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June 2001
©Blackflix.com™
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TOP 5 U.S.
DISTRIBUTORS

   As of the end ofMay the current top five domestic distributors of 2001 are as follows:

1.) PARAMOUNT (INCL. CLASSICS)
Grossed: $441,323,998
14.03%

2.) WARNER BROS.
Grossed: $339,093,186
10.78%

3.) SONY (EXCL. CLASSICS)
Grossed: $326,330,790
10.38%

4.) UNIVERSAL (INCL. FOCUS)
Grossed: $293,853,511
9.34%

5.) BUENA VISTA
Grossed: $281,005,739
8.93%



LOWES INVESTOR BACKS OUT

    Loews Cineplex Entertainment Corp. confirmed that Los Angeles-based investment bank Pacific Capital Group has withdrawn from a group of investors planning an $850 million buyout of North America's second-largest theater circuit. The move leaves Canadian billionaire Gerald Schwartz's Onex Corp. and Los Angeles investment firm Oaktree Capital Management alone to wrest Loews Cineplex from its creditors, who have petitioned for a bankruptcy takeover plan of their own. Loews Cineplex recently filed documents with the Securities and Exchange Commission showing that the company had an increase in revenue for their fourth quarter, but still posted a deep loss due to restructuring charges.
    Loews Cineplex said its net loss for its Dec. through Feb. quarter was $155.5 million, compared with a loss of $21.5 million for the same period last year. But revenue for the quarter was $241.1 million, up 12% from the $216.1 million a year ago. To counter creditor demands, Loews Cineplex also filed documents with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan asking the court to reject creditor subpoenas demanding the removal of the company's three senior executives.




SPRING BOX OFFICE DOWN 2%

    After a record winter season at the boxoffice, with grosses and admissions at all-time highs, the national boxoffice for spring tallied an estimated $1.11 billion, down 2% from last year. Despite the drop, however, it was still the second-best spring on record, and this spring's tally marks the third straight year that the $1 billion level has been exceeded.
    The real bad news, though, was that this spring season marked the end of a six-year upward trend in boxoffice and admissions. Since 1994, both boxoffice and admissions have posted year-to-year increases each spring -- until now. Estimated ticket units for the spring season fell below the 200 million mark for the first time in four years and is down 6% from last year's record 211.7 million. It should be no surprise that the difference in the rankings between rising boxoffice dollars despite lower admissions is due to slightly higher ticket prices.


IMAX CUTS LOSSES

    The financially troubled Imax Corp. said that it had cut its first quarter losses to $13,771 versus a loss of $59,375 during the same quarter last year. IMAX CEO's Richard Gelfond and Bradley Wechsler said in a statement, "We are making progress in advancing our strategy of attracting Hollywood film content, developing new digital markets and revenue streams and returning IMAX to profitability in 2002."


MURDOCH CLOSER TO DIRECTV TAKEOVER

    Hughes Electronics Chairman Michael Smith recently retired and the event is being viewed as a stroke of good fortune for Rupert Murdoch, who is bidding to take over the operator of the DirecTV satellite service. It is also seen as a setback for EchoStar Communications' Charlie Ergen, who is also trying to grab DirecTV. Smith had publicly opposed Murdoch's bid and reportedly met with Ergen to devise a counter scheme. According to the Wall Street Journal, Smith's maneuvering with Ergen angered officials at General Motors Corp, which controls Hughes, and led to his forced resignation. He was replaced by GM Vice Chairman Harry J. Pearce, who favors a deal with Murdoch.




AMC CONTINUES TO LOSE MONEY BUT OPTIMISTIC

    Revenue for exhibitor AMC's fourth quarter was $290 million, up 11% from the $262 million a year ago, but record revenue and a stronger operating cash flow were still not enough to prevent AMC Entertainment Inc. from sinking to a still deeper fourth-quarter loss, as restructuring charges kept the company in the red. The net loss of $63.6 million for the January-March quarter compared with losses of $29.1 million for the same period last year.
    Adjusted earnings before interest, tax and other financial charges for the quarter were $27.2 million -- more than tripling last year's $8.7 million, and AMC chairman and CEO Peter Brown optimistically said, "In a year that saw almost all of our major theater company peers seek bankruptcy, our record results are a testimony to the foresight of our strategic initiatives and our unsurpassed asset quality."


DISNEY ANIMATORS SUFFER SALARY CUTS

    Disney animators, whose salaries have always been higher than most in the industry, and who are always being wooed away by other animation studios, have seen their paychecks drastically cut during Disney's recent reorganization, according to the New York Times. The newspaper said that Disney animators were and are now being offered a 35-50 percent pay cut -- on a take it or leave proposition. Disney Studios chief Peter Schneider told the newspaper: "I'm not saying it's pleasant or easy. That's just life, isn't it?" The company's cost-cutting is expected to make it easier for the upcoming film "Atlantis" to earn a profit. After cost cuts, the movie came in at $100 million, 35 percent cheaper than other recent Disney animated features.