week in review digest


New Line cuffs 'Escape' redo

New Line Cinema has gotten the keys to the new "Escape From New York" (HR 3/16). The remake of the cult John Carpenter movie, being produced by Neal Moritz with Gerard Butler attached to star as Snake Plissken, hit the town this week and had several studios trying to capture it. Bidding was aggressive because Butler was coming off the whopping $70 million opening for "300." New Line had been positioning itself since it first sniffed out that the package was in the works two weeks ago. Ken Nolan ("Black Hawk Down") will write the script, which will combine an origin story for Plissken merged with the story of the 1981 movie.

RAI screenings set for Sardinia

ROME — The 12th edition of RAI Trade Screenings, the annual sales event for Italy's state broadcaster, will be held on the island of Sardinia, RAI Trade sales director Sesto Cifola said Friday (HR 3/16). The official announcement will come this month. It will be the first time the invitation-only event — which will run April 11-13 — will be held on Sardinia, where it will be hosted by the Forte Village Resort. The event will feature more than 200 buyers from about 80 countries, representing more than 100 companies.

Shyamalan's latest connects with UTV

NEW DELHI — Mumbai-based production company UTV Motion Pictures and 20th Century Fox are teaming up for director M. Night Shyamalan's latest film, "The Happening" (HR 3/15). UTV and Fox will split the $57 million budget and serve as equal partners in all revenue streams for the film, which starts shooting in August and is slated for a summer 2008 tentpole release, UTV CEO Ronnie Screwvala said. Worldwide distribution will be handled by Fox except India, which will be handled by UTV.

Premiere Sky targets September launch

COLOGNE, Germany — Leading German pay TV group Premiere will launch a new satellite service, Premiere Sky, in September with former NBC Universal Germany executive Wolfram Winter on board as managing director (HR 3/14). Winter left his job as managing director of NBC Universal Global Networks Germany late last year to head satellite pay TV startup Stargate. His move to Premiere suggests that Stargate's launch may be delayed. Premiere Sky will package new and existing pay TV channels and primarily target Premiere's existing satellite customers.

Meirelles pic has eye on talent

Daniel Craig is in talks and Julianne Moore is in negotiations to star in the Fernando Meirelles-helmed drama "Blindness" for Focus Features International (HR 3/15). Adapted by Don McKellar from Nobel Prize winner Jose Saramago's acclaimed novel, the story chronicles an epidemic of blindness that sweeps through a contemporary city and pushes society to the brink of breakdown. Potboiler Prods., Rhombus Media, Bee Vine Pictures and Meirelles' shingle 02 Filmes are producing. Focus is handling foreign sales for the film.