FDA lunch touts U.K.'s spring lineup


LONDON -- The Film Distributors' Assn. tried something new Wednesday, taking a cue from the world of the small screen to promote the big screen.

The organization stole a leaf out of the broadcasters' playbook as it hosted a "spring season programming" lunch here to herald the myriad upcoming movie releases to select members of the press.

The three-course showreel, which unspooled during a swanky lunch at the Ivy restaurant, showcased trailers and footage from upcoming U.K. releases for the months of March, April and May.

FDA chief executive Mark Batey told the gathered distributors and journalists that his organization fully anticipates the coming months "to be the biggest ever" at the U.K. boxoffice.

The event included the first footage seen on these shores of a Johnny Depp scene from Buena Vista's "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" alongside trailers from a host of FDA member distributors.

Batey described cinema as being about the "power of magnification" to the diners, saying that emotion was bolstered when played out on the big screen.

The FDA is the trade body for U.K. theatrical film distributors spanning overseas studio operations such as Universal, Sony Pictures, Warner Bros. and 20th Century Fox along with independents including Entertainment Film Distributors, Optimum Releasing, the Works Distribution and Pathe Distribution.

The organization's members account for more than 97% of all titles released in the U.K.