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.”
César Awards Set To Honor Scarlett Johansson
Some in France already have speculated that this year’s César Awards, the local equivalent to the Oscar, could be the most-watched ever thanks to a somewhat controversial nomination. The Académie des Arts et Techniques du Cinéma now has upped the star quotient, announcing this year’s honorary award will go to Scarlett Johansson. One of the younger recipients ever named, she will pick up the César d’Honneur at the 39th ceremony on February 28. After honoring a mix of international actors, directors and producers in the past, the Césars have gone strictly Anglo-Saxon in recent times. Recent honorees have included Kevin Costner, Kate Winslet, Quentin Tarantino, Harrison Ford and Dustin Hoffman.
‘Twilight’ Star Taylor Lautner Set To Star In BBC Three’s ‘Cuckoo’
Taylor Lautner is set to star in the second season of the BBC Three comedy Cuckoo. The first season of the series starring Greg Davies and Helen Baxendale also featured Brooklyn Nine-Nine‘s Andy Samberg as the title character, who went missing in the mountains. The Twilight star’s casting as a handsome and mysterious young stranger who appears in town fills that void. Cuckoo was the biggest comedy launch in the channel’s history and was nominated for two British Comedy Awards. Davies also was nominated for Best Male Comedy Performance at the BAFTAs. Created by Robin French and Kieron Quirke, Cuckoo is produced by Rough Cut Television and will be directed by Ben Taylor.
ITV Studios Drama ‘Chasing Shadows’ Sets Cast
Reece Shearsmith, Alex Kingston and Noel Clarke are set to star in Chasing Shadows, a four-part drama from ITV Studios about a missing persons field unit charged with tracking down serial killers who prey on impressionable and vulnerable people. The series, created and written by Rob Williams, is due to begin filming in England shortly for eight weeks. Francis Hopkinson is the executive producer, Rob Bullock will produce, and Christopher Menaul will direct the first two-episode self-contained story, “Only Connect.” Jim O’Hanlon directs the second story. “Off Radar.”
Zodiak Rights Takes Int’l Distribution On Russian Biopic ‘Legend No. 17’
Zodiak Rights has acquired international distribution rights to the hit feature Legend No. 17, a biopic of 1970s Russian hockey legend Valeri Kharlamov. Directed by Nikolay Lebedev, the film won six Golden Eagles Awards including best picture and is the second-highest-grossing Russian film of all time with $30M. Produced by Three T Productions, Legend 17 star Danila Kozlovsky and Oleg Menshikov.
LoveFilm, WBITD Prep German SVOD Deal Featuring Kids Classics
Amazon’s LoveFilm and Warner Bros International Television Distribution announced Tuesday a German subscription video on demand deal to stream several popular kids shows from Warner Bros Animation. The newly added SVOD titles include cartoon classics Tom And Jerry and The Sylvester And Tweety Show, Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!, The Flintstones and the comic adaption of horror-comedy Beetlejuice.