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10 June 2004

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  • $114m international opening for Harry in 24 territories...

    Harry Potter And ThePrisoner Of Azkaban cast a spell over theinternational box office at the weekend, conjuring up a superb $114.1m from7,804 screens in 24 countries for Warner Bros.
  • ...while Day After Tomorrow sweeps up a further $55m

    Fox International's The Day After Tomorrow followed up last weekend's record bowfor a non-sequel with an impressive $55m, raising the picture's internationalrunning total to $178.5m.
  • A Common Thread (Brodeuses)

    Dir: Eleonore Faucher. Fr.2004. 88minsAssured and tenderly felt, ACommon Thread (Brodeuses) announces a promising new talent inwriter-director Eleonore Faucher. The story of a rural teenager coming to termswith her pregnancy and her future has some affinities with Agnes Varda's Vagabondeand the D
  • Aaltra takes Transylvania audience prize

    Belgian road movie Aaltrawas the most popular film with audiences at the Transylvania Film Festival (May28-June 6), the growing Romanian event now in its third year.The festival's officialfirst prize went to Dias De Santiago, a Peruvian film directed by JosueMendez about a young soldier who has difficulty adjusting to real life.The jury designatedDenmark's Christoffer Boe, responsible for Reconstruction, as the bestdirector in the 12 stro
  • Allen trades Manhattan for London

    Woody Allen is travelling to London to direct his next, asyet untitled, feature film.Based out of Ealing Studios, Allen will reportedly startshooting on July 12 for seven weeks in London.Allen rarely shoots his films outside the US, and it isthought to be the first time that he has come to the UK to direct a film.Allen has, however, worked on many occasions with top UKacting talent, including Michael Caine and Hugh Grant.The plot is being kept under wraps, and cast
  • Alliance Atlantis buys Canadian rights to 9/11

    Bob and Harvey Weinstein'sfledgling Fellowship Adventure Group has sold all Canadian rights to MichaelMoore's Fahrenheit 9/11 toAlliance Atlantis.Alliance Atlantis willrelease the film theatrically across Canada on Jun 25, the same day the PalmeD'Or winner is due to be released in the US through Fellowship Adventure Group,Lions Gate and IFC Films."We couldn't think of abetter Canadian partner for Fahrenheit 9/11," the Weinsteins said in a joint
  • Ambitious New York digital outfit Madstone shuts down

    New York-basedentertainment company Madstone has shut down operations, according to reports.A statementissued by Madstone earlier this week said: 'The company was not able toachieve its business goals.'Goldman Sachspartner Chip Seelig and distribution veteran Tom Gruenberg founded the group in1999.Exhibition armMadstone Theaters has closed down its leased arthouse theatres in Albuquerque,Cary, Tampa, Salt Lake City, Denver, Baltimore and San Diego.
  • Animation director Selick aligns with Vinton Studios

    LA-based animation house VintonStudios has signed award-winning film-maker Henry Selick as supervisingdirector.
  • Artificial Eye takes Holy Girl for UK

    Artificial Eye has acquired TheHoly Girl for the UK.Artificial Eye bought thefilm from HBO London, which is handling worldwide sales. The Spanish-languagefeature played in last month's Cannes competition.Directed by Lucrecia Martel,it tells the story of a young girl trying to save a man from sin.
  • AUSTRALIA 7 June

    There are four newfilms in the top ten but Fox's The DayAfter Tomorrow, in its second week on release, and Roadshow's Troy, in its fourth week, have held onto the two top spots.The best of theopeners, BVI's Raising Helen, took$1,353,609 from 199 screens to claim the third spot and Columbia TriStar's The Punisher took $875,581 from 145screens to claim the fourth spot. Foll
  • Azkaban a critical and box office triumph for Warner Bros

    Warner Bros' decision to release Harry Potter And The PrisonerOf Azkaban in the summerpaid off handsomely as the third instalment in the children's series opened topat the weekend on a franchise record $92.7m estimated gross.
  • Azkaban breaks UK three-day opening record

    HarryPotter And The Prisoner Of Azkabanhas beaten the three-day record for a picture in the UK with £11.5m ($20.1m) inticket sales, passing the £10.8m November 2002 opening weekend of HarryPotter And The Chamber Of Secrets.
  • Babelsberg studio sale nears conclusion

    Thelong-drawn out process of selling the historic Babelsberg studios near Berlincould be drawing to a conclusion.VivendiUniversal, the debt laden French group which has owned the facility since 1992,has fielded bids and is understood to have whittled these down to two or three.The likely favourites are Studio Hamburg - the production arm of NDR,
  • Baeres wouldn't put a production auditor on Franchise movies, says Williamson

    While charging his employees for office coffee, IntertainmentLicensing CEO Rudiger "Barry" Baeres spurned repeated requests to put aproduction auditor on film sets where the budgets were being fraudulentlypumped for tens of millions of dollars, said his former co-managing director ina federal courtroom T
  • Berlinale calls on film-makers to shoot football films

    The Berlinale Talent Campus has launched a shortfilm competition - Shoot Goals! Shoot Movies! - for film-makers toillustrate their passion for the game of football as well as the fans and theculture it generates in their respective countries.According to the guidelines of the competition,submissions in either dramatic, documentary or animated genres - or a mixtureof the three - will be accepted with running times of between 30 seconds andfive minutes.The entrants must hav
  • Berney to give keynote address at AFMA production conference

    Newmarket Filmspresident Bob Berney will give the opening keynote address at AFMA's upcomingsixth annual production conference in Los Angeles on Jun 17.The industryevent will feature two panels entitled Getting It Done: Producing Against AllOdds and What Will It Take to Bring Production Back to the US'Panellists include Lions Gate Entertainment vice chairmanMark Amin, president of international distribution at Syndicate FilmsInternational Lisa Wilson, Nu Image
  • Billy Elliot tops poll of most popular films on British TV

    The TV premiere of Billy Elliot on BBC1 was the mostviewed film shown on the UK's main five terrestrial channels last year. Threeother recent UK-made features including The Full Monty made thetop ten, the UK Film Council has revealed.Theratings success came despite only a tiny 2.8 per cent of the films shown onthose channels being UK films less than 8 years old.
  • Burnt Orange cranks up with King, Babbit, Carrera projects

    Fledglingproduction outfit Burnt Orange Productions is in development on its first threeprojects due to shoot this summer from directors Zalman King, Jamie Babbit andCarlos Carrera.
  • Canal Plus sells off Studio Expand companies

    CanalPlus has sold off five companies that previously made up the lightentertainment division of its Studio Expand, TV production group.ProductionsDMD, KM and CALT are being sold back to their founders; Adventure LineProductions is being taken over by JAP, a company representing Teleimages and agroup of private investors. The
  • Chabrol's Flower to blossom with UK's CineFile

    Edinburgh-based CineFile has picked up the UK rights to TheFlower Of Evil, venerable French auteurClaude Chabrol's 50th feature, and will be releasing the film next monththrough its subsidiary, CineFrance. This is the second Chabrol picture thecompany has acquired. (It also released The Colour Of Lies.)CineFileis one of an increasing number of new British distributors handling art houseand foreign language fare. It was founded four years ago as CineFranc
  • Civilian blames late Skull delivery for $2m loss

    Civilian Content hasposted a $2m (£1.1m) pre-tax loss for the year ended December 31, 2003.The AIM-listed UKproduction and sales company cited production and delivery delays for draggingit into the red after posting a small profit the year before of $190,000(£103,000). The late delivery of John Boorman's Country Of MySkull,Civilian's South African drama with Juliette Binoche, was a particularfactor."Our largestanticipated rights sale, in respect of the film Country Of
  • ContentFilm in talks to acquire First Look Media in LA

    ContentFilm is in talks to acquire the US' First Look Media, marking Content's first major strategic step since joining London's AIM stock-market via its takeover of Winchester Entertainment.The move, announced to the stock market on Friday, gives Content a North American home video and DVD distribution business, plus a film library of some 350 titles including Evelyn, Waking Ned Devine and Antonia's Line.The deal is likely to see Content assume $12m of First Look
  • De-Lovely

    Dir: Irwin Winkler. US.2004. 125mins.De-Lovely is one of those movies which begs the question why. Why in2004 make an old-fashioned biopic of homosexual composer Cole Porter as aheterosexual romance' Why re-record Cole Porter numbers with contemporary popacts when it was done so effectively for charity 15 years ago by the Red, Hot + Blue project' Why, in an agewhen musicals are coming back into vogue courtesy of Chicago and
  • DENMARK 8 June

    Despite ravereviews Jim Carrey-starrer EternalSunshine Of The Spotless Mind's 10 prints couldn't overthrow the dominanceof The Day After Tomorrow and Troy, though both films had a lowerscreen average and fell back 43% and 35% respectively.Overall it was allbut impossible to spot why this weekend's gross was up some 58% from the sameweekend last year, when pretty much all the films save the top three scoreddisapp
  • Dutch broadcasters pledge to boost film spend

    Dutch public broadcasters have pledged to invest Euros 9m ayear on Dutch films from 2005.The money will be spent on 18 to 19 feature lengththeatrical films and six telefilms: films produced for television but with achance of a theatrical release as well.Another Euros 2.5m will remain available for so-calledtelescoop-films: 2 to 4 theatrical features a year, funded by the DutchFilmfund, the ministry of Culture, the CoBO-Fund, and the public broadcasters.The public broadcas
  • Dutch cinema hits record box office highs

    Dutch films have taken a record 15.3% share of their localmarket in the first quarter of 2004.Inthe first three months of this year, 952,000 people went to see a Dutchproduced film. Dutch films took Euros 6.7m at the box office, out of a total ofEuros 43.4m.Two titles are largely responsible for the strongperformance.Multicultural comedy Shouf Shouf Habibi!, has r
  • Eisner 'willing to consider' Miramax sale

    Walt Disney chief executiveMichael Eisner is willing to consider selling its Miramax division back tofounders and co-chairmen, Harvey and Bob Weinstein, according to a report yesterday in The New York Times.Quoting "close associates"and "friends and executives who have discussed the issue" with Eisner, thepaper says that the Disney chief is considering the move after "accumulatedaggravation with the Weinstein brothers" most recently the dispute over whetherMiramax could distribu
  • Fahrenheit to be first doc released theatrically in Middle East

    United Arab Emirates based Front Row Entertainment is planning to releaseMichael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 inthe Middle East beginning on July 14 according to managing director GianlucaChacra.The film will first be sent out on 18 screens in the UnitedArab Emirates and will be released in Syria (2 screens), Jordan (3 screens),Lebanon (10 screens) and Egypt (5 screens) six days later on July 20.Other territories which Front Row will handle includeKuwait, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain
  • Fahrenheit 9/11 to open Paris Cinema festival

    The organisers of Paris Cinema unveiled plans Friday for thefestival's second run from June 30 to July 13 in the capital. Thefestival is supported by the city of Paris and organized by formerDirectors' Fortnight artistic director Marie-Pierre Macia and filmmakerCosta-Gavras.At a press conference at City Hall Friday afternoon,filmmaker Oliver Stone, who will be the subject of a tribute during thefestival, was decorated by mayor Bertrand Delanoye. Stone is currently inpost-production on
  • FINLAND 8 June

    Despite his hometerritory advantage, local boy Renny Harlin's latest US action flick Mindhunters was no match for thedominance of The Day After Tomorrowand Troy, though they dropped 45% and38%.However, RolandEmmerich's ecological disaster extravaganza retained the chart's strongestscreen average with Euros 3,412 on its 52 prints compared to Harlin's Euros1,201 on 20 prints, while The Girl WithThe Pearl Earrin
  • Five

    Dir:Abbas Kiarostami. Fr-Iran, 2003. 74minsHavingtaken his own cinema lessons to heart (see Screen International's reviewof 10 On Ten), Abbas Kiarostamihere reaches the logical conclusion, going for the most esoteric, minimalistcinema imaginable, consisting of just five long static shots taken with adigital camera, no actors, no script, no story and no editing. Not even thedirector seems to be present for the occasion. And since traditional creditsa
  • Fond Kiss for Galway Film Fleadh

    The GalwayFilm Fleadh will pay special tribute to octogenarian Irish star Maureen O'Haraafter opening on July 6 with Ken Loach's Ae Fond Kiss.One of thefirst Irish actors to achieve star status in Hollywood, Maureen O'Hara will bethe subject of this year's public interview prior to a screening of John Ford'sThe Quiet Man (1952). The
  • Fox International hires new evp of creative advertising Camp

    Michael Camp has been named executive vice president of creativeadvertising at Fox International.Camp will
  • FRANCE 10 June

    As with pretty much everywhere else it was released thisweek, the third go round for Harry Potterand his band of wizards landed at the top of the box office with a staggering2.5 million admissions.The Day After Tomorrowdropped to the second spot falling off a precipitous 55%, Troy followed suit by losing 56% of its take from last week aswell.Melodramatic juggernaut LesChoristes fell to its lowest position so far landing in number f
  • German distributors take Les Choristes, Kontroll

    Germany's Constantin Film has acquired thetheatrical and DVD/video rights for Germany and Austria for ChristopheBarratier's French box-office sensation Les Choristes from veteranproducer Arthur Cohn.Constantin will release Les Choristesunder the German title of Die Kinder Des Monsieur Mathieu on August 26.Meanwhile, German rights trader Tiberius Filmhas picked up all German language rights (Germany, Austria and Switzerland) forNimrod Antal's fea
  • GERMANY 9 June

    Unsurprisingly, the third instalment of the Harry Potterfranchise had the best opening weekend of the year so far. Launched with 1,204prints, the film posted the sixth best-ever opening weekend and the best everopening outside of the months of November and December.Askaban's 2m-plusadmissions (including Wednesday evening screenings) were, however, some way offfrom the 2.6m for Harry Potter And ThePhilosopher's Stone or the 2.5m for HarryPotter And T
  • Global anti-piracy trailer debuts in Australia

    An anti-piracy trailer that likens illegally downloadingmovies from the Internet with othercrimes such as stealing cars and television sets and snatching handbags, waslaunched today in Australia by Attorney-General Philip Ruddock.The content and style seemed to meet the approval ofdelegates at the 8th annual conference of the Cinema Owners Association ofAustralia (COAA), held in the national capital of Canberra for the first time.About 1,900 copies of the educational trailers have been
  • Harry confirmed as third biggest international opener ever

    Official figures released byWarner Bros put the international opening of Harry Potter And The PrisonerOf Azkaban at $113.5m from 7,885screens in 24 countries, which combines with the $93.7m domestic haul for a$207.2m worldwide opening.The international bow wasthe third biggest of all time behind The Lord Of The Rings: The Return OfThe King and The MatrixRevolutions.Highlights were anastonishing $23.9m from 535 sites in the UK, $17.7m with 2.2million admissio
  • Helen raises $1m in first international opening in Australia

    The comedy Raising Helen enjoyed a decent first international foray at theweekend as it opened through Buena Vista International (BVI) in third place inAustralia on a very strong $1m on 205 screens.The distributor also opened HomeOn The Range in Colombia last week,where it scored the biggest ever bow for a traditionally animated picture on$175,000.Miramax's Kill Bill Vol 2 added $1.5m through BVI on 1,234 internationalscreens in 35 territories for a $72.1m i
  • Hong Kong's Filmart goes multimedia

    Multimedia convergence will be the major theme at thisyear's Hong Kong International Film & TV Market (Filmart), which takesplace June 23-25.Theeight-year-old market, organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council(TDC), aims to expand its exhibitor base with new media companies and provide aplatform for cross media collaboration.Three conferences will be held during the t
  • IFC Films buys racing documentary for spring 2005 theatrical release

    IFC Films hasacquired North American rights to Dana Brown's off-road racing documentary DustTo Glory, whichchronicles the legendary annual desert race in Mexico's Baja peninsula. Thecompany plans to release it in spring 2005.The productionreunited Brown with Step Into Liquid producers C Rich Wilson and Scott Waugh of Bronwa Pictures.Baja champion Mike McCoy also served as producer. Brown wrote, directed andedited Step Into Liquid.The shoo
  • Intertainment, Franchise judgement expected next week

    The final judgement in the damages lawsuitbetween Germany's Intertainment and Franchise Pictures is now expected to bemade sometime next week at the earliest.In a press statement, Intertainment explained thatquestioning of the witnesses had been completed on Tuesday (June 8) and thefinal summing up by the lawyers of both parties was expected on Wednesday andThursday (June 9-10).The judgement had been expected by Friday (June11) at the latest, but this could not now happen since
  • ITALY 7 June

    Harry Potter And ThePrisoner Of Azkaban stormed into the Italian box office at number one,earning a massive $6,283,045 on its opening weekend for Warner Bros Italia. TheAlfonso Cuaron film, released during the normally quiet Italian summer seasonon a wide 637 prints, pulled the crowds in to gross a huge $9,863 per screen.The latest HarryPotter extravaganza blew away competition from The Day After Tomorrow, which shed 45% off its earnings on itss
  • Italy mourns death of Nino Manfredi

    Nino Manfredi, one of Italy's most prolific and popularactors, has died in Rome after a long illness. He was 83.Manfredi was often described as one of Italy's four greatacting musketeers, the other three commedia all'italiana legends being the lateUgo Tognazzi, Alberto Sordi and Vittorio Gassman.The Roman actor appeared in more than 100 films and TVdramas, and also wrote and directed a number of pictures during a career thatspanned almost sixty years.His best known film r
  • Jailbait wins top feature prize at Lake Placid Film Festival

    Brett C Leonard's prison two-hander Jailbait won the best feature prize at the 2004Lake Placid Film Festival, while Gretchen Berland and Mike Majoros' Rolling won the best documentary award for itsexploration of wheelchair-bound people's fight for dignity.
  • JAPAN 8 June

    The strongest opener for the week of May 29 to June 4 wasNigel Cole's Calendar Girls, whichrecorded a $36,964 average on two major cities screens.Meanwhile, the Luc Besson-produced Crimson Rivers 2 opened at number four on the nine-major-citieschart, with a $26,340 average on 16 screens.Despite a massive publicity build-up by distributor Toei andthe local popularity of star Eriko Sato, the action spoof Cutie Honey could manage only a nint
  • Korean melodrama puts wind up Potter

    A South Koreanmelodrama is giving Harry Potter a run for its money. For while The Prisoner Of Azkaban was theundisputed champion at the international box office over the weekend, taking$87m-plus, new release Windstruck achieved a better screen average of$11,190 against Potter's $11,060.Directedby Kwak Jae-yong and starring Jun Ji-hyun and Jang Hyuk, the film is about theromance between a young policewoman and a high school teacher. Kwak a
  • Market for on-demand film surges worldwide

    Morethan 100 million homes worldwide now buy on-demand films, according to a newreport.InformaMedia Group's On-Demand TV - ThirdEdition forecasts that this number will triple to 327 million homes by2010, or about a third of the world's total TV households.Thesehomes will generate revenues of $12bn. This compares with 91 million homes and$3.7bn movie revenues for 2003.The report also says that more traditional methods of delivery -pay-per-view for sports and near-vi
  • Mean Creek kicks off Cannes showcase at LAFF

    Jacob Estes' acclaimed dramaMean Creek will launch the 2004Los Angeles Film Festival's new Straight Out Of Cannes section, announcedyesterday (June 8).Director of programmingRachel Rosen said in recent years festival organisers had discussed the idea ofa new strand featuring Croisette hits, adding: "Mean Creek is a hidden treasure that we look forward to showcasingat this year's festival."No other titles have beenannounced yet, however it is und
  • Media Asia goes for Singapore listing

    Through a listing inSingapore, Hong Kong film outfit Media Asia is going for an initial publicoffering in July in a bid to raise $11.7m (S$20m).'The fund raised through theIPO will be used to increase our film output as well as to make movies withhefty budgets,' said executive director and production chief John Chong.This year, he expects MediaAsia to make eight to 10 films, including the $7.7m (HK$60m) car-racing drama Initial D, which i
  • Moscow film fest unveils programme line-up

    The 26th annual Moscow International Film Festival (June 18-27) rolled out its official programme yesterday at a press conference in central Moscow.One of the the major issues of the day was where the event would be held after its traditional headquarters in the historic Manage hall next to the Kremlin was destroyed by a fire earlier this year.The festival headquarters will be at Dom Kino, the home of the Russian Filmmakers' Union, which formerly housed some screenings but will
  • Munich fest to open with Pearl Earring

    Peter Webber's Oscar-nominated Girl With A Pearl Earringwill be the opening film at this year's Munich Film Festival which begins onJune 26.The eight-day festival, which is the first under the management ofAndreas Stroehl, will also include screenings in of such films as WalterSalles' The Motorcycle Diaries, Ivan Fila's King Of Thieves, HansWeingartner's The Edukators, Jean-Luc Godard's Notre Musique andYann Samuell's Jeux D'Enf
  • New lobby group attacks UK film archive plans

    A withering attack has been launched on UK Government-backedplans to restructure the National Film and Television Archive (NFTVA). In astrongly worded document entitled "An Impending National Catastrophe: TheFate Of Britain's Film Heritage," a new lobbying organisation, theCuratori Lucis Group, has accused the UK Film Council and the British FilmInstitute (the bodies entrusted with the care of the NFTVA) of drawing up planswhich will "diminish the archive in every way."The Group (whose
  • Outfest lineup opens with D.E.B.S., closes with Home

    Outfest, the Los AngelesInternational Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, has unveiled its lineup for its 22ndevent which takes place July 8 to 19.Angela Robinson's lesbianspy romp D.E.B.S., whichpremiered at the Sundance Film Festival, will open the festival which is thelargest festival in southern California and one of the largest gay and lesbianfestivals in the world.Michael Mayer's A Home AtThe End Of The World starring ColinFarrell, Robin Wright Penn and Sissy Spac
  • OZ AND NEW ZEALAND Prod Lists - June 10

    AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND LISTINGS - June 10PRE PRODUCTIONDECEMBER BOYS(Becker Films) Backers: Film Finance Corporation Australia, South AustralianFilm Corporation. Int'l sales: MBM (German-speaking territories), AuraEntertainment (rest of world). Dist: Becker (Aust/NZ). Drama. Four orphans gofor a holiday by the sea. Friendships are tested and new alliances made whenrumours eme
  • Oz production awaits fresh cash injection

    Mark Eder mortgaged his house in order to direct his debutfeature Twists Of Fate, which he alsoco-wrote and is now editing, after being unable to secure any other sort offinancing or to find distributors that would take him or his film seriously.Eder lives in regional Australia and works the early morningshift driving concrete trucks to allow time for his filmmaking. He has made sixproductions, including a half-hour version of this feature, since emigratingfrom Canada several ye
  • Pathe, BBC finalise deal for Frears' Mrs Henderson

    Pathe and BBC Films havefinalised their long-anticipated deal to board Mrs Henderson Presents,Stephen Frears' hotly-awaited upcoming production.The Heyman HoskinsProductions title is to start principal photography in September starring JudiDench and Bob Hoskins.Pathe Distribution willdistribute in the UK and France, while Pathe Pictures International will sellthe film worldwide.This script is written byTony award nominee Martin Sherman and reunites Frears with his
  • Punisher takes $1.9m from openings in eight territories for CTFDI

    The Punisher, the latest in a growing line of Marvel Comicsadaptations, grossed $1.9m on 600 screens in eight territories in its firstinternational outings at the weekend.Released through ColumbiaTriStar Film Distributors International (CTFDI), the vigilante saga took$913,000 on 350 in Spain and $601,000 on 145 in Australia.Latest cumulative totalsreleased by CTFDI executives put the romantic comedy 50 First Dates on $62.5m, thrillers Secret Window on $34.2m
  • Raggy Boy wins top Emden festival prize

    Aisling Walsh's Song For A Raggy Boy was presented with theEuros 10,000 Bernhard Wicki Prize at this year's Emden-Aurich-Norderney FilmFestival in the north-western corner of Germany.Second and third prizes in this competition for feature films fromthe German-speaking countries and North-Western Europe went to Ben Sombogaart'sTwin Sisters and Paul Morrison's Wondrous Oblivion. UKco-production The Wooden Camera, by Ntshaveni Wa Luruli, picked up theEuros 5,00
  • Roadside plans pre-election release for same-sex marriage doc

    RoadsideAttractions has picked up North American rights to Jim de Seve's timelysame-sex marriage documentary Tying The Knot and plans to release it in October priorto the 2004 Presidential election.The picture was produced by 1,049 Films and chroniclesthe last three years of the battle for legalisation waged by gays and lesbians,who are demanding the same 1,138 federal rights afforded through heterosexualmarriage."Gay marriage isthe most important civil
  • ROMANIA 9 June

    WhileTroy and The Day After Tomorrow are still top of the Romanian box officechart, new release 50 First Datesmade a strong entry and joined the leading pack after managing a healthy 6,500admissions on five prints.TheSandler-Barrymore comedy was the only new release to make an impact. The rest,including Sylvia and the third Spy Kids instalment failed tothrill audiences.MeanwhileSecret Window and
  • Schloendorff in favour of MBO option for Babelsberg

    Former Babelsberg studio boss Volker Schloendorff has spokenout in favour of the bid by the current management under Thierry Potok for thehistorical production centre as talks continue with Vivendi Universal on thestudio's future.In an interview with the German daily newspaper Die Welt,Schloendorff expressed doubts about the feature film ambitions of anotherpotential bidder Studio Hamburg: "I fear that they don't have thenecessary relationships there to attract international cinema. Ev
  • Senator unveils details of bankruptcy rescue plan

    The restructuring of German producer/distributorSenator Entertainment could be completed by the end of September, according toplans which will be presented at an extraordinary shareholders assembly nextweek by the court-appointed receiver Rolf Rattunde.The restructuring plan would, in a first step,see the shareholders agreeing to a capital reduction of 90% in order to makethe way free for a new investor to come onboard with fresh capital"The insolvency doesn't necessarily mean a
  • Shochiku names Sakomoto as new president

    Junichi Sakomoto has been appointed president of Shochiku,one of Japan's Big Three film companies, with interests in production,distribution and exhibition.Formerly vice president, Sakomoto replaces Nobuyoshi Otani,who served as president since emerging victorious in a boardroom coup in 1998.The grandson of Shochiku mega-producer Shiro Kido, who ranthe studio during its postwar Golden Era, Sakomoto entered Shochiku in 1978,but left the company in 1991 to pursue a career in inter
  • Sony unveils 4k digital cinema projection system

    Sony Electronics last week unveiled a new digital cinemaprojection system - offering four times the resolution of the current projectordeveloped by market leader Texas Instruments.The move by Sony comes at a time when the industry isincreasingly embracing the need for new technology, both in a bid to counterrampant piracy and to improve the offering of cinema against competing leisureoptions.Significantly, the cost of one of Sony's new 4k projectorsfor smaller cinemas will be $6
  • Spanish industry unites against pirates

    Spain's entire audiovisual sector has banded together tolaunch a fully-fledged attack on the pirates which it claims cost the industryEuros 700 million in 2003.But evenas the ICAA film institute, the producers lobby FAPAE, the authors rights'collection society EGEDA and anti-piracy body FAP were announcing details of anad campaign to drive the pirates out, copies of The Day After Tomorrow (
  • Spring, Summer surprise winner at Korean awards

    Kim Ki-duk's Spring,Summer, Fall, Winter... and Spring was named the surprise winner of the 41st Grand Bell Awards, SouthKorea's oldest awards ceremony.This marks the second major local honour for the film after it won BestPicture at the rival Blue Dragon Awards held last December.The Korea-Germanco-production beat out popular favorite and Cannes Grand Prix winner Old Boy, which still managed to collect fiveawards for directing (Park Chan-wook), lead actor (Choi Min-shik)
  • SWEDEN 8 June

    After RolandEmmerich blew all competition down the chart last weekend, hardly anythingchanged in the top 10 this week. Though all the films placed one to six on thechart dropped some 50%, they kept their places with The Day After Tomorrow achieving the best screen average of $5,126on its high 96 prints.Only the newrelease of Chris Stokes' street dancing drama You Got Served managed toslip into ninth with a discreet $1,168 on its 10 prints. Though the U
  • Swedes agree to extend $30m government film deal

    Aftermonths of conflicts, the Swedish Film Agreement - which sees $30m of governmentsupport channelled into local film-making - has been extended for another year,until the end of 2005.Theagreement was due for renewal at the end of this year - but looked as though itwould be blocked following complaints from American distributors that Swedishexhi
  • Tchenguiz offers $644m for UK's Odeon cinemas

    Robert Tchenguiz has offered $644m (£350m) to buy the Odeoncinemas in a move to prevent the company being auctioned, according to the UK'sSunday Times.The deal has the support of German bank WestLB, whichcontrols 43% Odeon and whose stake was set to be auctioned, according to theSunday Times.Tchenguiz, who already owns 35% of Odeon is understood tohave the backing of Iceland's Kaupthing Bank, the newspaper said. If Tchenguizsucceeds, Kaupthing would have a minority stake, it rep
  • The Hook (Je Suis Un Assassin)

    Dir: ThomasVincent. France. 2004. 110minsThe moralconsequences of murder provide the basis for a solid psychological thriller in TheHook. Director-writer Thomas Vincent created a few waves with his grittycharacter piece Karnaval (1999) and this follow-up marks a move towardsmore mainstream fare.Adapted from aDonald Westlake novel, it is intriguingly set up and executed before headingoff the rails in the final stages. The genre and
  • The Ordeal (Calvaire)

    Dir: Fabrice du Welz. Fr-Bel-Lux. 2004. 90mins.Callinga film The Ordeal is surely asking for trouble, and this unforgivingexercise in Belgian Gothic is undeniably a rough ride for the faint of heart.However, anyone receptive to macabre psycho-horror with a distinct streak ofblack humour will find much to relish.Pitchedbetween Euro art-thriller and the grittier end of the US horror spectrum, TheOrdeal offers a slow, calculating build to a genuinely ner
  • The Stepford Wives

    Dir: Frank Oz. US. 2004.93mins.The third filmedadaptation of the Ira Levin thriller about suburban fembots on the rampage in afrosting-coated, master-planned community has been given an extreme makeoverredolent of Death Becomes Her, She-Devil and The Witches OfEastwick, forgettable female-driven star vehicles with limited substanceand depth, too many garish special effects and not enough laughs.While the summer movie crowdmi
  • The Works unveils Cannes competition deals

    London-based sales house TheWorks has struck a raft of deals out of last month's Cannes festival on its twocompetition titles, Clean and TheConsequences Of Love.Clean, forwhich Maggie Cheung won best actress, went to LNK for Portugal, Lumiere forBenelux, PCV for Greece and Cyprus, Imovision for Brazil and Intersonic forHungary and the Czech and Slovak Republics. ARP is releasing the film in Francein September, while Matrix is opening it in the UK in the autumn.
  • THINKFilm buys wine documentary Mondovino

    THINKFilm has acquired NorthAmerican rights to Jonathan Nossiter's Cannes competition entry Mondovino, a documentary about the conflict between artisansand commerce in the contemporary wine-making world.The company said it isreadying a re-edited version for presentation during the autumn festival seasonand theatrical release. The deal also includes DVD rights to the film as wellas to a 10-part television series Nossiter is at work on, compiled from thenearly 500 hours of raw foo
  • Top Cannes titles find Hungarian home

    Hungary'spremiere art house distributor Budapest Film has acquired local rights forseveral high profile Cannes titles, including Pedro Almodovar's BadEducation, EmirKusturica's Life Is A Miracle, Wong Kar Wai's 2046 and Agnes Jaoui's Look At Me.Budapest Film alsopicked up Hungarian rights to three other competition titles: Korean directorPark Chan-Wook's Old Boy, Hirokazu Kore-eda's Nobody Knows and German title The Edukators.Un C
  • Toronto revamps focus on Canadian film-making

    The Toronto International Film Festival (Sept 9-18) haslaunched two new programmes designed to spotlight Canadian film-making talent.Canada First! will showcase Canadians making their featuredebut or presenting a feature at the Festival for the first time, and willannually screen eight to 15 feature films.Short Cuts Canada will programme 30 to 40 films from Canada'sshort film scene.As part of the new focus, the festival is retiring its 20year-old survey programme, Perspec
  • UIP box office on Van Helsing reaches $140m

    Universal's Van Helsing raised its international running total by $4m through 2,600screens in 37 UIP markets to $130m, with the total from all distributors risingto $139m.
  • US baseball stars launch new production outfit

    New York Mets baseball starTodd Zeile and Bill Civitella are in post production on the teen comedy DirtyDeeds, the first title due to bereleased under their new Green Diamond Entertainment banner.The partners plan to producetwo to three pictures a year, backed by principal investors Dan Kaplow, who hasbeen appointed president of production, Tom Rosaason, and baseball playersJason Giambi, Mike Piazza, Al Leiter, Tom Glavine, Jeremy Giambi and CliffFloyd.
  • Video Island wins $10.7m funding injection

    UK online DVD rental company Video Island has secured asecond round of investment funding worth $10.7m (£6m) led by Cazenove PrivateEquity.Initial investors Benchmark Capital and Index Ventures alsoparticipated in the second funding round.HilaryMeyrick, Investment Director at Cazenove Private Equity will join the VideoIsland board of directors.Video Island is currently w
  • Von Trier pulls out of Wagner opera project

    Despite already spending more than two years onpreparations, Danish director Lars von Trier has decided to pull out of theopera production of Der Ring des Nibelungen at the Bayreuth Opera Festival inSouthern Germany.Von Trier's adaptation of Richard Wagner's mammoth 15hour opera cycle was meant to premiere in 2006 and would have become an almostfull time commitment from the director for the next two years.The Festival expressed regret and surprise at von Trier'sdecision, and sai
  • Welcome To Switzerland (Bienvenue En Suisse)

    Dir/scr:Lea Fazer. Fr-Switz. 2004. 107mins.Awould-be crowd-pleasing comedy, Lea Fazer's one-joke comedy of culturalmisunderstandings squanders a talented cast and quickly wears out its welcome.Ahighly inappropriate selection to open the Un Certain Regard section at Cannesthis year, the film is too broad to appeal on the festival circuit, and is tooculturally specific to be of much commercial interest anywhere other than thefilm's countries of or
  • Wellspring closes eight more Tarnation sales

    Wellspring hassold all rights to Jonathan Caouette's Cannes hit Tarnation in eight territories, including the keymarkets of France, Italy and Japan.The documentarysold to Nippon Herald in Japan, Cinema Nouvelle Generation Distribution inFrance, Mikado Film in Italy, Seville Pictures in Canada, Lumiere in Benelux,Atalanta Filmes in Portugal, Noble Entertainment in Scandinavia and Medial inGreece."We are thrilled that distributors of the highestquality al
  • Woman Is The Future Of Man (La Femme Est L'avenir De L'homme)

    Dir:Hong Sang-soo. S Korea/France. 2004. 88mins.Unfortunately,the best thing about Korean director Hong Sang-soo's Cannes competition film WomanIs The Future Of Man is its title, taken from the poet Aragon. The film ishandsomely mounted, and the glittery shine and tawdry dirt of contemporaryurban South Korea is always fascinating to behold, but Woman nevermounts a serious assault on viewers' emotions, let alone their minds.Thefilm
  • Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession

    Dir:Xan Cassavetes. US. 2004. 120minsXanCassavetes' slightly uneven labour of love, Z Channel: A MagnificentObsession, is, at two hours, much too long for its own good but isnevertheless compulsively watchable, especially for people who love the movies.As such, while its commercial prospects may be slim, it should be of primeinterest to festival programmers. The film first premiered out of competitionat Cannes.Knownto this day almost exclusively to residents