Aeon Buys Out WB Stake In Japan Cinemas
Japanese retail giant Aeon Group will acquire Warner Bros Entertainment’s 50% stake in the Japanese theater circuit Warner Mycal, Film Business Asia reports. A major exhibitor in Japan with 60 theaters and 496 screens, Warner Mycal was launched in 1993 as a partnership of Warner and Aeon, which was known at the time as Mycal. Aeon’s purchase is expected to close in February or March. Aeon separately owns some 70 complexes with 600 screens. Bringing the Warner Mycal theaters under its wholly owned umbrella is expected to make Aeon the largest movie theatre operator in Japan. Current market leader is Toho Cinemas. Aeon did not disclose the value of Warner Mycal. Warner Bros International Cinemas has been a multiplex cinema pioneer, opening more than 170 theatres with almost 1,600 screens in 11 countries including Portugal, Japan, Holland, Italy, China, and Taiwan. Most have been sold to local companies.

Anger Management’ Sold To Comedy Central India
Comedy Central India has snagged exclusive rights to Lionsgate’s Anger Management starring Charlie Sheen, Selma Blair and Shawnee Smith. The series’ success in its 10-episode initial season led to a 90-episode back order. Lionsgate International Television has already sold the series in more than a dozen territories worldwide including Canada, Latin America, the UK, Scandinavia, Australia/New Zealand, Germany, Benelux, Poland, Spain and South Africa. Lionsgate’s Debmar-Mercury syndication arm distributes the show in the U.S. where it airs on FX and has been sold into syndication to the Fox Station Group.

Warner Bros. Pacts With Australia’s Foxtel Movies
Paybox Foxtel has added Warner Bros. to its list of suppliers for its new movies and drama platform which launches January 1. WB joins Roadshow (which signed up earlier this week) and NBCUniversal, Paramount, Sony and Fox, which came on board after selling their jointly owned Showtime channels to Foxtel in October. That leaves Disney and MGM as the only studios yet to sign up, plus the Australian independents including Hopscotch eOne, Hoyts Studiocanal, Icon and Transmission. Foxtel said it would announce further deals in early 2013. The Foxtel Movies & Premium Drama service replaces the competing services Showtime and The Movie Network, the latter owned by WB, Disney, Roadshow and MGM. It will feature Foxtel Movies Premiere, six genre-based channels (action/adventure, comedy, drama/romance, family, thriller/crime and Masterpiece), showcase: the home of HBO, and World Movies. Subscribers will pay $32 ($33.50) per month, the same cost as for those who subscribed to the two outgoing services, but Foxtel has flagged re-pricing initiatives next year. – Don Groves.

BBC’s Liam Keelan Joins Sky 1
Former BBC Daytime Controller Liam Keelan has been named director of Sky 1 HD following Stuart Murphy’s elevation to overseeing overseeing Sky’s entertainment portfolio Sky 1, Sky Living, Sky Atlantic, Sky Arts, Challenge and Pick TV. Sky has commited £600 million ($975 million) for UK content and production across all Sky channels by 2014. Sky 1 has received numerous accolades this year from BAFTA and British Comedy Awards, among others.