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6 January 2004

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    Australian box office contenders bowed before the all conquering concluding episode of the Lord Of The Rings trilogy, Return Of The King. Its A$7,686,250 weekend on 453 screens boosted total takings past A$26.6m on only its second week.The two films that challenged the King's A$16,967 screen average were newcomer Welcome To The Jungle (AKA The Rundown) on 143 screens (average A$15,285), and Lost In Translation (A$484,972 from 34 screens, average A$14,
  • BVI heads UK distributor rankings for 2003

    Buena Vista International has emerged as the leading distributor in the UK in 2003, with a £218m box office haul and 26.3% market share which was fuelled by hit films such as Finding Nemo and Pirates Of The Caribbean.UIP - which distributed films including Love Actually - was the second ranked distributor with £186m and a 22.5% market share, while UK independent Entertainment - which released The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of the King - came in third with

    The Return Of The King remained magestic at the top of the Danish box-office chart, but the new release of Scary Movie 3 performed impressively on its 36 prints and picked up a 1,035 admissions screen average for second.Both Finding Nemo and Mystic River managed to climb the chart 18.2% and 49.5% respectively, while the local youth film Scratch (Bagland) dropped to fourth after opening in second on Dec 25. Anders Gustafsson's feature debut received hi
  • Eurimages names Niehuus as vice-president

    Kirsten Niehuus, deputy board member at the German Federal Film Board (FFA) in Berlin, has been unanimously elected as Vice-President of Eurimages by all of the 29 national delegates of the pan-European co-production fund."I am very pleased about the decision, particularly in view of the forthcoming EU enlargement and the connected challenges in the audio-visual sphere", she said.Last year saw Eurimages providing a total of Euros 20.1m production support for 57 European co-prod
  • Fandango buys into UK's Civilian Content

    Italian production and distribution outfit Fandango, headed by Domenico Procacci, has acquired a 29% stake in Civilian Content, parent company of lottery franchise the Film Consortium and sales company The Works.Procacci, who paid around £830,000 for the stake, has bought out Civilian founder Richard Thompson who no longer holds a stake in the company.Meanwhile, Civilian managing director Chris Auty has acquired 250,000 shares in the company at 7.5p a share. The purchase takes h
  • Fantasporto line-up reveals US accent

    North American films have a notable presence at the upcoming 24th edition of Portugal's leading Oporto International Film Festival (Feb 20-Mar 1), better known as Fantasporto.Twenty films make up the Fantasy Film selection of the Official Competition. The Director's Week competition will feature 11, mostly European titles from directors such as Anders Tomas Jensen or Alex de la Iglesia.The non-genre specific Premiere & Panorama showcase will open with Michael Polish's Northfo
  • German film critics announce award nominations

    Distant Lights (Lichter) by Hans-Christian Schmid, Pigs Will Fly (pictured) by Eoin Moore and Wolfsburg by Christian Petzold are among the films nominated for this year's German Film Critics Awards.The complete line-up of nominations in the four categories are:Best Feature FilmPigs Will Fly, dir: Eoin MooreDistant Lights, dir: Hans-Christian SchmidAngst, dir: Oskar RoehlerWolfsburg, dir: Christian Petzold

    The final part of The Lord Of The Rings trilogy added another $10.9m to its box office takings as it reigned supreme at the top spot, bringing the total so far to $67.8m and a screen average of $8,193 from each of the 1,341 prints occupying almost a third of all of Germany's cinema screens.The international box office success of The Return Of The King will have sparked considerable local interest since the third part of the trilogy was financed by private German individua
  • Hungary passes new film law, offers new tax rebates

    The HungarianParliament has passed a new film law which should position the country as oneof the most attractive in the world for incentive-hungry internationalproductions.The law, which passed justbefore Christmas on Dec 22, offers two kinds of incentives. The first is astraight rebate system for productions shooting in Hungary which offers a 20%tax rebate on the Hungarian spend of the budget.The secondincentive is a co-production programme in which a tax rebate of 20% of thebu
  • Hungary passes new film law, offers new tax rebates of up to 20%

    The HungarianParliament has passed a new film law which should position the country as oneof the most attractive in the world for incentive-hungry internationalproductions.The law, which passed justbefore Christmas on Dec 22, offers two kinds of incentives. The first is astraight rebate system for productions shooting in Hungary which offers a 20%tax rebate on the Hungarian spend of the budget.The secondincentive is a co-production programme in which a tax re
  • Hungary passes new film law, offers new tax rebates of up to 20%

    The HungarianParliament has passed a new film law which should position the country as oneof the most attractive in the world for incentive-hungry internationalproductions.The law, which passed justbefore Christmas on Dec 22, offers two kinds of incentives. The first is astraight rebate system for productions shooting in Hungary which offers a 20%tax rebate on the Hungarian spend of the budget.The secondincentive is a co-production programme in which a tax re
  • Indian war epic soldiers ahead at box office

    One of the most anticipated and biggest budget Indian films of the past year - the war movie L.O.C Kargil - opened to reasonable returns in its home territory on Dec 26.Set against the backdrop of the Indo Pakistan war in 1999, the four hour long feature directed by J. P. Dutta stars about 40 top Bollywood names including Sanjay Dutt, Ajay Devgan, Manoj Bajpai, Saif Ali Khan, Abhishek Bachchan and Akshaye Khanna.The film, which cost $3.3m to make, took approximately $2.2m

    The Last Samurai continued to dominate the Japanese box office in its fourth week on release, followed closely by Finding Nemo. Boosted by their strong showings in the peak New Year's season, the two films are expected to gross a collective Y20 billion ($189m).Samurai's fifth weekend (Jan 3-4) proved the biggest for the Tom Cruise title so far across the country and the film has taken over $61m to date nationwide.Also performing strongly on the nine-major-ci
  • Klockworx to take Weeping Camel into Japan

    Klockworx has acquired allrights in Japan to the Toronto Film Festival hit The Story Of The Weeping Camelfrom sales agent MenemshaEntertainment. In addition, New World Pictures bought rights to the film inThailand.The picture, a docu-dramaset in the Mongolian desert, charmed Toronto audiences with its simple tale ofa camel who rejects her newborn baby and the efforts made by a nomadic familyto reunite the two. Directed as their graduation film by Munich Film Schoolstudents Byamb
  • Love Actually nears $55m in UK, scores big in Korea

    Love Actually has become Working Title's second biggest and Universal's thirdbiggest film ever in the UK as it climbed 25% in its seventh week on anestimated $2.1m for a mighty $54.1m running total, ranking third.
  • Marchand confirmed as chief of UK's Momentum

    Xavier Marchand has been confirmed as the new managing director of UK distributor Momentum Pictures with a mandate to expand the company into Europe and boost its UK presence.The appointment, which was predicted by (Dec 2003), became effective January 1.Marchand will report to Alliance Atlantis Motion Picture Distribution LP chief executive officer Victor Loewy and president Patrice Theroux.Marchand, whose track record includes spells at PolyGram, W
  • Master And Commander slows for Fox with $3.3m weekend

    Master And Commander grossed $3.3m from 1,491 screens in 36 Fox Internationalmarkets at the weekend, raising its international running total from thosemarkets to $62m.The naval adventure openedsecond place in both Thailand and New Zealand, grossing $392,000 from 96screens and $300,000 from 50 respectively.The comedy Stuck On You added $4.2m from 1,174 screens in nine markets for a$6.3m running total. Highlights included $1.97m from 298 in the UK for a closefourth p
  • Master And Commander, Young Adam lead London award noms

    Master And Commander and Young Adam lead the nominations for this year's London Film Critics' Circle Awards.Master And Commander: The Far Side Of The World received six nominations including film of the year, best director, best actor for Crowe and best British actor for Paul Bettany.Meanwhile, Young Adam leads the local hopefuls with nominations in seven categories.Ewan McGregor is nominated for best British actor and David Mackenzie is up for
  • Mike Nichols to get top honour from Directors Guild Of America

    Mike Nichols will receivethe Directors Guild of America's (DGA) Lifetime Achievement Award, the guild'shighest accolade, at the 56th Annual DGA Awards ceremony on Feb 7 in LosAngeles."There is hardly anentertainment medium that Mike Nichols hasn't pioneered and mastered," DGApresident Michael Apted said in a statement. "You can put any of these in frontof his name with the world winner: Oscar, Emmy, Tony, Grammy."Over the course of a 37-yearcareer, the Berlin-born Nichols has am
  • Miyazaki's Howl delayed till end of 2004

    The release of Howl's Moving Castle, the new animation from Japanese hitmaker Hayao Miyazaki, will be moved back from July to November, sources at distributor Toho have revealed.The film, which was to be the tentpole of Toho's summer slate, has fallen far behind its production schedule, necessitating the change of release dates. Toho has not yet announced a replacement - though the loss of what was expected to be the year's biggest earner will have a major impact on the distribu
  • Moscow fest set for revamp, appoints new artistic director

    The Moscow International Film Festival (18-27 June 2004) is to give itself a more business-like stance and a more Russian flavour and has appointed a new artistic director.Nadia Turincev, a Moscow-born executive, takes up the specially created post with immediate effect. She will remain in Paris, where she previously managed the European Producers' Club, and where last year she joined Francois Da Silva's selection team for Cannes' Directors' Fortnight section.Approached by festi
  • Nathalie

    Dir. Anne Fontaine. France 2003. 105 mins.Following on from Dry Cleaning and How I Killed My Father, the two films which established her as one of the most interesting French filmmakers of the current generation, Anne Fontaine again goes out to explore the troubled subconscious of the prim, apparently self-satisfied and flourishing bourgeoisie of her country.A woman's picture through and through, Nathalie deals with the fascination of a respect
  • Nemo rises to number 11 of all time after bonanza Christmas

    Finding Nemo added a little over $22m at the weekendto raise its international cumulative score to more than $440m, according toearly estimates from Buena Vista International (BVI).The latestfigures elevate the animated hit to the 11th biggest ever internationalperformer ahead of Spider-Man, which managed $418m. Nemo's $780m global box office ranks 12th in the all-timepantheon and it is expected to climb further.Key drivers wereFrance, where the film added $
  • Nemo takes global box office crown

    Finding Nemo became the biggest global release of 2003 in the last weekend of the year as it added $25.5m from international markets to raise its worldwide tally to $745m.By Dec 29 the animated hit had amassed $405m at the international box office, which combined with the $340m domestic gross to overtake the existing 2003 benchmark of $738m set by The Matrix Reloaded.The Buena Vista Pictures release is now the 12th biggest all-time international release.Key
  • Nemo, Bill, Seabiscuit on Oscar sound editing shortlist

    The Academy ofMotion Picture Arts And Sciences has unveiled a shortlist of seven titles inthe running for this year's achievement in sound editing Oscar.The titles are: FindingNemo, Kill Bill: Vol 1, The Last Samurai, The Lord Of The Rings: The Return OfThe King, Master And Commander, Pirates Of The Caribbean and Seabiscuit.Ten-minute clipreels from each of the contenders will be screened for the sound editing awardcommittee on Jan 20, when members will vote for th
  • New Nordic films line up for Gothenburg

    Eight new Nordic features have been selected for the Nordic Film Award at Sweden's major film festival in Gothenburg (Jan 23 - Feb 2).The films come from all over the region, and include a number of first time directors. The festival will open with the international premiere of Hilmar Oddsson's Icelandic drama Cold Light (Kaldaljos) (pictured) based on a novel by Vigdis Grimsdottir, while J-P Siili's Finnish drama Young Gods has been chosen as the closing film.Thre

    As expected, The Lord Of The Rings - The Return Of The King dominated the local New Year holiday box office charts, selling a further NZ$1.1m worth of tickets from 114 screens. With a total of NZ$7.5m by its third week it has sailed well clear of the NZ$6.5m reached by recent big performers Finding Nemo (in 12 weeks) and that other production featuring spectacular local scenery, Whale Rider (in 37 weeks).The King's screen average of NZ$9,647 was challenged o

    Distributor SF Film's massive roll-out of the local animated feature, Stig Bergqvist's Captain Sabertooth, on 71 prints wasn't able to match the performance of its own The Return Of The King, and after two weeks on release it has now dropped 46% but has still amassed 88,749 admissions.Freaky Friday's 25 prints, on the other hand, managed a much better screen average and moved up the chart to third past Finding Nemo. The only other local film in the top 20,
  • Refn to revisit Pusher

    Danish filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn will return to his roots with a follow-up to his 1996 debut and breakthrough film Pusher.Shooting from late January, Pusher II will see the local heartthrob Mads Mikkelsen (Open Hearts, The Green Butchers, King Arthur) reprise his role from the first film, but this time in a leading role as the story focuses on his character Lenny who is released from prison, determined to change his life.Pusher was the first feat
  • Return is still king of the box office

    New Line's TheLord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King is expected to pass $300m any day now in North Americafollowing an estimated $30.8m third weekend haul that boosted its domesticgross to $291.9m.Internationalresults are even more impressive as the fantasy finale raised its tally to astaggering $385m, which combines with domestic for a $677m worldwide runningtotal. Executives expect to release individual territory breakdowns today (Jan5).For the secondweekend in a ro
  • Return Of The King takes $72.6m over four days

    After just threeweekends The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King is closing in on $400m at theinternational box office and has the $1bn worldwide mark firmly within itssights.Latest figuresfrom New Line International reveal the fantasy finale grossed $72.6m from 8,826screens in 45 territories from Thursday-Sunday (Jan 1-4) to raise itsinternational running total to $390.4m.This combineswith the $290.4m domestic gross for a global running total of $680.8m.Key
  • Rings reigns as top Singapore film of 2003

    The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King reigned as the top grossing film in Singapore in 2003, according to figures from the Cinematograph Film Exhibitors Association.Although the third Lord Of The Rings opened only on Dec 18, 2003, it took $2.6m (S$4.45m) in box office receipts within two weeks, knocking Finding Nemo which earned $2.4m million from the number one position.The Return Of The King is still showing at local cinemas and is expected
  • Rotterdam line-up underlines festival's global accent

    Sixteen films have been selected for this year's VPRO Tiger Awards Competition in Rotterdam (Jan 21-Feb 1), among them eight world premieres.The films come from all corners of the world, including Peru, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Japan and Macedonia (see full list below).International Film Festival Rotterdam director Simon Field said that many of the films - such as Young Gods, How I Killed A Saint, Days of Santiago, Uniform and to some extent The Wooden Camera
  • Samurai jumps 70% in Japan for $61m total

    Warner Bros PicturesInternational's The Last Samuraienjoyed the biggest weekend of its Japanese run to date, climbing 70% in itsfifth weekend on an estimated $7.2m (Yen782.5m) from 482 screens for a $61.1m(Yen6.7bn) running total.Warner reports the week ofDec 27-Jan 2 grossed Yen1.8bn, which represented a rise of 28% over theprevious week.The film is due to open thisupcoming weekend in the UK, Germany, Italy, Spain and India, among otherterritories.Elsewhere for Wa
  • Splendor gets best film vote from National Critics

    American Splendor was voted best film of 2003 at the 38th NationalSociety of Film Critics Awards on Saturday (Jan 3), while Bill Murray won bestactor for Lost In Translation andCharlize Theron took actress honours for her acclaimed performance in Monster.Clint Eastwood was namedbest director for Mystic Riverand best foreign film went to Ari Kaurismaki for The Man Without A Past, which saw off the challenge of Sylvain Chomet's TheTriplets Of Bellevi
  • Tax-driven film financing develops funding alternatives

    For the latest UK production listings click HEREWith the UK's film tax funding in flux, financiers, producers and even two US studios are flocking to a new breed of fund that is not reliant on the current regulations under Section 48.The latest fund devised under general accountancy principles rather than any film-specific tax break sees UK financier Invicta partnering with Sony, according to sour
  • The Card Player (Il Cartaio)

    Dir: Dario Argento. Italy. 2003. 107mins.Italian horror-maestro Dario Argento will alienate many of his loyal cult followers with this surprisingly conventional ripper-flick, which revolves around a serial killer's challenge to police investigators to play online video-poker if they want to save the life of his trussed and webcammed victims. But Italian producer and distributor Medusa, which gave the film a 220-screen roll-out on Jan 2, is more interested in today's cinemagoi
  • The Young Black Stallion (LSF)

    Dir: Simon Wincer. US. 2003. 50mins.A prequel to 1979 family classic The Black Stallion, The Young Black Stallion, Disney's first live-action dramatic movie made specifically for giant screen exhibition, is, predictably, strong on visuals and weak on story. A Christmas Day opening in the US on 51 IMAX screens yielded a first-weekend per-screen average of $12,352, suggesting a decent long term take though one well short of the biggest IMAX hits. International res
  • Towne teams with Carlton for another remake of The 39 Steps

    The Oscar winning writer and director Robert Towne (Chinatown,Shampoo) has signed adeal with Carlton International Media to remake The 39 Steps, John Buchan's classic thriller that wasfirst filmed, famously, by Alfred Hitchcock in 1935.
  • UK Film composer Wiseman awarded MBE

    Film and TV composer/conductor Debbie Wiseman has been awarded an M.B.E in the Queen's New Years Honours Lists 2004 for services to the film industry.Wiseman has composed over 150 scores for film and television productions including Wilde, Haunted, Before You Go, P.O.W., Judge John Deed, Tom & Viv, The Secret Life Of Samuel Pepys and Wilde Stories.She is currently composing the scores for He Knew He Was Right, starring Bill Nighy and Anna Massey; and Free
  • UK Production Listings - January 2 2004

    UNITED KINGDOM - January 2 2004PRE-PRODUCTIONTHE AMERICAN(CTB Film Company, Tartan Films) Prods: Sergey Selyanov, Hamish McAlpine. Dir: Alexei Balabanov. Cast: Michael Biehn. Shooting in New York and Siberia.Contact Camilla Summers/David Freed, Tartan Films, (44) 207 494 1400BATMAN - INTIMIDATION GAME(Warner Bros) Exec prod: Larry Frankau. Prod: Emma Thomas. Dir: Christopher Nolan. Unit prod man: Nigel Gostelow. Shooting at Shepperton Stud

    The UK saw a strong start to 2004, despite a lack of new openers willing to go up against Return Of The King, with results for the first weekend of the year up 17% against the first weekend of 2003.The top three titles remained unchanged with the third part of The Lord Of The Rings trilogy slipping just 9% from the previous week to easily hold the lead and bring its cumulative score to a massive $75m (£41.9m).Fox's Stuck On You was the highest grossing new e
  • US Producers Guild nominate large-scale movies

    The Producers Guild ofAmerica (PGA) has announced its line-up of nominees for the Darryl F ZanuckProducer of the Year Award in Theatrical Motion Pictures, which will be handedout at the 15th Annual PGA Awards on Jan 17 in Los Angeles.The films and accreditedproducers are:* Cold Mountain - Albert Berger, Ron Yerxa, William Horberg and Sydney Pollack* The Last Samurai - Edward Zwick,Marshall Herskovitz, Paula Wagner and Tom Cruise* The Lord Of The Rings: The
  • Veteran Blanco to step down from Spain's DeA Planeta

    Veteran Spanish executive Adolfo Blanco will step down from his position as director of distribution at DeA Planeta.Blanco has been with publisher Grupo Planeta for five years since it first began setting up its media division under the name Planeta 2010 prior to merging its media interests with Italy's DeAgostini to become DeA Planeta.Blanco came to Planeta from Filmax, where he worked for six years in various capacities including as head of sales and acquisitions. No replaceme
  • Warner scores biggest international year ever in 2003

    Warner Bros PicturesInternational (WBPI) set a new company record for 2003, grossing $1.63bnaccording to latest figures.The amount surpassed theprevious record of $1.6m set in 2002 and means that the company has passed $1bnfor the past three years and six times in total, finishing top of the studiosin 2001 and 2002.WBPI's top three grossingtitles of the year were The Matrix Reloaded on $457m, followed by The Matrix Revolutions on $279m as of Dec 31 (both titles wer
  • Watts, Johansson, Ferretti and Sheldon join Palm Springs Film Festival honours list

    Naomi Watts, Scarlett Johansson, production designer DanteFerretti and writer Sidney Sheldon will receive special honours at the upcoming15th Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival's awards gala on Jan 11.
  • You've Got A Call (Chakushin Ari)

    Dir: Takashi Miike. Japan. 2003. 112mins.Kuroi Kazuo, executive producer of You've Got A Call and president of Kadokawa-Daiei, insists that this shocker, about death-messaging mobile phones, is not yet another reworking of Ringu, the Hideo Nakata film that launched the Japanese horror boom back in 1998. "We're doing a different take - more modern and high tech," he told Screen International. Granted, a mobile is more modern and high tech than the ghostly