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Screen
12 December 2001

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  • AI wins Golden award from Japanese exhibitors

    The Motion Picture Exhibitor Association Of Japan (MPEAJ) has given its Golden Box Office Gross Award to AI Artificial Intelligence, Steven Spielberg's film which was distributed by Warner Bros Pictures. The award recognises the highest grossing foreign film to be released in the territory.AI has grossed over $78m in Japan. The award was presented to William Ireton, managing director, Japan, of Warner Bros Pictures on Nov 30 as part of Japan's Movie Day festivities at a
  • Alan Bates to get lifetime award at Palm Springs

    Alan Bates will receive a career achievement award and a nine-film retrospective at the Nortel Networks Palm Springs International Film Festival next January (Jan 10-20, 2002).Entitled King Of Parts: The Film Characters of Alan Bates, the retrospective will be kicked off by a Technicolor Dye Transfer restored print of Women In Love (1969) followed by King Of Hearts (1966), Quartet (1981), An Englishman Abroad (1983), Far From The Madding Crowd (1967)
  • AMC buys insolvent General

    Consolidation in the North American exhibition sector continues apace as AMC Entertainment acquired ailing General Cinemas out of bankruptcy court. Under the agreement, AMC, the second-largest exhibitor by screens, will pay the creditors of General's parent GC Companies valued at more than $175m in cash and AMC stock . AMC Chairman and CEO Peter Brown said the acquisition would expand AMC's presence in important major markets, particularly in the Northeast and upper Midwest,The larges
  • Amelie DP Bruno Delbonnel wins Palm Springs prize

    Bruno Delbonnel, the cinematographer of Jean-Pierre Jeunet's Amelie, will receive the Da Vinci Award for exceptional cinematography at the 2002 Nortel Networks Palm Springs International Film Festival. The presentation will take place during the Cinematographer's Day programme Jan 12-13, 2002.Delbonnel, who was selected for the prize by eight other cinematographers, also won the European Film Award last weekend.His other credits include Peter Bogdanovich's upcoming T
  • Asif Kapadia considering gunslinger project

    Having transplanted the spaghetti Western to India with Miramax Films pick-up The Warrior, UK director Asif Kapadia is considering swapping the deserts of Rajasthan for the real Wild West on St Agnes' Stand.Kapadia is being wooed to direct the story of an injured gunslinger on the run for Nik Powell's Scala Productions and producer Elizabeth Karlsen, whose credits include Purely Belter, The Hollow Reed and Little Voice.Miramax reportedly picked up the
  • Bronfman to quit Vivendi Universal in March

    Edgar Bronfman Jr, one of the architects of the merger that created Vivendi Universal, is to stand down as executive vice chairman of the Franco-US group. Bronfman will remain vice chairman, but in a non executive role. He said there are no plans for him or the Bronfman family, which owned Seagram's, to scale back their shareholding.Bronfman's surprise move comes only a day after Gerald Levin announced his departure from AOL Time Warner. In both cases the executives said they felt that
  • Canada sees launch of two new distributors

    Two new Canadian distribution outfits - one based in Montreal, one in Toronto - are emerging from the executive suites, libraries and deals of two old companies: an ailing TVA International and the defunct Blackwatch Releasing.Launched this week, Montreal-based Incendo Media begins life with several significant TV distribution deals, including a joint-venture with 20th Century Fox's Canadian television arm that holds the rights to all Fox programming, including Ally McBeal, Malcolm
  • Canadians, Koreans check into Officers Ward

    Mercure Distribution has sold Canadian rights to Cannes competition title The Officers' Ward (La Chambre Des Officiers) to Christal Films Distribution. With Cinema bagged South Korean rights.La Chambre Des Officiers (pictured), a World War I drama adapted from a novel by Marc Dugain and written and directed by Francois Dupeyron, was produced by ARP Selection. It stars Eric Caravaca as a French officer whose face and power of speech have been destroyed by a shell an
  • Canal Plus, UPC to merge Polish pay-TV platforms

    In a move that comes quicker than expected, Canal Plus and UPC have agreed to merge their pay-TV platforms in Poland (Screendaily Aug 12).Only four months after the ceasing of hostilities between former rivals Cyrfa+ and Wizja TV, the two parent companies have decided to go ahead with a merger that gives Canal Plus (the film and TV division of Vivendi Universal) 75% of the new company. The new joint platform will launch in the first quarter of 2002 with some 700,000 subs
  • Cecchi Gori in court over cash-for-votes flap

    Embattled movie mogul and former senator, Vittorio Cecchi Gori is set to appear in court this week on corruption charges.He will answer questioning on charges of paying $9,000 (L20m) to a middle-man in the Sicilian town of Acireale in exchange for a package of political votes allegedly controlled by a local Mafia clan.The Italian media reported on Wednesday that the latest round of trouble for Cecchi Gori arose after one his closest aides, Paolo Cardini, was approached by the le
  • Celestial readies Hong Kong studio power-play

    Hong Kong, whose once famous studios now lurk like decrepit ghosts, is about to take Asian film and TV on new thrill ride.Celestial Pictures, which will be a vertically integrated studio operation spanning production, distribution and broadcast, is poised to unveil its debut slate. A series of pan-Asian film channels will follow within months. One industry insider described the move as: "the most significant thing to happen to Hong Kong cinema over the last five years."Th
  • CinemaxX reverses sell-off policy, expands Denmark

    German exhibition group CinemaxX, which embarked on a sell-off programme to ease its financial concerns, has done a policy U-turn and will now hold on to its Danish theatrical complexes.Indeed, the Danish circuit, now CinemaxX's only operation outside Germany, will now be expanded. When it opened last year, CinemaxX's 3,200 seat Fisketorvet multiplex was the first to be build in Copenhagen since 1988. At the time it was originally commissioned it was seen as the biggest in the r
  • Country stars Collie & McCabe team for rom com

    Country music stars Mark Collie and Coley McCabe have teamed to star in independently financed romantic comedy Roper & Goodie which has started principal photography in Alabama, US.Directed by commercial and documentary director Terry Moloney, the film is the story of a rodeo cowboy (Collie) who kidnaps a wealthy socialite (McCabe) and falls in love with her.William S Gilmore and Shari Rhodes are producing the film; Gilmore's credits as executive producer include A F
  • De Niro initiates festival in aid of downtown NYC

    Robert De Niro, togetherwith his business partner Jane Rosenthal, formally unveiled plans yesterday fortheir new four-day film festival in downtown Manhattan that they hope can helprevitalize a neighbourhood devastated by the terror attacks on September 11th.The first annual TribecaFilm Festival will run from May 1st-May 5th and showcasesome 40 feature length films and 20 shorts at various screening venues acrossthe Tribeca warehouse district that is sited within a short walking distan
  • Douglas Slocombe gets ASC international honour

    Veteran British cinematographer Douglas Slocombe will receive the International Achievement Award from the American Society Of Cinematographers (ASC) at the 16th annual ASC Outstanding Achievement Awards on Feb 17, 2002, in Los Angeles.Slocombe has 75 feature credits including a slew of the great Ealing comedies (The Lavendar Hill Mob (1951), The Man In The White Suit (1951), Kind Hearts And Coronets (1949) and The Titfield Thunderbolt (1953), other British
  • Effects expert Pilgrim joins LA-based CFX

    Jamie Pilgrim, who recently served as creature technical director on The Lord Of The Rings trilogy, has been named research and development technical director at LA-based visual effects facility CFX.Pilgrim's work as creature technical director on The Lord Of The Rings included writing proprietary software for muscle systems, tree and branch generation and articulated body dynamics as well as developed the look for several key particle effects for the film. He was lead a
  • European audiences discover Atlantis

    In a box-office world held under the spell of a boy wizard, Disney's latest animated effort has still found audiences across Europe despite mixed reviews and a lack of traditional sing-along songs.Atlantis: The Lost Empire received a strong opening last week in France, a week ahead of children's epic Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone. Launching on Nov 28 Atlantis sold 1,148,272 tickets in its first seven days, equivalent to approximately $6.9m, and took pole
  • Fox signs Indian feature co-production deal

    Rupert Murdoch's 20th Century Fox has developed a deal with Pritish Nandy Communications (PNC) to produce English-language movies in India. The agreement, of which details have yet to be disclosed, includes the co-production of English as well as Hindi language films to be made in India. PNC's credits include high-profile titles such as the Hindi film Kuch Khatti Kuch Meethi and Merchant Ivory's Mystic Masseur as co-producerPNC is currently producing Kaante,
  • French music house XIII Bis launches into pictures

    XIII Bis Organisation, a leading French independent music group, is making its first foray into the film business, with Anima, a fantasy thriller written and to be directed by in-house artist and composer Christophe Pascal. The French-language film, set in France and The Netherlands, in the 17th century, involves a master of the Delft school, one of his models and a French police captain. The police officer communicates with both of them in his dreams, while also working on a se
  • Grosvenor settles with Thomas out of court

    Jeremy Thomas, head of Recorded Picture Co, is expected to receive a multi-million payout after settling a two-year legal dispute with Canadian-UK tax financier Grosvenor Park out of court.The bitter dispute, which was due to go to court this week (Screendaily Sep 6, 2001), saw Thomas and Chris Auty, formerly managing director of Recorded, sue Grosvenor Park for 35% of its ongoing business.Thomas and Auty were directors at Grosvenor Park's first UK business, but Grosvenor
  • Haffa to stand down completely at Constantin

    Former EM.TV & Merchandising chairman Thomas Haffa will leave the supervisory board of producer-distributor Constantin Film at the end of this year. Last April, Haffa stepped down as chairman of the board, a position then taken over by KirchMedia's Fred Kogel.As he no longer represents EM.TV it is not appropriate for him to sit on the Constantin board as EM.TV's delegate. An announcement on a successor will be made in January.There has been speculation that a share swap between
  • Harry Potter begins lucrative spell in France

    With a massive 475,000 tickets sold in France on its opening day (Dec 5), Harry Potter has become the second biggest opener of 2001 - behind another Warner release, French comedy La Verite Si Je Mens 2 (503,000 admissions) - and the eighth all-time biggest opener.Harry Potter, released on a record 858 prints and which also broke an all-time record on its first screening in Paris (24,695 tickets sold) was handicapped by its running time which limited it to th
  • Indian superstar Kumar dies, aged 90

    Veteran film actor and the first Indian superstar Ashok Kumar died in Mumbai on Monday (Dec 10) aged 90. Ashok Kumar, born Kumudlal Kanjilal Ganguly, made his debut in the film Jeevan Naiya, before becoming the face of the 40's and 50's. Adding to his charisma was the meaningful roles he played in films like Achut Kanya, Bandini and several others. His credits also include India's first real blockbuster: Kismet which ran for over a year with Ashok Kumar play
  • India's biggest ever movie set for release

    Indian film producer Yash Johar's Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gam (Sometimes Happiness, Sometimes Sorrow), the most expensive Indian film ever made at a cost of $10m, is set for its world premiere on 14th December. Directed by Indian cinema wonder-kid Karan Johar, whose debut film Kuch Kuch Hota Hai smashed local box office records. Kabhi Kushi Kab Gam stars A-list Indian film talent including Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Hrithik Roshan, Jaya Bahaduri, Kajol and
  • Intimacy wins prestigious Louis Delluc honour

    Patrice Chereau's Intimacy, has been awarded the Louis Delluc prize. The film, adapted from a novel by Hanif Kureishi and Chereau's first English-language title, has already won Berlin's Golden Bear as well as a Silver Bear for female lead Kerry Fox and was lately nominated for the European Films Awards.Chereau is currently working on Betsy And The Emperor, which is produced, like Intimacy, by Charles Gassot's company Telema. The film, which is currently in develop
  • Iris

    Dir Richard Eyre. UK-US.2001. 90 mins.Viewers expecting to get illuminating insights about the literary genius, eccentric philosophy, and complex sexuality of Iris Murdoch, the British celeb of letters who died in 1999, will be disappointed with Richard Eyre’s Iris, a minor, rambling film, almost made-to-order for the dictates of the small screen. As co-written by Eyre and Charles Wood, the film begins ambitiously with a chronicle of the young, vibrant Iris (s
  • Kirch woes increase as bank recalls $400m loans

    News Corp yesterday denied reports that it is planning a hostile takeover approach for Germany's Kirch group. But Kirch's problems increased when the Dresdner Bank group called in $410m (DM900m) of loans.Kirch is understood to be wallowing in nearly $3.56bn (Euros4bn) of debt, but Dresdner has said that it is unwilling to extend the repayment of the loan beyond the end of December. Neither the bank, nor Kirch, made any comment on the reason for or the impact of the loan recall.
  • Kirch's mixed messages about News Corp bid

    Germany's Kirch Group is sending out mixed messages about a possible takeover bid from Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. But the fact that it is sending out any signals already suggests that the threat is real (Screendaily, Dec 5).According to some sources Kirch held crisis meetings over the weekend in order to prepare its defences against what is assumed to be a hostile bid.Although the two groups have been allied for many years, News Corp is clearly frustrated by the slow pro
  • Maipo opens new chapter on literary adaptations

    The Norwegian production outfit Maipo Film hit gold with its first feature film production Elling with more than 740,000 local admissions - the highest figure in 25 years - and is now planning a run of literary adaptations.Veteran producer and head of Maipo Film, Dag Alveberg now has several other high-profile projects in development. One of them, Single, is based on the semi-autobiographical adventures of the fictional character Scruella de Ville, a thirtysomething singl
  • Mean Machine

    Dir: Barry Skolnick. UK. 2001. 99 mins. A loose remake and Anglicisation of Robert Aldrich's 1974 prison drama staring Burt Reynolds (released in some territories as The Longest Yard), Mean Machine is aimed at the same audience as Ska Films' most notable hits to date, Guy Ritchie's 1997 Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels and his 2000 follow-up, Snatch. Like them it has an underworld setting, a virtually all-male cast, several of who are alumni fr
  • Mechanic returns to Disney with five-year deal

    After months of speculation about where he would land, Bill Mechanic's independent production company Pandemonium has signed an exclusive five-year co-financing, production and distribution deal with The Walt Disney Studios. Under the terms of the deal, Disney has domestic distribution rights (excluding free TV) to Pandemonium films as well as all international rights except Spain, Japan and Italian television.Mechanic told Screen yesterday that he has the financing in place to make 2
  • Melanie Griffith to star in Almost Japanese

    Melanie Griffith has been cast to play the lead in Robert Allan Ackermann's provocative comedy Almost Japanese which is set to be backed by the Potsdam-based producer fund Vif International Films.Shooting on the love story between a lonely and inept American teenager and a Japanese conductor (to be played by Kazuya Takahashi) is scheduled to begin at locations in Japan and Toronto from April 2002.Director Ackermann came into the spotlight earlier this year with his TV min
  • MGM production & distribution depts reorganised

    In a week of reorganisation at the studio, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer has hired two new senior production executives, Elizabeth Cantillon and Eric Paquette, and announced the exit of Robert E Relyea from his position as president, production, for MGM Pictures and United Artists Pictures.In addition, MGM Distribution Co has seen two senior executives depart - Randi Braun and Amanda Lundberg - the arrival of Jamie Geller Hawtof as senior vice president, publicity, and the promotion of Seth Gav
  • Moulin Rouge wins National Board of Review

    Baz Luhrmann's Moulin Rouge (pictured) was named Best Film of 2001 by the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures, the first winner in what promises to be one of the most wide open awards seasons, across virtually every category, in recent memory.The Board of Review is seenhas having quirkier tastes than most US critics' circles - lastyear, for example, it was the only body to name Quills as best film - and it certainly exhibits amore maverick streak that either the
  • Movie TV to launch on Japan's Jasdaq

    Movie Television, a leading seller of Hollywood films and TV programs to Japanese television, will list its shares on the Jasdaq over-the-counter market on December 13. Launched in 1984 by current president Kenichi Morohashi, the company has output deals with 20th Century Fox, Paramount, Warner, MGM and Universal. It earns 70% of its revenues from sales of film rights to terrestrial, satellite and cable TV. This fiscal year the company expects pre-tax profits to soar 320% compar
  • Murdoch considering Kirch Group takeover

    Rupert Murdoch is reported to be eyeing up a full takeover of Germany's Kirch group.According to the Financial Times the two companies have discussed such a move, which would give Murdoch the position in central Europe he has long craved. Kirch denied that discussions are taking place.Murdoch joins another US giant, John Malone' Liberty Media, in targeting Germany for major expansion. While Kirch's pay-TV operations would fit with News Corp's SkyGlobal satellite TV business, Lib
  • New ACE fund to launch with 18-picture slate

    New films by John Woo, Nick Hurran, John Milius and Jeremy Leven are among an 18-picture slate being lined up to receive backing from a new $250m German private investment fund which is to be launched in January 2002.The production fund ACE - Alliance Cinema Entertainment has been established by Los Angeles-based producers Jeanette Buerling and Alexandra Hoesdorff-Rosen with headquarters in Munich and production offices in Los Angeles and Luxembourg to produce films with A-list talent
  • Ocean's Eleven pays off, steals $39.3m opening

    As expected, Warner Bros dominated the box office over the weekend with the release of star-packed Ocean's Eleven and the continued run of Harry Potter & The Sorcerer's Stone. Ocean's Eleven opened in the top spot with a massive estimated $39.26m on 3,075 screens, while Harry Potter took $14.8m to bring its total to $239.7m. The studio had a weekend market share of abourt 65%.Well-reviewed by critics, Ocean's Eleven looks likely to be director Steven
  • Ottfilm snags Mostly Martha on the rebound

    Sandra Nettelbeck's Mostly Martha has been picked up by Ottfilm for theatrical distribution in its native Germany. The film was originally included in Kinowelt's lineup for release this month.Kinowelt's mounting financial problems, however, persuaded producer Karl Baumgartner of Pandora Film to take back the film back to offer to other distributors. It will now be released by Ottfilm through its distribution agreement with UIP on April 11, 2002. Paramount Classics for Nor
  • Pearl Harbor video scores $130m in single week

    Michael Bay's Pearl Harbor has become the highest week-one selling DVD of all time in the US, racking up over 3.7 million unit sales in the seven days following its Dec 4 release.Across the DVD and video formats, distributor Buena Vista Home Entertainment sold around 7 million units, with a value of around $130m. This puts Pearl Harbor well on course to its surpass its US theatrical box office tally of $198.1m. The wartime epic was made available on VHS and DVD in two edi
  • PGA gives Gordon lifetime achievement award

    Veteran Hollywood producer Lawrence Gordon has been named recipient of the David O Selznick Lifetime Achievement Awrad in theatrical motion pictures at the Producers Guild Of America (PGA) Awards on Sunday March 3 in Los Angeles.Gordon, who now runs the Gordon Company, formerly spearheaded Largo Entertainment and before that was president and COO of Twentieth Century Fox. His producing credits include Tomb Raider, K-Pax, Die Hard, Point Break, Waterworld
  • Powell re-elected chairman of Euro Film Academy

    UK producer Nik Powell has been re-elected by the general assembly of the European Film Academy (EFA) as the institution's chairman for another two years, with Berlinale director Dieter Kosslick and French producer Humbert Balsan also confirmed in their posts as deputy chairmen.The 15-person EFA board also welcomed three new members: Prokino's Stephan Hutter (German distributor of EFA award-winner Amelie), the Spanish actress Assumpta Serna and the Dutch film producer Els Vandev
  • Quiero TV shake-up likely after Auna stake sale

    Telecom Italia looks set to finally sell off its 26.9% stake in Spanish telecoms operator Auna, majority backer of pay digital terrestrial pay-TV (DTT) platform Quiero TV.The Spanish shareholders Endesa, Fenosa and Banco Santander are understood to be paying an estimated Euros2bn (Ptas333bn) for the Auna stake. While the long-anticipated sell-out should ultimately put Auna on a more stable footing, it is not certain to save Quiero from more financial troubles. Auna's backers are
  • Ralph Kamp embarks on sales Odyssey

    Ralph Kamp, the former chief executive of Mel Gibson and Bruce Davey's London-based sales operation Icon Entertainment International, is understood to be setting up a new independent sales operation under the banner Odyssey.Amongst the first titles Kamp is expected to represent is the tentatively titled Great War project, starring Billy Elliot lead Jamie Bell. The supernatural action film set in the trenches of WW1 is being produced through F&ME, the UK-based internationa
  • Ricci to direct and star in Monsoon's Speed Queen

    Monsoon Entertainment, the new Los Angeles-based film production company founded by Mexican director Alfonso Cuaron (Y Tu Mama Tambien, A Little Princess) and partner Jorge Vergara, has unveiled its maiden project, The Speed Queen with Christina Ricci attached to star and direct. Ricci's directorial debut is a dark comedy about a quirky Midwestern girl entangled in a deadly and outlandish chase. Monsoon President and COO Arnaud Duteil, a former Canal Plus
  • RTL issues fourth profit warning of 2001

    RTL, the pan-European broadcast giant, has issued its fourth profit warning of the year.It said that in the current year advertising revenues will show a drop averaging 10% and that its own earnings will fall by 35%-40%, from the EBIT figure of Euros 55m it recorded last year."Advertising markets across Europe have continued to deteriorate since our results announcement in September. We now expect that the television advertising market as a whole in Germany, France and the UK wi
  • Scorsese-backed one shot feature to film on Dec 23

    December 23 has been set as the date for Alexander Sokurov's one-shot, 90-minute film Waterloo - The Russian Ark which will be filmed at original locations in the State Hermitage Museum of St. Petersburg, tracing.key events in the former Tsarist Empire from Catherine the Great to Nicolas II.German steady-cam specialist Tilman Buettner, who worked with Tom Tykwer on Run Lola Run, will serve as DoP on this one uninterrupted shot which is being produced by Berlin-bas
  • Spain's box office heads towards world record

    Spain looks set to break the world record for sustained admissions growth if predictions come true and cumulative ticket sales rise for the thirteenth year in a row.Spain had posted over 123 million admissions as of November 25, still trailing the 2000's total of 135 million, but not yet incorporating major releases such as Harry Potter (Nov 30) or The Lord Of The Rings (Dec 19). Indeed, Cinesa, the main Spanish exhibitor of Lord Of The Rings, has already pr
  • Sylvia Rothblum joins WBITD from EM-TV

    Sylvia Rothblum has been named managing director, German-speaking territories, for Warner Bros International Television Distribution (WBITD). Based in Munich. she will be responsible for the licensing of WBITD TV and film product to broadcast, pay, video-on-demand, satellite and cable TV clients in German-speaking territories.She will report to Joshua A Berger, senior vice president, international sales and business development & managing director for Europe, WBITD. She replaces Phili
  • Telefilm Canada appoints new chairman, CEO

    Telefilm Canada has appointed Charles Belanger as chairman and RichardStursberg executive director.Belanger was president and CEO of the Broadcasting Group at CFCF,vice-president of CANCOM and vice-chairman responsible for broadcasting atthe CRTC, the federal broadcasting regulator. He served with the BCE groupas vice-president responsible for conventional and multimedia programmingservices, and for the past two years, he has worked as an electronic m
  • Thompson confirmed as Channel Four chief

    Channel 4 yesterday confirmed the appointment of Mark Thompson, currently BBC director of television, as its chief executive.Thompson replaces Michael Jackson, who left to become president and chief executive of USA Entertainment in October. He will leave the BBC after Christmas, but not take up his new job until March 2002. Thompson is expected to earn more than $700,000 (£500,000) a year, around double his BBC salary.Although he has no private-sector experience, Thompso
  • Total, Titan to re-make Sex, Shame & Tears

    Brazil's Total Entertainment and Mexico's Titan Prods, which signed a co-production pact in September, are poised to make a Brazilian version of the highest grossing Mexican film of all time, Sex, Shame And Tears (Sexo, Pudor Y Lagrimas) . The battle-of-the-sexes comedy grossed $12.4m in Mexico. Fox Film Brazil will distribute the $1.5m remake in Brazil.Both companies have ties to 20th Century Fox in their respective countries. Total Filmes, founded in 1998, has a distri
  • UK BO climbs in Q3, despite terror, economy

    Ronny Yu's The 51st State opened to a strong reception from UK audiences over the weekend. But it was unable to dethrone reigning box office king, Harry Potter.Leading this week's releases the action-comedy claimed second position in the chart with an impressive $1.3m (£913,239). Playing at 311 sites the film, which stars Samuel L Jackson and Robert Carlyle, scored a solid $4,201 average. The 51st State is the latest release in a massively successful year for distr
  • Vanilla Sky

    Dir Cameron Crowe. US 2001. 136 mins.Cameron Crowe's Vanilla Sky provides a classic case study of what happens when a mainstream studio, Paramount, and a major Hollywood star, Tom Cruise, take a terrifically-executed Spanish thriller, Open Your Eyes, and turn it into a spectacularly glossy, big-budget, effects-ridden star vehicle that's overwhelming artistically but underwhelming in any other way. Using the arthouse hit of Alejandro Amenabar (who recentl
  • Vivendi in advanced talks over Telepiu, Stream

    Vivendi Universal said on Friday (Dec 7) that it was in advanced talks with News Corp concerning its Italian pay-TV platforms, Telepiu and Stream.In a statement Vivendi Universal said the discussions "would result in the acquisition of Stream by Telpiu" and would replace the current offer, which is being contested by Italian regulators and film directors. As the current proposal, unveiled in July (see Screendaily, July 6) also foresaw a takeover of Stream that would have given T
  • Walden to make CS Lewis children's classic

    Just two weeks before the world is assaulted with the first in the Lord Of The Rings trilogy, New York-based Walden Media has announced its acquisition of the best-selling fantasy classic The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe by CS Lewis. Walden has optioned the seven-part Narnia Chronicles of which The Lion... is the second instalment and will partner with The CS Lewis Company to produce it with a view to future films as a potential franchise.The project wi
  • Warner Bros gets T3 for summer 2003

    Warner Bros Pictures has acquired domestic distribution rights to Terminator 3: The Rise Of The Machines after a bidding war over the last week that saw every Hollywood studio chasing the film which stars Arnold Schwarzenegger.The deal was concluded between Warner and producers C-2 Pictures and Intermedia, which is financing the film and handles international distribution. Producers on the film are Mario Kassar, Andrew Vajna and Joel Michaels of C-2 Pictures with Hal Lieberman
  • Women Talking Dirty

    Dir: Coky Giedroyc. UK-US. 1999. 97mins. Although a long time in the works for the talent involved (it is Rocket Pictures' first production to hit the screens since the company was founded five years ago and director Coky Giedroyc's follow-up to her noted 1997 debut, Stella Does Tricks), Women Talking Dirty represents a severe disappointment. Substantially re-edited since its poor reception at the 1999 Toronto Film Festival, the film now has a dated feel. It wil
  • Zeal shows enthusiasm for Euro co-productions

    The US production outfit Zeal Pictures Group, which was behind the 1998 feature Simpatico with Sharon Stone, Nick Nolte, Albert Finney, and Jeff Bridges, has launched a European production company, Zeal Pictures Europe GmbH & Co. KG, based in Berlin.The German outpost plans to develop international and European co-productions, as well as raise finance for its feature projects in Hollywood and expand its commercials production through subsidiary Centrifuge.US parent compan

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