Rick Sands, Miramax's chairman of worldwide distribution, has reassured the company's international distributors that it will not forsake international film festivals to launch its films, despite the pressure to shorten global release windows.

"There is a growing trend to accelerate the international release but we must not forget the invaluable support and the use of talent at international film festivals," Sands said.

Miramax will continue to tailor the timing of release schedules to festivals - a technique it used successfully for The English Patient which grossed $160m after its debut at the Berlin festival. This year, Miramax's Oscar hopeful Chocolat, scheduled for release in the US in December in time for Academy Award consideration, will similarly be launched at Berlin in February.

Speaking at Cinema Expo following a well-received screening of Miramax's summer hopeful Scary Movie, Sands announced that upcoming Spy Kids starring Antonio Banderas will be the company's biggest release ever. Currently in production, the action comedy directed by Robert Rodriguez will be launched in March next year with a huge marketing and merchandising campaign which is likely to include a major tie-in with fast-food chain McDonalds.

Sands, who received Cinema Expo's distributor of the year award, also praised the "intelligent fashion" in which multiplexes have grown throughout Europe which will allow an increase in admissions particularly in Spain and Italy where 12 month seasons are now possible.