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26 December 2006

View all stories from this issue.

  • Alliance Atlantis put up for sale by controlling shareholder

    Alliance AtlantisCommunications (AAC) is for sale. The Canadian entertainment company announcedlast night that its controlling shareholder, Southhill Strategy, has been"exploring strategic alternatives". Southhill is owned by AAC executivechairman Michael MacMillan and former AAC executive Seaton McLean, two of thefounders of the original company, Atlantis Communications. The move comes twomonths after AAC announced its intention to seek a buyer for its releasing arm,Motion Picture Distributi
  • Argentinian admissions fall but ticket price rises boost box office

    Cinema attendance figures in Argentina dropped by an estimated 1.6% in 2006. The period saw 35.4 million admissions as opposed to 36 million in 2005. However, total box office gross was 20% up from last year because of continued rise in the average ticket price from $ 2.3 to 3.1. Hollywood blockbusters took a 79.3% share of the market (79.8% in 2004), local productions logged 11.3% (from last year's 12.5%), while European, Asian and other Latin American films recorded a 9.4% (7.7% a yea
  • Bangkok International Film Festival postponed until July

    The 2007 BangkokInternational Film Festival (BKKIFF), scheduled to start on January 26, hasbeen postponed until July, according to Chattan Kunjara Na Ayudhya, co-festivaldirector and Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT)'s international publicrelations director.The decision to delay theevent came after 'a potential cinema venue [decided] not to proceed withfurther discussions with TAT because of financial considerations', says TAT ina written statement
  • Berlinale Panorama slot for Banderas

    Antonio Banderas' second film as a director, the Spanish-language Summer Rain, will receive a 'Panorama Special' screening in the Berlinale.Co-producer and sales company Sogecine-Sogepaq confirmed the invitation, which will follow on Rain's screening in the Premieres section of Sundance.Rain (El Camino De Los Ingleses) stars a cast of up-and-coming young actors in a tough tale about a group of friends struggling with increasingly adult concerns during the la
  • Cannes Residence selects participants for 14th edition

    The Cannes Film Festival has announced the names of the latest group of participants for the 14th session of the Cannes Residence.Director Laurent Cantet presided over a jury which chose six directors from 140 submissions. The next session will run from March 1 to July 15, 2007 and will see the film-makers develop their first or second feature film. Each Residence session allows the selected directors to meet with veteran film-makers and industry professionals in order to aid th
  • Casino Royale crowned biggest Bond ever

    Eragon and Casino Royale enjoyed the lion's share of international businessover the holiday weekend as Fox International's fantasy adventure dominated themarket and Sony's 007 saga became the biggest in the franchise.Eragon added an estimated $21.9mfrom 7,300 screens over three days for a $63.9m running total. The film openedtop in Paris and suburbs in France on $4.4m from 754, top in Belgium on$579,000 from 90, and second in Italy on $2.1m f
  • Chairman of EMI joins Vue

    EMI chairman Eric Nicoli has been appointed as non-executive chairman of Vue Entertainment with immediate effect.Nicoli will work closely with Vue CEO Tim Richards to facilitate the company's continued growth in the UK and Ireland, including the opening of an additional 10 new state-of-the-art multiplexes over the next two to three years. Nicoli has a strong music background as chairman of EMI since 1999 and non executive chairman of HMV Group from March 2001 to February 2004. N
  • Czechs approve new money for filmmakers

    Czech President Vaclav Klaus has signed into law a 2007 budget amendment which adds $4.8m (CZK 100m) to state aid for Czech filmmakers, raising the total value of the State Fund for the Support and Development of Czech Cinematography to $7.6m for next year.The state fund provides money for the development, production, distribution and promotion of Czech films. Film-makers hope the increase will help them participate more equally with foreign partners in co-productions.The Czech
  • Dragon Tiger Gate (Lung Fu Mun)

    Dir: Wilson Yip. HK. 2006.94mins.Adapted from a popular comic book, Dragon Tiger Gate is a slick butsuperficial martial arts adventure that boasts tremendous fight sequences(choreographed by co-star and co-producer Donnie Yen), colourful productiondesign and appealing central performances that cannot mask the flimsy andderivative storytelling.The film has already openedrobustly in Asia but it may be tri
  • Gabriel Byrne chairs New York Irish Cultural Centre

    Irish actor Gabriel Byrne has accepted the Irish Arts Minister's invitation to chair a working group to establish a permanent Irish Cultural Centre in New York. The working group will be made up of representatives of the Irish/Irish-American business community who will also advise the Irish Government on the enhancement of the promotion of Irish culture in New York.The primary focus of the working group will be to develop the project from an infrastructural perspective. A consultative f
  • Happy Feet crosses $10m on IMAX screens

    Warner Bros' animated featureHappy Feet has passed the $10mmark on IMAX screens. The film opened November 17 on 79 IMAX screens in NorthAmerica and will eventually expand to a further 28 IMAX screensinternationally. Total worldwide gross in both conventional and large-format isapproaching $200m. 'We arevery pleased with the film's strong performance in both conventional and IMAXtheatres,' said Dan Fellman, president of domestic distribution at
  • International rollouts slow for Xmas weekend

    With much of the world busy preparing for Christmasfestivities there are only scattered international openings for US studio filmsthis weekend. South Korea, Italy and Germany get most of the action. Fox International's Night At The Museum is the solestudio film getting its first major-territory launch. A day before its releasein the US, the effects-heavy family comedy starring Ben Stiller opens onThursday, Dec 21 in Korea
  • Kaminski's Christmas tale Hania to wrap in January

    Two-time Oscar winner Janusz Kaminski hopes to wrap production on Polish-language Christmas drama Hania in January, for a planned release next year.The director, best known for his work on Steven Spielberg's Schindler's List and Saving Private Ryan, is in the midst of a 30-day shoot on locations in and around Warsaw. Kaminski hopes international audiences will respond to universal themes in the film, in which a young married couple take in a young boy from an orpha
  • Latin American box office shows strong recovery

    The Latin American box office enjoyed a 2006 bounceback after the previous year's downturn, according to Dodona Research.Brazil, Peru and Colombia are forecast to be the fastest-growing markets. The analyst says the recovery could prove paticularly significant as the region hopes to enter a period of sustained growth.Brazil, for example, is seeing a big expansion of theatre building and local pioneer Rain Networks is helping drive digital cinema.
  • Leading Finnish and Baltics exhibitor enters digital age

    Finland's and the Baltics' leading exhibitor Finnkino has entered the digital era with Finnish director Raimo O Niemi's family feature Mystery Of The Wolf.The film was shown on a Barco 2K projector at Helsinki's Tennispalatsi, the company's 14-screener in the capital centre. The theatre's second-largest auditorium, with 360 seats, has been equipped for digital screenings, which will shortly include another two local films, Aleksi Makela's V2 Dead Angel and Olli Saarela's
  • Maltes plans movie for comic book hero Captain Thunder

    Young Spanish production house Maltes Producciones has taken a three-year option on rights to popular local comic book series Captain Thunder and is developing a $30-40m (Euros 25-30m) English-language feature.Under the working title The Adventures Of Captain Thunder, Maltes founder Pau Vergara says he aims to follow the production model of Alatriste, the $32m (Euros 24m) Spanish-language hit, starring Viggo Mortensen, that dominated the local box office this year and thi
  • Miss Potter

    Dir: Chris Noonan. UK-US. 2006. 93mins.A period feature about a popular children's writer enduring a traumatic life, Chris Noonan's Miss Potter may follow in the footsteps of Shadowlands (about CS Lewis) and Marc Forster's Finding Neverland (about JM Barrie),
  • Mortimer replaces Morton on cast of Transsiberian

    Emily Mortimer has signed on to take the place of an injured Samantha Morton in the cast of Brad Anderson's Transsiberian, now shooting for Spain's Filmax Entertainment.According to a statement released by Filmax, Morton was injured in an accident in her London home and will resume her production schedule in 2007, starting with Charlie Kaufman's Synecdoche.Mortimer joins previously announced cast including Woody Harrelson, Kate Mara, Eduardo Noriega, and Sir Ben Kingsl
  • Night At The Museum

    Dir: Shawn Levy. 2006. US. 108mins
  • Night At The Museum dominates holiday box office

    Fox'sfamily film Night At The Museum stamped its mark on the box office in the penultimate releaseslot of the year with an estimated $43m four-day holiday season haul including $2.3m from 72 IMAX theatres thatproved far too strong for the competition.The weekend didn't only belong to Ben Stiller and his comedy friends, however.Paramount's musical adaptation Dreamgi
  • Rise in Competition entries gives Berlinale welcome problem

    The Berlinale's selectors are spoilt for choice for the line-up of the 2007 Competition thanks to the festival's increasing popularity with film-makers from around the globe.Speaking to ScreenDaily, festival director Dieter Kosslick said: 'There are many more films which are wanting to come to Berlin this year. There is a strong desire coming from the filmmakers to show their films here in Berlin and I think it is a consequence of the success of the European Film Market that we have ar
  • Rotterdam adds five to Tiger Awards Competition

    The Rotterdam International Film Festival has added five new titles to its Tiger Awards Competition and announced that Abderrahmane Sissako and Johnnie To will be the 36th festival's film-makers in focus.La Marea, by Belguim's Diego Martinez Vignatti; Fourteen, by Hirosue Hiromasa; Die Unerzogenen, by Pia Marais; Does It Hurt' The First Balkan Dogma, by Aneta Lesnikovska and Bog of Beasts, by Brazil's Claudio Assis now join the Tiger competitors.The full
  • Toronto critics bow to The Queen

    Toronto's filmcritics showed their former colonial colours this year by heaping awards on TheQueen. The Englishfavourite won Best Picture, Peter Morgan won for Best Screenplay, Helen Mirrenfor Best Female Performance and Michael Sheen for Best Supporting MalePerformance (as British prime minister Tony Blair) while Stephen Frears tiedfor Best Director alongside Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne for L'Enfant.L'Enfant was alsoselected as the Best Foreign-Language Film. Sacha Baro