Global Showbiz Briefs: UK, India, China

Simon Cowell Tries To Deflect Flak From ‘Red Or Black?’
The music and TV mogul said today “human error” was to blame after a man who did time for domestic abuse, Nathan Hageman, won the £1M jackpot on the game show’s opening night. Producer Cowell said that ITV bosses were “delighted” with Red or Black? despite the cloud over the debut and predicted that the show would be in 30 territories –-including the US-– within 12 months. He described as “disgusting” the allegations of violence against a woman, but stopped short of urging Hageman to hand back his jackpot. “I know what I would do,” he said. “I would give away part of the money to the person he had the altercation with and a charity.” Also today, news emerged that ITV ordered a pilot episode of Red or Black? eight years ago, but decided the skill-free format wouldn’t work. “I didn’t believe people would like to see someone win a vast sum of money, with no skills at all involved. Second, gambling is not a spectator sport, you get an adrenaline rush from participating in it,’ said ITV’s Claudia Rosencrantz, who commissioned the pilot. Cowell, whose X Factor debuts in the U.S. on Fox on Sept. 21, was not involved with the show then.

Hollywood Going Beyond Bollywood With Indian Releases
It’s natural to think of Bollywood when the subject of Indian film comes up. But India’s film industry is among the world’s most prolific in terms of numbers at roughly 1,000 per year, and Mumbai’s Hindi-language films account for just one-quarter of the country’s movies today. The rest –in regional languages from the Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam territories– now generate about $1B a year in revenue. Fox Star Studios’ Engeyum Eppothum (Everywhere All The Time) is set for release on September 16 and is the studio’s first Tamil-language film. “After Bollywood, the revenues from Tamil films are the highest,” Vijay Singh, CEO of Fox Star Studios India, told a Financial Times blog. He says Bollywood had lost some of its small town mass appeal and has only regained it through successful remakes of hit Tamil movies. Other companies are testing the same waters.  Eros International released Enthiran (Robot), a Tamil science fiction movie last year; and Disney released its first movie in Telugu, the adventure fantasy film Anaganaga o Dheerudu (Once Upon a Warrior) earlier this year.

Brian Cox To Star In Family Soccer Film ‘Theatre Of Dreams’
He’ll play Sir Matt Busby and be joined by Natascha McElhone, Anne Reid, Philip Jackson and Jack Smith in the reality-based family feature. David Scheinmann will direct. Cox will play the former Manchester United boss as he helps an 11-year-old boy fulfill his football dream. In the process he comes to grips with his memories of the Busby Babes plane disaster in which eight of his young players were killed in a Munich crash. Scheinmann described the project as Billy Eilliot meets Bend It Like Beckham.

Jiande Chen Named CEO of IMAX China
He’ll oversee the expansion of the wholly-owned subsidiary in the greater China region, reporting to the board and Imax chairman and CEO Rich Gelfond. Imax China has offices in Shanghai and Beijing and its theaters have grossed more than $40M from Hollywood and local titles, according to an Imax statement.

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