It hasn't been all about the movies for Walt Disney for a long time now, but motion pictures certainly provide a jumping off point for the multi-billion dollar corporation. It came as a surprise to industry observers, however, when Disney recently revealed the movie that is the source of one of its top merchandising franchises. It's not Mickey Mouse, Aladdin or even the incredibly popular Toy Story films. It's Cars (above left). The studio said the Cars franchise (number two is out this year) has clocked up an amazing $10bn in total retail sales. And while the rollout of merchandise for summer release Cars 2 began in mid-May, retail projections show it will exceed the performance of Toy Story 3 (which bagged a healthy $2.4 billion in merchandise sales last year) to become the largest merchandise program in licensing industry history.
US-French collaborations are not especially common in film these days, especially when it comes to collaborating on cultural leanings. But The Last Beat from writer-director Robert Saitzyk is mixing it up in Paris. The script details the story of Jay Douglas, a rock star who travels to the French capital in search of a more artistic existence as a poet and writer. The original soundtrack is includes 1970s rock 'n' roll and French pop, and the film will star Cyndi Lauper alongside Shawn Andrews (above middle), French actress Virginie Ledoyen, Cameron Richardson and Oscar nominated Seymour Cassel. It's scheduled to shoot in Paris later this year.
Speaking of French inspiration and Hollywood: The first dice has been rolled on plans to create a big screen adventure based on the classic Parker Brothers board game Risk, launched in the fifties by French filmmaker Albert …