It’s The Old Consult-On-A-Movie-About-Maritime-Piracy Trick
If this real-life tale were pitched as a movie, it might go something like this: “Imagine Argo meets Captain Phillips, with a little In Bruges thrown in.” Mohamed Abdi Hassan, an alleged pirate mastermind, was arrested during the weekend after arriving in Belgium from Nairobi. He was led there by the belief that he was signing a deal to act as an expert adviser on a documentary about the Somali piracy business. Instead, he was met by authorities, who arrested him. Hassan, aka Afweyne or “Big Mouth”, was charged with hijacking the Belgian ship Pompei in 2009 and kidnapping its crew, per the Associated Press. Some of the pirates involved in that attack were caught and convicted, but Hassan remained at large. When he evaded capture in Malaysia in 2012, Belgian authorities took the undercover route and approached an alleged accomplice, Mohamed Aden, saying they wanted Hassan to “collaborate as adviser and expert in the matter on a film about maritime piracy,” federal prosecutor Johan Delmulle told The New York Times. After months of back-and-forth, Hassan and Aden agreed to travel to Belgium. When they arrived on Saturday, they were arrested and sent to Bruges for a court hearing. Today, the hearing was pushed to October 30.
‘Now You See Me’ Opens Atop Chinese Box Office With $9.1M
Heist pic Now You See Me was No. 1 at the Chinese box office over the weekend. The film about a group of magicians who pull off a complex caper made $9.1M in its first four days of release over the local holiday, FilmBizAsia reports. Local pic Love Will Tear Us Apart opened with $5.21M in its first two days and in its third weekend, Tsui Hark’s Young Detective Dee: Rise Of The Sea Dragon took a further $6.93M for a cume of $88.7M, outperforming Hark’s last pic, 2011’s Flying Swords Of Dragon Gate.
Ireland Makes Budget Changes Aimed At Luring More Major Film Shoots
The Irish Film Board is cheering new budget measures that make Ireland more attractive for Hollywood stars to film in the country. In an effort to keep up with changes made to the UK’s tax program last year, Ireland plans to allow production companies to include payments made to non-European Union actors and crew as eligible spend. Currently, only EU actors, directors and other personnel are eligible. The government hopes the measure, which takes effect in 2015, will lure more major film productions to the Emerald Isle.
Classic BBC Cartoon Series ‘Clangers’ Revived
Classic BBC cartoon Clangers is making a comeback. The eponymous pink mouse-shaped creatures first appeared on the BBC in 1969 and now, via a £5M deal, will be revived in a new series of 52 episodes. The project is a co-production from the BBC and U.S.-based Sprout, along with UK companies Coolabi and Smallfilms and BBC Worldwide, which has international distribution. A 2015 premiere is planned for the show about the characters who live on a small blue planet not far from Earth. The Smallfilms series, originally created by Peter Firmin and Oliver Postgate, will be produced in stop-motion animation by Factory Transmedia and puppet makers and producers Mackinnon and Saunders, whose credits include Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride and Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr. Fox. Firmin and Oliver Postgate’s son Daniel will executive produce.
‘The Great British Bake Off’ Moving To BBC One
BBC Two’s The Great British Bake Off is getting a promotion. The popular primetime show will move over to flagship channel BBC One starting with its fifth season next year. The Love Productions series launched in 2010 and has grown to record ratings. The current Season 4 is averaging 7M viewers for a 27.7% share. The competition show sees experts Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood judge the talents of amateur bakers over a series of challenges until there are three left who compete for the title.
Sony Pictures TV Networks Launching Animax As VOD Service In UK
Sony Pictures Television Networks is launching a UK version of its anime channel, Animax, as a subscription VOD service. In line with the launch, SPT Networks UK also has made a multi-year deal with VIZ Media to secure exclusive content for the new service including thrillers Death Note and Vampire Nights and pirate tale Black Lagoon. Animax currently reaches 60M households in 17 countries. The UK SVOD service will launch in the fall at animaxtv.co.uk and is expected to roll out on further platforms and devices soon after.
‘Celebrity Splash’ Headed To Greece Via Antenna Television
Greece’s Antenna Television is diving into Celebrity Splash. In a deal with Eyeworks, the leading broadcaster will produce a local adaptation of the format. This will be the 20th local version of the show within one year of diving into the international market. It aired on ABC in the U.S. earlier this year, on ITV in the UK, Telefe in Argentina and Nelonen in Finland, among others.
Endemol Ups Ingrid Akkerman To Director of Brand Relations
Endemol has appointed Ingrid Akkerman to the newly created post of Director of Brand Relations. Akkerman is transitioning from the post of Senior Manager of Format Distribution. She’ll work with Endemol’s commercial teams around the world in rolling out local brand partnerships and managing multi-territory deals. Her remit will include sponsorship, product placement and brand integration across TV, mobile, social media and online content. Akkerman joined Endemol in 2002.