Not So Fast: China Says It Isn’t Increasing Movie Quota
Contrary to reports earlier this week, China is not planning to increase its quota on films imported from Hollywood. Official state news agency Xinhua said Tuesday that the quota will remain unchanged at 34, citing an official with the country’s film governing body, SAPPRFT. In February 2012, China and the U.S. signed a pact to increase the number of films approved for theatrical release in China from 20 to 34. The parties also agreed on an increased revenue share of 25%. In the first year the change was implemented, local Chinese films lost market share but since have rebounded strongly with about 58.7% of box office takings in 2013. In a statement on Monday, MPA Asia chief Mike Ellis said the org was unaware of any official plans on changing the quota system but noted that the belief that an open market “best serves filmmakers and audiences alike. … Removing the quota for international films is something we’ve been advocating for some time and would provide the widest possible movie experience for audiences while benefiting the Chinese screen community and our member studios.”
Global Showbiz Briefs: China Says Not Raising Film Quota; César Awards To Honor Scarlett Johansson; Taylor Lautner To BBC3
Not So Fast: China Says It Isn’t Increasing Movie Quota
Former BBC Worldwide president and managing director Steve Macallister has been appointed CEO Zodiak Rights, the international sales and distribution arm of Zodiak Media. The exec is replacing Matthew Frank who is stepping down after 20 years. Frank originally joined the group when it was fledgling indie RDF which was founded by his brother David Frank. RDF was acquired in 2010 by Zodiak and became Zodiak Rights. David Frank left the role of CEO of Zodiak Media in October 2013 and was replaced by Marc-Antoine d’Halluin. Commenting on the departing Matthew Frank, d’Halluin said, “The scale of what Matthew has achieved over the last 20 years is remarkable, and I know he will be missed on both a professional and personal level and I wish him all the best. He leaves behind an incredibly successful and reputable business and I have every confidence that Steve will now take the company to its next phase.” Macallister joined BBC Worldwide in 2007 and prior to that managed the distribution business for Disney ABC International Television in Asia Pacific. He left the BBC in March 2013 as the commercial arm was shifting the management of sales and distribution to the regional level. Zodiak Media’s properties include Millennium, Wife Swap, The Inbetweeners, Totally Spies and The Returned.
Zodiak Rights, the international distribution arm of Zodiak Media, has named Caroline Torrance as its new Head of International Scripted. Torrance will run the scripted sales team in Paris and work with in-house and external producers on developing drama and comedy co-productions. She joins from BBC Worldwide where her title was Director of Scripted, Content and Production. Zodiak’s scripted production companies include Wallander producer Yellow Bird, The Inbetweeners producer Bwark and Paris-based Marathon which produces the long-running serial St. Tropez.
First it was a somewhat obscure 2004 movie that sold 32,000 tickets in France, then it became a French TV show that sold around the world and is being adapted into a U.S. series. Now, it’s getting the novelization treatment. Pan Macmillan has acquired worldwide publishing rights to The Returned (Les Revenants/Rebound) in a six-figure deal. Author Seth Patrick will develop two books based on storylines from the show’s first two seasons, although Season 2 won’t film until the second half of next year. Patrick wrote the supernatural horror/thriller trilogy Reviver, which was optioned by Legendary Entertainment. The first Returned novel will be published in the fall of 2014. A big hit on France’s Canal Plus, the series crossed the Channel to air in French with English subtitles in the UK and is also getting an original run in the U.S. on Sundance Channel – rare for a foreign-language program. A&E Network nabbed rights for an American remake to be developed as a co-production between A+E Studios and FremantleMedia North America. Deadline reported last month that Lost and Bates Motel‘s Carlton Cuse is in discussions about taking on the adaptation. The story focuses on a small town that is turned upside down when several local people who have been long presumed dead suddenly reappear, having not aged and unaware of their own fatality.
In what will be the first fully-subtitled drama to air on the UK’s Channel 4 in 20 years, the net has acquired premiere broadcast rights to French supernatural series Les Revenants. Zodiak is handling international sales on the thriller that was produced by Haut et Court for Canal Plus and originally aired to record numbers last fall. The show, re-titled Rebound in the UK, centers on a group of people in a small Alpine village who find themselves in a state of confusion, trying to return to their homes. What they don’t yet know is that they’ve been dead for several years, and no one is expecting them back. Fabrice Gobert created the show based on the 2004 feature Les Revenants by Robin Campillo. Anne Consigny, Clotilde Hesme, Celine Sallette, Frederic Pierrot, Samir Guesmi and Guillaume Gouix star.
The UK is no stranger to subtitled fare – BBC Four airs such imported shows as Sweden’s Wallander, Denmark’s Borgen and Italy’s Inspector Montalbano. But the Rebound deal marks the second time in recent months that there’s been cross-Channel collaboration on a series. Sky Atlantic and Canal Plus started shooting last month on The Tunnel, the 10-part bilingual English-French adaptation of Scandinavian cop series The Bridge.
Zodiak Rights, the international distribution and rights exploitation arm of Zodiak Media, has hired Janet Robinson as VP Sales & Acquisitions, North America, where she will focus on selling Zodiak Media’s unscripted programs to the U.S. and Canada. She will be based in Zodiak’s LA office and report to Glen Hansen, SVP Sales, Acquisitions & Co-Productions, North America. Previously, Robinson was Sales Manager at ITV Global Entertainment, where she managed sales and programming revenues across North America and the company’s distribution partnership with Animal Planet/Discovery Enterprises.