Liberty Dangles Chellomedia
Chellomedia, the London-based European content division of John Malone's international cabler Liberty Global, is on the block. Liberty Global is hoping the deal will raise between $800 million and $1 billion; it is in the process of acquiring U.K. cabler Virgin Media for $23 billion, and bought a 12.65% stake in Dutch cable company Ziggo for $808 million in March. Chellomedia owns 48 of its 68 channels; the remainder are joint ventures.
French, Italians Combo on Coin
France and Italy have established a â¬500,000 ($643,000) bilateral development and co-production fund for movies, with government funding coming equally from the two countries. The pact was inked at Cannes, where there were several Italo-Gallic co-productions unspooling, including helmer Paolo Sorrentino's competition entry "The Great Beauty," produced by Italy's Indigo and Gaul's Babe Films and France 2, among other French shingles.
Milchan's Island Journey
Arnon Milchan is expected to be on hand to pick up the Legend Award at Italy's Ischia Global Film and Music Festival, which runs July 13-21. The producer -- whose credits include "Pretty Woman," "Fight Club," "L.A. Confidential" and the upcoming biblical epic "Noah" -- will receive the award during a gala at the Villa Colombaia. The non-competitive fest, headed by TV journo Pascal Vicedomini, will feature the Italo debut of Fox's Google-themed comedy "The Internship," directed by Shawn Levy.
Mom Loves Local B.O. Champ
Helmer Ricardo Maldonado's comedy "Asu mare!" has taken in $11.5 million at the local box office to sprint past the nation's previous B.O. record-holder "Ice Age: Continental Drift," which took $9.6 million in 2012. Distribbed by Jorge Licetti's New Century Films, the pic stars popular stand-up comedian and thesp Carlos Alcantara, who relates his life through his mother's point of view in a mix of stand-up routines and re-enactments. "Asu mare!" producer Miguel Valladares financed almost all the pic's $800,000 budget through product placement.
Rio Races to Build Mega-Studio
Rio de Janeiro will build a $50 million film and TV studio, Rio Polo de Audiovisual, just a few minutes drive from Brazil's 2016 Olympic Games stadium. Announced at Cannes, the Polo (literally, "hub") will cover at least 300,000 square feet, including 14 soundstages as well as production facilities, post-production suites and o ces for Brazil's booming film and TV production biz. The studio will be ready for the Olympics.
Ventana Sur Out for Blood
Ventana Sur, Latin America's biggest film market, is adding genre mart Blood Window to its 5th edition, which unspools Dec. 3 to 6 in Buenos Aires. Genre production is growing across Latin America, with the work of local directors winding up on Hollywood screens, including Argentinean Andy Muschietti's "Mama" and Uruguayan Fede Alvarez's "Evil Dead." Argentina alone has turned out 49 chillers since 2011, though many never saw commercial release.
MyTV Nabs More in Mideast
U.S. and Lebanon-based myTV, which distributes Internet-based Arabic-language TV channels and VOD content targeted to expats in North and South America and Australia, has inked two partnerships that will give Middle East helmers greater access to those markets. MyTV has pacted with the Lebanese Broadcasting Corp. and Egypt's Misr Intl. Films, gaining access to films of the late Egyptian helmer Youssef Cahine , who founded Misr. MyTV was established in 2011 by Lebanese tech maven Spiro Azkoul.
Cinema City Flexes Plex Muscle
Israeli exhib Cinema City plans to open 34 multiplexes -- approximately 365 screens -- over the next three years, to add to its 99 plexes and 966 screens in seven countries across Central and Eastern Europe, where it is already the largest movie theater chain. The company reported theater operations in the first quarter generated revs of â¬63.9 million ($82.5 million), up 12% on last year. It's also building a distribution biz, with revs up 18% to $7.4 million.
(Compiled by Bobbie Whiteman. Reported by Leo Barraclough, Cli ord Coonan, Anna Marie de la Fuente, John Hopewell, Naman Ramachandran, Nick Vivarelli.)