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Filmauro celebrates slate of pix

Celebrating the 10th anniversary of his production and distribution outfit Filmauro, Aurelio De Laurentiis last week announced his slate of films for the 1995-96 season and his entry into the TV production arena.

A stalwart champion of the grassroots comedies that have put coin in his coffers over the years, De Laurentiis’ production lineup has new features from commercial hitmakers Christian De Sica, Carlo Vanzina, Neri Parenti and Francesco Nuti.

More upscale fare includes Pappi Corsicato’s recently completed “Libera” follow-up, “Black Holes”; Daniele Cipri and Franco Maresco’s bizarre B& W comedy “The Uncle From Brooklyn,” set in the bleak Palermo slums; and Giovanni Veronesi’s “Silenzio Si Nasce,” which centers on a pair of yet-to-be-born twins. A second Corsicato feature, “Beatrice Goes to Hell,” also is in the works.

Continuing his long-term association with Pupi Avati, De Laurentiis will co-produce the director’s 18th-century-set thriller “The Arcane Enchanter.”

On the international front, De Laurentiis hopes to get a long planned feature adaptation of Truman Capote’s novella “Handcarved Coffins” off the ground early in 1996. Negotiations are under way for a U.S. director to come in on the project, originally slated for Harold Becker. Pic will be 100% financed by Filmauro.

Fiscally sound

De Laurentiis’ distribution activity has been buoyed by dynamic results in the past year. Filmauro releases generated gross receipts of more than $80 million, and the operation’s revenues for the 1994-95 season are estimated at close to $35 million.

The outfit’s top earner, “The Monster,” broke B.O. records, becoming the highest-grossing Italo feature ever. Launched last fall, the Roberto Benigni starrer has made $34 million to date, with the total expected to climb a $2 million after the pic’s summer re-release.

The producer’s ancient-Rome comedy, “S.P.Q.R.: 2,000 and a Half Years Ago,” also performed lustily, with B.O. approaching $19 million. Strong results from releases like “Bullets Over Broadway” and “The Professional” pushed Filmauro to the No. 2 spot in national distribs, behind Vittorio Cecchi Gori.

Good buys

Recent pre-buys include Mira Nair’s “Kamasutra,” produced by Ciby 2000 and Nippon Herald and, from Alliance, David Cronenberg’s repeatedly stalled film of the J.G. Ballard auto accident-erotica novel “Crash,” to star Holly Hunter and James Spader.

Domestic distribution rights have been secured to the Taviani brothers’ “Elective Affinities,” toplining Isabelle Huppert.

Also, three features from neophyte arthouse distrib Nemo will go out via Filmauro.

De Laurentiis’ inaugural venture into TV production will be a three-parter based on the Ken Follett thriller “Night Over Water.” The English-lingo miniseries will be co-produced by Filmauro and French web TF1. Also in development is a mini based on “S.P. Q.R.”

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