American Fare Still Top Draw in 2002
Overseas Biz Up & Down
LONDON – While 2002 U.S.
box office topped $9 billion, global receipts were
up and down, with Hollywood
blockbusters reaping most of the box office harvest.
United Kingdom. Some
of the best European box office news emerged out of
the land where Harry
Frodo Baggins were born. Admissions rose dramatically
in the United Kingdom, registering an estimated 176
million, up 20 million from 2001.
France. French admissions reached 183
million, slightly down from the 186 million tickets
sold in 2001. With
a combined gross of more than $1 billion, 2002 marked
the second-best year for the nation’s box offices
since the mid-1980s.
With 14.5 million admissions, French
and Obélix: Mission Cleopatra,” was the
highest-ranking picture, followed by “Harry Potter
and the Chamber of Secrets” with 7.7 million
and “Spider-Man,” which sold 6.3 million
Germany. 2002 admissions continued to
slip in the last six calendar months, ending at 154.5
million, a 5 percent
decrease from 2001.
“Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” and “The
Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers” accounted
for $251 million of the year’s $966.6 million
box office total.
Norway. Admits in Norway also saw a 3.5 percent drop
from 2001 to 12 million.
Top local films, “I Am Dina,” and “Karlsson
On the Roof,” combined accounted for 483,000
of total admissions.
Czech. The recent multiplex boom in
the Czech Republic appears to have paid off – the nation ended the
year with 10.7 million tickets sold, up .3 percent
from 2001, according to the Czech Union of Film and
“The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship
of the Ring” and “Harry
Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone,” rang
in as the territory’s highest grossing films
of the year.
Czech film “The Year of the Devil” was
the leader among the domestics, which accounted for
an estimated 23 percent of admissions.
admissions slumped 500,000 from 2001, ending with a
total of 25.5 million.
Although “Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of
the Ring” and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s
Stone” ranked as the top grossers, support for
local films remained strong, representing 25 percent
of the box office.
Andrzej Wajda’s “Revenge” and Roman
Polanski’s “The Pianist” drew nearly
3 million admissions.
ticket sales reached $110 million in 2002, double from
the previous year.
According to the
Moscow Times Hollywood blockbusters gobbled up $80
million of the grand total.
South Korea. At
103 million, South Korean admissions in 2002 edged
past 100 million for the first
1973, according to the film company IM Pictures.
Officials credit the 16-percent increase
over 2001 admissions to continuing multiplex growth
as well as
ongoing support for local films, which reaped nearly
50 percent of the local box office. An estimated 180
screens were added nationwide in 2002.
Hong Kong. Hong Kong’s box office fell 17 percent
from 2001 to $110.6 million.
Local films accounted for $44.6 million in 2002, down
24 percent from the previous year. The home-grown crime
drama “Infernal Affairs” took home $5.6
million as the highest grossing picture, followed by “Harry
Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” and “Spider-Man.”
Downtown Bangkok Complex
Major 16 For
BANGKOK, Thailand – Thai exhibitor Major Cineplex
announced in December it had contracted to build a
16-plex in a new downtown Bangkok entertainment complex.
The development is a joint venture between
The Mall Group and the Bangkok Intercontinental Hotel
addition to the 4,000-seat multi, the complex will
house shops, restaurants, 50 bowling lanes, luxury
apartments and an upscale hotel.
Construction of the Siam Paragon is
set to begin at the end of the year with final completion
Major Cineplex currently operates 102
screens at 11 sites.
Former Kinepolis Multi in Italy
PIOLTELLO, Italy – Switzerland-based Europlex
Cinemas began its expansion into Italy January when
it acquired the Pioltello 14-plex on the outskirts
of Milan from Belgian exhibitor Kinepolis Group.
Europlex also announced plans to open
sites in the Italian cities of Rome, Arezzo and Rovigo
2004 Debut Expected
Famous To Play
VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Toronto-based Famous
Players on Dec. 12 announced plans to open a 9-plex
in a new downtown Vancouver high-rise by 2004.
The flagship Famous Players
Paramount will reside at the corner of Burrard
and Smith streets. A number of
retail tenants will occupy the building’s ground
floor alongside the cinema’s Burrard Street
entrance, while the cinema itself will take up the
next 10 floors.
Some 456 residential apartments will fill the 14
floors above the multi.
The plex itself will boast
wall-to-wall screens, digital sound and stadium-style
Famous Players currently operates 846 screens at
93 sites throughout Canada.
North of Sao Paulo
CAMPINAS, Brazil – Spanish exhibitor Cinebox launched its first 10-plex
in Brazil Dec. 12.
Located in Campinas, just north of Sao
Paulo, the multi boasts 2,000 seats.
Cinebox currently operates 13 sites
in Spain, Venezuela and Brazil.
Mex Law Tightens
On Movie Pirates
MEXICO CITY – Mexico’s
government approved in December a new law designed
to more effectively
combat movie, music and software piracy.
Mexican authorities can now hold suspects
up to 30 days, instigate phone taps and allow witnesses
to testify without revealing their identities to
The new measure also eliminates the
12-year maximum prison term for pirates; offenders
may now face up to 40 years if convicted.
The Motion Picture Association estimates
a $70 million loss in Mexico in 2001 due to piracy.
Bootleggers In China
“Bulletproof” Hits DVD
Months Before Cinemas
HONG KONG – Nearly four months before the U.S.
theatrical release of MGM’s “Bulletproof
Monk,” pirated DVDs of the martial arts actioner
were selling in vending machines around Hong Kong.
According to sources, the film was
recorded during a test screening in the
United States. The bootleg copy is of poor quality, with shadows of heads in
front of the camera and sounds from the audience.
The picture, which teams Chow Yun-Fat
(“Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”)
and Seann William Scott (“Dude, Where’s My Car”), is due
to hit U.S. screens April 16. Sources told The Hollywood Reporter that the
pirated copy is likely to strongly affect the picture’s box office potential.
Players In Toronto Area
Grows to 12 Screens
BURLINGTON, Ontario – Famous Players reopened its Burlington, Ontario,
8-plex as a 12-plex Dec. 13, following an upgrade that brought the facility
digital sound and stadium-style seating.
The multi also now features such franchise restaurants as
Pizza Hut Express and KFC Express, as well as a full menu TCBY yogurt outlet.
AMSTERDAM, Netherlands – Multimillion-dollar renovations for Amsterdam’s
Tuschinski World Theatre were completed in April, restoring much of the movie
palace’s original glory.
Created in 1921 by Abraham Tuschinski, the cinema – with its bronze and
marble bar, silk wall-hangings, live orchestra pit and hand-knotted Moroccan
carpeting – was designed to serve as an escape into luxury for moviegoers.
The business went under during the Depression, however,
and Tuschinski and his family died in Nazi concentration camps during
World War II.
All of the original art-deco fixtures were cleaned and
restored and new plumbing and electrical wiring were installed. While
stripping the aged
renovators were surprised to discover old art-deco paintings and murals
The facility is now available for guided tours conducted
in English, French and German.
Death In Venice
VENICE, Italy – Venice’s
64,000 inhabitants must now fight the cars and racing
mopeds on the Italian
mainland if they want to spend an evening at the movies.
The island city’s 74-year-old Accademia cinema was forced to shutter
for good on New Year’s Eve. Its only other surviving cinema, the Rossini,
closed less than a week later.
The extinction of the Venice moviehouse is a result
of increasingly high real estate prices, Venice government officials
told Screen Daily. According
the periodical, the city boasted 18 cinemas in 1966
The Rossini cinema is currently up for sale for $3.6