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13 January 2005

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  • Alexander doubles domestic gross in int'l markets

    Powered by a massive launchin Spain, IS Film Distribution's Alexander grossed an estimated $16.9m on approximately 3,000 screens in 35territories at the weekend to raise its cumulative total to $66.3m, roughlytwice as much as the picture has taken in North America.The epic grossed $6.9m(Euros5.1m) on 396 Spanish screens that marked the fourth biggest debut of alltime in the territory behind Shrek 2, The Matrix Reloaded and The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers.
  • Allen to receive lifetime award from San Francisco

    Joan Allen willreceive the Peter J Owens Award at the 48th San Francisco International FilmFestival, in honour of a career that in the words of the festival organisersexemplifies "brilliance, independence and integrity".Allen will takepart in a retrospective on Apr 29, culminating in an onstage interview prior toa screening of Sally Potter's Yes, which will open through Sony Pictures Classics on Jun 24.She has receivedthree Academy Award nominations fo
  • Anti-piracy expert calls for new business models

    Building legitimate alternatives to online piracy is asimportant as legal action, according the executive leading Warner Brothers'global anti-piracy operations.Darcy Antonellis told delegates at the ScreenInternational European Film Piracy conference in London thatforward-thinking business initiatives were vital to any strategy againstcounterfeiting."We need to look at new business models with content thatcan be protected. That's as important as enforcement, or technology
  • AUSTRALIA 11 January

    For the third consecutiveweekend of Australia's busy summer holiday season Meet The Fockers and TheIncredibles were first and second at the box office. The UIP comedy sequelgrossed A$3,843,658 from 324 screens over the four days and has already sold A$21.6million worth of tickets in 15 days. The BVI animation took A$3,041,221 from408 screens and has a A$18.5 million total to date. Both opened on December 26,traditionally the most lucrative day of the y
  • Australia celebrates record BO revenues

    AustraliaHs annual boxoffice gross looks certain to exceed A$900 million in 2004 for the first timeever although the Motion Picture Distributors Association of Australia (MPDAA)has not released the final figure, nor admission numbers, and may not until laterthis month. Making significantcontributions to the 2004 tally were Shrek 2 (A$50.26m) and Lord OfThe Rings: The Return Of The King (A$49.37m). In fact, they were such bighitters that they are now, respectively, the sec
  • Baby wins National Society Of Film Critics' prize

    Clint Eastwood's MillionDollar Baby has been named Best Picture ofthe Year 2004 by the National Society of Film Critics, adding further impetusto the drama's swelling Oscar prospects.
  • BAFTA puts cap on membership

    BAFTA has decided to place a cap of 6500 on its worldwidevoting membership, effective immediately. The organisation said the decision followed many months ofdiscussion about how best to manage its membership base following an'enormous increase in membership applications over the past fouryears.'The American Academy has already capped its membership at6000. BAFTA said the cap on voting membership would not affectexisting members who will be entitled to renew their membersh
  • Bangkok festival goes ahead with tsunami fundraising mandate

    Organisers atthe Bangkok International Film Festival (BKKIFF) said yesterday (Jan 6) thatthe event will go ahead as planned next week, with a new focus on raising moneyfor victims of the Indian Ocean tsunami.In conjunction with the Tourism Authority of Thailand,organisers said they would siphon "significant" portions of festival revenuesto relief efforts and to that end have set up a special fund called "BKKIFF2005 for the Andaman Tsunami Relief."The openingnight will proceed as
  • Ben-Ami gets promotion in anti-piracy department at Warner Bros

    Yotam Ben-Ami has been promoted to vice president of worldwideanti-piracy operations, North America, at Warner Bros Entertainment.
  • Boll announces $107m production fund for new video game movies

    Frankfurt-based BOLL KG hasraised $107m with its production investment fund to finance feature films basedon video games, according to CEO and director Uwe Boll. The new money will bedirected toward the coproduction partnership Boll established withVancouver-based service production specialist Brightlight Pictures. The partners are working ona slate of projects that will tap Canadian tax credits, including two completedfilms - Alone In The Dark,starring Christian Slater and Tara
  • Bridget enjoys massive $4.2m launch in Italy for UIP

    Bridget Jones: The EdgeOf Reason scored Working Title'sbiggest ever opening in Italy through UIP at the weekend, ranking number one onan estimated $4.2m on 376 screens.The debut was approximately107% bigger than that of Bridget Jones's Diary in 2001 in US$ and 30% bigger inEuros.Overall the romantic comedysequel added $7m through UIP to raise its international running total to $174m.Including France - where it opened through Mars - the picture has amassed $188mthro
  • Canal Plus strikes NBC Universal film deal

    TheCanal Plus group and NBC Universal have concluded a long term exclusiveagreement which will see Canal's pay-TV service air all films emanating fromthe US studio.Theaccord includes first window rights for the main Canal Plus channel and secondwindow for its thematic channels and rights for its pay-per view service.Canal'sdeputy managing director Rodolphe Belmer said "the confidence shown us by thisgrand Hollywood studio reinforces Canal Plus' unique position as France'spremium
  • Christal to release controversial Canadian serial killer film

    Karla, the US-produced true-life account of Canadianserial killer Karla Homolka, has secured a theatrical release in Canada viaMontreal-based Christal Films. The company plans open the film on 100 screensnationwide on January 20.Directed by Joel Bender andproduced by Michael Sellers of LA-based Quantum Entertainment, the film starsLaura Prepon as Homolka and Misha Collins as Paul Bernardo, her former husbandwho is serving a life sentence for the kidnapping, rape and murder of tw
  • Cinema sale likely for London's West End

    Competition is heating up totakeover a flagship UK cinema site in London's Leicester Square after theOffice of Fair Trading cleared investment vehicle Terra Firma's purchase ofexhibitor UCI provided it sold off certain cinemas in its estate.Terra Firma controls boththe Odeon Leicester Square and the Odeon West End, in addition to the UCIEmpire.Among other potentiallyinterested parties, Vue Cinemas is believed to be especially eager to increaseits presence in Londonns West End.
  • Cinepolis fast-tracks Mexican IMAX expansion

    Spurred by impressive results at its IMAXcinema in Mexico City, Latin American exhibitor Cinepolis has moved forward to2005 the target opening dates for two proposed Imax cinemas in other Mexicancities. The cinemas are part of a deal previouslyannounced in 2004 and were originally scheduled to open in mid-2006 andlate-2007 respectively. One screen will be in Monterrey and the other locationwill be announced at a later date.According to Cinepolis, since its op
  • Court documentary to open Rotterdam festival

    The 34th International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) willopen on January 26 with French court documentary The 10th District Court,Moments Of Trials (10e Chambre, Instants D'audiences) by Raymond Depardon. Later that evening the IFFR will present Sideways by US director Alexander Payne as its first 2005public screening. The IFFR will close next on February 5 with Howl's MovingCastle by Japanese filmmaker HayaoMiyazaki.IFFR director Sandra den Hamer co
  • Deck Dogz

    Dir/scr: Steve Pasvolsky.Aust. 2004. 88minsOscar-nominatedlive-action short director Steve Pasvolsky graduates to full-length featureswith Deck Dogz, a small-scale teen action drama that confidentlytranscends its narrow focus of three Australian adolescents on a skateboardingodyssey.Opening wide (150 screens)at home on Jan 6 during school holidays, it's unusual for an Australian movieto so aggressively target the mainstream multiplexes. B
  • Don Kim named as Universal Pictures Korea chief

    UniversalPictures International (UPI) has appointed Don Kim, formerly of Johnson &Johnson Visioncare, to be managing director of Universal Pictures Korea.Kim replaces Chang Gon Kim, who headed the Korea officefor two years, and will report to Wayne Borg, Vice President for Latin Americaand Asia Pacific. He will head thecompany's planned expansion in the local DVD market, and well as overseeingloc
  • Dutch box office suffers first annual fall in ten years

    The Dutch box office dropped by 10% to Euros 151.3min 2004, according to end of year figures from the Dutch Federation ofAssociated Cinemas (NVF).The year on year downturn brings to an end over ten years ofuninterrupted growth at the Dutch box office which has posted increases everyyear since 1993. Admissions stood at 22 million, down from last year's 24.7 million,while Dutch films' share of admissions fell back from 13.6% to 9.4%. The fall is in stark contrast to most ot
  • Dutch Filmworks wins private equity backing

    Private equity fundMain Capital has paid Euros 3.5m to acquire a substantial minority interest inNetherlands based distributor Dutch Filmworks (DFW). During the past seven years, the indie distributor hasbecome a leading distributor in the Benelux region. The company has built up astrong track record in DVD and is now increasingly focused on exploiting itsfilm rights in television and theatre.Dutch Filmworks general director WillemPruijssers said the company wants to spread its
  • FCG launches festival programming service

    Festival Consulting Group(FCG) partners Jon Fitzgerald and Mitch Levine have launched The ProgrammingBureau, a web-based subscription service for film festival professionals,studios, distribution companies, sales agents and the independent film community.Subscribers will get accessto a specialised database containing a curated listing of the top titlesplaying and set to play the festival circuit, supported by advanced searchtools with comprehensive data on each titl
  • Ferrara sued for alleged breach of contract on Tales

    Abel Ferrara, the cultdirector of Bad Lieutenant, has been served with an Euros 6m lawsuit forallegedly breaching his contract with Istituto Luce, the Italian state-ownedproduction and distribution outfit, and independent local producer Gam Film.Ferrara was allegedly due tostart shooting a Euros 4m screwball comedy entitled Go Go Tales,"between December 13, 2004 and January 10, 2005," says NicolaRocchetti, a lawyer who is representing Ferrara's producers, Istituto Luce an
  • Fiennes to star in Coetzee adaptation Disgrace

    Australian productioncompany Wild Strawberries has secured Ralph Fiennes to play the lead in itsfeature adaptation of 1999 Booker Prize winning novel Disgrace, writtenby J M Coetzee. The politically chargedstory will be filmed in South Africa, where it is set. Fiennes will play atwice-divorced academic in Cape Town who retreats to his daughterHs farm inresponse to the fall out from an impulsive affair with a student. Producer Anna-MariaMonticelli is now packaging Disgr
  • Fockers stays top but Gold Circle makes Noise at two

    Universal's Meet The Fockers stayed top and passed $200m in its third weekend while theparanormal thriller White Noise, produced by Gold Circle Films and handled by Universal in NorthAmerica, opened strongly in second place on an estimated $24m.
  • Four apiece for Jamie Foxx and Sideways in SAG noms

    Jamie Foxx won an astoundingfour Screen Actors Guild (SAG) nominations and Hilary Swank nabbed three whenthe nominations were announced yesterday. Foxx is eligible in bestactor (Ray), best cast (Ray), best supporting actor (Collateral) and also best actor in a TV movie or miniseries (Redemption).Swank is eligible in bestactress (Million Dollar Baby),best cast (Million Dollar Baby)and best actress in a TV movie or miniseries (Iron-Jawe
  • German box office climbs in 2004

    German box office takings rose 7.4% to Euros879.1m in 2004, boosted by a string of successful German films such as (T)raumschiffSurprise - Periode 1. Overall admissions also climbed by 7% from2003's 140.3m to 151m, according to figures from Nielsen EDI.While US films werestill the dominant force in German cinemas, their market share was pushed downas local productions scored
  • GERMANY 11 January

    While there was littlemovement among the top six last weekend - with Ocean's Twelve holding onto the No. 1 slot for the fourth week running against Buena Vista's TheIncredibles-, the top 10 welcomed four strong performers in new entries AfterThe Sunset, Ray, House Of The Flying Daggers and Alles Auf Zucker!X Verleih's release of DaniLevy's Jewish comedy Alles Auf Zucker! scored the weekend's highestscreen average with $ 8,572 from
  • Global film series including Fuse, Whisky starts US tour

    The Global FilmInitiative's second annual Global Lens touring film series will kick off inSeattle today (Jan 7) and wind its way through 14 US cities during theremainder of the year.This year's series comprises 10 features and one shortfilm from developing countries and will play in cultural institutions rangingfrom the Museum of Modern Art in New York to the Wexner Centre for the Arts inColumbus, Ohio.Five of thetitles received production or post-production
  • Gondry embarks on Science Of Sleep

    Director Michel Gondry, whocontinues to receive plaudits for 2004's Eternal Sunshine Of The SpotlessMind, began shooting The Science Of Sleep last week in Paris. The film boasts a pedigreecast with Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal and French stars Alain Chabat andCharlotte Gainsbourg.Gaumont is co-producing thefilm with Partizan and will handle international sales. Thefilm will be in French and English, and tells the story of a man whofalls in l
  • Grey officially named head of Paramount

    After days of open speculation, Brad Grey has been confirmed asthe new chairman and chief executive officer of Paramount Motion Picture Groupand will start work in his new role on or before Mar 1.
  • Holt named to English-language post at Telefilm Canada

    Telefilm Canada hasappointed senior executive Ralph Holt to the position of national head ofEnglish-language feature film. Holt, a 17-year veteran of the agency, most ofthat serving as director for the Atlantic Region. Holt will relocate toToronto, effective immediately.'I am verypleased that Ralph has decided to take on the challenges of English-languagefeature film full time and make the move to Toronto,' said Wayne Clarkson,who moves to Montreal to take up his post of executive dire
  • Hustle opens top in Indonesia, Philippines

    Kung Fu Hustle maintained its muscular form at theinternational box office over the weekend and is closing in on $50m following acouple of record releases in minor Asian markets.The picture opened top through Sony Pictures ReleasingInternational (SPRI) in both Indonesia and the Philippines, grossing $271,000on 42 screens and $261,000 on 30 respectively.In both casesthe debuts marked the biggest ever release for a Chinese title.Kung FuHustle
  • I Am Cuba, The Siberian Mammoth (Soy Cuba, O Mamute Siberiano)

    Dir: Vicente Ferraz.Brazil. 2004. 90mins.Saddled with an unhelpfuland slightly repellent title, I Am Cuba, The Siberian Mammoth isn'tactually a wildlife film but an intelligent making-of documentary which alsomanages to examine a particularly-interesting slice of Cold War history.And although it can getbogged down in its own minutae, Mammoth is fascinating enough to see itmake small inroads beyond the festivalcircuit - it competes
  • Int'l Box Office: Alexander conquers Europe

    Oliver Stone needn't haveworried about the US critical reaction to Alexander having an adverseeffect on European box office. Opening in key European territories includingSpain, France and the UK this week Alexander flew in the face ofcritical reaction to lead the international table with a powerful $18.7mweekend.The film has already morethan doubled its North American gross ($34.1m) and looks set to follow in thewake of recent historical epics like Troy and King
  • ITALY 11 January

    Bridget Jones: The Edgeof Reason shot to the top of theItalian box office last weekend, with a huge gross of $4,291,627. The UIPromantic comedy opened on 399 screens and earned an outstanding average of$10,756 per screen.01 Distribution's horrorflick, The Grudge, also opened strongly, landing in second place with atotal gross of $3,612,394.Another top draw was KenLoach's Ae Fond Kiss, which opened on just 37 screens but filled theseats ou
  • Italy pins hopes on local directors for 2005

    While the run-up to Christmas has once again been boosted by the releaseof blockbuster Italian comedies, only a handful of homegrown films have managedto gross more than Euros 1m - which is considered the benchmark for a strongrun at the box office - since September. Nevertheless, the local industry isconfident that box office results for local arthouse fare will see better timesin 2005, when Italy's handful of hit-making established auteurs
  • ITALY Production Listings - January 9 2005

    ITALIAN LISTINGS -January 9 2005 PRE-PRODUCTION ADIUS, LA FESTA E'FINITA(Verdecchi Film) Backer: Fondo di Garanzia. Word gets out in high-flying Romansociety that a well-known Italian singer-songwriter is to make his comeback -despite the fact that his death was officially announced in 1980. Prod:Alessandro Verdecchi. Dir: Ezio Alovisi.
  • Japanese police make first pirate vendor arrest

    In the first case of itskind in Japan, local police havearrested a street vendor for selling pirated DVDs. Among the 1,000 DVDs seizedfrom 35-year-old Shigeyoshi Oshio were 300 copies of Howl's Moving Castle,the Hayao Miyazaki animation currently on release. Others included pirated DVDsof Spider-Man 2 and other recent Hollywood films, including 50 titlesthat have yet to be released in Japan. Oshio was selling the DVDs at a stall inthe grounds of Nishinomiya Shrine,
  • Korean film enjoys bumper box office harvest in 2004

    South Korean box office surged 16.5% in 2004 and Koreanfilms took an unprecedented 60.3% share of the market, on the back ofrecord-busting performances by local features Tae Guk Gi and Silmido.Nonetheless, a drop off at the end of the year has observerswondering if Korea's boom has reached its peak.According to a report released by leading exhibition chainCGV, nationwide admissions in 2004 reached a 32-year high of 138.7m, up from119m in 2003. Although CGV didn'tes
  • Lash, Previd, Panzer all promoted at IFC

    IFC has announced a trio of promotions, with Sarah Lashbecoming vice president of acquisitions at IFC Films, Nevette Previd becomingvice president of marketing at IFC Films, and Michelle Panzer rising to vicepresident of public relations at IFC Entertainment.Lash joined thecompany four years ago and played a key role in acquiring such titles as YTu Mama Tambien, Metallica: Some Kind Of Monster, Touching The Void and Susanne Bier's Danish title
  • Leigh's Vera Drake scores for Momentum in UK

    Vera Drake has given MikeLeigh his biggest UK opening to date through distributor Momentum Pictures.Thecritically-lauded drama, which is favourite to win the best actress BAFTA nextmonth for Imelda Staunton, opened on $496,850 (£266,010) from 65 screens for astrong $7,645 location average.
  • Magnolia takes domestic rights to Sundance Enron doc

    MagnoliaPictures has acquired North America distribution rights to Alex Gibney'sdocumentary Enron: The Smartest Guys In The Room, which is set to make its world premiereat Sundance later this month.The picture isthe first complete project to be financed and produced by HDNet Films, thehigh-definition production division of Todd Wagner and Mark Cuban's 2929Entertainment run by Jason Kliot and Joana Vicente. Magnolia Pictures is also adivision of 2929.Enron: TheSmartest
  • Mannion swipes Strings from Trust

    Frank Mannion's Swipe Filmshas picked up UK rights to acclaimed fantasy film Strings from TrustFilm Sales.Directed by AndersRonnow-Klarlund, Strings is a fantasy film with string puppets thatfeatures the voices of James McAvoy, Catherine McCormack, Samantha Bond &Derek Jacobi. Channel 4 has also picked up TV rights to the film.Swipe also acquired PerFly's Inheritance from Trust, which it released on Dec 31. The film,which won six Danish Academy Awards and th
  • MDC takes on sales for prize winning pair

    MDC International is to handle internationalsales on two prize-winning feature debuts: French director David Lanzmann's DooWop and Serbian writer-director Srdjan Koljevic's comedy Red ColouredGrey Truck (Sivi Kamion Crvene Boje).Lanzmann's film received the FIPRESCI Jury'sprize at November's International Film Festival Mannheim-Heidelberg and aSpecial Award from the International Jury. Red Coloured Grey Truckwas given a Special Mention by the jury at the sam
  • Michalchyshyn gets senior job at Sundance Channel

    Former Alliance AtlantisCommunications senior vice-president of dramatic programming LauraMichalchyshyn has joined US cable network The Sundance Channel as executivevice president of programming and marketing.Michalchyshyn will be basedin New York and will report to Sundance Channel founder Robert Redford andpresident and chief executive officer Larry Aidem.She will be responsible forall creative expressions of the Sundance Channel brand, both on andoff-channel, including origin
  • Morrissey takes the hot seat opposite Stone in Instinct 2

    Rising Britishstar David Morrissey (pictured) has been cast opposite Sharon Stone in the upcoming BasicInstinct 2: Risk Addiction.Michael Caton-Jones will direct the film which is due to start shooting forMario Kassar and Andy Vajna's C2 Pictures in London in March.Stone reprises her famous role from the 1992 original asthe mysterious novelist Catherine Trammel, who this time round relocates fromSan Francisco to London and gets involved with Morrissey's ScotlandYard-appointed ps
  • News Corp to buy back Fox Entertainment Group in stock swap

    Following its recent reincorporation into the US, Rupert Murdoch'sNews Corp announced yesterday (Jan 10) that it would take full control of FoxEntertainment Group (FEG) in a stock swap worth approximately $6bn.
  • Ocean's Twelve eyes Korean haul

    Barely one week after Ocean's Twelve smashed through the $100m barrier the Warner Brosrelease seeks an assured follow-up when it opens in South Korea today (7). The caper sequel has amassed $113.9m and goes out in theAsian territory through Warner Bros Pictures International on an unspecifiednumber of screens. The 2001 original opened top in South Korea in spring 2002with a mighty $2.3m haul from 46 theatres. A smaller debut in Argentina thisweekend is
  • Ocean's Twelve takes $17.6m in 54 territories for Warner

    Ocean's Twelve grossed an estimated $17.6m on 5,200 prints in 54territories at the weekend to raise its international running total to $137m.The weekend wasdistinguished by a $2.1m debut including previews on 150 screens in South Koreaover the Independence Movement Holiday weekend that drew approximately 341,000admissions. Ranking was unconfirmed.In three number oneopenings, Portugal produced $719,700 on 70, Argentina yielded $500,900 on 80,and the Phi
  • Odyssey takes on August Rush sales

    Ralph Kamp and Louise Goodsill's OdysseyEntertainment is to handle worldwide sales and distribution on SouthpawEntertainment's August Rush. To be directed by Kirsten Sheridan, August Rushis billed as a modern-day fairy tale about a ten-year-old orphan whose musicalgifts lead him on a journey to find his parents. It will be scored by AcademyAward winner Hans Zimmer (Gladiator, Lion King)Southpaw's Richard Lewis will produce. Kamp andGoodsill will executive pr
  • Olga

    Dir Jayme Monjardim.2004. Brazil. 144minsAn adaptation of areal-life story set between Germany's concentration camps, Moscow, and aturbulent Rio de Janeiro, Olga was Brazil's box office champ of 2004 (atleast 3m admissions) and the country's official entry in the Oscar stakes.But despite a clutch ofsales to smaller territories, though, its telenovella-ish tendencies make itunlikely to break through to bigger markets- it's simply too soapy
  • Pathe takes on sales for Swedish Heaven

    Pathe Pictures International is to represent thisyear's Swedish Oscar entryAs It Is In Heaven forworld-wide sales. As It Is In Heaven iswritten and directed by Kay Pollak and is about an internationally acclaimedmusic conductor who retires to his childhood village in the North of Sweden- and rediscovers his long lost joy for music by helping out thevillage's church choir. He also finds himself surrounded by enemies,including the jealous parish priest and a dangerou
  • Piracy growth eats into European theatrical admissions

    While many Europeanterritories have reported a growth in cinema admissions during 2004, the sizeof the increase appears closely linked to the growth of film piracy in therespective countries.In the UK, for example,admissions climbed 6% during the year while admissions in France grew at afaster rate of 12%.However, figures show thatthe UK suffered a greater piracy problem, with a growth of 20% year on yearaccording to the MPA. In France, therate of piracy grow
  • Polish cinema admissions soar by 40%

    Poland has recorded aphenomenal box office increase of 43% during 2004 - from $103.4m (Zlotys324.3m) in 2003 to $148m (Zlotys 464.2m) last year.Admissions saw a similarleap, from 20033s 23.8 million admissions to 33.3 million in 2004, a 40% hike.With a total population of 38.6 million people there is still a low per capitaadmissions rate (0.8) in the country compared to leading European territories.For the first time in threeyears Lord Of The Rings was not able to top the
  • ProSiebenSat.1 signs Spyglass output deal

    Germany's ProSiebenSat.1Group has signed a license agreement with US production outfit SpyglassEntertainment covering all German-language free-TV rights for titles going intoproduction from this year onwards. The agreement will includethe much-anticipated adaptation of Arthur Golden's best-selling novel MemoirsOf A Geisha which is being co-produced by Spyglass with Columbia Picturesand DreamWorks. Commenting on the deal withSpyglass, ProSiebenSat.1 Media's Guillaume de Po
  • Racing Stripes

    Dir: Frederick Du Chau.US. 2005. 102mins.A talking zebra picture which borrows liberally from Babe, NationalVelvet, Doctor Dolittle, Ice Age, The Incredible Journeyand every Disney movie on record, Racing Stripes may not be a familyfilm on the Pixar level of sophistication, but it generates enough of its owncharm to score with kids and keep family-hungry exhibitors satisfied in thepost-holiday drought.Shot,
  • Singapore theatrical business soars in 2004

    Singapore'stheatrical business saw a 9% year-on-year rise in box office revenues in 2004 to $73m(S$120m) thanks largely to the popularity of summer releases. Spider Man 2, which grossed $3.27m,finished on top to become not only Singapore's highest grossing film in 2004,but also the fourth biggest film of all time after passing its predecessor'srecord of $3.21m. Sixother key summer attractions contributed to the surge in box office revenu
  • StudioCanal acquires rights to Wong's Lady

    France'sStudioCanal has acquired all rights outside the US and Asia on the next filmfrom director Wong Kar Wai, A Lady From Shanghai.StarringNicole Kidman, it is being produced by Birth and Ken Parkproducer Jean-Louis Piel. Althoughthe film will not be classified as a French co-production, StudioCanal willparticipate as a financial co-producer and will begin sales at Berlin.Themainly English-language shoot is set to commence in July in China and shoul
  • The Grudge opens strongly in Brazil, Norway, Italy

    Senator International’s The Grudge enjoyed a strong run at the weekend,grossing an estimated $6.1m on 1,664 screens in 14 territories to raise itsinternational running total to $32.8m.
  • The Incredibles adds $15.3m to bring total to $315.7m for BVI

    Buena Vista International's TheIncredibles added an estimated$15.3m at the weekend, boosting its international running total to $315.7m.Much of the business camefrom strong holdovers. The picture added $2.3m for $14m in its third weekend inAustralia, $1.9m for $57.4m in its eighth in the UK, $1.7m for $21.4m in itsfifth in Germany, and $1m for $39.4m in its seventh in France.National Treasure passed $100m, adding $13.5m for $102.9m, powered bytwo number one debuts
  • UK box office hits record high in 2004

    The UK box office in 2004 was the highest on record,according to final figures compiled by Nielsen EDI.2004 finished 3.5% up with £838.7m compared to2003's £810.04m. This is ahead of 2002's previous recordgross of £812.2m Admissions totals for December have yet to be fullycalculated, though latest Carlton Screen Advertising (CSA) figures say that therewere 156.7 million admissions until the end of November, up 6% on the sameperiod of 2003. However, admissions figures are
  • UK Treasury embarks on Section 42 talks

    The UK Treasury hasscheduled a series of meetings this week with film industry chiefs as part ofan overhaul of the influential Section 42 tax-based financing incentive forlarge-scale productions shooting in the UK.Industry executives fromsupport and trade bodies such as the UK Film Council, PACT and BSAC are joiningfinanciers and producers in meeting with the Treasury to set out theircomments. The government last monthlaunched a review of Section 42, which recently helped attrac
  • UK/IRELAND 11 January

    Mirroringits strong openings in Canada and the US, Entertainment Film Distributorslaunched supernatural thriller White Noise into the lead at the UK boxoffice.Grossingan excellent $3.3m (£1.8m) from 314 sites the Canadian-British co-productioneasily beat the wide release of Martin Scorsese's The Aviator and fello
  • UK's Portobello Pictures launches book arm

    Eric Abraham, founder of UKproduction outfit Portobello Pictures, is financing the creation of a new bookpublishing company.The venture, PortobelloBooks, will be run by Philip Gwyn Jones, former publisher of HarperCollins' UKliterary imprint Flamingo.The list will run to between15 and 20 new titles a year, focusing on international fiction and activistnon-fiction. The company aims to reach a £1m turnover and profitability withinthree years.Gwyn Jones will be based atPort
  • Valladolid fest chief named head of Spanish film institute

    The director of the International Film Festival ofValladolid, Fernando Lara, has been confirmed to replace Manuel Perez Estremeraas head of Spain's national film institute ICAA. Lara is expected to step into his new post this week. He hasbeen in charge of the Valladolid festival for 21 editions, shaping it into akey event for independent European cinema. The announcement came as a surprise considering PerezEstremera only replaced outgoing director Jose Maria Otero last June. Per
  • Warner International promotes Carson to executive vp

    Nancy Carson has been promoted to executive vice president ofdistribution at Warner Bros Pictures International (WBPI).
  • White Noise

    Dir: Geoffrey Sax.UK-Can. 2004. 98mins.The idea of communicatingwith the dead has always had an irresistibly spooky appeal and with WhiteNoise production outfit Gold Circle and a team of mainly Britishbehind-the-scenes talents do a decent job building a movie around the hi-techequivalent of ouija boards and seances.Financed as a UK/Canadaco-production but essentially a US project, this serviceable supernaturalthriller (not to be confused with the planned big
  • White Noise makes waves with $24m US opening

    Universal's Meet The Fockers stayed top and passed $200m in its third weekend while theparanormal thriller White Noise, produced by Gold Circle Films and handled by Universal in NorthAmerica, opened strongly in second place on an estimated $24m.
  • Writers Guild nominations offers surprises

    An eclectic range of talentrubs shoulders in the 57th Annual Writers Guild Awards nominations announced yesterday (13).