Warner Bros had pledged that its strategy of a tighter slate ofbigger films will deliver exhibitors the box-office success they crave thisyear.
Speaking before the first European screening of Tim Burton'sCharlie And The Chocolate Factory at Cinema Expo in Amsterdam yesterday, Warnersenior vice president for European distribution, Monique Esclavissat said thecompany could build on the record $1.3bn its titles took in 2004.
So far this year, Batman Begins has already taken $210mworldwide, while Ocean's Twelve grossed $155m (the latter opened in December 2004 and took $363m overall worldwide). Constantine, which premiered in the US in February, has taken $230m worldwide, more than two-thirds of which was from international.
"But (exhibitors) have not had a great deal of product from Warner Bros for the first six months," said Esclavissat.
She she was very optimistic about the big-hittingtitles yet to come, starting with the Burton film and followed by Michael Bay's The Island,which was shown in shortened form at Cinema Expo. Both features will be released in most international territories during July and August.
Mid-November and the run-in to Thanksgiving and Christmas brings the biggest hope in Mike Newell's Harry Potter And The GobletOf Fire - or what Esclavissat calls"the best Harry Potter yet".
The first two Harry Potter features, which were both released in similar time slots during 2001 and 2002, took respectively $975m and $875m worldwide.
"We now plan four or five event movies each year and we areseeing the benefits," Esclavissat added.
Con Gornell, senior vice president of European marketingsaid the company was already focussing on 2006.
Delegates also saw a sneak preview of Happy Feet, George Miller's (Babe) animated feature about a dancing penguin that includes voice talents Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman and Robin Williams. The feature is provisionally scheduled for US release on Nov 17 next year.