Around the World- week in review


Pole positions

Rev those engines! Vin Diesel and Paul Walker are in negotiations to reunite for the fourth installment of Universal's "Fast and the Furious" franchise. Justin Lin and Chris Morgan, who were behind "The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift," are returning to direct and write, respectively. We hear fast cars are involved.

Universal has snapped up "Girly Style," a pitch from "Juno" scribe Diablo Cody — possibly the only writer in town to have started out as a stripper. The story is described as a female-driven comedy set at a college. Cody's first screenplay was "Juno," which was popular at the recent Toronto International Film Festival and is generating awards buzz in advance of its Dec. 14 release.

All together now

British Sky Broadcasting could be forced to sell all or part of its 17.9% stake in commercial broadcaster ITV after antitrust regulator the Competition Commission found that the ownership interest might be "against the public interest." ITV couldn't be happier. … Also quite thrilled are Sony and BMG, which will be allowed to merge (again) after the European Commission gave its OK.

Spoils of success

If it ain't broke don't fix it. Sony has extended the contract of Sony Pictures Entertainment chairman and CEO Michael Lynton to 2012. SPE earned more than $3.3 billion in worldwide boxoffice receipts in 2006, and last week Sony topped $1 billion at the domestic boxoffice for the sixth straight year.

We've got the Palme, the Golden Lion and Golden Bear, and now we have a Black Pearl. The latter is what awaits the winner of the Middle East International Film Festival, the first edition of which runs Oct. 14-19 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

From page to pic

HarperCollins Publishers, which has had big success with film adaptations from such titles as "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" and "The Pursuit of Happyness," is forming a multiyear alliance with Hart Sharp Entertainment offshoot Sharp Independent to develop and produce films based on its large collection of properties.

Rash of insults

A target of comedians everywhere, President Bush retailiated a bit this week when he took a potshot at Hollywood. In a tribute to the new chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, U.S. Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, Bush noted that his parents were well-regarded, behind-the-scenes players in the movie industry. "Many people are surprised when told about the admiral's show business roots," Bush said. "After all, he is humble, well-grounded and filled with common sense — not exactly what one thinks about when they think of Hollywood values." Ooh, good one.

A publishing company that owns the rights to "When You Wish Upon a Star" has filed a federal lawsuit against Fox and the producers and creator of "Family Guy" over an episode they claim infringes on the rights of the classic tune. The lawsuit filed by Bourne Co. claims that the ditty "I Need a Jew" was a "thinly veiled copy" of the song made famous in Disney's "Pinocchio."

End credits

Sarah Polley and Adrien Brody have been cast in "Splice," a sci-fi thriller about genetic engineering. … Damian Shannon and Mark Swift have been tapped to write the "Friday the 13th" remake at New Line. … Morgan Freeman, Antonio Banderas and director Mimi Leder are set for "The Code" for Nu Image/Millennium. … Mollly Shannon is set to play Kath, a mom in a dysfunctual relationship with her daughter, in NBC's comedy pilot "Kath & Kim."

Edited by Mike Barnes