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12 May 2004

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  • Aishwariya Rai outlines World vision

    Indian cinema's highest paid actress and former Miss WorldAishwariya Rai is to star in Roland Joffe's next film Singularityalongside Brendan Fraser.The film, previously titled The Invaders and with areported budget of $40m, revolves around the first battle between Englishinvaders and the Maratha dynasty from Western India. It begins shooting inSeptember in India and also stars Vivek Oberoi.The Joffe film is one of a number set to star Rai. She has alsoagreed to app
  • American Pie star blasts off with Space Chimps

    Seann William Scott is tovoice the lead in Space Chimps, the next animation title from Shrekproducer John Williams' Vanguard Animation.The American Pie star will voice the part of Ham, the great grandsonof the first chimpanzee to go into space. Happy in his luxury NASA cage, thehapless Ham has to learn how to be a hero after he is drafted onto a spacemission as a PR exercise.The CGI production marks thenext film after Valiant and Happily N'Ever Aft
  • Architect builds on sales

    Andrew Herwitz's The FilmSales Company has closed deals for Oscar-nominated documentary My Architectwith Gaga in Japan, Academy Films in Germany, Austria and German-speakingSwitzerland and Films Sans Frontiers in France and French-speaking Switzerland.The film, which is the storyof legendary US architect Louis I Kahn from the point of view of hisillegitimate son Nathaniel Kahn who directed, has also been sold to MongrelMedia in Canada, Tartan Films in the UK
  • AUSTRALIA 10 May

    Van Helsing sold more tickets on its opening weekendthan any other film released so far this year in Australia. It grossedA$4,596,027 from a whopping 338 screens for UIP. This was nearly six times morethan the second placed, Gothika, while its screen average, at A$13,597,was more than A$3,000 ahead of every other film in the top 20.The star of the show, the homegrown Hugh Jackman, is one ofthe factors that has helped attract people into cinemas. So too
  • Beckham drops out of Pink Panther

    Internationalsoccer star David Beckham will not be making his acting debut in MGM Pictures' ThePink Panther after all.Whatare described as "scheduling conflicts" have prevented the England captain andReal Madrid midfield superstar from making a much anticipated cameo in the filmas a soccer player, confirmed producer Robert Simonds on Friday.Thefilm, which starts shooting in Manhattan on Monday before resuming locationphotography in Paris, stars Steve Martin as the bumblin
  • Bird flies to Yakin-scripted satanic ritual

    Raw Nerve, the production horror house affiliated with New York's GreeneStreet Films, has signed AntoniaBird to direct Abraham's Daughter, which is out to casting and scheduled to begin filming thissummer.Written by Raw Nerve principal Boaz Yakin and Edward Ricourt, Abraham'sDaughter centres on a recently widowedwoman whose recurring visions of murdered children lead her to a ghastly secret.Before he made a name as a director of such films as F
  • BV horror quartet shoots for Hollywood Wizard

    Horror titles Preggers, Serpent's Kiss, Spider People and Doom Town are scheduled to begin production this summer in a joint venturebetween Kenneth Hall's Los Angeles-based production house B V Entertainment andTony Kandah's sales outfit Hollywood Wizard.Kandah will handle foreign sales on all four titles at Cannes,along with B Vús first feature, The Halfway House, which was written and directed by Hall."Like The Halfway House, thes
  • Canal Plus seals new 5-year industry deals

    Canal Plus has reached new five year agreements with thefilm industry set to go into effect on January 1, 2005 the company saidyesterday.Among the points covered in accords with lobby groups theBLIC (representing the majors), the BLOC (representing the independents) andARP (writers, directors and producers) it was decided that Canal will nowinvest 17% of its budget set aside for French acquisitions into films with aprice tag of less than Euros 4m. The deal is intended to foster cinemat
  • Cannes says strikers will not derail festival

    The Cannes Film Festival will not be derailed by a rowbetween the French government and showbiz workers protesting changes tounemployment benefits, organisers said on Sunday.The departure of a number film reels for Cannes was delayedfor several hours at the weekend after a hundred protesters blockaded the Pariswarehouse where they were stored, sparking fears that festival itself might bein peril. But its managing director ruled that out."There is absolutely no question of cancel
  • Cannes still facing potential disruptions

    As the Cannes curtain raiser draws near, efforts are inprocess to dissuade disgruntled show-business workers - the Intermittents duspectacle - from wreaking havoc at the festival.Over the weekend protestors temporarily blocked truckscarrying film reels heading to the festival, while at the same time a group offilmmakers whose films will be running in various selections expressed theirsupport for the workers in an open letter published in France's Journal duDimanche."It is urgent
  • Casshern

    Dir/scr/cine: KazuakiKiriya. Japan. 2004. 141mins.With digital technology,it is now possible to create big, visionary movies without breaking budgets -even those of the Japanese film industry. The result has been a spate ofJapanese films, such as Mamoru Oshii's Innocence, screening incompetition at Cannes, and Katsuhiro Otomo's forthcoming Steam Boy, thattake up where the great megalomaniacs of the silent era left off.It is
  • Cinema Italian Style comes to Hollywood

    Marco Tullio Giordana'ssprawling six-hour drama Best Of Youth will open an inaugural annualprogramme of contemporary Italian films in Los Angeles on Jun 4.Twelve pictures will screenunder the Cinema Italian Style banner at the Egyptian Theatre with the AmericanCinematheque in Hollywood, including Giovanni Veronesi's coming-of-age comedy CheNe Sara Di Noi' and Gabriele Muccino's romantic comedy Remember Me.Other titles include ErmannoOlmi's wartime drama I
  • Cinema Service strikes Arahan deals

    South Korean major Cinema Service is reporting strong sales of itscontemporary martial arts film Arahan.Arahan, about a youngman and woman who harness their ch'i powers to fight an evil adversary, becamethe second Korean film to be picked up by Universal Japan.South African-based Distant Horizon has also signed a contract torepresent the film to North American buyers.Other sales include Studio Canal for French-speaking territories, Nobel&
  • Constantin fortunes rise as free-TV sales improve

    German producer-distributorConstantin Film's fortunes are on the up again after first quarter revenuesincreased 154% over the previous year thanks largely to the full consolidationof Constantin Entertainment and free-TV sales for Resident Evil.The Group posted revenues of Euros60.6m for the first three months of 2004, compared to Euros 23.9m for the sameperiod last year.
  • Control (Kontroll)

    Dir: Antal Nimrod. Hungary. 2003. 105 mins.Displaying anenergetic drive seldom seen in East European cinema, Antal Nimrod'sdebut feature Control has enjoyed that rare feat of satisfying both thebox office (it was Hungary's biggest draw of 2003) and the critics (it has wona clutch of local awards). Successfully combining the dynamic impetuosity of anAmerican action film with the darker broody moods of the Magyar soul,international recognition has now
  • Dream acquires sex comedy ManFast

    Dream Entertainment hasacquired all international rights to Kali Films' comedy ManFast, which recently won the audience award anddirectorial debut honours for Tara Judelle at the New York InternationalIndependent Film and Video Festival.The story follows fourhedonistic women who must give up men for 100 days in order to receive a cashinjection to their magazine, which goes under the charming name of Biotch.Jeremy Sisto stars alongwith Bruce Davison, La
  • Elstree studios lease goes up for auction

    The turbulent history of the UK's Elstree studios, wherefilms from Star Wars to Indiana Jones have been filmed, is set totake another dramatic turn. Earlier this week, a public meeting was held todiscuss the future of the studio site, currently owned by Hertsmere BoroughCouncil, who bought the freehold studios in 1996 from the debt-riddenBrent-Walker Group.The Studios are run by Elstree Film and TV Studios Ltd (EFTVS). The hitch,though, is that the lease runs out in 2007. Un
  • Emmerich goes from global disaster to Shakespeare drama

    Roland Emmerich, the Germanfilm-maker behind popcorn blockbusters such as Independence Day, Godzilla and the upcoming The Day After Tomorrow, will take a major change in direction with his nextpicture The Soul Of The Age, anintense 16th century drama about the question of the authorship ofShakespeare.Emmerich is scoutinglocations in the UK this week for the film which he says will be budgeted inthe $30m to $35m range, a far cry from the $130m budget of The Day A
  • Europa brings high-profile titles to Cannes

    Luc Besson and Pierre-Ange Le Pogam's French mini-majorEuropaCorp enters the festival with a slew of hot titles ranging from thenewest Guy Ritchie to the first instalment of its latest franchise.Ritchie, of Snatch and Lock, Stock And Two SmokingBarrels fame returns to similar territory with Revolver. The $20mfilm - a sophisticated gambling movie with a twist - will star Ritchie regularJason Statham along with possible big name cameos. Film will shoot in the UKand E
  • European film export body names directors

    Film sellers' trade body, the European Film ExportAssociation (EFEA) has elected a new board of directors that gives theorganisation a much more international outlook.New board members include Angus Finney of the UK'sRenaissance Films, Annakarin Strom of Denmark's Trust, Thorsten Schaumann ofGermany's Bavaria, Pascal Diot of France's Onoma International and KevinWilliams of Spain's KWA Associates. They join Jacques Eric Strauss of PlazaProduction.The organisa
  • Film festival of India announces dates

    The International Film Festival of India, (IFFI) hasannounced that it will be held from 29th November to 9th December in Goa thecoastal state south of Mumbai.Ms. Neelam Kapur, director, IFFI told,"This is to be the permanent venue for our festival which earlier used totravel in the major cities of India". IFFI is the only Indian film festivalrecognized by FIAF.On 9th May, a high level delegation of Indian Governmentofficials, Indian filmmakers along with M
  • Fortissimo returns to roots with Hong Kong trio

    Leading art-house seller Fortissimo is returning to itsroots with the pick-up of three pictures from Hong Kong.Top of the list is Jiang Hu, a gangland epic which isalready benefiting from renewed interest in the genre following InfernalAffairs and has gone on to become one of the big hits of 2004. The pictureis directed by newcomer Wong Ching Po from a hefty $5m budget and stars localidols Andy Lau and Jacky Cheung alongside Infern
  • FRANCE 10 May

    French films lead the box office this week taking three ofthe top five spots. Last week's number 2, Mariages! jumped to number 1selling another half a million tickets its second week in release.What's turning out to be a sentimental blockbuster, LesChoristes, has taken over $30m in its first seven weeks out, meaning itwill surely land as top performer among French films at year's end.Jean-Jacques Annaud's Two Brothers is in fourthposition
  • French box office storms ahead in first quarter

    Admissions for the first four months of the year in Franceovertook those in the same period of 2003 by a thumping 16%.According to new data from the Centre Nationale de laCinematographie (CNC) admissions between January and April totalled 68 million,boosted by a heavyweight April, 43% better than the same month last year.The figures also suggest that last year's theatricaldownturn could once again be reversed as the rolling 12 month total was also up2.3% for a total of 181 milli
  • French protesters threaten daily disruption at Cannes

    Protestorsstormed the newsroom of leading Frenchpay-TV network Canal Plus on Thursday, forcing the channel to abandonits afternoon and evening news broadcasts.Theprotesters are the intermittents du spectacle - audiovisual workers includingactors, film directors, cameraman and other technicians, all of whom havetraditionally received financial support for a proportion of their periods ofunemployment - who are rallying together against cutbacks in their benefitssystem.Despi
  • French video market suffers surprise drop

    The French video distributors' association(SEV) yesterday sounded the alarm, reporting that the home entertainment marketin France has dropped dramatically.The combined DVD and VHS retail marketretreated by 16% in cash terms, according to the SEV when the first quarter of2004 was compared with the same period of last year. The rental market, whichhas always been significantly smaller in France, dropped by an even larger 22%.The SEV said: It is likely that what we areseeing are t
  • Funny Balloons takes Critics' Week title

    New French sales outfitFunny Balloons has picked up international rights to Critics' Week title TemporadaDe Patos.The Mexican film was writtenand directed by Fernando Eimbcke and took seven prizes at the Guadalajara FilmFestival earlier this year including Best Picture, Best Director, BestScreenplay and the top acting awards.Produced by ChristianValdelievre for Cinepantera and Lulu Producciones, film is a first effort fromEimbcke and stars Daniel Miran
  • Gatineau climbs Miramax acquisitions ladder

    Miramax veteranMaeva Gatineau has been promoted to senior vice president of acquisitions.Gatineau willcontinue to oversee European acquisitions from the company's UK offices, whereshe has been based for the past seven years, reporting to executive vicepresident of acquisitions and co-productions Agnes Mentre.UK-based directorof European acquisitions Emil Elmer and director of acquisitions Chiara Trento wil
  • GERMANY 12 May

    The season of blockbustersopened in fine style with UIP's Van Helsing charging into the Germanbox-office chart at No. 1 with a whopping $ 9,813 screen average from its 742screens, while last week's top film, Columbia TriStar's 50 First Dates,was the only release to muster any competition with takings of around $ 1.5mfrom just under 200,000 tickets sold.Another UIP release, MichaelOrr's Schultze Gets The Blues, continued on its modest, but succes
  • GERMANY 7 May

    Columbia TriStar reignedsupreme at the German box office taking the top two positions with romanticcomedy 50 First Dates moving up topole position and the Johnny Depp starrer Secret Window coming in at number two with over $ 1.3m gross in itsfirst four days of release.Meanwhile, last week's numberone - Kill Bill Vol. 2 - saw a 61%drop in takings but still made number three in a weekend with slack cinemaattendance.Dirty Dancing 2: Havan
  • GERMANY 6 May

    Columbia TriStar reigned supreme at the German box office taking the top two positions with romantic comedy 50 First Dates moving up to pole position and the Johnny Depp starrer Secret Window coming in at number two with over $ 1.3m gross in its first four days of release.Meanwhile, last week's number one - Kill Bill Vol. 2 - saw a 61% drop in takings but still made number three in a weekend with slack cinema attendance.
  • GERMANY 6 May

    Columbia TriStar reigned supreme at the German box office taking the top two positions with romantic comedy 50 First Dates moving up to pole position and the Johnny Depp starrer Secret Window coming in at number two with over $ 1.3m gross in its first four days of release.Meanwhile, last week's number one - Kill Bill Vol. 2 - saw a 61% drop in takings but still made number three in a weekend with slack cinema attendance.
  • Germany's Advanced buys leading inflight entertainment service

    German distributor-licencetrader Advanced Medien has acquired the former Kinowelt subsidiary Atlas AirFilm+Media Service and its wholly-owned US subsidiary Atlas Air EntertainmentConcepts, Inc., based in Los Angeles.The Atlas Air Group, which posted turnover of approximatelyEuro 20m in 2003 , is one of the world's leading providers of inflightentertainment services and currently serves 24 airlines.
  • Gilliam's Tideland rolls into HanWay

    Terry Gilliam is set toshoot Tideland, his adaptation of Mitch Cullin's southern gothic novel,for the company, with Jeremy Thomas producing. Financing has come together inthe last few months, with the project re-configured as a UK-Canadianco-production.The filmmakers hadoriginally aimed to shoot in Texas but principle photography is set to startthis year in Canada. Gabriella Martinelli, who collaborated with Thomas on NakedLunch, is acting as Canadian co-producer. Along w
  • Green Hat tops Tribeca

    Chinese filmmaker LiuFen Dou won prizes for Best Narrative Feature for The Green Hat and BestNew Narrative Filmmaker as the 3rd Annual Tribeca Film Festivalwrapped on Sunday in a star-studded soiree. UK actor Ian Hart was the recipientof the prize for Best Actor in a Narrative Feature Film for his role in the UKfilm Blind Flight. Best Actresshonours went to Fernanda Montenegro for Brazilian feature The Other Side Of The Street. Best DocumentaryFeature was shared by
  • Here come the global juggernauts

    This weekend, Universal's monsterfest Van Helsing will open day-and-date with the US in 40territories around the world, raising the curtain on what could become the mostlucrative summer season ever for the studios' international divisions.The sheer volume of heavy hitters lining up on the runways ismind-boggling with Van Helsing just one of five major Hollywood titles set for simultaneousglobal release in the next couple of months.Following hot on its heels in a fi
  • Herwitz takes on Un Certain Regard thriller Kontroll, four others

    Andrew Herwitz of New York-basedThe Film Sales Company has picked up worldwide rights to five films forrepresentation during Cannes led by Hungarian thriller Kontroll from US-born director Nimrod Antal which has been abig local hit and is screening in Un Certain Regard.Herwitz has also beenhandling three films which premiered at last week's Tribeca Film Festival - Brotherhood, Lilibet Foster's documentary which explores thelife of the New York City Fire Department, the th
  • HONG KONG 9 May

    Gangster thriller JiangHu dominated the Hong Kong box officethis week grossing US$1.15m in seven days from 51 screens. The star-studdedfilm took almost four times the tally of its nearest competitor, Kill Bill 2, which opened with US$288,786 from 25 screens.Directed by newcomer Wong Ching Po, Jiang Hu is a stylish gangster noir about the chaos thatensues when a triad kingpin becomes a father and decides to retire for a simpleli
  • HONG KONG Production Listings - May 11

    HONG KONG - MAY 10PRE-PRODUCTIONABNORMAL BEAUTY(Magic Head Film Production) Budget: US$2m.Backers: Universe Entertainment. Int'l sales: Universe Films Distribution.Genre: Thriller. Synopsis: A photography student becomes obsessed with the ideaof taking pictures at the moment of death. She attracts the attention of apsychotic killer who finds her unusual behaviour interesting. Exec prod: DaneilLam. Prods: Oxide Pang, Danny Pang. Dir: Oxide P
  • Hussein body double in Cannes to tout lifestory

    Latif Yuhia, the man who wasforced to be the body double of Saddam Hussein's son Uday will arrive in Cannesthis weekend in a bulletproof Mercedes that he recently bought from the UK'sQueen Elizabeth.UK-based Yuhia will be intown to promote a film adaptation of his life which is to be produced by aconsortium of Dutch production companies.The film will be produced byStaccato Films, Corrino Films and conglomerate Foreign Media Group, which cameout the winners in a rights auction wh
  • Intermedia bags Baghdad Blog

    Intermedia has bought film rights to Baghdad Blog, the bookof a weblog written by a 29 year-old Iraqi calling himself Salam Pax aboutdaily life in Baghdad before and after the invasion.Salam Pax has written his own column in The Guardian newspaper inthe UK and has become popular there with his comic and irreverent take on popculture against a backdrop of dictatorship and war."He's like a Nick Hornby in the middle of a war," saidScott Kroopf, chairman of
  • Iranian authorities halt Makhmalbaf shoot

    Awardwinning Iranian director Mohsen Makhmalbaf's has been prevented from shootinghis latest film, Amnesia, by the country's Ministry of Culture andIslamic Guidance.The scriptreflects two decades of pain and sufferings of the Iranian people and artists,and according to financier Wild Bunch, took Makhmalbaf years to write.
  • ITALY 10 May

    As the end of Italy's eight-month box office seasonapproaches, distributors unleashed a massive seven new releases last weekend.UIP's monster movie Van Helsing opened with a bang atnumber one at the Italian box office, grossing $3,554,207 from 439 screens foran astounding average of $8,096 per screen.However, none of the other new openers managed to garnermuch success: Lucky Red's Country Of My Skull, a South African, UK, USco-production directe
  • ITALY 7 May

    Kill Bill Vol.2 shed almost half its earnings in Italy on its secondweekend, as it handed over the box office crown to Eagle Pictures' dance movie Honey, which grossed $1,125,234 from 262 screens for ascreen average of $4,295.BVI's earnings for Quentin Tarantino'saction movie fell a drastic 46%, as it registered $984,526 from 331 screens andits screen average dropped to a worrying $2,974 per screen. After two weeks,the Uma Thurman vehicle has earned $3
  • Italy still struggling to secure summer releases

    Despite the Italian industry's sustained efforts, the localbox office summer season has once again failed to properly take-off, withupcoming 2004 summer releases few and far between.The Italian box office will benefit from the day and daterelease of three Hollywood juggernauts before the summer officially kicks in,all of which will be distributed by Italian branches of US studios: Warner BrosItalia will release Troy on May 21 and Harry Potter And The PrisonerOf Azkaban on
  • Japanese play with Ouija Board

    South Korean sales company Mirovision has clinched thelargest ever pre-sale for a Korean film with the Buena Vista-financed horrortitle Bunshinsaba - Ouija Board.Distributor Happinet Pictures bought Japanese rightsto the film for a $3m minimum guarantee, which ranks among the highest figuresever paid for a Korean film.OuijaBoard is the second Korean title after The Phone to be fully financed and distributed by Buena VistaInternational's K
  • John Woo kicks off UNICEF project

    LA-based director John Woois to visit the Croisette for the first time on Saturday as part of aninternational film-making project for the Children's relief agency UNICEF.The Hong Kong director of Paycheckwill travel to Cannes to announce a charity film he'll be making with festivalcompetitor Emir Kusturica, actress Maria Grazia Cucinotta, City Of Godco-director Katia Lund and Ridley Scott's daughter Jordan, amongst others.The project, entitled TheInvisible Child
  • Kill Bill Vol 2 holds on to international lead

    Despitemassive drop offs in some territories (including Australia (63%), Germany(61%), Sweden (57%)) Kill Bill Vol. 2 held up well in its second weekendat the international box office. The film added seven more territories to the20 it launched on a week before and saw a 40% slip overall.Thehighest new entry was Focus Features' Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mindwhich, despite debuting three weeks ago in Australia, saw its firstinternational chart position this week foll
  • Kinowelt eyes up insolvent Senator

    Despite having to answer claims of embezzlement, delayingthe filing of insolvency, and bankruptcy in Munich's District Court sincemid-April, Kinowelt's Michael Koelmel is apparently still in a buying mood.In an interview with the Dresden-based newspaper SaechsischeZeitung, he indicated that the revamped Kinowelt has a "seriousinterest" in a takeover of the insolvent Senator Entertainment."Senator would be just right for us," he saidAccording to industry insiders, though, Kinowel
  • Lane, Endeavor settle with Intermedia over Me Again suit

    Actress Diane Lane hasreached an agreement with Intermedia to settle the lawsuit that she broughtagainst the company last year over a pay-or-play deal to star in the film MeAgain.Nodetails were revealed in the settlement, but Lane's agency Endeavor, which hadrefused to work with Intermedia until the deal was settled, has now agreed tolift the ban on the company."We'reglad that both sides reached this agreement," said Lane's agent a
  • Last King Of Scotland gathers momentum

    Andrea Calderwood's London-based Slate Films is at lastmaking headway on its long-gestating project, Last King Of Scotland.Oscar-winning director Kevin Macdonald is attached to direct the film, which isnow being fast-tracked. Calderwood will co-produce with Lisa Bryer of CowboyFilms.Slate's partners on the project are FilmFour, with whom the project wasoriginally set up with Joe Penhall as writer during the Paul Webster era, andDNA, run by Macdonald's older brother Andrew Macdonald
  • Lightning acquires Russian thriller Moscow Heat

    RichardGuardian's Lightning Entertainment has picked up international rights to JeffCelentano's Russian-themed thriller Moscow Heat, purportedly the largest budgetedindependent picture ever made in Russia.Moscow Heat stars rising Russian star Alexander Nevsky,whose credits include Time Of Change and Red Serpent, and centres on the efforts of a retired diplomat, LA detectiveand Russian police captain to bring down an international arms dea
  • Lightning Entertainment picks up blues biopic Lightning In A Bottle

    Lightning Entertainment haspicked up international rights to Antoine Fuqua's blues documentary LightningIn A Bottle, which was executive produced by Martin Scorsese and will bereleased in the US through Sony Pictures Classics in October.The picture spotlights abenefit tribute concert at New York's Radio City Music Hall in February 2003featuring such luminaries as B B King, Dr John and Aerosmith, interspersed witha history of blues from its origins in Africa through to its influe
  • Lindsay, Seldin get senior vp stripes at Miramax

    Miramax Filmshas made two key promotions, with Mark Lindsay elevated to senior vicepresident of distribution and head of sales for Miramax International andColleen Seldin moving up to senior vice president of worldwide operations atMiramax Films.Lindsay will beresponsible for overseeing the company's international sales activities andwill continue to work out of the company's New York offices, reporting toMiramax International executive vice president Jere Hausfater. He steps up inligh
  • Macedonia's Mitevska wins Crossing Europe Award

    Young Macedonian director Teona S. Mitevska's debut feature HowI Killed A Saint (Kako Ubi Svetec) won the Euros 10,000 Crossing EuropeAward 2004 at the first edition of the Crossing Europe film festival in theAustrian city of Linz (May 4-9).The International Jury, which included directors ZelimirZilnik, Sabine Derflinger and Cristi Puiu, selected Mitevska's film for her'straightforward cinematographic approach which manages to portray andconvey the general at
  • Mean Girls

    Dir: Mark Waters. US.2004. 97 mins.A cut above the low-cost teenage movies churned out of Hollywood studiosthese days, Mean Girls is a smart comedy with an acerbic edge which hasalready found a wide audience in North America, taking more than $42m after twoweeks on release, and should carve out a lesser, but still ample, slice ofbusiness in international markets.Blending elements of She'sAll That and Heathers, Mean Girls will generate a str
  • Metropolitan takes Stratus Hostage

    Metropolitan Filmexport has bought French distributionrights to Hostage, the BruceWillis-starring action thriller financed by Stratus Film Company.The film is directed by French national Florent Emilio Siri,who previously directed local-language action title The Nest (Nid De Guepes). Headed by Sami and Victor Hadida, Metropolitan is the largestindependent in France regularly handling genre and action titles,Syndicate Films International handles international salesr
  • Molter earns vp international distribution stripes at Warner Bros

    ThomasMolter has been appointed to the newly created position of vice president of distributionat Warner Bros Pictures International (WBPI).Molterwill report to WBPI senior vice president of sales and distribution Nancy Carsonand will work with thestudio's new anti-piracy team, monitor print movement and security and liaisewith the international operations group to evaluate growth oppo
  • Momentum, Aurum love The Dark

    UK distributor MomentumPictures and its new sister company Aurum Producciones in Spain have made theirfirst joint acquisition, taking rights in the UK and Spain to Impact Pictures'horror movie The Dark starring Sean Bean and Maria Bello from SummitEntertainment.Momentum and Aurum teamed upwhen Momentum's parent company, Canada's Alliance Atlantis, closed a deal tobuy Aurum for $54m earlier this month. Alliance Atlantis is the leadingindependent distributor in Canada.Th
  • New talent invigorates Hong Kong production

    Now that local films areincreasing their share of the Hong Kong box office, there are several signs ofrenewed vigour in the domestic production industry. Budgets are getting bigger,investors are becoming more adventurous and the range of films on offer isbecoming increasingly diverse.But the most encouragingdevelopment is the influx of new directing talent which is being nurtured byindustry veterans. Major stars Andy Lau and Eric Tsang, who also run their ownproduction companies, recen
  • NEW ZEALAND 11 May

    As expected, Van Helsing had no trouble claiming thecrown as the most popular film at the New Zealand box office on the weekend,grossing NZ$658,698 from 65 screens for UIP.It pushed Kill Bill: Volume 2, which is in its secondweekend, off the top spot. Kill Bill also got a battering from Starsky& Hutch, also out of the BVI/Miramax stable and in its third weekend atcinemas. Kill Bill took NZ$141,123 from 32 screens while the retrocom
  • NORWAY 11 May

    StephenSommers' summer blockbuster had no problem scaring up the top of the Norwegianchart with its high 62 prints, but for an opening film its NOK29,929 screenaverage wasn't all that impressive. While the newcomer pushed most other titlesdown one place, Scooby Doo 2 actually moved up to fifth, while lastweek's new release Taking Lives plummeted to eight.
  • Noyce sets Bielski Brothers at Warner Independent

    Film-maker Phillip Noycehas found a new home for his film of Peter Duffy's novel The BielskiBrothers at Warner IndependentPictures (WIP), and has teamed up with Mace Neufeld and Jonas Goodman to produce it. WIP will develop and finance the project with Cherry Road Films.The screenplay has beenwritten by first-time screenwriter Kathleen McLaughlin - also a partner inRumbalara Films with Noyce and Miranda Culley. It tells the story of Tuvia,Asael and Zus Bielski who, in the face o
  • Official figures up Van Helsing's international bow

    Universal released officialfigures yesterday (10) confirming that Van Helsing's internationalopening weekend grossed $55.2m, a larger sum than executives originallyestimated.Combined with the $51.8mdomestic take - which was several million dollars less than originally thoughtalthough still number one by a country mile - this creates a worldwide openingweekend of $106.9m.The picture opened in 41countries through UIP, raising the curtain on a summer season that continues th
  • Pathe in Crash deal with Arclight

    Pathe Distribution has acquired the UKrights to Paul Haggis' feature debut Crash, starring SandraBullock, Don Cheadle, Matt Dillon, Jennifer Esposito, Brendan Fraser, JasonIsaacs, Ludacris, Thandie Newton, Ryan Phillippe and Larenz Tate.Crash uses a layered structure to tell the stories of amulti-racial group of characters in contemporary LA whose lives inter-connectthrough a sequence of events around a car accident.Crash is produced by Cathy Schulman, Don C
  • Peace Arch and Showtime partner up through 2007

    Canadian entertainment outfit Peace Arch Entertainment Group andUS-based Showtime Networks have signed a co-financing and distribution dealthrough 2007 for up to 15 projects averaging $10m each.Peace Arch will provide production support and assume allinternational rights including Canada, while Showtime will premiere titles onits Showtime Network.Peach Arch's London-based subsidiary Peace Arch Films Limited willhandle international sales and domestic distribution deals will be a
  • Perspectives 2004 kicks off in LA on Jun 4

    Given A Chance... ALittle Girl's Journey is expected tobe among the highlights of the upcoming Perspectives2004 international festival and forum, which runs in Los Angeles from Jun 4-6.Kim Marriner's picturechronicles the development of Kassie Marriner, who was born a drug addict and diagnosed with cerebral palsy.Sponsored by the AmericanFilm Institute and Frank D Lanterman Regional Centre, the festival includesnarrative and documentary features and is dedicated to promot
  • Phil Gersh, agent of the Golden Age, is dead

    Phil Gersh, thelegendary Hollywood agent who founded The Phil Gersh Agency, later becoming TheGersh Agency with sons Robert and David, has died aged 92.Gersh representeda broad roster of stars spanning the Golden Age including Humphrey Bogart,Richard Burton, David Niven, Harrison Ford and Robert Wise and worked with suchdirectors as Mark Robson, Raoul Walsh, Joseph Losey and Richard Fleischer.Writer clientsincluded Ernest Lehman, Budd Schulberg, Wendell Mayes, Julius J Epstein a
  • Politics colours Cannes

    Even if everything passes off peacefully this year's festival, as a result of a rapprochement with striking arts workers, Cannes will still be shaped by the invasive effects of politics - global politics, politics of the workplace and political films.Indeed, industry politics was already charged at a high-powered colloquium on piracy that saw jury president Quentin Tarantino yesterday admit to benefiting from pirate tapes of Chinese movies.At press-time, Cannes festival organise
  • Politics colours Cannes

    Even if everything passes off peacefully this year's festival, as a result of a rapprochement with striking arts workers, Cannes will still be shaped by the invasive effects of politics - global politics, politics of the workplace and political films.Indeed, industry politics was already charged at a high-powered colloquium on piracy that saw jury president Quentin Tarantino yesterday admit to benefiting from pirate tapes of Chinese movies.At press-time, Cannes festival organise
  • Publicity veteran Pflug lands at Universal Pictures

    Fresh from his one-yearstint at Miramax, industry veteran Paul Pflug has landed at Universal Pictureswhere he will serve as senior vice president of media relations and play a keyrole in boosting the company's corporate profile.In his new post Pflug willserve as the primary strategist for the company's external corporate andexecutive image and will work alongside existing corporate communications andpublicity teams at Universal Pictures and Universal Studios.More specifically he
  • Rai Cinema rocked by political appointments

    Franco Scaglia, a former RAI manager, has been named thenew president of RAI Cinema, in a series of controversial politicalappointments at RAI which have led the broadcaster's president, LucianaAnnunziata, to dramatically resign.FrancoScaglia, a writer and former vice-president of the broadcaster's satellitechannel RAI Sat, will replace film director Giuliano Montaldo, who has chairedRAI Cinema si
  • Reda strikes out with Purple Pictures

    Hadeel Reda, the formerpresident of Winchester Films, has struck out on her own with a new LA-basedfilm production and financing outfit called Purple Pictures.Reda has secured adevelopment and overhead fund from private European equity investors and optionedthree youth-driven genre projects led by horror thriller The Fearwritten by Eduardo Carrillo and Joshua Friedlander.Myles Nestel, a formerpartner in and head of business affairs at Cobalt Media Group, brought theprojec
  • Reding backs Europe wide Film Commission network

    Spanish-backed moves to set up a European Film CommissionNetwork have gained ground with news that European Commissioner for Culture,Viviane Reding, is backing the initiative.Now supported by Film Commissions from the UK, Ireland,Switzerland, Italy, Sweden, Norway, France, Germany, Hungary, Portugal,Belgium, and Spain, the proposed Network would exchange information, sharetraining opportunities and represent the various Film Commissions in itsdealings with the European Union.In
  • Richard E Grant's Wah-Wah set for summer shoot

    British actorRichard E Grant is set to start shooting his long-gestating debut as awriter-director, Wah-Wah.Theautobiographical tale of growing up in South Africa is expected to starNicholas Hoult from About A Boy as the young Grant. Also likely to appearare Emily Watson and Miranda Richardson.UK-based salesoutfit The Works is understood to be selling the project, which is reportedlyto shoot this summer as a co-production between Marie-Castille Mention-Scharrof Fra
  • ROMANIA 7 May

    Despite strong attempts from AlongCame Polly and Taking Lives, ThePassion of the Christ is stillstrongly holding its top position at the Romanian box office. The film tookover ten thousand admissions in the third week of its release and itscummulative admissions are now nearing the 120,000 mark.The only real threat the MelGibson film faces this upcoming weekend comes in the form of vampire flick VanHelsing which should be a hit withthe Romanian
  • ROMANIA 7 May

    Despite strong attempts from AlongCame Polly and Taking Lives, ThePassion of the Christ is stillstrongly holding its top position at the Romanian box office. The film tookover ten thousand admissions in the third week of its release and itscummulative admissions are now nearing the 120,000 mark.The only real threat the MelGibson film faces this upcoming weekend comes in the form of vampire flick VanHelsing which should be a hit withthe Romanian
  • Rosett named president of United Artists

    Danny Rosett hasbeen named president of United Artists in a move that had been widely expectedfollowing the departure in January of Bingham Ray.Rosett most recently served as executive vice president ofmarketing and distribution for MGM Studios, which included overseeing worldwidebusiness operations for the specialty unit UA, and will report to MGM vicechairman and chief operating officer Chris McGurk.The move coincides with restructuring of
  • Scooby-Doo 2 nears $100m at international box office

    Scooby-Doo2 added anestimated $2.8m with 543,000 admissions from 3,411 screens in 52 territories atthe weekend, raising its international running total to $87.3m.Keyhighlights from Warner Bros Pictures International's campaign so far include animpressive $28.5m UK haul and $9.1m in Mexico.Theserial killer thriller Taking Lives grossed $2.4m with 424,000 admissionsfrom 1,534 screens in 46 territories for $27.7m.
  • Screen wins top publishing accolade

    Screen International was named international businessmagazine of the year at the Periodical Publishers Association awards in Londonyesterday (May 5).Judges praised Screen for the relaunch of its weeklyedition and website,, in August, which has resulted in a30% rise in subscribers across 73 countries.Judges singled out the introduction of issue-driven,image-based front covers and the fresh content of the m

    After having changed itstitle from Civil Life (Civilni Zivot) to Fall Into Paradise! (Pad U Raj) just a couple of days before its premiere, Milos Radovic'ssecond feature kept the pole position at the Serbian-Montenegrin chart.The story of a Serbian blackmarket king who shoots down an American plane with a rocket launcher during theNATO bombing in 1999 and captures the pilot played by British actor SimonLyndon sold another 6,892 admissions in its second
  • Serbia launches film industry rescue scheme

    In abid to stem the decline of the local film industry, the creation of the FilmCenter of Serbia was announced last week. "Serbian cinema is on its death bed,but this is not a funeral. This the celebration for the opening of its new ER",said Djordje Milicevic, founder and president of the Center.Milicevicis better known in Hollywood than in his own country, most notably as theco-writer of Andrei Konchalovsky's RunawayTrain (1985) and director of 1986 RidingFast. "Although
  • Shoreline snaps up Dunsmore and Now And Forever

    Shoreline Entertainment has acquired Peter Spirer's mystery Dunsmoreand Bob Clark's interracial love story Now And Forever and will bringthe titles to Cannes under its expanding Watermark banner.Dunsmore centres on a small Florida town where the residents aretormented by a deeply repellent individual. However an investigation revealswide pools of guilt that may implicate the townspeople. Kadeem Hardison, RusBlackwell and Talia Shire star.Now And Forever
  • Son Of The Bride director's latest to premiere at Valladolid

    Argentine director Juan Jose Campanella's Luna de Avellaneda (The Moon of Avellaneda) will open the 49th Valladolid International Film Festival on October 22.The move mirrors the career path taken by Campenella's last film, the Oscar-nominated Son of the Bride (El Hijo de La Novia), which won the festival's top prize and public choice award and went on to international box office success.The picture, a Euros 1.2m co-production between Argentina's Pol-Ka, SB Producciones, Jempsa and
  • South Africa's DV8 takes a Flyer

    Pre-production has begun on TheFlyer, which has now been set as the third film to emerge from SouthAfrica's DV8 low-cost film-making initiative.To be directed by Revel Foxin July, The Flyer is the story of a coloured boy who tries to escapethe dangers of street life through a career in acrobatics. It will starnewcomer Ian van der Heyden alongside Marcel van Der Heyden as the old man whotutors him in his trapeze career and mentors him through life.
  • South Korea damns Breillat's Hell

    Flach Pyramide's sexually graphic exploration of misogyny, Anatomy Of Hell by Catherine Breillat, has been denied an import certification by the Korea Media Ratings Board, which cited the film's "perverted sexual content."Import company Duke Cinema was planning to release the film in a chain of newly-approved adult theatres, which are designed to accommodate films that receive a "restricted" rating from the ratings board.Prior to this year, import certification was consid
  • State and Clearing bookend LA Film Festival

    Zach Braff's hotSundance comedy Garden State will open the 10th Annual Los Angeles Film Festival on Jun 17,while Richard Linklater's romance Before Sunset is the Centrepiece Premiere and PieterJan Brugge's kidnapping drama The Clearing will close the event on Jun 26.Overall nineworld premieres, three North American premieres and two US premieres are among195 titles from 31 countries culled from more than 2,800 submissions.Programmesinclude narrative and docu
  • Summit steps into The Dark, offers The Alibi

    Independent sales, financingand production powerhouse Summit Entertainment has added two new pictures toits Cannes lineup - The Dark, thelatest horror movie to emerge from Paul Anderson and Jeremy Bolt's ImpactPictures via its financing deal with Constantin Film and The Alibi, a contemporary thriller, which Summit isco-financing and co-producing with Jim Stern's Endgame Entertainment.Canada's John Fawcett, whodirected the cult Canadian horror picture Ginger Snaps,
  • Summit takes over Myriad's Being Julia

    Summit Entertainment is taking over sales duties fromMyriad Pictures on Istvan Szabo's Being Julia starring Annette Bening.The deal is being done between Summit and the film's production companySerendipity Point run by Robert Lantos. Summit previously handled SerendipityPoint's The Statement.Myriad chief executive Kirk D'Amico had no comment yesterday, butSummit's CEO Patrick Wachsberger said that the arrangement was a "veryfriendly"
  • The Haunted Mansion passes $100m for BVI

    Buena Vista's family hit TheHaunted Mansion passed $100m at the international box office this weekendthanks to a $2.3m weekend gross through Buena Vista InternationalOnce again the key driverwas Japan, where the picture remained number for its third weekend in a row and raised itscumulative score to $24.5m.Currently on a whisker over$100m, The Haunted Mansion is the seventh picture this year to gross more than$100m at the international box office and the third dist
  • The Notebook, Intimate Strangers bookend Seattle

    Nick Cassavetes' romance The Notebook starring Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams will openthe 30th SeattleInternational Film Festival and Patrice Leconte'sromantic thriller Intimate Strangers starring Sandrine Bonnaire andFabrice Luchini closes the event, which runs from May 20-Jun 13 and boasts 10 world premieres.All in all 224 features and 84 shorts from 58 countries will playat the event and titles include the director's cut of Richard Kelly's surrealromance Donnie Da
  • Thunderstruck

    Dir: Darren Ashton. Australia. 2004. 100minsFor vitality, volume and pace the team behind high-octane rock 'n' rollroad movie Thunderstruck can't be faulted. The debut feature fromfirst-timers Darren Ashton (director), Jodi Matterson (producer) and ShaunAngus Hall (writer), it follows the members of a failed rock group, first atthe height of their teen optimism, then 12 years later as they come to termswith their broken dreams and unsatisfying lives
  • Troy director lays siege to US foreign policy

    On the eve of the worldwide release of his $175 millionepic, Troy, German director WolfgangPetersen has waded into the dispute over current US foreign policy in Iraq bydrawing some provocative comparisons between the behaviour of Agamemnon, theGreek tyrant who launched the assault on Troy 3000 years ago, and contemporaryworld leaders."History repeats itself in a chilling way. TheAgamemnons of the world are showing up over and over again. We had one veryspecific one in Germany fo
  • Trudeau, Altman ready Tanner 88 sequel for Sundance Channel

    The Sundance Channel hasteamed up with satirist Garry Trudeau and director Robert Altman on a sequel totheir political mini-series Tanner 88.Production is due to beginnext month on the as yet unnamed three-parter, which stars original castmembers Cynthia Nixon, Michael Murphy, Pamela Reed and Matt Malloy and is scheduledto screen in October - one month before the Presidential election.The channel broadcast are-run of the original 11-part series in February during the Demo
  • UK finds new development cash

    In an innovativeuse of UK tax funding, Civilian Content, the publicly-listed parent of salesoperation The Works, has secured development financing through a joint venturewith financing outfit SureFire.Projects set tobenefit from the deal include River Queen, an epic New Zealand-setadventure expected to star Samantha Morton. Civilian chief Chris Auty and DonReynolds are producing, with production scheduled to start next month. Also inthe works is Silk, adapted from the int
  • Van Helsing opens summer with record weekend for Universal, UIP

    The summer has begun. Universal's Van Helsingscored a record-breaking $53m on 5,000 screens in 41 countries at the weekend,dominating the market and ushering in what is shaping up to be a monsterinternational season for the studios.It was Universal and UIP's biggest opening weekend ofall time, beating director Stephen Sommers' T
  • Van Helsing opens the summer on $54.2m weekend

    After months of hype thesummer season got underway in fine style over the weekend as Universal's VanHelsing opened top on an estimated $54.2m, brushing aside the Olsen twinstheatrical lead debut New York Minute, which flopped in fourth on$6.2m.Despite a slew of scathingreviews the $160m monster mash averaged a magnificent $15,165 from 3,575. HughJackman stars as the dashing monster slayer sent to Transylvania to battleDracula, Wolf Man and a host of other aberrations.
  • Waiting for Lions Gate

    Lions Gate FilmsInternational has acquired international rights to twentysomething comedy Waitingwhich marks the directorial debut of screenwriter Rob McKittrick whose creditsinclude Son Of The Mask.The film follows a day inthe life of arrested adolescent roommates Monty and Dean as they negotiate thetreacherous terrain of girls, booze and weed while working as waiters at afamily-friendly restaurant.Waiting stars Ryan Reynolds, who played
  • Warner launches dedicated worldwide anti-piracy unit

    Warner Bros,which has arguably taken the fight to piracy with more zeal than any otherstudio, has stepped up operations with the launch of the industry's firstdedicated worldwide anti-piracy unit.Darcy Antonelliswill head up the unit following her recent appointment to the new position ofsenior vice president of worldwide anti-piracy operations at the studio(Screendaily, Mar 25) and will liaise with all Warner Bros Entertainmentdivisions, Time Warner public policy officers and the MPAA
  • Warners' Polar Express set for 3D release

    Warner Bros says it will release RobertZemeckis' The Polar Express inconventional cinemas and Imax 3D format day-and-date on Nov. 19 in NorthAmerica and in some international territories. It's the first majorHollywood release in the 3D format.Warner Bros would not confirm whichterritories it is considering. The company is the exclusive distributor of theChristmas-themed film to Imax cinemas worldwide.The CGI stop-motion feature, which re-teamsZemeckis and his Cast Away
  • White, Hewitt join sales team at First Look International

    First LookInternational has ramped up its sales team ahead of Cannes with the hiring of MoniqueWhite as vice president of international sales and Susan Hewitt as Europeantelevision sales consultant.Both will reportdirectly to First Look International co-heads Liz Mackiewicz, the senior vicepresident of worldwide sales and distribution, and Dina Vangelisti, thecompany's senior vice president of television sales.White'sresponsibilities will include all rights -
  • Worst year ever for European films in EU

    2003 was the worst year for the circulation of Europeanfilms within the EU on record, according to new figures from the EuropeanAudiovisual Observatory.Only 6.3% of admissions to European films were earned in EUcountries outside of their home markets - down from 9.9% last year.UK/US co-productions Johnny English and Love Actually were the only European films to make it into the top20 list of films across the EU, coming in at 11th and 14thpositions respectively.