Films that cinemagoers want to see have done wonders for business at the UK's Capitol Films, which is handling the breakout Woody Allen title The Curse Of The Jade Scorpion and horror hit Jeepers Creepers.
"We are essentially sold out now on Jeepers Creepers," said Capitol co-chief Jane Barclay, after selling it and No Such Thing to Miramax for Italy, where they are likely to be released through Buena Vista.
"The ratio between weekend and weekdays is extraordinary, and shows that Jeepers really has legs," said Barclay. The film enjoyed a $2.4m opening weekend in the UK through Helkon SK and went on take a further $1.5m in the next four days, giving a first week total of $3.9m. "All our foreign distributors feel that they can do the same." Jeepers Creepers also sold to J-Net for Korea In Taiwan Rainbow bought Jeepers Creepers, Pumpkin and Not Afraid.
The new Woody Allen picture is being benchmarked against, of all things, Moulin Rouge. In Spain, where it was released by Laurenfilms on Oct 11, it took $700,000 over the opening weekend and logged $900,000 (Euros1m) for the full week from 100 screens. After ten days the total had climbed to $1.6m. "It did two times Moulin Rouge on half the number of prints and in Italy Medusa has seen the film perform as well as Moulin Rouge," said Barclay. "It has broken out of the Woody Allen mould. The Spanish results are three times bigger than Small Time Crooks, normally Woody Allen films vary within a 20% range."
The film was previously sold to Gaga Communications for Japan after another bid battle and Capitol now expects to sell Scorpion to Korea and other territories outside Allen's normal range. Antonio Lauren said: "This is the first Woody Allen picture to cross over and work with young audiences. It is simple, funny escapism."
In other high profile deals since last week's London market, Capitol sold Gosford Park to Icon for Australia after a bidding war. It is now close to selling out in Latin America. Also for Australia Paramount bought Terry Zwigoff's Ghost World. Belga Films bought Benelux rights to a trio of Capitol films The Gathering, Before You Go and Me Without You.
"We've been in the fortuitous position of having the right product at the right time," said Barclay. "We did nearly 40 deals in the last few days. We even had people stopping off at our offices in Holland Park on their way to the airport."