From 'Avatar' to Roman Polanski, the Top Entertainment Stories of the Year Overseas
Jan. 4: China No. 2 market for Avatar
Avatar opens in China and goes on to gross $207 million, more than in any other country outside the United States, confirming for 20th Century Fox and other Hollywood studios that the People's Republic is fast moving toward becoming the second-largest movie market in the world, expected to overtake Japan by 2015. The James Cameron hit did especially well in 3D and IMAX at China's mushrooming number of modern multiplexes. The film's ticket sales were more than double that of the next-closest box-office contender, Aftershock.
Jan. 25: Japan's Liberty Media sells $4bn J:Com stake
Liberty Global sold its 37.8% stake in Jupiter Telecommunications, Japan's leading cable operator, to domestic telecoms outfit KDDI, for 367.1 billion yen ($4 billion) in cash. The sale looked to have set off a very un-Japanese battle for control of the company between KDDI and trading conglomerate Sumitomo – a founder of J:Com. But they appeared to have made nice in the end: Sumitomo increased its stake and KDDI is now co-operating on content developed through its phone network, called au mobile. J:Com has enjoyed modest growth through the tough times, now having 6.25 million revenue-generating users across its cable, phone and Internet services.
March 11: Stephen Chan, GM of Hong Kong's TVB arrested
TVB GM Stephen Chan and four other TVB employees were arrested on the charge of alleged corruption and conspiring to defraud the television station and its artists of HK$680,000 ($87,400) and funnel it out through a company Chan established with an assistant. TVB fired Chan immediately following his arrest, but reinstated him in November after three of the total of eight charges against him and his alleged cohorts were dismissed. The trial will resume in June.
March 29: Avatar becomes Korea's most-watched film
Avatar sells more than 13.01 million tickets, making it the most-watched film in South Korean theatrical history. Distributed locally by 20th Century Fox, Cameron's 3-D megahit sold more than 100 billion won ($87.3 million) in tickets, beating The Host, director Bong Joon-ho's 2006 homegrown monster flick.
May 24: Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul wins Cannes' top prize
Nicknamed Joe, or Apichat, this Thai director's fifth entry on the Croissette, Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, took home the Palme d'Or, wowing judges from all over the world with a magical film about family ties and memory in his country's rural northern quarters. Poetry, by director Lee Chang-dong won best screenplay at the festival.
July 3: The Cove screens in Japan, finally
Following months of protests and threats of legal action, the Oscar-winning anti-dolphin-hunting documentary screened at theaters across Japan, the country where it was shot. In the end, the only successful legal action was an injunction against nationalist protestors forbidding them from disrupting the theaters' business.