Wednesday Apr 23, 2014

ABC to introduce 'Black Box' this Thursday

The new medical series starring British actress Kelly Reilly will premiere on ABC this Thursday, April 24 in the time slot previously occupied by "Scandal."Produced by "X-Men: First Class" director Bryan Singer and by "The L Word" creator Ilene Chaiken, "Black Box" will focus on a...
Read More

TV

ABC to introduce 'Black Box' this Thursday
Wednesday Apr 23, 2014
ABC to introduce 'Black Box' this Thursday

The new medical series starring British actress Kelly Reilly will premiere on ABC this Thursday, April 24 in the time slot previously occupied by "Scandal."Produced by "X-Men: First Class" director Bryan Singer and by "The L Word" creator Ilene Chaiken, "Black Box" will focus on a world-renowned neuroscientist who is hiding a big secret from her fiancé: her bipolar disorder. English actress Kelly Reilly, seen in "Flight" and "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows," will star as Elizabeth Black. Her compatriot Vanessa Redgrave ("The Butler") will play Dr. Hartramph, Elizabeth's psychiatrist and one of the few who know her secret. Bryan Singer will reunite with some of the medical drama themes he came to know as the producer of "House MD." For this new project, Singer's co-producer Chaiken will also act as showrunner. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

WhatsApp hits 500 million users
Wednesday Apr 23, 2014
WhatsApp hits 500 million users

The social messaging app has added another 50 million users worldwide over the past two months.When the news first broke that Facebook had snapped up WhatsApp for a scarcely believable $19 billion, reports stated surfacing that the social messaging app's closest rivals had started to see a huge influx of new customers. The belief was that consumers were deserting WhatsApp because of its Facebook connection. However, it appears that the opposite is true. WhatsApp has just announced it has hit the 500 million active user mark, that's 50 million more than in February when the acquisition was announced. What's more, the fastest growth is in India, Brazil, Mexico and Russia, which suggests that the Facebook connection is positive -- the social network's fastest growth over the past 12 months has been in the same four countries. As a result, WhatsApp now shares 700 million photos and 100 million videos every day. Compared with other fast-emerging consumer tech markets, India is very much playing catch up when it comes to moving from feature phones to smartphones, yet, according to WhatsApp spokesperson for the India market, Neeraj Arora, the country currently has 48 million active WhatsApp users, up 8 million since February. Exactly a year ago, Nokia launched the affordable Asha 210 handset in India. Developed in partnership with WhatsApp, the device, a stepping stone between a feature phone and a smartphone, offered owners a full QWERTY keyboard, but more importantly, was the first phone ever to feature a dedicated WhatsApp button and free use of the app for the life of the device and all for just $72. At the time of the launch, Brian Acton, Co-Founder of WhatsApp, said that the decision to partner with Nokia was in order to tailor the "WhatsApp experience" to different consumers' needs and revealed that the company was attracting 200,000 new Indian consumers a week. One year later, that growth remains almost constant -- the app is still attracting over 130,000 new Indian users every seven days. And while the app is still growing strongly in emerging consumer markets, in countries like the US and Japan it faces stronger competition. To continue to compete with the likes of Tango in North America and Line and Viber in South East Asia, WhatsApp is preparing to add voice calling as an integrated feature. However, the company is yet to say when the feature will be going live. The publication of WhatsApp's latest user figures comes on the same day that the aforementioned Tango social messaging app, with 200 million users, launched its news feed feature which allows users to share tracks from Spotify and to create and distribute videos within the feed as well as via direct messages. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus to return for fourth term as 'Veep'
Wednesday Apr 23, 2014
Julia Louis-Dreyfus to return for fourth term as 'Veep'

HBO announced that its political comedy will return in spring 2015 for its fourth season. The premium cable network also said it has renewed "Silicon Valley," its freshman comedy on the tech world created by Mike Judge.Julia Louis-Dreyfus will return to the small screen as the US vice president Selina Meyer for another season, which will be aired next year on HBO. The network opted to renew "Veep" in spite of its flagging ratings. Since its return to the air on April 6, the show has drawn less than a million viewers each week. Nonetheless, the comedy is a hit with critics, as indicated by its frequent award nominations. "Silicon Valley," on the other hand, has been a hit with critics and viewers alike so far. The show, which follows a group of young IT developers and entrepreneurs, has attracted two million viewers per episode on average. It is worth noting, however, that the comedy is aired just before "Game of Thrones," currently HBO's most-watched series. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

Video: new 'Adventure Time' episode from Japanese animator Yuasa Masaaki
Wednesday Apr 23, 2014
Video: new 'Adventure Time' episode from Japanese animator Yuasa Masaaki

Celebrated Japanese animator Yuasa Masaaki lends his own interpretation to the unpredictable journeys of human boy Finn and his dog-brother Jake in a special episode of popular Cartoon Network series "Adventure Time" called "Food Chain."Masaaki was free to do as he pleased with the characters of "Adventure Time," having produced the episode from within the walls of his own Japanese studio, reported Things To Do in LA from an Adventure Time panel at the Wondercon Expo on April 19. Masaaki, director of "Ping Pong: The Animation," which was broadcast in Japan and the USA earlier in April, is also known for anime series "Kaiba," a 2010 anime adaptation of 2004 novel "The Tatami Galaxy," and Kickstarter project "Kick-Heart." In the episode clip, Finn and Jake visit a museum as part of an educational day out, learning about how the food chain theory applies to birds, leaves and caterpillars, before taking off on their own flight of fancy. NYMag's Vulture site was given exclusivity on hosting the three-minute clip, becoming the source for an inevitable spill-over onto Tumblr blogs and YouTube channels; "Food Chain" is expected to air in its entirety at some point in June. http://video.vulture.com/video/Exclusive-Masaaki-Yuasa-Adventu Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

Lytro lights up the camera market
Wednesday Apr 23, 2014
Lytro lights up the camera market

The company's first pro light field camera and software platform offer new dimensions of creativity to professionals and photography enthusiasts alike.The Lytro Illum allows anyone with $1,599 to spare the ability to capture true "living" three-dimensional images that can be played with endlessly after they've been captured. Zoom can be adjusted, perspective tilted, depth of field and focus changed. That might sound like a lot of money, especially when the same effects are now available on a host of top-end smartphones -- such as the Nokia Lumia 1020 for example -- but the difference is that those handsets use a bit of software trickery, whereas Lytro's products do it "for real" and Lytro is the company that brought the concept to the market in the first place with its first light field camera back in 2012 (a device that took 20 years to develop). Unlike "normal" digital cameras, the sensor inside Lytro's devices captures the color, intensity and direction of every ray of light streaming into the camera. So while some companies talk about megapixels, Lytro talks about megarays -- 40 million to be precise. The Illum also has an 8x optical zoom range, a constant f/2.0 aperture and a high-speed shutter. And once images have been snapped, the new supporting software platform will let users view the images in 3D as well as reshape them in every dimension and create animations. The platform also makes it simple to convert pictures into standard formats such as jpeg and to share living images with others. And, perhaps best of all, it is compatible with existing photo manipulation applications such as Adobe Photoshop. "With Lytro Illum, creative pioneers -- ranging from artistic amateurs to experienced professionals -- will tap into a new wave of graphical storytelling. Now artist and audience alike can share an equally intimate connection with the imagery, and, in a sense, jointly participate in the magic of its creation," said Lytro CEO Jason Rosenthal. "By combining a novel hardware array with tremendous computational horsepower, this camera opens up unprecedented possibilities to push the boundaries of creativity beyond the limits inherent in digital or film photography." Rosenthal and company founder Dr. Ren Ng believe that the new camera -- which is incredibly light to carry (it weighs 940g) and intuitive to use, yet is as powerful as a DSLR or even a medium format camera -- could usher in another photographic revolution. The camera goes on sale in July and while its price tag may put some consumers off, it shouldn't be viewed as a novelty device or a gadget but as a camera on a performance par with most mid-to-high spec DSLRs offered by Nikon or Canon, yet in a much smaller and package. Lytro has already posted a gallery of living images to give consumers some idea of the camera's capabilities. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

Movies

ABC to introduce 'Black Box' this Thursday
Wednesday Apr 23, 2014
ABC to introduce 'Black Box' this Thursday

The new medical series starring British actress Kelly Reilly will premiere on ABC this Thursday, April 24 in the time slot previously occupied by "Scandal."Produced by "X-Men: First Class" director Bryan Singer and by "The L Word" creator Ilene Chaiken, "Black Box" will focus on a world-renowned neuroscientist who is hiding a big secret from her fiancé: her bipolar disorder. English actress Kelly Reilly, seen in "Flight" and "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows," will star as Elizabeth Black. Her compatriot Vanessa Redgrave ("The Butler") will play Dr. Hartramph, Elizabeth's psychiatrist and one of the few who know her secret. Bryan Singer will reunite with some of the medical drama themes he came to know as the producer of "House MD." For this new project, Singer's co-producer Chaiken will also act as showrunner. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

Designers return to childhood Disney memories for charity
Tuesday Apr 22, 2014
Designers return to childhood Disney memories for charity

Disney France has invited around 20 fashion designers and visual artists to explore the theme of "Bad for Good" ("Le Mal pour le Bien") through a series of works that will be exhibited in Paris and sold at auction for charity.Once again this year, Disney France is renewing its tradition of partnering with designers and artists for a charity fundraiser. For the first time, participating artists were asked to create a work on the theme of "Bad for Good," presenting a very personal vision of the theme and calling to mind the iconic villains of Disney films through the ages. Chantal Thomass, Christian Louboutin, Paul Smith, Christian Lacroix, Anne-Valérie Hash, Manish Arora, Kobi Levi, Laurent Pernot and Martin Grant are among the talents who contributed sketches and other works that bring their childhood memories to life. The works will be exhibited at the Espace Commines in Paris from June 10 to 12 and sold at auction on June 12. Proceeds will benefit the non-profit group La Source, which aims to help children and teenagers confronted with social, academic or family issues. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks could reunite for Cold War feature
Tuesday Apr 22, 2014
Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks could reunite for Cold War feature

The actor and director could soon reteam for their fourth collaboration.The project that could bring Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks together once again does not yet have a title, although the plot seems to have been established, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The feature will tell the story of James Donovan, a lawyer sent to the Soviet Union during the Cold War to negotiate the release of a U2 spy plane pilot, Francis Gary Powers. Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks have already collaborated on three films: "Saving Private Ryan" (1998), "Catch Me If You Can" (2002) and "The Terminal" (2004). The two stars were also co-producers on the HBO miniseries "Band of Brothers" and "The Pacific." As usual, Steven Spielberg is currently involved in multiple projects. The director is working on "Robopocalypse," a sci-fi movie produced by Fox, and on "Montezuma," which will depict the conflict between the famous Aztec ruler and the Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

John Turturro replaces Robert De Niro in HBO's 'Criminal Justice'
Tuesday Apr 22, 2014
John Turturro replaces Robert De Niro in HBO's 'Criminal Justice'

The cast of the courtroom drama miniseries has undergone yet another shift. Following Robert De Niro's exit, the cable network has brought in John Turturro for the lead role, according to The Hollywood Reporter.Attached to headline "Criminal Justice" since September 2013, Robert De Niro was forced to step down due to a scheduling conflict, according to the Hollywood news website. The star will be replaced by John Turturro, the New York actor frequently seen in the films of Spike Lee and the Coen brothers. In the seven-episode miniseries, the actor will play Jack Stone, a lawyer defending a young Pakistani man accused of murdering his wife. The role was initially developed for "The Sopranos" star James Gandolfini, who died in June 2013. An adaptation of a British series aired in 2008 and 2009 on BBC One, "Criminal Justice" is written by Richard Price ("The Color of Money," "The Wire") and will be directed by Steven Zaillian, the screenwriter who won an Oscar in 1994 for his script for "Schindler's List." The original version depicted the British judicial system, and each five-episode season followed the story of a defendant from arrest to sentencing. The project will not be John Turturro's first stint in television; the actor won an Emmy in 2004 for his performance on "Monk," in which he played Ambrose, the agoraphobic brother of the famous detective played by Tony Shalhoub.  Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

Restored 'Texas Chain Saw Massacre' gets Cannes slot
Tuesday Apr 22, 2014
Restored 'Texas Chain Saw Massacre' gets Cannes slot

A restored version of "The Texas Chain Saw Massacre" marking the slasher film's 40th anniversary will be shown in Cannes next month as part of the Directors' Fortnight.Tobe Hooper's 1974 horror movie about a group of friends who run into a family of cannibals was originally banned in several countries due to its violence. But the low-budget film -- made by Hooper for less than $300,000 -- went on to become a box office smash leading to a hugely profitable and long-running franchise. An independent event started by the French Directors' Guild in the late 1960s, the Fortnight runs alongside the main May 14-25 Cannes Film Festival with the aim of discovering new talent and saluting the work of established directors. Other films by established names include "Queen and Country" by Britain's John Boorman and "The Tale of Princess Kaguya" by Japan's Isao Takahata. The non-competitive event will run from May 15-25. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

Events

Julia Louis-Dreyfus to return for fourth term as 'Veep'
Wednesday Apr 23, 2014
Julia Louis-Dreyfus to return for fourth term as 'Veep'

HBO announced that its political comedy will return in spring 2015 for its fourth season. The premium cable network also said it has renewed "Silicon Valley," its freshman comedy on the tech world created by Mike Judge.Julia Louis-Dreyfus will return to the small screen as the US vice president Selina Meyer for another season, which will be aired next year on HBO. The network opted to renew "Veep" in spite of its flagging ratings. Since its return to the air on April 6, the show has drawn less than a million viewers each week. Nonetheless, the comedy is a hit with critics, as indicated by its frequent award nominations. "Silicon Valley," on the other hand, has been a hit with critics and viewers alike so far. The show, which follows a group of young IT developers and entrepreneurs, has attracted two million viewers per episode on average. It is worth noting, however, that the comedy is aired just before "Game of Thrones," currently HBO's most-watched series. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

Harris channels 'Hedwig' when audience acts unruly
Tuesday Apr 22, 2014
Harris channels 'Hedwig' when audience acts unruly

NEW YORK (AP) — Neil Patrick Harris knows that his character Hedwig speaks directly to the audience throughout his Broadway show, "Hedwig and the Angry Inch." So he understands how things can sometimes get unruly. "Hedwig's energy transfers itself into a dialogue with the audience. So if someone calls something out, it's sort of my responsibility, in character, to make sure that that person knows that this isn't the kind of show like 'Rocky Horror,' where I'm going to be bantering with them," Harris said after the show's opening on Tuesday. Several times during previews, Harris responded to fans calling out to him as "Neil," and his replies were just what you'd expect from Hedwig, sometimes laced with sassy expletives. "That's part of the job that I have to say, 'All right,' in character, 'Settle it down girl, we're in the middle of a show right now," Harris said. "So that happened and people thought it was funny. I've done worse. She's a tough girl that Hedwig." But the actor says his responses are never planned. "I don't come up with zingers and think, 'I can't wait to say something rude to this person,' but sometimes things happen. That's why it's theater," Harris said with a smile. Theater is what the 40-year-old has always thrived on doing. He has three Broadway shows already under his belt, but he couldn't do much during the past decade while he was starring in the highly successful sitcom, "How I Met Your Mother." He successfully hosted the Tony Awards four of the previous five years, but claimed that experience was too brief for him. Harris got to do big numbers during the Tonys, and though he enjoyed the hard work, regardless of how well it went, he said "you'd never do it again." The actor last appeared on a Broadway stage in the 2004 revival of Stephen Sondheim's "Assassins." He's always wanted to return, but the time wasn't right because of his day job. "I didn't want to finish (a season of) 'How I Met Your Mother,' and jump right into previews and rehearsals, and as soon as it was done go back to the show. I would have just been exhausted. I was anxious for them to not cast somebody else," Harris acknowledged. But all good things come to an end, and his sitcom recently had its finale, freeing him up to get back on stage. Harris is savoring the experience of being in a Broadway show again. "The repetition of it is what has drawn me to it," he said. The story of the Hedwig — the transgender East German performer and her tortured path from Berlin to a mobile home in Kansas to New York — was written by John Cameron Mitchell with music by Stephen Trask. It draws heavily from Mitchell's personal life growing up as the son a U.S. Army General. Mitchell originally performed the title role in the cult musical in 1998 and starred in the film version in 2001. Mitchell called Harris the perfect Hedwig. "He's got every skill necessary. The dancing and the singing and the comedy and the emotional weight, and also the extra dimension of Hedwig, who has to be a Queen, where she's the top," Mitchell said. ____ Online: http://www.hedwigbroadway.com Twitter: Follow AP Entertainment's John Carucci at http://www.twitter.com/jacarucci Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Milsap, Wiseman among Country Hall inductees
Tuesday Apr 22, 2014
Milsap, Wiseman among Country Hall inductees

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Ronnie Milsap, Mac Wiseman and the late Hank Cochran are the newest members of the Country Music Hall of Fame. The 2014 induction class was introduced by Kix Brooks during a news conference Tuesday at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. The trio will be inducted later this year. "I anticipated and hoped for it a long time," Wiseman said of his selection in the veterans era category. "This is the biggest thing that's ever happened to me in my 70-odd years. Being in the same categories with all the greats over the years, I'm just really flattered." Wiseman got his start in music after contracting polio as a child, which kept him out of the fields in his native Virginia. He was an original member of Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs' Foggy Mountain Boys, made his Grand Ole Opry debut with Bill Monroe, was an executive with the influential Nashville independent label Dot Records and a founding board member of the Country Music Association. Milsap, inducted in the modern era category, was an established talent by the time he arrived in Nashville in the 1970s. He'd played in J.J. Cale's band in the early 1960s and moved to Memphis to work with Chips Moman at the hit-making American Studios, where he worked with Elvis Presley, among others, before accepting an invitation to go to Nashville to record for RCA Records. It was something of an experiment for Milsap, known as an R&B and rock singer, but he made sure he had a regular gig before he hit town, playing nightly at Roger Miller's King of the Road Hotel. He found country fans were open to his style, and he went on to win several Grammy Awards, the CMA's entertainer of the year award in 1977 and four album of the year awards between 1975 and 1986. "They developed me as an act that when you heard me on the radio, people knew who it was," Milsap said of RCA's Jerry Bradley and Joe Galante. "When you turn on the radio and hear Merle Haggard, you know who it is. When you hear Charley Pride, you know who it is. When you heard Ronnie Milsap, that's that new guy over at RCA." Cochran, who is being inducted posthumously in the songwriter category, probably secured his place in country music history when he got Willie Nelson a songwriting job at Pamper Music by forgoing his own raise. He wrote the Ray Price standard "Make the World Go Away" and Patsy Cline's second most-memorable song, "I Fall to Pieces" (following Nelson's own "Crazy"), among many others. He died in 2010 of pancreatic cancer shortly after a touching bedside singalong that included friends Jamey Johnson, Buddy Cannon and Billy Ray Cyrus. ___ Online: http://countrymusichalloffame.org ___ Follow AP Music Writer Chris Talbott: http://twitter.com/Chris_Talbott . Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

'Wicked' composer, others fight sheet music piracy
Tuesday Apr 22, 2014
'Wicked' composer, others fight sheet music piracy

NEW YORK (AP) — By now, some young musical theater fans have received an email from Stephen Schwartz asking them to stop illegally downloading sheet music from any of his shows. Or anyone's show, for that matter. The award-winning composer of the Broadway smash, "Wicked," wants people to know that it's stealing. "You wouldn't walk into a music store and walk out with a piece of music under your arm. So why would it be acceptable to do it online," Schwartz told The Associated Press Monday at an anti-piracy awareness event hosted by the Dramatists Guild. He added, "I just went to the first of the Web sites that I'm going to be emailing, and I typed my name in to see how many individual pieces of sheet music that were available for free of mine — over 11,000. "I didn't know I had that many pieces of music," said an astonished Schwartz. The event proved to be a summit of musical theater composers that included Jason Robert Brown, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Amanda Green, Stephen Flaherty, Marc Shaiman, Scott Wittman, and others. Many of them sat in a room across the hall from the organization's headquarters hunched over computers, writing letters to offenders as a projection screen showed the organization's Twitter activity. The idea of reaching out to sheet music pirates began a few years ago, when composer and Dramatists Guild member Georgia Stitt found out during a talk with students that her husband's sheet music was being illegally downloaded. Stitt is married to "Bridges of Madison County" composer Jason Robert Brown. Brown took to a letter-writing campaign to ask illegal downloaders to stop. "About three or four years ago, when Georgia had told me about it and I got on the Internet, I saw a whole list, about three or four hundred people pirating my sheet music that day, and I said 'I'm just going to write them,'" he said. While that doesn't entirely solve the problem, Brown feels getting an email from a Broadway composer carries enormous clout. "If Stephen Sondheim had written to me when I was 20 years old, when I was 16 years old, I would have had an aneurism," Brown said. "It's more of a reason to take somebody seriously. You're not going to listen to your mother about it, or your teachers, but maybe you'll listen to someone that you respect when they say to you, 'This hurts me.'" Miranda, composer of the Tony-winning "In the Heights," feels most of the people illegally downloading music are unaware of the impact on the artist. "Musical theater artists, we thrive on productions and we thrive on sheet music. That's our bread and butter," he said. "We're not ranked iTunes artists. We create for live productions, so we suffer more than most in this era where you can download anything." Dramatist Guild committee chair Craig Carnelia is leading the fight in shutting down these illegal Web sites, as well as bringing awareness to the problem. "There are more songs being stolen than being sold... there are people that believe that intellectual property should belong to everyone, but for the most part, it's people that don't really understand that by doing this, they're taking from the very people they revere, and damaging the business they hope to become a part of," Carnelia said. The Anti-Piracy Committee was founded in 2010. Since then, it has produced numerous resources for writers, as well as "Someone Wrote That Song," a musical PSA with music by Alan Menken and lyrics by Carnelia. The committee has not assigned a dollar value to the sheet music illegally traded, but feels it's significantly impacting the livelihoods of composers and lyricists. Well-known composers have tens of thousands of pieces of music available for download. Carnelia said he's seen thousands of pieces of his material being offered for free. "On one site, there are some composers like Sondheim that have 30,000 being offered," Carnelia said. Sheet music generally sells for $5 to $10. But some sell as low as 99 cents. "Hands on a Hardbody" lyricist and composer Amanda Green understands why young people just want to get their hands on some music. But she feels it's important to let them know of that it hurts the composer's livelihood. "I think it's about changing people's mindset." Green said. She added: "The more attention that's paid, and the more we refuse to be quiet about it, the more impact we can have." _____ Online: http://www.dramatistsguild.com ___ Follow AP Entertainment's John Carucci at http://www.twitter.com/jacarucci Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Crouching Tiger prequel to film in New Zealand
Tuesday Apr 22, 2014
Crouching Tiger prequel to film in New Zealand

A prequel to the Oscar-winning Chinese martial arts epic "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" will be shot in New Zealand this year, Film Auckland said Tuesday.The original movie, released in 2000, broke new ground in introducing Western audiences to Chinese cinema and Film Auckland's deputy chairman Alex Lee said securing the follow-up was a major coup for New Zealand. "Over the last 18 months it's been very quiet and it's nice we're finally getting traction," he told Radio New Zealand. "It's a production that will require a vast number of resources, facilities, technicians and crew." New Zealand is no stranger to big-budget movie shoots, providing stunning backdrops for both the "Lord of the Rings" and "Hobbit" trilogies. But Lee said subsidy changes allowing major productions to claim back up to 25 percent of their budget as rebates were a decisive factor in Auckland winning the "Crouching Tiger" prequel. "It's quite clear that until the decision to increase the incentives for international films to come to New Zealand we were just not competitive," he said. "Crouching Tiger" made US$213.5 million globally, according to industry website Box Office Mojo, including US$128 million in the United States -- unprecedented at the time for a foreign language movie. It also won four Oscars in 2001, including best foreign film, and launched the Hollywood career of director Ang Lee, who went on to win two best director Academy Awards for "Brokeback Mountain" and "Life of Pi". Film industry bible Variety reported that Malaysia's Michelle Yeoh will reprise her role as a warrior in the prequel, to be titled "The Green Destiny". It said Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein's The Weinstein Company is co-producing the film with New Zealand's Iron Knight Productions. Yuen Woo-ping, who co-ordinated the eye-popping action scenes in the original, will reportedly direct, using a script which has been approved by officials in Beijing. The green light from Beijing is important because it ensures access to the rapidly growing Chinese market, where box office takings soared 36 percent to an estimated $1.8 billion over the first six months of 2013. The Chinese market is expected to overtake the US market by 2020, prompting keen interest from Hollywood. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.