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14 March 2002

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  • 20th Century Fox to roll with $100m Dragonball

    Twentieth Century Fox is to make a $100m live-action feature based on the Japanese cult comic Dragonball, the inspiration behind 17 animated films as well as a highly successful TV series.Fox has engaged the comic's creator, Akira Toriyama as creative consultant, and has concluded a rights deal with Shueisha, the Japanese publisher of the comic, which debuted in Shueisha's Shonen Jump comic in 1984 and later spawned a best-selling series of paperback books.The part
  • 24 Hour Party People

    Dir: Michael Winterbottom. UK. 2001. 110mins.Anarchic, exasperating and ambitious, Michael Winterbottom's boisterous celebration of 16 rollercoaster years in Manchester's club scene is a real oddball item whose eventual cult status could - like that of the music it portrays - outstrip its commercial performance by miles. A young urban crowd should form the film's most appreciative audience, along with Steve Coogan's army of fans and those with fond memories of the "Madchester
  • 24 Hour Party People

    Dir: Michael Winterbottom. UK. 2001. 110mins.Anarchic, exasperating and ambitious, Michael Winterbottom's boisterous celebration of 16 rollercoaster years in Manchester's club scene is a real oddball item whose eventual cult status could - like that of the music it portrays - outstrip its commercial performance by miles. A young urban crowd should form the film's most appreciative audience, along with Steve Coogan's army of fans and those with fond memories of the "Madchester
  • Advanced launches probe into E28m loss

    German licence trader Advanced Medien has launched an investigation into its 1999 and 2000 accounts and warned that it may have to re-state these years financial figures,The company said that the measure had become necessary "because of the current course of the lawsuit against the principal debtor of Advanced Medien." It added that the court "has come to believe that there may have been sham transactions in 1999 and 2000 between the management board that was in office during that time
  • Amalgamated confirms Oz exhibition revival

    Australia's Amalgamated Holdings was the latest company with exhibition interests to confirm that the cinema business has recovered from the doldrums of 18 months ago. The owner of the Greater Union and Birch Carroll and Coyle cinema circuits recorded a 67% growth in net profit after tax to $9m (A$17.5m) for the six months to December 31."The outstanding success of Harry Potter led the turnaround in cinema exhibition, supported by Moulin Rouge, Bridget Jones's Diary, S
  • Asian films in the spotlight at Singapore festival

    The competition section of this year's Singapore International Film Festival, known as the Silver Screen Awards, has rounded up a broad cross-section of Asian cinema including Fruit Chan's Hollywood Hong Kong, South Korea's popular festival runner Camel(s), Seafood from China, the three hour epic from the Philippines Batang West Side and A Woman's Work from Japan's Otani Kentaro.The main festival programme runs from April 11 when it opens with
  • Bond 20 officially christened

    Ending months of speculation, Bond producers Eon Productions have christened the spy's 20th instalment Die Another Day.The film, which now has the acronym DAD, was rumoured to have been named Beyond The Ice and Beneath The Sea. One website reported last year that it was Final Assignment, only to discover the supposedly leaked script was by a fan.Currently in production, the film kicks off in the demilitarised zone between North and South Korea with a
  • Bormann becomes Internationalmedia CEO

    Moritz Bormann (pictured) has taken up the newly-created role of chief executive officer with worldwide responsibility for the Intermedia-Pacifica group and become chairman of its German parent, IM Internationalmedia.Bormann replaces Florian Bollen as chairman after Munich-based Bollen offered his resignation last week when the company issued its second profits warning for the year. Guy East and Nigel Sinclair continue to serve as managing board members instead of stepping down as the
  • Cartoon Movie tribute nominations announced

    Seven European companies have been nominated for this year's Cartoon Movie Tributes which will be awarded to three players who have had a positive and dynamic influence on the European animation feature film industry.The final three winners will be voted on by the animation industry professionals attending the 4th edition of the Cartoon Movie financing market at the Babelsberg Studios from March 14-16 and announced at a closing ceremony in Berlin on March 16.The seven nominees a
  • ChickFlicks & Bacon & Eggs option Dud Avocado

    ChickFlicks, the production company formed last year byformer New Line Cinema production president Sara Risher, has optioned the filmrights to Elaine Dundy's cult 1958 bestseller The Dud Avocado. Risher will produce the film alongside her Englishpartner Leslie Tobin Bacon of Bacon & Eggs Productions.The story of an Americangirl's rite of passage while living in Paris, The Dud Avocado was written by Dundy, a New Yorker who relocated toParis and then London where she marrie
  • Crowe, Berry, Howard win SAG, DGA honours

    Universal Pictures' ABeautiful Mind emerged as the bigwinner at the weekend's final awards shows before the Academy Awards onMarch 24. Russell Crowe looks like a shoo-in for the best actor Oscar having added theScreen Actors Guild (SAG) award for best actor to the British Academy Award andGolden Globe, while director Ron Howard won the Directors Guild Of America(DGA) trophy over competition from Peter Jackson, Baz Luhrmann, Christopher Nolan andRidley Scott.Meanwhile in an upset
  • Cuaron, del Toro snub Mexican 'Oscars' in protest

    Mexican directors Alfonso Cuaron and Guillermo del Toro and Jorge Vergara, producer of Cuaron's Y Tu Mama Tambien and del Toro's The Devil's Backbone, have declined to submit their films to the prestigious Mexican Ariel Awards, in protest at the "lack of transparency" in the voting process."We hope that our non-participation will initiate some changes in the [Mexican Academy of Cinematographic Arts & Sciences] which is badly in need of new blood," Vergara said.
  • E. European successes - though budgets poles apart

    After just five weeks on release, a low-budget Hungarian comedy has out-performed all of last year's local films at the box office. Meanwhile, in neighbouring Ukraine, a local production outfit is preparing to release the most expensive film in the country's history.Made with a largely unknown cast and crew on a budget of just $670,000, Hungarian title A Kind Of America (Valami Amerika) (pictured), the directorial debut of Gabor Herendi, has grossed $310,000 (HuF 86.7m) from 25
  • Emmett/Furla signs to five more with Millenium

    Randall Emmett and GeorgeFurla's Emmett/Furla Films has extended its ten picture non-exclusivefinancing and distribution agreement with Avi Lerner's Millenium Filmsfor an additional five pictures. Under the current agreement, the two have alsopacted to make Lizzie Borden's next film Rialto which will star Susan Sarandon and is set to startshooting in June.Emmett/Furla and Milleniumstarted production on their fifth film together yesterday - Try 17, a teen drama starring El
  • Estudio Mexico plans US distribution operation

    Estudio Mexico Films, parentcompany of Mexican production powerhouseAltavista Films (Amores Perros) and Latin American distributor NuVision, is planning to launchdistribution operations in the US for Spanish language films. According toEstudio Mexico head Federico Gonzalez Compean, they are actively seeking outco-investors in the new venture which will require seed capital of $6m. Estudio Mexico will providefilms from Latin America and Spain, including those produced by Altavist
  • Fox Phillips receives top Film Council slate fund

    The recently-launched production company headed by producers Diana Phillips and Robert Fox - whose combined credits include Smoke, Bad Lieutenant, Iris and The Hours - has secured slate development funding in the latest awards round from UK support body the Film Council.Titled Fox Phillips, the venture received $226,000 (£160,000), while Company Pictures secured $141,000 (£100,000), Little Bird $212,000 (£150,000) and Tall Stories $141,000 (£10
  • France's Celluloid sells out on 8 Femmes

    Powerful French sales house Celluloid Dreams has sold out on Francois Ozon's film 8 Femmes. The musical ensemble piece, which appeared in competition at last month's Berlin festival, is now Celluloid's most successful film of all time in terms of figures and market penetration.The value of licences sold has exceeded $6m with distribution now assured in over 85 territories, according to Celluloid founder and chief executive Hengameh Panahi.The picture opened in Fran
  • Francis Ford Coppola to re-cut, sell Thai epic

    Francis Ford Coppola has confirmed his role as executive producer on the international version of Thai film Suriyothai and will take over the sale of all international rights. The re-edit will carry the credit 'Francis Ford Coppola presents a film by Chatrichalerm Yukol' and will be finished in time for the Cannes Film Festival.Coppola and director Prince Chatrichalerm Yukol announced details of the collaboration at a press conference (March 9) in Bangkok. Coppola is currently i
  • French film production volume jumps, so do budgets

    A new record in French film production was set last year, with the total number of titles, including French co-productions. reaching 204. That is 33 higher than in 2000, says the French film body CNC, which does not count films in which it has not invested.A massive Euros 749m (up 10.4%) was invested in 172 wholly-French films, an upward trend that seems to be favouring the big-budget productions - at the increasing expense of medium -budget titles.The growing investment in high
  • Gary Hamilton to leave Oz's Beyond Films

    Two names that have been synonymous for 12 years, Beyond Films and Gary Hamilton, are to separate. The founder and general manager of Australia's only consistently active film sales agent will step down from his post at the end of the month."Over the 12 years Gary has been with Beyond he has made a major contribution to the success of the company," said Mikael Borglund, managing director of parent company Beyond International, in a prepared statement. "Gary has chosen to pursue other i
  • Gibson's soldiers go fourth in the UK

    Mel Gibson's Vietnam War film, We Were Soldiers, opened in the UK this week but met with a surprisingly average result. Playing at 384 sites the fourth-placed title grossed $1.077m (£757,760) for an okay screen average of $2,807 - the lowest average amongst the top five.The result will be disappointing for Icon Film Distribution; We Were Soldiers is its first release of 2002. The figures were unable even to match the previous weekend's opening of Helkon SK's The M
  • Harrison's Flowers

    Dir Elie Chouraqui. US/France 2000. 123mins.A stronger, more charismatic actress would have given Harrison's Flowers, the war melodrama directed by Frenchman Eli Chouraqui, a sharper dramatic focus than it gets in the hands of Andie MacDowell, an appealing actress who's more adept in light romantic comedies (Four Weddings And A Funeral, Green Card) than in serious pictures. Recalling some of Costa-Gavras's female-oriented political melodramas (Hanna K
  • Ice Age

    Dirs: Chris Wedge, Carlos Sladanha. US. 2002. 81 mins. It may not have the stuff to top - either commercially or creatively - Shrek and Monsters, Inc, but with its impressive computer animation, appealing characters and well-crafted blend of comedy, action and drama Ice Age certainly has the necessary ingredients to give Fox a long-awaited major animated hit. Produced, as its debut feature, by Fox's Blue Sky Studios, the film has generated pre-release buz
  • India's Zee Group plans major Asian studio

    India's Zee Telefilms has taken a further step towards realising its ambitions of creating one of Asia's largest studios, by acquired a majority stake in Padmalaya Telefilms, a Hyderabad-based film, television and animation production company, for $12m. Padmalaya Telefilms has more than 300 films, including 60 in-house productions and several Telegu and Tamil blockbusters, in its library. Padmalaya studios is located in 12 acres of land at Jubilee Hills, a prime locality in Hyde
  • Internationalmedia posts loss, predicts profit

    IM Internationalmedia pledged to return to profit this year as it announced a loss of Euros 11.9m for 2001 on Thursday.The battered Neuer Markt-listed parent of Intermedia blamed the loss on one-time costs such as the aborted SpyGlass Entertainment merger and delays in booking revenues from K19: The Widowmaker, Adaptation and Ali. Before issuing two profit warnings, the company had originally predicted an EBIT of Euros 47m. "The fact is that in hindsight we
  • Italian cinema admissions plummet yet again

    Cinema admissions in Italy tumbled a sharp 29.4% in February 2002 compared to last year, marking the third consecutive monthly drop during what is traditionally one of the busiest periods at the box office. According to data released by national data body Cinetel, 6,849,000 tickets were sold in February 2002, a month which saw an inordinately large number of films released (including Black Hawk Down, Heist, America's Sweethearts, Vanilla Sky and Mulholland Drive) a
  • Italian producers threaten Venice festival boycott

    With just fivemonths to go before the start of the next Venice Film Festival and still no newartistic director to run it, Aurelio De Laurentiis, the head of Italy's producers union, has threatened not to present any Italian films in the upcoming festival unless Venice Biennale president Franco Bernabe appoints newmanagement before the end of this week.Although Italian films usually have a strong presence on the Lido, De Laurentiis says he fears the delays in appointing new artistic dir
  • Kidman & Lee named honorary co-chairs of Spirits

    Nicole Kidman and Ang Leehave signed up as honorary co-chairpersons and presenters at the 2002 IFP/WestIndependent Spirit Awards which will be presented on Santa Monica beach onMarch 23. The show is being emceed by John Waters.Other presenters at the eventinclude this year's Oscar nominees Ian McKellan, Ben Kingsley and EthanHawke as well as independent stalwarts Eric Stoltz, Christina Ricci, AdamGoldberg, Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo, Michelle Rodriguez, Alan Cummingand Rachel Gri
  • Kissing Jessica Stein

    Dir: Charles Herman-Wurmfeld. US 2001. 96minsHalfway into the gender-bending romantic comedy Kissing Jessica Stein, the 28-year-old, eponymous heroine describes herself as "a Jewish Sandra Dee". A more apt comparison might be Annie Hall, whose physical mannerisms and stammering speech patterns actress/writer Jennifer Westfeldt seems to have appropriated for her character. So ardent are her efforts, however, that the character proves more annoying than endearing. The sa
  • Korea's Starmax, Gaonix merger eyes Chinese market

    South Korean entertainment firm Starmax has announced a merger with Gaonix, a holding company listed on Korea's KOSDAQ exchange. The merger is seen as being partly motivated by Starmax's unsuccessful bid for a listing on the exchange last year.Starmax, a longtime leader in the home video market, was originally spun off of Samsung Entertainment Group in 1984. In September 1999 the company was acquired by Japan's Omega Group, and since then it has diversified into the fields of music,
  • Lagaan, K3G battle it out for Indian Int'l Awards

    Lagaan, the epic Indian film which has beennominated for the Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award, goes head to headwith Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham (Sometimes Happiness, Sometimes Sorrow), the most expensive film in Indian filmhistory also known as K3G, in the nominations for the third annual Electrolux KelvinatorInternational Indian Film Academy Awards which will be held in Malaysia onApril 6.The nominationswere announced yesterday at a press conference in
  • Lakeshore co-chairman Tom Tannabaum dies

    Ted Tannabaum, theco-chairman of Lakeshore Entertainment Group, died last Thursday at his home inChicago, leaving Lakeshore in the hands of his co-chairman, partner and friendTom Rosenberg.Tannebaum had a backgroundin finance and built Chicago HMO, a wholly-owned subsidiary of HMO America,from $7m in revenues in 1984 to $1bn in 1994. He remained chairman of the boardof HMO America until 1993 when the company merged with United HealthCareCorporation.After setting up Lakeshorewith
  • Last Supper wins short film award in Finland

    Christian Lindblad's Last Supper was awarded this year's first Jameson Short Film Award with a purse of Euros 6,000, at the Tampere Film Festival in Finland on March 11.The Jameson Short Film Awards is a joint initiative by Jameson Irish Whiskey and the ECFF (European Coordination of Film Festivals) and awards made by festival juries go to the national directors of short film representing the best in creative contemporary European cinema.More than 30,000 visitors attended
  • Madonna confirms she will sing Die Another Day

    Madonna has confirmed thatshe will compose and perform the main title song for the 20th JamesBond film Die Another Day whichis scheduled to open around the world on Nov 22 this year."We are thrilled that Madonna, who is recognized as theworld's most exciting songwriter and performer, has agreed to compose andsing the song for the first James Bond film of the new millennium," saidproducers Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli in a statement.She follows a grandtradition of
  • Malaga film festival to honour Angela Molina

    Actress Angela Molina will be the recipient of a tribute at next month's fifth annual Spanish Film Festival of Malaga (April 26-May 4).Molina will be given the first-ever Malaga Award (Premio Malaga) in recognition of an "outstanding career in Spanish cinema." Molina, 56, is one of the best known Spanish actresses of her generation and continues a prolific career in both film and television.Though she made her first film in 1975, her starring role in Luis Bunuel's 1977 That O
  • Mar del Plata fest praised for diversity and scope

    Argentina's leading film event, the Mar del Plata International Film Festival, kicked off on March 7 despite a 75% cut in its funding.Due to the plummeting peso and Argentina's other economic woes, the national film institute, INCAA, slashed the festival budget from $2m to less than $500,000. However, festival director Claudio Espana has taken this blow in his stride and the festival's line-up of 170 films from more than 40 countries has attracted praise from the national press.
  • Men With Brooms: Canadian comedy opens with C$1m

    Men With Brooms, an English-language Canadian comedy set in theheady world of curling, has enjoyed spectacular success on its debut weekend inCanada through Alliance Atlantis Motion Picture Distribution. Taking C$1.04m,it scored the highest opening weekend of all time for an English language localproduction - and, playing at 207 theatres, it is also the widest openingfor a Canadian film in history.The film, which was producedby Robert Lantos' Serendipity Point Films, stars Paul
  • Miyazaki spirits away crown from Go's record haul

    Spirited Away was awarded Best Picture at the 25th Japan Academy Awards ceremony, beating Go, Japan's nominee for the foreign film Oscar.Spirited Away director Hayao Miyazaki also received an outstanding achievement award for a remarkable four-decade-long career that has produced Nausicaa Of The Valley Of The Wind, My Neighhbor Totoro and Princess Mononoke.In his acceptance speech, Miyazaki expressed "deep appreciation to the audiences who have
  • New Line's Rush Hour 2 hits $100m internationally

    Rush Hour 2 has crossed the $100m barrier at the internationalbox office eight months after its first territories opened in August last year.The movie, released by New Line International buyers and partner distributorsinternationally, now stands at $100.3m and could catch up with Rush Hour which took $103.1m in international territories in1999.Domestically, the RushHour films have fared spectacularly,taking $141.2m and $225.2m respectively in 1999 and 2001.
  • Overseas buys worldwide on Hillenbrands' Pinata

    Overseas FilmGroup hasacquired worldwide distribution rights to Pinata: Survival Island, a horror thriller being produced by Hill &Brand Entertainment. Written, produced and directed by brothers David and ScottHillenbrand, the film stars Nicholas Brendon, Jaime Pressly, Nate Richert andGarrett Wang.The Hillenbrands have todate made actioner King Cobra forTrimark Pictures and are set to start principal photography on creature featureDeep Terror i
  • Perry, Poirier to scout UK films for Cannes fest

    Simon Perry and Agnes Poirier have been appointed as UK scouts for the Cannes Film Festival. The hirings were confirmed earlier this week by Cannes artistic director Thierry Fremaux during a short visit to London where he screened possible festival films and met leading industry figures.The pair is expectedto maintain year-round relations with the British industry on behalf of the festivaland pre-select features and shorts for its official sections. Theirappointments in the UK take imm
  • Polish 'Oscar' winner highlights funding fears

    Despite the glittering surroundings of Warsaw's Royal Place and a guest list that included Agnieszka Holland and Krzysztof Zanussi, an air of gloom hung over the 'Orly 2002', Poland's version of the Oscars, on Saturday (March 9). Award winners bemoaned the sharp reduction in film backing from TVP (Polish Television), which has been the main source of funding for film over the past five years and has played such a key role in the current success of Polish films at the box office.
  • Promising international debut for Monster's Ball

    Monster's Ball received its international debut last weekend, opening in Switzerland to a strong reception from a limited release.Opening on 12 screens in the German-speaking region of the country the drama recorded a four-day total of $73,075 to land seventh position in the chart. With a powerful screen average of $6,090, on a par with top-placed title A Beautiful Mind ($6,314), the result is an impressive start to Monster's Ball's international roll-out. Combined
  • PT Multimedia posts impressive results

    PT Multimedia (PTM), the media subsidiary of Portuguese telecommunications giant Portugal Telecom (PT), posted operating revenues of Euros 625.8m last year, a 152.5% rise over the previous year.The company credits the phenomenal rise to the full consolidation of leading local film distributor-exhibitor Lusomundo after January 1, 2001. PTM bought out Lusomundo last November for a reported Euros 267m. Lusomundo, which also maintains controlling interests in various print and radio media
  • Resident Evil

    Dir: Paul W S Anderson. UK-Ger. 2002. 100mins.Resident Evil is strictly for the game boys. Of course, given that the computer games on which the film is based have sold more than 16m units worldwide, the game boys - lured by the promise of gory zombie effects and Milla Jovovich as an action babe in a mini-skirt - may well turn out in sufficient numbers to turn the $40m production into at least a moderate success. Broader audiences, however, are likely to find this neo
  • Russian war film sparks controversy

    A controversial new film by Alexei Balabanov, one of Russia's leading directors, had its premiere in Moscow yesterday (March 14), sparking a political slanging match in the local media.. The film, War, which was shot last year in the Caucasus and war-torn Chechnya, features an international cast including British actor Ian Kelly, Russian actors Sergei Bodrov Jr and Alexei Chadov and Lithuanian actress Ingeborga Dapkunaite.Released on 80 prints in 15 Moscow cinemas, it the
  • Sales veteran Arthur Kananack dies in Los Angeles

    Arthur Kananack, thewell-known and well-liked film and TV sales veteran, died in Los Angeles lastweek. He most recently was head of his own company Arthur Kananack &Associates (AKA) which he ran with his two sons Michael and Claude in LosAngeles and New York. They will continue to run the company.Born in 1933, he started inthe business in the 60s as a theatrical lawyer living and working in New YorkCity and London where he was primarily involved in business affairs for 20thCentury Fox,
  • Scandinavia's costliest film proves its worth

    The most expensive film ever produced in Scandinavia had its world premiere in Norway on national release last week, after having been critically slated by the press.I Am Dina, the $15.9m English-language film by Ole Bornedal (Nightwatch - both Danish and US versions), starring Gerard Depardieu and Christopher Eccleston, was roundly criticised for the standard of its acting, getting a particularly cool reception from Norway's largest newspapers. Only the film's star, Mari
  • Sony 2002 lineup paves way for global domination

    No attendee left the recent global exhibitors' convention ShoWest without one over-riding impression - that Sony Pictures has one of the most promising lineups of any studio in years. As worldwide marketing and distribution president Jeff Blake screened new trailers for Spiderman and XXX and the full-length feature Mr Deeds to an audience that included Sony bigwigs Howard Stringer, John Calley and Amy Pascal as well as Revolution Studios chief Joe Roth, it was cle
  • Spacey to receive San Francico Fest Owens Award

    Kevin Spacey will receivethe Peter J Owens Award at the 45th San Francisco International FilmFestival which takes place this year April 18 to May 2. The award, named afterlocal benefactor and longtime festival board member Owens honours an actorwhose work "exemplifies brilliance, independence and integrity."The award will be presentedto Spacey at Film Society Awards Night on April 25 when Warren Beatty will behonoured with the Akira Kurosawa Award for film directing. Spacey will beinte
  • Spain's Telecino appoints Alberto Carullo

    Private Spanish broadcaster Telecinco has named Italian-born Alberto Carullo its new head of production, marketing and programming.Carullo moves to Telecinco from Madrid-based film and TV producer BocaBoca, where he has managed contents and marketing since 1999.Prior to that he was head of marketing and promotion for the Italian TV interests of Telecinco backer Mediaset. Carullo previously worked at Telecinco as head of marketing from 1994 to 1996.Telecinco is owned by Me
  • Strand, Sundance, Tomorrow join Cockettes party

    Strand Releasing and TheSundance Channel are jointly acquiring domestic rights and Yoram Pelman'sTomorrow Films has acquired international sales rights to to hit documentary TheCockettes directed by Bill Weber andDavid Weissman.The Cockettes is the story of the flamboyant, drug-fuelled troupeof performers who dressed up in drag and glitter for a series of legendarymidnight shows at the Palace Theater in San Francisco in the late 60s and early70s. The film was an audience
  • Sundance's Groth heads programming at CineVegas

    Trevor Groth, the well-knownprogrammer for the Sundance Film Festival, has been hired as director ofprogramming for the annual CineVegas International Film Festival which thisyear holds its fourth annual event in Las Vegas from June 8-15. Groth will tacklehis CineVegas role in addition to his work at Sundance."Trevor'sjoining the CineVegas team sends a loud, clear signal to the industry that weare very serious about developing CineVegas to its full potential," saidL Mimosa Jones, CEO/f
  • Talk To Her (Hable Con Ella)

    Dir: Pedro Almodovar. Spain. 2002. 116mins.Hable Con Ella (Talk To Her) shows director Pedro Almodovar getting back to his roots after the heady international success of his last, Oscar-winning effort All About My Mother (Todo Sobre Mi Madre). In the wake of Mother, Almodovar could probably have made any film he wanted, including a long-awaited crossover to English-language fare. Instead he chose to return to Spain, working in familiar setti
  • Tecmo's Dead Or Alive to be made by Mindfire

    Game publisher Tecmo has signed a license deal with US production company Mindfire Entertainment to make a live-action film based on its hit Dead Or Alive fighting game series. Shooting will begin by the end of this year, with release set for 2003.Tecmo and Mindfire are now in the midst of talks regarding director, script, cast and distributor. Developed by Team Ninja and first launched in 1996, Dead Or Alive is now in its third edition and has become the best-sell
  • The Time Machine

    Dir: Simon Wells. US. 2002. 97mins.Almost from start to finish, The Time Machine, the new remake of HG Wells's classic sci-fi novel, is a poorly conceived and executed film, failing to take full advantage of the major technical changes that have improved the sci-fi-fantasy genre during the past two decades. As the beloved scientist Alexander Hartdegen, now remoulded as a Columbia University inventor determined to prove that time travel is possible, Guy Pearce, who loo
  • The Time Machine lands at number one

    Box office was up about 35%from the same weekend last year in North America as DreamWorks' lavishadaptation of HG Wells' The Time Machine opened well at number one with an estimated $22.5mat 2,944 sites. Directed by Wells' grandson Simon Wells (Balto), the film stars Guy Pearce as Alexander Hartdegen,the young scientist hero who travels forward in time from 1895 New York City toa post-apocalyptic era where humans are enslaved. Warner Bros co-financed thefilm, which also stars Ma
  • THINKFilm launches genre video label Velocity

    Newly formed North Americandistributor THINKFilm has launched a stand-alone, domestic direct-to-videolabel Velocity Home Entertainment with plans to distribute 15 to 18 genretitles a year. The label is the initiative of THINKFilm president and CEO Jeff Sackmanwho initiated three US video labels while he was president of Lions Gate Filmsincluding genre brand Avalanche Releasing. First two releases fromVelocity are Pressure Pointstarring Michael Madsen and The Elite with Ju
  • UK's Equity, PACT resolve actors pay dispute

    UK performers union Equity and producers body PACT are understood to have resolved their dispute over payments to actors.The terms for the new contract between the two bodies are expected to be a compromise but are thought to include residual payments to actors from ancillary revenues. Equity's main grievance was the fact that UK actors receive only advance fees for their work rather than a share in successful films' revenue streams like members of US union SAG.The deal, underst
  • Venice fest set to unveil joint artistic directors

    Franco Bernabe, president of the Biennale Venice film festival is believed to be close to naming Piera Detassis, editor of the film magazine Ciak (owned by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi), and Pierluigi Celli, former CEO of RAI, as joint artistic directors of the Venice film festival. According to Italian press reports which quoted "inside sources", Bernabe has already communicated his decision to Culture Minister Giuliano Urbani and an official announcement is thought to be imminen
  • Village Roadshow sells three more cinema circuits

    As part of its drive to re-structure its exhibition arm, Village Roadshow has sold its cinema interests in Thailand, Malaysia and India, consisting of some 135 screens across 19 sites. Village Roadshow has recently been stripping back its under-performing exhibition interests in a bid to restore the company's profitability. The latest sales - which Village says will be completed before the end of this financial year - means that the company now operates cinemas in 12 territories, havin
  • Village Roadshow's cinema sell-off boosts profit

    Village Roadshow's exhibition arm has been given substantial credit for VRL's net profit after tax of $23.5m (A$45.3m) for the half-year to December 31, up 100% on the previous corresponding period.Only 15 months ago shareholders were told that VRL's unsatisfactory profits of the past two to three years were entirely due to its international exhibition interests, but since then five of the 18 territories have been sold off. Profit from the remaining continuing operations increas
  • Wachs joins Senator Entertainment board

    German industry association, Producers AG, is to lose its chief executive Dr. Friedrich-Carl Wachs (pictured), who is to become the fourth board member of Senator Entertainment from April 1.Wachs, who had headed up the producers group since September 2000, will assume the post of chief operating officer (COO) and deputy to chairman Hanno Huth, with responsibilities for corporate development, corporate communication, investor relations and personnel.Commenting on the appointment,