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Monday, 31 August 2009

Quick two links

I usually dislike Jason Salomon, but this is a very lucid article about the decrepit state of the British film industry with which I agree with almost 100%.

Read it here

Also, holy cow! Disney just bought Marvel! Read about that here.

Venice, Day 2




Today was the first proper day of training (and of getting to know the other delegates- the chap in the pic is my roomie, Francesco). Our first job is to organise a travelling Latin American film festival - and propose it to the European funders. It's difficult to concentrate with such a breathtaking backdrop - but who's complaining.

Some fantastic artwork is being built as we speak all around us - as the island doubles as one of the pavillions for the Biennale. Check out the spaceship!

Tonight we have what can only be described as an experiment in chemistry: every delegate has brought one bottle from their country, which is going to be (presumably) consumed at a party called 'One Nation/One Bottle'. I fear for tomorrow morning's session.

Sunday, 30 August 2009

Venice, Day 1




I arrived this morning to the beautiful island of San Servolo, which feels like a spiritual retreat of some kind, and given its origins as an insane asylum, I am not surprised. A quiet, serene atmosphere is only upset by some of the more avant garde art on display (the place is a arts university during term time).

The CICAE staff are all helpful and super nice and everyone genuinely seems to be happy to be here, which is good.

It ws my only day off so I took the No. 20 Vaporetto and headed into Venice and overdid it. Too much food, walking, ice cream and people...and a touch of sun stroke. Tomorrow our course starts in full and from the 2nd Sep, the Mostra. I'll be trying to see as many film as possible and I am really keen on THE ROAD, CAPITALISM: A LOVE STORY, LIFE DURING WARTIME, SOUTH OF THE BORDER, BAD LIEUTENANT and hopefully some good surprises.

Stay tuned for more!

Saturday, 29 August 2009

Venice


I'm flying off to Venice tomorrow morning to attend the CICAE Arthouse Cinema Manager training course. It's a ten-day, intensive period dedicated to all things cinema: marketing, programming, budgeting, funding, etc. We also get a pass to the Venice Film Festival, so I'll try and make as many screenings as I can.

I'll be blogging and posting as much as possible every day, so keep an eye out for film reviews, general comments and some nice pictures....(the picture above is the island where we'll be staying, San Servolo).

Arrivederchi

Friday, 28 August 2009

American Indies


Jason Wood, who used to programme the Duke of York's, is also a film writer and he's written a really cool pocket book called 100 American Independent Films, from the BFI Pocket Guides Series.

There's a launch event for the book at Riverside Studios on the 10th September at 6.30pm.

The book provides a guide to one hundred of the most interesting and influential American indies, with twenty-five brand new entries, including recent releases such as OLD JOY, JUNEBUG and ME & YOU & EVERYONE WE KNOW.

The launch will feature a rare screening of SUTURE and an advance preview of Steven Soderbergh's THE GIRLFRIEND EXPERIENCE.

I'll be there - and so should you!

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Flick's Flicks - Number 50!

Brighton Rocks


This week, the news that BRIGHTON ROCK was getting a star studded remake got people excited. The classic film set the bar high for subsequent Brighton-set films, only reached by one other film:QUADROPHENIA. Our projectionist Jimmy, incidentally, was an extra on that film. It's a small town.

The chaps at VISIT BRIGHTON have produced a nice little guide to Brighton as a film set. Check it out here. They also produced a podcast, in which yours truly talks about the Duke of York's Picturehouse. You can listen here.

Other, lesser known films shot in Brighton: the Liam Neeson thriller UNDER SUSPICION, Kristin Scott Thomas' starrer A HANDFUL OF DUST (in which the Dukes makes a brief appearance) and Woody Allen's disastrous CASSANDRA'S DREAM.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Dukes on the Downs - Now Cancelled


UPDATE: I had an email at 7am this morning from Joe Pidgeon from Beachdown Festival telling me what now everyone in Brighton knows: Beachdown has been cancelled. It's a real pity. Brighton is the perfect city to host a great festival, and after seeing the site yesterday I completely understand why the promoters wanted to host it there. A combination of the poor economic climate and some admittedly poor organisation led to its demise. Lets see what happens next year.

Earlier today I went up to the site of the Beachdown Festival on Devil's Dyke, where The Dukes will have a cinema inside a tent this year. It's a beautiful space, with views of the sea and the downs at each end. Our tent is huge, and slightly awkward, but we are keen to make it as cosy, welcoming and comfy as the Dukes itself is.

We're screening Kids' Films and grownup movies throughout the weekend. Here's the list:

WITHNAIL & I
TRAINSPOTTING
THE USUAL SUSPECTS
BLUE VELVET
FERRIS BUELLER'S DAY OFF
RAGING BULL
CITY OF GOD
THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY
GENEVIVE
MIDNIGHT COWBOY

and for the little ones:

BUGSY MALONE (SINGALONG)
WHISTLE DOWN THE WIND
CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG
TARKA THE OTTER

Monday, 24 August 2009

UK Box Office 21-23 Aug


This weekend the BASTERDS ruled the box office - for a cumulative take of over £3.5 million, including previews. The only other new entry in the Top 10 was Paramount's DANCE FLICK, which didn't really take off. The rest of the chart is quite dismal, with either a generic family flick or an awful rom-com taking up all the spots.

In the US, BASTERDS was also number one, with Tarantino's biggest opening weekend ($37 million). Whether this is just the QT fanboys coming out on opening weekend or the film has legs, remains to be seen.

1 - Inglorious Basterds - £3,570,000
2- Time Traveler's Wife - £903,917
3- G-Force - £645,000
4- Aliens in the Attic - £627,000
5- Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince - £555,376
6- Dance Flick - £458,000
7 - G.I. JOE - £451, 717
8 - The Ugly Truth - £443,000
9 - The Proposal - £264, 474
10- Orphan - £228,000

Here's how the other new releases did:

Shorts - £139,000 (a major failure for Warners, with the lowest screen average)
I Love You Beth Cooper - £119,000

Friday, 21 August 2009

UKFC-BFI Merger?



Yesterday the Film Minister SiƓn Simon said that plans to merge the UK Film Council and the British Film Institute were being drawn up for later this year. Both Tim Bevan, chairman of the UKFC, and Greg Dyke, of the BFI, expressed delight at the idea.

The minister said: The overall remit of the BFI and UKFC will not be reduced. The proposal is for a streamlined organisation, which can spend more of its money on film and services and less on infrastructure, and in turn offer better support for Britain's film culture and promotion of its film industry.

I can't say I am surprised. With the Government looking to cut funding for the arts across the board, it does make sense to combine the two bodies. There will obviously be many people who see the merger in negative terms. While the UKFC has only been around since 2000, the BFI is a legendary, well-respected British institution that's been keeping the cinematic flame alive in this country since 1933.

While the UKFC is the perfect example of Government policy in action, the BFI has a more independent streak, with a less commercial and results-oriented modus operandi. How these two very different institutions will happily co-exist under the same roof remains to be seen.

I always thought there were too many acronyms for the film industry in the UK and some streamlining is necessary - as long as it doesn't come at the price of losing such an important cultural stalwart as the BFI.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Avatar Update


Yesterday a small 4GB memory stick arrived at the cinema from 20th Century Fox. It contained the extended AVATAR trailer, and we quickly popped it on the server. Our projectionist Adam turned the lights down and started it.

The trailer is about two minutes long, and very impressive. Of course, this was in 2D, so the full effect of the 3D was not obvious, but Cameron has clearly constructed a fully-fledged universe for the film, with green and blue skinned creatures, spectacular spaceships and robots, and some awesome action scenes. Whether any of this will carry any dramatic or narrative weight we'll have to see the film to find out.

Tomorrow, thousands of people will get a chance to see about 20 minutes of footage of the film at selecte cinemas across the country, in what Fox are calling 'Avatar Day'. Don't bother; all the tickets are gone. This is a bold, unprecedented move, which shows that the studio has confidence in the film and hopes that the footage will build positive word of mouth - a full three months ahead of release.

It is certainly building press attention, as yet another 'the future is 3D' piece runs in the Guardian today. For most of us, 18th December is the date to find out whether this is the revolutionary film that will be a 'game changer' as Jon Favreau calls it, or the new Phantom Menace - a big, awful dissapointing mess.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Film Quiz Part 4

PARK CIRCUS is the leading distributor of classic and repertory cinema in the UK, and they specialise in the digital restoration of the full cannon, including the upcoming THE GODFATHER re-release. Mark Truesdale is the Sales and Marketing Executive of the Glasgow-based company.

Favorite cinema in the country?

There's a few. Queen's Film Theatre back at home in Belfast. The Belmont up in Aberdeen, but my local haunt these days is the Glasgow Film Theatre. Great, great cinema.

First memory of cinema going?

WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT? at the Strand cinema in Belfast when I was 5. I was under the impression I was going to watch a mild mannered cartoon and remember leaving the cinema shaking with fear. Christopher Lloyd has a lot to answer for, he caused many a late-night in the Truesdale household.

What's your most exciting/scary/weird moviegoing experience?
I've had plenty. THE RED SHOES in Cannes with Scorsese was fantastic. LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE at the Grosvenor in Glasgow was great. I worked there and it ran for 10 weeks or so. I never tired of standing at the back of the screens and watching the audience double over with laughter at the dance scene. That shared experience the big screen can offer sums up what cinema is all about for me.
I also witnessed a rather pathetic fist fight between two 40 year old housewives during an ICE AGE 2 screening. The 100 cheering children only added to an already bizarre situation. I love Glasgow.

What's the film you've worked on you are proudest of?
THE GODFATHER which isn't even out yet but it's the first film since starting with Park Circus I've been involved with from inception to release. The feed back we've got back already has been great. Plus everyone and their grandmother are going to want one of the posters...

What one thing could the film industry do to be more successful in the UK?
I think more digital screens is the way forward, especially in the smaller cinemas. It broadens the scope of what they can show and will hopefully become more cost effective in the future. Having said that I don't think 35mm is going anywhere, it'll be around until the end of time. If (God forbid) there is a nuclear holocaust tomorrow you can be sure there would be two survivors. Cockroaches and 35mm film prints.

Film Quiz, Part 3


James Tully, a Brighton native and one of the biggest film buffs I know, is the Marketing Manager at the ODEON BRIGHTON, one of the better multiplexes out there and somewhere I spend a fair amount of time. He is also connected to the Dukes as his wife used to have my job. Here are his answers:

Favorite cinema in the country?

Bit biased but I love my Brighton cinemas. lots of my favourite memories are from the Odeon Brighton so that is up there. Also love the Duke of York's - So many great films over the years and a splendid decor to boot. There is also nothing like the Odeon Leicester Square on Premiere Night. It has a great buzz and everyone is really excited to be there.

First memory of cinema going?

First memory is my Dad taking me to see SNOW WHITE & THE SEVEN DWARFS at the Odeon in Brighton. I guess I must have been about 4/5 at the time so it must have been on re-release ( I wasn't born in the 30's). It was pretty scary but I remember my Dad taking care of me. My Dad also got me into Gilliam by showing me TIME BANDITS at a young age - Subsequently my Dad and I are are two of the 37 people who saw THE ADVENTURES OF BARON MUNCHAUSEN in a cinema. Another early memory is wanting to see MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE but my Mum instead taking us to see BAMBI. In retrospect she was right, but at the time I was NOT happy with that decision.

What's your most exciting/scary/weird moviegoing experience?
So many to choose from. Really enjoyed seeing a preview of THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT at the Duke of York's before it came out. A packed house and people were just petrified, screaming, gasping and jumping out of their seats. A really fun night. I think a lot of people hadn't cottoned on that it was all fake at this point! Also had a great night at a Karaoke screening of GREASE at the Dukes with cocktails. I always get really excited by the big summer releases, fall for the hype, buy my tickets early, wear a costume but then end up being disappointed and looking foolish. For an example imagine me walking dejected through town in Summer 1999 in a Star Wars cap & light saber with a man dressed as a storm trooper before disappearing into a pub to start a 10 year long (so far) complaining session about STAR WARS: THE PHANTOM MENACE. Damn you George!

Whats the film you've worked on you are proudest of?
In terms of working on the marketing campaign I really enjoyed working on the national campaign for 300 The film turned out to be a hit so was great for me. Unfortunately when I got to see the film it was a bit rubbish so I felt guilty that potentially I had made people go see that film. Ah well........... As a company ODEON runs an annual short film competition where all cinemas can enter a film and it goes to a central judging panel. We have our own awards ceremony and everything. Its great fun. We made a film last year called 'The Box' - It is terrible but we love it anyway! Watch it on YOUTUBE here.

What one thing could the film industry do to be more successful in the UK?

Make good films! I think the UK scene is very rich in talent. A lot of films are made in the UK but mostly with American money, American casts, and American directors. The crews are usually brits so the production side is doing well. Recently MOON was a great example of what British talent can make given the budget and the opportunity. We just keep churning out, admittedly financially successful, period dramas. And they are horrible. There just isn't enough opportunity for british talent to come through in film-making. Film-making is an expensive business so financial backers want to minimise the risks - I guess taking a chance on a first-time British director is just too big a risk.

Monday, 17 August 2009

UK Box Office 14-16 August


This weekend, time-travelling weepie THE TIME TRAVELLER'S WIFE made it to the number one spot in an otherwise quiet time at the box office. With all the big kids' movies out of the way and many families away on holiday, only one film in the Top 10 made over £1 million during the weekend.
INGLORIOUS BASTERDS made an impressive £770,000 in two days of previews, which bodes well for the Tarantino-directed film when it opens next Friday. The Dukes opened SIN NOMBRE, which unfortunately only gathered £55,000 on 23 prints. This fantastic film just got lost in the family-dominated landscape. Summer arthouse releases are always a tough sell.

1- TIME TRAVELLER'S WIFE - £1,410,333
2- G FORCE - £941,000
2- HARRY POTTER - £876,978
3- ALIENS IN THE ATTIC - £834,380
4- GI JOE - £827, 389
5- THE UGLY TRUTH - £809,930
6- INGLORIOUS BASTERDS (PREVIEWS) - £770,000
7- THE PROPOSAL - £445,689
8- THE ORPHAN - £379,179
9- BANDSLAM - £340,840
10 - A PERFECT GETAWAY - £325,385

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Cinemas of the UK, unite!


Cinema Business is reporting today that the CEA has "confirmed plans to establish a digital funding group to negotiate financial support for small and medium-sized UK cinema operators to convert to digital cinema technology."

This is after the roadshow the CEA and the UKFC carried out, which I attended and reported here. It makes sense to pool resources and financing in order to get a better deal and salvage the indies which can't afford all the kit the majors are buying like so much candy.

Some small exhibitors are holding out and feel that this digital stuff is just a 'phase'. Why shouldn't they? 35mm has survived as a format in the industry for 100 years. Name one relevant example in another sector - apart from the gas-powered car engine(which is also on its way out). That said, I too think it's all over for celluloid and they better adapt or in a really awful Darwinian turn of events, disappear.

Phil Clapp from the CEA says: "I urge all of those small and medium-sized cinema operators who have not yet done so to show similar commitment and to join us in this hugely important endeavour."

Monday, 10 August 2009

UK Box Office 7-9 August


Despite mounting bad buzz and terrible reviews, the $175 million action franchise GI JOE: RISE OF THE COBRA (by the way, these toys were great when I was a kid) knocked HARRY POTTER off the number one spot this weekend. With even worse reviews, THE UGLY TRUTH, starring Katherine Heigl and Gerard Butler, came in at number three. The only other new entry in the Top 10 is horror thriller ORPHAN (the creepy girl you've seen on bus stops everywhere). COCO BEFORE CHANEL at 10 surpassed the £1 million mark, a landmark for foreign language films. MOON, with only 55 prints, is slowly approaching £1 million gross with £880,000 so far all based on word of mouth. We had customers driving from all over the South Coast to see it. MESRINE:KILLER INSTINCT didn't crack the charts but did a respectable £124,000.

1- GI Joe - £1,427,594 (with previews £1,708,000)
2- Harry Potter - £1,263,750
3- The Ugly Truth - £1,250,769 (with previews £1,978,007)
4- G-Force 3D - £900,155 + £323,710 in 2D (£1,223,865 total)
5- The Proposal - £756,106
6- Taking of Pelham 123 - £663,802
7- Orphan - £570,147
8- Ice Age 3 - £410,710
9- The Hangover - £278,921
10- Coco Before Chanel - £248,532

PS - My prediction of a £10-£12 million gross for PUBLIC ENEMIES was way off, as it has grossed only £6.8 million in six weeks on release.

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Inglorious Basterds Review


I saw this in the soon to be demolished, but for this occasion packed, ODEON WEST END a few weeks ago. I really like this screen. Over the years I have seen things like THE NEW WORLD and THE DARK KNIGHT here. I met up with James Tully, from the ODEON in Brighton, and after a couple of lagers we settled in. The scratchy print rolled on (Tarantino has insisted on a 35mm release for this film, and the reasons will become obvious once you've seen the film) and excitement ensued.

I know Tarantino inspires huge hate and love in equal measures - I am neither a hater nor a sycophant. I think Tarantino's first three films are amazing, but I am a little tepid about KILL BILL 1, and definitely dislike KILL BILL 2 and DEATH PROOF. So I was more than skeptical going in, particularly given the awful review by Peter Bradshaw.

So first of all: the film is too long; it doesn't make much sense plot-wise; the violence is gratuitous; its moral compass is visibly off-balance; and it's the most fun I've had at the cinema in a long time.

Although the genre is World War II, Tarantino is mainly working with the Spaghetti Western conventions. And despite the action backdrop, it's in his dialogue where the sparks fly. The real star of the film isn't Brad Pitt, but Colonel Landa (in a star-making turn by Christoph Waltz) as the 'Jew-Hunter'. There is a lot less DIRTY DOZEN style scenes than you get from the marketing of the film, and most of action takes place inside a tavern and a cinema. The latter part of the film at a Parisian cinema, ranks amongst some of my favorite collection of scenes ever - probably because anything taking place in a single screen vintage movie theater immediately has my attention.

Despite the grim subject matter, there are plenty of laugh-out-loud moments (as you would expect from a Tarantino flick) and the audience I saw it with clapped at the end. It seemed from my perspective like a real crowd pleaser. Apart from Pitt, the cast is full of fantastic unknowns (although Michael Fassbender is a quickly rising actor) and this all adds to the reality of it - particulary because most of the movie is in German, French and Italian - which in turn makes it even more enjoyable.

Most film critics like to play the 'identify that reference' game with QT's films, as it's a magnificent opportunity to show off their own knowledge of the cannon. While I can't identify every source, you always feel like he is using the languages of the genres he is obsessed with (Spaghetti western, World War II movies, mission movies, De Palma, etc) but not unlike a catchy pop tune, the melody is both familiar and completely fresh. Originality isn't the only virtue to value in film; superb craftsmanship and an ear for killer dialogue can carry things as well.

Don't buy into the buzz that this was not well received: it got a standing ovation at Cannes; the TIMES loved it; TOTAL FILM adores it; and even wooly liberal THE INDEPENDENT likes it. Either way, QT is one of the most exciting filmmakers working today and you should make up your own mind.

We have previews 15th and 16th August, late shows on 19th and 20th and then the film rolls on in all shows from the 21st, playing in glorious 35mm on our old projector.

Friday, 7 August 2009

John Hughes 1950-2009


John Hughes died yesterday in New York City at the age of 59. Best known for a series of teenage comedies from the 1980s like FERRIS BUELLER'S DAY OFF, BREAKFAST CLUB, SIXTEEN CANDLES, and WEIRD SCIENCE, all massive hits, these otherwise lightweight films also touched a cultural nerve and became a genre onto themselves, endlessly referenced and imitated ever since.

His directing career ended with the massive flop CURLY SUE but his Midas touch didn't end there: he wrote and/or produced the blockbusters/franchises HOME ALONE, BEETHOVEN, FLUBBER & 101 DALMATIONS.

Personally, the films came a bit early for me to tap into the teenage angst, but FERRIS BUELLER is a seminal film in my early cinematic development. As Ferris himself said : Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Film Quiz Part 2

ICON FILM DISTRIBUTION is the UK branch of the company Mel Gibson founded back in 1989. They have distributed films such as LOOKING FOR ERIC and Oscar winner MAN ON WIRE. Hugo Grumbar, President of Icon Film Distribution, kindly answered my five questions:

What's the best cinema in the country?
That's very difficult! Phoenix Finchley? Duke of Yorks Brighton, Curzon Mayfair?

What is your first memory of moviegoing?
STAR WARS Leicester Square

What is your weirdest/most exciting/scariest experience of moviegoing?
IRREVERSIBLE at The Other Cinema was shocking, OLD BOY or THE BEAT THAT MY HEART SKIPPED at the Curzon Soho both very memorable experiences. Nothing beats THE THIRD MAN which I see on the BFI South Bank whenever it plays!

What is the film you’ve worked on you are proudest of?

Very difficult. MAN ON WIRE perhaps. LA VIE EN ROSE or maybe even 30 DAYS OF NIGHT.

What one thing could the film industry do to be more successful in the UK?
Think global NOT local

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Film Quiz, Part 1


I'll be running a series of interviews with different people in the exhibition/distribution sector, always with the same five questions. Our first victim is Ben Luxford, a Brightonian and long-time Dukes customer, who previously worked at Optimum Releasing and now runs Theatrical Sales at Artificial Eye, the purveyors of top arthouse fare such as ANTICHRIST and THE CLASS, to mention just a couple.


What's your first moviegoing memory?
Being on holiday in Wales and it being too wet to do anything other than watch Masters of the Universe which I’d been stamping my feet about seeing anyhow. It was a joy. I believe this was at The Coliseum in Brecon.



Best cinema in the country?

I’m biased in saying the Duke of York's as it was my local growing up, so I have been spoilt in that respect. I’ve also spent far too many hours loitering in the Bristol Watershed, Edinburgh Filmhouse and Greenwich Picturehouse. I’m also a big fan of multiplexes such as the Arclight and Grove in Los Angeles and the UK’s Vue Cinemas in Islington, Bristol Cribbs Causeway and Shepherd’s Bush. Good seats, good sound and proper big screens. Odeon Leicester Square is always a treat as well.



Most exciting/strange/scary filmgoing experience?

I enjoyed a few years back watching the reissue of WILDSTYLE at the Duke of Yorks when all the mid-late thirty Brighton B-boys turned out in force and were breakin’ in the aisles. The opening night of JACKIE BROWN at the Dukes was one of the most electric screenings I can remember being in.


Favorite film to have been involved with?
PAN'S LABRYINTH. From the first screening in Cannes it was clear it was always going to be something very special. I was really pleased to contribute to the success of THIS IS ENGLAND as well – i’d always been a fan of Shane Meadows and thought it was about time the British public showed him some support.


Name one thing that would make the industry more succesful?
More Cinema screens.

Local Hero


David Puttnam, advertising wizard, legendary film producer and one-time head of Columbia Pictures has recently become the head of the Film Distributor's Association (FDA) and on the 20 July he addressed distributors at BAFTA.

From an exhibition perspective his views were welcome: If product is the crucial business driver, that’s only part of the story. The key to extracting value from intellectual, and recycling it back into the industry, is distribution – forging and sustaining the connection between filmmakers and their audiences, wherever they may be. Last year 531 films were released in the UK, unless there is flexibility how we will be able to tap into future audiences?

He seems to be saying distributors need to abandon their old ways of demanding all shows and respond to audience demands and work with exhibitors to ensure everyone is a winner in the industry. He also advocated more flexibility when it comes to theatrical windows (the time frame between when a film is released in cinemas to when it comes out on DVD and TV).

As an exhibitor, I like long windows (as people are more likely to come to the cinema if the film is unavailable elsewhere) but to ignore the way people consume culture these days is to bury one's head in the sand. As Puttnam says: Don’t get this wrong: the UK distribution position is not that there should be no window of theatrical exclusivity, but rather that these business decisions should be made on a case by case basis, subject to all manner of individual circumstances. So let’s sift through the evidence and see if a way forward can be found that works for everyone.

Finally, a message for the doomsayers: History shows that there has never been a time when the competitive film business was not besieged by threats and uncertainty. The halcyon days of yore were, much as they sound, always a myth. Television, video and the internet, all in their time have caused seismic shifts in the cinema world. What’s different today is that change has moved from rapid to super-rapid.

It's refreshing to hear these words from the FDA, and Puttnam is certainly someone with the respect, authority and vision to lead the sector in these turbulent times of uncertainty.

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Shhhhhhh!


This week seems to be the 'shut up' week. First Eddie Mair ran a piece on Radio 4's PM show about noisy audiences, then a woman was attacked in Leeds for asking some young kids to quiet down at a screening of Harry Potter.

Just last night we had to ask two customers inside the cinema to be quiet. I should have known they were trouble when they asked if COCO BEFORE CHANEL was a really violent film. They seemed puzzled when I explained it was a biopic of the fashion icon.

In NYC, I once had a chap threaten to "meet me outside" after the film when I asked him to stop whistling at Thandie Newton in Mission Impossible 2. I stayed and watched ALL the credits.

It's definitely a cultural thing - I have witnessed screenings in America where the audience clap when the hero saves the girl - whereas in the UK no one would dare say a word. When audiences are requested to participate, they really go all out though - our infamous late night screenings of WITHNAIL & I include customers quoting the film, and playing along to the drinking game (sans lighter fluid). The Lord of the Rings Trilogy all nighter had plenty of cheers for the hobbits too.

You can hear me talk about this with Eddie Mair on today's PM around 5.45pm.

Monday, 3 August 2009

UK Box Office 31 July - 2 Aug

Harry Potter continues to dominate the UK Box Office this weekend, with neither Disney's 3D hamster adventure G-FORCE nor Sony's TAKING OF PELHAM 123 able to knock the wizard off the top spot. COCO BEFORE CHANEL opened with a high screen average and cracked the Top 10 at 9. THE HANGOVER continues its spectacular run, clocking in over £20 million so far. LAND OF THE LOST followed the failed pattern when it opened in America, and fell to number 6.

1- Harry Potter - £2,917,786
2- G-Force - £2,478,524
3- Taking of Pelham 123 - £1,784,719
4- The Proposal - £1,489,268
5- Ice Age 3 - £1,143,211
6- Land of the Lost - £642,553
7- Bruno - £612,577
8- The Hangover - £517,895
9- Coco Before Chanel - £423,268
10- Love Aaj Kal - £405,673