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16 March 2004

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  • Angrisani joins Miramax as vp, international publicity

    Larry Angrisanihas joined Miramax Films as New York-based vice president of internationalpublicity.Angrisani willliaise with distributors and festivals around the world and play a role inimplementing the company's strategic initiatives.Reporting toAmanda Lundberg, executive vice president of worldwide publicity, and RickSands, chief operating officer, he will also work closely with Miramax'sUK-based international publicists, who include senior director James
  • Argentinian films dominate Toulouse financing initiative

    The fifth annual Films In Progress initiative kicks off March 25-26 at the 16th annual Toulouse Latin American Film Festival (March 19-28).The joint initiative with Spain's San Sebastian International Film Festival aims to attach financiers to Latin American films stuck in post-production. Some 42 films from 11 countries were submitted this year and, as in previous years, the chosen list has a strong Argentinian flavor.The titles are:Alma Mater, by Alvaro Buela (Ur
  • Argentinian president to combat Hollywood 'Goliath'

    The president ofArgentina, Nestor Kirchner, announced a raft of government measures to supportthe local film industry yesterday at the Mar del Plata International FilmFestival.In an emotivespeech delivered to an emphatically enthusiastic audience, in which heportrayed Argentinian cinema as a David locked in a heroic struggle withHollywood's Goliath, the popular president strongly linked the fortunesof the national film industry with that of his own government.Kirchner, in Mardel
  • Art Port, Peacock acquire rights to Marilyn doc

    Maine-basedValhalla Productions has sold theatrical, home video/DVD and television rightsto the documentary Marilyn's Man to Art Port in Japan and television and video/DVD rights toPeacock Films in Australia and New Zealand.Bothacquisitions were made at AFM and facilitated by independent films distributorITN Distribution.Written,directed and produced by Valhalla Productions owner Schani Krug, Marilyn'sMan explores the iconicperformer's early inc

    In its third weekend in cinemas The Passion Of The Christ had to suffer being pushed down into second place by another Icon film, The Butterfly Effect, but not much separated them.The Butterfly Effect's first four-day cinema outing took A$1,341,092 from 172 screens while The Passion took A$1,301,464 from 158 screens.But cinemas showing Mel Gibson's labour of love were still the most crowded in Australia, judging by its screen average of A$8,237, altho
  • Avi Arad to receive Showmanship award at ShoWest

    Marvel Studioschief Avi Arad will receive the inaugural Robert W Selig Showmanship Award forAchievement in Film-making at the ShoWest opening day luncheon hosted by LionsGate Films and display technology company Christie in Las Vegas on Mar 23.Lions Gate willscreen its comic book adaptation The Punisher, which Arad produced with Gale AnneHurd, before the luncheon. Directed by Jonathan Hensleigh, the picture starsThomas Jane as a special agent who becomes a vigilante after his fa
  • BVI's Brother Bear tops $100m, opens second in Japan

    Buena Vista International's animated hit Brother Bear passed $100m at the weekend thanks to a$6.2m haul that raised the picture's international running total to $103.3m.
  • Caplan named president of Icon Film Distribution

    Elizabeth Draper is leavingIcon Film Distribution (IFD) after five years as head of distribution andgeneral manager at the UK operation and Sally Caplan, who most recently servedas Momentum's senior vice president of acquisitions and business affairs, hasjoined as president."I've had a fantastic timeat Momentum and am sorry to leave, but this opportunity at Icon is veryexciting and too good to turn down," Caplan added.Prior to joining Momentum,the well-liked Caplan had eight yea
  • Chen starts high-profile Promise

    Acclaimed Chinese director Chen Kaige has started shooting The Promise (Wu Ji), a big-budget fantasy epic that brings together some of Asia's top talent both in front of and behind the camera.Heading the cast of the film - which cranked up at the Beijing Film Studio on Monday - is one of Hong Kong's hottest actresses, Cecilia Cheung, along with Korean actor Jang Dong-Kun (The Coast Guard) and Japan's Hiroyuki Sanada (The Last Samurai). Hong Kong idol Nicholas Tse a
  • Cinecitta teams with Rome Film Commission to attract production

    Seeking to provide international film-makers with a comprehensiveand competitive production package, Cinecitta Studios has partnered with Rome'sFilm Commission to offer financial and location services.
  • Cinema Service opens shop in Japan

    South Korean major Cinema Service has announced plans to establish a branch office in Tokyo to directly distribute its films into Japan.To be named Cinema Service Japan, the company will be established by June and will initially co-distribute with other local film companies. Within five years the office intends to release its films independently.Cinema Service founder Kang Woo-suk - whose latest directorial effort Silmido was sold to Universal Japan for a $3m minimum gua
  • Coens back in Cannes competition with The Ladykillers

    Joel & Ethan Coen's latest black comedy The Ladykillers is heading to the Cannes Film Festivalin May, with a May 18 slot reserved for the film in main competition.
  • Coffee, Laws bookend San Francisco Fest

    The 47th SanFrancisco International Film Festival (SFIFF) will open on Apr 15 with JimJarmusch's series of comic vignettes Coffee And Cigarettes and closes on Apr 29 with Peter Howitt'sromantic comedy Laws Of Attraction.Coffee AndCigarettes features suchluminaries as Bill Murray, Cate Blanchett, Iggy Pop and the British comedianSteve Coogan discussing an eclectic range of subjects from English tea to theuse of nicotine as an insecticide. United Artists will open th
  • Count To 100 triumphs at BUFF children's fest

    In its first festival appearance Linda KrogsoeHolmberg's Danish feature debut Count To 100 this weekend was selected as the bestyouth-children's film at the 21st BUFF, Malmoe's international filmfestival for children and young people.The newcomer took the award in tough Nordic andinternational competition with Petter Naess' Just Bea and Teresa Fabik's The KetchupEffect as well as Pierre Muyl's TheButterfly, Sonke Wortman's an TheMiracl
  • Dafoe to head jury at Bermuda Film Festival

    Willem Dafoe will head upthe jury panel at the Bermuda International Film Festival (BIFF) later thismonth alongside screenwriters Carlos Cuaron (Y Tu Mama Tambien) and Guillermo Arriaga (Amores Perros, 21 Grams).Also joining Dafoe will befilm makers Patricia Flynn (Discovering Dominga) and Helen Lee (Sophie), as well as Shane Smith of the Canadian FilmCentre."We have a first-class jury- I could not be more pleased," BIFF director A
  • Dash directs State Property II for Lions Gate

    Production has begun in New York on Dash Films/ROC Films' StateProperty II, the sequelto Abdul Malik Abbott's crime drama about an ambitious group of gangsters thatwas released by Lions Gate in 2002.
  • De Luca lands in production deal at Sony

    Mike De Luca, who leaves hisjob as DreamWorks head of production in June, is in final talks to set up athree-year production deal with Columbia Pictures.Once the contracts aresigned De Luca and his Michael De Luca Productions will move on to the Sony lotin Culver City in July."Mike is a true Hollywoodoriginal," Amy Pascal, chairman of the Sony Pictures Entertainment MotionPicture Group, said in a statement. "We have wanted to work with him for yearsand I couldn't be more excited
  • De-lovely wraps up Cannes

    The Cannes Film Festival has confirmed that De-lovely, a musical biography of American composer Cole Porter directed by Irwin Winkler, will close the festival on May 22.The MGM film will screen in official selection, out-of-competition.De-lovely stars Kevin Kline, Ashley Judd, and Jonathan Pryce as well as music stars Alanis Morissette, Robbie Williams, Lara Fabian, Natalie Cole, Sheryl Crow, Elvis Costello, and Diana Krall.In De-lovely, Porter looks

    With a big 62 print release behind it the release of local veteran Erik Clausen's Villa Paranoia managed to oust Something's Gotta Give from the top spot, as it opened with 24,075 admissions.It is the 10th feature film from the 62 year-old actor, writer and director. The Keaton-Nicholson pairing did, however, retain a better screen average on its 34 prints and stayed in front of the other new release, John Woo's Paycheck.Last week's boost to the Oscar winner
  • Disney to launch TV channel into India

    Walt Disney is to launch a satellite TV channel in India next year.Andy Bird, president Walt Disney International met Indian Minister for Information and Broadcasting Ravi Shanker Prasad in Mumbai yesterday (Mar 15) to discuss investment plans for the service.The station has been given the government go-ahead.Disney plans to spend $10 million launching the channel, which will be aimed at kids and family audiences.The company says it also plans to screen local conte
  • Don't Move (Non Ti Muovere)

    Italy-Spain-UK. 2004. 121 mins.Don't Move is worth any number of seminars on the state of Italian cinema, and is ample proof that there is life in the old dog yet. The cynical might object that this is because of a standout performance by Spanish star Penelope Cruz, who does something akin to Charlize Theron in Monster, sending a career that has been on creative pause since All About My Mother into sudden fast forward by going magnificently ugly and awkw
  • Dukakis, McCarthy, others, join Serenade's Wonderful cast

    Olympia Dukakis, JimGaffigan, Thomas McCarthy (writer/director of The Station Agent), and Naseeruddin Shah (Monsoon Wedding, TheLeague Of Extraordinary Gentlemen) havejoined Edie Falco, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Tony Shalhoub in the cast of TheGreat New Wonderful, the first projectfrom low-budget production house Serenade Films.The picture weaves togetherfive stories set against the backdrop of an edgy post-9/11 New York. It wasdeveloped by Sly Dog
  • Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind

    Dir: Michel Gondry. US. 2004. 108minsScriptwriter Charlie Kaufman (Adaptation) and director Michel Gondry go a long way in their new film toward rehabilitating themselves after their disastrous previous collaboration, Human Nature, but the conspicuously brilliant Kaufman, especially, still seems too smart for his own good.The concept behind Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind (a title from Alexander Pope, whose vaunting ambition immediately s
  • EU renews subsidy regime for three more years

    The European Commission has decided to extend for three more years the structures under which European governments are allowed to financially support their local film industries.The ruling, announced today (16 March), follows some six months of consultation with governments and film-makers ahead of the expiry in June 2004 of the regime that was introduced only in September 2001.The announcement was made by Culture Commissioner Viviane Reding in agreement with Mario Monti, the EU

    Little changed at the top of the Finnish chart this week where the new release of Along Came Polly grabbed Something's Gotta Give's third place, leaving Brother Bear as number one, local hit Dog Nail Clipper on second and last week's new local film Beyond The Front Line fourth.For the fifth week in a row Lost In Translation had the highest screen average, but this time it was only slightly higher than Polly and Beyond The Front Line
  • Focus celebrates $100m with Lost In Translation

    Focus Features' Lostin Translation, which wonwriter-director Sofia Coppola a best original screenplay Oscar, has passed$100m in worldwide ticket sales.The picture hasgrossed $44.2m at the domestic box office from a 26-week run and taken morethan $56m internationally.Theinternational total is certain to increase considerably when Lost InTranslation opens inJapan, where the story is set, in April.Highlights include a $16.7m running total in t
  • Fog screening set for International Criminal Court in The Hague

    Director Errol Morris andformer US defence secretary Robert McNamara will attend a special screening ofthe Oscar-winning documentary The Fog Of War at the International Criminal Court in theNetherlands on Mar 24.The unprecedented event willbe attended by the 18 elected members of the court, members of theInternational Criminal Tribunal on Yugoslavia and a coterie of Dutch andBelgian government officials and political reporters.Morris and McNamara willtake part in a debate
  • Foxtel launches Oz pay per view movie service

    Australia's Foxtellaunched its new digital pay TV service on Sunday (March 14), givingsubscribers access to 27 pay-per-view near-video-on-demand channels of moviecontent.Each movie will costconsumers $4.4 (A$5.95), although those households which opt to pay $70(A$94.95) per month for the top pay TV tier, will get two per month included.Foxtel Box Office, as theservice is being called, will screen movies six months after they have beenmade available for rental

    The top three titles this week were barely a breath apart with a strong opening for Warner Bros.' Malabar Princess which lands in the top spot with a healthy $8,692 per screen.The family film beat out the other new films including Tim Burton's Big Fish which entered the chart at number three on fewer screens but with a higher average at $8,777 per. Cedric Khan's Berlin competition film Red Lights came in at number 13 while Pathe's Girl With A Pearl Earring s
  • French cinema admissions show early strength

    With 34.82 million tickets sold since the beginning of the year, the French box-office is up 4.8% on 2003 according to figures released by the CNC this week.February saw a rise of 3.2% over 2003 for 19.5 million admissions. However, French films' market share is down to 39.3% compared with 41.4% last year. Early 2003 benefited from the high-grossing Taxi 3 while 2004 has so far suffered disappointments in terms of French film. Although Mars Distribution's Podium and Europ
  • Friedlander leaves Fine Line for Warner Independent

    Steven Friedlander hasjoined the fledgling specialty distributor Warner Independent Pictures (WIP) asexecutive vice president of distribution.Friedlander will directlyhandle domestic theatrical distribution and will shepherd the pictures as theymove into other media through Warner Bros Entertainment's divisions, includinginternational, home video and television."Steven is not only abrilliant theatrical distribution executive but also has remarkable talentsthat I expect will have

    Scary Movie 3's reign at the German box office came to an end last weekend after it swapped positions with Along Came Polly which has been seen by over 800,000 cinema-goers in its two weeks of release.The Top 10 saw no less than six new entries, led by Mathieu Kassovitz's Gothika for Columbia TriStar and followed by Welcome To The Jungle, the Golden Bear winner Head-On (Gegen Die Wand), Warner Bros. release of the Russian animation feature Karlik N
  • Germany, UK step up anti-piracy operations

    Anti-piracy operations in both Germany and the UK say they are making increasing inroads against DVD and video pirates.In its annual report for 2003, the German Federation Against Copyright Theft (GVU) revealed that the fines German courts imposed in copyright cases increased to more than Euros 500,000.Even though proceedings were dropped in most cases after imposing a fine and seizing the illegal copies and copying devices, the total number of criminal procedures ending with a
  • Good Lawyer's Wife wins Deauville Asian film fest

    The top prize at the Deauville festival of Asian film, the Lotus d'Or was yesterday (Sun 14 March) awarded to Korean film A Good Lawyer's Wife by director Im Sang-Soo.The festival, now in its the sixth edition, was long on Korean films and martial arts pictures. It included a retrospective tribute to Korean bad boy director Kim Ki-Duk, playing all ten of his feature films.The festival boasted the presence of two action stars of different eras; former Shaw Brothers contrac
  • Hackford's Ray Charles biopic goes to Universal

    Universal Pictures hasacquired worldwide distribution rights to the musical biopic Unchain MyHeart: The Ray Charles Storystarring Jamie Foxx and has scheduled an Oct 29 domestic release.Produced and financed byPhilip Anschutz's Crusader Entertainment, Unchain My Heart: The Ray CharlesStory charts the legendary singer'slife from the time he went blind as a child after witnessing his brother'saccidental death through his early career as a touring performer in theSouthern st
  • Henning Mankell readies Wallander film series

    Internationally best-selling Swedish author Henning Mankell's popular police commissioner Kurt Wallander is heading for the big and the small screen in no less than 13 feature length episodes.Three will be theatrically released, the first Wallander: Before The Frost in time for Christmas. The remaining episodes will be shown on TV.The massive $25.5m (SKR190m) project is led by a new outfit, Yellow Bird Films, a joint venture between Danish producer Ole Soendberg, Mankell

    As was expected following its Oscar-success, The Return Of The King fared strongly at the Hungarian box office last weekend, performing a mere 1% weaker than the week before taking nearly 10,000 admissions in the ninth week of its release.The French comedy Mauvais Espirit and the latest John Grisham adaptation both haad decent openings on 19 and 12 copies respectively.Meanwhile, Hungarian new release Andras Salamon's Getno about a Hungarian family trying to
  • Hush Hush Baby (Shouf Shouf Haibibi)

    Dir: Albert ter Heerdt. The Netherlands. 2004. 88minsThe ever expanding borders of the European Union have pushed immigration to the top of the political agenda. Hush, Hush Baby touches on some of the serious global issues surrounding the topic but is generally happy to settle for broad, knockabout comedy and lightweight sentiment. The tales of family conflicts, neighbourhood friends and idle dreamers have much more in common with the rough and ready early work of Shan
  • Indian entertainment revenues to hit $9.5bn by 2008

    India's entertainment industry will generate $9.5bn in revenues 2008, according to a new study by consultants Ernst & Young.Revenues for the industry - which includes films, radio, television and live events - grew by 15% in 2003 to $4.2bn.Film revenues are currently worth $1bn, according to Ernst & Young, second only to the broadcasting industry which has revenues of $2.9bn according to the study.Sixteen Indian films in 2003 grossed more than US$ 2 million in the local m
  • IRELAND Production Listings - March 15 2004

    Ireland - March 15Pre-ProductionAURORA ISLAND(Magma Films [Irl] Art Oko Film [Ger]). Co-Prods: Future Film [UK]. Budget: Euros 5m. Backers: Buena Vista [Ger]. Dist: Buena Vista (Germany). Genre: Thriller. Exec. Prods: Ralph Christians, Stephen Margolis, Michele Berk. Prods: Karel Dirka, Clodagh Freeman. Dir: Peter Medak. Scr: Agatha Dominik, Robert Newton. DoP: Elemer Ragalyi. Prod des: Michael Pickwood. Cast: Lena Olin, Lynn Redgrave, Patrick Bergin. Shooting
  • Irish box office shock: Starsky & Hutch vs The Passion

    BVI's Starsky & Hutch squared up to Mel Gibson's The Passion Of The Christ and took the round one opening weekend in cinemas in the Republic of Ireland.Given the reported demand for The Passion in the territory - Irish distribution company Eclipse Pictures, which is handling the local release of the film for Icon UK, had to secure additional prints for the Irish release, such was the demand for the picture from exhibitors - it is still unclear whether alleged wides
  • Irish producers body appoints new director

    Screen Producers Ireland (SPI) has appointed Malcolm Byrne as its new director.Byrne is a law graduate and previously held the positions of Press and Research Officer at the Chambers of Commerce of Ireland. He has broad experience of working with member and voluntary-based organisations.He is a former vice president of the National Youth Council of Ireland and a member of the National Council for Education Awards.SPI Chairperson Joan Egan said, "He has a track record of s
  • Irish production industry in low budget regime

    For full Irish production listings, click HEREAdam And Paul, Man About Dog, Freeze Frame, Timbuktu, The Halo Effect, Cowboys And Angels, Headrush, Dead Meat, Bite, Starfish, Inside I'm Dancing, The Honeymooners, Jonjo Mickybo. It's a long list, a veritable catalogue of recently made Irish films, some of them just completed and premiered at the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival (JDIFF), oth
  • Italian cinema wins Euros 80m cash injection

    The Italian government has approved an emergency decree topour an extra Euros 80m into the local cinema industry, which will be largelydestined for production and will free at least 80 state-funded films fromlimbo.Around 80 films are believed to have been greenlit in 2003for state funding for production, but have still not received the money. BNL,the Italian bank that manages the film industry's funds, recently explainedthat despite the government's willingness to fund films, its coffe

    Italian films continued to perform strongly at the box office last weekend. New opener Don't Move burst into the local box office at number three, scoring the biggest per screen average of any film and a huge gross of $1,512,205.Distributed by Medusa, Don't Move stars Penelope Cruz and was adapted by director-actor Sergio Castellitto from his wife Margaret Mazzantini's best-selling novel of the same name. The Spanish-Italian co-production was released last weekend on 193

    With Spring Break about to start, Japanese distributors rolled out more new releases on March 13.The biggest in terms of screen average, $46,002, was Hotel Venus, a heavily promoted ensemble drama starring a member of the popular boy band SMAP and filmed entirely in Korean -- a first for a film whose main cast members are Japanese.Also opening strongly, with a $46,002 on 15 major city screens, was Innocence, the first feature animation by director Mamoru Oshii in n

    Fresh from its Oscar triumph, Return Of The King easily beat off the challenge to its pole position by new release Master And Commander.LOTR led the nine-cities charts with a $54,508 screen average, compared with $39,613 for Master And Commander. The week's other Top Fifteen opener, Gothika, earned $300,105 on 13 urban screens for a $23,085 screen average.Meanwhile, The Twilight Samurai, a Best Foreign Film Oscar nominee, rose ten places to num
  • Jersey Girl

    Dir: Kevin Smith. US. 2004. 103mins.It's theoretically possible, of course, that director Kevin Smith has not used every cliche associated with the domestic genre featuring guilty yuppie parents and guilting kids, but audiences will be hard-pressed to find anything missing in Jersey Girl. As attested to in an egregious 'director's statement' accompanying the film, the once fearsome, controversy-seeking director of films like Clerks and Dogma has been redu
  • Jet Set producers ready cult French surf comedy

    DirectorJames Huth will begin shooting comedy Brice De Nice in mid-April in Nice and Biarritz.The film is based on a character created by comedian Jean Dujardin who hasbecome something of a cult figure in France in recent years.Brice DeNice is a hapless surfer - he can barely even swim - in search ofthe perfect wave. The problem is, he's waiting for the wave in Nice wherethe ocean "is the flattest in the world," laughs director Huth whotells, "Jean invente
  • Judy Blume movie adaptations land at Disney

    Bestselling children's author Judy Bloom, film-maker LawrenceBlume and producer Jane Startz have signed a multi-picture deal with WaltDisney Studios.
  • King set to surpass Crocodile Dundee in Oz

    The Australian film industry should prepare to go into mourning within the next week when The Return Of The King displaces Crocodile Dundee to become the second biggest box office hit of all time in the territory.Crocodile Dundee was top of the hit list from 1986 to 1998, when it was replaced by 20th Century Fox's Titanic.Titanic sold $43.6m (A$57.6m) worth of tickets and Crocodile Dundee grossed $36.1m for Hoyts, according to statistics provid
  • Korean cinema surges on back of Taegukgi, Silmido

    Korean cinema recorded an 82.5% market share in February, setting a new monthly record on the back of a record-breaking performance by Korean War film Taegukgi.According to a report by investment/distribution company IM Pictures, the Kang Je-gyu-directed Taegukgi amassed a 52% share of the market all by itself, while Cinema Service's Silmido contributed a further 16%. Other films that performed strongly included the Warner Bros release Something's Gotta Give
  • Latin American countries unite to protect their film industries

    On the eve of the signing an ambitious pan-Latin American filmagreement, the head of Argentina's film institute has underlined hisdetermination to face off against the MPAA, protect the local film industry andsupport moves to make film and other "cultural products" an exception in worldtrade agreements.
  • Liberty Media to create cable giant in France

    UnitedGlobalCom, part of John Malone's Liberty Media, has confirmed that it is to buy the 50.1% controlling stake in leading French cable network Noos that is currently owned by the Suez group. The move could be the first step towards a major rationalisation of the still fragmented French cable sector.Separately, Liberty today said that it will spin off all its non-US businesses into a separate holding company with its own stock market listing by mid-summer. Including UnitedGlobalCom,
  • Malick's Che decision deals morale-denting blow to indie sector

    Terence Malick's surprise decision to pull out of Che, a $40m picture about the life of Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara that he had co-written, has dented the pride and perhaps the finances of sales house Wild Bunch - but the blow is unlikely to be fatal either to the French seller or to the wider independent film sector.Late last week Malick informed his partners that instead of starting the project that was set to shoot in July, he had decided instead to proceed with The Ne
  • Markoe promoted to post-production executive vp at MGM

    MGM Pictures has promoted BruceMarkoe to executive vice president of feature post production, where he willoversee all aspects of budgeting and post production and source economical newfilm-making technologies.Markoe will report directlyto Andy Davis, the studio's executive vice president of physical production."Bruce has become a vitalpart of MGM since he joined the company and has been a great supporter offilm-makers here," Davis said in a statement. "This promotion is extreme
  • Mona Lisa Smile is top in UK, brings total to $64.7m for CTFDI

    Sony/Revolution's drama Mona Lisa Smile opened number one in the UK at the weekend through ColumbiaTriStar Film Distributors International (CTFDI), grossing $2.3m on 414 screens.
  • Mortensen eyes big budget Alastride adaptation

    Lord Of The Rings star Viggo Mortensen is in negotiations to take the lead in big budget Spanish production The Adventures Of Captain Alatriste for Spain's Telecinco and Origen PC.Mortensen, who speaks fluent Spanish, confirmed to Spanish press during a promotional trip to Madrid on Hidalgo that he was studying the project.Another hot Spanish-speaking actor, Bad Education's Gael Garcia Bernal, has also been rumored to be in talks to co-star as Inigo Balboa,
  • New distributor launches in South Korea

    Lotte Cinema, which operates one of South Korea's three major multiplex chains, has announced its long-speculated move into film distribution.The company, headed by CEO Kim Kwang-seop, is scheduled to release its first film Naduya Ganda in May. Another 3-4 titles are expected to be announced by the end of June.Lotte, a division of one of Korea's largest conglomerates Lotte Group, will instantly become an influential player in the distribution field due to its chain of mul
  • New force emerges in Japanese market

    Kadokawa Group is reportedly finalising negotiations to purchase a 40% stake in Nippon Herald and to acquire Herald's local distribution network.The news was reported in Japan's Nihon Keizai Shimbun.Despite distributing the three Lord Of The Rings films together with Shochiku, Herald is forecasting a loss of $9.5m (Y1.06bn) for the fiscal year ending in March.In December the company announced that it planned to reduce its acquisition of major Hollywood titles, from

    For the fourth consecutive weekend The Passion Of The Christ has held its position as the most popular film in NZ cinemas. It grossed NZ$192,008 for Hoyts/Icon from 29 screens. UIP's challenger was Paycheck but the NZ$164,695 worth of ticket sales for 38 screens was only enough for it to claim second place.New Zealanders showed their support for locally-born Jane Campion's In The Cut to the tune of NZ$89,325 from only 15 screens. That was enough to give Columbia Tr
  • Nine German films get free TV ads

    Golden Bear winner Head-On is one of nine German films awarded a total Euros 1.8m worth of advertising airtime on public and private channels.The new funding category, which was introduced as part of the agreement with the TV stations on their financial contribution to the German Federal Film Board (FFA), envisages Euros 10m worth of advertising time being made available for trailers of new German releases this year.The other films benefiting from this new marketing incen

    Spykids 3D: Game Over zoomed into the top spot of the Norwegian chart with a strong 822 admission screen average on its 32 rocked the winning combination of the other family flicks Brother Bear and The Young Olsen Gang Rocks pushing them to second and third.But otherwise there was little room at the top of the chart for the other new releases including Tim Burton's Big Fish on eight and Karoline Frogner's local feature music documentary Tradra and
  • Oz's Aurora script programme selects Caesar's Prime Mover

    Writer/director David Caesar's Prime Mover is one of four projects chosen for Australia's third Aurora intensive scriptwriting programme.The director of Dirty Deeds, Mullet and Idiot Box is working with producer Vincent Sheehan on what is billed as a diesel-fuelled love triangle between Thomas, his wife Melissa, and his truck. Caesar has been working on the script, which is set in the 1970s, for about a decade.Liz Watts, Sheehan's business partner at Porchli
  • Perfume, Sky Captain snapped up by RCV

    Independent Dutch distributor RCV Entertainment has announced details of a number of high profile acquisitions at last month's American Film Market.The Hilversum based company was one of the first buyers for Tom Tykwer's Pefume adaptation, which was sold by Summit Entertainment.RCV has also high hopes for the science-fiction epic Sky Captain And The World Of Tomorrow, directed by first-timer Kerry Conran with Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Law and Angelina Jolie in the lead
  • Polly comes along in France, Spain and Italy

    A strongJapanese bow this upcoming weekend should be enough to push Buena VistaInternational's (BVI) animated hit Brother Bear past $100m in international ticketsales.The picture hasamassed $95.8m and executives will be hoping for a strong bow in Japan, whichcan be a highly accommodating animation market as evidence by Finding Nemo's number one $10.3m December 2003opening.BVI (via thefilm's co-producer Dimension Films) also opens Starsky & Hutch on platform
  • Polly takes $11m for top international title over weekend

    Spurred by top berths in Italy, France and Spain at the weekend,Universal's romantic comedy Along Came Polly added an estimated $11m through UIP fora $39m international running total.
  • Revenues fall but 2003 still a 'pivotal' year for IMAX

    IMAX Corporation's joint chiefs Richard Gelfond andBradley Wechsler announced a fourth quarter loss of one cent per shareyesterday but rallied behind what they described as a 'pivotal' 2003 that positioned the company for continued growth.The companyposted a profit of two cents per share a year earlier and said lastquarter's unexpected performance was due to the cost of debt refinancing.Fourth quarterrevenues were $29.9m compared to $37m in
  • Rickman signs for Manchester United Ruined My Life

    AlanRickman, Derek Jacobi, Jason Isaacs, Janet McTeer and Henry Goodman are set tostar in Manchester United Ruined My Life, the feature debut of director Mark Brozel.The adaptation of Colin Shindler's best-sellingnovel is a rites of passage story about a Jewish boy in 50s and 60s Manchester,growing up under the shadow of the mighty Manchester United football team.Samuelson Productions, which is producing from a script byShindler, is aim
  • River swells on back of Oscar glory

    The Return Of The King was not the only film benefiting from Academy Awards glory last weekend as Warner Bros' Mystic River witnessed some massive box office leaps around the world.Clint Eastwood's acclaimed drama picked up Oscars for best actor (Sean Penn) and best supporting actor (Tim Robbins) on Feb 29 and saw international box office jump 22.4% the following weekend. Over 255,000 people went to see the film over the March 5-7 weekend and Warner Bros experienced a col
  • Roadshow pounces on Libertine, Dahlia

    Roadshow Film Distributionhas signed up to handle the release of three high-profile films for Australiaand New Zealand: The Black Dahlia, The Libertine and Havoc.Brian De Palma's TheBlack Dahlia is from SignaturePictures International and is an adaptation of the James Ellroy novel about thedeath of an actress in LA in the 1940s.Odyssey Entertainment ishandling international sales on Laurence Dunmore's The Libertine, which recently secured last-minute

    Anthony Minghella's Cold Mountain shot in the spectacular Carpathian mountains in Romania was received extremely well in the land of its birth.Released on a not so strong six copies by Glob Com, the film made over 12,000 admissions in its opening weekend. Scary Movie 3 released by InterComFilm on seven copies performed slightly worse but still managed over 10,000 admissions.Tom Cruise's Last Samurai is still holding strong at the Romanian box office but last
  • Romania hosts Seed Of Chucky shoot

    Seed Of Chucky, the fifth picture in the Child's Play franchise about berserk homicidal dolls, beganproduction in Romania yesterday (Mar 15).It joins a growing list ofhorror pictures which are shooting in the country including the completed TheMethod and Blessed and upcoming productions Man With A Movie Camera directed by Bernard Rose for Capitol Films and Cave directed by Bruce Hunt for Lakeshore Entertainmentand Screen Gems.Chucky fran
  • Scott Free develops Elegance

    Scott Free, the production company owned by Ridley and Tony Scott, has hired Christopher Monger to adapt Kathleen Tessaro's novel Elegance.Published in the UK by Harper Collins, Elegance follows an American woman in London who follows the advice in an old A-Z of etiquette and style by a renowned French socialite to find fulfillment.Monger's credits include The Englishman Who Went Up A Hill But Came Down A Mountain. Fox Filmed Entertainment, which has a first
  • Screeners war is over: MPAA will let individual distributors decide

    It'sopen season for awards screener tapes in 2004. It emerged late last week thatthe MPAA has decided to leave screener policy up to individual distributorsfrom now on and will not enforce its members to limit mailouts of tapes orDVDs.Thenew policy was made known to
  • ScreenSelect predicts massive DVD growth

    Online DVD rental company ScreenSelect will send out more than 160,000 DVDs this month, the UK concern said this week.Launched six months ago, the company charges £14.99 a month for an 'all you can watch' subscription. Chairman Alex Chesterman said that the company expects turnover in films to more than double over the next 12 months.ScreenSelect maintains that a subscriber watching two movies per week saves £10 a month. The company argues that customers makean additional savin
  • Secret Window

    Dir: David Koepp. US. 2004.Johnny Depp is beloved among moviegoers for his outrageous screen characters whose exaggerated physical attributes have included wigs, facial tics and garish attire. In the tepid psychodrama Secret Window, based on a novella by Stephen King, Depp dons a frayed bath robe, big spectacles and a skate rat's bleached-out page boy hairstyle in an effort to capture a best-selling author's steady descent into madness after a deranged writer accuses h
  • Secret Window opens with $19m, but can't touch The Passion juggernaut

    The Passion Of The Christ passed the quarter-billion dollar mark at the weekend as itstayed top on an estimated $31.7m for $264m after 19 days.
  • Shaun Of The Dead

    Dir: Edgar Wright. UK. 2004. 100mins tbcAfter the critical debacle that was last month's Sex Lives Of The Potato Men comes Shaun Of The Dead, a film which proves that the move from small to big screen comedy does not always end in artistic failure. This romantic zombie comedy - or 'romzomcom' as it calls itself - is from the writing/directing partnership behind the quirky Channel 4 sitcom Spaced. But thanks to a combination of sharp comic writing and fort
  • Shore to kick off Rings symphony tour in Belgium

    Veteran composer HowardShore is launching the European tour of his Oscar winning The Lord Of TheRings score with a concert in theBelgian city of Antwerp on Apr 16.The Lord Of The Rings Symphony: Six Movements for Orchestra and Chorus isbeing organised by the Flanders International Film Festival, a longtimesupporter of music in film, and the Flemish Radio Orchestra.The concert will feature 200performers on stage, including the Flemish Radio Orchestra, the Antwerp ch
  • Something's Gotta Give crosses $100m for Warner

    The romantic comedy Something's Gotta Give passed $100m at the international boxoffice at the weekend as it raised its total by an estimated $6.6m to $101.6mfor Warner Bros Pictures International.
  • Spain talks all about Almodovar

    Spain's El Deseo has held a number of screenings for Pedro Almodovar's Cannes opener Bad Education and early press reaction suggests that Cannes is set for a provocative opening.The film proves that commercial success has not domesticated Almodovar: the idiosyncratic director could spark controversy with Bad Education's storyline of a priest desperately in love with a schoolboy, and various gay sex scenes.Almodovar says his intention is not to be polemical, and he
  • Spanish industry joins weekend protests against terrorism

    Spain's media sector came to a halt this weekend,responding to last week's terrorist attacks with the same solemnity andshock that has characterised national - and international -response to the tragedy.Celebrities such as Pedro Almodovar and Javier Bardem wereamong the more than two million people who gathered in an anti-terroristdemonstration in Madrid on Friday night. Some eleven million people acrossSpain marched to protest the bombs set off Thursday morning on four commutertrains,
  • Spanish industry suspends business after terror attacks

    Cinema is the last thing on anyone's mind in Spaintoday. The media sector responded to yesterday's terrorist attacks withthe same solemnity and solidarity that has characterised national - andinternational - response to the tragedy.Spain awoke Thursday morning to news that ten bombs hadexploded on four packed commuter trains travelling into the capital city atrush hour, causing close to 200 deaths and thousands more injured. Three daysof national mourning were called and political cand
  • Spartan

    Dir: David Mamet. US-Ger. 2004. 106 minsMost would agree that David Mamet is a brilliant playwright and screenwriter, and a more than competent director, but he seems to have checked all his talent at the door when he came to make Spartan, a lame thriller that never for a moment thrills. The trademark Mamet dialogue, in which banal phrases are repeated in a purposely artificial way, comes across here merely as banal and artificial, rather than hauntingly stylised as in
  • Spring bounce for French cinema promotional drive

    France's annual Spring promotional drive 'Printemps Au Cinema' got off to a good start yesterday (Sunday 14 March) with 1.2 million tickets sold at the box office. That represents a 15% increase on the same day last year and is the biggest single day total in the five year history of the event.The three day campaign (14-16 Mar) is organised by the French National Cinema Federation (FNCF) and sees ticket prices slashed across the board to Euros 3.50.The FNCF attributes the initia
  • Steen's Aftermath to open Copenhagen's NatFilm

    The 15th edition of Copenhagen's NatFilm Festival willkick off with the premiere of acclaimed actress Paprika Steen's featuredirecting debut, Aftermath, on Mar 25.The drama about a couple trying to recover from the death oftheir child has already picked up considerable buzz and expectations are high.Aftermath is writtenby Kim Fupz Aakeson (In Your Hands, Okay) and stars Sofie Graaboel and Mikael Birkkjaer.At the opening gala the fe
  • Sundance Channel acquires four Sundance Film Fest docs

    The SundanceChannel has acquired the US pay television rights to four documentary filmsthat premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January.The fourpictures are Jorgen Leth and Lars Von Trier's film-making exercise The FiveObstructions; RuthieShatz and Adi Barash's Israeli prostitution story Garden; Jean Michel Roux's Icelandicsupernature picture Investigation Into The Invisible World; and Screaming Men, Mika Ronkainen's account of a c
  • Tais-Toi to get US premiere at City Of Lights festival

    The US premiereof Francis Veber's prison mismatch comedy Tais-Toi! (Ruby & Quentin) starring Gerard Depardieu and Jean Renowill kick off the eighth annual City of Lights, City of Angels Film Festival inLos Angeles in Mar 29, which also features the world premiere of NicolasBoukhrief's noir tale Le Convoyeur (Cash Truck) starring Albert Dupontel and Jean Dujardin.This year'sannual celebration of French cinema showcases 15 features and 13 s
  • The Reckoning

    Dir: Paul McGuigan. UK. 2001. 110mins.Paul Bettany's penchant for diverse roles spanning the eras continues in the intriguing but lethargic medieval murder mystery The Reckoning, a long finished drama shot in 2001, even before Bettany made his leap into Hollywood with A Beautiful Mind.This time Bettany is a fugitive priest who joins forces with a travelling acting troupe in rural England to solve a string of murders involving dead young males and feud
  • Thunderbirds are go at Tribeca Film Festival

    Organisers behind the thirdannual Tribeca Film Festival have confirmed that Working Titles' live-actionversion of Thunderbirds willreceive its world premiere at the New York City event in May.A spokesperson for thepicture's US distributor Universal Pictures neither confirmed nor denied thepremiere status, adding that it was conceivable there may be a public viewingbefore Tribeca. Thunderbirds isdue to open in the US on Aug 6.Based on Gerry Anderson's1960s animated
  • UIP confirms plans for Russian distribution office

    United International Pictures has confirmed plans to open a branch office in Moscow to distribute films directly to cinemas in Russia.East West Creative Associates, UIP's partner for over 13 years, will cease trading as a distributor from that date but will continue to be involved in film production.UIP chairman and CEO Stewart Till commented: "We are delighted to confirm that most of the East West team involved in distributing UIP films over recent years have agreed to become U

    While UIP's romantic comedy Along Came Polly held onto the top spot in its second week with a respectable 30% slip from its launch it was Icon's drama 21 Grams that proved the real triumph in the UK last weekend.The film presents three story lines constantly interlinking and which jump backwards and forwards in time while dealing with drugs, religion, guilt, tragic loss and mortality and may have been seen by many as a potential tough sell.However, Icon released th
  • Universal postpones Cinderella Man release to March 2005

    Universal Pictures has postponed until Mar 18 2005 the release of Ron Howard's Depression-era boxingdrama The Cinderella Man starringRussell Crowe and Renee Zellweger.The picture, which is beingco-financed with Miramax Films, was set to be one of Universal's key awardspictures with an end of year domestic release planned.The delay follows from ashoulder injury suffered by Crowe in training for the picture.The new date will allowsufficient time to complete productio
  • Universal's international marketing structure takes shape

    Universal Pictures vice president of international distributionJack Ledwith is taking on the added role of managing director of Los Angelesoperations as the studio restructures its international theatrical marketingand distribution business to coordinate London and Los Angeles operations.
  • Warner Bros snags US rights to Japanese animation

    Warner Brothers has acquired US and key European rights to Japanese animation feature Yu-Gi-Oh!, which is based on the popular card trading game comic and TV cartoon series.The TV Tokyo network, Shueisha publishing house and Asatsu DK advertising agency are jointly producing the feature animation.Warner Brothers is set to release the film, titled Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters, in North America this August. The studio has also taken rights to the film in countries such as
  • Wellspring gets US on Seducing Doctor Lewis

    US distributor Wellspringhas picked up all US rights to Jean-Francois Pouliot's Canadian hit SeducingDoctor Lewis (La Grande Seduction), which won the World Cinema Audience Award atSundance 2004.Wellspring's head ofacquisitions Marie Therese Guirgis negotiated the deal with Matt Littin ofCinetic Media, who represented producers Roger Frappier and Luc Vandal of MaxFilms.The picture tells the storyof a ragtag fishing community on a small island in
  • Yuzna embarks on Rottweiler shoot

    Director Brian Yuzna has begun shooting on Rottweiler, his latest contribution to Filmax's FantasticFactory genre division.The film will shoot for seven weeks in and around Barcelona.The story follows a young man who,following his escape from an EU prison in Spain for African immigrants, setsout to find his lover. Hot on his trail is a ferocious, metal-toothed dog.William Miller (The Mix),Irene Montala (Fauto 5.0),Paulina Galvez (L'Au
  • Zenpix closes AFM deals on Reeseville, Anne B Real

    Susan Jackson's Zenpix,celebrating its first year as an international distribution and sales companybacked by Promark Entertainment, has closed multi-territory deals on ChristianOtjen's thriller Reeseville andLisa France's rap drama Anne B Real.The Santa Monica-basedcompany said it sold Reesevilleto Home Entertainment for the UK, TransTV for Indonesia, New World Pictures forThailand, Audio Visual for Greece/Cyprus, Lusomundo for Portugal and BelievenEnterprises for