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21 November 2002

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  • $75m in 24 hours for Episode II video and DVD

    The DVD and video release of Star Wars: Episode II - Attack Of The Clones notched up $75m in its first 24-hour period after going on sale at midnight on Tuesday in parts of North America. Twentieth Century Fox said in a statement that one quarter of initial shipments were purchased from traditional retailers across North America, achieving record figures."Our tracking shows that the sales velocity for Episode II is faster than any other major title released this year - an
  • 43rd Thessaloniki film festival fetes Asian films

    Women directors and themes of family relations, censorship, racial and social intolerance dominated in the 43rd Thessaloniki International Film Festival which wrapped today. Asian films stood out in the competition section, which was restricted to first or second films.Hidenori Sugimori's Woman Of Water (Mizu No Onna) from Japan and Apichatpong Weerasethakul's Blisfully Yours (Sud Sanaeha) from Thailand shared the Golden Alexander with a purse of Euros 37,000.
  • Aardman's Rose goes solo with Sirolo

    Michael Rose, who spearheaded Aardman Animations' drive into features with its hit debut Chicken Run, has left the UK animation company to set up his own production outfit, Sirolo Films.The London-based venture has formed an informal partnership with Celluloid Dreams, the Paris-based sales agency of Hengameh Panahi, who aims to source larger scale fare through the UK. Rose, who first worked with Panahi in 1994 on Aardman's Wallace & Gromit Collections, told
  • Anita And Me

    Dir: Metin Huseyin. UK. 2002. 93mins. With its blend of elements from the successful recent comedies East Of East and Bend It Like Beckham, Anita And Me is intent on riding on the current public appetite for all things Asian-British. In the UK, where it world premiered at the London Film Festival and is released on Nov 22, this tale of the riotous friendship between a nine-year-old Asian girl and a slightly older, blonde bombshell will attract initial attention
  • Ararat takes highest screen average crown

    Atom Egoyan's Ararat scored the highest screen average of films on release in North America last weekend. Opening on six screens in Toronto, New York and LA, the film logged a cumulative $211,130, for an average of more than $35,000. The next highest per screen average was the weekend's box office champ, Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets, at $23,997.In a jubilant statement, co-producer Robert Lantos of Serendipity Point Pictures said, the numbers were "the fi
  • Asia gets multi-purpose market after Korea's BIFCOM-PPP merge

    The Busan International Film Commission Exhibition (BIFCOM), held during the Pusan International Film Festival, is set to merge with the Pusan Promotion Plan (PPP)'s Korean Film Industry Centre to form an expanded industry expo for the Asian market in 2003. Renamed the Asian Film Industry Center (AFIC), the event will newly feature a film equipment and post-production market catering to Asian filmmakers. This will combine with BIFCOM's existing location expo and an expanded sales marke
  • Asian films take top prizes at Thessaloniki

    Women directors and themes of family relations, censorship, racial and social intolerance dominated in the 43rd Thessaloniki International Film Festival which wrapped today. Asian films stood out in the competition section, which was restricted to first or second films.Hidenori Sugimori's Woman Of Water (Mizu No Onna) from Japan and Apichatpong Weerasethakul's Blisfully Yours (Sud Sanaeha) from Thailand shared the Golden Alexander with a purse of Euros 37,000.
  • Australia's Hopscotch signs for first local film

    Fledgling Australian distributor Hopscotch has picked up Australian and New Zealand rights for its first local film. Peaches got a greenlight from the Film Finance Corporation (FFC) this week and is to be directed by Craig Monahan from a script by television writer Sue Smith. "Craig Monahan should have made another film a long time ago," says Troy Lum, adding that his debut feature The Interview was crowned best Australian film in the 1998 AFI Awards. "It is a gre
  • Australia's indie producer incentive looks like getting through

    Despite strong opposition from the commercial free-to-air television networks, it looks like programs produced by the independent sector will earn extra points towards the local content quota for the first time in Australian television history. This should assist the survival of production houses, many of which simultaneously develop both films and television. A recent trend in Australia has been for the networks to bring drama production in-house and the Australian Broadcasting Autho
  • Bac Majestic to quit exhibition as revenues collapse

    Bac Majectic is to pull out of the exhibition sector anc concentrate exclusively on film distribution.The company said that following finacnial difficulties in its exhibition operations it has taken the decision to progressively withdraw from the sector. The stockmarket-traded group last year sold its collection of parisian screens but held onto its Majestic Cinema multiplexes in the provinces. Now it will sell these too. Bac posted an increase in turnover for the first nine mon
  • Berlinale announces talent campus hosts, Cinema For Peace special screening

    German filmmaker Wim Wenders, production designer Ken Adam, screenwriter Alessandro Baricco and Lia van Leer, founder and director of the Jerusalem Cinematheque and Israel Film Archives are the first industry figures recruited by the Berlinale Talent Campus.The five-day training programme (February 10-14),.which is organised in co-operation with Filmboard Berlin-Brandenburg and the UK's Film Council for some 500 young filmmakers from all over the world, will cover the whole spectrum of
  • Bertelsmann accesses Euros 1.5bn credit facility

    German media concern Bertelsmann has closed the syndication of a five year Euros 1.5bn revolving credit facility to be used for general corporate purposes and to partially replace a Euros 2.5bn bridge loan agreed in June 2002. The non-underwritten deal was so successful with the market that there was a 27% over-subscription with Euros 1.9bn being raised. However, Bertelsmann opted not to take the over-subscription and instead scaled back the banks in the syndicate. According to
  • Best Of Times, Hollywood Hong Kong take top Golden Horse Awards

    Taiwan's The Best Of Times, directed by Chang Tso-chi, was awarded best feature at the 39th Golden Horse Awards - Taiwan's equivalent of the Oscars - on Saturday night (Nov 16), while Hong Kong director Fruit Chan picked up the best director prize for Hollywood Hong Kong. Chan's black comedy, which had the greatest number of nominations with a record 14 nods, also won awards for make-up/costume design and sound effects. The Best Of Times, which had the secon
  • Bond stirs up box office on UK release

    The latest James Bond film Die Another Day has grossed a mighty $1.9m (£1.23m) on its first day of release in the UK.Opening on Wednesday Nov 20, the twentieth film of the franchise scored a strong $4,502 per site (430 sites). This is particularly impressive given that the opening day was a mid-week, non-holiday launch.The figures indicate that Die Another Day, directed by New Zealander Lee Tamahori, will continue the franchise's massive popularity in t
  • Bowling For Columbine strikes note in UK as BO record falls

    The second Harry Potter film was not the only new release breaking records in the UK over the weekend. Proving that there is a strong market for alternatives to studio blockbusters, Momentum Pictures' Bowling For Columbine launched on just 28 screens for a stellar $249,444 (£157,898).The opening gave Michael Moore's satirical documentary the biggest opening ever in the UK for a documentary beating the likes of In Bed With Madonna - the highest-grossing documen
  • Cecchi Gori released from house arrest

    Embattled movie mogul Vittorio Cecchi Gori has been freed from house arrest, although he will have to report to the police on a daily basis and cannot leave Italy. Florence magistrate Francesco Carvisiglia accepted a request by Cecchi Gori's lawyers for their client's release, police said.Cecchi Gori had been staying in his childhood Roman home since his arrest last month. Charges against him include channelling $30m from his Fiorentina football club to bankroll his film interes
  • Columbia backs film spin-off of BBC's Stella Street

    Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group is backing a film spin-off of the BBC television series Stella Street, which parodies celebrity existence and pokes fun at the likes of Michael Caine, Jack Nicholson, Al Pacino and Dustin Hoffman.Directed by Peter Richardson, Stella Street stars Phil Cornwell and John Sessions in multiple roles as a group of celebrities who, tired of the pressures of life in the spotlight, gravitate to an anonymous London suburb. The film, which has b
  • Columbia marches into Korea with remake of Mamet film

    Sony Pictures Entertainment'slocal-language production arm Columbia Pictures Film Production Asia (ColumbiaAsia) is to make its first picture in Korea in partnership with Koreanproduction outfit C & Film. The two will produce a Korean-language remakeof David Mamet's 1988 thriller Things Change."Local Korean film hasboomed at the box office in these past few years, dramatically increasing itsmarket share," Columbia Asia managing director Barbara Robinson said in astatement. "Our
  • Constantin reports increase in sales - and net losses

    German producer-distributor Constantin Film has posted a 10% increase in sales to Euro 94.6m, but also a 64% increase in net losses to Euros 7.36m, (from 2001's loss of Euros 4.5m) according to the nine-months report to September 30, 2002. International sales revenues were up 78% on the previous year 'to Euros 18.9m 'thanks in large part to Paul Anderson's Resident Evil, which has clocked up over $100m international box office. Consequently, script development is now underway fo
  • Crackerjack

    Dir: Paul Maloney. Australia. 2002. 92mins.Relying heavily on the shambling amiability of its co-writer/co-producer/ star, this easy-going comedy will register with local audiences familiar with comedian Mick Molloy's unkempt persona, developed during a decade of TV, radio and stand-up appearances. With Roadshow investing in a wide Australian release (it opened on Nov 7 on 205 screens to take $1.4m in its first week) and production partner Network 10 adding television PR, Molloy fan
  • Deals overflow for Cinema Service's Volcano High

    Cinema Service has scored a series of notable deals on its sold sci-fi, action-comedy Volcano High. The film, which features a young man banned from using his incredible fighting powers who is banished to a high school with an impossibly bad disciplinary record, was sold to Distant Horizon for North America and South Africa. It was also sold to EMS for Germany, Medusa for the UK, Mad Man Distribution for Australia and Hollywood Films for the Middle East.Distant Horizon, w
  • Die Another Day

    Dir: Lee Tamahori. UK/US. 2002. 129 mins. Die Another Day has a lot to live up to: the hoopla surrounding the fortieth anniversary of the James Bond franchise, a box office track record that has seen each of the last three entries gross around $350m worldwide, and the expectations of youthful audiences still buzzed from the high energy action of new-generation spy adventure XXX. So is the venerable 007 up to the job' The answer is probably yes, thanks largely to
  • Diller steps in to run newly spun-off Universal Entertainment

    Vivendi Universal Entertainment chairman Barry Diller has been named interim co-chief executive officer of an expanded entertainment division, loosely called Universal Entertainment. The music and highly lucrative video game divisions join Vivendi Universal Entertainment's film, television and theme park assets under one roof in a move analysts say will create cohesion and sets the scene for a possible public offering in the first half of next year.While Universal Entertainment is curr
  • Dougray Scott takes part in football hooligan drama

    A hard hitting film about football hooligans starring Dougray Scott has gone into production in the UK.Based on the best-selling cult novel by John King about Chelsea hooligans, The Football Factory is the first feature from Vertigo Films and is produced by Allan Niblo (Human Traffic, South West Nine) and James Richardson (Kiss Kiss (Bang Bang)). It is executive produced by Rupert Preston and directed by Keith Boak.Starring alongside Scott are Sean B
  • DreamWorks to remake Kurosawa's Ikiru

    Hisao Kurosawa, the president of Kurosawa Productions, has confirmed that he is in discussions with DreamWorks over a remake of his father Akira Kurosawa's 1952 classic Ikiru (pictured). Kurosawa, however, declined to comment on the production, saying that negotiations were still ongoing. According to press reports, DreamWorks' Walter Parkes and Stone Village Productions' Scott Steindorff have been named to produce the film. Among other Kurosawa films remade abroad
  • Eurimages elects new president

    Former French Minister of Culture Jacques Toubon was unanimously elected on Tuesday (19 November) as the new president of Eurimages, the Council of Europe's pan-European fund for co-production, distribution and exhibition.Toubon, who had held a number of ministerial posts in France, most notably that of Culture and Francophony from 1993-1995 (including during the crucial GATT talks), was unanimously elected by members of the Eurimages board of management for a two year term of office.
  • Falcom Media signs distribution deal with Universum

    Andreas Fallscheer's Falcom Media Group has concluded a long-term video/DVD distribution deal with the RTL Group's video subsidiary BMG/Universum Film for Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.The first releases - all "straight to video" - will be the US children's animation film The Little Drummer Boy, Chuck Norris actioner McCourd, Mimic 2 and the Christopher Lambert sci-fi picture Absolon.Commenting on the co-operation with Universum Film, Fallscheer stated t
  • Fine Line signs on for The Recipe

    Fine Line Features has acquired the script The Recipe by Ruth Graham which will be produced by Janette Day and Ruth Graham. The story of an aspiring chef who is bequeathed her grandmother's infmaous aphrodisiac recipe and then travels to Italy to seek out its origins.The deal was negotiated by Mark Ordesky, the president of Fine Line, Ileen Maisel and Carolyn Blackwood for Fine Line. "We are delighted to be working on this project with Ruth," said Ordesky in a statement. "Her s
  • First Thai film festival launches in UK

    The Royal Thai Embassy is backing the launch of the first Thai Film Festival in the UK (Nov 28-Dec 5)The Thai Film Festival 2002 will show a range of 15 Thai films, encompassing traditional and contemporary films, across a range of genres from comedy to horror. It is being held at the Prince Charles, Curzon and Odeon cinemas in LondonThe British directed film, Butterfly Man is being premiered at the festival. Directed by Kaprice Kea, Butterfly Man follows the adventures o
  • Gene Hackman gets Cecil B DeMille trophy at the Globes

    Gene Hackman has been named as the recipient of this year's Cecil B DeMille Award at the 60th annual Golden Globe Awards show on Jan 19 next year. The honour was announced yesterday by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) which gives out the Globes and Hackman was cited for his "outstanding contribution to the entertainment field."Hackman received a Globe last year for best actor (comedy or musical) in The Royal Tenenbaums, although he was unable to attend the ceremony
  • German film industry wants more cash from broadcasters

    The debate on a revised Film Funding Law (FFG) - due to come into effect from 2004 - has heated up with the German film industry "umbrella organisation" SPIO calling on the public broadcasters ARD and ZDF to follow the State Ministry for Culture's (BKM) proposal and substantially increase their financial support for the German Federal Film Board's (FFA) activities to Euros 40m .The SPIO member associations argued that this proposed sum was "appropriate" and requested "the broadcasters
  • Greek Wedding swings past $200m

  • Greek Wedding swings past $200m

    My Big Fat Greek Wedding confirmed its place among the box office elite on Tuesday (Nov 19)when it joined the select band of pictures that have grossed more than $200m. Thecomedy-romance passed the mark exactly seven months or 215 days after its USrelease on Apr 19, with a domestic box office gross of $200,217,641. Themilestone is the latest storming success for the picture, which cost $5m andrecently became the most profitable independent of all time, overtakingArtis
  • Harry Potter flies high atop the box office with film #2

  • Harry Potter international tally soars to $59.5m

    Actual international boxoffice figures for Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets have proved to be even better than the estimates,with an opening weekend total of $59.5m from 7.1m admissions on 4,265 screens. ' In the UK the picture set four newindustry records, beating the marks set by the original last year. ChamberOf Secrets established the biggestindustry weekend of all time (excluding previews) in the UK, taking $16.28mfrom 1,959,969 admissions on 1,275 screens in
  • Hong Kong's Filmko boards Floating Landscape

    Rising Hong Kong film-production indie Filmko has boarded romantic drama The Floating Landscape by director Carol Lai (pictured) and producer Stanley Kwan.The film, the story of a recently bereaved woman who unexpectedly finds new love when on a trip to Qingdao to discover her late boyfriend's roots, has been one of the stars the PPP projects market in Pusan, Korea, where it is presented this week.Unlike most projects at PPP, which are in search of production finance, the
  • IM Internationalmedia to cut staff by more than 30%

    Following last week's announcement of pre-tax losses of $36.1m in the first nine months of 2002, production and finance group IM Internationalmedia has unveiled an extensive cost reduction programme to reduce expenses by Euros 28.7m and predicted that revenues for 2003 would be between Euros 330m-350m, well above this year's estimated result of Euros 250m-260m. According to CEO Moritz Borman and CFO Andreas Konle, around Euros 11.1m will be saved by reducing staff from 99 to 62 as well
  • In This World

    Dir: Michael Winterbottom. UK 2002. 87mins.It's a road movie to end road movies: two Afghan refugees' long, life-threatening overland journey from Pakistan to London, shot with a small DV camera but a big wide-screen sweep. World premiered at the London Film Festival - where it played as a last-minute addition - In This World forms an impromptu companion piece to the event's curtain raiser, Dirty Pretty Things, and to other thoughtful recent films about Britain's refug
  • Irish Film Board faces sharp budget cuts

    Amid a set of sweeping public service cuts announced in pre-budget estimates for 2003, the Irish government is set to reduce the Irish Film Board's funding by an aggregate 12.5%.The Board's administration budget will be reduced by 1% to Euros 1.584m while its capital and training budget will be cut by 14% to Euros 9.153m [see table below]. While the Film Board lobbied for a repeat of this year's funding, it is not expected to seek to improve its allocation between now and budget
  • Italian broadcaster thrown into disarray by resignations

    Two members out of Italian public broadcaster Rai's five-member board have resigned, throwing the TV platform into a new state of disarray.The two members who stepped down on Wednesday are Carmine Donzelli, a publisher, and Luigi Zanda, a lawyer. They were the only two representatives of the centre-left on the board, which is otherwise made up of allies of Silvio Berlusconi's ruling centre-right coalition.Donzelli and Zanda cited a "lack of pluralism" as the reason for their res
  • Japan picks Out Oscar nominee

    Japan has selected Hideyuki Hirayama's Out as its nominee for the foreign language film category at next year's Academy Awards. A female orientated black comedy, Out was selected from a shortlist of ten films by the Motion Picture Producers Association of Japan.Based on a recently published novel by best-selling mystery writer Natsumi Kirino, Out is the tale of a pregnant housewife who accidentally strangles her abusive husband, and the three friends who agr
  • Jeans walks away with audience award at Luenen

    German actress Nicolette Krebitz's (The Tunnel) feature directorial debut Jeans won this year's 'Luedia' Audience Award at Kinofest Luenen's annual celebration of German cinema.Apart from a specially created bronze statue, the award includes a slot in the 'Berlin And Beyond' festival in San Francisco's Castro Cinema in January 2003, financing of the film's subtitling by the German Federal Film Board (FFA), and Euros 5,00 for Krebitz and others to attend the festival. J
  • Junkersdorf launches tax fund to finance four pictures

    Eberhard Junkersdorf, who called earlier this year for the introduction in Germany of tax-driven incentives similar to those in the UK, Ireland, Canada or Luxembourg, has launched his own media fund - Neue Bioskop Film - to finance four international feature productions in 2002 and 2003.German individuals can invest a minimum Euros 25,000 by the end of this year in the fund whose Euros21.2m volume will comprise the investors contribution (Euros11m), national and regional public film fu
  • Kamchatka

    Dir: Marcelo Pineyro. Argentina-Spain, 2002. 104m.Argentina's selection for the foreign-language Oscar, Kamchatka has good worldwide potential for arthouse and foreign-language theatres thanks to hot lead actor Ricardo Darin (Nine Queens, The Son Of The Bride) and universal themes of family, childhood, love and loss. A heartfelt, intelligent and well-intentioned film with historical depth, Kamchatka would work equally well on the festival circuit. Buena V
  • Korea, France sign preliminary co-operation agreement

    South Korea and France this weekend signed an agreement to increase co-operation between their two film industries, with the aim of expanding it into a full co-production accord.However, the agreement fell short of being a co-production treaty, of which France boasts 43, and which would have allowed French and Korean film-makers to full utilise each other's support and subsidy systems.The agreement was signed at the Pusan International Film Festival (PIFF) between representati
  • Lakeshore puckers up for The Last Kiss remake

    Gabriele Muccino's Italian blockbuster, The Last Kiss, has found new love in the US and the UK.Tom Rosenberg's Lakeshore Entertainment has acquired US remake rights to the romantic comedy which grossed more than $1m for North American distributor THINKFilm in the US and $10m for local distributor Medusa when it was released in Italy last year.Fandango, the production outfit behind the hit movie, confirmed the new deal took place at this month's MIFED film market. T
  • Lovely & Amazing results for Lions Gate

    Driven by a 53% margin in its motion picture business, Lions Gate Entertainment (LGE) has reported a 30% increase in second quarter revenue over the same period last year, from $59.7m to $77.8m. Six-month figures were better still, with revenues up 64% from $104.9m in 2001 to $172.1m this year. The company continues to pay down its debt ; yesterday it announced a transaction involving the sale of its 45% equity interest in Mandalay Pictures from which it expects to generate $7.5m.In a
  • Madame Sata enchants Huelva

    Karim Ainouz's Madame Sata scooped three of the top awards at the 28th Huelva Ibero-American Film Festival, The 1930-set biopic of a Rio streetfighter and drag artist won best film, best actor for Lazaro Ramos and best cinematography for Walter Carvalho. Madame Sata was produced by Walter Salles' VideoFilmes and France's Wild Bunch, which also produced Brazil's Oscar hopeful: City Of God Other awards at the festival of Latin American
  • Mannheim jury in favour of The Devils

    French director Christopher Ruggia's drama The Devils (Les Diables) was named Best Film by the international jury at this year's Mannheim-Heidelberg International Film Festival.Announcing its decision, the jury of Danish actress Trine Dyrholm, French sales agent Margarita Seguy (F For Film), Korean sales agent Karen Moon (CJ Entertainment), Finnish Film Foundation's Jaana Puskala, and LA-based producer Thomas Mai, declared that The Devils "touched us, provoked us, shocked
  • Metro Tartan gets Mind Of A Killer for UK

    Spanish sales house Grupo PI has sold all UK rights on San Sebastian International Film Festival competition title Aro Tolbukhin: In The Mind Of A Killer (Aro Tolbukhin: En La Mente Del Asesino) to Metro Tartan.The deal was closed following the recent MIFED market, where Grupo PI also sold all rights for Mexico and Argentina to Quality Films on comedy My Mother Likes Women (A Mi Madre Le Gustan Las Mujeres). Mother also sold theatrical and video for all Cent
  • Mondays In The Sun snapped up by Lions Gate

    Lions Gate Films has boughtall North American rights from Sogepaq to Mondays In The Sun, Spain's entry for the 2002 Foreign Language FilmOscar. The social drama was recently released to critical and commercialsuccess in Spain and won four awards at this year's San SebastianInternational Film Festival. Javier Bardem stars as one of a group ofco-workers who attempt to rebuild their lives after they lose their jobs at thelocal dockyard. The picture has earned Bardem a Best Actor nominatio
  • Mon-Rak Transistor

    Dir: Pen-ek Ratanaruang. Thailand. 2002. 120 mins. Monrak Transistor may win a few friends on the strength of its ingenuous charm and attractive performances, but the shapeless direction and meandering story make this dark musical comedy unlikely to have much impact on arthouse audiences outside its home turf. Its best prospects are the odd festival booking and some nibbles from specialist distributors prepared to take a chance on a modest scale. Drastic pruning would conside
  • Morawetz launches new German distribution outfit

    After being off the radar for a while, Veronika Morawetz has bounced back with the launch of a new distribution outfit Stardust Filmverleih into the increasingly difficult German distribution market.The first company's releases scheduled for January 30, 2003 will be the trio of 'Planet B' features - The Antman, Detective Lovelorn and Mask Under Mask - which were produced by the Berlin-based production house Checkpoint Berlin Filmproduktion and were always conceived as a '
  • Moritz de Hadeln confirmed to head next year's Venice - at the very least

    The Biennale has confirmed that Moritz de Hadeln will head next year's Venice International Film Festival - leaving open the possibility of the former Berlin chief retaining the position for an extra two years.'We are currently re-thinking the position of the Mostra and its relationship to the film industry,' festival president Franco Bernabe said in a statement. 'The only certainty at the moment is that De Hadeln will be at the helm of the next festival and that he did a very good job
  • Movielink breathes new life into video-on-demand

    After years of hype and false starts, video-on-demand took a giant leap forward this week with the soft launch in the US of online video rental service Movielink - backed by five of the US majors - Sony Pictures, Paramount Pictures, MGM, Universal Studios and Warner Bros.Screen International put the service to the test on a home computer and found Movielink to be efficient, clear and easy to handle - although the size of the picture was a disappointment. If anything, the test proved th
  • Netherlands leads latest revival of local film industries

    For the first time in Dutch film history five local productions took up top 20 positions in the Netherlands box office chart at the weekend (Nov 14-17).The local success follows on from the rise in fortunes of local films in general in 2001. While the Netherlands saw a rise in market share for Dutch films from 5.5% in 2000 to 9.4% in 2001, other countries including France, South Korea and Japan all saw approximately 40% market shares for local product. Meanwhile the Czech Republic enjo
  • New director for Munich film festival named

    Andreas Stroehl has been named successor to Eberhard Hauff who this year celebrated his 20th year as director of the Filmfest Muenchen.Stroehl, who has worked for the German cultural organisation Goethe Institut since 1988 - most recently as head of the division for film, film production management, television and radio -, will join Hauff in running the Internationale Muenchner Filmwochen from 1 April 2003 and will be solely responsible for the organisation of the Filmfest Muenchen and
  • New Line lines up premieres for The Two Towers

    In a move that enshrines thenotion of a global market, New Line is to stage a series of world premieres forThe Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers. The eagerly awaited second instalment in Peter Jackson'sadaptation of JRR Tolkien's trilogy will make its North American bow inNew York on Dec 5, followed by the European premiere in Paris on Dec 10 and theUK premiere in London on Dec 11. It will premiere in Los Angeles on Dec 15 andon the same day in Copenhagen with the Queen of Denmark in a
  • Palm sells Lockdown to Columbia TriStar

    Chris Blackwell's Palm Pictures has sold US theatrical, non-theatrical, video, TV and other ancillary rights on its prison drama Lockdown to Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment. The picture, which was produced and financed by Palm Pictures and jointly made with No Limit Films and Burg/Koules Productions, chronicles the brutal prison experiences of four men who are wrongly convicted for a drive-by shooting. It stars Richard T Jones, whose credits include Event Horizon and The
  • Palm Springs Film Festival starts with early screening of Chicago

    The 14th Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival, which runs from Jan 9-20 2003, kicks off on Dec 19 with a pre-release special screening of Chicago. The Broadway adaptation is expected to be one of Miramax's jewels in the crown during the awards season and stars Rene Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Richard Gere, Queen Latifah and John C Reilly. It is released in the US on Dec 27. In keeping with the theme, the picture's noted costume designer Colleen Atwood will receiv
  • Panic Room tops $100m international gross for CTFDI

    Columbia TriStar Film Distributors International (CTFDI) held firm in the UK despite the Harry Potter juggernaut, securing third and fourth places with Mr Deeds and XXX respectively. XXX, showing on around 2,500 screens in the international market including those territories booked by co-producer Revolution Studios and its partners, took $4.4m over the weekend for a grand $117.2m running total. In the UK alone it held well on $700,000, impressively dropping only 27
  • Paramount Pictures to tap German equity fund for two titles

    Despite the growing caution among German investors, Paramount Pictures is set to access private German equity for the financing of biopic Against The Ropes and the high school comedy The Perfect Score. After collaborating with the German financing companies SachsenFonds and EastMerchant last year on a Euros 52.7m fund for the financing of romantic comedy How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days (Screen Daily, 27 November 2001), Paramount Pictures is now likely to be the benefi
  • Pathe takes over FilmFour slate

    Pathe UK has confirmed it is taking over 11 titles from FilmFour, the UK film operation being scaled back by broadcasting parent Channel 4.Pathe will handle UK distribution and international sales on the package, which includes Motorcycle Diaries, To Kill A King, It's All About Love and Once Upon A Time In The Midlands. Pathe has also taken over sole distribution of Jeepers Creepers II, Wrong Turn and Bullet Proof Monk, which were co-acquired by the two comp
  • Potter's record opening has little impact on UK holdovers

    Despite the record-breaking openings recorded by both Warner Bros' Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets and Momentum Pictures' Bowling For Columbine (see separate Screendaily stories) the rest of the UK chart saw relatively small percentage drops from the previous week.As already reported on this site, the second film in the Harry Potter franchise grossed $16.2m (£10.3m) from 1,275 screens at 524 sites over the three-day weekend. This put it ahead of the $1
  • PPP wraps with attendance record

  • PPP wraps with attendance record

    Local Korean director Hong Sang-soo anda team of Taiwanese directors headed by veteran Hou Hsiao-hsien were named asprize-winners at the Pusan Promotion Plan (PPP) projects and co-productionmarket that is held parallel with the Pusan festival. Determiningthe real winners - in terms of which projects get the finance and commercialpartners they need - will only emerge over the next year or so. But given thegrowing level of interest in this year's PPP - the 5th such event - whichwrapped
  • Protesters picket Crimen's Hollywood premiere

    Protesters led by ultra conservative group The American Society for the Defence of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP) picketed the Hollywood premiere of Mexican priest scandal drama El Crimen Del Padre Amaro last Thursday. Samuel Goldywn Jr, whose company holds North American distribution rights, invited the group to watch the movie, but they declined. The R-rated drama opened Friday (Nov 15) across key cities of the US scoring a respectable $450,000 (est) during its first th
  • Pusan festival gets off to a uneven start

    The Pusan festival, Asia's premier cinema showcase now in its seventh edition, got off to an uneven start with a mixture of charming details and logistical headaches.VIPs arriving at the opening night ceremony, for instance were given first use of an awesome new road-bridge spanning the bay and more than halving the journey-time from one end of the two centred event to the other. The bridge, which has yet to be opened to the public was promptly closed again. Asked why the festival visi
  • Pusan's PPP shows way into Asian film

    Prospective financiers and co-producers will get the opportunity to invest in some of Asia's hottest film projects at the 5th Pusan Promotion Plan which runs November 18-20 in South Korea. Running alongside the Pusan International Film Festival, the Pusan Promotion Plan (PPP) has quickly achieved prominence as a pre-market for upcoming projects by new and established Asian filmmakers. The event now attracts upwards of 1,000 industry guests from Hollywood to Europe and arranges hundred
  • Pusan's problems reflect Asian industry's growing pains

    The inconsistencies at this year's Pusan International Film Festival and the Pusan Promotion Plan (PPP) reflect the uneven progress of the growing Asian film industry.The festival and productions markets were hampered by growing pains, most notably the decision to locate in two different districts of Pusan which are an hour apart. This meant that delegates were forced to split into separate camps, one with film screening facilities, talent and consumer press; the othe
  • Satin Rouge scoops top prize at Turin

    Raja Amari's French-Tunisian title, Satin Rouge, scooped the top prize at the Turin Film Festival (Nov 7-15), Italy's pre-eminent event for international cutting-edge films.Amari's drama focuses on a mother who discovers a whole new world when she enters, by chance, a Tunis nightclub.A special mention went to Flying With One Wing (Tani Tatuwen Piyabannat), a dramatic picture from Sri Lankan director Asoka Handagama. The movie revolves around a mechanic who is sexua
  • Scottish short to get feature-length US remake

    New York-based Kinetic Arts is to produce a feature-length version of the award-winning Scottish short Leonard. Written by Richard Smith and directed by Brian Kelly, the Stella Maris production tells of a lonely middle-aged man at the mercy of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and his reunion with a long lost son. Starring Denis Lawson and Stewart Wilkinson, it received a world premiere at the Edinburgh International Film Festival in August 2001 and has subsequently bee
  • See How They Run (Embrassez Qui Vous Voudrez)

    Dir: Michel Blanc. France. 103minsFrench comedy writer-actor Michel Blanc has struck critical and commercial pay dirt with his fourth directing effort in two decades. See How They Run is a darkly funny, sometimes farcical comedy of manners during a traditional summer holiday at the French seaside. Tart comic portraiture and dialogue, fine ensemble performances, and Blanc's assured handling of the complex overlapping narrative makes this one of the best and most exporta
  • Shoujyo, City Of God win top prizes at AFI FEST

    FernandoMereilles' Brazilian crime epic City Of God continued its run of festival success bywinning the audience award for best international feature film at AFI FEST inLos Angeles which ended on Sunday night with a screening of PedroAlmodovar's Talk To Her.Other audienceaward winners were Tasha Oldham's The Smith Family which won in the best internationaldocumentary film category and The Box Man directed by Nirvan Mullick which won in best internationalshor
  • Spain's digital satellite platforms get qualified greenlight for merger

    The planned pay TV merger between Spain's two digital satellite platforms - Via Digital and Canal Satelite Digital (CSD) - got a qualified green light this week from the nation's Competition Defense Court (Tribunal de Defensa de la Competencia).The Court outlined ten key conditions for the merged platform, including that a significant percentage of its channels be owned by third-party companies, that rights deals for football matches be limited to three years, and that output deals wit
  • Splendid, Artisan team on U-Boat

    Splendid Pictures has begun production in Los Angeles on the wartime thriller U-Boat, starring William H Macy, Lauren Holly and Scott Caan. North American rights have gone to Artisan Entertainment as part of a two-picture deal under which Artisan also acquired North American rights to Heaven's Pond, which is currently in post-production. Splendid will sell U-Boat to other territories worldwide.U-Boat centres on a group of American POWs who are forced to co-operate
  • Susan Wrubel leaves Madstone for Emerging Pictures

    Emerging Pictures, the New York-based production, representation and exhibition outfit run by Ira Deutchman, has hired former Madstone Films vice president of acquisitions Susan Wrubel in a scouting drive before the Sundance Film Festival. Wrubel will act as consultant to seek out one or two pictures for representation at the event in Jan.A seasoned marketing and distribution specialist, Wrubel joined Madstone from New Yorker Films, where she was vice president of acquisitions and thea
  • Sweden seeks to develop links with German market

    On Friday Nov 22 the Swedish minister of culture will open a Swedish Film Week in Berlin. According to Ase Kleveland, managing director of the Swedish Film Institute, the event marks the start of a three-year campaign in the German market by the Swedish Film Institute. "Outside the Nordic region, Germany is the most important market for Swedish films. Germany is home to numerous commercial partners both in terms of production and distribution, and there are many historical links betwee
  • The Mill cuts its film division out of the picture

    In a further sign of the difficult times facing the UK film industry, Oscar winning special effects company, The Mill, is pulling out of feature film. The London based company is blaming the move on the volatile nature of the industry and a desire to concentrate on its advertising activities.A huge blow to London's effects business, the move will also mean significant redundancies from the company. The core Mill Film team of 35 people regularly rises to around 150 staff via a freelance
  • The Touch adds sales, hits US delivery delay

    Big-budget Hong Kong action-adventure, The Touch has wrapped up a number of additional sales, but has hit a snag with delivery of the final version to Miramax for the US.In the days since Mifed, Sabrina Chen, sales chief at the film's principal backer Han Entertainment, has inked key distribution deals with Scanbox for Scandinavia and with Deal for France. A deal for Japan is understood to be imminent. The French deal is particularly significant for Han as the original li
  • There's nothing like the present for Japanese cinema

    With the economy stagnant and the political situation in turmoil, its no wonder Japanese audiences want to escape the present. Fittingly, there are an extraordinary number of new Japanese live-action films set in the past or in the future. And yet, only a few years ago both the sci-fi and period genres were all but dead in Japan (though the former was an animation staple).The revival of the period drama has been underway for some time now, with older audiences dr
  • US remake of The Ring outperforms original in Japan

    The Hollywood remake of Hideo Nakata's 1998 horror Ringu has already become a bigger hit in Japan than the original, after just three weeks on release. Topping the box office chart the first week after opening on November 2, Gore Verbinski's The Ring (pictured) has grossed $8.3m (Y1bn) from 800,000 admissions as of November 17, from 250 screens nationwide. This compares with the total $6.6m (Y800m) earned by Ringu. (pictured, left)
  • Van Helsing locates to Prague for winter shoot

    Stephen Sommers' Van Helsing has entered pre-production in Prague, with principle photography on the monster thriller set to start in the Czech capital in January.Universal's latest creature feature, following Sommers directed blockbusters The Mummy, The Mummy Returns and The Scorpion King, is the first large US production to land in Prague since flooding of historic proportions swept through the city in August, causing millions in damage. Fox's ongoing shoo
  • Vivendi shares leap at rejection of billion dollar bid for entertainment assets

    Vivendi Universal has been approached with a Euros 15bn offer for its entertainment assets by a consortium of businessmen - including oil billionaire Marvin Davis (pictured), the former owner of Twentieth Century Fox - but is refusing to sell. As a result, Vivendi shares ended the day (Thursday) up 21.2% in Paris at Euros 13.8 - the largest single-day rise for the company in years.According to The Wall Street Journal the offer was for assets including Universal Studios, Universal Music
  • Wellspring takes Madame Sata to the US

    New York-based Wellspring Media has acquired US distribution rights to Brazilian biopic Madame Sata, the directorial debut of Karim Ainouz, which had its world premiere in Cannes' Un Certain Regard this year. According to Wellspring acquisitions head Krysanne Katsoolis, the company is scheduling a platform theatrical release in April 2003 to be followed by a home video release on the Wellspring label. Wellspring began acquisition talks soon after seeing it at Toronto, acc
  • World records crumble to Chamber Of Secrets

    Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets stormed to the top of the charts in eight international markets with a stunning non-holiday weekend tally of $54m from 3,284 screens and 6.3m admissions. Results in the UK were particularly impressive. In a new series of industry records that beat the old mark set last year by Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone, the picture took an estimated $29.2m, including four days of previews, from 1,275 screens. Chamber Of Secrets scored
  • Zona leads Serbia/Montenegro box office charge

    Government initiatives introduced early last year, which were expected to result in large increases in admissions in Serbia and Montenegro, appear to have paid off with the week ending November 10 giving the territory its highest grossing week in history.Boasting a massive 254,587 admissions ($490,300), an increase of more than 150% compared to the same period last year, the week was a triumph led by local hit Zamfir's Zona.This year's total box office, now 2,708,776 admi