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22 July 2004

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  • ...and has a blockbusting first day on release in France

    Spider-Man 2 attracted 112,902 visitors on its firstday (Wed, July 14) of projection in Paris and its suburbs, according to itsdistributor, Columbia.The film beat thehalf-million mark in France with 502,494 tickets sold, without sneak previews.880 copies of the Sam Raimi film were distributed, 52 of them in Paris. Reviewshave been strong; it is considered by critics to be intended for the generalpublic as well as film enthusiasts.Only HarryPotter and the Prisoner of Az
  • AFM ties up with Loews Hotel Santa Monica till 2008

    The American Film Market(AFM) has signed a multi-year deal with the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel tocontinue holding the annual eight-day trade event through 2008.The Loews first hosted theevent, now in its 25th anniversary year, in 1991. The next market is scheduledto take place in its new November slot from Nov 3-10."The Loews and the city ofSanta Monica have truly become the home of the AFM," Jonathan Wolf, executivevice president of the Independent Film
  • Amorette Jones heads up marketing at Arenas

    Amorette Joneshas joined Latino entertainment and marketing outfit Arenas Entertainment asmarketing chief and will oversee all theatrical campaigns as well as advisingon the company's talent management concerns."Jones' trackrecord and sensibility proves that she can take a film project and deploy aneffective campaign across multiple platforms reaching a broad-based audience,"Arenas chief executive officer Santiago Pozo said in a statement."The Latino audience
  • Anders unveils lineup for second rock & roll film festival in LA

    The secondannual Don't Knock The Rock Film And Music Festival will kick off in Hollywoodon Aug 12 with Gandulf Hennig's Gram Parsons: Fallen Angel and closes on Aug 15 with VickiTischler-Blue's Edgeplay - A Film About The Runaways.The annualthree-day film and music extravaganza launched last year by director AllisonAnders includes screenings of Michael Apted's Loretta Lynn biography CoalMiners' Daughter, MandyStein's blues documentary You See
  • Babelsberg workforce protest at takeover

    Studio Babelsberg's workforce has appealed toFederal Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder to intervene following this week'sdecision by Vivendi Universal to sell the production centre to a German groupof investors.In an Open Letter delivered to Schroeder on Thursdayafternoon, works committee chairman Jans-Peter Schmarje described the choice ofthe group led by Carl Woebcken and Christoph Fisser as 'evidently theworst option' since 'both investors left bankruptcies and court casesin their previo
  • Bodrov readies Genghis Kahn epic

    Russian filmmaker Sergei Bodrov is set to begin shooting hisnew film Mongol (The Early Years of Genghis Khan) this autumn. Thedirector of the Oscar nominated Prisoner Of The Caucuses is also actingas co-producer alongside Sergei Selyanov, head of the St Petersburg based STVFilm.Bodrov has teamed up again with scriptwriter Arif Alyev whowon the European Film Academy prize for his script for The Prisoner Of TheCaucuses in 1996.The story recounts the early life
  • Brogliatti promoted to executive vp at Warner Bros

    Barbara S Brogliatti (pictured) hasbeen promoted to executive vice president and chief corporate communicationsofficer at Warner Bros Entertainment.Brogliatti will continue tohead up press activities, serving as the company's official spokesperson andchief press officer. She reports directly to Warner Bros Entertainment chairmanand chief executive officer Barry M Meyer.The position involveshandling corporate press as well as regulatory, civic, legal and businessissues, and strat
  • Brother To Brother, Wild Side top Outfest winners

    Rodney Evans's HarlemRenaissance drama Brother To Brother won the OUTstanding American Narrative Feature awardyesterday (18), while Sebastien Lifshitz won the OUTstanding InternationalNarrative Feature prize for the drama Wild Side at the 22nd annual Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Film Festival Outfest.Jessica Chandler's A FineState This Is took the OUTstandingDocumentary Feature prize for its profile of lesbian artist Deborah FargoWhitman, while Roger Robinson won be
  • Chaplin's Limelight buys Cannon library of 27 titles

    Limelight Films, theLA-based production, financing and distribution company headed up by CharlieChaplin's granddaughter Keira Chaplin, has acquired the remaining CannonLibrary.The 27-title libraryincludes No Place To Hidestarring Drew Barrymore, Rescue Mestarring Stephen Dorf, and The Hitman, which stars Chuck Norris.Limelight owns worldwiderights to the library, while Warner Home Video owns North American DVD andvideo rights to 21 of the pictures.The
  • China box office stunned by Flying Daggers

    Chinese director ZhangYimou's martial arts epic House Of FlyingDaggers has become the biggestever opener in China.Released on 360 printsacross China, the hugely anticipated period film was the number one earner overthe weekend (July 16-18), collecting $6.7m (RMB55m).The opening figure passedthe previous record held by Zhang's Hero,which earned $6.2m (RM52m) on 300 prints in its first three days when it wasreleased during Christmas 2002.Distributor Beijing Ne
  • Chomet teams with Universal for Despereaux

    Academy Awardnominee Sylvain Chomet is attached to direct an animated adaptation of KateDiCamillo's 2004 Newbery Award winning children's book The Tale OfDespereaux for UniversalPictures.The book, whosefull name is The Tale Of Despereaux: Being The Story Of A Mouse, A Princess,Some Soup, And A Spool Of Threadim, has resided on the New York Times bestseller list sinceSeptember 2003 and has sold more than one million copies to date.The storycentres on the escapades o
  • Cinepool strikes first Schloendorff sales

    Cinepool has concluded its first sales for Volker Schloendorff's TheNinth Day (Der Neunte Tag) ahead of its world premiere screening inLocarno's Piazza Grande open-air programme on August 5.Cinepool sales executive Wolfram Skowronnek-Schaer told ScreenDaily.comthat the moral drama has already been sold to Switzerland's Filmcoopi andHungary's Best Hollywood and "negotiations are also underway with severalother territories."The co-production between
  • ContentFilm takes UK rights to Pawlikowski's Love

    ContentFilm has acquired UK rights to My Summer Of Love, the second film from award-winning director PawelPawlikowski (The Last Resort).The acquisition is the first to be made by ContentFilm plcsince their recent takeover of Winchester Entertainment.Produced by Tanya Seghatchian (Harry Potter) and Chris Collins (Tomorrow La Scala,Last Resort), My Summer Of Love is a BBCFilms, The Film Consortium and Baker Street film in association with the UK Film Co
  • Douglas gets Independent by Nature award at Aspen

    Michael Douglaswill receive the 26th Aspen Filmfest's Independent By Nature Award for his"significant contribution to film culture" at the opening night ceremony onSept 29."As a performerand a producer, Michael Douglas has played a significant role in definingcontemporary American film-making at its versatile, risk-taking best,"executive director Laura Thielen said in a statement."Drama, comedy,film, television, theatre - he appears to have no limits and has
  • DreamWorks to spin off animation unit in IPO

    DreamWorks SKG is planningto sell off its DreamWorks Animation unit in an initial public offering (IPO)of up to $650m in Class A common stock.The studio said it had filedregistration papers with the Securities and Exchange Commission, however it isunderstood details were not disclosed on the number of shares offered nor theprojected price range of the IPO.According to the AssociatedPress, DreamWorks said it intends to keep approximately $175m of the netproceeds from the IPO for
  • Dungeons & Dragons II rolls into Lithuania

    Principal photography on thethird production from the Studio Hamburg WorldWide Pictures (WWP) fund, Dungeons& Dragons II: The Elemental Might, is scheduled to begin in Vilnius,Lithuania, on July 26.Zink Entertainment, adivision of Joel Silver's Silver Pictures, which produced the first film basedon the internationally popular role-playing game, is acting as the serviceproducer for WWP. Distribution for the USA and certain other territories hasalready been picked up by Warner Hom
  • EC proposes Euros 1bn for MEDIA budget

    The European Commission (EC) has adopted the plan for a newMEDIA Programme - entitled MEDIA 2007 - to run from January 1 2007 to 31December 2013 with a proposed budget of Euros 1.055bn, up from the currentProgramme's Euro 493m.In the seven-year budget breakdown, Euros 318m would beallocated for the improvement of skills and project development; Euros 566m for distribution, exhibitionand promotion measures; Euros 52mfor pilot projects; Euros 34.7m for institutions such as the network of
  • EMI buys into Hong Kong's Golden Harvest

    EMI Group, the world'sthird-largest music company, plans to buy a stake in Hong Kong film maker anddistributor Golden Harvest Entertainment.Golden Harvest said in astatement on Monday it wants to raise US$4.9m (HK$38m) via the issue of 155million new shares to Typhoon Music (PRC) Ltd. which is jointly owned by EMIGroup and EMI Music South East Asia's Chairman.When the transaction is completed, Typhoon Musicwill hold a 14.91% stake in Golden Harvest, making it the third largestsh
  • Fahrenheit 9/11 scores in Middle East

    Michael Moore'scontroversial Fahrenheit 9/11 debuted at number one at the United ArabEmirates' box office last week, its first opening in an Arab state in theMiddle East.Its distributor,UAE-based Front Row Entertainment, said the film brought in over 26,000admissions for a gross box office of $211,000 in five days on 16 screens.The film opened on July 14, and was up against films such as Agent CodyBanks 2: Destination London and EuroTrip.The United ArabEmirates aud
  • Ferretti hired to revamp Venice's Palazzo del Cinema

    The Venice Biennale is revamping the front of its historicPalazzo del Cinema to give it a glitzy new look for the upcoming 61st VeniceFilm Festival (Sept 1-11, 2004).Biennale president Davide Croff has hired world-renown setdesigner Dante Ferretti (Gangs of New York, Cold Mountain, The Aviator) to work on the Palazzo's new look, as well as toparchitect Matteo Thun.This year, onlookers will see stars such as Tom Hanks andCatherine ZetaJoneswaltz up
  • Ferri juggles Faenza, Benigni projects

    EldaFerri, the Italian producer behind Gianni Amelio's likely Venice contender, TheKeys To The House, is lining up two new features by critically-acclaimeddirector Roberto Faenza.Faenza,whose last film The Soul Keeper was a critical and box-office hit inItaly where it grossed over Euros 3.5m, is to shoot a new picture adapted fromEl
  • FINLAND 21 July

    Thealluring Stepford Wives had little chance of toppling Spider-Man 2from the top of the Finnish chart with an print release compared to the webbedhero's 60 prints.Notmuch else changed in the weekend, which saw films on release gross a total ofEuros231,254 - almost exactly the same as last year's Euros 231, 018.
  • French admissions cross 100m in first six months

    More than 100million filmgoers went to French cinemas in the first half of 2004, an increaseof 19% over the first six months of last year, and 8% over the stronger firsthalf of 2002, according to the National Federation of French Cinemas (FNCF).102,540,000tickets were sold in the first six months of this year, compared to 86,210,000for the same period in 2003.Twenty-five filmsattracted over one million viewers, a list led by Les Choristes byChristophe Barratier (6,567,037
  • French Top Gun takes off above Paris

    Billing itself asa "Top Gunà la Française," the movie Chevaliers du Ciel (Knightsof the Sky), beganfilming in Paris at the beginning of July, and shot its climax scene over theheads of thousands on Wednesday.Loosely based onthe French aviation comic book Tanguy & Laverdure, which was created 40 years ago, themovie is directed by Gerard Pirès, whose most recent workincludes Double Zero, Riders, and the successful action film Taxi.
  • German fund to raise Euros 230m for Universal

    Germany's Hannover Leasing(HL) is to partner again with Universal Studios on its second Montranus mediafund, which is to be launched this September to raise at least Euros 230m forinvesting in several feature films by the US studio.The first Montranus mediafund was, says HL, fully placed "within only a few weeks."To date, HL has initiatedand placed eleven media funds in the market with an overall investment volumeof over Euros 1bn, with participation in such films as Rush Hou
  • GERMANY 21 July

    Germany was at last blessed withsummer-like temperatures, but this had a negative effect on cinema attendancesas shown by the 50%-plus slip in admissions for Spider-Man 2 and Shrek2. UIP's 252-print release of The Stepford Wives was the only othertitle apart from the Top 2 to pass the 100,000 admissions barrier, while 20thCentury Fox's Walking Tall remake only mustered 71,808
  • Giffoni unveils youthful line-up

    David Carradine, Ben Kingsley, Ken Loach and actress MariaGrazia Cucinotta are among the guests who will attend the 34th edition of theGiffoni Film Festival (July 17-24), one of the leading festivals in the worlddedicated to youth-themed films.The festival's competition line-up includes Maria Full ofGrace, Les Choristes, The Wooden Camera, Chilean film Machuca byAndres Wood, the Frazzi brothers' Karlovy Vary winner A Children's Story(Certi Bambini) and German anima
  • Harry Potter can't stop grossing for Warner Bros

    Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban grossed an estimated $20.4m fromapproximately 6,300 screens at the weekend to raise its internationalcumulative score to $435.2m.
  • High profile Korean slate wins Happinet funding

    Korean distributor-turned producerChungeorahm Film has signed an investment deal with Japanese distributor HappinetPictures worth $1.7m of production finance.The deal spans all six films onChungeorahm's intial production slate including disaster movie The River, by Memories Of Murder-director Bong Joon-ho, Hong Sang-soo's untitledsixth fi
  • HONG KONG 19 July

    Johnnie To action drama ThrowDown opened in third position with a respectable US$628,172 from 33screens, but was no match for Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkabanwhich grossed more than US$2m in its opening week.Produced by To's MilkywayImage for China Star Entertainment, Throw Down tells the story of aretired judo champion who is dragged back into the sport when a cocky would-beopponent challenges him to a duel. The all-star cast includes T
  • Hong Kong pirates get six-and-a-half year jail sentences

    The mastermindsbehind a criminal syndicate that pirated tens of millions of optical discs havebeen sentenced to six and a half years each in prison.In the harshestprison sentences ever awarded in a piracy case, Hong Kong's High Court jailedhusband and wife Tsoi Kei Lung and Ng Kam Fung following a global manhunt thatlasted two and a half years.Tsoi and Ng wereoriginally arrested in Hong Kong in 1998 when officers seized more than 22millegal discs manufactured
  • I, Robot

    Dir: Alex Proyas.2004. USA.Will Smithreturns to what he does best - kicking ass in summer popcorn movies- in the high-tech thriller I, Robot, a workmanlike sci-fi/action hybrid from dystopiandarling Alex Proyas that fuses the burgeoning artificial intelligence industrywith homeland security concerns, proposing a nightmarish scenario ofenlightened robots running amok through a sleek, angular and vaguelytotalitarian Chicago circa 2035. Smith's considerable fan
  • Japan's Amuse Soft pays record sum for Secrets

    South Koreancomedy Everybody Has Secrets -- an official remake of GerardStembridge's Irish-UK co-production About Adam (2000) -- has clinchedKorea's biggest ever sale to Japan.Amuse Soft Entertainmentbought the title for a $2.5m guarantee together with a commitment to spend atleast $3m in p&a costs.'The salewas handled directly by Chung Tae-won, head of the film's production companyTaewon Entertainment, on a recent trip to Japan.'Amuse Soft (not to be confused with Amuse
  • King Arthur reigns in Australia with $2.4m gross

    Buena Vista's KingArthur opened in itsfirst international markets through BVI at the weekend including Australia,where it opened top on $2.4m from 245 screens.The self-styled realistic account of the mystical Britishlegend opened top in Singapore on a strong $397,000 on 33 and 35% market share,top in Malaysia on $324,000 from 41, and number one in the Philippines on$312,000 from 40.It opened thirdbehind Shrek 2 and Spider-Ma
  • Love In The Time Of Cholera headed to the screen

    ScottSteindorff's Stone Village Pictures has acquired film rights to Nobel Prizewinner Gabriel Garcia Marquez's acclaimed romance Love In The Time OfCholera.Steindorff will produce and package the project, atypically magic realist tale of unrequited love, before submitting it tostudios and financiers.The deal is saidto be worth more than $1m and, with a production bonus, will net Marquez closeto $3m.Company vicepresident Dylan Russell brought the
  • Lyon benefits from Bollywood Promise

    Over the pastweek, the city of Lyon has welcomed a film crew from India to shoot exteriorshots for Bollywood musical The Promise (Vadaa)."The film is asocial romantic thriller, with six or seven flashbacks," explained the film'sdirector, Satish Kaushik, while watching a musical scene shot in front of thefamous Bartholdi fountain at Place des Terreaux in front of the city's Hotel deVille.The film will bereleased in October, and is being shot in Hindi. It will star m
  • Markline gets vp stripes in international publicity at Universal Pictures

    Mark Markline has beenpromoted to vice president of international publicity at Universal Pictures,where he will oversee the bulk of the studio's international theatricalcampaigns from production through release in all territories.Based on the studio lot inLos Angeles, Markline will immediately begin work on such titles as TheBourne Supremacy, Ray, and KingKong, among others. He will reportto international marketing and distribution president David Koss
  • Menke, Dykstra, Wolsky among honorees at Hollywood Film Awards

    Quentin Tarantino's longtimecollaborator Sally Menke will receive the Hollywood Editor of the Year Awardand Oscar winning visual effects artist John Dykstra will receive the HollywoodVisual Effects of the Year Award at the upcoming Hollywood Film Awards on Oct 18.In other special awards tobe handed out at the Beverly Hilton Hotel ceremony, Oscar winning costumedesigner Albert Wolsky will collect the Hollywood Costume Designer of the YearAward and Oscar winning prod
  • Michael Koelmel avoids jail sentence

    The court case against Michael Koelmel concluded thismorning (July 22), with the Kinowelt co-founder receiving a suspended sentenceof one year and ten months from Munich's District Court.The courtaccepted four counts of embezzlement and the claim that Koelmel wilfullydelayed the filing of insolvency. However, Koelmel was cleared of fraud.In addition to the sentence, the court imposed a fine ofEuros 126,000 and obliged him to pay another Euros 200,000 to charitableinstitutions.
  • Michael Koelmel faces up to nine years in jail

    Kinowelt co-founder Michael Koelmel faces apossible nine-year prison sentence for claims of embezzlement, fraud anddelaying the filing of insolvency.The case against Koelmel opened in mid-April inMunich's District Court, and centres on the bankruptcy of Kinowelt in 2001.In their closing speeches on Tuesday, publicprosecutors Markus Kammann and Mathias Buering called for a total prisonsentence of nine years, claiming that Koelmel had channelled around Euros 30minto his own pocket
  • Montreal gives a new look to film market

    The MontrealInternational Film Market is putting a new spin on trade shows.The nine-daymarket, which coincides with the Montreal World Film Festival, is abandoningthe trade-booth format of traditional markets to focus on an increased numberof meet-and-greet cocktails and enhanced meeting areas.In a statement,market director Gilles Beriault said the changes would give buyers and sellersgreater opportunities for face-to-face discussions and negotiations. He saidthe market expects
  • New Babelsberg chiefs outline studio strategy

    International feature film production is toremain a top priority at the Babelsberg studios, the new owners Carl Woebckenand Christoph Fisser said yesterday.The pair were speaking at a press conferenceafter their first meeting with studio management and representatives of theworkforce.The two owners' first public appearance came asthe news broke that Gerhard Bergfried, managing director of Studio BabelsbergGmbH, responsible for the studio facilities, has stepped down "at thereque
  • NORWAY 21 July

    Despitethree new releases this week, Spider-Man 2 and Harry Potter And ThePrisoner Of Azkaban continued to rule supreme over the Norwegianbox-office. Spider-Man 2 took a solid NOK37.316 screen average on itshigh 84 prints despite dropping 52% since last weekend. That was, however,beaten by the fastfood-bashing feature documentary Supersize Me, whichon its just five prints sco
  • Oz funding body gets proactive about scripts

    In a challenge to Australia's filmmaker-is-kingculture, state agency the Pacific Film and Television Commission (PFTC) istesting a couple of US people for the job of in-house development executive.PFTC head of production Henry Tefay is looking for someonewho understands cinematic storytelling and reaching audiences, could well takeexecutive producer credits on projects -- and is probably not Australian. Hepaints the plan as Queensland's answer to the hothousing that other stateagencies
  • Palm picks up domestic, UK rights to rap doc Freestyle

    PalmPictures has acquired North American, UK and Caribbean rights to KevinFitzgerald's documentary Freestyle: The Art Of Rhyme.
  • ProSieben strikes DreamWorks package deal

    The ProSiebenSat.1 Group has secured the Germanfree-TV, first-run rights to all DreamWorks feature films and selected TVseries from 2006 to 2010 from Telepool.The deal with the Munich-based license traderextends the original agreement from 1997 when Telepool acquired the DreamWorkspackage of free-TV rights and sold on the rights to the ProSiebenSat.1 Group,among others, for 1997 to 2005.Over the past 18 months, the ProSiebenSat.1Group has concluded package deals with Paramount P
  • Riddick opens for Universal in Brazil, Mexico, Colombia

    Universal's The Chronicles Of Riddick expanded into Latin America through UIPat the weekend with openings in Brazil, Colombia and Mexico.The picture opened sixthin Brazil on an estimated $200,000 on 112 screens, while it opened fifth inMexico on $525,000 on 313. Colombia r
  • Roma Studios ravaged by fire

    A fire hasravaged Roma Studios, destroying the set of ABC's ancient Rome series, Empireand a large part of the studio.It took 12fire engines five hours to extinguish the fire, which destroyed an area of2,800 square metres. Damage is estimated to in the region of 'tens ofthousands of Euros,' according to national daily Il Messaggero,
  • Russian Watch clocks up record box office

    Russian produced horror film Night Watch, directed byTimur Bekmambetov, is on its way to becoming one of the top grossing filmsin Russian box office history, challenging the $14m record set by Lord OfThe Rings: The Return Of The King. Local audiences are also eagerlyawaiting the sequel Night Watch II due for release on 27 July.Distributed by Moscow based Gemini Film International (GFI)and produced by ORT Television team Konstantin Ernst and Anatoly Ma
  • SAG stages public foreclosure auction for seven films

    The ScreenActors Guild (SAG) has taken the unprecedented step of recovering residualsowed by so-called "problem producers" to union members by selling rights toseven films at a public foreclosure auction.As part of SAG'scollective bargaining agreements, producers frequently guarantee payments toperformers and use the film rights as a form of collateral.In thisinstance, the union said the producers defaulted on their residual payments,which amounted to more th
  • Shark Tale gets matinee slot at Toronto Film Festival

    Dreamworks'eagerly anticipated animated feature Shark Tale will receive its North American premiereas a matinee gala at the upcoming 29th Toronto International Film Festival(TIFF).Shark Tale is one of two matinee galas that arebeing introduced to the festival this year, raising the number of galascreenings from 18 to 20.The date of the SharkTale screening and theidentity of the second gala screening will be announced by organisers in duec
  • She Hate Me

    Dir: Spike Lee. US. 2004. 138 mins.There is not a more fascinating - and exasperating -film-maker working today than Spike Lee. He is one of the few directors whosecontrol of the medium is so assured and his style so elegant that a viewercan't help but be sucked into his world. Yet the worlds he cooks up are oftenso confused and contrived that it is hard to like his movies without majorreservations.She Hate Me is archetypal Spike. After thegrimly compelling The 25th Ho
  • Singer hired to direct new Superman for Warner Bros.

    Warner Bros' on-again, off-again Superman project appears to be back on track asthe studio announced yesterday (18) that it had signed a deal with Bryan Singerto direct.
  • Sky Italia strikes landmark deal with Italian producers

    After months of negotiations, Italy's only pay-TVplatform, Sky Italia, has signed a landmark deal with Italian producers toinvest Euros 46m in Italian cinema over the next two years.Under thedeal, Sky will buy all Italian films whose pay-tv rights became available fromJanuary 1, 2004 and which have registered over 25,000 admissions in Italiancinemas. Such films represent 50% of all Italian picture
  • Smith delivers the goods for Fox with I, Robot

    It takes an army of robots and a mega-star to beat Spider-Manthese days, and 20th Century Fox's I, Robot did just that at the weekend, consigningthe arachnid to second place as it opened top on a mighty estimated $52.3m.
  • Spider-Man 2 finally dethrones Shrek 2

    The Asian marketplace onceagain showed its strength this week while the Hollywood blockbuster sequelscontinued to battle for pole position.Spider-Man 2 finally took the lead from Shrek 2 inits third week after launching in a slew of European and Middle Easternterritories including the UK and France. In the process the webslinger breezedpassed the $200m international mark.Not to be outdone Shrek2's $25.6m weekend saw the animated sequel ease past the $
  • Spider-Man 2 goes all-out in western Europe...

    Riding high on $126m ininternational ticket sales, Spider-Man 2 is expected to continue its storming early run with huge bows in threemajor European markets this weekend.The comic book sequel openedthrough Columbia TriStar Film Distributors International (CTFDI) in France on915 screens on Jul 14 and goes out in Spain the same day on 605. It opens inthe UK on a massive 1,117 screens on Jul 15.The webslinger will prosperin all three territories if the performances of Spi
  • Spider-Man 2 spins worldwide web of $500m

    Spider-Man 2 passed $200m on its 19th day as it added $62.3m on 9,400 printsin 61 countries for an estimated $200.1m - the biggest weekend of all time for Columbia TriStar Film DistributorsInternational (CTFDI).
  • Steamboy under pressure on Japanese debut

    Katsuhiro Otomo's long-awaited new animation Steamboy- which cost a record-breaking $22m (Y2.4bn) to make - grossed a weak $2.2m on its three-day opening weekend fromJuly 17 on 262 screens nationwide.With the summer holiday just kicking off, distributor Tohonow expects Steamboy to earn around $13.9 million.By comparison Hayao Miyazaki's Spirited Away grossed$281 million after opening in 2001 in the same mid-July slot. This is thecompany's second major disapp
  • Strand takes US on Thai Cannes hit Malady

    Strand Releasinghas acquired US rights to Apichatpong Weerasethakul's drama Tropical Malady, which played in competition at Cannesearlier this year where it won a special jury prize.Set in the jungles of northeastern Thailand, the pictureexplores the blossoming friendship between a soldier and a country boy who areaffected by a dark spirit."Mr Weerasethakul's unique vision will be a welcomeaddition to Strand's library of film-makers who
  • Strong showing for UK box office in first half of 2004

    The first six months of theatricalbusiness in the UK saw a 5% rise year-on-year thanks largely to a stellarperformance in June. Box office revenues compiled by Nielsen EDI showUK/Ireland figures stood at $728.5m (£393.02m) as of July 1, up from $691.8m (£373.2m)for the same period last year.The launch of Harry PotterAnd The Prisoner Of Azkaban on May 31 helped June figures impr
  • Tartan Video USA signs distribution deal with TLA

    Tartan VideoUSA, the division of Hamish McAlpine's Tartan Films USA, has signed anexclusive deal whereby Philadelphia-based TLA Releasing becomes the sole US distributorof all Tartan Video USA's DVD and video product.Tartan Video USAis set to launch this autumn and executives expect to release 35-40 titles eachyear on DVD and video, 10-12 of which will be distributed theatrically throughTartan Films.Tartan Video'sfirst releases set for October include Joseph Mealey and Michael S
  • Telefilm Canada chief resigns for executive vp role at CBC

    In a surprise move, RichardStursberg, the executive director of Telefilm Canada, has resigned after onlytwo-and-a-half years to accept a position at the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.Stursberg, who was appointedto Telefilm's top job in January 2002, has been embattled of late, havingintroduced a controversial reward system based on a film's performance at theCanadian box office. Stursberg was unavailable for comment at time of going topress.Guy Mayson, president andCEO of the Canad
  • Telefilm Canada to back ten low budget projects

    TelefilmCanada has announced it will back ten projects, six in English and four inFrench, as part of its $1.3m (C$1.7m) Low Budget Independent Feature FilmAssistance Program (LIFAP). All the films are budgeted under $570,000(C$750,000).Theprogramme, introduced in 2000, was given a boost last year when one of itsrecipient projects, Jacob Tierney's Twist, landed an invitation to the 2003 Venice FilmFestival. Telefilm Canada's English operations national sector head forfeature film
  • The Bourne Supremacy

    Dir: Paul Greengrass. US. 2004. 109 mins.Two years ago, it was indie director Doug Liman who turned Robert Ludlumadaptation The Bourne Identity into a surprise summer hit forUniversal. Now British director Paul Greengrass, who previously made festivalprize-winning docudrama Bloody Sunday, gets his chance for a mainstreamUS breakthrough with sequel The Bourne Supremacy, a gripping if slightlymechanical international spy thriller based on Ludlum'
  • The Manchurian Candidate

    Dir:Jonathan Demme. US. 2004. 130 mins.While not all of the choices made in it are successful, Jonathan Demme'scontemporary revamp of John Frankenheimer's marvelous The ManchurianCandidate is unquestionably one of the smarter, more persuasive films toemerge out of a Hollywood studio this year. Loaded with the intensity you'dexpect a cast led by Denzel Washington and Meryl Streep to deliver, Paramount'shigh-powered su
  • Thirst, Or share top Jerusalem prize

    Cannes Critics' Week winners Thirst (Atash) by Tawfik Abou Wael and Keren Yedaya's Or both shared the top prize for bestIsraeli film at the 21st Jerusalem Film Festival.The awards for best actor and actress went to twowell-established veterans, each of them starring in two films screening atJerusalem. Ronit Alkabetz played an over-the-hill prostitute whose daughter istryi
  • Toronto snaps up Shark Tale

    DreamWorks' computer-animated comedy Shark Tale will make its North Americanpremiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, an announcement whichmakes it a virtual lock for a world premiere slot at Venice.Other films that haven't screened previouslymaking North American premieres at Toronto include Todd Solondz's Palindromes, featuring Jennifer JasonLeigh, Ellen Barkin and Chris Penn; Roger Michell's
  • UK/IRELAND 21 July

    Spider-Man2 easily claimed the lead at the UK box office taking$13.5m (£7.2m) over the Fri-Sunday weekend, a 22% improvement on the original2002 film's first three-day take.Thesequel benefited from a PG certificate compared to its predecessor's 12 certificate.
  • UK's Metrodome names Frain as theatrical chief

    UK distributor Metrodome hasappointed Sara Frain to be its new general manager-theatrical, overseeing thecompany's theatrical acquisitions, marketing and sales.Frain joins on September 2from Tartan Films, where she is director of sales and promotions.Metrodome managing directorAndrew Keyte said: "This year has seen us have the biggest theatrical hit(Monster) in our 10 year history and we are looking forward to addingSara's drive, knowledge and enthusiasm to the talents of
  • Venice chief gorges on feast of choices

    The Venice Film Festival'straditionally late announcement of its line-up means that other festivals suchas Edinburgh, Montreal and especially neighbour Locarno have had to secondguess which films the powerful Venice event will select. This year the MarcoMueller effect may be adding to that conundrum.Venice's Mueller appears to besuffering all the pains and pleasures of being the new kid on the block 'albeit one who seemingly has been w
  • Veteran producers to pitch at SPAAMart

    The 14 Australian and six New Zealand projects in thepre-financing market SPAAMart in Queensland next month include second featuresfrom the directors Ana Kokkinos (Head On),Ivan Sen (Beneath Clouds), andChristina Andreef (Soft Fruit).Producers coming with projects include Jan Chapman (ThePiano, Lantana), Trevor Haysom (InMy Father's Den), Daniel Scharf (RomperStomper), Martin Fabinyi (executiveproducer, Chopper), Robin Scholes(Once We
  • Will Smith works wonders for Fox with I,Robot

    It takes an army of robots and a mega-star to beat Spider-Manthese days, and 20th Century Fox's I, Robot did just that at the weekend, consigningthe arachnid to second place as it opened top on a mighty estimated $52.3m.
  • Wornham joins Sundance as director of external affairs

    Cynthia J Wornham has beennamed the Sundance Institute's new director of external affairs, and willoversee all strategic communications initiatives and media relations effortsrelated to the Institute and its artists when she starts work this autumn.Wornham, who is currently anexecutive vice president of Ruder Finn Arts & Communications Counselorsheading up its West Coast office, has broad experience as a strategiccommunications and media relations professional worki