Help and Tilda Swinton in We Need To Talk About Kevin among others…. Read More »

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Hot Teaser: ‘The Iron Lady’

By | Thursday July 7, 2011 @ 11:17am PDT

On Tuesday, our Pete Hammond posited that Glenn Close has positioned herself to be a player in the Oscar Best Actress race with her new film Albert Nobbs, which is set to premiere during the fall’s awards season. Today comes the first look at the front-runner in that race: Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher in the Weinstein Co’s The Iron Lady, which is due out Dec. 16.

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CANNES: The Weinstein Company Parties (Twice) And Previews Its 2011 Film Slate

Pete Hammond

Still enjoying its post-King’s Speech Best Picture Oscar win from a couple of months ago, The Weinstein Company had plenty of reasons to party Friday night in Cannes, so they threw two soirees instead of just one. It was a packed main event at the Martinez, where the company showed clip reels of its burgeoning 2011 slate. COO David Glasser touted the company’s recent highlights and introduced a beaming Harvey Weinstein, who crowed (sorry) about the upcoming slate mentioning future hoped-for biggies including what he described as perhaps their biggest movie ever, Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained, and Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master. Deadline broke the news Friday of another potential winner that was mentioned, TWC’s acquisition of The Iron Lady, starring Meryl Streep as Britain’s only female Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, which TWC will release in the fall in time for Oscar. Then he showed some first looks of upcoming product including My Week With Marilyn, with Michelle Williams glammed up as the legendary Monroe (although it’s clearly a challenge to capture that particular magic) and Kenneth Branagh as Laurence Olivier. I talked to Williams on a phoner from London while she was making the film, and she had a really difficult time articulating the process she was going through. The task was obviously a daunting one, but I can’t wait to see what she does with it in the context of the whole film. I heard Branagh’s brilliant in it.

There were also clips from Our Idiot Brother, with Paul Rudd, and the last-minute Cannes competition entry The Artist, a black-and-white silent movie that will unspool in a prime Sunday night slot at the Palais. Harvey introduced it by saying his associates thought he was off his rocker for buying this black-and-white silent, “just like they thought I was when I did a film about a guy with a left foot and a British king who stutters.” At the party, he made a point of telling me to see the film as soon as possible here. The footage really made it look intriguing, full of old Hollywood pizzazz and style, so I will be checking it out bright and early Sunday morning at the first press screening. Weinstein clearly has a Harv-on for this one and also seemed high on a new comedy just wrapping production, I Don’t Know How She Does It starring Sarah Jessica Parker, Greg Kinnear and Pierce Brosnan. Parker was flown into Cannes for the event and introduced the clips herself. Also part of the proceedings was yet another recent acquisition announced in Cannes (these guys are busy) of Peter Ho-Sun Chan’s Martial Arts film noir, Dragon, which had its official Cannes premiere out of competition just after midnight. The director introduced the entire cast and promised something completely new in the genre. And just to keep the town hopping, Weinstein threw a second party later Friday to celebrate Dragon before their red-carpet stroll.

Elsewhere on Friday, the competition films got international with former Palme d’Or winner Nanni Moretti’s Read More »

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Cannes: Weinstein Company Acquires Rights To ‘The Iron Lady,’ With Meryl Streep As Margaret Thatcher

By | Friday May 13, 2011 @ 3:36am PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Another day on the Croisette brings another major distribution deal. After an all-night auction, The Weinstein Company emerged with U.S. distribution rights to The Iron Lady, the Pathe pic that stars Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher. I’m told the deal was worth near $7 million and that Weinstein Company made it with Ron Burkle and his Yucaipa banner. I’m also told that Alliance will distribute in Canada. I’d heard last night that the likes of Summit, Relativity Media and Fox Searchlight chased it. There were at least two bids on the table at $6 million.

Numerous bidders were in on the action after Pathe showed five minutes of footage here. Harvey Weinstein will definitely open the film during Oscar season, relying on another British politics tale after The King’s Speech won Best Picture honors last year. Weinstein, his lieutenant David Glasser and Burkle worked into the night to make the deal. It is the same partnership structure they employed when that made the Sundance acquisitions My Idiot Brother and The Details. For TWC, it has already been a busy fest. They acquired world rights to Paul Thomas Anderson’s next film before the fest started, made a quick acquisition of the black-and-white silent film The Artist, and they bought  the Chinese film Dragon, both official festival selections.

Streep reunites with her Mamma Mia! director Phyllida Lloyd in the Abi Morgan-scripted film that also stars Harry Lloyd, Richard E. Grant and Jim Broadbent.

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First Look: Meryl Streep As Mrs. Thatcher

By | Tuesday February 8, 2011 @ 4:13am PST

Pathé UK has released the first shot of Meryl Streep as British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Streep is in the 2nd week of filming The Iron Lady here in London. It’s the first feature from director Phyllida since she directed Streep in Mamma Mia. Jim Broadbent plays Thatcher’s husband Dennis. Damian Jones is the producer. Fox will release here in Britain through its output deal with Pathé, which is handling international sales itself. Pathé will unveil footage at Cannes. North American rights are still unsold. “I am trying to approach the role with as much zeal, fervour and attention to detail as the real Lady Thatcher possesses – I can only hope my stamina will begin to approach her own,” says Streep.

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