DAILY NEWS: Sundance Moves Towards Doc Channel; Kino Gets 2 Films; and Weekly Box-Office
by Eugene Hernandez, Brian Brooks and Wendy Mitchell/indieWIRE
>> Sundance Reaffirms Docs Commitment with Launch of Weekly Series
(indieWIRE: 10.08.02) -- The Sundance Channel is moving forward with its
commitment to documentary films with the announcement of a weekly on-air
programming block entitled "DOCday." The programming is scheduled to begin
Monday, March 3 and will air on subsequent Mondays from noon until midnight
with a weekly feature premiere at 9 p.m. Network president and CEO Larry
Aidem also announced that the Sundance Channel acquired 10 documentary
features from Films Transit to air as part of the block.
"DOCday" is part of a long-range strategy by the company to promote the
documentary medium that includes the previously announced plan to begin a
Sundance documentary channel. "The creation of 'DOCday' reaffirms and
underscores Sundance Channel's and Robert Redford's ongoing commitment to
documentary films," commented Aidem in a release. "In addition to creating
this weekly destination, Sundance Channel also remains committed to the
creation of a full documentary channel, as do our cable and satellite
clients, many of whom have enthusiastically embraced this brand
extension." The company confirmed yesterday that it hopes to launch
the doc channel later in 2003.
Films included in the agreement with Films Transit include U.S. television
premieres of Stig Bjorkman's "Trancbeformer," and Axel Engstefeld and Hebert Habersack's "Automat Kalashnikov." Founded in 1982, Film Transit is one of the world's largest international distributors of docs. Sundance Channel
launched in 1996 as a venture between Robert Redford, Showtime Networks, and
Universal Studios. The network operates separately from the non-profit
Sundance Institute, which organizes the annual Sundance Film Festival.
>> Kino Grabs "Chihwaseon," "Amen"
(indieWIRE: 10.08.02) -- Kino International has acquired U.S. distribution
rights to Im Kwon-Taek's "Chihwaseon," which recently screened at the 40th New York Film Festival. Kino plans to open the period epic, about the life
of 19th century Korean artist Ohwon, in February 2003 at Lincoln Plaza
Cinemas in New York. Prolific director Im was the co-winner of the best
director prize at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival for the epic.
Kino also acquired "Amen," Costa-Gavras' film based on the 1963 Rolf
Hochhuth play "The Deputy." The film, which screened at the Berlin Film
Festival and the Human Rights Watch Film Festival, is about Christians
trying to expose Hitler during the Holocaust. Kino plans a January 2003
opening for "Amen."
Other forthcoming releases from Kino, now celebrating its 25th anniversary,
are the South Korean feature "Take Care of My Cat," the documentary "Hell's
Highway," and Peter Sehr's "Love the Hard Way," starring Adrien Brody and Pam Grier. [Wendy Mitchell]
>> "Heaven" and "Bloody Sunday" Among New Entries at Weekend Box Office
(indieWIRE: 10.08.02) -- A number of new films debuted in limited release
this weekend. From Miramax, Tom Tykwer's "Heaven" opened, after having its world premiere earlier this year at the filmmaker's hometown Berlin Film
Festival. This weekend, it earned $51,909 on four screens for a $12,977
Paramount Classics has a number of specialty titles in release. The company
opened "Bloody Sunday" on two screens this weekend and earned $29,419 for a
per-screen average of $14,710. In its eighth weekend, "Mostly Martha" earned
$251,435 on 143 screens for an average of $1,758. It has earned nearly $1.8
million so far. Among its other films, Fisher Stevens' "Just A Kiss" earned
$14,222 on 20 screens for a per screen of just $711 and a new cume of nearly
Lions Gate's release of "Secretary" earned $395,292 in its third weekend, on
106 screens. The film had a per-screen of $3,729 for a new cume of $1.2 million.
Over at Fox Searchlight, "One Hour Photo" earned $1.7 million on 1,261
screens for an average of $1,375 and a new cume of $28.8 million so far,
while "The Good Girl" earned $197,314 on 323 screens for an average of about
$600 and a cume of $13.6 million. The company's release of "The Banger
Sisters" hit $24.3 million after earning another $3.5 million for the
Fine Line Features' release of "Invincible" continued. It earned $15,609 on
nine screens for an average of $1,734 and a new total of $59,498.
Meanwhile, at Focus Features, "8 Women" earned $348,807 on 82 screens for an average of $4,254 in North America and a new cume of $1.2 million. The
company's release of "Possession" has hit the $10 million mark, while "The
Kid Stays in the Picture" is just shy of $1.5 million.
At Strand Releasing, the release of "His Secret Life" earned $13,224 on
three screens for an average of $4,408. It has a new cume of $60,723.
Keeping tabs on the resounding success of "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," the
IFC Films release is now at $147.7 million after earning $8.2 million over
The upcoming weekend will be a big one for specialty releases, including
a number of anticipated new films. United Artists will unveil Michael
Moore's "Bowling for Columbine," New Line will open Paul Thomas Anderson's
"Punch Drunk Love," Lions Gate will debut Roger Avary's "The Rules of
Attraction," and Empire will open Bertrand Taverier's "Safe Conduct."
Other releases on this busy upcoming weekend will include "Brown Sugar"
from Fox Searchlight, "Comedian" from Miramax, "Swept Away" from Columbia
Pictures, and "The Young Unknowns" from Indican. [Eugene Hernandez]