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23 March 2001

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  • Anders' Sun by-passes US theatres for Showtime

    Allison Anders' emotionally-wrenching film about theconsequences of rape, Things Behind The Sun,will receive its first commercial outing later this year as a premiere on theShowtime pay-TV network despite winning widespread critical plaudits at thisyear's Sundance Film Festival.Unable to attract decent enough advances from domestictheatrical distributors, the film's investors appear to have optedinstead for an immediate return from US pay-television by selling the rights topremi
  • Anime finds French-speaking home through Pathe

    Manga Entertainment, the Japaneseanimation specialist, has signed a home entertainment distribution dealthroughout many of the world's French-speaking territories withPathé Distribution of Paris.Under the deal, Pathéwill dub Manga's anime DVD and VHStitles into French and distribute in France and territories such as Belgium, Luxembourg and French-speaking Africa.Manga, no relation to the Spanish distribution operation, is a Chicago, London and Tokyo-based film a
  • AOL Time Warner expands US online ticketing

    AOL Time Warner has formed two separate alliances to expand online ticketing services to over 5,000 entertainment venues in the US, covering more than 85% of cinemas capable of offering internet ticketing.A multi-year pact - dubbed AOL Box Office By Ticketmaster - was struck to distribute the company's ticketing services to all AOL brands. In addition to a co-branded website, Ticketmaster's online network of Citysearch guides will promote AOL's own cinema information and ticketing ser
  • AtomShockwave Corp launched with $22.9m funding

    AtomShockwave Corp - the company created by's high-profile acquisition of Atom Corporation - has launched with $22.9m of financing.The new company, combining online short film specialist AtomFilms and interactive entertainment provider, syndicates games, films and animation to on- and offline customers in traditional and emerging media, such as British Airways, HBO/Cinemax and Microsoft's Pocket PC.Focussing efforts on reaching profitability by year-e
  • Audition attracts attention, but Enemy rules

    The UK/Ireland box office discovered an Enemy At The Gates at the weekend (March 16-18) as Pathe's epic Stalingrad drama besieged the chart, claiming the top position previously held by the seemingly unconquerable Hannibal. The film, which stars Jude Law, Joseph Fiennes and Oscar nominee Ed Harris took $1,478,060 (£1,033,164) from 356 sites for a strong site average of $4,152.Although the Pathe film was joined in the chart by BVI's Thirteen Days it was Metro Tartan's mult
  • Australian independent exhibitors push for change

    Australia's independent cinema owners are planning to push through a number of changes in the code of practices between distributors and exhibitors. The code generated considerable controversy when it was introduced three years ago, but despite increasing transparency in the industry it has failed to satisfy many independents.The Cinema Owners Association of Australia (COAA) has already warned John Dickie, chair of the code administration committee, to expect their recommendations, one
  • Australia's cinema wars move into the courtroom

    Reading Entertainment Australia is heading for the courts over the issue of access to first-release films according to The Age newspaper. Using its Market City cinema site in the heart of Sydney as its latest battle arena, it is claiming in the Federal Court that Roadshow Film Distributors is in breach of the Trade Practices Act and is behaving in a discriminatory and unfair manner.Market City has been a controversial site throughout its short life because its proximity to Sydney's tra
  • Biopic planned of Joy Division's doomed frontman

    The film rights to a book about the life and suicide of Ian Curtis, the singer/songwriter who fronted theManchester pop group Joy Division, has been snapped up the same New York productioncompany that made Michael Almereyda's Hamlet and Jonathan Nossiter's Sundance-winning debut SundayAndrew Fierberg and Amy Hobbyof Double A Films said that they bought the rights to Touching From A Distance, which was published in the UK by Faber and Faber. Written by his widow Deb
  • Blame It On Voltaire

    Dir: Abdellatif Kechiche. France.130mins.Honoured as the best first film atlast year's Venice Film Festival, Blame It On Voltaire is a flawed butaffecting account of an illegal immigrant's adventures in Paris. Though localfilms by and about North Africans (notably Algerians) have long been part ofthe French film scene, first-time writer-director K
  • Bridget Jones's Diary

    Dir: Sharon Maguire. UK. 2001. 90minsTBC.Bridget Jones's bestselling diaries made the fictional thirtysomething singleton Britain's most successful under-achiever of recent years, and the screen version of her intimate journal bears all the signs of becoming the UK's biggest film hit since Notting Hill. Domestically, massive advance publicity and media attention will guarantee dazzling opening figures, while the reputation of the books in the US should secure equally healthy bus
  • British Short Film Festival axed

    The 14 year-old British Short Film festival is to close after the event's title sponsor, BBC Television, withdrew funding.The move comes as recently-installed BBC director general Greg Dyke is under pressure to cut costs from the government. The BBC has backed the annual event since it launched in 1987.Festival director Amanda Casson said replacing the BBC at short notice was "impossible". Casson predicts short films having a tough time securing theatrical exhibition without the
  • Buena Vista increases stake in Japanese product

    Buena Vista International has bought worldwide distribution rights from Toei to Hotaru, a romantic drama starring Japanese screen legend Ken Takakura. This marks the first time that a US major has made this kind of deal for a straight dramatic feature from Japan.Toei will open the film domestically this summer, while Buena Vista is expected to release it in both North America and Europe.The BVI purchase marks a growing interest by Hollywood in Japanese product. Disney own
  • Buskin gets Dynamic as part of new drive

    One of Italy's fastest-growing sales companies, Buskin Film, has sold a five-film package to Panama's Dynamic Group including Peter Del Monte's Against The Wind, which screened recently at the Berlin Film Festival.Buskin, which specializes in Italian auteur cinema, also sold to Dynamic the four films that launched the company at Mifed last year: Giochi Di Equilibrio, directed by Amadeo Fago, Egidio Eronico's Il Guardiano, L'Accertamento from Lucio Lunerti, a
  • Canal Plus denies sale of Expand stake to RTL

    An unsubstantiated report in French newspaper Le Figaro suggesting that Canal Plus is about to sell a stake in Expand, a leading French television production outfit, to Luxembourg's RTL Group has prompted vehement denials.Born of the merger between Ellipse Programmes and the Expand group, Expand is a European leader in gameshow and animation programming and is currently 33% owned by Studio Canal, the film production and distribution offshoot of Canal Plus. This latest spe
  • China and Taiwan dominate popular Fribourg

    Films from China and Taiwan were particularly strong at the 15th edition of Fribourg's festival dedicated to films from Asia, Africa and Latin America, which registered a record attendance of some 22,000 festival-goers between 11-18 March.The International Jury awarded its Grand Prix "Le Regard d'Or" to Yi Yi (A One and a Two) by Edward Yang, while fellow Taiwanese filmmakers Vivian Chang received the SSA/Suissimage Best Script Award and the Youth Jury's E-Changer Award for X
  • Chopper star Eric Bana returns to comedy roots

    Having burst onto cinema screens as violent Australian criminal Mark "Chopper" Read, Eric Bana is to return to comedy, the genre in which he made his name as a stand-up and TV comedian.Bana's second Australian film after last year's Chopper will be Nugget, the story of three road workers who stumble upon the world's biggest nugget of gold. Writer-director Bill Bennett is scheduled to start principal photography in August. International sales duties go to Overseas Filmgrou
  • Cinema on Demand patented

    Marburg-based medianetCom has registered its broadband video-on-demand technology operating under the name of "Cinema on Demand"at the European Patent Office in Munich.Until now, the technology had only been protected in Germany as a registered utility model, but the international patent protection applies not just to the whole of Europe, but also to Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, the Russian Federation, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the USA and the
  • Danish Film Institute banks on serious comedies

    The Danish film industry is currentlychurning out comedies with a touch of seriousness, and with Lone Scherfig'sserious dogme comedy Italian For Beginners taking a Silver-Bear inBerlin, other producers are hoping to follow suit. Among the new (romantic) comedy projectsare veteran Gert Fredholm's One Hand Clapping from Zentropa and HellaJoof's feature debut
  • Danish funds overcome Dogville's language barrier

    Lars von Trier will always be regarded as the exception to any rule, so while there is still some dispute over the Danish Film Institute's reluctance to back Thomas Vinterberg's It's All About Love with more than $357,000 (DKR3m) on the grounds of it being an English-language project, no one is likely to complain about the Institute's $951,000 backing of Denmark's most prominent director's new film Dogville, regardless of it's language."It's the most interesting project I
  • Danish Wise Guy aims for One Hell Of A Christmas

    Denmark's Dogme films this week chalked up another popular success in their home market.After the success of Berlin Silver Bear-winning Italian For Beginners,Ake Sandgren's Truly Human (Et Rigtigt Menneske) opened this week on just 14 prints with an impressive screen average of 840 admissions. That performance put it second in the charts behind Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts-starrer The Mexican, which on 40 prints achieved a screen average of 731.Last weeks num
  • Dirty Deeds is Australia's model for future growth

    If Australia's filmmaking ambitions can be encapsulated in a single film, it is writer/director David Caesar's $5m gangster movie Dirty Deeds, which has pulled off a number of investment firsts.Dirty Deeds is Nine Films & Television's first production commitment, after more than a decade in which there has been no significant feature investment by free-to-air TV channels. As importantly, it introduces the Nine Network, which commands 30% of TV audiences, as a highly ambit
  • Duke Nukem enters a new big screen Dimension

    Duke Nukem is coming to a much bigger screen near you now that Dimension Films has acquired the movie rights to the video game phenomenon from Larry Kasanoff and his Threshold Entertainment. In his feature film debut for the Miramax genre label, Duke assumes the role of Earth's best defense against all form of alien threat;he takes on the dangerous mission of traveling into deep space to intercept analien ship on a collision course for Earth.But while high on testosterone
  • Executive Suite

    Vincent MaravalThe founder of Wild Bunch, which has handled some of the most distinctive films of recent years, including Eureka, pictured, explains how a "research department" has become one of the world's hottest sellers and producers.Why did you start Wild Bunch'We wanted to do sales differently. Historically the international sales part of Canal was in charge of Studio Canal production - mainly French productions. When they saw that this was not eno
  • Exit Wounds

    Dir: Andrzej Bartkowiak. US. 2001. 100 mins. Looking to make a comeback after a run of commercial disappointments, Steven Seagal teams up on Exit Wounds with action king producer Joel Silver and hot rapper DMX. It's a canny move which should bring in both older white males and younger black men and has seen Seagal's best ever box-office opening, taking in $19 million as it occupied the top spot during its first weekend. But it may not be enough to put him back on the action hero A-l
  • Exit Wounds tops US box office, Enemy opens big

    Two new entries performed well at the North American box office but for the second consecutive weekend, the market was down on the same period last year, this time by about 8%.Warner Bros and Village Roadshow Pictures opened their latest co-production, the Joel Silver-produced actioner Exit Wounds in 2,830 theatres for a powerful $19m gross. Directed by Andrzej Bartkowiak, it marks the return to the number one slot for Steven Seagal and indeed the biggest opening ever for the st
  • Exorcist beats Star Wars re-release in France

    Warner Bros' director's cut of The Exorcist turned heads in France on its release, beating the Star Wars re-release with a massive 131,387 admissions from 440 prints on its opening day.The horror classic topped the weekly chart, selling 621,727 tickets in the seven days to March 20. The film, for which director William Friedkin has added 11 minutes of theatrically unseen material, boasted an impressive average of 1,413 admissions per print.By comparison, Star Wa
  • Filmax restructures Spanish animation division

    Following the lead of its successful start-up genre division The Fantastic Factory, Spain's Filmax Group has initiated a restructuring of its animation division, newly dubbed Filmax Animacion.Under the direction of Paco Rodriguez, former head of Spanish rights and production house PPM Multimedia, Filmax's animation division will incorporate three main areas.The first, production services, will be headquartered at Bren Entertainment, the Galicia-based "animation factory" launched
  • First Run adds Fighter to arsenal of US releases

    New York'sFirst Run Features has acquired the US rights to Amir Bar-Lev's Holocaust-themeddocumentary Fighter in a licensing agreement struck with The Independent FilmChannel's Next Wave Films. A theatrical release has been penciled in forthis autumn.Fighter has won awards at the leading festivals around the world, including the Hampton's Film Festival(Audience Award); Karlovy Vary (Special Jury Citation); Galway (Best Documentary); and Newport (Best Documentary). It has
  • France's M6 sees net earnings leap 34%

    M6, France's second-largest free-to-air broadcaster after TF1, has registered a 34% jump in its net earnings in 2000, to Euros 103.5m from Euros 77.3m in 1999, due to improved advertising sales.The broadcaster, whose main shareholders are Suez and the RTL Group, saw its revenues grow from Euros 629m in 1999 to Euros 743m last year.French television industry watchdog CSA is curently reviewing M6's broadcasting license in relation with the change in the shareholding structure foll
  • German animation house to expand abroad

    Animation producer BKN International (BKNI), which has been listed on Frankfurt's Neuer Markt since March 2000, has won approval from its shareholders to buy back up to 10% of the issued share capital by mid-September 2002 as part of a programme of expansion.In an official statement, the Cologne-based company, producer and distributor of children's animation series: Roswell Conspiracies, Pocket Dragon Adventures and Kong The Animated Adventures, noted that it intended "to exerci
  • Greenlight Media to launch second animation fund

    Greenlight Media and the Dresdner Bank's investment bank Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein are to launch a second BAF Berlin Animation Film fund to raise in the region of $100m for the production of up to five international animation features.According to Greenlight's chief operating officer Nikolaus Weil, BAF II, which concentrates on animation for the cinema unlike the BAF I, will back two large-scale animation features, each with budgets of $30m, to be produced with established (but as
  • Guadalajara film festival

    After AmoresPerros comes De La Calle. Thestory of a gang of street children, akin in style and subject to last year'slocal box-office sensation and international festival favourite, emerged as oneof the two buzz titles at the 16th Guadalajara Film Festival inMexico (Mar 9-16).Markingthe debut of Mexican film-maker Gerardo Tort, the Tiempo Fi
  • Highlights from this week's SCREEN INTERNATIONAL

    AS STOCK MARKETS PLUNGE IT'S TIME TO ASK WHETHER THE FILM INDUSTRY REALLY IS RECESSION-PROOFMillions may have been wiped from the investment portfolios of the wealthy few that drive the entertainment industry, but the film business itself seems to be clinging to the age-old belief that cinema is recession-proof. Film, however, may not be as completely immune from the impact of a slowdown as it once was. As this week's lead story in SCREEN INTERNATIONAL discovers in places such
  • Industry veteran Thomas dies aged 85

    Ralph Thomas, director of the long-running franchise of Doctor films, has died after an illness aged 85.Along with seven Doctor titles, which initially starred Dirk Bogarde, Thomas directed such stars as Peter Finch and Katherine Hepburn in films such as No Love For Johnnie and The Iron Petticoat. His son Jeremy is a leading UK producer, while his daughter Jill runs an animation company.Cutting his teeth on pre-WW2 "quota quickies", Thomas then worked
  • Internet merger provides Giants with new beanstalk

    Afterspending a year making a noise at international film markets through blanketadvertising campaigns and huge slate announcements, David Dadon's GiantsEntertainment has been sold to a tiny publicly-quoted Internet company that hasbeen operating until now as a minor-league entertainment-themed portal.The merger with Hollywood Inc - no relation to the German filmproduction fund also known as Hollywood Partners - means that Dadon hassucceeded in his stated aim of going publ
  • Irish singer makes acting debut in Time Machine

    Dublin-born singer-songwriter Samantha Mumba will make her feature film debut starring opposite Guy Pearce in the DreamWorks/Warner Bros sci-fi project The Time Machine, which is currently shooting in New York and Los Angeles. Mumba, best known for her hit Gotta Tell You, joins a cast that also includes Jeremy Irons, Mark Addy, Philip Bosco, Phyllida Law and Sienna Guillory. The film, directed by Simon Wells and to be distributed in the US by DreamWorks and internationall
  • Jackie Chan takes action against organised crime

    Warning that overseas productions could be scared off, action star Jackie Chan has called for measures to fight organised crime after a triad member was arrested for blackmailing a Hong Kong location on New Line Cinema's Rush Hour 2.Speaking at a function that included film professionals and some of the top names in the entertainment industry, Chan proposed launching a Film Industry Workers' Confederation to keep illegal organisations out of the industry. The body would unite an
  • Kinowelt CEO still mulling stake in UK's Momentum

    Kinowelt has yet to acquire a 50% stake in Momentum Pictures, chief executive officer Michael Koelmel told Screen Daily on Friday, contradicting a popularly-held belief that the UK distributor is already a jointly-owned venture between his German company and Alliance Atlantis of Canada. "Either we will become a shareholder or use [Momentum Pictures] as a distribution platform," revealed Koelmel, adding that Kinowelt and Alliance Atlantis, Momentum's current sole shareholder, are
  • La Stanza Del Figlio

    La Stanza Del FiglioDir: Nanni Moretti. Italy/France. 2001. 98minsIf Nanni Moretti is the Italian Woody Allen, then La Stanza Del Figlio is his Interiors. The Moretti faithful expect at least three or four memorable gags per film, but although it has a few moments of comic relief, La Stanza Del Figlio (literally The Son's Room) has not a single rewindable gag. But that's hardly surprising, as this is a film about the death of a son. Although several years
  • Luhrmann's Can-Can opens Cannes

    Baz Luhrmann's musical Moulin Rouge will open the Cannes Film Festival on May 9th where it will screen in competition, festival president Gilles Jacob confirmed on Tuesday.The 20th Century Fox picture, which stars Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor, will screen as an international premiere. The studio also announced that, based on the Cannes response to Moulin Rouge as well as reactions to early test screenings and showings of a special promo reel, it has moved up the film's
  • Mar Del Plata triumphs despite troubles

    The new Mar Del Plata festival administration led by National Film Institute (INCAA) director Jose Miguel Onaindia and artistic director Claudio Espana struggled against logistical problems that threatened to disrupt the otherwise successful event that wrapped on March 17.The festival boasted nearly 30,000 admissions sold during the first three days. A four day film production workshop led by Saul Zaentz (The English Patient, Amadeus, One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest) drew an ent
  • Metropolitan picks up 51st State for France

    Metropolitan Filmexport has picked up Ronny Yu's The 51st State for France from Alliance Atlantis Pictures International. The $28m film, the first production through Andras Hamori's H2O Motion Pictures, features Samuel L. Jackson as kilt-wearing chemist looking to market his designer drug in Liverpool's rave scene. The Metropolitan deal was cut by Mark Horowitz, President of Alliance Atlantis Pictures International. The film has yet to complete a US distribution deal. Hamori, pr
  • Mexican heat rises as Warner grabs Guadalajara hit

    Warner-Videocine has swooped on De La Calle, the latest title from the explosive Mexican cinema scene to set its sights on repeating the success of Academy Award nominee Amores Perros.Warner-Videocine, a joint-venture between Warner Bros and local TV giant Televisa, has committed to a release of at least 150 prints on De La Calle, which triumphed at this month's Guadalajara International Film Festival. The production and distribution operation, which last year secu
  • Miramax smells victory with Apocalypse Now Redux

    Miramax Films has acquired North American theatrical rightsto Apocalypse Now Redux, the officialname given to Francis Ford Coppola's extended cut of his 1979 classic Vietnamwar opera that will be given its world premiere as a special screening at this year's Cannes Film Festival in May.The film, which includes an additional 53 minutes of never-before-seenfootage and now runs 3 hours and 17 minutes, will be released across in NorthAmerica in the third quarter of this year, a few
  • Murdoch daughter's film ambitions Shine through

    Elisabeth Murdoch, former programming head of UK satellite broadcaster BSkyB, is expected to make small-to-medium budget features though her newly-launched TV and film production outfit, Shine Entertainment. Shine, jointly owned by Murdoch and former production director at Carlton Television Waheed Alli, is armed with an output deal with BSkyB, which will also have a 5% stake in the venture. BSkyB has been a prolific backer of features, most notably Saving Grace, through product
  • New player enters Spain's frenetic cinema market

    Amid talk of the Spanish exhibition industry growing too big for the market to sustain, a new, and unexpected, player has entered the highly competitive sector. Premiere Megaplex, a 50-50 joint venture between broadcaster Telecinco and distributor Tri Pictures, is set to unveil its first multiplex next week.An 8-screen complex with seating for 1,500, Premiere Megaplex Salamanca is the first in a line of theaters to be developed by Premiere over the next five years. Two more multiplexes
  • Norway backs Music For Weddings And Funerals

    Four new productions: two feature films and two documentaries, have been greenlighted by Norway's Audiovisual Production Fund. Christiania Film, the company that started in the local film business last year with the suprise box office hit Detector, was granted $1.2m for director Unni Straume's new project: Music For Weddings And Funerals is a romantic tragedy, starring Lena Endre, Bjorn Floberg and the Yugoslav composer Goran Bregovic, best known for his longtime collabor
  • Oscar hopefuls exploit the hype

    With the 73rd Academy Awards ceremony on Sunday, this year's Best Picture candidates are taking full advantage of their nominations to build their box office before one of them walks off with all the glory.Chocolat and Traffic in particular have seen a host of last minute pre-Oscar openings. Lasse Hallstrom's latest saw massive screen averages of $8,014 and $9,003 over its four-day openings in Switzerland and Germany. The film has opened in all Nordic territories, the UK, Nether
  • Palm buys North American rights to Scratch

    Chris Blackwell's Palm Pictures has acquired US and Canadian rights to Scratch, the hip-hop documentary directed by Doug Pray which premiered at this year's Sundance Film Festival.Intermedia bought international rights to the film, which documents the history of today's turntablist movement, after Sundance. Featured in the documentary are iconic DJs including Q-Bert, DJ Shadow, MixMaster Mike and Cut Chemist.The Palm deal was clinched by producer Brad Blondheim, produce
  • Pan-European Animation training network planned

    The MEDIA Programme-supported initiative Cartoon signed an agreement with a group of animation schools at this year's Cartoon Movie financing market in Babelsberg to create a European training network .Announcing the new venture, Cartoon's Corinne Jenart explained that the network initially consists of eight schools of animation which will collaborate on the exchange of information and teachers throughout Europe as well as mediate internships for their students to gain practical experi
  • Premiere World revises breakthrough date

    German digital pay TV platform Premiere World's breakthrough with consumers is set to be delayed by another 1 - 1 ' years, according to the KirchGroup's Dieter Hahn in an interview with the German daily newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung. Although not wishing to give exact figures, he declared that the platform currently has "over two million digital subscribers", but that "the critical mass is about four million subscribers." Hahn admitted that the growth in subscriptions to Premiere Worl
  • Ripoli prepares English Utopia for Alquimia

    Director Maria Ripoll is preparing an English-language psychological thriller for new production company Alquimia Cinema.The film, Utopia, is being prepped for a summer shoot. The script was written by Curro Royo and Juan Vicente Pozuelo (The Art Of Dying). Madrid-based Mate Productions has already boarded the project, and Alquimia head Francisco Ramos is seeking international partners and casting.Ripoll is best known for her 1998 debut film, The Man With Rain I
  • Robin Williams plays villain in Nolan's Insomnia

    Robin Williamsis to play the villain in Insomnia, Christopher Nolan's big-budget Hollywood studio remake of the Norwegian psychological thriller originally made in 1997. He will staropposite two other Oscar-winners, Al Pacino and Hillary Swank, when shootinggets underway in Vancouver on April 16th.In a major change of direction from his typical roles, Williams is to play a character in a small Alaskan town who is the primesuspect in the murder a teenage girl. Pacino plays the sl
  • Seven Network pulls out of Asia TV service

    The Seven Network has dumped the Asian satellite service Australia Television (ATV), which it took over from public broadcaster the ABC in 1997. It made the move despite being chosen in favour of five other tenderers to revamp the service with Federal Government money.The announcement drew a new round of criticism about the network's inappropriate and dated programming. Whether the service will continue will be up to the Federal Government.Seven has blamed its decision not to re
  • Solomon restates TEAM's losses, takes equity stake

    Michael J. Solomon, the company doctor attempting to resuscitate TEAM Communications, has taken an equity stake in the stricken US-German film and TV group and restated the losses incurred under the recently departed management.The moves come at the end of a week in which no less than seven law firms announced that they are tabling lawsuits against the company.Solomon, who previously warned that the losses could exceed the $21m he forecast at the time he boarded the company in e
  • Spain's Grupo Correo posts best ever results

    Confirming its place on the roster of profitable corporate backers pumping capital into Spain's media sector, conglom Grupo Correo reported net profits for last year of Euros 69m (pts11,542m), a.4% rise over 1999.Correo's best ever financial results place the group squarely in a competitive position amongst the likes of multimedia pioneers Prisa and Telefonica, which posted net profits last year of Euros 93m and Euros 2.5bn, respectively.Correo boasts a ballooning presence in me
  • Spy Kids

    Dir: Robert Rodriguez. US. 2001. 90 mins.Best known for indie action flicks like El Mariachi and From Dusk Til Dawn, Robert Rodriguez turns his hand to family adventure with Spy Kids, aiming to mix the effects and thrills of James Bond with the warmth and colour of more traditional children's fare. While the film isn't as entertaining on screen as it sounds on paper, the concept alone is likely to be welcomed by parents. And with the Miramax marketing machine be
  • Swedish company eyes Spanish digital pay TV

    A Swedish company could become the majority owner of Spain's third digital pay TV platform, Quiero TV, if rumored negotiations end in a deal. Telecoms firm Auna (Retevision) is understood to be in talks to sell its 49% stake in Quiero, Europe's second-ever digital terrestrial TV platform, to Swedish global savings company Skandia.If the sale is completed, Skandia's stake in Quiero would actually rise above 50% due to an additional indirect participation it has through Barcelona-based c
  • The Big Martian

    Dir: Antonio Hernandez. Spain. 2000. 90minsIt remains a mystery why this original, entertaining and technically astute film experiment has not resonated with Spanish audiences. Despite a wide release by UIP on 152 screens, ticket sales of just $310,000 in the first two weeks placed The Big Martian well outside the top 10 at the box office. Nevertheless, international theatrical and TV buyers, and producers with a keen eye for remake and spin-off possibilities, shou
  • The Film Company boards Russell's Louse Of Usher

    London-based sales outfit The Film Company has boarded Ken Russell's The Fall Of The Louse Of Usher as international sales agent, handling all rights.The film, an update of Edgar Allen Poe's story, is currently being shot on digital video by Russell, who also produces through his Gorsewood Studios outfit. Seminal director Russell is best known for rock-opera Tommy, The Devils, and Oscar-winning DH Lawrence adaptation Women In Love.The Fall Of The Louse Of
  • Toronto spotlights Nordic Visions

    At a time when Nordic and especially Danish films are in the public eye: the Danish Berlin winner Italian For Beginners, the pan-Nordic Palme d'Or winner Dancer In The Dark as well as Swedish hit comedies Jalla! Jalla! and Together, it is appropriate that the Toronto International Film Festival has decided to spotlight Nordic cinema in 2001. The programme, titled 'Nordic Visions: Recent Films from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden' will feature some 15
  • Universal creates dedicated studio franchise unit

    Every Hollywood studio conglomerate talks in terms of creating multimedia "franchises" around their most popular properties and commodified characters; now one of them, Universal Pictures, has taken the full plunge and created an entire division dedicated to unlocking theglobal franchising potential of its content across every conceivable distribution outlet.Louis A. Feola has been appointed president of Universal Pictures Franchise Development, a newly-invented umbrella entity respons
  • UPC cable giant fights watchdogs as shares slide

    UPC, Europe's largest cable group, hit back at Dutch regulators which have promised to bring in competition to the broadband market. But that was not enough to prevent its shares hitting a record low for the second day running.On Thursday evening UPC shares closed down 26% at Euros5.90 on the Amsterdam stock market. On Tuesday, prior to the announcement they traded at Euros9.30.Dutch telecom regulator OPTA and competition regulator NMa said it would like the internet access mark
  • Village Roadshow A$3.8m short after financial scam

    Village Roadshow managing director Graham Burke has told the Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) that Village Roadshow Ltd's (VRL) net loss is A$3.8m from a financial scam that saw nearly A$30m wrongly removed from company accounts in 1998 and 1999. Burke was speaking on the eve of Andrew Ross Henry, former chief financial officer of VRL's US subsidiary, being sentenced for fraud and other offences to which he has pleaded guilty. This is due to occur on April 5.Henry was arrested in Ma
  • Village Roadshow, Network Ten see venture fail

    The ambitious internet leisure site SCAPE has gone into voluntary administration only 18 months after Village Roadshow and Network Ten negotiated the joint venture. The news was announced in a joint statement to the Australian Stock Exchange today. The first such formal coupling between a broadcaster and an entertainment giant had planned to use movie information, on-line radio stations and matchmaking and other services to attract the 16 to 39-year-old demographic but it never managed
  • Von Trotta's comeback to be backed by Hamburg/TMG

    The Women of Rosenstrasse, Margarethe von Trotta's first feature film since 1994's The Promise, is to be the first project to be co-produced by Studio Hamburg's feature film production arm Studio Hamburg Letterbox Filmproduktion (SHLF) with Herbert Kloiber's Tele-Muenchen Group (TMG) as part of their recently signed three-picture deal.The Trotta project, which has been in development for several years and was once mooted as a feature for her former husband Volker Schloend
  • Workspace stands by Three Mills Island Studios

    Workspace Group, owners of UK indie studio Three Mills Island Studios, are insisting that the site will remain a studio facility despite ousting managers Edwin Shirley Productions (ESP) from four sound stages in a High Court dispute.The commitment comes after an increasingly bitter dispute over lease contracts and rent payments that has been grinding on for more than a year.Last month's High Court ruling marks the latest - and possibly last - twist in ESP's fight to stay on at t
  • Zhang Ziyi to star in Wong Kar-Wai's 2046

    Zhang Ziyi, the newcomer who stole the plaudits as rebellious princess Jiao Long Yu (Jen) in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Wo Hu Zang Long), is to star in Wong Kar-Wai's forthcoming 2046.Zhang currently on set in Hong Kong with New Line's Jackie Chan film Rush Hour 2, this week revealed that she had signed for 2046. Producers were unable to confirm more than a very strong intention and could not say whether contractual terms had been finalised.The f