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28 July 2000

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  • Angels Of The Universe (Englar Alheimsins)

    Dir: Fridrik Thor Fridriksson. Ice-Nor-Swe-Ger-Den. 2000. 95mins.Prod co: Icelandic Film Corp with the support of the Icelandic Film Fund. Co-prods: Filmhuset (Norway), Peter Rommel Film Productions, SDF, Arte and ORD German, SVT Sweden, Zentropa Productions Copenhagen. Int'l sales: Trust Film Sales, tel: (45) 3686 8788. Prod: Fridrik Thor Fridriksson. Scr: Eimar Mar Gudmundsson from his novel. DoP: Harald Paulgaard. Prod des: Arni Pall Johannsson. Eds: Sigvaldi Karason, Skule Eriks
  • Artisan to make film about 60s group The Shaggs

    Artisan Entertainment has acquired life rights to the true story of 60s pop group The Shaggs with a view to making a film based on their brief rise to fame to be written and directed by Katherine Dieckmann.A three-sister outfit, The Shaggs only produced one album Philosophy Of The World, but the film will focus on their father Austin Wiggin Jr and his crazed determination that they would become the next Beatles. The story was brought to Artisan's attention by vice president of acquisi
  • Australia's Paper Bark develops White adaptation

    Paper Bark Films producer Antony Waddington and the husband-and-wife team of director Jon Hewitt (Redball) and actor Belinda McClory (The Matrix) are co-writing an adaptation of Australian writer Patrick White's novel The Eye Of The Storm. The project has already won the support of the inaugural A$10,000 Rodney Seaborn Playwrights Award, established by Rodney Seaborn, who is better know for his philanthropy towards the theatre but agreed to accept the trio's film proposal
  • Bavaria snaps up film rights to Danella's novels

    Munich-based Bavaria Film has purchased film rights to all 38 novels by German bestselling author Utta Danella and plans to adapt two to three of them a year as TV movies.The deal continues Bavaria's association with the popular author, which began recently with the Bavaria/Artus-Film co-production The Black Mirror (Der Schwarze Spiegel). German broadcaster ARD plans to air the production in November.Danella's novels have sold 70 million copies to date, making her the fou
  • Belmont joins Haas in WT2's Long Time Dead

    Lara Belmont from Tim Roth's The War Zone has joined Mars Attacks!' Lukas Haas in the ensemble cast of WT2's British Scream picture, Long Time Dead, the company announced this week.Other young actors and actresses in the cast of the urban horror flick are Alec Newman, Joe Absolom, James Hillier, Marsha Thomason, Melanie Gutteridge and Mel Raido. The production started shooting on location around London for eight weeks this week.Directed by newcomer Ma
  • Benigni lines up Pinocchio as next project

    Roberto Benigni, the Oscar-winning actor-director of Life Is Beautiful, has announced that his next project will be a live-action version of Pinocchio. His actress wife, Nicoletta Braschi, who starred opposite him in Life Is Beautiful, is also expected to star in the new film.Benigni, who said he had wanted to play the character "ever since he was born", has already started working with Life Is Beautiful co-writer Vincenzo Cerami on a screen adaptation of Carlo Col
  • BSkyB ups movie spend as subscriptions top 4.5m

    Movie costs at UK satellite broadcaster BSkyB rose 17% to $421m (£278m) in the year ending June 30 2000, the company announced on Wednesday as part of its annual results.BSkyB's total programming costs came in at $1.43bn (£946m), with sports costs representing 41%. The company, 37.5% owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp, cited an increase in the number of films offered as a factor in the $60m (£40m) rise in movie costs.BSkyB also confirmed it will stop offering its analogue servi
  • Buyers team up for Telemontecarlo take-over

    Telecom Italia and nascent internet giant have confirmed that they are in talks to buy a majority stake in Telemontecarlo (TMC), the troubled Cecchi Gori Group-owned TV platform.A joint statement from Telecom and stated that the two companies were in the "preliminary stages of negotiations" for the free-TV network, although local newspaper reports said that a deal could be finalised in days.The disposal of large majority stake - or even an outright dispos
  • Canal Plus Spain tunes into TV film sector

    Canal Plus has finally made its definitive move into made-for-TV feature production in Spain, striking a four-year accord with regional network Television de Galicia (TVG).The partners, which collaborated last year on TV movie La Rosa De Piedra, are to co-produce TV movies, documentaries, fiction series and short films. According to sources at Canal, the move could spawn as many as 12 TV movies over the next four years.All product will get a second, free-to-air broadcast
  • CanWest bags Endemol's TV distribution arm

    Toronto-based CanWest Entertainment will pay more than $100m for the international television distribution assets of Endemol Entertainment, the Dutch media company recently purchased by Spain's Telefonica. The deal includes the Endemol subsidiary's 600-hour programme library and distribution pacts with Alliance Atlantis, Hearst Entertainment, Lions Gate Films and Trimark Pictures. CanWest, which also assumes the existing acquisition commitments, gets a first look at all-rights deals fo
  • Contact 2000 co-production market set for Berlin

    Three international cultural subsidy groups will host a co-production and co-financing market, Contact 2000, in Berlin, from November 24 to 26. Brussels-based Linking Market Forces (LMF), an association accredited by the EU's MEDIA Programme, along with Societe de developpement des entreprises culturelles (SODEC), an agency of Quebec's provincial government, and Filmboard Berlin Brandenburg will convene the three-day event with the intention of bringing together up to 20 projects (10 f
  • Crown Media launches Hallmark in Israel

    The US' Crown Media Holdings has launched 24-hour movie channel Hallmark Entertainment Network in Israel in partnership with local cablers Matav, Tevel and Golden Channels.Israel's first digital satellite service Yes, set to launch this month, will also carry the channel. Following its launch on Yes, the channel will reach an estimated 1.2 million households throughout the region.Crown Media operates the Hallmark channel in more than 100 international markets. It also owns the O
  • CSA clears Vivendi Seagram merger

    French broadcast regulator, the CSA, has today given its approval to the three-way merger between Canal Plus, Vivendi and Seagram. It was previously concerned that the full takeover of Canal Plus would breach the country's regulations on media ownership.The original takeover proposal involved the creation of a new company, Canal Plus Programmes, operating the Canal Plus pay-TV channel, in which Vivendi would hold only a minority share. "The Conseil Superieur de l'Audiovisuel (CS
  • De Mol to remain Endemol chairman and CEO

    Endemol Entertainment chief John de Mol has decided to remain chairman and CEO of the Dutch production outfit alongside his new position as chief creative officer (CCO).De Mol said he would step down from his position as chairman to concentrate on the creative side of Endemol's business when Spanish telecoms giant Telefonica announced its buyout of the company in March. Joop van den Ende, who founded the company with De Mol, stepped down at the same time for health reasons.The a
  • EM.TV exchanges investments for Crown Media stake

    German family programming and merchandising giant EM.TV is taking an 8.2% stake in the US' Crown Media Holdings in exchange for its stakes in Crown's US pay-TV station Odyssey Network and Asian Kermit Channel.EM.TV inherited a 22.5% stake in the Odyssey Channel and 50% of the Kermit Channel in February this year when it acquired The Jim Henson Company. Crown Media and EM.TV have also agreed to create a branded block of programming for Odyssey using EM.TV's programming library. "
  • Euro multimedia titan Villalonga tipped to quit

    Juan Villalonga, the embattled chief of telecoms and entertainment giant Telefonica, has reportedly stepped down after a little more than four years at the helm of Spain's largest corporation. His resignation comes less than 48 hours after Telefonica won shareholder support for its purchase of Dutch entertainment force Endemol.According to reports that surfaced on Tuesday evening on the Internet sites of two Spanish financial papers Expansion and Cinco Dias, Cesar Alierta
  • Firestone forms Fireworks as worldwide dist'n co

    Jay Firestone has consolidated his two LA-based film outfits, international sales company Seven Arts International and domestic distributor CanWest Films into one entity now known as Fireworks Pictures. Fireworks is a subsidiary of Firestone's CanWest Entertainment, itself a division of Toronto-based media giant CanWest Global Communications Corp.The new company now encompasses US acquisition and production with international sales and, as Firestone told yesterday, tha
  • First Love (Hatsukoi)

    Dir: Tetsuo Shinohara. Japan. 2000. 115 mins.Prod co: First Love Production Committee. Int'l sales: Tokyo Broadcasting System (+81 3 5571 3085). Scr: Masahiko Nagasawa. DoP: Junichi Fujisawa. Ed: Yoshiyuki Okuhara. Mus: Jo Hisaichi. Main cast: Rean Tanaka, Mieko Harada, Hiroyuki Sanada, Mitsuru Hirata, Makoto Sato, Masaki Nishina.Pretty to look at but wafer-thin in every other respect, this type of film is naturally bound for family TV channels willing to show Japanese fa
  • Galaxy signs PPV deal with Buena Vista

    Latin American satellite broadcaster Galaxy Latin America (GLA) has signed a 10-year pay-per-view (PPV) agreement with Buena Vista International.The accord gives Galaxy PPV rights to live-action features from Disney, Touchstone, Hollywood and Miramax. Galaxy, jointly owned by Hughes Electronics' DirecTV and Venezuelan media giant Cisneros, broadcasts to one million subscribers across Latin America.Galaxy also has a 10-year exclusive deal to broadcast the Disney Channel in Latin
  • German half-year box office up 13%

    German cinema attendance rose 12% to 74.7 million admissions in the first half of 2000 according to the German Federal Film Board, the FFA, compared to 66.7 million during the first half of 1999.At the same time, a rise in average ticket prices in Germany from $5.10 (DM10.58) last year to $5.15 (DM10.69) in 2000 pushed box office take up 13% to $384.9m (DM798.8m) compared to $340.2m (DM706.2m) the previous year.Attendance was also up on the first half of 1998 when Titanic
  • Germany's IN-motion takes over US' Myriad for $4m

    German media concern IN-motion has acquired 76% of Kirk D'Amico's US sales operation Myriad Pictures for $4m, only weeks after the Frankfurt-based company went public.D'Amico will remain CEO of Myriad, working with IN-motion's LA-based chairman for film and TV Philip von Alvensleben, formerly president of Telemuenchen, who joined Myriad's board of directors in 1999 and is a shareholder in the company."We now have more operating capital to work with and are hiring people and expa
  • Gladiator roars past $200m internationally

    UIP's Gladiator has clocked up $200m internationally as of Monday 24 July, bringing its worldwide total to $380m. This tally makes it a strong contender for a place in the top five chart of worldwide hits this year after Toy Story 2 and Mission: Impossible 2 which will also take $400m plus by the end of the year.The number of UK cinema-goers flocking to Gladiator have far out-paced any other territory, raking in a total of $43m after two months on rel
  • Granada pays $2.65bn for United's ITV assets

    Granada Media has agreed to pay $2.65bn (£1.75bn) for the ITV interests of rival United News & Media.Granada will pick up the Meridian, Anglia and HTV regional UK channels in the deal, but is expected to sell off HTV. The move, which means Granada becomes the dominant commercial broadcaster in the UK, comes after rivals Carlton Communications and United shelved plans for a proposed merger. Granada this month amassed a war-chest of at least $2bn (£1.3bn) from a float in anticipat
  • Hanway Films boards Noyce's Rabbit-Proof Fence

    HanWay Films, the sales arm of UK producer Jeremy Thomas' Recorded Picture Company, has boarded Phillip Noyce's Rabbit-Proof Fence, the Australian-born director's first project in his home country after 12 years in the US.Written by Christine Olsen, the adaptation of Doris Pilkington's book follows three Aboriginal girls forcibly taken from their outback families in 1931 to be trained as servants as part of a government policy. They escape and set out on the 1,500-mile journey h
  • Hausfater quits Disney for Intermedia

    Jere Hausfater, one of the most well-known studio buyers on the international film circuit, has ended his near 13 year run at The Walt Disney Co and found a new home at independent giant Intermedia. Hausfater has joined Intermedia, which in May floated on the German stock market with an initial valuation of $1.27bn, in the newly created role of president, motion picture group, worldwide distribution and acquisitions.He will focus on worldwide distribution and marketing as well a
  • Hawke, Linklater & Co go Dogme-style for InDigEnt

    Independent Digital Entertainment (InDigEnt), New York's answer to Denmark's Dogme95 movement, has completed its first four star-laden digital video features, comprised of Campbell Scott's Final, Ethan Hawke's Last Word on Paradise, Bruce Wagner's Women in Film and Richard Linklater's Tape, and has now started on its fifth, Rodrigo Garcia's Women Remember Men.Jointly created by director Gary Winick (The Tic Code), entertainment lawyer Jo
  • Herod's Law cleans up at Mexico's Oscars

    Political satire Herod's Law (La Ley De Herodes), directed by Luis Estrada, swept the 42nd Ariels, Mexico's equivalent of the Oscars, on Monday night, grabbing 10 awards from 14 nominations.The film, which openly criticises Mexico's former ruling party, the PRI, survived a censorship brouhaha last year that led to the resignation of Eduardo Amerena, director of state-backed film institute, Imcine. Among Herod's Law's haul were prizes for best film, best director,
  • His Wife's Diary

    Dir: Alexei Uchitel. Russia. 2000. 110mins.Prod co: Rock Film Studio. Int'l sales: Rock Film Studio (+7 812 114 2056). Prod: Alexei Uchitel, Alexander Golutva. Scr: Duna Smirnova. DoP: Yuri Klimenko. Ed: Yelena Andreyeva. Music: Leonid Desyatnikov. Main cast: Andrei Smirnov, Galina Tyunina, Olga Budina, Yvgeny Mironov, Elena Morozova, Dani Kogan.His Wife's Diary is a successful attempt by Russian director Alexei Uchitel to mine the rich historical vein of stories t

    The following profile is taken from the weekly print version of Screen International. Also in this week's Screen:EXECUTIVE SUITE:J-Works founder Takenori SentoNEWS FOCUS:Is the internet set to revolutionise the sale of cinema tickets' Denis Seguin investigates.ROUND TABLE:Lucky Red's Andrea Occhipinti, Momentum Pictures' David Kosse and Egmont Entertainment's Peter Philipsen discuss the growth of Pan-European buying consortiums.TERRITORY FOCUS

    The following profile is taken from the weekly print version of Screen International. Also in this week's Screen:NEWS:Long-shot hits survive indie box office slumpDespite the success of Paramount Classic's Sunshine and The Shooting Gallery's Croupier, indie films are having as hard a time of it as studio product at the US box office this summer.EXECUTIVE SUITE:Miramax Italia boss Fabrizio LombardoNEWS FOCUS:Marketing goes und
  • Indian government passes cable act

    India's government has approved the introduction of the Cable TV Act which will regulate all programme content and advertising on cable channels.Among other things, the act aims to curb obscenity on Indian cable television and requires all cable operators to carry at least three channels from state broadcaster Doordarshan.All national and international broadcasters uplinking from India or abroad will have to comply with the act.
  • InternetStudios hires three for film sales subsid

    LA-based industry website InternetStudios has made three more appointments to its subsidiary OnlineFilmSales, an online digital marketplace for sales of film and television rights.Michael Bremer has joined the company as vice president of sales and marketing responsible for attracting sales companies to present their projects on the site and enlisting buyers to use OnlineFilmSales for acquisitions. Bremer most recently acted as a consultant on buying and selling strategies for indepen
  • Intertainment reports 848% jump in revenues

    Germany's Intertainment has reported an 848% increase in revenues to $64.5m (DM134.4m) for the first half of 2000, while pre-tax profit improved 949% to $30.5m (DM63.6m).The company said the rapid rise was partly due to its recent move into selling film and TV rights for the whole of Europe rather than just Germany. Intertainment has a string of output deals with national distributors and arrangements with Warner Bros and Fox for European theatrical and video and pay-TV rights.
  • Israel's Wolgin prize split between Besame, Sister

    Josef Pitchhadze's Besame Mucho and Dan Wolman's Foreign Sister were jointly awarded the feature prize at this year's Wolgin Awards, a competition for domestic productions which runs as part the Jerusalem Film Festival (July 13-22).An additional script award went to The Investigation directed by Marek Rozenbaum from a script by Haim Marin. The documentary prize went to Love Inventory directed by David Fisher.Meanwhile, the Spirit of Freedom prize, awa
  • Kinowelt bags video rights to StudioCanal titles

    German media group Kinowelt has reportedly acquired the video and DVD rights to 240 films from France's StudioCanal.The deal is understood to cover European rights outside French-speaking countries. In the UK the pictures are expected to go through Momentum Pictures, Kinowelt's joint venture with Canada's Alliance Atlantis. Kinowelt is expected to handle the movies itself in German-speaking countries.Momentum already has UK rights on a slate of high-profile English-language titl
  • Kinowelt enters Russia with Scriba's Gemini

    German mini-studio Kinowelt is continuing its expansion into Eastern Europe by establishing a Russian distribution outfit, Gemini Kinomir, in partnership with Bodo Scriba's Moscow-based distributor Gemini International.The new company will handle Kinowelt's existing slate and take over from Gemini International as exclusive distributor of 20th Century Fox product in Russia. Kinowelt has been actively preparing for its Eastern expansion by acquiring East European rights to film packages
  • Kirch Media unveils new internet platform

    Germany's Kirch Media has unveiled the creation of a new internet platform which will be jointly owned with KirchPayTV and affiliated broadcasters Pro Sieben, Sat 1 Media and DSF.The various channels are expected to support the internet start-up with free advertising of up to $250m. News Corp's TM3 could also join the venture if its widely rumoured sale to Kirch Media goes ahead. News Corp, which recently received clearance to acquire the 34% of TM3 it did not already own, has
  • LA ent'ment lawyers Rosen & Anderson merge firms

    Two LA-based entertainment lawyers have merged their practices to create what they call "an entertainment convergence media incubator law firm". Entertainment attorney Phillip L Rosen and Joseph B Anderson, a specialist attorney in Internet and entertainment, have created one entity - Rosen & Anderson - which aims to service both Silicon Valley and Hollywood."Hollywood has realised that it doesn't need to license its content and creativity to Silicon Valley dot-coms; it can harness th
  • Locarno reshuffles duties after president's death

    The International Locarno Film Festival is to share the duties of late president Giuseppe Buffi amongst its committee of directors until the end of the festival, which starts on August 2. Buffi died after suffering a heart attack last week. After holding an emergency meeting following his death, Locarno announced that Raimondo Rezzonico, who headed the festival until his retirement seven months ago, will deal with public relations and political contacts, and Marco Cameroni, the Swiss C
  • Messier changes merger terms to win CSA approval

    In a move that potentially clears the way towards clearance of the Vivendi-Canal Plus merger, Vivendi appears to be ready to keep more assets within the part of Canal Plus that will retain a separate identity.Vivendi boss Jean-Marie Messier is understood to have given control of the French subscriber base to Canal Plus Programmes, the unit which holds the French pay-TV broadcast licence and which will be 49% owned by Vivendi Universal. Critics of the merger - which is part of th
  • Middelhoff comes out on top in German media survey

    Bertelsmann chairman Thomas Middelhoff has been voted the most important player in Germany's media scene in a survey in German magazine TV Today. Leo Kirch came a distant second with 355 to Middelhoff's 435 points. Third place went to Spiegel publisher Rudolf Augstein. Other notable players named were EM.TV's Thomas Haffa (4), state minister of culture Michael Naumann (9), producer and Constantin chairman Bernd Eichinger (14) and RTL's Helmut Thoma (17). Amongst en
  • Milos Forman heads Venice jury

    Director Milos Forman will chair the jury of the upcoming Venice International Film Festival, the festival has announced.Forman, who recently directed Man On The Moon and The People Vs Larry Flint, will head a jury composed of Jennifer Jason Leigh; Giuseppe Bertolucci; Claude Chabrol; writer Tahar Ben-Jelloun; Iranian Cannes prize-winner Samira Makhmalbaf; and German film critic Andreas Kilb.Canadian director Atom Egoyan will chair the Opera Prima "Luigi De Laurent
  • Momentum appoints Caplan as acquisitions chief

    Momentum Pictures, the UK distribution and production venture of Canada's Alliance Atlantis and Germany's Kinowelt, has appointed Sally Caplan to the newly created role of head of acquisitions.Caplan, formerly senior vice president of acquisitions for Universal Pictures worldwide, takes the title of senior vice president of acquisitions and business affairs. She will report directly to Momentum managing director David Kosse, a fellow Universal Pictures and PolyGram Filmed Entertainment
  • Oz distribs warn against day and date releases

    Although simultaneous global release dates are being encouraged by some US distribution executives, their Australian counterparts have cautioned against not carefully weighing up all factors when dating blockbusters, including the competition and timing of the school holidays."There is a lot of merit in tent-pole pictures going simultaneously in as many markets as possible, especially if they are a known franchise or if they have triple A actors," said Ian Sands, chair of the Motion Pi
  • Patriot ends event movie roll-out in Oz

    One of the last event blockbusters on release in Australia this winter, The Patriot, took $1.6m (A$2.8m) from 325 screens on its opening four-day weekend (July 20-23). This gave the Australian office of Columbia TriStar its third biggest opening weekend ever and knocked last weekend's opener X-Men off the top spot. But it failed to beat Col TriStar's top openers Stuart Little with $2.8m and Erin Brockovich with $2.5m in April this year. The American War of I
  • PHE funds Criminal theatrical outing

    Video operation Paramount Home Entertainment (PHE) is funding the UK theatrical release of local thriller The Criminal in a drive to bolster its slate with acquisitions in local markets, PHE confirmed.PHE will cover p&a costs for a November release on at least 50 prints for the Palm Pictures and Storm Entertainment co-production, which was recently acquired by Paramount Pictures for the UK and Australia. UK independent distributor Downtown Pictures will handle physical distribut
  • Prix Italia to feature Altman retrospective

    The 52nd Prix Italia television and radio awards, sponsored by state broadcaster RAI, will feature a retrospective of director Robert Altman's television work and the screening of two freshly restored Fellini films - Clown (1970) and Prova D'Orchestra (1978).RAI president Roberto Zaccaria said 48 television stations and 75 radio programmes from 50 countries would participate in this year's competition. In addition, there will be a new permanent section dedicated to web-si
  • Production report: Canadian films jostle for space

    Overbooked sound stages and streets blocked with production vehicles are a common sight during the summer in Canada, as US productions take advantage of the favourable exchange rate. Films currently supplying overtime for Canadian crews include Warner Bros' See Spot Run, starring David Arquette, the Warner Bros/Universal Pictures' joint venture Champs, starring Sylvester Stallone, and Mandalay Pictures' The Score, starring Robert De Niro.While the US migration has
  • Sogecable shares up 80% since IPO

    Spanish audiovisual group Sogecable's shares have gained in value by more than 80% after one year on the Spanish stock exchange.Closing share price on Friday was Euros43.02, up from Euros23.50 at the launch of Sogecable's initial public offer one year ago. Sogecable has trailed Telefonica internet subsidiary Terra this year as one of the most active interests on Spain's newly created New Market Index. Nevertheless, Friday's share price represents a sharp drop from Sogecable's Fe
  • Stuart Little scrapes into pole position in the UK

    Seven months after it opened in the US (where the DVD is now available), Columbia TriStar finally gave Stuart Little its nationwide UK release last weekend. Excluding previews, it just missed the number one slot with a three-day gross of $2.1m (£1,394,384) but including paid previews of $454,718 (£454,718) it snuck above Chicken Run in the chart with $2.6m (£1.7m) from 463 sites. After three weeks on release in Scotland and Ireland, Stuart Little has pulled in an a
  • Telefonica board installs Alierta as new chief

    Juan Villalonga has officially resigned as chairman of Telefonica, ending a four-year run at the Spanish conglomerate he transformed into one of Europe's most dynamic players in the entertainment, communications and on-line realms."In the course of our conversations about the best way to create value for the entire company, we have agreed that now ... the time has come for a change in the chairmanship of Telefonica," said Villalonga in a statement issued immediately after Wednesday's b
  • Telefonica completes Endemol buy-out

    Spain's Telefonica has successfully completed its share-for-share buy-out of Dutch entertainment group Endemol with the acquisition of 97.4% of Endemol's shares.Telefonica had set 75% as the minimum amount of shares exchanged for the acquisition to be accepted.The public offer, which valued Endemol at Euros4.79bn, ran from July 3 through 24. Telefonica had to pay a higher price than originally anticipated due to the decreased value of Telefonica shares on the Madrid Stock Exchan
  • UIP expands role with international alliances

    United International Pictures (UIP) is forging a series of distribution deals with independent companies in key European territories, apparently bolstering its position as a business in its own right rather than just the international outlet of its US studio parents.The international distribution venture of Universal Pictures, Paramount Pictures and MGM this week finalised an alliance with Germany's Advanced Medien, providing UIP with studio-level titles and smaller pictures on which A
  • UIP holds back Flintstones in UGC pass row

    In an unprecedented move, the UK office of United International Pictures (UIP) has pulled its new release of The Flintstones In Viva Rock Vegas from all UGC's UK and Irish cinemas. The last minute decision was taken because both companies are still arguing over rental terms in regard to tickets sold through UGC's controversial Unlimited Pass. "We have not been able to reach an agreement on terms. I am unable to go into details but the issue revolves around UGC's unwillingness to
  • UK admissions hit 26-year high

    UK admissions between January and June this year reached a 26-year high as cinemas punched 71 million tickets, according to the cinema advertising association monitor (CAA).The tally is all the more impressive coming despite the dent in June's attendance levels from the European Championship soccer tournament. Ticket sales during that month fell by 30% compared to the same month last year, depressed by football fever, warm weather and a lack of high-profile releases as distributors avo
  • UK's Yes taps Cox, Young to head Asian operations

    UK video-on-demand (VoD) pioneer Yes Television has appointed Randall Cox and Greg Young to head up its Asian operations after securing one of five pay-TV licences for Hong Kong that were handed out by the local government last month (Screendaily, July 5). Cox has been named president of Yes Television Asia and will sit on the main board of the company's UK-based parent Yes Television plc. He was formerly managing director of investment company, the Lombard Asian Private Equity
  • Venice Critics' Week unveils line-up

    Giuseppe Rocca's Lontano In Fondo Agli Occhi, a bittersweet love story set in the 1950s, is the only Italian film selected for the Critics' Week competition at this year's Venice Film Festival. The line-up, selected by a panel of six Italian critics, also includes Noites, directed by Portugal's Claudia Tomaz; Franco-Tunisian production La Faute A Voltaire, directed by Abdel Kechiche; The Day I Became A Woman by Iranian director Marziyeh Meshkini (wife of Moh
  • Venice follows Cannes with Euro, Asian line-up

    Robert Altman's Dr T And The Women and Julian Schnabel's Before Night Falls are the only US titles in competition at the 57th edition of the Venice Film Festival, which, like this year's Cannes, is dominated by European and Asian titles.Asian titles among the 19 competition entrants include Hong Kong director Fruit Chan's Durian, Durian, Indian director Buddhadeb Dasgupta's Uttara and South Korean title The Isle, directed by Ki-duk Kin. The Middle Eas
  • Video Networks heads for Downtown

    Downtown Pictures has become the latest UK distributor to tune into Video-on-Demand (VoD), striking an alliance with Video Networks, the UK VoD company planning a national roll-out next year.Along with a multi-year output arrangement, the partnership will see Video Networks investing in Downtown if the distributor satisfactorily advances plans for a private equity raising of up to $5m this autumn. Downtown aims to follow the raising with a flotation based on its projected value as a Vo
  • What Lies Beneath Above The Rest with $30.1m

    DreamWorks SKG had another hit opening in North America over the weekend with its supernatural thriller What Lies Beneath raking in $30.1m to take the number one slot at the box office. 20th Century Fox has international rights to the film which it co-produced with DreamWorks as part of a four picture deal which also includes Tom Hanks-starrer Cast Away and Steven Spielberg's Minority Report which will star Tom Cruise. What Lies Beneath is directed by Robert Zemeckis, who
  • WW2 drama wins Giffoni festival

    The Sky Falls (Il Cielo Cade), a World War II drama set in Tuscany, won the top prize at the 30th edition of the Giffoni Film Festival after 320 child jurors gave the Italian title the thumbs up on Saturday.Veronica Niccolai, who plays opposite Isabella Rossellini, also picked up the best actress award for her part in the $2.8 million adaptation of Lorenza Mazzetti's novel. Giffoni's second prize went to Jay Russell's US title My Dog Skip, with Frankie Muniz