Disney-branded films are heading for 18 months ofunprecedented success in the international market, delegates to Cinema Expo inAmsterdam have been told.
The company did a record-breaking $1.7bn of business in 2004but Mark Zoradi, president of Buena Vista International is promising biggerthings to come.
The key to the predicted run will be this Christmas, when two Disneyfilms - The Chronicles Of Narnia and Chicken Little - hope to capture a bigshare of a holiday market that also includes big rivals in the new HarryPotter and King Kong.
Zoradi is confident: "It will be the best two-punchapproach to Christmas that we have ever had."
But the serious business starts immediately with HerbieFully Loaded expecting a big hit in a relatively quiet summer for children'sfilms.
"It will get kids of 12-and-under who are great market forcinema concessions," he told European exhibitors.
In the short term, the company is talking up the prospectsof Ron Howard's Cinderella Man finding international success where it hasdisappointed at home.
The Russell Crowe-starring Depression-era boxing story willopen in Europe after a September premiere at the Venice Film Festival.
The boxing theme plays male but the family story shouldequally attract women. It's not an easy combination to promote, he said.
"We've learned lessons," he admitted. The internationalmarketing will concentrate on building word of mouth with pre-screenings and playing up the "Rocky-esque"comeback element of the story over the Depression-era misery, Marcoly said.
"We remain very passionate about this movie."
* Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne were named Cinema Expo's directors of the year.
The brothers, whose film The Child received the Palme D'Or at Cannes, picked up their latest honour at an evening celebrating European film, sponsored by Imax.