FEATURE: Amsterdam plays host to the movie industry

Live from Cinema Expo

on June 23, 2010 by Phil Contrino


Wednesday Afternoon Update: Walt Disney Studios took over the stage at the RAI Auditorium to tout their impressive upcoming slate of theatrical releases.

Daniel Frigo, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Walt Disney Studios EMEA and Dave Hollis, Senior Vice President, Walt Disney Studios International, served as emcees, enthusiastically discussing the studio's release schedule and providing World Cup updates in between clips. 

The material on display from Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and TRON Legacy received the warmest receptions from the Cinema Expo crowd. All that it took was a look at development art of Penelope Cruz in costume for her role as Angelica in On Stranger Tides to get the crowd buzzing. As for TRON, a new trailer was welcomed with excitement.

Frigo and Hollis also focused on director D.J. Caruso's I Am Number Four and Steven Spielberg's War Horse, which will be the first two releases to result from the Disney/DreamWorks partnership.

Other noteworthy aspects of the presentation were videos touting Gnomeo and Juliet, an animated flick which features new songs from Elton John, and Jason Segel's take on The Muppets property.

Tuesday Night Update: 20th Century Fox dominated the RAI Auditorium tonight in support of their upcoming slate of films.

After a screening of Oliver Stone's Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, Paul Hanneman and Tomas Jegeus, Co-Presidents of 20th Century Fox International, introduced a ton of new footage with the help of some actors and filmmakers.

Jack Black kicked off the night with a bit of shtick that led to the presentation of clips from Gulliver's Travels. Even though the film will be converted to 3D for its release, the clips were presented in 2D.

Hanneman and Jegeus then took the stage again to show off a first look at Unstoppable, the latest Tony Scott/Denzel Washington collaboration. The film focuses on a runaway train that Washington and a protege played by Chris Pine set out to stop before it crashes and unleashes deadly chemicals.

Robert Rodriquez sent along a taped message to introduce footage from Predators, and that was followed by clips from the period drama Water for Elephants, which stars Reese Witherspoon, Robert Pattinson and Christoph Waltz.

Director Chris Gorak and star Emile Hirsch were on hand to show off concept art for The Darkest Hour, a new alien attack flick that begins filming in a few weeks.

Hanneman and Jegeus unveiled the first bit of footage from Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son. The film teams Martin Lawrence with Brandon T. Jackson (Tropic Thunder).

The Big Year was introduced by a video message from stars Steve Martin and Owen Wilson. The comedy also stars Jack Black, who played off the video from the auditorium stage.

Clips for Vampires Suck and Love and Other Drugs both won strong reactions from the crowd. Vampires Suck is a Twilight parody, while Love and Other Drugs is a dark comedy starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway. Director Edward Zwick sent a taped message to play before the Love and Drugs clip.

From Fox Searchlight, new footage was shown from Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan, Danny Boyle's 127 Hours, Mark Romanek's Never Let Me Go, Alexander Payne's The Descendants and Cedar Rapids, which stars John C. Reilly and Ed Helms.

The event closed with an extended look at Rio that director Carlos Saldanha (the Ice Age films) introduced live.

Tuesday Afternoon Update: At today's luncheon, David Kosse, President International, Universal Pictures, was given the International Distributor of the Year Award. Chris Meledandri, director of July's Despicable Me, received the Cinema Expo Award of Achievement in Animated Filmmaking.

Despicable Me, which features the voices of Steve Carell, Russell Brand, Kristen Wiig and Jason Segel, was screened for Cinema Expo attendees in the morning. BoxOffice.com is currently predicting a $28 million opening for the animated flick.

Tuesday Morning Update: Key figures discussed during this morning's Digital Cinema Rollout in Europe Seminar included:

David Hancock, Sr. Analyst and Head of Film & Cinema, Screen Digest: There are 19,095 digital screens across the globe, which represents 17.5% of the world's screens.

France is the leading territory in Europe with 1,100 digital screens, 780 of which are 3D.

Mark Christiansen, EVP, Domestic Theatrical Distribution Operations, Paramount: In June 2009, North America had 1,684 3D locations and 2,614 3D screens. As of June 2010, it has 2,440 3D locations and 5,137 3D screens.

Monday Afternoon Update: Highlights from the 2009/2010 Annual Report issued by the Union Internationale des Cinémas (UNIC):

Attendance in Austria rose 21.7% in 2009; Netherlands: +15%; Germany: +16.4%; Spain: +13.4%; Greece: +12.5%; Norway: +6.8%; Switzerland +6.1%; France: +5.7%; Denmark: +5.4%; UK: +5.6%; Spain +2.8%.

Turkey's attendance fell 3.5%, while Ireland dropped by 3.5%.

On the digital cinema transition: "While progress is being made, Europe still lags some way behind the US. By the end of the year, the number of 3D screens there will have doubled. It already represents 10 per cent of screens with 20 per cent of the theatres digitally equiped"

On release windows: "The reduction in release window is a response from producers to the ongoing reduction in DVD sales revenues. UNIC is clear that whatever the pressures, reducing windows is not the answer. Nor is it a logical response to the fight against piracy."

On the fight against movie theft: "France is one of the only countries with a specific amendment on camcording such that it is now considered a specific offence. It is hoped that in due course all European countries will adopt specific legislation to deal with this problem."


Tags: UNIC, Despicable Me, Chris Meledandri, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Tron Legacy

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