You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

International Newswire: BBC-AMC Crime Drama ‘McMafia’ Recruits Advocates in Britain

In today’s International Newswire, ‘McMafia’ woos British pundits, pay-TV lifts off in Spain, the U.K. music biz enjoys a revival, and Paris market Rendez-Vous readies for its bow.

McMafia,” BBC and AMC’s drama about organized crime, has bowed in Britain to applause from the critics, with comparisons being made to the Emmy-winning “The Night Manager,” and a few suggestions that the show’s star, James Norton, would make a fine James Bond.

Assessing the merits of the opening episode, which attracted more than 5.7 million viewers, the Guardian said the show is “beautifully put together, the script is a cut above average, and there is a sense of much more power and energy waiting to be unleashed.”

The Radio Times, which – despite its title – is the U.K.’s leading TV listings magazine, said that the description of “the ins and outs of international finance” can at times be “a little dry and dense,” but “it’s usually not too long before an act of brutal violence or a sunny international visit pops up to kick the story back into gear.”

The Telegraph said: “There’s enough grit in [Norton’s] acting, and intrigue in the plot, to guarantee my place on the sofa” for the subsequent episodes.

The U.K.’s best-selling tabloid The Sun said the show was “an eight-episode rehearsal for star James Norton to step into Daniel Craig’s 007 shoes.”

Stephen Pollard, editor of the Jewish Chronicle, was far less keen on the show, initially. “Watching McMafia. Pretty appalling that all the villains so far are explicitly Jewish,” he tweeted, although he admitted he’d only watched 30 minutes of the show. He was later persuaded to watch the rest of the episode. “Glad I did – it’s promising…,” he tweeted.

Total 2017 TV figures for Spain are in. For the sixth-year running, Mediaset España’s Telecinco topped out the year as Spain’s most-watched free-to-air channel, with a 13.1% share.

Mediaset España and Atresmedia maintain their dual dominance of Spain’s TV ad market, their bouquets of channels taking a combined 85% slice of total investment.

But the big news cuts two ways, according to a Barlovento Comunicación study, released Tuesday. Kicking in from 2014, Spain’s TV ad market recovery is slowing, at least for the first nine months of the year, with investment over January-September 2017 coming in at €1.528 million ($1.711 billion), just 0.9% up on Spain’s €1.515 billion ($1.697 billion) for the same period, 2016. Second, once a laggard in Europe, Spain’s pay-TV market is finally lifting off, accounting for 22.3% of total viewership in 2017, vs. 20.4% a year earlier. Reason? The hike in fiber optic connections, used in 6.3 million of Spain’s 18.3 million TV homes by October. And the proliferation of new OTT offerings and initiatives, spearheaded by market leader Movistar +’s launch of its first original series, and the launch of Netflix, HBO and Amazon Prime Video in Spain, which now rates as a primarily internet TV country. Spain has 6.1 million pay-TV homes, 3.483 million of them IP TV households, according to the latest figures from Spain’s National Market and Competition Commission, its market and antitrust regulator.

The British music biz is enjoying a continuing revival with sales across all formats rising steeply.

A total of 135.1 million albums or their equivalent were either streamed, purchased on physical format, or downloaded over the past year, according to record labels’ association the BPI. This represented a 9.5% rise on 2016, and marks a third year of consecutive growth and the biggest rise so far this century.

U.K. acts accounted for eight of the top 10 best-selling artist albums last year, with Ed Sheeran leading the way with “Divide.”

The growth was driven by a 68.1 billion streams, which represented a 51.5% rise on 2016, and a 1,740% increase since 2012. Streaming accounts for more than half (50.4%) of all British music consumption.

The vinyl revival continues, with 4.1 million LPs purchased in 2017 – an annual rise of 26.8%, and up by 1,892% since their low point of just 205,000 copies sold in 2007. Vinyl LP sales are now at their highest level since the start of the 90s, with close to 40,000 albums released on vinyl in 2017. Almost one in 10 of all physical purchases are now on vinyl format.

Vinyl occupies a growing niche that accounts for 3% of the music consumed, while CDs repped 30.8%.

As the industry increasingly questions the future of film markets, its first in 2018, the UniFrance Rendez-Vous with French Cinema, will celebrate its 20th edition in Paris with little sense of self-doubt. That comes with the territory. For all its soul searching, even not counting Luc Besson, France remains one of the few countries in Europe capable of producing, financing or selling independent movies which clock up more than $100 million at the worldwide box office. Gaumont’s “Leap!” is a case in point.

Paris is also a capital of exportable comedy. The Rendez-Vous’ lineup still has to be announced but judged from the comedies bowing in early 2018 in France, the 20th edition may be a particularly strong one. It is also, very obviously, the world’s biggest art-film hub. Juliette Binoche, star of Claire Denis’ “Let the Sun Shine In,” which has sold to 42 countries, will pick up this year’s UniFrance French Cinema Award.

Running Jan. 18-22, the Rendez-Vous kicks off with Jean Becker’s just post-WWI drama of conscience, “The Red Collar,” the kind of bigger plusher period piece that France also often does very well.

More Film

  • Inside Amazon's New Feature Film Strategy

    Amazon's New Film Strategy: Straight-to-Service Titles and Starry Sundance Buys

    It was close to midnight when Amazon Studios chief Jennifer Salke got the text. The company had failed in its quest to acquire “Brittany Runs a Marathon,” a body image dramedy that captivated Salke when she saw it at Sundance. A sales agent on the project messaged her to say that a competitor offered a [...]

  • Alfonso Cuaron71st Annual Writers Guild Awards,

    Alfonso Cuarón on Academy's 'Inevitable' Reversal on Televised Oscar Categories

    Alfonso Cuarón isn’t exactly surprised that the Academy reversed its decision and will now air all the Oscar categories during the live show on Sunday. Feb. 24. Calling the decision “inevitable,”Cuarón tells Variety that he thinks the Academy should take things even further. “Let’s stop calling them technical categories!” he told Variety on Sunday night [...]

  • TorinoFilmLab Announces Selections for 2019 ScriptLab

    TorinoFilmLab Announces Selections for 2019 ScriptLab (EXCLUSIVE)

    The TorinoFilmLab has announced the 20 feature projects and five story editor trainees who have been selected to take part in the 2019 edition of ScriptLab, an initiative focused on the development of fiction feature film scripts in early development stage. Beginning in March, this year’s participants will team up with filmmakers from around the [...]

  • Alita Battle Angel

    North American Box Office Declines From Last Year With Weak Presidents Day Weekend

    “Alita: Battle Angel” easily won a tepid Presidents Day weekend with a $34.2 million at 3,790 North American locations, estimates showed Monday. Overall domestic moviegoing for 2019 has plunged 22.1% to $1.24 billion as of Monday, according to Comscore. That’s $350 million below the same date a year ago and the lowest figure at this [...]

  • Queen + Adam Lambert perform at

    Queen to Perform at Oscars

    Queen will perform at the Academy Awards ceremony on Sunday, the Motion Picture Academy announced on social media today. The move, which is not completely a surprise, comes in the wake of the blockbuster success of “Bohemian Rhapsody,” the biopic about the band and its late singer, Freddie Mercury. The band now performs under the [...]

  • Richard E. Grant Variety Facetime Interview

    Richard E. Grant on How to Survive Awards Season With Flair

    An Oscar would certainly be nice, but Richard E. Grant doesn’t need a golden statue to walk away from this awards season as a winner. The 61-year-old actor landed his first Academy Award nomination for his portrayal of Jack Hock, the loyal accomplice of author-turned-literary forager Lee Israel (Melissa McCarthy) in the biopic “Can You [...]

  • Alita Battle Angel

    'Alita: Battle Angel' Banks on Foreign Audiences to Save It From Box Office Disaster

    “Alita: Battle Angel” beat expectations with its $27 million debut at the domestic box office, but Fox’s cyberpunk fantasy adventure has a long road to travel before it can claim victory. When it comes to achieving profitability, the CGI-spectacular may never arrive at that particular destination. With a production budget hovering at $170 million (Fox [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content