In today’s Global Bulletin, Alex de la Iglesia is back on set with “El cuarto pasajero,” Laurine Garaude departs Reed Midem, Chinese video app Kuaishou stuns investors in Hong Kong, Tencent finalizes its Universal Music Group share increase, Mopar Studios hire Jessica Pope as creative director and Pluto TV launches six new networks in Latin America.
Spanish genre master Álex de la Iglesia, hot off the heels of his hit HBO horror series “30 Coins,” is back on set to shoot road movie rom-com “El cuarto pasajero” (The Fourth Passenger), a Pokeepsie Films and Telecinco Cinema co-production. The companies will be looking to repeat the joint success they found with the filmmaker’s 2017 Spanish-language remake of “Perfect Strangers,” a top 10 all-time domestic box office hit that pulled a worldwide gross of $33 million in 2017-18.
“El cuarto pasajero” also sees de la Iglesia joined once again by regular co-writer Jorge Guerricaechevarría (“The Day of the Beast”) in a partnership that has led to numerous Spanish hits and cult classics over the past three decades. Blanca Suárez, the lead in de la Iglesia’s 2017 dark comedy “The Bar,” and Alberto San Juan (“Under The Stars”) lead an all-star cast including Ernesto Alterio (“The Other Side Of The Bed”) and Ruben Cortada (“The Prince”).
Pokeepsie and Telecinco Cinema produce with Te Has Venido Arriba with additional support from Mediaset España, Movistar Plus and Mediterráneo Mediaset España Group. Sony Pictures Entertainment Iberia handles distribution.
Laurine Garaude, Reed Midem’s television division director, is stepping down from her post after nearly three decades at the company. Garaude, who’s spearheaded TV markets such as Mipcom and MipTV in Cannes since 2009, will leave the company at the end of January.
Reed Midem has been hard hit by the pandemic with its international trade shows, most notably Mipcom and MipTV, switching to virtual events. The next edition of MipTV in April will also take place online.
Garaude joined Reed Midem in 1993. During her tenure, she helped broaden the scope of Reed Midem’s TV events beyond traditional distribution to place a larger emphasis on content development and co-production. She also oversaw the launch of MipFormats in 2011 and the regional markets MIP Cancun in 2015 and MIP China in 2017. Garaude has also been an advocate for social change, introducing key initiatives for women in entertainment, diversity and inclusion.
During an interim period, Reed Midem’s TV division will be headed by Jerome Delhaye, head of the entertainment division, and Lucy Smith, deputy director. – Elsa Keslassy
The initial public offering by Chinese video app Kuaishou has become the most over-subscribed share offer in Hong Kong history. Retail investors are reported to have put up $165 billion and tried to buy 1,200 times more stock than was being offered. The portion available to professional investors had to close two days early because of excess demand.
The scale of the excess demand increases the odds that the firm’s bankers will release an additional $1 billion shares, and increase the capital raised to $6.2 billion. Details of the allocation will be revealed on Thursday, ahead of a trading start the next day. At launch, Kuaishou will likely have a market capitalization of over $61 billion, making it as large as the biggest European media concerns. – Patrick Frater
A consortium headed by China’s Tencent has completed the deal announced last month to increase its stake in Universal Music Group from 10% to 20%. The seller is France’s Vivendi, which confirmed that the deal was conducted at the same enterprise value of €30 billion ($36.4 billion) for 100% of UMG’s share capital as at the time of Tencent’s initial stake purchase, which was completed in March 2020.
Tencent’s consortium includes Tencent Music Entertainment Group, which has a separate New York Stock Exchange stock listing, and other financial co-investors. UMG said that the expanded shareholder base allowed it to “continue to work to broaden artist opportunities and to enrich experiences for music fans, further promoting a thriving music and entertainment industry.” Vivendi characterized the stake sale as a “significant strategic transaction,” and said that a stock market listing of UMG shares is planned by early 2022 at the latest. – Patrick Frater
Rastamouse Company, Berkeley Media Group and Electric Pineapple Media Group have announced that song and screenwriter Geoff Deane will write the script for the upcoming “The Rastamouse Movie,” based on the popular BBC, CBeebies stop motion kids and family series created by Michael De Souza and Genevieve Webster.
Deane’s resume includes the likes of “Shrek” song “The Best Years of Our Lives” and the stage and film musical “Kinky Boots.” Webster and De Souza will be creative consultants for the feature film.
While plot details are scant, the film promises to take Da Easy Crew, a rodent reggae band, off their native island on an all new, much bigger adventure than ever before. The “Rastamouse” series is currently broadcast on linear and digital channels in more than 230 territories, giving the feature adaptation a hefty built-in fanbase.
Stockholm’s Mopar Studios has appointed veteran TV executive producer Jessica Pope as the company’s new creative director of drama, starting Feb. 1. Pope will report to Mopar COO William Diskay and handle the consolidation of the Mopar brand while overseeing production.
Pope’s appointment doubles down on Mopar’s ambitions in English-language drama production destined for the global market. She has 25 years of experience in the industry, most recently at Carnival Film & Television where she was co-executive producer for seasons three and four of “The Last Kingdom.” Other career executive producer credits include “Sense and Sensibility,” “When I’m 64” and “Silent Witness.”
Pluto TV continues its Latin American growth with the addition of six new channels, three in Spanish-language markets and three in Portuguese-speaking Brazil, hosting a plethora of new content to the region. Pluto TV has also finalized an agreement with LG Electronics to make the Pluto TV app available on the LG Content Store for all LG smart TVs from 2018 or newer.
Spanish-language markets will see the addition of “Yu-Gi-Oh!” a channel dedicated to the collectible card game cartoon spinoff, Pluto TV Mysteries for true crime content and “Kenan and Kel,” featuring the popular Nickelodeon program.
In Brazil, Pluto is launching crime program network Pluto TV Filmes Suspense, factual channel Pluto TV Real Life and Tastemade, a food and travel channel.