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June 2001
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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: $530,429,928
13.76%

2.) BUENA VISTA
Grossed: $423,246,151
10.98%

3.) WARNER BROS.
Grossed: $399,598,508
10.37%

4.) SONY
Grossed: $389,285,905
10.10%

5.) UNIVERSAL
Grossed: $359,776,859
9.34%



HBO TO TEST VIDEO-ON-DEMAND SERVICE

   HBO is planning to test a video-on-demand service in Columbia, SC that will allow viewers to watch the pay-TV channel's movies and other programming whenever they wish. Initially about 150 hours of programming, including the channel's current movie offerings and original programming like The Sopranos and Sex and the City, will be offered. In order to use the service, subscribers will be required to pay a monthly fee in addition to their usual HBO monthly subscription payment (of course!). The price was not disclosed.


MIRAMAX SUES EX-CHIEF

   Miramax Films has filed a lawsuit against Cary Granat, the former chief of its Dimension Films arm, alleging Granat breached his contract with the company when he exited to launch his Walden Media shingle with backing from billionaire investor Philip Anschutz.
   The suit says Granat broke his noncompete agreement by "pursuing exactly the types of projects he explicitly promised to Miramax he would not pursue." In court documents, Miramax says Granat continues to have a consulting agreement with the company that "clearly and unconditionally provides that ... Granat will not work for any company that is involved in developing, producing or distributing motion pictures competitive with Miramax."




TURNER HELMS NEW PRODUCTION COMPANY

   Ted Turner is launching an Atlanta-based independent film production outfit, Ted Turner Pictures, to produce feature films and documentaries. The company is a personal initiative of Turner's and not a subsidiary of AOL Time Warner, where Turner remains as vice chairman and senior adviser. The new Turner Pictures has already established offices a few blocks from AOL Time Warner's CNN Center in downtown Atlanta.
   Turner already has several projects in mind which reflect the media mogul's "philanthropic and personal interests." The new company additionally plans to produce projects for three of Turner's philanthropic interests: the United Nations Foundation, the Turner Foundation and the Nuclear Threat Initiative. According to an issued statement, Turner Pictures aims to collaborate "whenever possible" with AOL Time Warner, and theatrical movies would be pitched first to AOL Time Warner's movie studio, Warner Bros.


MOVIES VIA SATELLITE AS SOON AS THIS YEAR

   An executive of Boeing Satellite systems said Monday that the company will begin distributing movies to theaters via satellite on a test basis as early as November or December of this year. The company plans a large-scale, formal rollout in late spring of 2002. Ron Maehl, senior vice president of the company, told Agence France Presse, the French news agency, in Paris that the speed of the rollout "depends on our relationship with the studios." While Boeing plans to showcase the system in one or two cities later this year, the company hopes to partner with the studios and cine-plexes in a big way by next year. "The idea is to get the technology in place with a product that has high visibility," he said.




A GRAINY FUTURE FOR DIGITAL CINEMA

   While Hollywood studios have embraced the technological advances in digital cinema, the battle still rages over who will foot the bill to convert cinema multi-plexes so they can receive the new streaming media.
   Recently, a coalition of major studios and leading hardware manufacturers decided to fast-track the new technology, but theater owners are more cautious.
   "This is a fairly unique issue because it will really be the biggest technological transition in the history of the cinema," says John Fithian, president of the National Association of Theater Owners. "The (studios) have to come together, and they have to come together with us to figure it out."


DISNEY'S SCHNEIDER GOES BROADWAY

   In a shake up at the Walt Disney Co., Peter Schneider, chairman of Walt Disney Studios for the last 18 months, has stepped down to launch a Broadway theater production and investment company that will be partially funded by Disney.


VIACOM'S KARMAZIN TAKEOVER HUNGRY

   Viacom already owns CBS, but Viacom president Mel Karmazin is hungry for more. What would he like next? NBC, of course.
   "If GE decided that it wanted to hire an investment bank and sell NBC, we would absolutely love to receive one of the books and sit there and make a bid on it," Karmazin said at the National Cable and Telecommunications Association meeting.
   Since government rules prohibit a company from owning more than one network, Karmazin's dream is just that for now. But Karmazin, who last year brought together CBS and Viacom, said he thinks combining media companies benefits companies with more efficient operations.
   Addressing the government rule against multiple network ownership, Karmazin said "We think that the rule is past its life cycle." He added that his company would also be interested in taking over the cable channel CNN if it could.