news digest


CineMedia leaps 22% in market bow

NEW YORK — Movie theater advertising firm National CineMedia had a hot stock market debut Thursday, with its shares jumping 22.2% to close at $25.67. In intraday trading, the stock went as high as $26.50. Overnight, the company had priced its initial public offering of 38 million shares at $21 each, above the previously set pricing range of $18-$20 per share, making the IPO the richest of the year to date at a value of $798 million. The Centennial, Colo.-based company is a joint venture of Regal Entertainment Group, AMC Entertainment and Cinemark Inc.

Dimension keeps 'Alive' for N. America

Dimension Films has picked up North American rights to the supernatural horror flick "Buried Alive," starring Tobin Bell, from Odd Lot Entertainment's genre label Dark Lot. Robert Kurtzman's film follows a group of college students to an abandoned house, where a sorority initiation takes a turn for the worse. "Alive" was produced by Odd Lot founders Deborah Del Prete and Gigi Pritzker and co-produced by Linda McDonough.

'Day Night' nabbed for IFC First Take

IFC Entertainment has acquired all North American rights to the drama "Day Night Day Night" for its IFC First Take program. Writer-director Julia Loktev's film centers on a young, unstable woman on a trip to New York with terrorism on her mind. "Night" was nominated this year for two Independent Spirit Awards, including best first feature and a Someone to Watch honor for Loktev. IFC is planning a May 9 release in theaters and on video-on-demand.

Foxworthy gets 'Smarter'

Jeff Foxworthy is set to host the upcoming Fox quiz show "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader." The comedian, who is a member of the popular Blue Collar Comedy troupe, will serve as emcee of the Mark Burnett-produced series, set to bow Feb. 27 in a plum post-"American Idol" berth. The show will air three consecutive nights, Feb. 27-March 1, behind special editions of "Idol." As of March 8, it will air three consecutive weeks on Thursdays.

'Galactica' game flies to Xbox Arcade

NBC Universal is partnering with Sierra Online, a division of Vivendi Games, and Microsoft's Xbox Live Arcade to deliver an original, high- definition "Battlestar Galactica" space combat game in the fall. The game, based on the popular Sci Fi Channel show, also will be available on Windows PC and will be digitally distributed, bypassing retail. Beginning today, Xbox 360 owners will be able to download "Galactica" Gamer Pics and Themepacks.

London critics deal 'Queen' a royal flush

LONDON — Laurels for Stephen Frears' "The Queen" continued to mount Thursday after it was crowned with four of this year's London Film Critics' Circle awards. The Helen Mirren starrer strolled off with British film of the year and British actress of the year for Mirren. "Queen" also took prizes for Frears as British director of the year and Peter Morgan as screenwriter of the year. A complete list of winners can be found at

'Bubble' due in U.S. after Strand deal

Strand Releasing has picked up all U.S. rights to Eytan Fox's political gay love story "The Bubble," an official selection in this year's Panorama section at the Berlin International Film Festival. The feature, set in Tel Aviv, follows the star-crossed romance between an Israeli Jew and an illegal Palestinian immigrant. Strand plans an August release.