Happy Friday readers, Tom here steering the International Insider ship, read on for the week’s top headlines.
UK Broadcaster Shake-Up
Cracking down: The UK government unveiled a landmark White Paper this week that addressed everything from the regulation of global streamers operating in the country to the future of Channel 4. The SVoD services will be hit with fines of up to 5% of their local revenues if they are found to be guilty of showcasing harmful content, according to the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. The rules still need to get okay from Parliament and will likely come into force in 2024, meaning Netflix and co still have a few years to push the government’s buttons without fear of reprimand – should they wish. Max had the lowdown, along with an analysis of several other elements of the government’s vision.
Channel 4 on the block: The government’s controversial – and often confusing – plan to sell the public service broadcaster to a private buyer moved a step closer to reality this week. The White Paper confirmed a sale would go ahead to allow Channel 4 to “diversify its revenue streams and improve its long-term sustainability.” In essence, the government argues Channel 4’s business model, which stops it from taking on significant debt to finance programs and tech and makes it very reliant on ad sales, will fail in a global streaming environment. A private Channel 4 would be able to take more financial risks and, much to the chagrin of the independent production sector, would be legally allowed to make its shows in-house for the first time – benefitting from their international sales. Basically no-one in British telly thinks selling is a good thing, but the writing on the wall is there for everyone to see.
Drama At CinemaCon
You’ve been served: It was the annual big screen exhibitors event CinemaCon in Las Vegas this week, and there were plenty of juicy headlines. You can catch up with all of our coverage here, but here’s a few choice nuggets: Robert De Niro’s politically-charged speech accepting his Cinema Verite Award; Nancy’s interview with Cineworld COO Renana Teperberg; and Disney adding Bollywood epic Brahmastra Part One: Shiva to its slate. Without a doubt the most eye-catching moment was Olivia Wilde being handed a surprise envelope while on stage during a presentation, the contents of which turned out to be custody papers from Jason Sudeikis. The actor’s reps later said he was unaware the incident would take place so publicly.
Cannes Heats Up
And they’re off: Cannes doesn’t get underway until May 17, but business is already being done ahead of the fest. This week, Andreas had the scoops on the first major package and the first major deal to drop this year: Russell Crowe and Liam Hemsworth are set to star in an action-thriller film Land Of Badwhich looks likely to be a hot seller, and Mubi caused a stir by buying multiple territories, including the US and UK, on Park Chan-wook’s Cannes Competition title Decision to Leave.
Polanski: It looks like a new Roman Polanski pic is joining the roster of titles on sale at this year’s Cannes market. Andreas had the scoop that John Cleese and Gomorrah actor Fortunato Cerlino have boarded the cast of The Palacewhich is in production in Switzerland.
Jury duty: Elsewhere in Cannes news, the fest unveiled Vincent Lindon as the president of its Competition jury. The Titan star will be joined by Rebecca Hall, Noomi Rapace, Jeff Nichols, Asghar Farhadi, Deepika Padukone, Jasmine Trinca, Ladj Ly, and Joachim Trier. The jury of Un Certain Regard (which revealed its opening film Father & Soldier) will be fronted by Italian actor and director Valeria Golino.
Title change: Finally, the French fest backed a change of name for Michel Hazanavicius’s Z, which is set to open the event this year. The title has taken on a new meaning following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and as such the pic will now be called Coupez! (Cut!)while the international title remains Final Cut.
Fireworks? What Fireworks?
Ratings dip: Piers Morgan was partially successful in his attempt to drum up interest in his Talk TV interview show Uncensored by teasing a huge row with former President Donald Trump, but the fireworks proved to be mainly hot air. After the first part of the interview on Talk TV’s Monday launch night failed to provide an answer, the following night revealed the ‘spat’ was barely a disagreement. Morgan claimed Trump was “simmering with anger” but unedited footage of the rumored ‘walkout’ appeared to show nothing more than a frustrated former President shuffling off after a long and occasionally tense conversation. Still, the bluster worked – sort of. Piers Morgan Uncensored‘s first night took a notable 300,000 viewers in the UK but lost 100,000 the following night as the drama wore thin. More backstory here.
Amazon’s Mega India Slate
Salke in Mumbai: In the same week Amazon made significant changes at MGM in the US, the streaming giant launched a massive slate in India. Amazon Studios boss Jennifer Salke and Vice President of Prime Video International Kelly Day joined Amazon’s local team to present the 40-strong slate at a fancy do in Mumbai. A confident Salke told the audience: “Talent wants to be part of the Amazon Prime family and make incredible shows for people to enjoy, not only in India but all over the world. We stand apart in that away. ” With Indian reports claiming Netflix is cutting as much as 90% of its originals slate and Amazon in growth mode in India, you can understand her bullishness.
Making An Upgrade
Local for global: Matt Brodlie and Jonathan Kier’s Los Angeles-based Upgrade Productions launched late last year with a goal to make local-language content from around the world. This week, I had the scoop on the duo’s first three projects, which hail from Japan, Spain and Australia. In an interview, the pair discuss which territories are exciting them the most.
Heroes & Villains
Taking flight: This week Deadline revealed the debut project from Good Hero, the New York and Paris-based production outfit backed by Mediawan: feature animated film Wings of Freedom: Operation Rebirth. I sat down with founders Laurent Zeitoun and Gregory Ouanhon to discuss their unique development process.
🌶️ Here’s a hot one: Andy Serkis is a set to direct feature film The Giant’s HouseNick Hornby’s adaptation of Elizabeth McCracken’s 1996 novel, for Wildgaze Films.
🌶️ Another one: David Harbor will lead cast of The Trashers from Cha Cha Real Smooth director Cooper Raiff.
🌶️ Surely not another one: The Bridge star Sofia Helen and writer Camilla Ahlgren are re-teaming for cold case drama Fallen.
🤝 Done deal: Netflix has signed a multi-picture partnership with Japanese animation studio Studio Colorido.
🤝 Another deal: Wasserman Music has acquired Paradigm UK’s live music representation business.
🍿 Box office: Warner Bros’ Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets Of Dumbledore crossed the $ 200M mark at the international box office last weekend, taking its global haul to $ 280.3M
👀 First look: Here’s a first image of Jodie Comer making her West End debut in Prima Facie.
Jesse Whittock contributed to this week’s International Insider.