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6 January 2002

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  • 2001 cinema admissions rise across Europe

    UK cinema admissions hit 156m in 2001 according to Screendaily estimates, surpassing industry expectations and making it the most successful for nearly 30 years. Other major European territories mirrored the UK's near 10% admissions increase.Despite a below-par first quarter in the UK - which saw admissions down 8.7% year-on-year - and a gradual economic slowdown, the combined weight of powerhouses Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone and The Lord Of The Rings: The
  • 2001 European box office charts

    UK Top 20 20011. Harry Potter /UK-US$78.8m*2. Bridget Jones's Diary/UK-US$60.6m3. Shrek/US$41.8m4. The Lord Of The Rings/NZ-US
  • 2001's $8bn US BO total is a mixed blessing

    The $8bn mark may have been broken at the North American box office in 2001, but it was a mixed celebration among the Hollywood majors. Up by 8.5% from 2000's record $7.7bn, the year's total of $8.3bn reflected a rise in ticket prices as opposed to an increase in admissions, with preliminary estimates ranging from 1.44bn to 1.48bn ticket sales. The all-time record currently remains 1.48bn admissions in 1998, and whether the final figure for 2001 surpasses that will not be revealed unti
  • Afghanistan to host Indian film festival in Kabul

    The Indian Information and Broadcasting Ministry and the Directorate of Film Festivals have announced that they will be hosting an Indian Film Festival in Kabul in late January. Up to 10 films will be screened at the festival with likely contenders including Satya, Lagaan and Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam. War-scarred Kabul has around 12 decrepit theatres, including the famous Bakhtar theater where Indian films were traditionally screened. The interim administration in Af
  • AFI Awards go for Lord Of The Rings, Sopranos

    The inaugural American Film Institute (AFI ) Awards took place on Saturday night in Los Angeles, awarding its top prizes to The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring for film and The Sopranos for television. Few winners (eight out of 20) actually attended the ceremony - yet another addition to the crowded awards calendar. Honorees are named by 100 film "experts" - scholars, film-makers and professionals selected by the AFI.Full list of winners:Best Film Th
  • Amelie takes Oz foreign-language record

    French-language phenomenon Amelie, which has already grossed over $100m worldwide, has set a new foreign-language record on its opening in Australia. Jean-Pierre Jeunet's film saw opening week figures of $413,000 (A$798,000) to become the territory's highest foreign-language release of all-time. Including previews it has already grossed over $520,000 (A$1m). Amelie crushed the previous record of $254,518 (A$486,130) set by Ang Lee's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon i
  • Berlin reveals competition, world premiere titles

    The first round of competition titles to be announced for the 2002 Berlin International Film Festival (6 - 17 February) includes six world premieres and a strong European slant.The world premieres lined up for the official competition section include:Heaven by Tom Twyker (opening film)Amen by Constantin Costa-GavrasDer Felsen (A Map Of The Heart) by Dominik GrafHuit Femmes by Francois Ozon Lundi Matin by Otar Losseliani S
  • Bertelsmann increases RTL Group shareholding

    Germany's Bertelsmann is to increase its current 67% majority shareholding in the radio and television holding RTL Group by acquiring the 22% stake held by the Pearson Group. The remaining11% is held by the public as free-float.As part of the purchase agreement, Pearson will be paid Euros 1.5bn for its shareholding in RTL, which corresponds to a price of Euros 44 per share. Bertelsmann has commenced discussions with the board of RTL with the intention of buying out the remaining public
  • British Telecom to be broadcaster within two years

    UK phones giant British Telecom (BT) is aiming to become a major power in Britain's television sector and seems on course to be a broadcaster within two years. Newly installed chairman Sir Christopher Bland says that by distributing television content over its own landlines, satellites and microwave networks it could go head to head with cable operators NTL and Telewest and with digital satellite broadcaster BSkyB.In an interview with the Sunday Times, Bland said: "at one extrem
  • C-2, Intermedia seal T3 int'l deal with CTFDI

    Intermedia and C-2 Pictureshave concluded a deal for the majority of international distribution rights onTerminator3: Rise Of The Machines withColumbia TriStar Film Distributors International (CTFDI). Warner Bros hasdomestic rights to the film, and per an agreement made between C-2 prior toIntermedia's involvement, Toho-Towa has the option on Japanese rights.C-2 had also struck a dealwith VCL to take a 25% stake in the the film and an option on German-speakingterritories, and wh
  • Czech cinema admissions pass 10m in 2001

    Homegrown hit Ali G IndaHouse topped the chart in the UK over the weekend. Grossing an impressive $4.6m (£3.2m) from 396 sites, including $352,649 of previews from 338 sites, the comedy vehicle for Sacha Baron Cohen's Ali G character triumphed over an onslaught of children's and family titles. Ali G, distributed by UIP, also scored the best site average of the week, $11,642.However the weekend was not a complete success for UIP, which also launched Jimmy Neutron -
  • Danish films hit 20-year high at home

    Danish films hit the box-office jackpot at local cinemas last year, with a 20-year high of 3.6m admissions.The Danish Film Institute reported that local productions accounted for 3.6m of the territory's 12m total tickets sold - a 30% market share and a 75% increase on 2000. Over the past five years the annual average admissions for local product has been just 2.1mThe volume of local product was unusually high in 2001, with local films competing not only with foreign product, but
  • France's TFI boosts stake in loss-making TPS

    Leading French broadcaster TF1 has acquired France Television's and France Telecom's 25% stake in Television Par Satellite (TPS) for Euros 195m.Following its acquisition of France Telecom's16.5%, and public broadcaster France Television's 8.5% stake, TF1 will hold 50% of the loss-making digital satellite operation, along with private broadcaster M6 and cable operator Suez Lyonnaise, each holding a 25% stake in TPS.Observers are already speculating that TF1 will next move on Suez
  • French production & exhibition enjoy record 2001

    2001 has been a record-breaking year for both the French production and exhibition sectors, with local titles attracting a hefty 41% (up from 28.5% in 2000) of the 185 million tickets (up 11.4%) sold last year, according to the latest CNC estimates, the highest attendance figure since 1984.Last year, French films attracted 76 million admissions (up 29 million compared to 2000 and the highest figure in 16 years) while US titles achieved 103 million (up from 92.5 million the previous yea
  • Germany's Red Beat announces 10-picture slate

    Berlin-based production house Red Beat Pictures has announced an ambitious slate of ten feature projects after almost two years dedicated to project development since its launch in April 2000 by partners Herbert Gehr, Michael Helfrich and Ali Eckert.This year should see a May start on production at locations in Berlin, Glasgow and Rotterdam for writer-director Cynthia Beatt's Euros 1.9m drama A House In Berlin, which is to be co-produced by Heartbeatt Pictures, Scots production
  • Germany's Senator welcomes Fabritius

    After months of speculation as to his next destination, former Arthaus Filmverleih managing director Juergen Fabritius has been appointed as one of the managing directors at Senator Film Verleih with responsibility for marketing and distribution for releases in the German language area.According to a German press report, Bernd Tietze will continue to serve as a managing director with responsibility for Business & Legal Affairs and Licenses, while Benjamin Herrmann, managing director of
  • Gomez to take back Lolafilms stake from Admira

    Spanish heavyweight producer Andres Vicente Gomez is in negotiations to take back the 70% stake in his production powerhouse Lolafilms which he sold two years ago to Admira (Telefonica Media).Local press reports suggest that Admira, the media subsidiary of telecoms giant Telefonica, presided over by Juan Jose Nieto, is considering the sale despite initial board reluctance.When the original deal was unveiled in January 2000, upping Admira's stake in Lola from 33% to 70%, Gomez sa
  • I Am Sam

    Dir: Jessie Nelson. US 2001. 134mins.This film about a mentally-challenged father (Penn) whose seven-year old daughter is taken away from him by social workers is as cloying as they come and will try the patience of even the actor's most loyal fans. Certainly there is an audience for this type of treacly fare and the presence of both Penn and Michelle Pfeiffer - as the high-powered attorney who tries to win the girl back for her dad -- will bring some people into cinemas. How
  • Indian film breaks UK box office record

    While box office titans The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring and Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone were dominating the nation's screens over the festive break, another titan in its own right was setting box office records elsewhere.After just three weeks on release, Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (Sometimes Happiness, Sometimes Sorrow, aka K3G) has become the highest-grossing Indian film of all time in the UK. K3G has grossed£1.92m ($2.8m) for
  • Japan's DVD penetration to hit 50% by 2005

    Penetration of DVD players in Japanese households rose to 22% by September 2001, a gain of 10.5% from July 2000, according to a survey by the Japan Video Association. The Association calculates that 25% of Japan's nearly 44 million households owned a DVD player by the end of 2001 and predicts that nearly half will have one by 2005.Meanwhile, between January and November 2001, domestic shipments of DVD players reached 1.36 million units, representing a 110% gain compared with the same p
  • Lord Of The Rings strides past $200m

    The Lord Of The Rings continued to dominate the North American box office crossing the $200m barrier with a $23m take in its third weekend, while Warner Bros' Harry Potter & The Sorcerer's Stone crossed the $300m mark after eight weeks on release.Playing at 3,381 theatres, the epic three hour fantasy should easily break the $300m barrier especially with the awards momentum gathering in its favour. On Saturday, it was named best picture of the year at the AFI Awards and i
  • Mulholland Drive is National Critics' choice

    Mulholland Drive was named best picture of 2001 by the influential National Society Of Film Critics on Saturday, completing a remarkable run of success for David Lynch's film which began with a best director prize at this year's Cannes Film Festival.The National Society which comprises 52 of the country's leading critics has been voting its annual awards since 1966 and dedicated this year's awards to the memory of Pauline Kael, the longtime New Yorker fim critic and a founding
  • Navarre gets DVD/VHS rights to three from Halicki

    Navarre Corporation, a US distributor of PC software, music and home video, has acquired domestic rights to distribute three more action films made by the late HB Halicki on DVD and VHS following its successful re-release of Gone In 60 Seconds last year. The films are The Junkman, Deadline Auto Theft and Gone In 60 Seconds 2 kicking off with The Junkman on Feb 19.DVD producers Denice Halicki and Michael Leone have restored and digitally remastered
  • New deals increase US focus for Intermedia

    It was a muddy picture at Intermedia parent International Media in the New Year as news, some authorised, some not, trickled out of the independent giant - in one of its most tumultuous periods of growth since floating on Frankfurt's Neuer Markt in May 1999. Co-chairman Moritz Bormann travelled between Los Angeles and Germany closing a deal to buy 100% of Graham King's Initial Entertainment Group (IEG) while speculation about negotiations to acquire Gary Barber and Roger Birnbaum's Spy
  • New Line's Fellowship is New Year box office champ

    New Line Cinema championed the box office for the second weekend in a row as The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring brought in an estimated $37.4m in the Friday to Sunday period Dec 28 to 30. The 178 minute epic played at 3,359 theatres for a strong $11,119 site average. Its domestic total to date is a staggering $154.5m - grossed in just 12 days.Box office was up a massive 21% from the same weekend last year led by Fellowship but with ongoing success,
  • Rings sparkle for New Line: $350m in 14 days

    Shaping up as the fastestgrossing film in history, New Line Cinema'sThe Fellowship Of The Ring, the first in its Lord Of The Rings trilogy, has crossed the $350m barrier at the globalbox office in just two weeks on over 8,000 prints.At the end of Tuesday (NewYear's Day), the film had taken $174m in North America and $176m ininternational territories since its Dec 19 opening in the US and 16international territories. Five other territories followed on Dec 20, four moreon Dec
  • Spain launches French-style cinema loyalty cards

    Spanish exhibition major, CAEC, has launched the territory's first cinema loyalty pass, two weeks after French film support body, CNC, concluded that the introduction of the card system has benefited both exhibitors and distributors in that country, where UGC, Gaumont and Pathe have all launched versions. (Screendaily Dec 20, 2001) The Spanish pass, dubbed the Practical Card (Tarjeta Practica), will be sold on an annual basis, payable monthly at Euros 20, slightly more than the
  • Telenor, Canal Plus dispute payments in court

    Norwegian telecommunications giant Telenor and Vivendi Universal's TV and film division Canal Plus are battling in court over the payment for an agreement the two companies reached last summer. Canal Plus is demanding immediate payment of Euros 237m for the sale of its 50% stake in Nordic pay-TV operator Canal Digital to the telecommunications company. Telenor, however, is refusing to pay, claiming that the terms and conditions of the agreement are not yet in place.Last July, Te
  • Untitled Great War project wraps in Prague

    The as-yet untitled World War I thriller starring Billy Elliot's Jamie Bell wrapped in the Czech Republic in December, a UK-German co-production and the first from UK-based Film & Music Entertainment Ltd. The $5 million shoot finished on time and on budget, according to producer Mike Downey, who explained that the Czech Republic was chosen due to lower costs. "We considered shooting in London," he says, "but we believe that our $5 million film would have cost $7.5 million if sho
  • Warner, Asahi bank on Son's Room in Japan

    Warner Bros. Pictures and the TV Asahi network will jointly distribute Nanni Moretti's The Son's Room in Japan in a deal that is a first for the Japanese market. According the terms of the partnership, the two companies will split p&a costs and share film distribution and video sales revenues. Warner will handle prints and deal with exhibitors, while TV Asahi will advertise the film on its 26 affiliates throughout Japan. Warner plans to release the film in January and pre
  • Wenders, Scorsese support 1st Int'l Frankfurt fest

    Wim Wenders and Martin Scorsese have been recruited as supporters of the 1st Frankfurt International Film Festival which is launched on January 9 with Herve Le Roux's comedy On Appelle Ca ... Le Printemps.While Wenders has agreed to serve as the patron for this year's event (January 9-16), which builds on the previous annual Frankfurter Filmschau of local filmmaking talent, Scorsese has selected a number of classic Italian films from the 1940s to 60s ranging from Otto E Mezzo
  • Wise Girls, new Pennebaker/Hegedus join Sundance

    The Sundance Film Festivalhas announced several special screenings at this year's event which takesplace from Jan 10-20 in Park City, Utah.They include Wise Girls starring Mira Sorvino and Mariah Carey, Only TheStrong Survive directed by DAPennebaker and Chris Hegedus, Love The Hard Way directed by Peter Sehr and Alfonso Cuaron'sMexican hit Y Tu Mama Tambien.A special event titledSeptember 11 has also been unveiled featuring a group of films such as