Canal Plus Eyes Vincent Bollore’s Channels In Free TV Push
Vivendi’s Canal Plus said today it is working to take a majority stake in channels owned by French billionaire Vincent Bollore, as part of a push into free TV. Its proposed deal would give Canal Plus 60% of Direct 8 and music-focused Direct Star in exchange for Vivendi shares. Canal Plus has an option to buy the remainder within the next three years, its head Bertrand Meheut told French daily Les Echos. The deal, subject to approval by the government and employee reps, values the Bollore assets at about $650M. Canal Plus wants to defend itself against new players in France such as Netflix, Google and Apple.

WB’s ‘Great Gatsby’ Adds Indian Icon Amitabh Bachchan
Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan is making his Hollywood debut in Warner Bros’ new adaptation of The Great Gatsby. He’ll play Meyer Wolfsheim, a Jewish man described as a gambler in F Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel. The $126M film, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and directed by Baz Luhrmann, has begun shooting in Australia. Bachchan, 68, has acted in more than 180 Indian films over a 40-year period. He remains Indian’s most popular actor and recently returned as the celebrity host of the Indian version of Who Wants to Be A Millionaire.

Pusan Festival Will Be Opener For Cinema Center
Song Il-gon’s Always will open the 16th Pusan International Film Festival in one of 135 premieres announced today in Seoul. There will be 307 films from 70 countries shown during the festival, which runs Oct 6-14. The festival will also be the opening event for the Pusan Cinema Center and its 4,000-seat outdoor arena. Guests will include previously announced Asian Filmmaker of the Year Tsui Hark; directors Yonfan, Luc Besson, Johnnie To, Amir Naderi and Iwai Shunji; and actors Michelle Yeoh, Odagiri Joe and Isabelle Huppert. The festival will close with the Japanese film Chronicle Of My Mother.

RealD Will Fit Another 100 Chinese Theaters For 3D
L.A.-based RealD has signed on another Chinese theater chain for 3D cinema upgrades. The company said today that SHIMAO Cinema Investment Co will install its technology on 100 screens and have an option to convert another 400 in the future. RealD cut a similar deal with China’s SAGA Luxury Cinemas last month, and said its technology is currently utilized on 400 screens in China, with commitments for 1,000 screens across the country.