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12 December 2004

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  • 36 Quai Des Orfevres

    Dir: Olivier Marchal.France. 2004. 110mins.A muscular police actionthriller, 36 Quai Des Orfevres is a welcome throwback to the stylish1980s French cops and robbers pictures of Blier, Corneau and Beineix. That itis by relative newcomer director (and former cop) Olivier Marchal (who directed2002's Gangsters) and the recently somnolent Gaumont are also great newsfor French film.Local audiences haveresponded in large numbers (it opene
  • 82 short films selected for Sundance

    The Sundance Instituteannounced yesterday (6) that 82 short films have been chosen from 3,887submissions to play at the Sundance Film Festival in January.Narrative, documentary andanimated shorts will play in six programmes, with prizes on offer for outstandingachievement and merit in international and American entries.Subjects cover a satiricallook at spelling bees, the conflict in the West Bank retold as West SideStory, and the tale of an Inuit manwh
  • A Midwinter Night's Dream

    Dir. Goran Paskaljevic.Serbia-Montenegro. 2004. 95mins.More introspective andless explosive than his remarkable feature Powder Keg (1998), GoranPaskaljevic's A Midwinter Night's Dream may, in many respects, be ametaphor for Serbia today, but it is still a powerful and moving personaltragedy that functions well, regardless of its political subtext.The finely tunedrelationship between a released convict, a middle-aged waitress and he
  • Alexander doesn't fit Hollywood formula, says Stone

    Despite Alexander's failure to conquer the US,writer-director Oliver Stone was in bullish mood at the Marrakech Festival,where his three hour sword and sandal epic was presented earlier this week.Stone told the press that the film would nothave been possible to finance or shoot in the US. 'The script was just tooambiguous, too questioning about an action-hero who was masculine/
  • Alexander opens number one in eight smaller territories

    Alexander grossed an estimated $4m on 686international screens at the weekend, powered by eight number one debuts includingMexico through Warner Bros.The pictureopened on $1.3m on 400 screens in Mexico through Warner Bros and scored astrong $948,356 on 83 in Greece, where Athens accounted for $51,155.The Greek result was especially impressive given that thelocal televised football derby between Olimpiakos and Panathinaikos took placeo
  • Amazon piles into UK online DVD rental market

    Internet retailer Amazon has launched into the hugely competitive online DVD rentalmarket in the UK.The service was launched today (Dec 10), and is integrated into Amazon's UK site, which is already a popular DVD retail store.Unlike most other services,Amazon imposes a limit on the number of DVDs customers can rent per month. Itslower-priced plan costs £7.99 ($15.50) per month for two DVDs at a time,with a limit of four per month. The more expensive package is
  • Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom Of The Opera

    Dir: Joel Schumacher.UK-US. 2004. 140mins.After Jesus ChristSuperstar and Evita, this is the third feature-version of an AndrewLloyd Webber musical and it suffers from the same problems in translation whichbeset its predecessors. Although filled with pleasures and confidently directedby Joel Schumacher, Phantom remains filmed rock-opera and it fails toignite as dramatic cinema.Co-scripted by Lloyd Webberand Schumacher and produced by Lloyd Webb
  • AUSTRALIA 6 December

    Team America: WorldPolice, in its first weekend incinemas, tried hard to dislodge National Treasure from the top of thechart but fell just short and had to be satisfied with second place.National Treasure took A$1,241,160 from 276 screens for BVI in whatwas its second weekend on release, compared to Team America'sA$1,229,097 from 155 screens for UIP, which equated to the highest screenaverage in the chart, it being A$7,930.Two othe
  • Australian distributors go Christmas shopping

    Australian independentdistributors, including Hopscotch, sister companies Dendy and Becker, and MagnaPacific, have been acquiring ever more product lately for their own territoryand New Zealand.DVD distributor MagnaPacific has broken free of the Becker Entertainment Group and is ramping up itstheatrical activities through the all-rights acquisition of up to 12 genrepictures per year.It recently signed for BubbaHo-Tep (from sales agent Starway Films), a horror film featuri
  • Balkan funds back six new projects

    Six filmprojects have received backing for script development and co-production from the Thessaloniki based BalkanFund and the Sarajevo co-production Market-Cinelink. The news was announced atlast week's Thessaloniki Film Festival (TIFF).Fourprojects were granted Euros 10,000 each by the Balkan Fund, a TIFF scriptdevelopment initiative created in 2003.Theprojects are:- The Only Love Affair Hemi
  • Beautiful City triumphs at India Film Festival

    Iranian film-maker Asghar Farhadi's The Beautiful Citywalked away with the top prize, the Golden Peacock, in the Asian competitivesection of International Film Festival of India which concluded in Goa onDecember 9.The film is the story of a sixteen year old murderer who hasreceivedthe death penalty but is being held in prison until he is legally old enough tobe executed. To try to save him from the death penalty, his sister and friendtry to obtain a pardon from the victim's fami
  • Bridget strides past $100m in international after 25 days

    Bridget Jones: The Edge Of Reason passed $100m at the international boxoffice this weekend after 25 days in release through UIP.
  • BVI returns to Serbia and Montenegro

    BIV is returningto Serbia and Montenegro a year after Pirates Of The Caribbean wasreleased, in October 2003 by the company's then principal partner Bandur Film.The localdistributor suffered a financial collapse and until this November, BVI had notreleased a single film in the territory.Now, BVI productis to be handled by Taramount Film which was launched this June as a sistercompany of Slovenian Karantanija Cinemas and Croatian VTI.Taramount alreadyhandles independ
  • Cinemart shines spotlight on arthouse veterans

    A raft of projects fromacclaimed UK directors including Nicolas Roeg, David MacKenzie and PeterGreenaway have been selected for this year's Cinemart co-production market,which takes place during the International Film Festival Rotterdam (Jan 26 -Feb 6).In all, 47 projects havemade the line-up out of 539 entries for next year's event, the largest filmco-production market worldwide.Other high profile directorsmaking the selection with new projects include the US' John Sayles, Germ
  • Closer posts impressive opening across North America

    Buena Vista's NationalTreasure stayed top of the chartsfor the third consecutive weekend as it breezed past $100m, whileRevolution/Sony's Christmas With The Kranks climbed to second place to bear down on $50m aftertwo weekends.National Treasure added an estimated $17.1m for $110.2m and it is setto overtake 1996's The Rock on$134m to become Nicolas Cage's biggest ever release.Sony's drama Closer, enjoyed a superb limited opening in sixth place o
  • Concorde launches Hungary's first film fund

    Leveraging theopportunity created by the recently introduced Hungarian Film Law, Hungarianbanking outfit Concorde Securities has established the country's firstfilm financing fund, the Concorde Film Trust.The Law, passed inspring 2004, created tax benefits for companies backing films made in Hungary.Companies may reduce their corporate income tax by 100% of the amount of theirfinancial contribution. The maximum amount of tax-based financing is 20% of afilm's cost.The Trust aims
  • DENMARK 7 December

    Despite dropping some 37%Oliver Stone's Alexander epic managed to stay on top of the Danishbox-office chart in front of The Incredibles and Bridget Jones: TheEdge Of Reason, which swapped places on second and third.Alexander's DKK 30,591 box-office screen average wasconsiderably higher than its closest competitors but marginally bested by HeadOn (Gegen Die Wand) on 10th, which had DKK 31.558 on its just three prints.All this
  • Development heaven for UK Film Council winners

    Capitol Films, EalingStudios, Pathe and Jeremy Thomas' Recorded Picture Company are amongstthe seven winners of the UK Film Council's development franchises, theGovernment-backed support body announced today.The consortia of producers,sales agents, financiers and distributors will pump £15m into the UKdevelopment sector over the next three years, half from the council'slottery coffers and half in matching funding. The so-called super slate dealsreplace the council's previous slate syst
  • Disney favours Blu-Ray in DVD format face-off

    Eight days after Paramount,Universal and Warner Bros announced their support of the next generation HD DVDin a deal with Toshiba, the Walt Disney Company has joined the Sony camp andthrown its weight behind rival technology Blu-Ray.Disney said it would becomea board member of the Blu-Ray Disc Association and Buena Vista HomeEntertainment (BVHE) will begin releasing content non-exclusively on the formatwhen Blu-Ray hardware launches in North America and Japan."Buena Vista HomeEnt
  • Disney, Pixar move Cars to June 2006

    Walt DisneyStudios and Pixar Animation Studios have put back the US release of Cars by seven months to Jun 9 2006,announcing a roster of key international releases to tally with the new summerslot. It was originally set to open in the US on Nov 4 2005.Cars will open through Buena VistaInternational in France on Jul 12 2006, Germany and Switzerland on Jul 13, theUK and Spain on Jul 14, Japan on Jul 15 and Italy on Sept 1."The move fromNovember 2005 to June 2006 make
  • Doc Hollywood Kidz signs Perry to five-year producing deal

    Family-oriented LA-based film production outfit DocHollywood Kidz (DHYK) has signed a five-year agreement with filmmaker StevePerry, under which Perry will produce pictures in the $30m-$100m range with thecompany.Perry produced TrueRomance and served asco-producer and executive producer on the entire Lethal Weapon franchise.He shared theDirectors Guild of America's Outstanding Directorial Achievement Award for Rocky in 1977 (second AD) and
  • Downfall for Momentum in UK

    Momentum Pictures has acquired UK rights to German boxoffice hit The Downfall (Der Untergang) - which grossed $40m in its home territory.Lara Thompson, head of acquisitions at Momentum Pictures,and Eos Distribution's managing director, Dirk Schuerhoff, negotiated the deal.The war drama depicts the final days of Adolf Hitler andis directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel, written and produced by Constantin Filmchief Bernd Eic
  • Empire magazine unveils dates, venue for 2005 awards

    Empire Magazine's annualawards ceremony, the Sony Ericsson Empire Film Awards, will take place onSunday March 13, 2005, two weeks after the Oscars.The Awards will also becelebrating their tenth anniversary at a new venue, London's Guildhall.Empire Editor Colin Kennedycommented: "It is fitting that in our tenth year the Awards have moved to a newdate and new venue having simply outgrown our old slot."We also believe the awardshave now found their natura
  • Flightplan takes off in Berlin

    German director Robert Schwentke begins shooting thethriller Flightplan in Berlin today (Dec6) with a cast including Jodie Foster, Peter Sarsgaard, Sean Bean and KateBeaham.The film is billed asclaustrophobic, Hitchcockian thriller. A bereaved woman and her daughterfly home from Berlin to America. At 30,000 feet the child vanishes and nobodyadmits she was ever on the plane.Studio Hamburg International Production (SHIP), theEnglish-language division of Studio Hamburg Produ
  • FRANCE 10 December

    Both Pixar's powerhouse TheIncredibles and French cop drama 36, Quai Des Orfevres remained atthe top of the chart this week with a 33% and 38% drop off resepectively.New entry Narco, acomedy starring Guillaume Canet, opened strongly in third place with a $7,365per screen average. That film was followed by The Polar Express whichfared rather poorly with only 278,455 admissions on 670 screens. With schoolvacations coming up though, the film
  • France, Switzerland sign co-production agreement

    Franceand Switzerland have signed a co-production agreement with a view to "tightenthe bonds between the two cinematographic industries."Swissculture minister Pascal Couchepin was on hand with his French counterpartRenaud Donnedieu de Vabres in Paris for the signing of the new agreement whichreplaces and updates a 1977 accord. The new terms include a reduction in thenecessary participation to qualify as a minority producer from 20% to 10%.
  • German fund to bankroll Mann's Miami Vice

    Three high profile big budget feature projects fromMichael Mann, Sam Mendes and Gary Ross have been shortlisted for considerationby the investors of Hannover Leasing's (HL) second Montranus media fund at ameeting in Munich next week (December 17).After consulting with film industry experts, theMunich-based fund has put forward three projects with total provisional budgetsof over $320m: Michael Mann's $120m big-screen version of the cult TV series
  • German, Spanish pictures dominate European Film Awards

    Spanish and German pictureswere the big winners at this weekend's European Film Awards in Barcelona,although Spain's national hero Pedro Almodovar walked away empty handed.Hong Kong's Wong Kar-wai wason hand to receive the award for best non-European film with hissci-fi-retro-romance 2046 and in the process become the first two-timewinner of the Screen International-sponsored prize. He collected the same prizefour years ago with In The Mood For Love.Germany's Fatih
  • GERMANY 8 December

    National Treasure lasted only one week at the top spot before beingousted by Bridget Jones: The Edge Of Reason which clocked up over $4.2min its first four days and the weekend's top screen average of $ 5,864.The 500,282 admissions werealmost 50% up on the opening performance of the first Bridget Jones film whichwas seen by 350,000 cinemagoers on its first weekend on the release in summer2001 and went on to sell a total of 4.1m tickets.Meanwhile
  • Godzilla: Final Wars

    Dir: Ryuhei Kitamura.Jap. 2004. 110mins.Godzilla: Final Wars, director Ryuhei Kitamura's send-off to the Big G,going into retirement after a 50-year run, is like one of those documentariesof R&B greats - the old guys can still play the notes, but the heat left along time ago. They once shook the world - now they're delivering nostalgia.A wunderkind with a gift foraction, Kitamura is the master of the cool move, the eye-popping figh
  • GREECE: Production Listings - 9 December

    GREECE December 8PRE-PRODUCTIONEDUARD(CL Productions), Co-prod: JostHering Filme (Germany), Budget: Euros 1.7m Int'l Sales: The Greek Film Centre ,Distrib: Odeon S.A. Drama. An Albanian illegal immigrant gets involved in akilling in Greece. Fleeing the country returns to Albania where he is facedwith the stormy social and political situation of his birth country. Exec.Prod: Costas Kefalas, Prod: Costas Lambropoulos, Co-prod: Jost Hering,
  • Greek film industry faces Olympic cuts

    Director KyriakosKatzourakis and producer Costas Labropoulos make a perfect match.The first, a well knownpainter, made a splash in 2003 with hisdebut docudrama The Way To The West.His film, which was hailedas the "best ever" by local critics, stormed the Greek State Cinema awards,toured an impressive round of international festivals (Yamagata, Locarno,Tribeca, Montreal to name a few') and performed well at the local box office,not a lenient one with documentaries.L
  • Greeks rush to embrace Alexander

    Unlikeits limp performance in the US, Oliver Stone's Alexander has gone down a stormin the country that inspired the film - Greece.The filmopened in Greece this weekend and attracted 104,215 admissions nationwide on 85screens through local distributor Spentzos Film.Thestrong opening puts it on a par with hits such as Troy, Harry Potter, TheLord Of The Rings and local blockbusters Touch of Spice and
  • Harold Lloyd comedy to get Sony update by Gordon & Dana

    Producer Mark Gordon is teaming up with Columbia Pictures on SafetyLast, a contemporaryromance loosely based on Harold Lloyd's 1923 silent classic.
  • Haven

    Dir/scr: Frank E Flowers. UK-Ger-US-Sp. 2004. 115mins.Handsomely, even expensively mounted, and serviceably if notbrilliantly, acted, Haven is a filmso lacking in narrative skill, interesting characters, or anything but the mostshowily attractive situations andthemes that it self-destructs barely 15 minutes in and stays out of servicethroughout its long, long length.Despite the presence of current heartthrob Orlando Bloom an
  • HUNGARY 10 December

    The Incredibles saw off the challenge from seven newreleases at the Hungarian box office last weekend. The film managed to stay atthe top of the chart and is now standing at nearly 70,000 admissions. IstvanSzabo's Being Julia has also maintained its strong performance and hasalready passed the 55,000 admissions mark.The American remakeof the French comedy Taxi performed strongest of the new releases andgrabbed the second spot with nearly 14,000
  • Ian Riches named CEO of UK independent exhibitor

    Exhibition industry veteranIan Riches has joined the UK's Curzon (Loughborough) leisure group as chiefexecutive officer.Riches' appointment heraldsthe start of a major expansion push for the independent cinema chain. Having been acquired as a single site business byKC Suri, a property entrepreneur, in 2001 it now Presentlycomprisingcomprises of six locations around the United Kingdom. Tthe group will add a 5-plex in Crewe to itsportfolio during 2005 with a further t
  • Incredibles continues to soar for BVI

    Buena VistaInternational's (BVI) The Incredibles passed $100m at the weekend with an estimated $36.3m grossthat raised the international cumulative total to $104.6m.The highlight was the second biggest animated debut everin Japan behind Finding Nemo on $7.3m on689 screens that ranked second behind Howl's Moving Castle.The pictureopened top in Argentina on $617,000 on 157 screens for BVI's biggest animatedlaunch of all time.
  • Incredibles set to soar for BVI in Germany

    Pixar's The Incredibles should still be the one to beat this weekend as Buena VistaInternational (BVI) releases the animated hit in Germany on Dec 9 and SouthAfrica a day later.
  • Incredibles, Bridget cross $100m international mark

    The Incredibles and Bridget Jones: The Edge Of Reason joinedthe ranks of $100m international grossers last weekend, making them the 16th and 17th films topass the mark in 2004.The latest Pixar and WorkingTitle hits join Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban, Shrek 2,Spider-Man 2, Troy, The Day After Tomorrow, The Passion Of The Christ, I,Robot, Van Helsing, Shark Tale, King Arthur, The Village, Something'sGotta Give, Collateral, Garfield and Fah
  • Indonesia's Oscars return after 12-year gap

    TheCitra awards, Indonesia's equivalent of the Oscars, are back this year for thefirst time since 1992 as part of the Indonesian Film Festival (FFI), organisedby the National Film Supervisory Body (BP2N) with a funding of $66,000 (Rp600m).TheCitra awards are open to films produced from 2000 - 2004. Both Ada Apa Dengan Cinta' and Arisan,which features the first gay kiss in Indonesian cinema, each scooped more than10 nominations, including
  • Israeli outcry as Cinema Council chief replaced

    Israeli Cinema Council chairman Eli Zohar has unexpectedlybeen replaced by Ronny Milo, a former Minister of Culture and the ex-mayor ofTel Aviv.The move has taken the entire Israeli film industry bysurprise. The news was announced by Culture Minister Limor Livnat .The founding chairman of the Film Authority when it launchedin 2000, Zohar is one of the country's leading legal minds and has beencredited for with helping Israeli cinema's strong performance in recentyears in terms o
  • Italian industry rails against funding crisis

    Italianentertainment body AGIS is once again urging the Italian government toimmediately address the financial problems that have been crippling the localfilm industry for the last 12 months.It is the second time in the last year that the Italianfilm sector has protested against massive cuts to state funds, endless delaysin handing out money to projects that have already been greenlit, and a lack
  • ITALY 7 December

    Last weekend saw WarnerBros' The Polar Express open at number two at the Italian box office,but BVI's The Incredibles stayed firmly on top.As the local box office hotsup in the run-up to Christmas, The Polar Express earned $1,467,954 - butthis paled in comparison to the huge $10,795,560 which The Incredibleshas now earned just two weeks into its release.Meanwhile, the weekend'sbest result was earned by Lucky Red's French drama C
  • JAPAN Production Listings - September 28

    Japan - September 28Pre-ProductionIT'S ONLY TALK(Studio Three) Budget: US$1m. Backers:CinaQuanon, Happinet Pictures, Eisei Gekijo. Int'l sales:Gold View. Dist (Jap):CineQuanon.Drama. A heartwarming drama about a woman in her mid-thirties who experiencesthe loss of her parents and her boyfriend, though continues living positively. Prod:Akira Morishige. Dir:Ryuichi Hiroki. Scr:Haruhiko Arai. DoP:Kazuhiro Suzu
  • Japanese studios set to build country's biggest multiplex

    Shochiku, Toho and Toei will jointly build and operate thelargest multiplex cinema in Japan.Construction of the 12-screen, 2,500-seat site will begin in2006 in Osaka, Japan's second-largest city, as part of a new Osaka rail stationcomplex.The total cost of the project, including renovations of thestation building, is estimated at $1.45 bn (Y150bn) . Shochiku will underwrite50% of the investment, with Toho contributing 30% and Toei the remaining 20%.The three companies hav
  • Koch Lorber elopes with Syrian Bride in US

    Koch Lorber Films has acquired all US rights to The Syrian Bride, the political comedy that won prizes at Locarno and Montreal. World sales are handled by France's TF1 International.Structured as a French-German-Israeli co-production, Bride is the story of a woman who crosses from the disputed territory of theGolan Heights to wed a Syrian. The wedding stirs up a welter of religious and bureaucratic reactions mirroring the confused political climate in the region.D
  • Kranks takes $3.8m for Sony in 14 territories

    Revolution/Sony's comedy Christmas With The Kranks added an estimated $3.8m on 1,465 printsin 14 markets through Sony Pictures Releasing International (SPRI) at theweekend to raise its early international running total to $5.1m.
  • Magiday leaves Focus to pursue production opportunities

    Lee Magiday isleaving her post as European vice president, acquisitions and production, forFocus Features to pursue opportunities in production.The well-likedexecutive, who is based in London, has been with Universal companies for thepast decade, starting out working with Graeme Mason as an acquisitionsexecutive at PolyGram Filmed Entertainment, then seguing into a role asexecutive director, acquisitions, at Universal Pictures International (UPI)before moving to Focus at its inception.
  • 'Make or break' period for European animation

    European animation is entering into a 'make or breakperiod' over the next few years as a string of high budget films produced inEurope hit the market.That's the conclusion of a new report from Screen Digest,called Animated Movies - US and European Market Assessment.US animations captured the lion's share of admissions inEurope, taking an 87.6% market share in 2003. In the same year, European filmstook just nine per
  • Mandela names Bachchan ambassador against AIDS at Yesterday screening

    Indian star AmitabhBachchan, whose credits include Aks, Baghban and Hum,has been appointed a special ambassador in the fight against AIDS.Former South Africanpresident Nelson Mandela made the announcement at a screening of South Africa'sofficial foreign language Oscar entry Yesterday at the International Film Festival of India on WorldAIDS Day on Dec 1.The ambassadorial role wasset up by the Nelson Mandela Foundation to raise awareness and funds for thegloba
  • Mandeville, Fuse to remake Danish comedy for Disney

    David Hoberman's Mandeville Films has joined MikkelBondesen's Fuse Entertainment in remaking the Danish romantic comedy OhHappy Day.Heather Hach (Freaky Friday) has been hired to do theEnglish-language rewrite, which will be a co-production between the Walt DisneyPictures label and the original Danish and UK producers at Fine & Mellowand Ugly Duckling, Thomas Gammeltoft and Lene Bausager.Written by Jannik Johansen from an idea by lead actressLotte Andersen, Hella J
  • Mesrine project on the rocks after producer assaults agent

    The future of producerThomas Langmann's two-part project about career criminal Jacques Mesrine hasbeen called into question following the loss of its lead actor and analtercation between Langmann and agent Francois Samuelson.Barbet Schroeder is set todirect the Euros 45 million films which Benoit Magimel had been set to headlineas France's former Public Enemy Number One. However, Agence France Presse (AFP)reports that on November 25 Magimel's agent, Francois Samuelson of Intertalent,fa
  • Million Dollar Baby

    Dir: Clint Eastwood. US.2004. 132mins.
  • Moodysson misses out on Swedish Oscar nod

    When Sweden's national film awards, the Guldbagges, arehanded out on Jan 24, three films will compete almost exclusively in everycategory.TomasAlfredson's black comedy drama Four Shades Of Brown and first-time filmmaker Maria Blom's comedy drama Dalecarlians will face off against lastyear's biggest local box office success, Kay Pollak's drama As It Is InHeaven.
  • New Line picks up movie rights to Understanding Guys bestseller

    New Line Cinema has picked up rights to Sex And The City writers Greg Behrendt and Liz Tucillo'snon-fiction bestseller He's Just Not That Into You: The No-Excuses Truth ToUnderstanding Guys.
  • NEW ZEALAND 6 December

    Bridget Jones - The EdgeOf Reason, handled by UIP, has beenthe most popular film at the box office for three consecutive weekends. In itssecond outing in cinemas its four-day gross dropped 26.2% and this weekend theNZ$416,587 gross from 65 screens represented a drop of 33.8%.A very different film, TheGrudge, was audiences' second choice around the country. In its openingweekend it grossed a scary NZ$294,869 from half as many screens for Roadshow.It had
  • NORTH AMERICA 8 December

    The story of the top 10occurred in fifth place this week as Sony's acclaimed stage adaptation Closeropened on limited release with an excellent $7.7m.Mike Nichols' adaptation ofPatrick Marber's harrowing relationship drama averaged $16,193 on 476 screens.Clive Owen, Natalie Portman, Jude law and Julia Roberts star as a London-basedcoterie whose rampant sexual urges impact each other's lives. The pictureshould continue to perform solidly as awards recognition
  • Ocean's 12 to open Bahamas Film Festival tomorrow

    Theinternational premiere of Ocean's Twelve will open the inaugural Bahamas International Film Festival(BIFF) on Dec 9.Steven Soderbergh's picturestars George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Julia Roberts and CatherineZeta-Jones, among others, and opens in the US through Warner Bros on Dec 10."It's an honourfor both the festival and the nation to have an opportunity to present aninternational premiere by such a distinguished filmmaker," executive directorLeslie Vanderpool
  • Ocean's Twelve

    Dir: Steven Soderbergh. US. 2004. 132mins Warner Bros andVillage Roadshow can count on another worldwide hit with Ocean's Twelve, the sequel to the 2001 blockbuster Ocean's Eleven which grossed $183.4m inNorth America and $267.3m in international territories. With global movie starsClooney, Pitt, Damon, Roberts and now Catherine Zeta-Jones heading the cast anda hip marketing campaign based around the super-cool tagline 'Twelve I
  • Parker's Denmead merges with Rogers & Cowan

    Nikki Parker's LA-basedpublicity outfit Denmead Marketing has merged with public relations companyRogers & Cowan in a deal announced yesterday (8).Effective immediately,Parker becomes executive vice president of Rogers & Cowan and will team upwith Rogers & Cowan's executive vice president of worldwide film publicityand marketing Michael Dalling, whose clients include film producers, directorsand film organisations based in Europe, Asia and the US.Denmead publicists DennisDembia
  • Revolver runs with Saint Ralph in UK

    Revolver Entertainment has picked up the UK and Eire rightsto Toronto festival hit Saint Ralph.Directed by Michael McGowan, the film is abittersweet comedy about a Catholic schoolboy who attempts to save his mother'slife with a miracle by winning the Boston marathon. It was billed as 'theCanadian Billy Elliot' by Screen International at Toronto. Revolver willrelease the
  • ROMANIA 10 December

    Despite challengesfrom Dodgeball and Exorcist: The Beginning, Cellular hasmaintained its top position at the Romanian box office despite a forty-twopercent loss in its second weekend admissions.Meanwhile Dodgeballgrabbed the second position of the chart with nearly three and a half thousandadmissions on six prints but it was outdone by Exorcist: The Beginningin its screen average performance, the latter managing a screen average of overei
  • Ruiz cranks up Klimt in Vienna

    Raoul Ruiz's homage to the artist Gustav Klimt willbegin shooting on January 4 in Vienna.Klimt stars JohnMalkovich, Veronica Ferres, Stephen Dillane and Nikolai Kinski. The leadproducer of the co-production involving four different countries is Dieter Pochlatkoof EPO-FILM.Ruiz, who wrote the script and will direct, commented:"I see this film as a waltz. More specifically Ravel's La Valse,which swells to a climax in a manner similar to funeral music, then fallssuddenly in
  • Rwanda, Voices get PGA Kramer award

    Hotel Rwanda and Innocent Voices will share the Producers Guild of America's (PGA)2005 Stanley Kramer Award honouring work that highlights provocative socialissues.Hotel Rwanda producers A Kitman Ho and Terry George and InnocentVoices producers Lawrence Bender,Luis Mandoki and Alejandro Soberon will accept the honour at the PGA Awards onJan 22."This year's joint honorees,Hotel Rwanda and InnocentVoices, embody the val
  • Salles to receive International Filmmaking Award at Palm Springs

    Walter Salles will receive the International Filmmaker Award atthe 16th Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) in honour of TheMotorcycle Diaries andhis contributions to Latin American filmmaking in the fields of directing,producing and mentoring.Salles wi
  • Samuel Goldwyn says yes to Lila

    Samuel Goldwyn Films haspicked up North American rights to Ziad Doueiri's story of sexual awakening LilaSays (Lila Dit Ca).Doueiri's follow-up to WestBeirut stars newcomers Vahina Giacante, Mohammed Khouas and Karim Benhadou andrecently premiered at Toronto.The story centres on anattractive blonde who moves into a predominantly Arab neighbourhood and sets inmotion a game of teenage sexual discovery."Lila (Vahina Giacante) isbeautiful and her performance is m
  • Scullions signs partners to complete Hooligans movie

    Mike and Kevin Scullion'sHooligans - The Movie Inc has signed a deal with Calgary-based production houseNomadic Pictures and secured completion funds from Dublin/Glasgow-basedHannaywood Studios and subsidiary Film Das Abra for their inaugural feature Hooligans.Both Hooligans - The MovieInc and Nomadic Pictures bring distribution partners to the table and areexpected to announce deals for North America and the UK shortly.The Scullion brothers, whoprevio

    Alexander opened this weekend in pole position inSerbia and Montenegro. With only six prints, an unusually low number for apicture of its scope even in such a small territory, Oliver Stone's epic sold16,715 admissions for the weekend, and with previews that started on Tuesday,it has now grossed $110,264 for Mirius.Out of threeother openers this weekend, Notebook did the best, attracting 1,049spectators to spend $3,583. Along with figures from Cinemania
  • Snoop Dogg joins Besson's Arthur

    Rapper Snoop Dogg has joinedthe cast of Luc Besson's Euros 65m animated film Arthur and will voicethe role of Max.In an interview with Frenchdaily Le Parisien, Besson said the film, which will be his first directorialeffort since 1999's The Messenger: The Story Of Joan Of Arc, had beenshooting for the past six months and would be finished in mid-2006.Snoop Dogg will lend hisvoice to the English-language version in which Madonna also has a role asPrincess Selenia. I
  • SWEDEN 7 December

    Having OliverStone in town to promote Alexander didn't give the epic enough leverageto stay on top of the Swedish box-office chart, and it dropped heavily to thirdbehind Bridget Jones: The Edge Of Reason and The Incredibles.The romanticcomedy retained a solid $4,832 screen average from its high 80 prints,
  • Swiss Film Prize embraces animation

    The 2005 Swiss Film Prize has introduced a new prizecategory for Best Animation Film which will be awarded every two years from2005.Five animation films, including Georges Schwizgebel's L'HommeSans Ombre, which won the Prix'Regards Jeunes' at this year's Cannes Film Festival, were nominated.The nominees for Best Feature Film are: Bettina Oberli's ImNordwind, Jean-Luc Godard's NotreMusique, Christoph Schaub's Sternenberg, Greg Zglin
  • The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou

    Dir: Wes Anderson. US.2004. 118mins.Bill Murray owes anenormous debt of gratitude to writer/director Wes Anderson, whose wonderfullydry, absurdist films have stretched the actor in ways the comedy star mightnever have attempted on his own.Forced to venture outsidehis comfort zone into uncharted emotional waters, Murray has delivered oneoutstanding performance after another in recent years, first with hismulti-faceted and achingly human portrait
  • The Oyster Farmer

    Dir/scr: Anna Reeves. Aust-UK. 2004. 91minsAustralian newcomer Anna Reeves does little to changethe image of her countrymen or local cliches with Oyster Farmer, servingup the typical Aussie quirky characters, black humour, beer and sex in equalmeasure.It isn't the most attractive picture that writer-director Reeves paints of theisolated oyster farmers of N
  • Third weekend at the top for Disney's Treasure

    Buena Vista's NationalTreasure stayed top of the chartsfor the third consecutive weekend as it breezed past $100m, whileRevolution/Sony's Christmas With The Kranks climbed to second place to bear down on $50m aftertwo weekends.National Treasure added an estimated $17.1m for $110.2m and it is setto overtake 1996's The Rock on$134m to become Nicolas Cage's biggest ever release.Sony's drama Closer, enjoyed a superb limited opening in sixth place o
  • TLA promotes Borock to director of legal and business affairs

    Jacqueline Borock has been promoted to director of legal and businessaffairs at Philadelphia-based US distributor TLA Releasing.
  • Tom Group invests in leading Chinese film outfit

    Hong Kong's Tom Group has joined the rush of overseas mediagroups investing in China's film and television industry by acquiring a 35%stake in leading private film producer and distributor Huayi BrothersInternational Holdings.The deal sees Tom Group acquire a 27% stake in HuayiBrothers for US$5m in cash. Tom will also subscribe to US$5m of convertiblebonds, payable in cash, which upon conversion increases its stake to 35%. Inaddition, China's leading venture capitalist, China Equity In
  • Top Dutch production outfit launches Oz joint venture

    Leading Dutch film company IdtV Film (Twin Sisters)and co-owner Anton Smit are moving into English language film-making via ajoint venture with Australian TV producers Mark and Cathy Overett.Called New Holland Pictures, the Queensland-based jointventure is readying an Australian remake of a Dutch film called Afghan Bride(working title). The project is about 70% financed and is adapted from the 1998Dutch film Polish Bride by Aus
  • Universal to remake BBC mini State Of Play as movie

    UniversalPictures has acquired the rights to BBC's political thriller television series StateOf Play from producerAndrew Hauptman and his Mission Pictures.Hauptman willproduce the project with Tracy Falco. State Of Play series creator Paul Abbott will serve asexecutive producer and is currently working on future installments to thetelevision series.State Of Playcentres on a former political campaign manager turned journalist who comes upagainst his former em
  • Warner get Golden Gross award in Japan for Samurai

    Steve Southgate has beennamed senior vice president of European technical operations at Warner BrosEntertainment and Paul Saccone becomes senior vice president and generalmanager of Warner Bros subsidiary Global Digital Media Xchange."Steve and Paul have bothproved invaluable to our operations, both here and abroad," Darcy Antonellis,executive vice president of Warner Bros Technical Operations (WBTO), said in astatement."As our businesses andrelationships wit
  • Warner get Golden Gross award in Japan for Samurai

    Warner Bros Japan collectedthe 2004 Golden Cross Award this week for The Last Samurai, which grossed an extraordinary $127m (Y13.7bn) inJapan to become the biggest grossing title of the year.Warner Bros Japan managingdirector William Ireton received the award from the Motion Picture ExhibitorsAssociation of Japan at a ceremony on Dec 1.Warner Bros Japan also wasresponsible for the second-highest grossing film of 2004, Harry Potter AndThe Prisoner Of
  • Warner grosses $10.5m from Polar Express in 25 markets

    The Polar Express grossed an estimated $10.7m on 4,400 screens in 25 marketsthrough Warner Bros Pictures International at the weekend to raise itscumulative total to $24m.
  • Warner makes senior technical appointments

    Steve Southgate has beennamed senior vice president of European technical operations at Warner BrosEntertainment and Paul Saccone becomes senior vice president and generalmanager of Warner Bros subsidiary Global Digital Media Xchange."Steve and Paul have bothproved invaluable to our operations, both here and abroad," Darcy Antonellis,executive vice president of Warner Bros Technical Operations (WBTO), said in astatement."As our businesses andrelationships wit
  • Winslet to star with Jackman in Aardman's Flushed Away

    Aardman Animations, the UK animation house behind Chicken Run and DreamWorks SKG's upcoming Wallace & Gromit film, has finally caught its rat. Kate Winslet will play a savvy sewer rat called Rita in Flushed Away, rounding out the main cast on Aardman's next production.Nicole Kidman had been amongst the actresses in talks for the part but Aardman confirmed yesterday that Winslet has been cast in the starring role opposite Hugh Jackman. Rita is a streetwise scavenger