UIP keeps eyes on soccer, B.O.

D'Works tubthumps 'Shark,' 'Snicket' at expo

AMSTERDAM — UIP rolled out its big guns Monday at European exhibition trade show Cinema Expo, where delegates tried not to let the impact of the Euro 2004 soccer tournament dampen their enthusiasm for this year’s box office prospects.

“I have two objectives,” UIP chairman and CEO Stuart Till told a packed auditorium. “My first is I’d like England to win the 2004 soccer championship while the second is that ‘Shrek 2’ will break one box office record after another in Europe.”

The green ogre tale begins its European rollout on Saturday.

“Shrek” creator Jeffrey Katzenberg, who made the trek to Amsterdam to pick up this year’s Cinema Expo award of excellence in filmmaking, will return to L.A. and cross the pond again later this week to tubthump for the animated pic.

“This is our 10th anniversary and a great year for us,” the DreamWorks partner said, “and it’s hard to imagine a worse year than last year.”

Katzenberg segued from his brief acceptance speech into a lengthy presentation of “Shark Tale” clips, updated material following the fish pic’s Cannes preview. “Shark Tale” is tipped to premiere in Europe at the Venice Intl. Film Festival in September and will open Stateside Oct. 1.

Attendees also got a sneak peek of “Madagascar,” the DreamWorks comedy slated for a 2005 release about animals from New York’s zoo who end up on the African island.

UIP flew in Hollywood production team Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald, who waxed profusely about nascent franchise “Lemony Snicket’s a Series of Unfortunate Events,” based on the children’s books that have sold 22 million copies worldwide.

Rough four-minute sneak of the Paramount/DreamWorks pic thrilled Euro exhibs. Producers underscored the presence of Euro talent including Billy Connolly, Timothy Spall and Jude Law besides the versatile Jim Carrey.

Speaking from a taped message, Tom Cruise trumpeted another Par/DreamWorks pic, “Collateral.” Also appearing on videotape, helmer-producer Taylor Hackford enthused about his 15-years-in-the making Ray Charles biopic “Ray,” which stars Jamie Foxx.

UIP prexy and chief operating officer Andrew Cripps promised a marketing avalanche for action-adventure “Thunderbirds,” no doubt funded in part by numerous product tie-ins. Distrib also unveiled the first musicvideo/trailer for the pic featuring Brit teen-pop act “Busted.”

A Renee Zellweger flashback moment opened the trailer for “Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason,” drawing a ripple of chuckles. Pic bows in the U.K. in November.

A high-octane extended clip of Matt Damon starrer “The Bourne Supremacy” opened UIP’s two-hour show reel. Hopes are high for the follow-up to “The Bourne Identity,” which scored $214 million worldwide.

Among other notable titles unspooling were “Anchorman,” starring Will Ferrell; “The Manchurian Candidate” remake starring Denzel Washington and Meryl Streep; “Alfie,” starring Jude Law; “Meet the Fockers,” now in production; and “Dawn of the Dead” spoof “Shaun of the Dead,” which was a surprise hit in Blighty, scoring a stellar $11.5 million to date.

Earlier in the day, as the buttery smell of fresh popcorn began to waft through the hallways of the RAI convention center, delegates attended two seminars.

At the Global Digital Cinema Update, DCI topper Chuck Goldwater said his org is not taking sides in the battle brewing between the new higher resolution system known as 4K, being developed by Sony for delivery next year, and the 2K Texas Instruments DLP system in use.

Meanwhile, during a confab about opening cinemas in new markets, Palace Cinemas’ David Horacek said that its two digital screens in Prague and Budapest were luring auds in — by showing Euro 2004 soccer games.

More Film

  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

    ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’ Tops Studios’ TV Ad Spending

    In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by the always-on TV ad measurement and attribution company iSpot.tv, Columbia Pictures claims the top spot in spending with “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.” Ads placed for the drama had an estimated media value of $5.71 million through Sunday for 997 national ad [...]

  • Circus of Books

    Outfest Film Review: 'Circus of Books'

    Rachel Mason grew up believing that her parents ran a small bookstore in Los Angeles. She wasn’t entirely mistaken, although the naive young woman — then an artsy teen, now a documentary filmmaker — never imagined that, as her mother Karen bluntly tells her on camera, “at one point, we were probably the biggest distributor [...]

  • Themba Ntuli and Ashley Lazarus

    Ashley Lazarus, Director of Apartheid-Era Cult Classic, Returns to Screen

    DURBAN–Director Ashley Lazarus, whose film about the interracial friendship between two young boys during the apartheid era became a South African cult classic in the 1970s, is set to return to the big screen with a film that builds on his life-long passion for early-childhood education. “Teacher Wanted” is the inspirational story of a teacher [...]

  • Channing Tatum

    Channing Tatum's Free Association Partners With Atwater Capital for Film Development Fund

    Free Association, a production company led by Channing Tatum, Peter Kiernan and Reid Carolin, has entered into a film development fund with Atwater Capital. The four-year $2 million revolving fund stipulates that Atwater will finance a minimum of five films with Free Association. Michael Parets, VP of production, will oversee the deal. Free Association will [...]

  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

    Box Office: Tarantino's 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood' Takes on 'Lion King'

    Rick Dalton and Cliff Booth, Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt’s characters in Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” will have to take on much more than a changing showbiz landscape. This weekend, the washed-up actor and his majordomo are battling Disney’s juggernaut “The Lion King” at the domestic box office. Tarantino’s R-rated auteur [...]

  • Margot Robbie Once Upon a Time

    Margot Robbie Says 'Barbie' Movie Will Put 'Positivity' Into the World

    Over the last 10 years, Margot Robbie has stepped into the skates of Tonya Harding, taken up the mantle of Harley Quinn and, next up, she’s playing the world’s most famous doll, Barbie. The live-action film is due out in 2020 and set to be written by Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach, while Robbie serves [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content