First National readies ‘Happily’ for summer

It appears that Snow White is finally going to marry Prince Charming on the big screen after months of collecting dust in the can.

Upstart distrib First National Film Corp. has booked 400 of its target 1,200 cinemas for the Memorial Day weekend launch of animated feature “Happily Ever After,” according to distrib head Michael J. Bisio.

“We’re right on target,” said Bisio, who came on board First National on March 17 to secure bookings for the sequel to the original classic “Snow White,” which Disney is re-releasing on July 2.

“I think it will be to our advantage to be in ahead of them,” said Bisio, adding: “We’re not trying to compete with Disney.”

As for the sequel, “We have commitments from all the circuits to open the picture on Memorial Day weekend,” he said, offering United Artists and General Cinema as examples. “They’re all dating the picture and seem to think there’s a window there for us to get launched without any problem,” Bisio said.

“Happily Ever After” features the voices of Edward Asner, Carol Channing, Dom DeLuise, Phyllis Diller and Zsa Zsa Gabor to name a few. Film picks up where “Snow White” leaves off after she and the prince tie the knot. Snow meets the seven Dwarfs’ female cousins, the seven Dwarfelles.

Pic is produced by Lou Scheimer, Filmation Studios’ creator of “Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids.” It is directed by John Howley based on a screenplay by Martha Moran and Robby London.

In a news release, First National chairman Milton Verret said: “Due to the explosive growth of animated motion pictures over the last five years, we anticipate that ‘Happily Ever After’ will be one of the biggest hits of the year.”

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