Int'l distribs get taste of H'wood

Studios unspool clips from summer, year-end films

The importance with which Hollywood regards the international market was evident Monday at Sho-West's International Distribution Marketing Presentations. Even though only four of the top six distributors participated, they treated international exhibitors to so much footage that the program ran three hours long.

Universal Pictures International kicked off the afternoon with Duncan Clark, executive vp international distribution, highlighting the studio's most promising features. Upcoming summer highlights include the Steve Carell starrer "Evan Almighty"; the British import "Hot Fuzz," which is already a hit in the U.K. — grossing $35 million since it bowed in mid-February — and the comedies "Knocked Up" and "I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry." Clark also offered an exclusive action clip of Universal's upcoming "The Bourne Ultimatum," the third installment in the "Bourne" franchise, which has generated more than $500 million in worldwide boxoffice.

Year-end highlights include "Elizabeth: The Golden Age," a sequel to 1998's historical epic "Elizabeth"; the Peter Berg-directed "The Kingdom"; and the star-studded drama "Charlie Wilson's War."

Although the success of "Spider-Man 3" would appear to be a sure thing, Sony Pictures provided plenty of exclusive footage to whet the appetites of international exhibitors. The studio went on to focus much of its presentation on its lower-budget horror fare, showing footage from such Screen Gems horror films as "Vacancy" and "Resident Evil: Extinction" as well as graphic scenes from Eli Roth's "Hostel: Part II," which Lionsgate is releasing domestically.

Sony Animation's summer release "Surf's Up" was presented to international audiences in trailer form. The studio plans to unveil more footage from its second animated film Thursday.

Now president of Paramount Pictures International, Andrew Cripps was a familiar ShoWest face given his long tenure at United International Pictures, the former Paramount/Universal joint venture. He unveiled the new international operation's first slate of films.

After rattling off a litany of upcoming films from the studio's divisions, he then turned the floor over to Jon Anderson, executive vp international marketing, who presented DreamWorks Animation's "Shrek the Third" and the Michael Bay-directed "Transformers."

Anderson highlighted the broad promotional partners for "Shrek," the latest installment in the series that has earned $1.6 billion in worldwide boxoffice. After describing the marketing plan for "Transformers," which Steven Spielberg executive produced, and showing the trailer, Anderson urged all the exhibitors who aren't yet playing the trailer to do so.

Mark Zoradi, president of the Walt Disney Motion Pictures Group, was last up. The newly promoted executive said that the new Disney strategy highlights its brand, franchises, animation and its Touchstone and Miramax divisions.

The studio unveiled a trailer for the upcoming Pixar film "Ratatouille," along with a marketing campaign featuring the "Big Cheese Tour," a 600-square-foot free-standing interactive display in the shape of a giant piece of cheese. Exhibitors also were offered a look at film from the 2-D/live-action modern fairy tale "Enchanted," starring Amy Adams, Patrick Dempsey and Susan Sarandon, to footage featuring music from Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz, the duo behind the tunes for the animated "Pocahontas." Disney unveiled one musical number, "The Working Song," that offers a modern twist on one of Disney's classic princess songs.

The studio ended the event with footage from the one of the films that will be competing for summer blockbuster status, "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End." Disney unspooled footage and behind-the scenes commentary from the film's stars and producer Jerry Bruckheimer.

Noticeably absent were 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros. Pictures. Warners had been expected to take part, but instead announced it would show its footage in June at Cinema Expo International in Amsterdam.
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