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Features & Interviews

Daily Bite: Transformers in China, Tim Burton, and Roger Ebert
03 Apr 2013 : By Gearóid Gilmore
Film Critic Roger Ebert
See what else is happening in film & TV industries around the world.

Chinese production companies to produce ‘Transformers 4’
For Hollywood producers and distributors, the Chinese market was an extremely difficult one to break due to the state’s censorship on most of the foreign films that enter the country. China favours domestic productions and up until recently, Hollywood looked upon the Chinese market with dread. Now it seems that the relationship between Hollywood and China is growing, due to box-office receipts rising every year and China now being the second-largest international market for Hollywood, just behind Japan. Paramount pictures has just announced that it will be producing the next instalment in the Transformers franchise in China alongside state-backed broadcaster CCTV’s China Movie Channel and Jiaflix Enterprises. This deal means that CCTV and Jiaflix will help produce and market the film in the country; help secure locations, casting, and manage post-production. The Transformers franchise has performed well in country and it is the first time that the China Movie Channel has worked on the production of a film with a western company. ‘Transformers 4’ will be released in 2014 and stars Mark Wahlberg, Nicola Peltz, and up-and-coming Irish actor Jack Reynor.

Tim Burton to direct biopic ‘Big Eyes’
Tim Burton has signed on to take the reigns on the biopic ‘Big Eyes’, which tells the story of artists William and Margaret Keane, the famous couple who later became bitter enemies. The film will star multi-award winning actor Christoph Waltz and Oscar-nominated Amy Adams, and the script is written by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, who also write the script for Burton’s Ed Wood biopic. The filmmaker is also planning a ‘Beetlejuice’ sequel and a new take on the Pinocchio story with Robert Downey Jr. attached to the project. Even though Burton usually has a fondness for CGI special effects and colourful and flamboyant visuals, ‘Big Eyes’ will see the director take a step back and focus instead on a small-scale drama. Filming is set to get underway this Spring.

Roger Ebert to take a ‘leave of presence’
Roger Ebert is perhaps one of the most famous film critics in the film industry and after forty-six years as film critic for the Chicago Sun-Times, he has now announced that he will take a ‘leave of presence’. This means that he will be less involved in the writing of film reviews for the publication, and will instead leave those particular duties to a team of writers handpicked by himself. He will however, continue to review selected films and he also intends to re-launch the famous rogerebert.com and take ownership of the site under a separate entity, Ebert Digital, which will be run by his wife, Chaz Ebert. He made this announcement on his blog on the Chicago Sun-Times site and cites his well-publicised battle with thyroid cancer as the main reason for his stepping back Ebert is one of the most prolific pundits in America and is also well-known for his television review shows he co-hosted with fellow film critic Gene Siskel for a combined total of 23 years.

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