Walter Parkes, Laurie MacDonald Prep Documentary On Malala Yousafzai
Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald are to produce a feature-length documentary chronicling the story of 15-year-old Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani student who last year survived a brutal assassination attempt by the Taliban. Davis Guggenheim is directing the film that’s financed by Image Nation Abu Dhabi. Yousafzai was shot in the head and neck by gunmen who targeted her for speaking out on behalf of education for girls in her community. She recovered in Birmingham, England, and became the youngest person ever nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. Parkes says, “There are few stories Laurie and I have ever come across that are as compelling, urgent or important as the real-life struggle of Malala and her father Ziauddin on behalf of universal education for children. It is an honor and a privilege to be able to try to bring the lives of these extraordinary people to the screen.” The film will debut in theatrical release in late 2014. Yousafzai is repped by Ron Bernstein of ICM on behalf of Karolina Sutton at Curtis Brown.
Coach Danny O’Donoghue Exits ‘The Voice UK’
BBC One’s The Voice UK has lost last season’s winning coach Danny O’Donoghue. The Irish musician will not be returning to the show due to recording commitments with his alt-rock band The Script. Coach Jessie J also recently ankled, citing her wish to make her music career a priority. The BBC will announce new coaches in “due course.” The Voice UK and Simon Cowell’s rival show Britain’s Got Talent got off to a rocky start last season as they jockeyed for prime Saturday night positioning. Ultimately, they settled into slots that allowed each breathing room, though The Voice ended its season with an average 7.24M viewers during the finale while BGT scored an average 11.1M. Meanwhile, the local Chinese version of the franchise, The Voice Of China, has set record ratings in its second season, which kicked off last Friday on Zhejiang Satellite TV. According to CSM Media Research statistics cited by China.org, the show had an average 3.62% share to make it the highest score ever for a show premiere. The live stream of the premiere was seen by 2.15M users on video site Sohu while a further 31.42M users played the show’s videos a total 120M times in 48 hours.
South Korea’s First 3D Pic Set For Release This Week
South Korea’s first fully 3D film, Mr. Go, will bow in both China and South Korea this week. Using low-cost special effects, the Chinese-South Korean co-production is directed by Kim Yong-hwa. According to Shanghai Daily, the production team created software to process large amounts of data for more than 1,000 FX shots, reducing the budget to about 10% of most Hollywood movies. The comedy focuses on a baseball-playing gorilla who becomes a superstar when he joins a professional team. China is also getting a taste of French comedy this week with the release of Houba! On The Trail Of The Marsupilami. The film was originally released in April 2012 in France and ended up as the No. 3 film of the year with more than 5M tickets sold. Alain Chabat directed the comic book adaptation about a reporter arriving in a country called Palombia in search of headline news. Jamel Debbouze and Chabat star.
André Rieu Concert Sets Record For UK’s CinemaLive
The UK’s CinemaLive broke a record this past weekend with André Rieu’s 2013 Maastricht Concert. The music concert was released into moviehouses in the UK, Ireland and elsewhere and scored the biggest opening weekend gross for such an event ever. According to Rentrak, the concert brought in £448,786 in 257 theaters across the UK and Ireland and a further 77 sites across Europe. The satellite broadcast was also seen in Australia and New Zealand. The concert will next be shown in a further 400 cinemas across the world, including Canada, the U.S., Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Colombia and France.
Holland’s Eyeworks Acquires Nordisk Film TV Finland
Netherlands-headquartered group Eyeworks is expanding its holdings in Scandinavia with the acquisition of Nordisk Film TV Finland. Eyeworks, which is behind such international formats as Celebrity Splash, also has outposts in Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Spain, Portugal, New Zealand, Australia and the U.S., where it produces reality series that include Extreme Weight Loss and Bar Rescue. Nordisk Film TV Finland is best known locally for reality series A Little Bit Of Fixing, ski resort show Ylläs and dating format Love Connection. It also has produced local versions of The Great Bake Off, Who Do You Think You Are? and Celebrity Wedding Planner, among others. The company will now become Eyeworks Finland and remain based in Helsinki where Antti Väisänen has been appointed managing director. Financial terms were not disclosed. The Nordic region is a hotbed of activity with a particular recent focus on Finland. ITV is already active there and is said to be mulling a potential £90M takeover of Helsinki-based pan-European group Nice Entertainment. Eyeworks was founded in The Netherlands in 2001 by Reinout Oerlemans and produces programs for over 100 different channels across 16 territories.
Frantic Films Signs First-Look Deal With Pamela Thomas
Canadian producer Frantic Films has entered into a first-look deal with comedy veteran Pamela Thomas. Her more than two decades in the TV business include working on both scripted and reality programs for such outlets as NBC, HBO, VH1, Showtime, CBC, The Comedy Network and Lifetime. “We are very fortunate to have someone of Pamela’s caliber work with our team,” Frantic CEO Jamie Brown said. “She will be a huge asset as we as we build on our success in comedy and advance new projects in production and funded development.”