Rialto Entertainment has acquired rights for Australia and New Zealand to director Ishmail Merchant's The Mystic Masseur.

The Auckland-based distributor plans to release the film over the Christmas holidays. The film has had high-profile openings in London and New York, including a launch by Bill Clinton at New York's Paris Theatre in a gala benefit for the America India Foundation in late April. Rialto's first Australian release No Mans Land, has grossed A$350,000 but is expected to reach A$500,000.

* Meanwhile, Rialto Cinemas, which operates the biggest arthouse circuit in New Zealand, has announced that it is going to build it's biggest complex yet. The seven-screen development, which includes two specialised DVD auditoriums, is to be built at Newmarket in Auckland and will replace a nearby five-screen site.

The cinemas will be part of a new entertainment and leisure complex that will include restaurants, shops and direct car park access. It is being developed by Morning Star Enterprises. Building is expected to commence in September and take 12 months. It will be called The Factory.