Fox previews 'Narnia 3,' 'Gulliver's Travels'

Jack Black on hand for studio presentation at Cinema Expo

AMSTERDAM -- Fox brought theater operators at Cinema Expo a bit of Christmas cheer on Tuesday, tubthumping two December tentpoles along with a host of other movies.

The Yuletide pics are 3D releases -- fantasy sequel "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader" and the classic adventure "Gulliver's Travels." Fox international co-toppers Paul Hanneman and Tomas Jegeus gave way to Jack Black to introduce a 2D trailer and an extended clip showing the comic actor as Gulliver, wading into an invading armada to rescue embattled Lilliputians.

"I just wish I had gotten my back waxed before we filmed that scene," Black apologized to the assembled exhibitors. "But we can fix it in post."

On the international front, Fox is enjoying its most successful year as its 2010 foreign boxoffice has just crossed $2 billion. It's the fourth time Fox has hit that mark --- no other studio has reached it more than twice -- and it's the earliest point in the year. In the past, no studio has attained that plateau until December.

Fox received a huge boost from 2009 release "Avatar," which this year collected $1.4 billion of its international tally of $1.987 billion this year. Two local co-productions with Fox International -- China's "Hot Summer Days" and India's "My Name Is Khan" -- also figured prominently in the accounting. And, most recently, "The A-Team," which posted No. 1 openings in France, Italy, Belgium, New Zealand, Norway, Taiwan and Thailand, pushed Fox beyond the $2 billion line.

At Cinema Expo, the studio screened Oliver Stone's "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps," which opens Sept. 24 in the U.S., and action comedy "Knight and Day," which bows Wednesday in the States.

"In a summer of sequels and remakes, 'Knight and Day' is a real breath of fresh air," Jegeus said.

Other highlights of the Fox showreel included extended footage from the horror thriller remake "Predators" and an extended trailer from the actioner "Unstoppable," which Hanneman suggested is "best described as 'Speed' on a train."

Also Tuesday, Universal screened the 3D animated feature "Despicable Me," whose producer, Chris Meledandri, was honored with a Cinema Expo award for career achievement in animated filmmaking. A 13-year Fox veteran before jumping to Universal a couple of years ago, he was feted during a luncheon with a reel of clips filled with accolades from industry executives and "Despicable" voice actor Steve Carell.

"He was the single most important person in building Fox Animation," former Fox boss Peter Chernin said of Meledandri, who is charged with building a similar unit at Universal.

Universal international president David Kosse was honored as international distributor of the year. But in tribute-reel remarks, producer Judd Apatow said Kosse also has been known to make key creative suggestions.

"He was the one on 'Knocked Up' who suggested we show the baby's head coming out of Katherine Heigl's vagina," Apatow deadpanned. "I want to credit him with that publicly."

In accepting the award, Kosse told exhibitors that he envisions international grosses ultimately contributing 75%-80% of global boxoffice, or 15%-20% more than now, thanks to emerging markets.

"It's well within reach," he said. "When I travel around Hollywood, the first question I hear from many people is, 'Will this film play globally?' "
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