Variety (Oct 1948)

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WeAnt*A»Y, Octoher 6, 1948 PICTURES CHI NABES MOP UP AFTER LOOP Big Five s Counter-Ideas The Big Five have selected three groups of theatres as those which they are ready to sacrifice In return for a settlement of the Government anti-trust suit, it is reported. These houses, included .in lists which are being forwarded to the Dept. of Justice, afe' ' bracketed as follows: 1. In every closed situation throughout the country dominated by one or more majors, at least one house designated in the list will be sold to an Indie exhib in order to open the situation. This includes not only partnership but also wholly-owned houses. 2. In partnership situations, majors are ready to automatically liquidate all holdings in which they own less than 50% interest. 3. Where the major company bought in the partnership interest from an existing circuit, major is willing to sell its holdings to the partner who would get first crack. Where the partner bought in^o the major, both sides would bid against each other. American Distribs Press for That 4th Circuit To Oppose Rank and WB' London, Oct. 5. The movement by American dis- tribs to create a fourth major cir- cuit in opposition to J. Arthur Bank's Odeon and Gaumont-Brit- ish chains and the Warner Bros.- partnered Associated British cir- cuit is taking practical, if informal, shape. Wliile no amalgamation of indie theatres has been put through i bx a legal merger—a development, discussed for many, months by' Yank distribs-^a number of the top American companies will be ' selling first-run to large groups of j Indies within the next few weeks. [' "Metro already is packaging pix and marketing them in more than 30 key cities to indie houses. Pai'a- mount will hypo a fourth circuit by taking similar steps before the month is up. James E. Perkins, Par's managing director .for vBri- tain, is now selecting imreleased product for both solo and double- bill fare With the Rank squeeze on Amer- ican product beginning to be really Cinecolor's Brit. Lab RESULT OF M. 1SI m CEILINGS Chicago, Oct. 5. The Jackson Park decree which clamped a two-week ceiling on first-runs In Loop showcases is proving, a bonanza to the small- fry exhib in the outlying Chi sec- tors. With the JP regulation now in effect for over six months, a survey of nabe houses by Variety indicates that the subsequent-runs are now averaging from 30%- .150% better than they did in past years. One theatre, which used to do a peak weekly business of $2,100 on a strong film is hitting $5,000- $6,000 for the same period. An- other nabe reports th^t it did. $1,- 500 in the pre-Jackson Park era, but is consistently racking up $2,- 000 weekly grosses for the past six months. Still another theatre told Variety that it is good for $3,500 weekly gross against $2,500 in days of yore. Increased take is not clear prof- It. All theatrei^ that benefited from the new release system in Chi are paying considerably higher rentals. The theatre, for instance, that felt, other majors are expected to follow suit. British toppers for i ing capital through buy-ups of its the. ¥ank outfits point -out that | own common stock, Par laid out Hollywood, Oct. 5. Allan Gundelfinger, Cinecolor veepee, leaves for England this week to establish a laboratory to tint pictures made by British and other European film producers. Company is making the move be-,.. . , ., , , of a sizeable amount of ' ^^''^^'L ej^o^^^ frozen Cinecolor coin in England. , 1° a present $2,000 has added 1 $300 weekly to Its rental bill. I All ■ contend, however, that there I Is still plenty of gravy left for the , theatre man. v^ .'; There is no question that the rise in nabe grosses is due to the I effects of the decision. As a result of the case, the clearance struc- ; ture has been drastically changed and nabes are now freely bidding for product. By ; the same token, repercus- sions on theatre attendance at the „ I J 1 - J 1, : Loop have been advei'se. Plenty of f.c^t'''"rn"Hnv nrth» ^^nnth nf Ahngoers who formerly ci'owd- faster dip durmg the month pf the showcases are now patroniz- September in its policy of shrink- i„ ^heir nabe houses, which get ! the films ■ immediately after the Par Accelerates Own Stock Buys, Shells Out 715Gi Gov t Gives *Big 5' Five Years To Dispose of Their Theatres Schine and Griffith Washington, Oct. 3. The Government is getting ready to suggest its plans in two other important motion picture anti-trust suits which : were remanded to the trial courts by the U. S. Supreme Court. These are the Schine and Griffith cases; the Su- preme Court opinions were handed down last May at the same time as the Big Five Case. Government proposals on the Schine Theatres case, in which partial divestiture of the chain was ordered, are due by the end of October. Those on the Griffith Theatres case will probably be ready some time in November, according to-Jus- -tice Department officials. Majors' Attys. Bearing Down On Arbitrations several hundred theatres are avail- able, scattered through all key , (Continued on page 19) Film Cos. Mastermind To Counter CoUarites $715,000 during September to ac- quire ; an additional 32,500 shares of common. Company now has deposited in its treasury 665,000 shares wilh an approximate mar- ket value of $14,630,000 under present price quotes. September purchases were a Loop showing. HITCHCOCK INKS DEAL FOR 4 PIX AT WB Washington, Oct. 5.,, - The New York trial court, which rejected a Government plea for di- vorcement of the Big Five theatre interests in 1946, got a second such request over the weekend, with the recommendation that . Warners, RKO, Paramount, Metro -and 20th- Fox be given five years to dispose , of their valuable theatre prop- erties. But in, the meaintime, argued the ^ Anti-Trust Division of the: Justice Department, four steps should be taken by the trial court to protect the rights of the independent ex- hibitors: . 1. A partial cross-ban on li- censing to run for the five years, which would 'restrict cross-licens-^ ing to50% in certain specified situalionjs. 2: An order requiring the de-, fendants to sell, within' a year, .' their interests in 1,300 to 1,400 theatres which they own jointly,: with nonrdefendants and, in some- cases,; with other defendants^ (This ■ would apply only where the de- fendants own more than a 5% in-; in the theatres. In where two majors own a theatre, one would be permitted to buy out the other, if the rights of no in- dependent were jeopardized.) I 3. Enjoin the defendants from ; making any franchises excei)t with independents to aid the indies to compete with affiliates of the! majors. 4. Bar the majors from acquit-' ing any theatres in competition^; Hollywood, Oct. 5. : Alfred Hitchcock will produce I sharp pickup over August total of four pictures in five years for re- A,. >JI «n Dn.KXkti. 22,200 sliares. In July, Par bought, lease by Warners on completion of Un ueCOnQary.DOyCOII, 31,000 shares. AU stock wasiMs current indie release pact, cold strike" by i ""'"^hl on the open market. [which calls for one more film to Faced with A two CIO white-collarite unions in the eastern homeoffices, execs of the major companies are planning legal counter-moves to head off a campaign to picket and boycott af- filiated theatres. Screen Office & Professional Employees Guild and Screen Publicists Guild, attempt- ing to pressure the majors into negotiating new contracts, mean- while, have begun to carry out their strategy of hitting the indus- ! buy out other partner interests, try's boxoffice receipts via picket I More likely, however, would be its lines in front of RKO and Loew's ' ultimate retirement to slash com- houses in the metropolitan area. ■ pany capitalization if and when ■ Heads of both unions, shying, Par cuts down on its exhibition ' away "from direct strike action , activities, when the : companies recently re^ Acceleration of stock purchases I follow "Under Capricorn," now i.s timed to an early possibility of shooting in England the company liquidating part of its theatre holdings because of the Government anti-trust action. Set- tlement negotiations are currently | under way which could result in | Par giving up a substantial part of I its partnership theatre interests. Acquisition of stock would serve | two purposes. It could be u.sed to 1 Final picture under the old agreement will be "I Confess," slated to start in January. It will carry the Transatlantic Pictures label. Laboring over the terms of the proposed settlement of the Gov- ■ ernment anti-trust action, .major | company legalites were in close: huddles this week with reps of the : with those they now control, or American Arbitration Assn., ad- any others without specific per- ministrator of the present film ar- mission of the court, bitration system. Confabs are ' The Justice Department pro- 1)eing staged to clear the way for ""gram is included in a 135-page liberalization of the arbitration set- j brief, "Government's Proposed up which the Big Five will present Findings and Judgment with Sup- to the Dept. of Justice as the chief ! porting Memorandum" which has book-of-rules governing trade prac- been sent to the defendants to the tices. Meanwhile, the companies trial court. In it, the Anti-Trusf° continued working on lists of the- Division suggests the way the New atres which they are ready to sell (Continued on page 20) if a settlement is accepted. I The new arbitration system; vol- untary so far as exhibs are con- cerned but mandatory on the com- panies, is viewed by industry at- torneys as the defendants' remedy for the invalidating of competitive selling by the U. S. Supreme Court. (Continued on page 63) SWG, Agents Talk License - Hollywood, Oct. 5, Screen Writers Guild and Art- ists Managers Guild have begun informal discussions aimed at an accord on lic^ensing of agents. More Top Product for Indie Exhibs Seen in ydwyn Split With F-WC fused to sign new pacts over the ; Ent RctUmS Studlo Taft-Hartley . law provision for (Continued on page 17t REPORT GERALD MAYER TO PARIS IN MPAA SPOT Despite the fact that a" final de-, affiliated circuits will-grow remains cision in the film industry's anti- to be determined. While RKO handles the Goldwyn product, the split wilh F-WC Was trust suit Is still pending, a trend ^ TT Qi is definitely in the works for indie lO Harry blierman producers to sen away from the,| act\vally bi-tfUgfit Hollywood, Oct, 5. major affiliated circuits. Latest to-iiifest.-v ■'«<£,■; .••<k>l'dW3«ii-'■• Productiorts' Enterprise Studios, after A brief • «J» Samuel Goldwyn, v\ ho 'prexy James A. "Mul*ey. As re- romance resumed its maiden ' ^^^i, . *°r.*'''l^ away suit of the break. Goldwyn sales- lomance, resunieu us uiamen -^.^jj^ Fox-West Coast chain ! manager Arthur' Sachson planed ■ name, CaliforniA Studios, and and will consequently attempt to out to the Coast Thursday '30) „ . - . , leaped back into the waiting arms get outside dates on both "A Song , night for huddles with West Coast 1, ?w ' of Harry Sherman, four months , Is Born." latest Danny Kaye star-; gaiesmanager Ben Fish (Goldwyn's Reported here that Gerald, i , ^ rer. and the general release on; brother) Two bpsan an ininnsp Mayer, chief of the Motion Picture 1 ahead oi schedule. | ..3 ^ ^ ^ ^ Lives." campa gn Mondav (4) to fine m as As«i. of America's internaUonal The Charles Einfeld-David Loew , ^^^^ ^ Monday (4) to line up as «' '"^K succ ee d Frank organi/.alion is stiM- paying room | ..gj-eement over terms. United Art- !n^,7 /'^ ^ organization s con- ^ ^^j. ^ skeleton crew though it [ isls. for the same reason, has re- linental manager. McCarthy IS due production entdr'-I fused to sell "Red River" to the to vacate his post about the first hab ceased its pioauction emer, ■ -~-prise. ■ ..-.■■.y ■ ' ■ . ,v,f,. . British Producers Swamp Govt. With Requests For That $10,000,009 Bankroll i London, Oct. 5. , Within 48 hours of its formation, ^ number of requests for production ' bankrolling have been received by ' the Government Film Finance Corp., which has $10,000,000 in its , coffers for private producers. In I addition to Sir Alexander Korda's ] British Lion Co., which aims to I borrow up to $8,000,000, appllca- I lions for loans have been made by ■ Renown Pictures and Butchers ' Films, both small indie distribs. > . Unconfirmed reports suggest ' that Pathe is also seeking a gov- ernment loan. J. H. Lawrie, Fi- ;; naflce;Corpi chairman, is expected to make an important statement next Tuesday (12). Renew SAG Pact Talks of the year to join 20th-Fox as Darryl F Zanuck's aide. Rupert Allen is also exiting at the same time. V . It's understood that the U.S. majors ■ are highly satisfied with 1 Hollywood, Oct 5. Mayer's Work in assisting with the ' g ^ ^(,^5 Gyy^i n^gjor recent revision of the Bluin-Biynes , , .,, ... i„„i,ii„<. „„ , 1946 film accord. In the event •'■H'd'os will resume huddles on a Mayer switches, John McCarthy, new working contract this week, many dates as pos.sible on the two piclu,.i.i with Coast exhibs. move was tlie tying up of $22,000 worth of billboard space for a heavily-budgeted ad campaign and as.soc'iate international division di rector, would probably be upped to yoren Mayer's present spot. Meanwhile, Mayer, ^^ho recently returned to the U.S. lias since gone to Brazil to adjust the remittance situation ' tiler e. over that Metro had a sqiUabblc ■ Goldwyn-is expeeted-4o sink- con over rental terms with the same .siderably more money into his ef- circuit on "Easter Parade," forcing ' forts to lielp the indie exhibs fight I M-G sales veepee William F. Rod- F-WC. ' gers to make a special trip to the , ^1 • i. I F-WC homeoffice on the Coast to Mulvey's Objections iron out the deal. Reason for the severance in re- While indie exhibs have com- lations was reportedly Mulvey's ob- plainod that the Supreme Court's .lettions to the .circuit's routine iiecenl decision in the anti trust ■ loi™iila terms, which have held for all pictures good or bad; Under the standard F-WC policy, the circuit gels 20-40% on a sliding scale and 50% over a split figure. Mulvey reportedly wanted a separate deal (Continued on page 20) following the return of Charles . i -i 1 . , , . , ... , . , case still gives thorn the short end indu.strial relations chief ^j,^ ^j^^j -^^^^^sUy observers for the producers. nonetheless believe that the indie New pact was recently approved operators are already beginning to by the guild mctnber.ship by an benefit. To what proportions the overwhetauag vote of 4,189 to 39. trend toward selling iway fi'om the UA MULLS NEW TAG FOR I MORGAN'S'N.Y.'(ENT) I Final decision, on a title change for Enterpr^^e Productions' "So This Is New York" is expected to be made within the next 10 days I by distribution execs of United Artists, which is releasing the Henry Morgan starrer. Tentative new title is "City Slieker," figured to have more Arm for hinterland audiences. It had originally been planned to the film as the first with a dual title. "New-Y-ork" would have hcen used in all cities of more than 150.000 population, with "Slickei-". holding for the rest. UA has defi- nitely decided now that such a ' move might dissipate full penetra- tion of any ad-publicity; campaign so has decided to stick with a sin- gle name. Film to date has played in only nine situations, de.spite the fact It was tfadeshown last spring. If the title is changed, the general re- lease date will be delayed another five to six weeks while' UA get* ' out fre^h ad acccsspries."