Global Showbiz Briefs: André Rieu Sets UK Box Office Record; Venice Critics’ Week Roster; Alibaba Pacts With Helmers; More

André Rieu Concert Sets UK Box Office Record
Flying the flag for event cinema, André Rieu’s 2014 10th Anniversary Maastricht Concert became the UK’s highest-grossing music event of all time at the box office this weekend. On Saturday and Sunday, CinemaLive screened the concert at 410 locations across the UK and Ireland, grossing $1.42M. The concert also screened at 234 moviehouses in European markets including France, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Romania, Finland and Croatia, bringing the total gross box office figure to more than $2.05M for the weekend. Rieu’s July 2013 cinema concert event set UK records with about $766K. The massive jump this year is one more feather in the cap of live event cinema which has been growing in popularity with music- and theater-loving crowds. Classical violinist Rieu, aka “The King of Waltz”, is known for his energetic and festive live performances. He has sold more than 35M albums worldwide. Further screenings of the concert will take place this coming weekend in Australia and New Zealand, followed by Canada, the U.S., Mexico, Russia and South East Asia to ultimately reach more than 1,000 cinema screens in 35 countries. Pretty soon, I’ll have to start adding these to my international weekend box office reports.

Venice Critics’ Week Lineup Revealed
The National Union of Italian Film Critics has unveiled its selection for the 29th running of Critics’ Week at the Venice Film Festival. The section runs concurrently with the fest from August 27-September 6. The roster this year includes films from seven first-time directors: The Coffin In The Mountain by Xin Yukun (People’s Republic of China), Dancing With Maria by Ivan Gergolet (Italy, Argentina, Slovenia), Flapping In The Middle Of Nowhere by Nguyễn Hoàng Điệp (Vietnam, France, Norway, Germany), No One’s Child by Vuk Ršumović (Serbia), 40-Love by Stéphane Demoustier (France, Belgium), Villa Touma by Suha Arraf (Palestine) and The Council of Birds by Timm Kröger (Germany). The opening film is Melbourne from Iran’s Nima Javidi, and the closing-night movie is The Market by Diego Bianchi (Italy).

China’s Alibaba Continues Push Into Film Business
Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group has been making deeper strides into the film business in the past few weeks as it preps an IPO in the U.S. ChinaVision Media Group, which it recently acquired, said over the weekend that it has entered into “motion pictures development cooperation agreements” with some producers and directors from the region, including Wong Kar Wai, Taiwanese director Giddens Ko (You Are The Apple Of My Eye), and Hong Kong’s Peter Chan (American Dreams In China). According to The Wall Street Journal, ChinaVision didn’t elaborate on its planned collaboration with the directors. Last week, Alibaba and Lionsgate entered a deal to stream films and TV shows from the studio in China.

Shanghai Film Corp Orders 19 Imax Theaters For China
Imax Corp and Shanghai Film Corp said today that they’ve inked a deal to place 19 Imax theaters in new construction projects throughout China. A number of theaters are scheduled for installation before the end of next year. The deal brings Shanghai Film’s Imax commitment to 22 theaters, making it the giant-screen company’s fifth-largest partner worldwide. Shanghai Film Corp is China’s largest state-owned enterprise in the exhibition industry, with the country’s No. 2 market share.

Aussie Heist Thriller ‘Son Of A Gun’ Books Multiple Territories
Son Of A Gun, the debut feature by Julius Avery, has found a host of buyers since its Cannes Market premiere. Altitude Film Sales has closed deals on the Australian heist thriller across Europe, Asia, South America and the Middle East. Ewan McGregor stars alongside Brenton Thwaites and Alicia Vikander in the film about a complex relationship between Australia’s public enemy No. 1 and his young protégé. Sales include Benelux (Dutch Filmworks), France (TF1), Portugal (Pris), Spain (Flins & Piniculas), CIS (All Media), Scandinavia and Iceland (Svensk), South and Central America (California Filmes), Middle East (Gulf Film), Japan (Kadokawa), Korea (Korea Screen) and Thailand (Mono Group). Previously completed deals include Hopscotch Entertainment One for Australian and New Zealand rights and Ascot Elite for German-speaking Europe. In Cannes, UTA Independent Film Group closed deals on with A24 for the U.S. and Mongrel Media for Canada.

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