International Week in Review 8/24: Ridley Scott Suspends Shoot After Brother's Death, Pussy Riot Sentencing and Prince Harry Controversy
7:04 AM PDT 8/24/2012 by Scott Roxborough
The film world mourned the death of director Tony Scott, protested the sentencing of Russian band Pussy Riot and ogled nude pictures of Prince Harry. Here is THR's look at the top media and entertainment stories making headlines around the world this week.
Russian punk outfit Pussy Riot responded to three members of the band being found guilty of "hooliganism motivated by religious hatred" for an anti-Vladimir Putin performance at a church in February by releasing another anti-Putin song whose lyrics ask for "18 years in prison." The band members were each given a two-year prison setence, a ruling that galvanized protestors around the world.
Elisabeth Murdoch Talks Hacking, Media Morals at Edinburgh Fest
In her keynote speech at the Edinburgh Television Festival, TV executive Elisabeth Murdoch told the industry gathering what she has learned from the phone-hacking scandal at News Corp., compared her values to those of her father Rupert and brother James and defended the sale of her TV production firm Shine to News Corp last year as "controversial but right.
Sony Pictures Buys "Wallander" Producer Left Bank
Sony Pictures Television made a major move into U.K. scripted TV this week, inked a deal to take a majority stake in British production company Left Bank Pictures, the banner behind Wallander - a crime series based on the popular novels by Scandinavian author Henning Mankel, starring Kenneth Branagh. Left Bank Pictures is SPT’s fourth U.K. production venture, joining Gogglebox Entertainment, Victory Television and Silver River.
Ken Watanabe to Play Clint Eastwood Role in Japanese"Unforgiven"
Ken Watanabe will take the Clint Eastwood role in a Japanese remake of Unforgiven to be made by Time Warner's Warner Entertainment Japan. The film, which Korean-Japanese helmer Lee Sang-Il will direct, will, like the original, be set in 1880. Watanabe will play a samurai with a violent past who is brought out of retirement for one last job. Koichi Sato (The Magic Hour) will play the Gene Hackman role, The production is due to start shooting in Hokkaido this fall.
"Tiger" Sets Opening Day Record at Indian Box Office
The action film Ek Tha Tiger (There Was A Tiger) featuring Bollywood star Salman Khan set a new has set a new opening day record at the Indian box office, grossing Rupees 320 million ($5.8 million) on its initial bow. The film broke another record when it hit the box office milestone of 1 billion Rupees 1 billion ($18 million) in just five days of release.
RTL Group Profits Drop in First Half
Europe's leading broadcaster, RTL Group, saw first half earnings slip to $631 million (€506 million) from €588 million in the year-ago period, while profit from continuing operations fell from €420 million to €332 million ($414 million). Operating profits at RTL's production arm FremantleMedia, makers of The X Factor and American Idol, dropped significantly, to $50 million (€40 million) for the period, as broadcasters put pressure on the production group to lower costs, cutting into its profit margin.
Canadian Telcos Buy Maple Leafs, Raptors in $1.3 Billion Deal
Canadian telecom giants Rogers Communications and BCE have completed their CAN$1.3 billion (US$1.31 billion) deal to buy a 75 percent stake in Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE), which includes the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Toronto Raptors pro sport teams. The CRTC, Canada’s TV regulator, last week approved the takeover of five TV networks that are part of the blockbuster deal.
DHX Buys "Care Bears" Producer Cookie Jar
Canadian animation giant Cookie Jar Entertainment has agreed to be acquired by rival kids producer DHX Media as part of a cash, stock and debt deal worth $112 million. The deal gives DHX access to Cookie Jar's library of around 6,000 half hours of classic children's programming including the Care Bears.
German Star Elyas M'Barek Cast as Vampire in 'Mortal Instruments'
Elyas M'Barek, one of Germany's hottest young actors, has been cast as a vampire in The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, the adaptation of Cassandra Clare's best-selling fantasy novel, which Harald Zwart (Karate Kid) is directing. A veteran of German TV sitcoms, M'Barek became one of Germany's biggest box office draws with his starring role in the cross-culture romantic comedy Turkish For Beginners, in which he plays a stereotypical German-Turkish macho.
Prospects Grow For Sequel to Brit Hit "The Inbetweeners"
A follow-up to bawdy British box office comedy The Inbetweenersis being mulled by co-creatorsDamon Beesley and Iain Morris. The original movie, made for $5.5 million and based on the original TV show of the same name, smashed box office records last year, laughing its way to $71 million a the U.K. box office alone.
Prince Harry's Nude Vegas Romp Sparks U.K. Media Debate
Pictures of a naked Prince Harry bandied around U.S. internet sites during a private holiday in Las Vegas has sparked British media debate on the issue of security costs for the Royals. The U.K. media complied with requests from St James's Palace not to publish the grainy pictures which were widely available on the Internet.