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9 March 2000

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  • A Bench In The Park

    Dir: Agusti Vila. Spain. 1999. 83 mins.Prod cos: Fernando Colomo, Alta Films, Canal Plus. Domestic dist: Alta Films. Int'l Sales: Sogepaq (00 34 91 524 72 20). Exec prod: Beatriz de la Gandara. Scr: Vila. DoP: David Onedes. Prod des: Sofia Pape. Ed: Miguel Angel Santamaria. Music: Ian Briton. Main cast: Victoria Freire, Alex Bredemuhl, Monica Lopez.Vila's first feature owes a hefty debt to Eric Rohmer (which the director, to his credit, acknowledges with a dialogue refere
  • Antena 3 wipes out debt; posts 75% rise in profit

    Private Spanish broadcaster Antena 3 has eradicated its debt and posted its best ever financial results, according to CEO Juan Jose Nieto. The broadcaster reported year-end profits of $131m (pts20,887m), a whopping 73% rise over the previous year's results.Celebrating its ten-year anniversary this year, Antena 3's remarkable success is attributed to a rise in cash flow thanks to a diversification of activities and the depletion of the station's debt, which was finally wiped out
  • Antena 3, Fox ink five-year output deal

    Twentieth Century Fox International Television and Antena 3 have entered into a five-year output deal which includes future feature films as well as titles such as Independence Day, Romeo & Juliet, The Full Monty and There's Something About Mary.The deal also includes new television series such as Angel, Roswell and Malcolm In The Middle, among others.The move marks Fox's second big European output deal this year following a five-
  • Australian critics give Two Hands best film award

    Two Hands, produced by Marian Macgowan, won best film at the Australian Film Critics Circle Awards on March 3 but writer-director Gregor Jordan did not take home everything he was eligible for as he did at last year's Australian Film Institute (AFI) Awards. Instead, John Curran was judged best director for his work on Praise, and Christina Andreef took home the original screenplay award for Soft Fruit. Sacha Horler again won best actress for her role in P
  • Blair Witch hits $100m internationally

    The gang-busting opening of The Blair Witch Project in Italy has pushed the release of the spook-fest to $100m on the international circuit. This brings the micro-budgeted production to a huge worldwide total of $240m and confirms its position as the most profitable film ever.The film's opening three-day weekend in Italy broke all previous records for an American film scooping $4.5m from 440 screens, despite opening over a year after its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in
  • Blomfield replaces Mockridge at Foxtel

    Veteran television executive Jim Blomfield has been named CEO of dominant Australian pay-TV outfit Foxtel replacing Tom Mockridge who is to head up the joint venture between News Corp's Star TV and Cable & Wireless HKT in Hong Kong.In recent years Blomfield has been working on the commercial television aspirations of News Ltd, one of the three owners of Foxtel. News of Mockridge's appointment as CEO of Star TV-HKT has partially dispelled rumours that Rupert Murdoch would be a re
  • Brazil's SBT fights ratings battle with movie slot

    Competition is hotting up in the Brazilian free TV market with number two broadcaster SBT taking on leading station Globo by launching a prime-time film slot on Friday evenings, to be fed with product from its recently-signed output deals with Warner Bros and Disney.The slot will be in addition to SBT's Thursday evening prime-time film slot. SBT wrapped up separate output deals with Warner and Disney in December which gives it access to more than 1,000 movies including such titles as
  • Canary Islands gets second film commission

    Tenerife's local government has formed a film commission to encourage international productions to shoot on the island.The Tenerife Film Commission (TFC) is 40% backed by private industry on the island but the local government controls 51% through the Society to Promote Foreign Tourism (SPET). The Canary Islands, of which Tenerife is part, already has one commission - the Canarias Film Commission. The two commissions will collaborate and have a close working relationship: 'We un
  • Cannes 2000 veers towards larger scale pictures

    Although Gilles Jacob is still six weeks away from announcing his Cannes competition selection, the line-up in all the Cannes festival sections is already looking heavily skewed towards high-profile, large-scale films, with a particular bias towards English-language titles, many of the them sizeable international co-productions.The potential list of contenders that Jacob is now sifting through or waiting upon include films from Lars Von Trier, Joel Coen, Terence Davies, Nagisa Oshima a
  • Carlton acquires large-format film processor

    UK media group Carlton Communications is pushing into giant-screen formats by acquiring US film processor Consolidated Film Industries (CFI), Carlton announced on Monday (March 6).Carlton's film processing subsidiary, Technicolor, acquired CFI from its parent Continental Graphics for $48m in cash. CFI specialises in giant-screen and large film formats including IMAX. Carlton said last year that it would sell Technicolor as part of its proposed merger with fellow UK media concern
  • Cinar co-founders quit company over funds scandal

    The once squeaky-clean image of family programming provider Cinar Corp has been further tarnished as husband-and-wife co-founders Micheline Charest and Ronald Weinberg resigned yesterday following revelations that about $122m of its funds were invested without the knowledge or authorisation of its board of directors.The sum, which exceeds Cinar's own annual revenues of about $102m, had been earmarked for acquisitions. Senior executive vice president Hasanain Panju has been terminated a
  • CTV shareholders resist takeover

    CanWest Global Communications and Electrohome Broadcasting, both shareholders in Canada's biggest broadcaster CTV, are resisting telco BCE's proposed $2.3bn takeover of the company.CanWest, Canada's second-largest private broadcaster which holds nearly 10% of CTV and Electrohome, which holds 12.1%, have both indicated they would prefer a stock swap over BCE's proposed all-cash offer because of the tax liability a cash deal presents.BCE, the parent company of Bell Canada and high
  • Diaphana backs Cesar winner's first feature

    Delphine Gleize, who has just received the best short film Cesar for Sale Batards, is preparing her first feature, Carnages. French distributor Diaphana is backing the FFr20m film, set in the world of bull-fighting, which Jerome Dopffer of Balthazar Productions is producing. Dopffer produced most of Gleize's short films. Gleize has also written the script which won the special jury prize for best script at the 1999 Junior Prize. Production on the film is sch
  • Disney signs up Ubi Soft for Dinosaur game

    Disney Interactive has signed up France's Ubi Soft Entertainment to produce and distribute a video game adapted from its upcoming 3D animated feature Dinosaur, which is to be released in the US in May 2000.Ubi Soft - which is one of France's leading multimedia companies, along with Infogrames and Cryo Interactive - is developing the game for all major platforms including Playstation, Playstation 2, Sega Dreamcast and Nintendo's Dolphin.The company will also be handling wo
  • Doordarshan changes name; gains autonomy

    Indian state broadcaster Doordarshan will be renamed Prasar Bharati Corporation (Broadcasting Corporation of India) and receive a $250m grant when it becomes a fully fledged autonomous body from April 1 this year.The grant aims to cover the gap in resources Prasar Bharati Corp will meet when it gains autonomy. In addition, the public broadcaster will receive a $45m loan in the new financial year to finance capital expenditure. Prasar Bharati Corp has started to put in place an i
  • Dorff, Cleese star in first ever internet movie

    The first feature film produced exclusively for global internet distribution is set to go into production next week. Quantum Project will star Stephen Dorff, Fay Masterson and John Cleese and marks the directorial debut of Oscar winning production designer Eugenio Zenetti (What Dreams May Come, Restoration, Last Action Hero).Produced by and Metafilmics, the film will premiere on at 12.01am on May 5, 2000. It will be available exclusively for download
  • European Film Awards touch down in Paris

    The European Film Awards are on the move again. This year the awards will move from their traditional home in Berlin to Paris for a ceremony on December 2.In line with the event's growing profile, the ceremony will again be broadcast live, this time by pay-TV channel Canal Plus. The move to Paris follows an invitation by the French ministries of culture, foreign affairs and European affairs and coincides with France's presidency of the European Union. It forms the centrepiece of
  • Former PolyGram exec to be general manager of REP

    Former PolyGram Filmed Entertainment/Universal Pictures International executive David Collins will take up the newly created role of general manager of REP Distribution from March 6. Collins will oversee day-to-day operations reporting to parent company Becker Entertainment's head of film Mark Gooder. The position makes Collins directly responsible for all REP's theatrical releases including sales, marketing, and acquisitions."David has a great reputation in the industry," said
  • France says \'oui\' to web site ads

    The decision by French audiovisual watchdog Conseil Superieur de l'Audiovisuel (CSA) to lift the ban on the advertising of cinema-related web sites on television is causing an uproar among the French film production unions. Four unions - films producers' associations SPI, SRF and UPA, and talent union ARP - have voiced their concern, seeing this deregulation as a way to sidestep the age-old ban on TV advertising for films in France.The measure is temporary, set for an 18 month t
  • Franchise sells five to HBO Asia

    Franchise Pictures, the LA production powerhouse behind box office hit The Whole Nine Yards, has signed an exclusive five picture deal with HBO Asia.The films in the package are The Whole Nine Yards, Battlefield Earth starring John Travolta, The Pledge starring Jack Nicholson, Get Carter with Sylvester Stallone and The Art Of War with Wesley Snipes.Based in Singapore, HBO Asia is the pay TV service of HBO Pacific Partners, a joint venture of Time Warner Entertainment, Paramoun
  • Gandhi film stirs political conflict in India

    Following the trouble surrounding Deepa Mehta's Water, a second production filmed in India - Kamal Haasan's Hey Ram, about Mahatma Gandhi's assassination - is stirring controversy in different parts of the country.Several Indian political organisations are angry about what they describe as an incorrect portrayal of Mahatma Gandhi in the film. Incidents of violence, including the tearing down of film posters and damage to cinemas screening the period drama, have been repor
  • Germany's Loonland on the prowl for UK sales agent

    The acquisition of a UK-based sales agent is on the 'to do' list of German animation powerhouse TV-Loonland when it joins the ranks of media companies listed on Frankfurt's Neuer Markt exchange on March 22.The Munich-based enterprise, which produced internationally successful series such as Ned's Newt and The Fantastic Flying Journey and animation features Babar, King Of The Elephants and Pettersson Und Findus, also aims to use the proceeds of the IPO
  • Hamilton-Shaw to head development at Rocket

    Elton John and David Furnish's London-based film production company Rocket Pictures has appointed Steven Hamilton-Shaw as head of development.Hamilton-Shaw will oversee the development of all Rocket films and source material and talent for the company. He has served stints at Fine Line Features, Lions Gate Films, PolyGram Filmed Entertainment and Pandora Productions,Upcoming Rocket projects include So I Am Glad, which Ed Harris and Amy Madigan will star in and produce wit
  • HBO to launch Spanish-language channel in the US

    HBO plans to launch a Spanish-language multiplex channel, HBO Latino, in the US by autumn 2000.The new channel is aimed the growing Spanish-speaking audience in the US. According to the network, 19% of Hispanic households subscribe to HBO and Latinos make up 11% of its subscriber base."HBO Latino fits perfectly with our on-going multiplex strategy to appeal to multiple segments of our overall audience," said John Billock, president of HBO's US network group.HBO Latino wil
  • Hidden River (Rio Escondido)

    Dir: Mercedes Garcia Guevara. Argentina. 1999. 87 mins.Prod: Mercedes Garcia Guevara. Int'l sales: Tequila Gang (00 207 290 0773). Exec prod: Diego Dubcovsky. Scr: Mercedes Garcia Guevara. DoP: Esteban Sapir. Ed: Alejandro Brodersohn. Mus: Martin Bauer. Main cast: Paolo Krum, Juan Palomino, Pablo Cedron, Maria Jose Gabin, Laura Melillo.A consistently intriguing fusion of road movie and melodrama, Hidden River marks an impressive feature debut from writer-producer-d
  • Hitachi takes on Iwanami library

    The Digital Media Group of electronics giant Hitachi has acquired the film library of Iwanami Productions, one of Japan's oldest and largest makers of documentary and educational films, which filed for bankruptcy in 1999.Hitachi plans to preserve the films and market them under the name Iwanami Library. The library contains 1,223 titles produced by Iwanami plus 2,710 the company made for 500 corporate clients. Also included in the library are 218 photo books published under the Iwanami
  • Hungary's multiplex boom boosts local cinema

    The multiplex building boom in Hungary has helped box office receipts for local productions increase by 15% according to figures from the Hungarian Film Union (HFU).Hungary has become the undisputed multiplex capitol of Eastern Europe, boasting 13 multiplexes at the end of 1999 and two on the way in the first part of 2000. According to HFU figures, the building spree increased the number of screenings available for domestic films by 32% during 1999 to 16,878. Box office receipts were u
  • Intercom opens Romania's first multiplex

    Multiplex Operation Romania, a subsidiary of Andy Vajna-controlled Intercom Corp, is planning to open Romania's first multiplex theatre on May 29. Intercom has invested $5.5m in the ten-screen, 2,340-seat theatre, built in the Bucharest Mall on Alea Vitar. Tickets are likely to cost about 45,000 Romanian lei ($2.50)."We have great expectations," said Intercom's Hungarian director Andras Kalman. "We believe the ticket prices are not too high and, as a result, Romanian admissions
  • Internet and mobile services boost Telstra profit

    Australian telco Telstra has reported a record after-tax profit of $1.27bn (A$2.1bn) for the six months to December 31, an increase of 15.6% on the corresponding period last year. The result was on turnover of $2bn (A$3.3bn) before tax and interest.Telstra chief executive Ziggy Switkowski said non-traditional services such as mobiles, data, text and Internet, had contributed to the result: "Six years ago, less than a quarter of Telstra's revenues came from non-traditional products and
  • Israeli commission calls for reform of IBA

    The Rafael Vardi commission, appointed by Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak, has called for an urgent overhaul of the country's public broadcasting sector.The Israeli Broadcasting Authority (IBA), which operates Israel's First Television Channel and the Kol Israel radio network, has been suffering for some time. Its troubles include poor ratings, budgetary constraints, a talent drain to the competition and widely-publicised internal struggles, often degenerating into scandals in the lo
  • Israeli French Film Week unveils line-up

    Bruno Dumont's L'Humanité and Michel Deville's La Maladie De Sachs are among the films that have been selected for the ninth French and Francophone Film Week, which is scheduled to take place in Tel Aviv from March 25 to April 1. Put together by the French Cultural Institute and the Tel Aviv Cinematheque, the program features some of the most successful French-language films of the year. L'Humanite picked up three awards in Cannes, La Maladie De Sachs w
  • Lions Gates teams with Ellis for E-Psycho site

    The North American release of American Psycho will be ushered in by the psycho himself. In an innovative web-based promotional campaign called Pseudo Psycho, author Brett Easton Ellis, who penned the source novel, will unleash his creation Patrick Bateman once again. Lions Gate Films and netcaster Pseudo Programs will co-present the month-long campaign beginning March 15 (the film opens April 14) with the launch of 'Am. Psycho 2000', a continuation of the novel specially created
  • Macquarie launches fresh bid to lure investors

    Macquarie Film Corporation (MFC) launched its second prospectus this week in a bid to entice Australian investors to tip A$18.4m into film and TV production before the deadline of June 21. MFC is one of two Film Licensed Investment Companies (FLICS) awarded licences by the Australian government to raise up to A$20m in concessional capital to boost local film and TV.The prospectus is considerably more slick than its first and contains much more detail about the industry and the business

    BONHAM CARTER GETS NOVOCAINE TREATMENTHelena Bonham Carter has joined Steve Martin in the cast of Artisan Entertainment's dark comedy Novocaine which is currently in pre-production. Martin plays a successful dentist who finds himself the target of a con gone bad; Bonham Carter will play Martin's newest patient, a seductress who sends his life into a downward spiral. Produced by Paul Mones and Daniel Rosenberg, the picture will start shooting in the spring and marks the di
  • Mother selected to kick off Istanbul fest

    Pedro Almodovar's All About My Mother has been selected to open the International Istanbul Film Festival (Apr 15-30), the region's premiere film event.The festival will close with Turkish-UK title Mozart In Turkey, while the UK is also represented by an eight-film spotlight including East Is East, The War Zone and With Or Without You.In the international competition are Turkey's Clouds Of May, which also competes in the national competit
  • Mr Altman and his movies

    The following Q&A appeared in Screen International, the weekly, on February 25.Robert Altman celebrated his 75th birthday on February 23, just two weeks after completing principal photography on his 32nd dramatic feature film, Dr T And The Women. In this ensemble piece, Richard Gere plays a gynaecologist struggling with the many women in his life - from his wife (Farrah Fawcett) to his office manager (Shelley Long) to his sister-in-law (Laura Dern). Helen Hunt, Liv Tyler, Kate H
  • Next Best Thing is second best to Whole Nine Yards

    Despite four new releases in the marketplace, nothing could displace Warner Bros' comedy The Whole Nine Yards from the top position at the US box office. In its third weekend, the comedy directed by Jonathan Lynn and starring Bruce Willis and Matthew Perry, grossed $7.3m on 2,793 screens, bringing its total take to $38.5m.Meanwhile Paramount's The Next Best Thing, produced by Lakeshore Entertainment and sold overseas by Lakeshore International, took $6m for the second slo
  • One And Only sweeps the board at Danish awards

    The Danish Film Academy's 17th Robert awards contained few surprises last weekend (Feb 27) when domestic chart topper The One And Only (Den Eneste Ene) racked up six awards including best picture.Susanne Bier's romantic comedy was also awarded best actress for Sidse Babett Knudsen, best actor for Niels Olsen, best supporting actress (Sofie Grabol), best script (Kim Fupz Aakeson) and best music (Soren Hyldgaard and Jesper Winge Leisner).Lotte Svendsen's strong debut featur
  • Ordinary Decent Criminal

    Dir: Thaddeus O'Sullivan. Ireland. 1999. 94 mins. Prod cos: Little Bird, in association with Tatfilm and Trigger Street Productions. Int'l sales: Icon Entertainment International (44 207 494 8100). Exec prods: James Mitchell. Prods: Jonathan Cavendish. Co-prods: Martha O'Neill, Christine Ruppert. Scr: Gerry Stembridge. DoP: Andrew Dunn. Prod des: Tony Burrough. Ed: William Anderson. Music: Damon Albarn. Main cast: Kevin Spacey, Linda Fiorentino, Helen Baxendale, Peter Mullan, David
  • Parallel seeks rebirth in Internet venture

    Troubled UK production outfit Parallel Pictures is planning a rebirth as part of a new Internet group backed by Easynet co-founder Keith Young and Rank Group former director of treasury Clifford Perkins.Parallel, whose shares have been suspended since October, aims to raise £3m to push into business-to-business Internet activities. The group will change its name to Netb2b.Funding for the move is to come through placing 150 million new shares at two pence per share, with 15.2 mil
  • Pearson reveals strong results; Internet alliances

    UK media entity Pearson has reported record group operating profits of $864m (£549m) for the year to December 31, 1999, up 41% from $612m (£389m) for the previous year. Turnover was £3.33bn, up 39% from £2.4bn in 1998.Pre-tax profit for the period was up 15% to $633m (£402m) compared to $550m (£350m) the previous year.Pearson's television production and distribution entity, Pearson Television, saw operating profits rise by 11% to $107m (£68m) thanks to lower start-up losses from
  • PMP announces Meers, O'Halloran double act

    The Premium Movie Partnership (PMP) has confirmed that Sam Meers and Nuala O'Halloran - the two people who worked most closely with former acquisitions and production head Marion Pilowsky - will be covering for her. Former business affairs director Meers becomes director of investment responsible for all film development and investment strategies in Australia. Acquisitions manager O'Halloran will continue to be responsible for all independent and Australian film purchases, but also wor
  • Post Mortem scoops top Quebec awards

    Post Mortem, a drama directed by Louis Belanger and produced by Lorraine Dufour of La Coop Video de Montreal, walked away with five prizes at Quebec's second annual Prix Jutra.Fresh from victory for best first film, best original screenplay and best actress at Canada's 1999 Genie Awards, Post Mortem, distributed by Film Tonic, took home awards for best film and best director at the Jutra gala on Sunday night.Lea Pool's coming-of-age story, Emporte-Moi, produ
  • Producer takes legal action against Southern Star

    Australian producer Hal McElroy's family-owned company Eden Productions has commenced legal proceedings against Southern Star Entertainment and the Southern Star Group, claiming it is owed more than $6.4m (A$10.5m). But McElroy's former employer has moved quickly to say it is Eden which owes money to Southern Star.The issue has been smouldering since McElroy left Southern Star in December 1997, upset that his contribution had not been acknowledged when the company floated. But this is
  • Rudolph investigates sex for Germany's Gemini

    Cologne-based production outfit Gemini Film is lining up three international features for production this year including Investigating Sex, written and to be directed by Alan Rudolph, which has Bruce Willis, Nick Nolte and Neve Campbell attached to star.The $8.5m project is set to start shooting in North Rhine-Westphalia and Berlin from May 1. Rudolph has adapted the 1920s-set story from a treatise by Andre Breton about male and female sexuality. Nolte and Campbell will play the
  • Searchlight appoints Gilula distribution president

    Stephen A. Gilula has been named president of distribution for Fox Searchlight Pictures.Gilula becomes one of a triad of presidents at the company alongside Peter Rice, president of production, and Nancy Utley, president of marketing. Gilula co-founded Landmark Theatres in 1974 and served as president and CEO of the company until its sale in 1998.
  • Senator adds Le Studio titles to shopping basket

    Germany's recently floated distributor Senator Films has revealed that it bought rights to 13 features with a total production value of $150m during the recent American Film Market and Sundance and Berlin festivals, including the highly sought after Nicole Kidman-starrer The Others from Le Studio Canal Plus.Senator also grabbed hot titles Human Nature and sci-fi animation picture Axis from Le Studio. Human Nature, scripted by Being John Malkovich scre
  • Serbian comedy sets local box office record

    Serbian comedy The Secret Of The Family Treasure has set a record for the first quarter of 2000 at the Serbian box office by racking up admissions of 126,000 in just 12 days across ten cities. The film, based on a popular TV series of the same name, is distributed by Belgrade-based Metro Film. Foreign fare is lagging far behind although French titles Joan Of Arc, with 60,000 admissions, and East-West, which has so far sold 50,000 tickets, are both performing strong
  • ShoWest: Exhibitors forecast digital revolution

    International exhibitors at this week's ShoWest convention in Las Vegas (March 6-9) are talking of a global revolution in the cinema industry where projectionists and box office cashiers will be a thing of the past. New technology - such as digital projection and e-commerce - is driving the next generation of innovations, which include internet ticket booking, worldwide release dates and tailored trailers and advertising. And although the big question of who pays for digital transition
  • ShoWest: P&A costs down in 99, says Valenti

    The average cost of making and releasing a major studio picture was a massive $76m in 1999, but for the first time in several years, prints and advertising costs were down and for the second year in a row negative production costs were also down.The figures were released by Jack Valenti, chairman of The Motion Picture Association Of America (MPAA), at the annual ShoWest convention in Las Vegas. Valenti said that the average production cost was $51.5m in 1999, down $1.9m from 1997, and
  • Sightsound wins 35 Franchise films for internet

    Franchise Pictures, the prolific Hollywood production partnership between Elie Samaha and Andrew Stevens, has entered into an exclusive, five year, worldwide internet distribution deal with, the internet company which has pioneered distribution of music and movies online. Franchise will concurrently become a shareholder in the terms of the deal, which was concluded between Samaha and Stevens and Sightsound president and CEO Scott Sander, 35 Franchise
  • Svensk Filmindustri enters Finnish video market

    FS Film Oy, the joint Finnish distribution venture between Twentieth Century Fox and Scandinavia's Svensk Filmindustri (Screendaily Jan 19), plans to expand from its theatrical base into video distribution. The outfit plans to handle video distribution of all Svensk Filmindustri (SF) productions and acquisitions with The Sixth Sense earmarked as the first release. Former Finnkino product manager Joakim Horsma has been appointed head of operations for the video division. B
  • Telefonica, Sogecable end year on high note

    Flush from their successes on Spain's explosive stock market, La Bolsa, telecommunications conglom Telefonica and its audiovisual rival, the Prisa Group-owned Sogecable, both reported top-notch year-end results for 1999.The strong performance of these two giants on La Bolsa demonstrates the need in Spain for a planned "New Market" index listing for high-growth companies. The "New Market" - which will cater to media and technology holdings - is expected to launch in the next several wee
  • Telepiu, net operations add to Canal Plus loss

    Michael Haneke, the Austrian director whose film The Piano Teacher (La Pianiste) scooped three of the top awards at Cannes last week, has set his next project as a series for television. The series Das Weisse Band (literally The White Band) will be produced for state broadcaster ORF and shot in German, said Haneke's producer on The Piano Teacher, Veit Heiduschka of Wega Film. Martin Schweighofer, also of Wega, said: 'Michael has written the script of Das Weisse
  • The Next Best Thing

    Dir: John Schlesinger. US. 2000. 108 mins.Prod co: Lakeshore Entertainment. US dist: Paramount Pictures. Int'l sales: Lakeshore International. Exec prods: Gary Lucchesi, Ted Tannebaum, Lewis Manilow. Prods: Tom Rosenberg, Leslie Dixon, Linne Radmin. Scr: Thomas Ropelewski. DoP: Elliot Davis. Prod des: Howard Cummings. Ed: Peter Honess. Mus: Gabriel Yared. Main cast: Rupert Everett, Madonna, Benjamin Bratt, Michael Vartan, Lynn Redgrave, Josef Sommer, Neil Patrick Harris, Illeana Dou
  • The Opportunists

    Dir: Myles Connell. US. 1999. 89 mins.Prod co: Prosperity Pictures. Int'l sales: Overseas Filmgroup/First Look Pictures. Prods: John Lyons, Tim Perell. Co-prods: Martin Fink, Richard E Johnson. Exec prods: Peter Saraf, Jonathan Demme, Edward Saxon. Scr: Myles Connell. DoP: Teodoro Maniaci. Prod des: Debbie DeVilla. Ed: Andy Keir. Mus: Kurt Hoffman. Main cast: Christopher Walken, Peter McDonald, Cyndi Lauper, Donal Logue. A weary, downbeat portrait of a man swimming agains
  • Three Kings storms into UK chart

    Warner Bros' Gulf war epic Three Kings charged into the UK box office with £1.4m from 307 sites (including previews of £187,186) reaping a solid site average of £4,687. This placed the film at number two in the chart below record-breaking champ Toy Story 2 which held over at number one for its fourth week running. Taking £2.8m, the Disney/Pixar animated film dropped substantially from last weekend's school holiday high of $10m but with a running tally already close to hitting $6
  • Toho kickstarts DVD outing for Japanese films

    Japan's leading distributor-exhibitor Toho plans to start releasing Japanese films in the DVD format starting with Saimin (Hypnosis), a psycho thriller featuring pop idol Goro Inagaki, which is set for release in June.Toho has been releasing foreign films on DVD since last summer, but has not offered domestic titles in the format because of problems regarding royalty payments to copyright holders.With Toho's entry into the market, sales of Japanese films on DVD are expect
  • Top auteurs give support to human rights fest

    An initiative to create a multi-territory festival aiming to use film to promote awareness for human rights issues has garnered glittering support from the film industry. Dubbed Europa-Europa, the start-up event has brought together a leading director from each participating country's industry with the inaugural edition aiming to draw attention to the human rights issues surrounding racism. The directors signed up to participate include the UK's Ken Loach, Michael Haneke from Au
  • TVE renews output deal with Warner Television

    Spain's Television Espanola (TVE) renewed its agreement this week with Warner Bros International Television (WBIT), in a move that gives the public broadcaster rights to WBIT feature film and television product through 2004. TVE and WBIT have maintained an ongoing output agreement since 1990.Included in the deal are feature film titles from Warner such as Three Kings, The Matrix, A Perfect Crime, You've Got Mail, Analyze This, Eyes Wide Shut,
  • Universal takes Winchester's Harry for Oz, UK

    London-based entertainment company Winchester Films has sold UK romantic comedy Wild About Harry to Universal Pictures for the UK and Australia.Universal is also in talks to take the film, produced by Scala Pictures and BBC Films, for the US, Italy, Scandinavia and Benelux. The title has already gone to Senator for Germany, Kinowelt for Eastern Europe and Shapira for Israel.Winchester recently formed partnerships with a trio of Hollywood producers - Wind Dancer Films, Tea
  • US-Russian co-production set to shoot in space

    Russian production outfit Sokol and the US' VIDEFCO are set to start shooting the first feature to be filmed in space on the Russian space station Mir in April.The $70m The Final Journey will be directed by Russian director Yuri Kara from a script based on Chingiz Aitmatov's novel The Mark of Cassandra. The UK's John Daly is set to produce. Russian actor Vladimir Steklov has been training at the cosmonaut centre Star City for the last six months. He will take off from the
  • Warner gets new co-financier/supplier in Alcon

    Warner Bros Pictures has entered into an exclusive, long-term worldwide distribution agreement with Alcon Entertainment under which Warner will distribute a minimum of 10 films produced and financed by Alcon over the next five years. The agreement also allows Warner to co-finance certain films with Alcon.The new arrangement gives Warner a new supplier to add to its existing co-financing partners which already include Village Roadshow Pictures, Bel Air Entertainment, Morgan Creek and Fr