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September 2002
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TOP 5 U.S.
DISTRIBUTORS

Top 5 domestic distributors as of the end of August are as follows
(Dollar figures in millions.):

1.) SONY (EXCL CLASSICS)
20.09%
Gross: $1,267,804,028

2.) BUENA VISTA
12.79%
Gross: $807,072,586

3.) 20TH CENTURY FOX (EXCL. SEARCHLIGHT)
12.72%
Gross: $802,782,400

4.) WARNER BROS.
10.44%
Gross: $658,450,260

5.) UNIVERSAL
9.74%
Gross: $614,363,998


POPCORN'S THE MONEY-MAKER

The biggest star at movie theaters in 2000 has been the popcorn, candy and soft drinks, as concessions accounted for $4.5 billion in worldwide revenue -- providing more profit than ticket sales, according to Screen International. A study by trade analyst Screen Digest concluded that concessions may account for between 50 percent and 100 percent of a theater's profit, with film exhibition in at least one surveyed theater written off as a loss. The report cautioned, however, that with the current economic turndown, people will continue to turn to movies as an escape but will probably spend less on snacks.



UNIVERSAL PLAGUED BY LAWSUITS

With all the lawsuits besetting Vivendi Universal Reuters said shares of the embattled media giant sank last month as a report that write-downs could run over 10 billion euros. Traders tried to brush off news of another in a string of class action lawsuits against Vivendi, but admitted the stock was accelerating its loss as market sentiment turned more negative.


FEWER MOVIEGOERS BUT BIGGER BOX OFFICE

Although the box office has set new record of late ($1.16 billion for July), the rise was attributed solely to increased ticket prices. In fact, for the first time in five years, actual admissions fell below 200 million, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The trade paper's box-office analyst, Brian Fuson, said that overall, it has been a poor showing considering the pedigree of the films in play.


UNIVERSAL GOING TO COMPUTERS

Universal is expanding its relationship with online video-on-demand provider Intertainer. For the first time, the distributer has agreed to provide entire feature films over the Internet for a fee. Among the films being made available are "Spy Game," starring Robert Redford and Brad Pitt, "K-PAX," with Kevin Spacey and Jeff Bridges and "Mulholland Drive," directed by David Lynch.


WGAW SUPPORTS DGA IN LAWSUIT

The Writers Guild of America West has lent its support to the Directors Guild of America after a lawsuit was filed against 16 of Hollywood's best-known directors by CleanFlicks Llc. of Colorado over third-party editing of DVDs and videocassettes. "We are astounded that a company would target some of our country's most esteemed directors in a misguided effort to claim a right to alter artistic work for commercial exploitation," WGAW president Victoria Riskin said, referring to CleanFlicks' suit. The suit was filed in a Denver federal court asking a judge to determine whether the company has a First Amendment right to edit videos for private use.



SUMMER BOX OFFICE A DUD

Despite a few successes, the summer boxoffice was a flop, as films performed below last year's mark for seven consecutive weekends. The total gross for over 125 films was $115.8 million, down 3% from last summer.


NEW ARTS THEATER CHAIN

Fine Line Features founder Ira Deutchman, HDTV filmmaker Barry Rebo, and digital projection pioneer Giovanni Cozzi are joining forces to offer cultural institutions, performing arts centers and other community complexes free digital projectors and satellite equipment. Their hope is to create a 300-screen theater chain that would offer foreign-language and arthouse film fare, documentaries, concerts and business teleconferencing. According to Screen International, the partners will split the revenues and need only 40 theaters to break even.


SONY SETS A BOX-OFFICE RECORD -- EARLY

Sony Pictures said it has surpassed its 1997 record for North American ticket sales, grossing $1.29 billion so far this year. "This is a milestone that is usually determined on December 31st after we've counted every last dollar, not the middle of August," said Jeff Blake, Sony Pictures' marketing chief.


VIVENDI TO HOLD ON TO UNIVERSAL

Vivendi Universal chief Jean René Fourtou has sent a letter to shareholders and employees vowing to hold on to the company's entertainment units, including Universal Studios, Universal Records, and the pay-TV business Canal Plus. He said he expects to arrange a $3 billion loan by the end of this month to avoid making a "hasty asset sales" to keep from going under. Fourtou said, "The company's situation is certainly tense, but I have identified the way out of this crisis and the way to be back on track."