×

‘Fantasia’ signups get bigger

Disney to secure Imax bookings for New Year preem

Despite distribution terms that initially alarmed theater owners, Disney likely will secure at least 60-70 bookings in Imax theaters worldwide for the Jan. 1 opening of “Fantasia 2000.”

According to Imax co-CEO Richard Gelfond, about 30 theaters have committed to leasing “Fantasia.” “My best guess is that it (will reach) somewhere between 50 and 75,” Gelfond said, “and I think there’s some chance it could be up to 100.”

Although Disney isn’t aiming for any magic number, it will have nearly all the theater bookings in place over the next few months, according to Dick Cook, chairman of Walt Disney Motion Pictures Group.

‘A lot of interest’

“There has clearly been a lot of interest (from the theaters),” he added.

Disney is asking theaters for 50% of the box office and 100% of the show schedule — meaning “Fantasia 2000” would be the only pic shown at each cinema. These terms were seen as too restrictive and, indeed, unacceptable by some Imax theater owners.

In the giant-screen industry, distributors normally receive about 15% of the box office, and no theater gives 100% of the show schedule to a single film.

Disney, however, feels justified in asking for a 50% box office cut since it’s paying for prints and all the marketing costs — expenses usually assumed by theaters, not distributors. The studio also feels that getting 100% of the show schedule is not asking too much.

But the restrictive terms will prevent some theaters from exhibiting “Fantasia,” according to Charlotte Lazenberry, film distribution manager for the Houston Museum of Natural Science. The museum’s Imax theater won’t be able to lease the Disney animated pic due to existing contracts with other distribs that would conflict with “Fantasia,” Lazenberry said.

‘Definite advantage’

Liz Bleiberg, exec VP of the Science Place in Dallas — the site of an Imax theater — claims she has no problem with Disney’s terms. “The numbers that we have run show that (they are) to our definite advantage.”

“We feel that the Disney halo is one that will shine over our site for long after the four months (of ‘Fantasia’ runs),” she added.

Another potential stumbling block in exhibiting “Fantasia” in Imax theaters was that the 90-minute length requires a larger film platter for projection, which many of the older theaters aren’t equipped to handle.

Imax Corp. has solved the problem by assuring Disney that if a theater chooses to lease “Fantasia,” it will retrofit the theater for the bigger film platter and cover expenses.

More Film

  • RUDOLF NUREYEV 1961

    Film Review: 'Nureyev'

    It would be absurd to say that Rudolf Nureyev lived, or danced, in anyone’s shadow. He was a man who leapt and twirled and flew onstage, all muscle but light as a feather, with a freedom and force that reconfigured the human spirit. There’s no denying, though, that over the last few decades, and especially [...]

  • Die Kinder Der Toten review

    Film Review: 'Die Kinder Der Toten'

    The hills are alive (or rather, undead), with the sound of music (also mastication and the moaning of zombies) in Kelly Copper and Pavol Liska’s experimental, dialogue-free, home-movie-style riff on Elfriede Jelinek’s “Die Kinder Der Toten” (The Children of the Dead). A seminal text in Jelinek’s native Austria, the 1995 book has never been translated [...]

  • Idol review

    Film Review: 'Idol'

    How many twists can a plot undergo before it snaps? This, more than any of the many political, moral and personal conundrums that snake through “Idol,” seems to be the question writer-director Lee Su-jin is most interested in posing with his extravagantly incomprehensible sophomore feature. A seedy political thriller by way of grisly revenge movie [...]

  • The Last to See Them review

    Film Review: 'The Last to See Them'

    Truman Capote’s “In Cold Blood” stretches long as a late-evening shadow over Italian director Sara Summa’s feature debut “The Last to See Them.” The Italian title, “Gli Ultimi Viderli Vivere” which translates literally to “The Last to See Them Alive,” is also the heading of the opening chapter of Capote’s book. The setting is, similarly, [...]

  • Kalank

    Film Review: ‘Kalank’

    Events leading to the 1947 Partition of India serve as the forebodingly serious backdrop for the exhaustingly overextended razzmatazz of “Kalank,” writer-director Abhishek Varman’s lavish but ponderous Bollywood extravaganza, which opened in the U.S. on more than 300 screens the same day as its Indian release. Despite the preponderance of sets and costumes spectacular enough [...]

  • WGA Agency Packaging Fight Placeholder Writer

    WGA: 92 Percent of Writers Who Signed Statement of Support Have Fired Agents

    The Writers Guild of America estimated that over 92 percent of their members who support a new code of conduct for talent agencies have fired those representatives. Letters announcing formal termination will be delivered on Monday, the guild said in a late-hitting memo on Thursday, as most agencies will be closed tomorrow in observance of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content