Prod’n slide prolonged

Worldwide English-language feature film production starts were down 9% in the first three quarters of the year, from 306 to 277.

Starts by majors through September were off 21% from 104 to 82, but indies’ starts dropped only 3% from 202 to 195. Production figures are based on listings in the Daily Variety film production chart.

Combined U.S. takeoffs from majors and indies declined 8% to 207 from 226, while combined English-language starts in foreign countries were down 13% to 70 from the 80 pix started in the comparable period of 1991.

In September, total starts were down 32% to 23 from 34 in September a year earlier. Majors rolled eight films, compared to 15 in the previous September, while indies started 15, down from 19 a year earlier.

Of the majors’ greenlights so far this year, 67 have been in the U.S. and 15 abroad, compared with 85 in the U.S. and 19 abroad through the first three quarters of 1991.

Indies’ 1992 takeoffs have included 140 in the U.S. and 55 outside the U.S., compared with 141 in this country and 61 abroad through this time last year.

The major with the most starts in September was Warner Bros., which rolled three pix, followed by Columbia with two and TriStar, Universal and 20th with one each.

WB’s trio were “True Romance” in the U.S. and “Being Human” and “The Crush” abroad.

Col’s duo were “In the Line of Fire” in the U.S. and “The Remains of the Day” overseas.

TriStar rolled “Manhattan Murder Mystery,” U”The Real McCoy” and 20th “Rookie of the Year,” all in this country.

Indies’ U.S. starts in September were “The Ballad of Little Jo,””Deceptions 2 ,””Dream Lover,””Even Cowgirls Get the Blues,””Fist of Honor,””Frameup,””Lost Storehouse,””The Mommy Market,””Parallel Universe,””The Skateboard Kid,””Skeeter ,””Slaughter of the Innocents” and “Younger & Younger.” Outside the U.S., indies rolled “Little Buddha” and “State of Mind” last month.

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