Variety (Dec 1940)

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'^KTednesday, December 11, 1946 PICTURES BIZ SINKS FURTHER IN U. K on Minliieisipolis,, Dec. 10. • Northwest independent exhibi tori plari id descend en masse on th« state legislature at; the outset "of the. session iii esirly January to dematid chactineilt -of a code of ;fair. trade practices to. give thiem 'reHef from presehty'intDlerable' conditions which, contrary, to promises, have not been corrected or eliminated in the Consent Decree, Fred Strom, Northwest , Allied executive secretary, announces that a. ijr'bposed DillV covering the fair' trade, practices 'necessiary for the In- dependent exhibitors* existence, ripvy is iii pteparatiph, Morepver, he. ad- mits,, it's desigtied to nullify and cir- cumvent many of the Consent becree. prpvisipris and, to taike care bf exr hibitbr grievances Ignpried In the Decree. ; ■ . : •\- •'■ ^he ^ Northwest Allied measure 'will cover practically item for item; everything In the code .of fair trade practices, submitted to the Northwest . Allied' convention' hera a year ago by . William Rodgers, M-G-M general sales' manager,* according to Strom. He says the indetjendehts in this tbrritPry now.are> willing (o settle on the Rodgers' concessions '.which .are infinitely to be preferred to the Con- sent Decree, terms/ . Under: the bill's measures, Strom .explains, expansion and building of new theatres would. be halted and there would be the 20% cancellation ■ privilege; etc;, which was pfTered. by Hodg:ers, acting in behalf of..major distributors.. 'Our jjosition Is to t^ke what the distributors already ofTered us and what's rightfully ours. and embody slich practices in a state law,' ex- plains Strom, .'The second paragraph, of Section E,. Clause 23, In the Con- sent Decree, according to our-poii- structidn, permits • independent ex- hibitors to circumvent, undesirable features and to; obtain state legisla- tion to cover absent points.' Convene Jan, 5-6 Present plaiis call for a convention of all Minnesotai North - and South : Dakotia . and western Wiscoiisin ex- hibitors here Jan. 5-6 to gird them- fielves for a battle against the Cpn- .scnt Decree; iThe Minnesota'exhibi- tors would go directly from one of this convention meetings to the capi- tal in - St- Paul. to buttonhole their .representatives and senators in the state legislature, which ttien'would be . in scission, to demand passage of the bill in order to 'avert wholesale bankruptcies among independent theatreowners;' Also included in the ' proposed law would be a. provision prohibiting the showing of 16 mm. films in 'night cliibs. taverns^ store buildings, etc., in opposition to pix theatres. Minnesota, exhibitors are threat^ ened with considerable adverse legis- lation at the state legislative isession starting next rhonth arid steps al- : ready are being taken to combat it. . Among.the ptoposed laws-wliich, it .already has. been ah.jouhced, will be mtroduced, are a 10% adniission tax, state cehsprship, prohibition on tliea- .tre giveaways:. arid ^ stringent booth labor-laws. ; ■ . A . pPwerful a^sbciation of school, t^achei-s is urging the state theatre .admission tax: In order to provide funds for a .teacheTs* retii-ement fund. ShearerVPdr ^ .. ' Holly wood, bee, ■ 16.' : ., Nprma .Shearer will stir in Noel . Coward's :-rronight at .8:30* at Metro, S.idney Franklin directlrig.' ...Also on her; slate ,Is "The World yve Mak.e,r based on the Theatre Guild play. Not yet decided which will be made first ■ '.'. \ . ' Flyhn's 'Boots' for WB :.: ,■ ,. . jibllyvi'bbd; Dec -10. Died with Their Bbots Oo' will.be hext for Errql Flynn at Warners.: .Robert Fellows, producer, and .Michael Curtiz, director, .will coh- .tinue. for their .third straight Flynii - PV^Iture. • , .; V / . . Sam Dembow^ jr.; in Hosp d . A bad fra'ctiirs 'of the. knee, pliis minor injuries, will keep Sam Dem.- bow, Paramount theatre execu- tive, In the hospital for six to eight weeks or longer. . He was struck by a taxi Tuesday, night. (3). In N, Y,, whfen he was prcr paring to go to Detrdit to huddle with Ear^ J, Hudson on matters.cpn-; ceming; Par theatres there; - In adii-i tion tp a; broken knee» the Par exec suffered a battered hand arid ^ibruises: about, the face, pliia shock. . S PINETHaMAS. SIEGELS PAR FIX UNITS Hollywood, Dec. 10, William H, Pine arid William' C, Thomas formed a new producing outfit, Picture. Corp, of Anierica, to produce at Fine Arts studio for Parar mount releiase, Thomas, v.p„ will handle production and Pine will act in an advisory capacity while con- tinuing to work as associate director to Cecil B, DeMilie at Paramount. . Program for. 1&41-42. calls for, three, features with aviation back- grounds. First is 'Power Dive,' starring Richard Arlen.,^. Sol C: Siegel, who moved to Para- mount as a prodiicer last month, has. been handed executive authority over the production of eight to 12 features - for the 1941r42 program. Associated with hini in the new Unit are Eugene Ziikor, -joseph Elistrom and, Jules Schermer.. .. ■ . Slated to start during the next few months are 'The Virginian,' to be made in. Technicolor; 'The Para- mount Parade,* a musical; 'Two .Bad Angels' and the Aldrich Family se- ries. ROBT. W. SERVICE IN FOR ANOTHER REVIVAL •The Lady ICnpwn as Lou* Is ap~ parently being groomed for another workout. Both Warner Bros, and Qplumbia have laid official claim to the tag during the past rhonth, WB. winning priority by 23 days. ;. Coi has protected itself,; hbWeVer, by also staking out 'Th^ Shobtihg of Dan 'McGrew,^ \yhich is the title. of, the Robert;, W. 'l&ervice''*poem which introduced 'Lou.' Col likewise, sleeks rights to.' "The Face on the Barroom Floor' as a title, P'rctui'e called 'The. Shpptirig ■pf Dan McGrew' was released in 1924; by Metro, which claims' pernianbnt ownership and disputes Col's right to vise the. label, 'Face on the Bar- room Floor' has; twice before been used as a title, once by Fox in 1923 arid once . by Invincible.' in 1932. RKO Tickets Hempstead ° ■ . : Hollywood, Dec. 10. . . ; RKO signed David Hempstead.; to ia new producer pact on the strength of his work in 'Kitty Fpylc,' pro- duced under a one-picture deal, Hempstead's'. next job will be to find pictures suitable to Michclc Morgan, French actress, and Signe Ha.ssb, Swedish player, : RKO con- traclccs.' World Foreign Revenue foir : Americatis Is 40-44% Under Parity,. Including British and Other Markets ENGLAND OFF 25-40% Revenue of U. S. distributors from the United .Kingdom (exclusive of Canada), coilcctable in .American- currency, has slid still further to 45-47% below ri.prniai: ..This is about two-thirds of the total foreign reve- nue presently realized by U. S. pic firms. Including the total loss of in- come in Belgium, Holland, occupied .France,- Norway' and a few other central Eurppean countries,';via .Hit ler decree, it's estimated by Amer- ican company statisticians: thait for- eign revenue. Including markets other than those in the Kingdom, has now: sunk to 40-44% below nor- mal ',. . Instead of getting the customary 40.% pf the total English, business from London, several major com- panies claim that it is now running at about 15% of the total. While hinterlands and smaller cities showed gains at first, the spread of bombing raids has hit them badly in the last few. weeks.'. .For instance, .few theatres are operating regularly in chanriel port communities, there being approximately .200 houses now shuttered in those sectors. One U.. S. foreign department of- ficial estimated this week that the total American revenue in Great Britain presently is running; 25-40% ; below what it was before the., war began. With 50% of net profits froz-- en in England for the duration, the actual loss Is slightly higher even though film companies have the ad- vantage, of deducting operating, costs and transferring funds in dollars rather than pounds. Operalipn More bifflcult .Problem of British Isles operation becpmes increasingly difficult and costly each week. Nearly all com-r panies either have or will pay bonus- es . to ' lower-bracket employes to compensate for added living costs caused by the war. Also all U. S. distributors have taken - out insur- ance fpr employes in the .danger, .zone, /. With the average U. S. major dis- tributor'figuring its foreign business before the war as 30% of the world total,' latest indication is that there has been a 12% bite.into the annual inc ome of the average film company. Boosting domestic income sufficient- ly tp overcome this loss is the prin- cipal iRdi^stry headache. to Par Intent on Recalling 134,000 1st Pfd, Shares Paramount still Is working bri -a plan .with .several . banking houses whereby the .first preferred stock will be called in or part of it re- deemed. Company has in mind a pr^opbsition whereby some 134,000. shares now outstsmding .will be re- deemed,; saving possibly more than $500,000 amiually In dividend and interest charges. Retireriient would ; be provided principally through a bank loanj with terms; of 3-8^4 % likely on this loan. PACT UP TO GRIFFIS PICKS UP 2,500 OF PAR COMMON . -Washington, Dec, 10. Consistently wobbly film market -was bolstered slightly during. Oc- tober by purchase pf 2,500 shares of Paramount Pictures, Inc;, $1 ^ par .common. /stock by, Stanton, Gjlflis, New , York" director. Acco;rd.ing to. the. Security "and Ex-' change, Commission's summary of Stock • transactions, Griff is—with 6,- 500 shares of the Par .stock in the' sock—was the only purchaser of film stocks during October..: . Radio Corp. of America dumped 928 shares of $i par common Radio- Kcith-Orpheum, Stodk during / the ! month, ;to .wind up ; with 316,328 shares of common; 555,254 warrants for common and 44,757 sha,res of 6% cbiwcrtible preferred RKO stock at the mphth's end,- ■ . Robert h. Dainc, New York officer, and director, sold 200 shares Trans Lux Corp: ^1 par commbri, retaining i 2,500 ■ ducats of the some. . Although major company foreign chiefs huddled Monday (9) at the Hays ollict in New York concerning the English, frozen-coin pact without finalizing the. agreement for year ending next Oct. 31, It . now seems likely that the whole proposition will be left for;Motipn Picture Producers & Distributors Assn. directors to de- cide. Decision may be made at next meeting, originally scheduled for today (Wednesday) but postponed. " Foreign sales chiefs have been studying the British coin pact how for about twbr weeks but a" few clauses have .yet to be ironed out British government document cbvr ers 25-typewrilten pages and whole setup Is involved because Universal is in ori the hew agreement where it had a separate deal for the .period ended last Oct. 31, With the eight majors in on the proposed new pact, it's estimated that the amount of coin allowed out of the British Isles may reach $12,9.00,000 for the en.suing year. At least that is what U. S. distribs are seeking,. Australia's frozen coin arrange- ment, calling. for the remittance of $3,100,000 (50% .frozen in Aussie) to the major companies in one year be- came effective last Iflay 9. TO EXAMINE W.C.MICHEL INSTEAD OF S. R. KENT ; William C. Michel, v.p. of 20th Ceiitury-Fox .Film,, was ordered to appear for examination. before, trial in N. Y. supreme court Dec. 12, by.. Justice Williarii T, Collins, in con- nection with . Izola Forrester and Marin; Pace's suit against the ;flim company. Plaintiffs had sought ex- amination of Sidney R. Kent, presi^ dent of ;26th Fox, but; got TiibhiiF instead. ; Suit . claims plagiarism of plain- tiffs! play 'Joyous,L_in the Shirley Temple starrer, 'th.e Poor iLittle Rich ;Girl.' An irt'Jtinc'tlbh,; account- ing pfiiroflts;. and damages arc sought. row / -r—- .J. .HdlljiiVQadr' bec. 10: : V ■ UppIng for Jean Negule.sco from shorts, to feature direction is. in line with Warners* pplicy of. developing pilots pri the lot. . .. Irving Rapper and 'Vincent: Sher- man were recently elevated from dijiiog directorships. . Prime squawk emanating'from .that recently-formed United Artists pro- - ducers committee, it was iearned this week,, is against the company adding any more film-makers who will not lend plenty of " prestige to. the or- ; - ganizatiori. . Their anomalous demand . is, in effect: 'Make sure; any .new producers are better than we are.' ., Behind the seeming modesty of the UA producers is good, business sense; ' .Added uriits headed by the. dommon variety of Holly wood, fllin- mafcer only give the UA sales de- * partment spriiething more to peddle;- don't add to the status .of the ;com- pany in the exhibitor, mind, and ■ make • it tougher to dispose of the product of producers already work- ; ing fo'r .the ovrtflt."/ ■ .; On the other , hand, addition" of prestige producers, like David O.. SeiznJck and Frank Capra makes it easier all, around/ Exhibs are anx.- lous to get the films of the prestige producers and, when deals are in the process for their films, the. salesrrien have a lot^ajsisr time convincing the theatrennen they really ought tp buy the output' of Joe Zilch, too. Walter Wanger'ls chairman, pf the _ new. -producers comnriittee, whose first meeting was attended by Ed- ward Small, Sol Lesser, Hal Roach. David Loew, Richard Rowland- and Henry Henlgsbn, representing James Roosevelt; Purpose of forming the producer organizations was to give more formal and concerted voice to squawks,; as well as to attain greater cooperation on release dates and type of product among the various UA flUn-Tnakefs. . 4 More Producers? . Murray. Sllverstohe, UA chief, an- nounced last week that he is nego- tiating with at least four, ^nd pei> haps more, additional producers. ] Assuming four, that wil.l give UA a minimum of 12 active producers,. .'Silvcrstone declared, that as far as possible he'd: like to hold the pro-, ducers down to one picture each for 1941-42, although Small i» already laying pl^ns for two, Wanger. for two or three,: and Roach for three, which, will mean a mininium' of I7. pictures. 'Silverstone said he'd like to have about 15. UA producers who will be inac- tive or may well be during. 1941-42 are Selznick, Charles Chaplin, Mary • Pickford, Gabriel Pascal, Douglas Fairbanks estate, Richard Rowland and Samuel Goldwyn. Producers certain to be active arid their output this .sea.wn are Alex- ander Korda ('Thief of Bagdad,' 'New Wfrte' and 'Lady Hamilton'); Small ('Kit Carson,' 'Pago Pago,' 'Monte Cristo'); Wanger. ('Foreign Corre- spondent,' 'Long . Voyage Home"); Roach CCapt. Chiutipn,' 'Road Show,*' 'Broadway Limited,*; 'Topper . Re- , turns'); Loew-Lewin ('So Ends Our Night,' ;. .'Night' Music')• Lesser-. Lubilsch - ('Uncertain Feeling'); and Roosevelt ('Pot * Gold,' 'Pastor Hain,-—- • • Other releases this season to brirtg the total to 21 are Rowland's 'Cheer* for/. Miss Bishop;' Goldwyn's 'The Westerner,' Pascal's 'Major 'Bar- bara,' ;and, the; Ehgliish-riiade 'Black- out,' An even dozen have been re- leased or are in pre-release engage- ' ments, ■ ■ ',• Propose Mix Cottage Hffllyi vhfi d D rr l li- Estabiishmerit; of a Tom .Mix Clrif- tage is .suggested by- the Motion Pic- ture Relief Fund executive commit- tee to the ..sponsors of a Tom Miit Memorial, for which plans are under way to raise money, Cottage would be; built on th* home ground.'? to be. acquired, nc.-it year by the MPRF. ,\ '. ;-. HA^^te BMDIE^ FIHST 'Palm Beach Lirr>ited,*-i[lr.st prpduc- ' tion by Uiiitcd Producers Coxplp headed by Will.iarh Hawks, goes into work Jan. 6 at RKO, Lewis Milestone directs.