Record Earnings expected at China b.o.

Chinese boxoffice earnings are expected to hit 4 billion yuan ($580 million) this year, breaking 2007's record take of 3.3 billion yuan, state-owned China Film Group said. Earnings already have surpassed 1.6 billion yuan in the first half, up 45% from the same period last year, a CFG report said.

Pair take places

Parker Posey and Billy Crudup will join the judge panel at Tropfest NY, the third annual U.S. offshoot of director John Polson's Tropfest, the 15-year-old Aussie event. This year marks the festival's debut as a solo operation after its launch as Tropfest@Tribeca. Sixteen shorts with a "sunflower" theme will be chosen from entries submitted by Sept. 5 and screened Sept. 26 at Manhattan's World Financial Center Plaza.

Innovative deal

John Hannah has signed with Innovative Artists for representation. The British actor, best known for his turn in "The Mummy" movie series, also has starred in "Sliding Doors" and "Four Weddings and a Funeral." He continues to be repped by Sue Latimer of ARG in the U.K.

Asian fund set

Hong Kong-based Media Asia has signed a deal with Japan's Avex Group to establish a $50 million film fund to develop and produce co-productions for the Asian market over a five-year period.