By continuing to use the site you agree to our Privacy & Cookies policy

24 December 2001

View all stories from this issue.

  • $133.3m in five days for Lord Of The Rings

    It was one of the biggest financial risks in the history of the movies, but The Lord Of The Rings has so far paid off handsomely for New Line Cinema. Since Wednesday, The Fellowship Of The Ring, the first in the trilogy of films, grossed $133.3m in 23 territories including North America.The domestic gross from Wednesday (Dec 19) to Sunday (Dec 23) was $73.1m. Over the three day weekend, it took $45.25m - a record for a December opening, although only half that achieved b
  • 2001 - An Odyssey

    No one will forget 2001 in a hurry. A year that had already been memorialised by Stanley Kubrick has now been burned into our collective psyches because of one day in September. For once the entertainment industry found itself thrust into the limelight by forces beyond its control and making. But once there, its films and TV shows became emblematic of the public mood, reminding us all of the grim potency of the visual image as well as the human need for escapist theatre at unsettling t
  • Ali

    Dir: Michael Mann. US 2001. 159mins.The challenge of how to present dramatically the life of Muhammad Ali, arguably the most recognisable and flamboyant celebrity of the 20th century, is only partially met in Michael Mann's Ali. An ambitious but flawed film, it narrowly focuses on one decade in the prizefighter's existence - 1964 to 1974 - while gliding over his private life and neglecting other aspects of his turbulent, yet always fascinating, career. Physically tr
  • Beautiful Mind, Moulin Rouge lead Globe nods

    A Beautiful Mind and Moulin Rouge came out top in the nominations for the 59th Golden Globe Awards which were announced this morning (Dec 20) in Los Angeles. The films scored six nominations apiece, A Beautiful Mind leading the way in the best drama categories and Moulin Rouge in the musical or comedy category. Gosford Park snagged five nominations and The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring and Mulholland Drive four eac
  • Black Hawk Down

    Dir Ridley Scott. US 2001. 148mins.Although visually awesome in its gritty, ultra-realistic portrait of men in combat, Ridley Scott's Black Hawk Down highlights what's wrong with most Hollywood pictures even when they're superbly realised. Too many films suffer from a lack of coherent narrative and an absence of emotionally engaging or distinguishable characters to anchor a story, whether it's simple or more complex. Admittedly, it was a near impossible task for screenwri
  • Cannes chooses six for residence programme

    The Cannes festival has selected six young directors to participate in the fourth running of its Residence training programme.On the basis of the candidates short films or first feature, a jury headed by Constantin Costa-Gavras selected: Alicia Duffy from the UK, Jens Jonsson from Sweden, Manu Kurewa from Zimbabwe, Sergio Luchyshyn from Russia, Franco De Pena from Venezuela and Hang Tang from Australia.The four and a half month residential scheme, which will run from February t
  • Elstein takes over as lottery franchise struggles

    Former Channel 5 chief David Elstein is replacing Richard Thompson as chairman of Civilian Content, the publicly listed company that owns UK lottery franchise the Film Consortium.Thompson is exiting the company after it issued a profit warning and signalled plans to cut overheads, citing a delay in receiving payments from film such as The 51st State. The company had hoped to include fees for productions such as Dirty Pretty Things in the final quarter but was unable to bo
  • End of Year Box Office

    The end of the year shouldbring some more success to the international box office
  • French loyalty cards boost an upward trend

    The first in-depth report on the effect of France's controversial cinema loyalty passes, introduced in March 2000, reveals that card-holders are on the increase in the country, giving benefits to both exhibitors and distributors.PThe report, by French film support body CNC, also reveals that foreign titles, as opposed to French productions, were the main beneficiaries - with the most significant impact being on films with a weaker commercial potential. For instance, for a title such as
  • Guy East & Nigel Sinclair set to depart Intermedia

    Intermedia co-chiefs Guy East and Nigel Sinclair are understood be leaving the indie powerhouse they co-founded, taking the first opportunity to cash in their shares following the company’s flotation.The two executives, who are currently negotiating their exits, could earn up to $60 million each before any deductions by selling their shares, which amount to approximately 25% of the company between them and their families. The duo agreed to a lock-up period of 18 months when the co
  • Kinowelt Medien AG files for insolvency

    Embattled German distributor Kinowelt yesterday (Dec 19) filed insolvency proceedings in the Munich courts.The company described the move as a "precautionary measure" but also said that the move had been triggered by the failure of talks which had been taking place with ABN AMRO Bank over the repayment of a $45m (DM100m) loan.The insolvency action covers only the parent company and Kinowelt Lizenzverwertungs, its film licence trading subsidiary. According to a statement the Kino
  • KirchMedia sells Mediaset stake for Euros 120m

    Christmas has come early for German media mogul Leo Kirch after his free-TV division KirchMedia sold its 1.28% stake in Italy's Mediaset for Euros 120m. The transaction is part of an ongoing strategy by KirchMedia to focus its business operations on the German language market ahead of its planned merger with ProSiebenSAT.1 Media AG next June. In addition, KirchMedia is reportedly currently in talks with prospective buyers for its interest in the Spanish broadcaster Telecinco.
  • Lescure rejects accusations of sell-out

    "The French film industry is healthy if Canal Plus is healthy," said Canal Plus chief Pierre Lescure yesterday in response to charges that Vivendi Universal is becoming American dominated. "Its health will be better through the acquisition of USA Networks."His remarks came during a hastily organised Paris press conference, put on to stem a tide of bad publicity that had been rising ever since Vivendi Universal announced its twin deals to buy USA Networks and invest in US satellite grou
  • Lord Of The Rings a triumph: $73.1m in five days

    It was a spectacular launch, as expected, for New Line Cinema's The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring in the domestic market, taking $73.1m in the five day period from Wednesday to Sunday. In the three day weekend (Fri to Sun), it took $45.25m - a record for a December opening beating the $38.1m taken a fortnight ago by Ocean's Eleven.In contrast, Harry Potter & The Sorcerer's Stone took $90.3m in its first weekend, exactly twice that of Lord Of The
  • Miramax nears $1bn in worldwide grosses for 2001

    Miramax Films has broken a company record for annual worldwide gross in 2001, taking some $950m so far this year and expecting to pass the $1bn mark by year end. Domestic takes from the Miramax and Dimension labels totalled over $600m while international totals through Miramax International partners came to $350m.Leading the way domestically were Spy Kids with $113m, The Others with $96.5m, Bridget Jones's Diary with $71.5m, Chocolat with $71.5m and Scar
  • Momentum for Britney Spears' Crossroads

    Momentum Pictures has acquired the UK rights to Britney Spears vehicle Crossroads, the company confirmed this week.Momentum, which has slated the film to open March 29, joined other international buyers such as Sogepag in Spain, Constantin Film in Germany and Egmont in Scandinavia in an unusual auction. Distributors were invited to pitch for the project by outlining how much they would spend on p&a. Maximising the upside for Spears, the $10m production is being released for a fe
  • New German talent premieres for Ophuels Prize

    World premieres of Oliver Rihs' Brombeerchen, Zueli Aladag's Elefantenherz and Almut Getto's Fickende Fische are among the 18 films by up-and-coming German-language filmmakers selected for the official competition of the Max Ophuels Prize Film Festival in Saarbruecken (January 22-27, 2002).For the 2002 edition, 14 of the competition films are either world premieres (WP) or German premieres (GP) by promising young talents from Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
  • Odeon buys Canadian rights to Atanarjuat

    Odeon Films, the Canadian specialised distribution arm of Alliance Atlantis, has picked up Canadian rights to Zacharias Kunuk's acclaimed Inuit film Atanarjuat - The Fast Runner, Canada's submission to the foreign language film Oscar category.The film, an action thriller set in ancient Igloolik, won the Camera d'Or for best first feature at Cannes last year as well as best Canadian feature film at Toronto last year and further prizes at Edinburgh, Flanders and Montreal. It is a
  • Spain's Goya nods dominated by The Others

    Alejandro Amenabar's international box office hit The Others is up for 15 of Spain's Oscar-equivalent Goya Awards in the 16th annual ceremony to be held February 2, leading a competitive pack of four titles vying for most of the major prizes.In the list of nominees by the Spanish Cinema Academy unveiled Wednesday in Madrid, The Others was closely trailed by Agustin Diaz Yanes' No News From God (Sin Noticias De Dios) with 13 nominations, Spanish Oscar nominee
  • Sundance launches second online film festival

    The second Sundance Online Film Festival started online yesterday at, showcasing a selection of new work designed specifically for the web.21 projects are being presented featuring animation, live-action, documentary, interactive, new form and selected shorts from the Sundance Film Festival shorts programme. The festival will run online, sponsored by AtomFilms, will run through Jan 20, 2002. During the 2002 Sundance Film Festival (Jan 10-20, 2002), the p
  • The Golden Globe nominations in full

    The full list of nominations for the 2002 Golden Globe AwardsBEST MOTION PICTURE - DRAMAA Beautiful MindImagine Entertainment; Universal Pictures/DreamWorks In The BedroomGood Machine Productions; Miramax FilmsThe Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The RingWingnut Films; New Line CinemaThe Man Who Wasn't ThereWorking Title; USA FilmsMulholland DriveLes Films Alain Sarde.Asymmetrical Prods
  • Toronto fest selects Canada's top 10 films

    The Toronto International Film Festival Group has inaugurated a list of the 10 Best Canadian films of 2001. And, in inimitable Canadian style, the list is not ranked but alphabetical. The Group is the umbrella organisation for the annual film festival as well as the Spockets Childrens' Film Festival and the ongoing programming of the Cinematheque Ontario and its library.The films are: Atanarjuat (The Fast Runner), dir. Zacharias KunukLa Femme Qui Boit, dir. Ber
  • Untitled 03 among recipients of UK Premiere Fund

    The UK Film Council's Premiere Fund is investing £500,000 in acclaimed director Mike Leigh's Untitled 03, currently in development. Details of the subject of the film, produced by Simon Channing-Williams of Thin Man Films and set to shoot in 2003, are typically sketchy. Traditionally, Leigh does not work to a full script, focusing instead on an improvised working relationship with his cast before shooting starts.The Premiere Fund has also folded £500,000 into a family-o
  • Veteran Warner executive Richard Ma dies at 81

    Long-time Warner Bros film executive Richard Ma has died in Canada at the age of 81.Ma joined Warner Bros Pictures in 1945 as assistant manager in the company's Hong Kong office. He held several positions with the company in Hong Kong, New York and Burbank, working his way up through the ranks to executive vice president of international operations.Ma, who retired in 1985 after a 40 year-old career with Warner Bros, is credited with introducing martial arts movies to the US, i