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Dendy Films

Australia/New Zealand

B.O. cume: $11 million (through Aug.)
Toppers: Andrew Mackie, co-G.M.; Richard Payten, co-G.M.; Iain Canning, acquisitions exec
New Releases: “Last Train to Freo” (Sept. 14), “The Wind That Shakes the Barley” (Sept. 21), “The Story of My Life” (Oct. 19), “Fast Food Nation” (Oct. 26), “Like Minds” (Nov. 9), “Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey” (Nov. 14), “A Time to Leave” (Nov. 30), “Volver” (Dec. 21)

Dendy is enjoying a banner year, the result of good luck, careful planning and hard work. Andrew Mackie and Richard Payten, who’ve headed Dendy and Becker Films since 2001 after the departure of Troy Lum (who went on to establish Hopscotch), inherited a solid foundation that they’ve made even stronger.

The Becker Films brand, created by company founder Richard Becker, is used only rarely these days when the company has a broad-appeal film requiring a wide release. Dendy Films generally releases specialty fare. “Our focus is building Dendy up, which makes sense because we’re backed by the Dendy Cinemas chain,” says Mackie.

“The World’s Fastest Indian,” starring Anthony Hopkins, generated most of the company’s windfall this year — A$6.6 million ($5 million). “We really went for it,” Mackie says. In Australia, the company released “Indian” on 200 prints, sunk $1.5 million into P&A and managed to tap the lucrative and hungry boomer demo.

That audience is a target for key future releases, too, among them “Death Defying Acts,” from helmer Gillian Armstrong and toplining Guy Pearce and Catherine Zeta-Jones. Mackie also has high expectations for “Fast Food Nation” and “Becoming Jane.”

Dendy doesn’t co-produce but did exec produce “Candy.” “I would absolutely love to,” Mackie says, “but we’ve got to do the right thing by all our films.”

Among the exec moves in the past year, Iain Canning has come onboard to scout acquisitions in London; Richard Becker has retired from day-to-day operations, replaced by Tim Keen; and Michael Eldred now runs New Zealand operations.

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