Welcome to the International Insider, Max Goldbart here. We’ve been all over the proverbial shop this week with Mel and Jesse in sunny Rome and Zac racing round London at the speed of light to cover LFF. Read on for the biggest news in international TV and film.
Mipcom Cannes Back With A Bang
Three years off: A palpable sense of excitement has settled over the global TV community as buyers, sellers, execs, journalists (of course) and everyone in between gets set to jet to Cannes for Mipcom. This year’s market, rebranded Mipcom Cannes, is effectively the first in person for three years (last year was hybrid) and there was a real sense of positivity when I spoke with five senior sales bosses for my annual preview. “People need people and this is a people business,” Fremantle’s Jens Richter told me, almost beaming. There is renewed optimism, negating the ‘market fatigue’ that may have crept up in years gone by. Chatting to execs in the runup to the event, they expect a Mipcom that will be all about the face-to-face interaction, although many stressed that major distributor-to-buyer deals may not make up a huge part of the market – a sign of the times. Mipcom Director Lucy Smith talked up a pivot to co-productions when we chatted last week, helped by a new 1000 sqm Producer’s Hub encouraging indies to discuss upcoming shows with distributors and seek financing in a multitude of different ways.
Putting it Blunt-ly: There will also be some star quality on the Croisette as Sunday night sees a premiere for The English, the Hugo Blick Western starring Emily Blunt, who will be in attendance. All3Media International is selling that one and rival Fremantle is seeking to compete by hosting its own red carpet Monday with the likes of Cara Delevingne, who will discuss Hulu/BBC Three tell-all doc Planet Sex earlier that day, and Succession star Brian Cox, who is helming a Channel 5 documentary about poverty that is seeking international buyers. Major keynotes this year incoming from Fremantle heads Jennifer Mullin and Andrea Scrosati, Amazon Studios boss Jennifer Salke, BBC DG Tim Davie and Banijay CEO Marco Bassetti. Quite the lineup. And there will be company launches too, with new distributor Fox Entertainment Global setting out its stall via a keynote then cocktail party Monday. I chatted to head Fernando Szew earlier this week, who told me the new shingle will “go against the grain” of other U.S. based media entities by selling to everyone and anyone. “We are arms wide open,” said Fernando.
Early deals: Deal-making may not dominate as it has in years gone by but Deadline has brought you a few in the run up. Most buzzy was this scoop from Jesse on Indigo Entertainment boarding sales for Backstreet Boys star AJ McLean’s The Fashion Hero: A New Kind of Beautiful, the latest in Beauty World Search’s Fashion Hero franchise. AJ will be interrupting his European arena tour by flying to Cannes before getting back… alright. Elsewhere, Jesse also had the skinny on ITV Studios taking distribution rights to ITV celebrity drag contest format Queens for the Night, and I bought news of Studiocanal boarding Borgen creator Adam Price’s Orchestra, Banijay Rights pushing into the premium doc space with Lara Vs. Escobar and the same distributor’s balloon format Blow Up selling to Germany. Stay tuned. Meanwhile, don’t miss out on our brandspanking debut Deadline Mipcom print edition, available in Cannes at a hotel or Palais near you. We’ve got mountains of quality content for you to get through including our picks of the best shows at the market, interviews with some of the biggest players out there – including this teaser with Disney EMEA content boss Diego Londono – and tonnes of analysis. Make us happy by giving it a read.
‘The Crown’ “On Edge”
“Dreading getting to this point”: Ever since the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, times have been tricky for the producers of Netflix’s The Crown, who are currently rolling cameras on season six (season five will debut shortly). After having to postpone filming due to the Queen’s death, a fresh obstacle has emerged in the shape of filming of the scenes of the fateful day 25 years ago when Princess Diana was killed in a car crash in Paris. Our Baz Bamigboye’s big scoop of the week found stars, creatives and producers to be “on edge” as preparations are made to recreate the scene. “We’ve been dreading getting to this point,” one insider told Baz. The actual crash will not be shown and instead the show will chart events before and after. Filming is taking place over the coming fortnight, before the world gets to see Elizabeth Debicki take up the Diana mantle from Emma Corrin in The Crown season five, with Dominic West taking over from Josh O’Connor as then-Prince Charles.
MIA Kicks Off
Rome-ing around: Jesse Whittock here reporting from Rome, where international entertainment descended as the MIA Market and Rome Film Festivals kicked off. MIA, a heady mix of film and TV sessions held at the stunningly lovely Palazzo Barberini in the center of town, saw the likes of Netflix, Amazon and Sky Studios presenting their latest European wares, with public broadcasters Rai, ZDF and France Télévisions well represented. Interestingly, the first and potentially most interesting news of note came during a session not on Italy, but Denmark, where an extraordinary commissioning impasse between the creative community and global streamers has held since January 1. More here.
Buzz territories: Amazon and Netflix execs were on hand to talk up a region that has emerged alongside Spain and Germany as new buzz territories for streamers. Larry Tanz, Netflix’s EMEA chief, recalled how Italian business used to be done out of “a small townhouse in Amsterdam,” with little local knowledge and expertise. How things change: Netflix this year opened a 70-strong office just down from the Barberini near the Trevi Fountain and is making major shows such as Everything Calls For Salvation, which launches on the service today, and literally dozens of other series and films, including heist caper Robbing Mussolini. Amazon’s Prime Video, meanwhile, used its session to reveal Matilda De Angelis (pictured) would star in the Cattleya-produced Italian chapter of the Russo Brothers’ multi-country, multi-series drama Citadel. Amazon Studios Italy Originals Chief Nicole Morganti said it was a “huge challenge” due to the fact no sci-fi/spy thriller/action drama crossbreed series had ever been attempted in the nation before. There was also a rallying call from The Alliance, the European public broadcaster commissioning club that was created to fight against the buying power of the streamers. ZDF, Rai and France Télévisions want ideas by the end of January 2023, with that call coming soon after execs from the networks announced they’d boarded The Kollective, a premium drama series based on the Bellingcat investigative journalism organization.
The Tale Of Amazon’s UK Handmaid Deal
Blessed be the co-premier: Channel 4’s Handmaid’s Tale acquisition has come to be defined as one of the network’s more shrewd bits of business over the past few years and the show often draws big audiences, but those audiences may be about to shrink with the news that Amazon Prime Video will co-premiere season five in the UK. The move likely comes due to the fact that Amazon now owns Handmaid’s Tale producer and distributor MGM, giving the all-powerful streamer access to MGM’s worldwide catalog. While insiders sought to quell any sense of a fallout to Deadline, the reality is that one of Channel 4’s hottest international imports now has to be shared with a well-subscribed U.S. giant. Praise be indeed. Amazon similarly shares a UK window with the BBC on Terry Pratchett adaptation Good Omens, although the streamer co-produces that one and airs it months before the BBC.
Where’s North from ‘ere: Meanwhile in Amazon-land, our Asia expert Liz Shackleton sat down with Erika North, the SVoD’s Head of Originals for Asia Pacific, to talk expansion, especially in the Southeast Asia region, an area of growth for all the big U.S. players of late. Go deeper.
LFF Latest: Plaza, Roberts & Aronofsky
London calling: Over to me, Zac Ntim, and headline screen talks and keynotes have been the major attraction on the ground during the second week of the London Film Festival. On Monday, Parks and Recreation favorite Aubrey Plaza touched down in Soho for a deep dive into her career, while Tuesday saw the in-person return of Film London’s Production Finance Market, which opened with a keynote from BFI CEO Ben Roberts. Ben gave his first public remarks about the recent closure of the Edinburgh Film Festival. “We don’t have the funds to crisis support organizations that are in difficulty,” he said, before adding that the BFI remains in contact with the festival’s owners and action is being taken. Plenty more to come on that one. On the screening side, Darren Aronofsky’s The Whale played the Royal Festival Hall, where lead actor Brendan Fraser received an uncharacteristically long and robust standing ovation from the LFF audience, while this year’s surprise film was the Anya Taylor-Joy and Ralph Fiennes starrer The Menu. The festival closes this weekend with two heavyweight premieres: Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio debuts on Saturday, and Rian Johnson’s Glass Onion makes its European bow on Sunday. Deadline will be on the ground for both
A Diverse Disruptor
Sitting down with Surian: Diana Lodderhose’s International Disruptors series was back with a bang Wednesday and in the hot seat was Surian Fletcher-Jones, the Working Title Television exec responsible for bringing some of the most talented, diverse names in the UK to the fore. “I am obsessed with thinking about female voices, diverse voices and counter-culture and alternative culture,” Surian told Diana. She has nurtured a hugely impressive reputation in recent years, culminating in BAFTA winning Channel 4 comedy We Are Lady Parts and Dolly Alderton semi-biopic Everything I Know About Love. Read in full.
🌶️ Hot One: 1973 horror classic The Wicker Man is being remade for TV, with Andy Serkis’ The Imaginarium and Urban Myth Films buying the rights from Studiocanal.
🌶️ Another One: Sony Pictures took international rights to Gamestop movie Dumb Money, one of the few buzzy packages at last month’s Toronto. Andreas with this cracker.
🌶️ Getting hotter: Zac had the skinny on Boiling Point star Ray Panthaki’s next project, while Panthaki and producer Daniel Khalili’s Naseem Hamed biopic picks up pace.
🖼️ It’s … been cast: Natalia Tena and Chanel Cresswell secured leads in the Channel 4 Wagatha Christie drama. Newly not-for-profit veteran Michael Sheen plays barrister David Sherborne.
🍿 Box office: Parker Finn horror Smile passed $100M globally within two weeks of release.
🧑🎤 New host: On Love Island, with The Circle presenter Maya Jama replacing the outgoing Laura Whitmore.
🏪 Setting up shop: Former Legendary Entertainment exec Vasco Xu and others are forming Conqueror Entertainment. Liz Shackleton with this big one.
🏆 Awards latest: Berlinale confirmed an in-person festival for 2023 and introduced a TV series award, in partnership with Deadline.
🤝 Done deal: Between Netflix and Cineworld for Knives Out sequel Glass Onion, handing Rian Johnson’s pic a UK theatrical release.
🖊️ Signed up: Netflix is officially part of UK TV ratings agency Barb, coming three years after Reed Hastings said he wanted the streamer to be in the system.
👑 Crowned: May 6 will be the official date of King Charles III’s coronation. Anti-monarchists look away now.
And finally: Tributes poured in for Angela Lansbury this week, the Murder She Wrote star and icon who died Tuesday aged 96. Although she spent much of her career in the States, Lansbury was born in London and last appeared on the West End in 2014’s Blithe Spirit. In tribute, West End theaters dimmed their lights Wednesday evening in what was a touching moment for the British theater community. You can read more tributes here.
Jesse Whittock and Zac Ntim contributed to this week’s Insider.