week in review digest
Empty'Sopranos' enjoys big last meal
The series finale of "The Sopranos" drew 11.9 million viewers to HBO on Sunday night to see what happened to TV's favorite mobsters, according to Nielsen Media Research (HR 6/13). It was the highest rating for a "Sopranos" episode since the Season 5 opener March 7, 2004, when 12.1 million viewers watched. The record was the Season 4 premiere Sept. 15, 2002, when 13.4 million tuned in. The final nine episodes of "Sopranos" averaged 8.2 million viewers to rank as the lowest-rated season since the second season drew 6.6 million viewers. Sunday's finale drew a mixed reaction from critics and viewers, who either liked the ambiguity or didn't like that the final shot was of Tony Soprano eating a quiet dinner with his family.
Par Oz unit makes first pickup
SYDNEY — Paramount Pictures Australia last week announced its first distribution acquisition in the territory since the relaunch of the Paramount brand here — privately financed independent Australian feature "The Final Winter" (HR 6/15). Written by Matt Nable, who also stars in the film, co-directed by Brian Andrews and Jane Forrest and co-produced by Anthony Coffey and Michelle Russell, "The Final Winter" is the personal story of a man who is coming to the end of his football career in the 1980s — a time when changes to the game brought about by new money and ambition were challenging the old loyalties in sports in Australia.
Weisz connected to DW 'Bones'
Rachel Weisz has signed on to star in Peter Jackson's adaptation of "The Lovely Bones" for DreamWorks (HR 6/13). Based on Alice Sebold's 2002 best-seller, the story is told through the voice of Susie Salmon, a young girl who is murdered but continues to observe her family on Earth after her death. She witnesses the impact of her loss on her loved ones while her killer skillfully covers his tracks and prepares to murder again. Weisz will play the mother of the dead girl, a role that Jackson and his writing team of Philippa Boyens and Fran Walsh are expanding in their adaptation.
Animax takes anime to Aussie mobiles
SYDNEY — Sony Pictures Television International has launched its Animax channel as a stand-alone mobile service on Hutchison Telecommunications' 3 service in Australia, SPTI executive vp programming and production international networks Marie Jacobsen said Thursday (HR 6/15). The Australian launch of Animax Mobile is the first in a global strategy to roll out a dedicated mobile version of the studio's Japanese anime channel, which airs on cable and satellite platforms across Asia, Latin America, Central Europe and Germany. Animax does not air as a cable or satellite channel in Australia. A Canadian launch will follow in July with Bell Mobility. The channel offers a two-hour loop of four full-length anime series — "Blood+," "Last Exile," "ROD the TV" and "The Count of Monte Cristo" — as well as unique interstitial material.