Around the World


Heaven and hell

The Vatican's Fondazione Ente dello Spettacolo is getting more involved in the film business, participating in this month's RomaCinemaFest and launching its own festival. The events reflect a growing role for the foundation and proves there's always room in Hollywood offices for the power of prayer.

Dimension is moving ahead with its reinvention of "Hellraiser," one of horrormeister Clive Barker's best-known creations. Released in 1987, the movie introduced viewers to Pinhead, who presumably will not be on the red carpet at the aforementioned Vatican fest.

Down to business

The rivalry is officially in full swing as the Fox Business channel opened for business. But CNBC didn't ignore the event: The network ads ran in local avails on Fox Business in Time Warner Cable's New York market, reminding viewers who the competition is.

Harvey Weinstein opened the inaugural Film Financing Circle at the first Middle East International Film Festival with a litany of do's and dont's for potential international film investors. He also warned to be realistic about new productions. "There are no guarantees," said the distributor of such 2007 boxoffice disappointments as "The Last Legion" and "The Nanny Diaries," "and the investor should always be conscientious of track records."

Les is more

Leslie Moonves is staying with CBS Corp., at least through Sept. 30, 2011, under a new agreement that extends his contract and ties his compensation closer to the company's stock performance. Under the terms of the deal, the president and CEO will make an annual salary of $3.5 million — down from $5.9 million in the previous contract — but will be eligible for an annual performance-based bonus and will receive equity-based compensation.

Pine solved

After weighing his suddenly sundry options, Chris Pine closed that deal to star as the young Captain Kirk in J.J. Abrams' "Star Trek" feature for Paramount. Pine had been in talks to play Kirk as well as a role opposite George Clooney in Joe Carnahan's "White Jazz," but the two movies overlapped, forcing Pine to choose. There goes his shot at "Ocean's Fourteen," though.

Euro volatility

The BBC Trust gave the green light to director general Mark Thompson's six-year plan for the pubcaster, which includes a reported 2,800 job cuts. Media watchers are saying that the size of the layoffs will mean that a strike is almost inevitable.

Meanwhile, U.S. shows could use a union organizer or two in Germany, where several local politicians are calling for a quota for homemade series on primetime TV. It turns out the love for such American fare as "Lost," the "CSI" franchise and "House" is driving local shows off the schedule.

End credits

Patrick Swayze will star in A&E Network's drama pilot "The Beast," lifting the cast contingency on the Sony Pictures Television project. … Matt Dillon is in final negotiations to play Leonard Chess, the founder of the South Side Chicago blues label Chess Records, in Sony/ BMG Film's "Cadillac Records." … Jeffrey Donovan, Colm Feore and John Malkovich are joining Angelina Jolie in "Changeling," a true-life drama that Clint Eastwood is directing for Universal and Imagine. … Damon Wayans is back co-creating and toplining a new multicamera family sitcom for ABC.

Edited by Patrick Hipes