news digest


Regal adds Consolidated Theatres

NEW YORK — As shares of film exhibitors set new lows Tuesday, sector giant Regal Entertainment Group said that it has agreed to acquire Southern U.S.-focused Consolidated Theatres for $210 million in cash. The proposed transaction will add 28 theaters with 400 screens to Regal's ownership portfolio, boosting its presence in Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. Knoxville, Tenn.-based Regal expects to close the deal for Charlotte, N.C.-based Consolidated during the first half.

Carpenter suit seeks 'Halloween' payments

Director John Carpenter has sued horror film producer Irwin Yablans and distributor Compass International Pictures in Los Angeles Superior Court, claiming that the two have failed to provide quarterly accounting and payments since 2004 for "Halloween." Carpenter claims that Yablans and Compass have breached their 1977 agreement for the film, released a year later, but does not indicate in the lawsuit how much he is owed.

SXSW panels, additions set

NEW YORK — Helen Hunt, Michael Eisner and sci-fi writer Harlan Ellison will appear in a series of "conversation" panels at March's South by Southwest Film Conference & Festival in Austin. New Line's "Harold & Kumar: Escape From Guantanamo Bay" will have its first public screening at the fest, one of six new additions to the lineup. Stuart Townsend's "Battle in Seattle," David Modigliani's "Crawford," Harmony Korine's "Mister Lonely," Steve Conrad's "The Promotion" and Emily Hubley's "The Toe Tactic" also are set for the March 7-15 festival.

Stambler upped at ThinkFilm

NEW YORK — On the eve of the Sundance Film Festival, ThinkFilm executive Ben Stambler has been promoted to vp acquisitions and development at the indie distributor. His new title reflects ThinkFilm's increasing move into film production and his role in such recent acquisitions as Alex Gibney's "Taxi to the Dark Side" and Helen Hunt's "Then She Found Me."

Haas in SPE Europe slot

Maike Haas has joined Sony Pictures Entertainment's international motion picture production unit as vp international production, Europe. Haas, who came from an eight-year stint at Buena Vista International, Germany, will oversee the Berlin-based European operation for the division, focusing on identifying and developing German-language and Pan-European films.

Eirich tapped as DW creative exec

DreamWorks has promoted Jonathan Eirich to creative executive at the studio. Eirich, who was an assistant to DreamWorks studio co-chairman and CEO Stacey Snider, will begin his new post Feb. 1.