Bridget Jones’s Baby is due to become the first film in the three-part franchise to be released theatrically in China. The movie has been set for January 1 in the Middle Kingdom, after a global run that has seen it grow to $212.8M to date. Universal, Miramax and Studiocanal’s presentation of the Working Title film originally released in September, underperforming in North America but making a bundle internationally.
The Sharon Maguire-helmed pic went on to become the No. 1 movie of 2016 at the UK box office with £47.6M ($61M). It’s also the biggest romantic comedy ever in the market and the No. 2 comedy of all time. The return of Renée Zellweger and Colin Firth, along with series newcomer Patrick Dempsey, has grossed upward of $188.6M internationally and will look to put a little more dosh in the buggy with the PROC release. The January 1 date will be competitive with the opening of Jackie Chan starrer Railroad Tigers on December 30, but the Bridget Jones characters and stories are well-known in China.
Helmut Kautner’s Schwarzer Kies, Felipe Cazals Canoa and Rafi Bukaee’s Avanti Popolo will be three of the titles screening in the Berlin Film Festival’s Berlinale Classics strand in February. The first films within the retrospective section, which was established in 2013 and sees newly digitized versions of classic and new titles, were announced by the fest on Monday. Schwarzer Kies, made in 1961, took a pessimistic view of society in postwar Germany until Kautner re-edited the film for the German market to give it a less gloomy ending. It’s the original that has been digitized. Mexican title Canoa won a Silver Bear in 1976 at Berlinale and has been digitally restored in honor of its 40th anniversary. The story is based on true events that took place in 1968 when a young group of college students become stranded in a remote village during a weekend outing. Israeli title Avanti Popolo is a 1968 tragicomedy about the absurdity of war and was selected as Israel’s Oscar Foreign Language selection in 1987. The full Berlinale Classics program will be in announced in January. The fest runs February 9-17.
Discovery Communications has made an investment in digital media and branded-content company Batanga Media, forming a strategic partnership. Batanga is the largest company of its kind for Latin America and the U.S. Hispanic market with a monthly social reach of more than 215 million, including a strong millennial base. Discovery says the deal will enable it to “super serve” its consumers throughout Latin America and give advertisers the opportunity to reach their desired audience cross-platform via linear, digital and social. Enrique Martínez, President and Managing Director of Discovery Networks Latin America/US Hispanic, and Michael Bremer, CFO & COO of Discovery Networks Latin America/US Hispanic, will join the Batanga Media Board. In addition to Discovery, Batanga Media’s other major investors include HarbourVest Partners, H.I.G. Ventures and Tudor Ventures.
BBC Worldwide has named Anna Rafferty to take on the new role of Director of Digital Marketing. She will be responsible for seeing the BBC commercial and international arm’s overarching digital plans for major marketing launches, its branded services such as BBC Brit, BBC Earth and BBC First, as well as franchises such as Top Gear and Doctor Who. She will be tasked with developing the BBC’s direct-to-consumer offerings, editorially leading the company’s shortform and social content production unit BBC Worldwide Digital Studios, and driving its digital innovation. Rafferty joins from J.K. Rowling’s digital publishing, e-commerce company Pottermore, where she was Director of Product, Creative and Content. Prior to that, she spent 10 years at Penguin Books, where she was Managing Director of its Digital Division.