Fox nabs seven Gold Reel awards

The Cinema Expo confab closed on a high Thursday as organizer Robert Sunshine confirmed next year’s dates (June 22-25) and dispelled rumors that the confab is under threat from a rival event bowing next year in Brussels in the week before Cine Expo.

Sunshine described the move by European exhib org Union Internationale des Cinemas as “not in the best interests of the motion picture industry.”

And Hollywood seems to agree. Paramount, Fox, Disney and Warner Bros. have signed up for next year’s Cine Expo, and Sunshine expects Sony and Universal to join them.

The leading 12 European exhib chains have also renewed their support. Official sponsor Coca-Cola has signed on for two more years.

At the closing-day luncheon, 28 Nielsen EDI Intl. Gold Reel awards were dished out to distribs for films scoring more than $100 million at the international box office in the past year.

Twentieth Century Fox Intl. collected the biggest tally, seven, for “Alvin and the Chipmunks,” “Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who!,” “Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer,” “Jumper,” “Live Free or Die Hard,” “The Simpsons Movie” and “What Happens in Vegas.”

Warner Bros. Pictures Intl. Distribution drew Reels for “Beowulf,” “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,” “I Am Legend,” “Ocean’s Thirteen,” “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” and “10,000 BC.”

As the only pic to top $500 million in international grosses, “Order of the Phoenix” received a special Platinum Reel.

Demonstrating the growing importance of local pics, Pathe received Reels for foreign-language smashes “Asterix at the Olympic Games” and cultural phenomenon “Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis,” which has done $200 million in France, Switzerland and Belgium alone.

There were four wins each for Paramount Pictures Intl. (“Bee Movie,” “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” “Iron Man” and “Transformers”) and Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Intl. (“The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian,” “Enchanted,” “National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets” and “Ratatouille”). New Line Intl. and Universal Pictures Intl. each scooped two prizes, for “The Golden Compass” and “Rush Hour 3,” and “American Gangster” and “The Bourne Ultimatum,” respectively.

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