Australia

Hoyts

2008 B.O. CUME: $8.5 million

TOPPERS: Robert Slaviero, CEO; Chris Rawlings, finance and commercial manager; Anthony Thiessen, marketing director

UP NEXT: “My Best Friend’s Girl” (Oct. 9), “Saw V” (Oct. 23), “Dying Breed” (Nov. 6), “Twilight” (Dec. 11)

Hoyts Distribution weighs in as Australia’s top indie in ’08 despite a change of corporate owners late last year. An affiliate of Australia’s second-largest theater circuit Hoyts Cinemas, the distrib was offloaded at a loss to buyout firm Pacific Equity Partners.

But Hoyts topper Robert Slaviero says the company is thriving under the new owners. “They have shown great support and interest and continue to encourage us to find ways to grow and improve,” he notes.

Management team is lean, stable and experienced. The distribution alliance Hoyts inked with Lionsgate in mid-2007 delivers a steady supply of product and protects the shingle from having to shop too heavily on the open market. “We are looking to buy less films ourselves,” Slaviero says. “The titles we are chasing are bigger-budget and target-audience-specific.”

Hoyts’ edge is being a lead outfit that covers theatrical through to TV. “We focus on each release throughout its life cycle to maximize our returns,” Slaviero says. “We’re looking very closely at everything from digital to downloads, but ultimately you only survive if you are able to deliver content people want to see.”

Top title in ’08 has been “P.S. I Love You,” grossing A$6 million. Hoyts will give “Twilight,” adapted from Stephanie Meyer’s novel, one of its biggest-ever releases in December, and it will handle the last film with Aussie thesp Heath Ledger, “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus,” in 2009.

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