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Disney, Coke dominate Expos

'Calendar' screening well received

AMSTERDAM — A very American dynamic duo of Mickey Mouse and Coca-Cola dominated events Wednesday at the European exhibition trade show Cinema Expo.

The Mouse House screened pics including Disney/Pixar toon “Finding Nemo,” which has already bowed in the U.S. and some foreign territories. A Disney-esque song-and-dance stage routine preceded the fish tale.

Similarly screened in its entirety was upcoming summer laffer “Freaky Friday,” preceded by a product reel of other pending releases such as the Jerry Bruckheimer-produced drama “Veronica Guerin” and family pic “The Haunted House.”

Wall-to-wall ‘Calendar’

The Mouse drew a particularly warm response for its full-length screening of “Calendar Girls,” a British-themed laffer set to bow in the U.K. a bit earlier than its December unspooling Stateside.

With well-known British thesp Helen Mirren leading an ensemble cast, “Girls” is based on the true story of a group of middle-aged woman from Yorkshire who posed nude for calendar photos to raise money for a rural hospital. Exhibs were told to think of the film — also screened at Cannes — as a femme version of “The Full Monty.”

Elsewhere among the day’s events at the RAI convention center here were Coke-sponsored seshes on concession strategies.

Combining tix, food sales

Among innovations discussed was a scheme by U.K. exhib Vue to combine concession and ticket sales in one location. Exhibs also heard results from a survey of theater patrons conducted by Coke, with continuing economic stagnation in Germany clouding much of the data from that market.

“Consumers there remain very price conscious,” said Barry Jones, a Coke customer-service director in the region.

Also Wednesday, Media Salles — a European cinema booster funded by the Italian government — presented a European film of the year award to French pic “Chouchou.” Director Merzak Allouache and exec producer Raphael Berdugo accepted.

Cinema Expo concludes Thursday with activities including the bestowing of awards for distrib and exhib of the year. Accepting those honors will be Sony’s senior exec VP of international distribution Mark Zucker and Odeon Ltd. chief exec Richard Segal, respectively.

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