Col TriStar Intl. hosts global Gotham meet

Screening 'Madeline,' 'Mask of Zorro' and 'Dance With Me

NEW YORK — Wednesday’s taxi strike was not good news for the 120 delegates from around the globe who converged on Gotham for Columbia TriStar Film Distributors Intl.’s annual confab.

But the foreign distribs’ spirits were lifted by screenings of such upcoming Sony releases as “Madeline,” “Dance With Me,” “The Mask of Zorro” and Chris Columbus’ untitled project starring Julia Roberts and Susan Sarandon.

‘Godzilla’ finish

The convention, hosted by CTFDI president Duncan Clark, exec veepee Tony Manne and senior veepee of international marketing Nigel Clark, began Tuesday and culminates with the world premiere of “Godzilla” at Madison Square Garden on Monday.

CTFDI is the international distribution arm of Sony Pictures Entertainment.

General managers, marketing managers and sales managers from all of CTFDI’s operating territories, accounting for 94% of the global marketplace, came to Gotham to discuss recent developments and trends in the global theatrical arena.

Most successful year

“Having completed our most successful year ever, we must ensure that our momentum is maintained into 1999 and beyond,” said Clark. In 1997, CTFDI generated a record $1.07 billion at the international box office.

Prior to the “Godzilla” premiere Monday night, the CTFDI delegates will hear presentations by SPE president and CEO John Calley, co-president and chief operating officer Bob Wynne, Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group president Ken Lemberger and Columbia Pictures president Amy Pascal.

In an interview with Daily Variety, Clark said CTFDI’s global game plan for the monster pic calls for moving quickly to the Far East to avoid piracy problems and “staying out of the way of the World Cup,” which runs from June 10 to July 12. The sports event virtually closes down the theatrical market in Latin America and certain parts of Europe.

European rollout

After “Godzilla” closes the Cannes Film Festival on May 24, the film’s official European rollout will begin in England on July 17, said Clark.

Among those attending the CTFDI confab are: Lester McKellar, senior veepee for Europe, Middle East and Africa; Jon Anderson, vice president of European marketing; Mark Braddel, director of sales for Eastern Europe; Giovanni Gentili, senior vice president of Latin America; Vittorio Tamburini, vice president of marketing for Latin America; and Kunikazu Sogabe, the newly appointed supervisor of the Far East.