HONG KONG HIGH
Already the highest grossing local film in its home market, courtroom drama, “A Guilty Conscience” has broken into Hong Kong’s all-time top ten box office ranking with a cumulative of HK$107 million ($13.7 million). Data from Hong Kong Box Office Ltd. shows the film achieving the feat after just 41 days in cinemas and coming within HK$1 million ($150,000) of overtaking “Top Gun: Maverick.” The data firm noted that the last time a Hong Kong film got this far was with fantasy-action-comedy “Kung Fu Hustle” in 2004. Since then, it has been overtaken by a fleet of Hollywood titles. Hong Hong’s current top ten is headed by “Avengers: Endgame” and includes six Marvel movies, the two “Avatar” titles and “Titanic.”
STREAMER ENCOURAGES CHURN
With its shares buoyed by recent more positive results, Chinese video streamer iQiyi is returning to the capital markets – again. The NASDAQ-listed company is issuing $600 million of convertible senior notes (collateralized debt that can be converted into equity) with a 2028 maturity. They bear a 6.5% annual interest rate. The company says that it will use the new cash to repay some of its existing debt securities and promptly announced that it will buy back $245 million of 2026 notes. The effective conversion rate of the new debt is $9.86 per ADS. That is 27% higher than the share price a the time of the announcement. But the company’s recent profitable fourth quarter and leap in subscriber numbers, despite an 18-month cost-cutting effort, have been greeted with more bullish recommendations from the securities analysts that follow the firm.
The Hong Kong International Film Festival has added four restored Chinese-language classics to its upcoming lineup. The include: the director’s cut of Patrick Tam’s sexy and violence-rich 1982 film “Nomad”; Hou Hsiao-hsien’s Venice-winning “A City of Sadness”; Hsu Hsiao-ming’s “Dust of Angels”; and Edward Yang’s 1994 satire “A Confucian Confusion.” The 47th edition of the HKIFF will run March 30 – April 10.
Oscar-nominated Italian filmmaker Alice Rohrwacher will be the special guest of the Visions du Réel film festival in Switzerland. There she will hold a masterclass and present a retrospective look at her fiction, hybrid and documentary work. “Rohrwacher builds worlds that border on social realism, taking occasional inspiration from local newspaper reports, while adding her own mischievous twist to the staples of a defined genre,” the festival said by way of introduction.
Her films include co-directed documentary “Un Piccolo Spettacolo,” “Corpo Celeste! in 2011, two episodes of the series “L’amica Geniale,” based on the novels of Elena Ferrante, and Cannes 2021 documentary “Futura,” co-directed with Pietro Marcello and Francesco Munzi, that takes a look at Italian youth and chronicles their hopes and fears during the pandemic. She received her Oscar nomination this year for short film “The Pupil.”
“Imagine…” BBC Arts’ flagship documentary series for BBC One and BBC iPlayer will release an exclusive profile of acclaimed British film director Stephen Frears (“My Beautiful Laundrette,” “Dangerous Liaisons” and “The Grifters”) from March 20. Frears is also a noted chameleon who avoids the limelight, but the new documentary and BBC arts guru Alan Yentob follow Frears as he embarks on his latest project in Vienna – a drama series for HBO starring Hugh Grant and Kate Winslet. Frears’ latest cinema project is about another film director – Hollywood legend Billy Wilder as he struggled to complete his penultimate film, “Fedora.” “Imagine..” is executive producer by Tanya Hudson and the show’s producer – director is Linda Sands. It was commissioned for BBC Arts by Mark Bell.