Some kinks in U.K. summer preview trailer

Film Distributors' Assn. compiling clips from 33 movies

LONDON -- It's a juggling act few would envy. As the U.K.'s Film Distributors' Assn. prepares to launch its latest campaign to bolster cinemagoing here, it's finding that keeping its disparate companies happy is a challenge.

The FDA's 22 member companies -- whose releases account for 96% of cinema attendance and includes all the studio's overseas releasing arms -- have contributed clips from the roster of summer releases for the FDA's summer lineup compilation trailer.

The £100,000, 72-second trailer includes footage from 33 movies and features members of the public, who provide voiceovers during what is essentially a showreel of summer boxoffice hopefuls including "GI Joe," "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" and "Ice Age 3D: Dawn of the Dinosaurs."

The FDA plans to push it out into 3,000 theater screens across the country beginning April 24 and release it online. The organization also is keen to find spots for it on television.

But agenda clashes from members has left the FDA in clearance hell.

FDA managing director Mark Batey acknowledges that each studio member and the indies all have individual plans to support their summer releases, complicating the TV side of things.

"We do have fantastic support and cooperation on this campaign," Batey said. "But the FDA message is not a film specific one. Our message is that cinema is a destination this summer and the diversity and choice is amazing. We want to encourage more cinemagoing across the board for all our membership."

Batey says he is hopeful the trailer will go out on television screens and perhaps feature on news spots. "(TV) clearance is very difficult but we hope online it will pick up a momentum among audiences," he said.

According to the FDA, the early signs for U.K. admissions and boxoffice revenue are good for 2009.

Easter weekend boxoffice receipts rose 9.3% from last year's U.K. tallies. And so far this year, the U.K. boxoffice is up 16% also.

With no big sporting events -- such as the Olympics or international soccer tournaments -- and the continuing rise in 3-D format event release, the FDA is hopeful of another blockbusting year.

Now, if it could just get the OK from everyone to push the trailer onto small screens.
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