ISPs GET STROPPY
A LITTLE BIT OF POLITICS...
METRODOME LOVES RESULTS...
…AND UNVEILS NEW STRATEGY
KALEIDOSCOPE'S ONE NIGHT IN MAY
ITV LANDS MARC
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
RELEASE OF THE WEEK
AT THE MOVIES
SITE OF THE WEEK
EVENTS OF THE WEEK
TRAILERS OF THE WEEK
COMING SOON ON DVD AND AT CINEMAS
It Was A Good Week For... Metrodome, enjoying some good press following its I Am Love theatrical launch.
It Was A Bad Week For... Internet service providers, the latest to complain about the Digital Economy Bill.
This week has seen further brouhaha surrounding the Digital Economy Bill, as the fallout from last week's passing of the bill continues. As expected, the Internet is still bristling with indignant illegal downloaders moaning about its introduction. Meanwhile Talk Talk, one of the country's three biggest Internet service providers, boasting more than 4 million UK users, has called the bill "draconian" and has vowed not to co-operate with its measures. O2 has also spoken out against the bill, but has not gone as far as its contemporary. Expect more gripes and whinges in the coming weeks...
More politics (blimey, this is getting a bit serious, isn't it?): We've spent the last day or two digesting the assorted manifestos released by the major political parties ahead of the May 6 general election one. Surprisingly, there is no mention of the word "film" or "piracy" in the Conservative one, although it did say it wanted Britain to become a "European hub for hi-tech, digital and creative industries". It supports a superfast broadband network in the UK and, dropping Labour's "phone tax", it will force BT and other companies to share assets. And it will also use BBC licence fee monies to fund broadband where it's not commercially viable. Labour's manifesto did, however, mention piracy and IP rights. It said that school children should be entitled to five hours of art and culture a week, such as film clubs (the Film Council and LOVEFiLM supported initiative and a subject close to The Raygun's heart). It further stated that it would continue its tax breaks to support film-makers as well as introducing them for the video game sector. It will merge the Film Council and BFI to create "a single body to promote film production and film heritage". It too promised high speed broadband access for all, and, crucially, it said said it would "update the intellectual property framework" and "take further action to tackle online piracy". There was no mention of piracy in the Lib Dem manifesto, although it did promise to "foster an environment in which all forms of creativity are able to flourish". We didn't peruse the UKIP manifesto, but we reckon it will probably want to ban world cinema and European arthouse films...
The Alliance Against IP Theft has done its own bit, meanwhile, sending out its own manifesto to MPs and relevant officials and bodies. The eight page document, entitles Value And Protect: A Manifesto For IP, aims to put IP crime at the heart of politics, stating that "IP theft is central to the issues all political parties claim to be their priorities".
Also in political news this week (we promise, there's not much more of this), interesting to note The Guardian returning to one of its favourite subjects, mail order businesses based out of the Channel Islands, noting that Tesco was now sending out items via Guernsey. And we also noticed that HMV chief Simon Fox had joined the list of signatories in the Daily Telegraph opposing the planned National Insurance rise.
Talking of piracy and the likes, interesting to note BSkyB chief Jeremy Darroch talking about illegal downloading the likes during a keynote address to delegates at MIP this week. While welcoming the DEB, he said that illegal downloading was now taking hold and "fast becoming normal practice". He added: "If we allow piracy to weaken the business case for content investment, it will ultimately hurt the interests of creators, distributors and consumers of content." (He then went on to attack Ofcom, but that's written into BSkyB executives' contracts...)
Also in Cannes: Starz's new chief Chris Albrecht also unveiled his vision for the company – and TV in general. Saying that the market need to look beyond the US for both programming and profits (handy given the UK's Starz/Anchor Bay operation), the former HBO boss told the audience of his ambition to grow Starz into a rival to HBO and Showtime and also unveiled the new titles for the company, including William The Conqueror and an action thriller set in the UN building, Peacekeeper. Its other recently announced output includes Camelot and Pillars Of The Earth as well as Spartacus: Blood And Sand. If it's got a sword, he joked, Starz wanted it.
And what other news of MIP? Well, while Starz/Anchor Bay were off looking for swords, the rest of the market was desperately trying to find that all elusive Danny Dyer/Vinnie Jones Nazi zombie dragon title... Actually, our south of France correspondents report that this year's event was a little more subdued than usual, with some of the more traditional big hitters reducing their stand space and others not being there at all. One source said: "Participants are rushing around in a frenzy desperately searching for that special find, a surefire hit at a good price from a licensor that's unknown to your competitors, but the realisation that they don't exist is apparent when you finish your meeting to see your competitors arriving to have theirs." That subdued mood was not helped by beers at €14 in the Grand ("some things never change," quipped one attendee), although a big turnout was expected for Spurs v Arsenal in Morrison's last night, with the usual Brits expected to be in attendance. And we're not sure how many executives were stranded due to volcanic ash, but we could think of worse places to be stuck...
Metrodome received a whole load of undeserved flak for its theatrical performance of Motherhood (which, as reported on The Raygun, ignored the company’s release strategy, preferring to concentrate on snide remarks), so it’s good to see the independent reporting a strong box office performance for arguably its biggest release of the year, I Am Love. The Tilda Swinton starrer boasted the weekend’s strongest screen average across new releases, taking an average of £4,491 across its 34 prints, making a weekend total of more than £150,000. Its performance was all the more impressive given the weekend's warm weather. Metrodome is expecting another strong weekend as it rolls out to a total of 50 screens. Metrodome ceo Mark Webster said: “We are delighted with the result for I Am Love, second only to a saturated release and with a significantly higher screen average than any other of the new releases for the weekend. Our release campaign for I Am Love was truly outstanding and demonstrates Metrodome's continued reputation as one of the finest independent all rights distributors in the UK."
Meanwhile, Metrodome has also made its first official announcement concerning the recent reshuffle at the company, stating clearly that it is not exiting the theatrical distribution business. The company is, it said, moving towards a "more commercially focused slate of theatrical releases". As well as acquisitions, it is also moving towards funding films at the production stage, its direct investment includes titles such as Age Of Heroes and Curse Of The Dragon, as well as acquiring TV programming. Chief Peter Urie has left the company, although he is still working on some of those productions. The company has made a "small number" of redundancies and is set to unveil its new management line-up following a reshuffle in the coming week. Chief executive Mark Webster said: "Following its return to profitability, Metrodome is now implementing a business strategy that I am confident will build on this success and help the company continue to grow. Metrodome will continue to be an all rights distributor – including theatrical releases – and part of this strategy includes refocusing on releasing content that will generate increased revenue across all platforms. Recent staff changes have been a result of this change of focus, and we are now moving forwards as a company."
Kaleidoscope is gearing itself up for one of its biggest releases so far, as well as a hugely ambitious premiere event. The activity surrounds its forthcoming theatrical to DVD release of One Night In Turin. The film, based on Pete Davies' marvellous book, All Played Out, follows the exploits of the England football team in Italia 90 and has been put together using rarely seen archive footage and specially filmed new segments, to a soundtrack that (to our minds) reflects the times, taking in Pavarotti and The Stone Roses. The film opens at cinemas on May 11, ahead of its timely, pre-World Cup May 31 DVD and Blu-ray release date. A special premiere, in aid of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, will be held in Newcastle, with ITV's Jim Rosenthal, director James Erskine, author Davies and Italia 90 squad members; it will be beamed out to cinemas around the UK. Kaleidoscope's Spencer Pollard said: "We're all getting very excited by the release of One Night In Turin. To get Gary Oldman to record the narration is a real coup. We’re hopeful of more than 50 cinemas for the theatrical event and release and our DVD and Blu Ray release for the end of May should hit the shelves at the time World Cup fever is coming to a peak. With a director and production team associated with such films as Man On Wire, this really is going to be an exceptional sporting film that is miles better than the usual programmes brought out for around World Cup time as we have a wealth of archive material and never seen before footage."
From that same era, comes a long-lost, but much-loved programme that The Raygun is ecstatic to see... It also illustrates that there's still a seam of rich television programming that can be mined by those in the know. The Game, presented by Danny Baker, first aired during football's renaissance around the time of Italia 90 and follows the trials and tribulations of being in the bottom flight of football – the Sunday league. It tracks the fortunes of the East London League – and the bottom flight of that – and is presented with Millwall fan Baker's usual wit and verve. Where it works is in treating Sunday football – a very British institution that is as much a part of weekend life as a Sunday roast – as seriously as Baker would "proper" football, complete with commentary and analysis. Rarely seen since its first transmission, Revelation has finally secured the rights after years of trying and will be releasing the programme on May 24. "It's a fondly remembered programme," said Revelation's Trevor Drane. "I've chased this series and we're absolutely delighted to bring it to DVD. It serves as a landmark in where football was going and Danny is a fabulous presenter."
Another TV programme that we're currently enjoying is La La Land, the latest brainchild of comic Marc Wootton (My New Best Friend). Blending comedy and documentary a la Borat, it follows three comic creations of Wootton's trying to make it in LA. And it is hilarious. ITV Studios will be bringing it to DVD on June 14 after it airs on BBC3 (it has already made waves on the Showtime channel in the US). ITV's Kylie Featherstone said: "We have loads of fantastic initiatives in the mix for the DVD release. A key element is working very closely with the BBC, using publicity to generate good word of mouth and establish the show as a new cult comedy. Excitingly Marc Wootton is very involved and has been creating extras bespoke for DVD as well as directing the look and feel of our creative elements, which will ensure this DVD a product every comedy will fan will want to own. The DVD launch will be supported by a raft of interviews in national press, online, TV and radio. We will also create a buzz with various viral and online initiatives such as facebook and twitter pages. We believe this title has great potential and interest is sure to build steadily once transmission begins."
Also from ITV Studios comes more recommended viewing albeit in a different form. The Prisoner is due on May 3 and is a new take on the television classic starring Jim Caviezel and Ian McKellen. We chatted to Caviezel this week, over in the UK to promote the forthcoming high profile ITV transmission, as well as the DVD release. He was jetlagged, but a really nice bloke. He admitted he had not watched the original, deliberately avoiding it while making this "recreation". "These interviews are still part of the whole thing. I have [the DVD] sitting at home," he said. "I'm chomping at the bit to watch it and I will sit down and watch it [when the PR is over]." We were sceptical at first, but we must admit we thoroughly enjoyed it, and give the programme a resounding four giant balloons out of five...
More from the Alliance Against IP Theft, which is holding its inaugural Big Quiz Night and auction on May 20 at Arsenal's Emirates Stadium. Places are filling up fast, say organisers, and are urging potential industry teams to sign up quickly. Alliance director general Susie Winter said: "Judging from the response so far it is going to be a great evening, which will no doubt become a regular fixture in the Alliance calendar. I would urge anyone thinking about booking to do so as soon as possible, as leaving it to the last minute could leave your company disappointed with your competitors carrying off the coveted trophy." For more details contact Mandy Lewis at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Raygun, meanwhile, is offering its services as ringers to any potential teams...
Elevation Sales has promoted Richard Athill, who with nearly two decades' worth of service could qualify as an industry veteran, to the role of retail sales director. Elevation's Graham Davidson said: "Richard has successfully overseen the consistent growth of Elevation’s retail sales business in recent years and has played a key role in managing Elevation’s internal business units, working with our partners and building excellent customer relationships."
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
"It's going to change very, very quickly. I'm actually pretty optimistic that 12, 18, 24 months from right now there will be a quality process." DreamWorks chief Jeffrey Katzenberg on 3D as a home entertainment option. He has been holding forth on the 3D format over the past week...
RELEASE OF THE WEEK
We've long admired Second Sight's smart acquisition policy, picking up real gems here, there and everywhere. And, surprisingly for some of you, we at The Raygun have long been fans of cycling too. So we're doubly delighted by the June 28 release of classic cycling movie Breaking Away. Helmed by Peter Yates, it stars a yong Dennis Quaid and Daniel Stern alongside Dennis Christopher and had five Oscar nominations on its original 1979 release, picking up one of best screenplay. Well worth a look, we reckon. Second Sight's Chris Holden said: "Breaking Away has been long overdue a release and is one of those films that has a dedicated following. It's been called a cross between Big Wednesday and American Graffiti and is a cult film among the cycling fraternity."
AT THE MOVIES
Clash Of The Titans held on to its top slot on both sides of the Atlantic, it has now taken more than £12 million at UK cinemas. There was only one new entry, the extremely well reviewed Whip It, which took £353,041 on its first weekend. The only other new entry in the US was Date Night, which took more than $25 million.
The burgeoning 3D phenomenon finally got the credibility it needs to truly shed its gimmicky feel this week with the announcement that the legend that is Martin Scorsese will be making his first foray into 3D. The Invention Of Hugo Cabret is also his first venture into the world of children's films, based on a book set in 1930s Paris. It will, however, film in London this summer, with a release date pencilled in for November 2011. We can't wait for him to turn his attentions to his back catalogue, dusting down his classics and giving them a third dimension. Just imagine, Taxi Driver in 3D...
Actually, that may not be as far-fetched as it sounds. Word reaches us that a film from another legendary director, Steven Spielberg, may be earmarked for a new, updated 3D re-release. Jaws. And no, we're not kidding. Producer Richard Zanuck confessed to the LA Times that he and the helmer had discussed going back to the original and creating more CGI effects – primarily shark-related. This would, of course, somewhat change the film entirely, seeing as much of its terror comes from the fact you rarely see the creature. Zanuck said those plans were shelved, but he said he was "intrigued" by the possibility of adding 3D effects for a theatrical re-release.
Good news for the ever-picky comic book cognoscenti this week as rumours circulated that fanboy fave Joss Whedon may step in to helm forthcoming Marvel outing The Avengers. You can almost hear the Internet breathing a sigh of relief. For those that don't know (and if you don't, you're hardly the target audience, are you?), The Avengers is the Marvel superhero group that sees the likes of Thor, Captain America, Iron Man and others, teaming up to fight alongside each other (cross-brand fertilisation, on other words), and Whedon is, of course, the creator of Buffy, Angel and Dollhouse. His only really dipped his toes into feature film with the release of Serenity. He's most recently been directing episodes of Glee and is now said to be in the final stage of negotiations with Marvel. The film is due out via Paramount in 2010.
SITE OF THE WEEK
Independent record label turned mini film studio Warp has launched its own download store. Check it out here: http://warpfilmstore.com/
TWEET OF THE WEEK
The Raygun has launched its own Twitter operation... We'll be given irregular updates on things we're up to throughout the week, what we've been watching (with our own unique marks out of five rating system). Follow us http://twitter.com/theraygun
EVENTS OF THE WEEK
We've spent all day recovering from Mylene Bradfield's hugely well attended leaving do... We've also enjoyed a screening of American: The Bill Hicks Story, due from 2entertain later this year, in the comfort of our own home, thanks to a special streaming code...
TRAILERS OF THE WEEK
Needless to say, we're pretty excited by this one.
We've heard excellent word of mouth on this...
Not to be confused with The Who biopic...
OUT NEXT WEEK ON DVD
Anyone For Denis? (Revelation)
Boogie Woogie (E1 Entertainment)
Bigger, Stronger, Faster (Scanbox)
Bitch Slap (Momentum)
The Box (Icon) (DVD and Blu-ray)
The Boy Whose Skin Fell Off (Revelation)
The Cry Of The Owl (Metrodome)
Curry And Chips The Complete Series (Network)
Dance Of The Dead (Lionsgate)
Dancing On Ice Series 5 (ITV)
Earth The Box Set (2entertain) (DVD and Blu-ray)
The Foreign Legion (Digital Classics)
George And The Dragon (Centurion)
Gilmore Girls Season 6 (Warner)
Hallelujah The Complete Series (Network)
Hamlet (2entertain) (Bl-ray)
A History Of Scotland (2entertain) (Blu-ray)
Hot Metal The Complete Series 2 (Network)
I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell (Momentum)
If There Weren’t Any Blacks You’d Have To Invent Them (Network)
Inland Empire (Optimum) (Blu-ray)
In Loving Memory The Complete Fourth Series (Network)
Iron Man Armoured Adventures Vol 2 (ITV)
John Wilson’s Fishing World (three titles)
The Last Emperor (Optimum) (Blu-ray)
Little Red Tractor Topsy Turvy (Revelation)
Man Utd A Century Of Dreams (2entertain) (DVD)
The Men Who Stare At Goats (Momentum) (DVD and Blu-ray)
Midnight Movie (OMG)
Movie Movie (Network)
My Father Pablo Escobar (Brightspark)
Naruto Unleashed Series 9 The Final (Manga)
Perfect Sleep (Icon)
Rainbow Naughty Zippy (Fremantle)
Ross Kemp Middle East (2entertain)
Serious Moonlight (Universal)
Sky West And Crooked (Network)
Sooty The Big Surprise (Fremantle)
Spiral (Universal indi VISION)
Stag Night (Kaleidoscope)
The Stepfather (SPHE)
Surgical Sprit Series 5 (Network)
The Thick Of It Series 3 (2entertain)
Triads, Yardies & Onion Bhajees (4Digital Media)
UFC Penn Vs Sanchez (Clear Vision)
Vigo: Passion For Life (Park Circus)
WWE Best Of Raw 2009 (Clear Vision)
OUT THE FOLLOWING WEEK ON DVD (April 26)
Animals At Work With John Barrowman (Demand DVD)
Backwoods Bloodbath (MVM)
The Best Intentions (Park Circus)
Chop Shop (Axiom Films)
Criminal Justice The Complete Series (Acorn)
Dad’s Army The Lost Interviews (Demand DVD)
Diamonds Of The Night (Second Run)
Discovering Ardi (Demand DVD)
Dr Who The Lost Interviews (Demand DVD)
England’s Greatest Football Rivalries (4DVD)
The Essential Chabrol Vil 1 (Artificial Eye)
Foyle’s War Complete Series 6 (Acorn)
Free Style (High Fliers)
Gutter King (Metrodome)
Heston’s Feast (Acorn)
The Kreutzer Sonata (Axiom Films)
Mad Men Season 3 (Lionsgate) (DVD and Blu-ray)
Murder She Wrote Season 11 (Universal Playback)
Nightwatching (Axiom Films)
Nowhere Boy (Icon)
Only The Brave (Scanbox)
Peppermint Candy (Third Window)
So Cowboy (Network)
Waterloo Road Series 4 Spring Term (Acorn)
Will Ferrell You’re Welcome America (HBO)
OUT THIS WEEK AT CINEMAS
Boogie Woogie (Vertigo)
Cemetery Junction (Sony)
City Of Life And Death (High Fliers)
Crying With Laughter (Britfilms)
Dear John (Paramount/Momentum)
The Ghost (Optimum)
Give Me Your Hand (Peccadillo)
The Heavy (Parkland)
The Manchurian Candidate (Park Circus)
The Market (The Works)
Repo Men (Universal)
OUT THE FOLLOWING WEEK AT CINEMAS
The Calling (Guerilla)
Cherrybomb (Blue Dolphin)
Dance With Me (Orev)
Date Night (Fox)
It's A Wonderful Afterlife (Icon)
The Joneses (E1)
La Danse (Soda)
Life During Wartime (Artificial Eye)
The Sky Crawlers (Manga)
Vote Afghanistan (Channel 4 International)
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