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30 March 2004

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  • ... but faces opposition in France

    French exhibitor MK2 has refused to program Mel Gibson's The Passion Of The Christ when it is released by Quinta Distribution on Wednesday. Marin Karmitz, president of the successful cinema circuit, told Agence France Presse that he considers the film "fascist, antisemitic and of an unheard violence.""To watch a man tortured for two hours with a box of popcorn in your hand is something that repulses me," he said. Karmitz, whose MK2 is present in distribution, is also president o
  • 50 First Dates scores big in Australian debut for CTFDI

    A$2.2m number one Australian opening for Fifty First Dates was the highlight of Columbia TriStar FilmDistributors International's (CTFDI) weekend.
  • Antonellis gets top anti-piracy job at Warner Bros

    Darcy Antonellis has been named senior vice president of worldwideanti-piracy operations at Warner Bros Entertainment, a new post that puts theveteran entertainment technician in charge of protecting the company'sintellectual property.
  • Astro poised to enter China Pay-TV market

    Through Celestial Pictures, its 100% owned subsidiary in Hong Kong, Malaysia's pay-TV operator Astro All Asia Networks is poised to replicate its popular Celestial Movies channel in China.According to William Pfeiffer, CEO of Celestial Pictures, the company is waiting for a decision on landing rights in China. If approved, Celestial hopes to launch the channel by the end of the year."China is a special focus for us. With its massive Chinese audience, it makes sense to match our

    After two weekends at the top of the charts, The Butterfly Effect has been pushed down to fourth position, not just by two openers but also by The Passion Of The Christ, the film it displaced three weeks ago.Columbia TriStar's 50 First Dates was easily the most popular film in cinemas with a gross of A$2,916,328 from 287 screens, while BVI's The Haunted Mansion was second with A$1,220,305 with 240 screens.The two other openers in the chart were Icon's
  • Bavaria looks to cook up sales for Dresen's Willenbrock

    Bavaria Film International (BFI) is to handle internationalsales on Andreas Dresen's latest feature film Willenbrock, which finished shooting on location in Magdeburglast week.BFI previously handled sales on Dresen's Berlinalecompetition films Grill Point (Halbe Treppe) and Nightshapes (Nachtgestalten).Produced by UFA Filmproduktion, the Euros 3m project wasadapted by Dresen's longtime collaborator Laila Stieler from the novel of thesame by Christoph Hein.
  • Beloved, Oscar-winning Ustinov dies in Switzerland aged 82

    Sir Peter Ustinov, the double Oscar-winning British actor, writer,raconteur and humanitarian, has died aged 82.
  • Beta Film library sold to EOS Distribution

    The insolvency administrator of KirchMedia, Michael Jaffe, has sold subsidiary Beta Film with its 15,000 hours of international film and television programmes to former Kirch Group manager Jan Mojto's rights trading operation EOS Distribution.According to Jaffe, it was "particularly pleasing that, apart from the assets, the whole company with all of the jobs could be sold and thus preserved."The deal with EOS Distribution, worth a reported $60m - $70m, comes after a failed attem
  • Bosnian crime movie gets top prize at Bermuda Film Festival

    Bosnian director Srdjan Vuletic's Sarajevo-set crime caper SummerIn The Golden Valley haswon the jury prize for best narrative feature at the seventh Bermuda InternationalFilm Festival (BIFF).

    Clearly not content with her double-whammy at the Italian box office last weekend, Penelope Cruz achieved the same feat in Bulgaria, albeit with a different headliner.Fanfan La Tulipe, which opened last year's Cannes Film Festival, launched into the top spot for distributor Van Kris on five screens. Gerard Krawczyk's remake stars Cruz alongside Vincent Perez as the eponymous Fanfan who is tricked into joining the army of Louis XV.In second place was fellow opener Gothi
  • BVI's Bear hugs on to top spot in Spain, Germany

    Buena Vista International's(BVI) Brother Bear added $10.2mat the weekend to raise its international running total to $129.8m.Key drivers in the picture'sbountiful haul were a number one $2.6m bow in Spain on 401 screens for theindustry's biggest ever spring release and the third biggest animated bow everbehind Finding Nemo and Tarzan.It opened top in Switzerlandon $680,000 from 103 for the industry's third biggest animated bow of all timebehind Finding Ne
  • BVITV closes raft of deals at MIP-TV

    Buena Vista International Television, the rights sales arm of Walt Disney, has announced a string of deals at this week's MIP-TV programmes market (29 Mar-2 Apr).With Russian broadcaster CTC it concluded a multi-year deal covering feature films, series and TV movies. Films covered by the deal hail from the Walt Disney Pictures, Touchstone Pictures and Miramax Films labels and include Freaky Friday, The Lizzie McGuire Movie, Veronica Guerin and 25th Hour. CTC took second-r
  • Capitol racks up Big sales on high profile slate

    Capitol Films is racking up sales on the high profile, threepicture slate - comprising Mark Mylod's The Big White, Robert Towne's Ask The Dust and Robert Altman's Paint - that it is co-financing with German media fund VIP.The Big White, aFargo-style comedy drama starring Robin Williams, Holly Hunter, James Woods andGiovanni Ribisi has gone to Italy (Medusa), Scandinavia (Scanbox), Spain(Filmax), Benelux (RCV), Eastern Europe and a host of smaller terr
  • Cheaper goes up against Starsky in Germany

    Germany is shaping up to be the comedy battleground this upcomingweekend as Fox International's Cheaper By The Dozen goes up against Buena Vista International's(BVI) Starsky & Hutch.
  • Chomet secures Dimension backing for Scottish animation

    Belleville Rendez-Vous director Sylvain Chomet has confirmed plans to set up his own animation company, Studio Django, in Edinburgh, Scotland.The first two productions announced by Studio Django are 2D project Barbacoa and an unnamed 3D project in collaboration with Miramax division Dimension Films. Dimension chairman Bob Weinstein flew the Chomets and their creative and producing team to New York at the end of last week to clinch the deal. It is Dimension first foray int
  • Constantin bullish about future despite 2003 losses

    Despite posting earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) of Euros -11.8m in the 2003 financial year, German producer-distributor Constantin Film is upbeat about its future performance and predicts sales growth of 55% for 2004.In its annual financial statement for 2003, Constantin reported a 13% decrease in consolidated sales from 2002's Euro 131.2m to Euro 114.3m.Constantin said that the negative EBIT was "due essentially to the lower than expected sales in the theatrical op
  • ContentFilm follows up Never Die Alone with Daddy Cool

    ContentFilm has greenlit the screen adaptation of cult 1970swriter Donald Goines' hitman drama Daddy Cool.
  • ContentFilm hits the acquisitions trail

    ContentFilm is on theacquisitions trail. The London and New York based company, which formallycompleted its takeover of Winchester Entertainment on Friday (March 26), hasconfirmed it is now looking to buy distribution companies and libraries."It's part of the general strategy of trying tobuild an integrated film's definitely the intention to tryto build a company that has a strong asset base," Content's EdPressman told ScreenDaily.comPersonn
  • De Posch is new CEO at ProSiebenSat1

    Following last winter's management reshuffle ProSiebenSat.1 Media's CEO Urs Rohner is leaving the company on April 30 to take up "a new professional challenge" at a multinational corporation in his native Switzerland. He was appointed CEO of ProSieben Media in 2000 and then became the CEO of ProSiebenSat.1 Media after the merger of ProSieben and Sat.1 the same year.The new CEO will be Guillaume de Posch who has been the ProSiebenSat.1 Group's Chief Operating Officer since September 20
  • Death In Gaza

    Dirs: James Miller/ Misha Manson-Smith. UK/US. 2004. 80minsJames Miller was considered one of his generation's most observant witnesses to war. An Emmy-winning journalist who had reported from Bosnia, Lebanon and Iraq, he was shot dead by an Israeli soldier in May 2003. Miller was just 34 and had been working on a brace of documentaries covering the children caught in the crossfire of the conflict between Palestine and Israel. His work went unfinished but his killing lends ad

    The fact that Viggo Mortensen is half Danish paid off this weekend as he easily raced Hidalgo into the top spot in front of Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed.Despite only having 19 prints, Hidalgo's impressive screen average was more than twice that of the sequel's high 50 prints.Surprisingly the directing debut from acclaimed actress Paprika Steen, Aftermath (Lad de smaa boern') only made it into fifth after both Villa Paranoia and Something
  • Directors Ratner, Craven, Toback attend Brown's Ivy Film Fest

    Students on thecampus of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, have put together animpressive array of guests and films for their upcoming Ivy Film Festival whichruns Apr 9 to 11.Directors Wes Craven, Brett Ratner and James Toback and AmericanSplendor icon HarveyPekar will speak alo
  • Focus brands new genre label Rogue Pictures

    Focus Features has unveileda new film label Rogue Pictures which will produce and distribute suspense,action, thriller and urban films to be released on a wider scale in thedomestic market than the traditional Focus specialized fare.The announcement was made byFocus co-presidents David Linde and James Schamus at Showest yesterday andincluded three Rogue titles - Seed Of Chucky which is scheduled to be the label's first releaseon Oct 29, the remake of Assault On Precinct 13

    The Jacques Perrin produced Les Choristes opened in the number one spot scoring nearly 1 million admissions in its first week. The film is a sort of Mr Holland's Opus starring Gerard Jugnot which Miramax will handle stateside. Malabar Princess jumped to number 2 from the third spot last week but lost over 50% of its audience while Along Came Polly took a precipitous slide down 60% on the previous week.Gene Hackman-Dustin Hoffman pairing Runaway Jury o
  • Gaiss promoted to director of publicity at Fox International

    Martin Gaiss has beenpromoted to director of publicity at Fox International, where he will continueto devise and implement strategy and events and develop his responsibilities innew media and creative online publicity.Gaiss, whose campaigncredits include Titanic, The Full Monty, the X-Men franchise andthe upcoming The Day After Tomorrow,is based in Los Angeles and will continue to report to senior vice president ofpublicity Hilary Clark.H
  • German DVD outfit wins backing to increase acquisitions

    Leading German DVD company e-m-s new media has been granted a Euros 5m extension of its credit line by principal banker Dortmunder Volksbank. The money will help finance the acquisition of new film rights to add to its 400-title library.In addition, the previously short-term overdraft facility of Euro 3.5m has been converted to a long-term credit line.With the investment loan, own cash-flow and two recent capital increases in place, e-m-s is confident of meeting the targets for
  • Germany's X-Filme scores double top

    Berlin production powerhouse X-Filme creative pool and its distribution arm X Verleih have been named Germany's most successful production company and distributor of 2003 when the German Federal Film Board (FFA) handed out Euros 15.9m retroactive "reference" funding.The box-office success last year of Good Bye, Lenin!, Liegen Lernen and the co-production Vier Freunde Und Vier Pfoten earned X-Filme over Euros 2.3m to invest in the production of new German features.T
  • Happy Day for Danish gospel comedy

    MFA has acquired the German and Austrian rights to Hella Joof's as yet unfinished Danish gospel comedy drama Oh Happy Day from Nordisk Film International Sales. Earlier this year Ascot Elite picked up Swiss rights to the film.The buy was made based on a 10-minute promo, as the film won't be completed until Cannes, and is set for an Oct 29 release locally.Actress turned director Joof, who had a major local hit with her debut Shake It All About (2001), co-wrote the s
  • Hellboy

    Dir: Guillermo del Toro. US. 2003. 122 mins.Their web sites have been spreading pre-release buzz for weeks and comic book geeks won't be disappointed when Guillermo del Toro's handsome and long-awaited big screen take on artist Mike Mignola's Hellboy opens in the US this weekend. Whether broad mainstream audiences will be as enthusiastic is, however, less certain. Despite its visual flair, impressive effects and engaging portrait of a quirky outsider hero, Del Toro's f
  • Hollywood costs go through the roof

    The average cost to MPAA-affiliated studios of making andmarketing a film crossed $100m for the first time in 2003, outgoing MPAApresident Jack Valenti announced at ShoWest yesterday (23).Combined US box office for MPAA films was the second highestin history, dropping 0.3% against last year's $9.5bn record tally for $9.47bn,while the level of US admissions dropped 4% from 1.64billion in 2002 to1.57billion - the third highest result after 1957 and 2002.The cost of a US cinema tic

    Horror sequel The Eye 2, produced by Hong Kong's Applause Pictures, has outperformed the original film in its opening week, grossing US$741,729 from 40 screens.Directed by the Pang Brothers, The Eye 2 stars Shu Qi as a pregnant woman who starts to suffer from terrifying hallucinations. Eugenia Yuan and Thai actor Jessadaporn Pholdee also star. The original film, which starred Angelica Lee Sin-je as a young girl who sees the dead following a corneal transplant, grossed US$

    Five new releases hit the Hungarian cinemas last weekend including multi award-winning The Return and Vadim Perelman's House Of Sand And Fog but once again it was only the action flicks and comedies that made it into the box office top ten.Torque starring Ice Cube and Martin Henderson landed the highest newcomer spot at third but managed less than 10,000 admissons on 16 prints. Steve Martin's local popularity is also fading as shown by the modest success of Chea
  • Independent producers and MPAA settle over screeners

    The Coalition of IndependentFilmmakers, IFP/Los Angeles and IFP/New York have dropped their antitrustlawsuit against the MPAA following the Hollywood lobby group's de factorevocation of the screener ban.All parties have agreed todismiss the pending Antidote Int'l Films Inc et al v MPAA litigation in aconfidential settlement.The case was originallyfiled last November in response to September's ban, which the plaintiffsalleged was a violation of antitrust laws that put independent
  • Italian producer Seregni lines up Corpses

    Rosanna Seregni, the independent Italian co-producer behind Vodka Lemon, has boarded a new French-Slovenian film that is being produced by No Man's Land's Dunja Klemenc and Cedomir Kolar.Set in Sarajevo in 2001, the film, whose working title is Well Tempered Corpses, tells the story of four corpses who are brought to the city's morgue on the same day. Their deaths, however, are not a coincidence as it turns out that all four people are connected in some way.

    Filmauro's Crimson Rivers 2: The Angels Of The Apocalypse opened at number one at the Italian box office, grossing $1,795,12, making it the second film to be released by Aurelio De Laurentiis's company in a month to reach the top four.Filmauro, which co-produced Crimson Rivers 2 (together with Studio Legende, EuropaCorp, TF1 Films Production, Epica Limited), opened the film on 396 screens, scoring a fair screen average of $4,533.However, the highest screen average

    With Spring Break in full swing in Japan, distributors have been busy rolling out films aimed at teens and kids.The two new openers most successful in attracting this demographic are both Japanese. Quill, a drama about cuddly seeing-eye dog, debuted on the chart at number two, with a sky-high screen average of $58,070.Grabbing third place, with an average of $43,030, was The Hotel Venus, an ensemble piece about guests at a funky hotel somewhere in a "borderless" ci
  • King continues to rule, takes $5m over weekend

    New Line International's TheLord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King added $5m from 2,225 screens in 57 markets at the weekend to raise itsinternational running total to $717.9m.Combined with its $374.6mdomestic gross, The Return Of The King has racked up $1.1bn in worldwide ticketsales.The picture added $1m in itsthird weekend in China, dropping 48% for an $8.6m cumulative total, and added$2.7m in Japan in its seventh to-day weekend and fell 24% for $77.1m.
  • Lescure to head Equinoxe workshop

    Former Canal Plus chief Pierre Lescure will act as president of the upcoming Equinoxe screenwriters' workshop in Marrakech from April 26-May 3. Former president Jeanne Moreau will take up the role of honorary president.Since its inception 11 years ago, the twice yearly event has generated 64 films which have won 60 prizes in worldwide festivals.Although major sponsors Columbia and Canal Plus recently pulled out of Equinoxe, the group is determined to go on. Lescure told Scree
  • Magnolia acquires US rights to Al-Jazeera doc Control Room

    Magnolia Pictures has acquired domestic rights to Jehane Noujaim'sControl Room, abehind-the-scenes look at the Al-Jazeera network's coverage of the recent Iraqwar and the criticisms it faced for its coverage.
  • Myriad takes on Meltdown, Evel for MIP

    Continuing a move into TV distribution, Myriad Pictures has beenretained as international sales agent on the telefilms American Meltdown for ApolloScreen and Evel for sister company ApolloProScreen.

    At its first official opening weekend at the box office - audiences were first warmed up on previews - Columbia TriStar's Mona Lisa Smile has pushed The Passion Of The Christ off the top spot with a gross of NZ$309,933 from 53 screens.The Haunted Mansion's NZ$259,523 gross from 50 screens in its first weekend for BVI also out-performed The Passion, leaving it in third place.In fact, four of the top five films were openers. Hoyts/Icon's The Butterfl
  • Nina's Tragedies to open US Israel Film Festival

    Savi Gabizon's Nina'sTragedies will open the 20th annualIsrael Film Festival, the largest showcase of Israeli films in the US that runsin Los Angeles from Apr 29-May 13 and this year focuses on coming-of-agestories and the decay of the kibbutz system.All in all 37 Israelinarrative features, documentaries and shorts will screen at the event, whichalso features tributes to producer Gale Anne Hurd and directors Norman Jewisonand Arthur Hiller. A full slate of ti
  • Nordisk Film parent sees profits soar in 2003

    Danish media group Egmont - parent company of NordiskFilm - had its best ever year in 2003, posting a pre-tax profit of Euros 59m -up from Euros 20m in 2002.However, Nordisk Film revenues dropped back to Euros 345mcompared to 2002's Euros 432m.In August 2002 the company merged its two sister divisionsEgmont Entertainment and Nordisk Film and streamlined their activities in orderto improve its profit. This process is still ongoing and is expected to have apositive impact on the 2
  • Norwegian film fund backs eight new features

    Eight new features from newcomers and experienced filmmakers like Petter Naess, Erik Skjoldbjaerg and Paal Sletaune have been awarded funding from the Norwegian Film Fund.Elsk Meg I Morgen (literally Love Me Tomorrow) is the third and final instalment in the successful trilogy about Elling, and it will be directed by Petter Naess, who also made the original Oscar-nominated film.Popular actors Per Christian Ellefsen and Sven Nordin reprise their roles, and the NOK15
  • Nowhere In Africa producer goes it alone

    Peter Herrmann, producer of Caroline Link's Oscar-winning Nowhere In Africa has left MTM Medien & Television Muenchen to set up his own production outfit.The new company Peter Herrmann Filmproduktion (PHF), which plans to focus on producing German films with international financing, already has two projects in development.Herrmann acquired the film rights to Waris Dirie's best-selling autobiography Desert Flower which will be adapted and directed by Sherry Hormann
  • Oh Schuks, The Passion create S.A. BO bonanza

    South African cinemagoers were out in force this past weekend to check out two major icons - and the result was a combined box-office bonanza.Mel Gibson's The Passion Of The Christ had an opening weekend of $600,000 (R3,758,025) (including premieres), on 35 prints representing a print average of $16,000 (R102,229), making it the biggest opening weekend per print average of all time in the territory.Distributor Nu Metro says the release echoes that of event releases, but i
  • Organisation relaunches as Australians In Film

    The non-profit Australians In Film (formerly The Los AngelesAustralian Film and Television Association) has relaunched boasting celebrityambassadors including Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe, a new board of advisorsand a slate of events.
  • Oz's FFC bankrolls December Boys, Wolf Creek

    The Film Finance Corporation (FFC) has agreed to invest in two new Australian films, the 1960s drama December Boys to be directed by LA-based Rod Hardy, and the low-budget digital horror film Wolf Creek, by first-time writer/director Greg McLean.December Boys has been adapted from Michael Noonan's novel by Marc Rosenberg and follows what happens when four orphans on a holiday by the sea learn that two families are considering adoption. It will be a Becker Films production
  • Passion continues to burn for Fox in Latin America

    The Passion Of The Christ continued its surging run in Latin America through FoxInternational at the weekend as it added $9m for a $25m running total inthe region.
  • Passion tops UK, thanks to extra previews

    Mel Gibson's The Passion Of The Christ launched in the UK this weekend to see churches block-booking screenings and offering tickets to interested parties for free in some areas of the country.Despite this enthusiasm the film was unable to top the UK/Ireland chart over the three-day weekend landing in second for Icon Film Distribution with $3.1m (£1.7m) taken from 323 sites. This placed it behind Starsky & Hutch's third weekend gross of $3.36m (£1.85m) from 453.How
  • Podium

    Dir: Yann Moix. 2004. France-Belgium 2004. 95 mins.A mild satire on the morbid contemporary phenomenon of pop celebrity cloning, Podium owes what energy it has to its Belgian star, Benoit Poelvoorde. Directed by Yann Moix, a former journalist who published the story as a best-selling novel in 2002, the film has become a sleeper hit in France (over 3 million admissions) but is mostly for local consumption in French-speaking territories.Though the central prem
  • Polly adds another $5.7m over weekend for Universal

    Universal's Along Came Polly boosted its international running total by an estimated$5.7m to $62m through UIP at the weekend.
  • Raindance, BIFA announce 2004 events

    Raindance and The British Independent Film Awards have announced their programme of events for 2004.Raindance also announced its move into UK home entertainment distribution with the formation of the Raindance Distribution Company, a joint venture with Anchor Bay Entertainment to create a new DVD label which will release six to ten titles each year selected from the Raindance festival.Raindance 2004 opens with The 3rd Raindance East Film Festival (23-29 April), which focuses on
  • Reconstruction takes top prize at Sofia film fest

    Danish director Christoffer Boe's Reconstruction won the top prize of Euros 5, the 8th edition of the Sofia International Film Festival.The five-member jury led by director Jerry Schatzberg, awarded a special mention to a production from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Srdjan Vuletic's Summer In The Golden Valley - which also won the FIPRESCI prize.The Euros 6,000Jameson Award for the best Bulgarian short film was awarded to Svetla Tsotsorkova's Living With Sofia
  • Return star signs for Polish Master

    Russian actor Konstantin Lavronenko, who played the fatherin Andrei Zvyagintsev's award-winning The Return, has been cast to play the lead in Polish filmmakerPiotr Trzaskalski's next feature The Master.Trzaskalski's last film Eddie (Edi) registered over 400,000 admissions in Poland and wasthe official Polish submission for the Oscars in 2002 as well as winningnumerous prizes at home and abroad.Described as "a road movie with an open form", TheMaster t

    In the third week of its release Cold Mountain has finally been pushed off the top of the Romanian box office chart. Welcome To The Jungle and Duplex both made strong starts but the momentum certainly belonged to the Ben Stiller-Drew Barrymore comedy which produced an amazing 5,000 admissions on a mere two screens.GlobCom's new release, Veronica Guerin was no match for these box office favourites and neither were Mystic River and School of Rock.The fi
  • Santiago cleans up at Fribourg

    Peruvian director Josue Mendez was the big winner at this year's Fribourg International Film Festival, picking up four awards including the International Jury's Regard D'Or for his Dias De Santiago.The Jury, under Argentine filmmaker Eliseo Subiela, unanimously recognised "the cinematographic quality of this first work as well as the actor's performance." Dias De Santiago also received the EXCHANGE Award conferred by the Youth Jury, the Ecumenical Jury, and the FIPRESCI J
  • Scooby Doo 2 races out of the gate with $4.1m

    The family sequel Scooby-Doo2 grossed an estimated $4.1m in ninemarkets through Warner Bros Pictures International at the weekend.Highlights of the limitedday-and-date release with the US, where the picture opened top on an estimated$30.7m, included a superb $369,016 from 35 screens in Singapore (includingpreviews) and $267,285 from 105 in Sweden. Both were number one bows.Scooby-Doo 2 grossed $1.3m in Saturday and Sunday previews in theUK on 46
  • Scooby dooby does it again with $30.7m weekend

    Warner Bros' family sequel Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed ushered in a new number one at theweekend - not to mention another film featuring a colon and a lengthy title -as it opened on an estimated $30.7m.
  • Script Factory launches training scheme for film professionals

    Screenwriting organisation The Script Factory is launching SCENE insiders, a new international training programme for European film professionals at the Edinburgh, London and Warsaw International Film Festivals in 2004 and at Gothenburg, Sweden in January 2005.SCENE insiders is targeted at directors, producers, distributors, readers, developers and story editors from the EU and invites participants to explore and refine the way they work with screenwriters.Backed b

    Despite its continuous decline (56% this weekend), Robbery Of The Third Reich is still taking up most of the Serbian-Montenegrin box office. After this weekend's 9,907 admissions, the local blockbuster has now grossed a total of $754,596 for Mirius.The following three positions belong to Tuck's Something's Gotta Give, Runaway Jury and Gothika. The Jack Nicholson/Diane Keaton vehicle sold 2,847 admissions in its second weekend, adding up to a total of $60,756; the l
  • Singapore admissions to rise as censorship laws relax

    Cinema attendance is expected to rise significantly in Singapore thanks to the launch next week of a new ratings system.In a move to further ease the country's strict censorship laws, Singapore's Board of Film Censors is due to creates a new category of M18 for viewers aged 18 and above.Currently there are two key categories of NC16 and R21, with many films like The English Patient, Shakespeare In Love, and One Hour Photo earning a R21 rating in the past. Th
  • Singapore unveils world's first digital multiplex

    Singapore exhibitor Eng Wah Organization is on target to roll out the world's first full digital multiplex, strengthening Singapore's reputation as a pioneer in digital cinema technology.Installation of 2K digital screens at a five-screen multiplex of Eng Wah is near completion. The five digital cinema screens supplied by Barco are the first batch of 20 digital cinemas and one outdoor digital screen that will be installed in Singapore by the third quarter of this year.'We adopte
  • Sofia Meetings develop second film projects

    One of the highlights of the recent Sofia International Film Festival was a session of second films pitching as part of the Sofia Meetings.Twelve projects were invited to the event, which was attended by such decision-makers as Renate Roginas from Eurimages, The Coproduction Office's Philippe Bober, Pandora Film's Karl Baumgartner, Bavaria Film's Tobias Pausinger and Fortissimo Film Sales' Esther Bannenberg.The major European co-production markets were also represented; Sonja Mo
  • Spain's Golem joins DVD alliance Cameo Media

    Spanish arthouse distributor Golem Distribucion has joined start-up DVD distribution alliance Cameo Media as an equal partner.The Golem addition rounds out Cameo's direct line to product from some of Spain's leading independent distributors and producers, including Alta Films, Wanda Films, Tornasol Films and Continental Producciones.The companies are all equal partners in the alliance with Cameo chief Juan Carlos Tous, former DVD director at Manga Films."Golem brings qual
  • Spider-Man 3 to hit theatres on May 4, 2007

    Spider-Man 3 is a go. Sony Pictures vice chairman Jeff Blakeshowed a new trailer to Spider-Man 2 last night and announced that Spider-Man 3 would open in US theatres on May 4, 2007 with TobeyMaguire and Kirsten Dunst in the roles of Peter Parker and Mary-Jane Watson and SamRaimi once again behind the camera.The presentation at 10.30pmlast night in Las Vegas was introduced by Blake and Amy Pascal, the chairman ofSony Pictures Entertainment, motion picture group, and
  • Straight Jacket to open Miami Gay & Lesbian festival

    Straight Jacket, Richard Day's follow-up feature to Girls Will BeGirls, will open the 2004 Miami Gay& Lesbian Film Festival which takes place for the sixth time from April 23to May 2.The festival will alsopresent Miguel Albaladejo's Cachorro (Bear Cub) as thecenterpiece gala screening and will close with a gala screening of AngelaRobinson's lesbian spy adventure DEBS produced by Andrea Sperling who will be presented with the Wolfe CareerAchievement Aw
  • Studios hit as UK gov't outlaws p&a tax schemes

    US studios including Walt Disney, Miramax and Universalhave been stopped from accessing an estimated £400 million in UKtax-based funding to underwrite their p&a costs through another loophole intax regulations.Hardon the heels of closing down production funds on February 10, the InlandRevenue today extended its tightening up of tax rules to include a fresh cropof distribution schemes using generally accepted accountancy principles (GAAP).While last month's major casua
  • Sundance Institute unveils first documentary grants for 2004

    Eleven feature-length documentaries covering subjectsas diverse as women prisoners in Yemen to the aftermath of the Rwandan genocidewill receive a total of $395,000 in the first round of grants awarded by theSundance Institute Documentary Fund for 2004.The fund was set up in 2002 as a result of a gift by theOpen Society Institute to support documentaries that focus on human rights andcivil liberties issues.Two rounds of grants are awarded each year to recipientschosen by

    Little changed at the top of the Swedish chart except for local coming of age drama The Ketchup Effect moving down fifth. However, the best performer was 21 Grams which on its just nine screens had an impressive $7,331 average, more than twice any other film.Less impressive was the other new release The Missing, which had just $1,965 average on its 24 prints, and Underworld, which did better with $3,143 on 12 prints. They opened at 13 and 16 respectively.
  • THINKFilm acquires Boston Red Sox movie for North America

    New York-based THINKFilm has acquired North American rights to TheBoston Red Sox Movie,which chronicles the highs and lows of the legendary baseball team set againstthe tumultuous 2003 season and is scheduled to open in Boston on May 7.Produced by sports filmproduction hou
  • Tribeca unveils May festival lineup, 30 world premieres

    30 world premieres willscreen at the upcoming Tribeca Film Festival, which runs from May 1-9 in NewYork City and for the first time includes the NY, NY Features and NY, NYDocumentaries sections among the five competition strands.Overall 65 films from around the world have been cu
  • Tunnell promoted, Franklin & Siegel retained at Deutsch/Open City

    JasonKliot and Joana Vicente's New York production outfit Deutsch/Open City haspromoted Tory Tunnell to vice president and retained the New York literaryagency Franklin & Siegel Associates to scout books for the company.

    It was a complicated picture this weekend for the UK and Ireland chart as three films vied for the lead while BVI saw vastly different receptions for two new releases.Entertainment's Dawn Of The Dead figures included previews figures of $544,425 (£299,434) without which it would rank third over the three-day weekend. Starsky & Hutch held up well against new competitors with a 32% drop in its third week on release and second on wide release.Meanwhile Icon Film Distr
  • Valenti bids tearful farewell to ShoWest

    Hollywood figurehead JackValenti bade a tearful farewell this morning to ShoWest, the assembly oftheatre-owners that he has addressed as chief executive of the Motion PictureAssociation of America (MPAA) for the past 37 years.A packed room of exhibitorsin Las Vegas put side any differences they may have had with their sometimenemesis on the opposite of the negotiating table and gave a clearly emotional 83-year-oldValenti a warm standing ovation.John Fithian, president ofthe Nati
  • Valenti on the screener ban: 'I would have done it differently'

    MPAA chairman and CEO JackValenti expressed regret at how he handled the awards screener ban at his pressbriefing yesterday morning for the opening of ShoWest in Las Vegas.When asked why he had leftthe imposition of the ban till so late in the year last year, he said that withthe wisdom of hindsight, "I would probably have done it differently.""When I got the figures inlate summer last year that 68 titles had been pirated from awards screeners, Istarted to worry that we would be
  • Venice date shift expected

    The Biennale is expected to hold the next edition of the Venice Film Festival from Sept 1 to 11, 2004, moving its dates back a few days from its usual slot in order to provide a more lucrative platform for Italian independent distributors to release their autumn titles. Its 2004 edition had previously been announced as being held from Aug 27 to Sept 5.Most local distributors use the festival as a publicity-boosting launch pad for their autumn slates, often timing the release of their t
  • Venture capital firm sells entire stake in exhibitor Kinepolis

    Belgian venture capital firm GIMV has sold its entire 10% stake in exhibition company Kinepolis Group, realising capital gains of Euros 5.5m, according to the company.GIMV sold its 686,860 shares for an estimated Euros 13m after Kinepolis posted results showing a consolidated net profit of Euros 2.7m for 2003 - despite a difficult year for the exhibitor. Shares were bought by a range of institutional investors in Belgium and abroad, according to GIMV's website.While Kinepolis' t
  • Wellspring acquires US rights to Fontaine's Nathalie

    USindependent distributor Wellspring, which was recently acquired by AmericanVantage Media Corporation, has picked up all US rights to Anne Fontaine'serotic drama Nathalie, starringGerard Depardieu, Fanny Ardant and Emanuelle Beart.