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Studios struggle to dodge Olympics

'08 Games pose scheduling dilemma

This summer’s tentpoles are adhering to a day-and-date strategy, but next year, film execs are figuring out how to cope with the 2008 Olympics in Beijing and UEFA’s European Soccer Championships.

As with the 2006 World Cup soccer tourney, distribs will think hard about how and when they release certain pics to avoid the potential audience drain from the global sports phenomena.

Speaking to Daily Variety Wednesday at exhib confab Cinema Expo here, Warner Bros. international distribution prexy Veronika Kwan-Rubinek said, ” ‘Get Smart’ is interesting because the domestic release date is June 20 and that falls right in the middle of the (European soccer championship), so we wouldn’t want to go day and date on that movie.”

The Beijing Olympics has had an effect on the WB sked, but less than expected. “We are trying to avoid the Olympics in the Asian markets, but it won’t really affect us in the rest of the world,” Kwan-Rubinek said.

In European time zones, the Games will screen in the morning so the effect on B.O. will be minimal.

Contrary to Amsterdam’s reputation for prostitutes and pot, the RAI Center was stuffed with wholesome family fare for day 3 of Cinema Expo.

Warner Bros. beat the drum for a slate headed by “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” and “Beowulf,” while Disney built buzz for “The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian” and “Enchanted.”

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