Variety (March 1956)

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March 7, 1956 Universal: Global Gross Breakdown ' In a supplementary report to the Securities & Exchange Com¬ mission, Universal supplies a breakdown of the 1955 gross revenue of $77,520,857, indicating the amounts received from each area of the world. These are the figures: United States .. $42,730,310 Great Britain .:. 6,194,281 Canada . . .... 3,281,280 > Australasia . 1,914,834 Other foreign . 23,400,096 More Theatres Operating 1956 Over ’44 Metro 'Saturation Drive’ Study Shows What may come as a surprise to-F- many industryites is Metro’s rev¬ elation that there are more thea¬ tres operating in the winter of 1956 than there were in the summer of 1944. The film* company’s tally, based on its recent sales drive to place a Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer pic¬ ture in every theatre of the world, lists 17,710 theatres actively oper¬ ating in the United States, Canada, Hawaii and Alaska as compared with 17,698 operating in the same areas 12 years ago. Particularly significant, accord¬ ing to the film company, is not only the fact that -12 more theatres are operating in 1956 but that the 1944 census was made during June when all the summer situations were open. In contrast, it’s pointed out that the February, 1956, survey was made when no summer situa¬ tions .were open and relatively few drive-ins were' operating. This leads Metro to conclude that when the summer spots and the ozoners open in a few months, the grand total number of active theatres will be hundreds in excess of. the February figure. Metro claims that its figures are dependable since it placed its prod¬ uct in 100% of the. operating the¬ atres in the U. S., Canada, Hawaii, v and Alaska during its 20th anni drive in June, 1944. As in 1944, the company avers, the representation in 1956 was 100% in that every theatre in these territories played an M-G picture. These facts, Metro says, should refute “the claims of the weepers and wailers” and “the disciples of gloom” that the “business has gone to the dogs” and that theatres are “all closing up.’ Holidaying Sinatra May Delay ‘Joker’s Wild’ Hollywood, March 6. Start of Joe E. Lewis’ biopic; “The Joker Is Wild,” probably will be postponed until 1957, scheduled to start after Frank Sinatra winds ‘Pride and Passion” in Spain but <fee’s planning to stay in Europe some time. * Meanwhile, scripter Art Cohn is talking deal with 20th-Fox on biopic. of former heavyweight champ Georges Carpentier. It’s Cohn’s own yarn. Eric Johnston’s Japanese Points Tokyo, March 6. Eric Johnston has requested that ' the Japanel^ Finance Ministry raise the quota limitations on Yan¬ kee films in the next fiscal year and increase the remittance rate of distribution earnings here. Leo Hochstetter, MPE^ rep in Japan, confirmed to Variety that Jdhnston had met. with Finance Minister Ichimada four times dur¬ ing his six-day visit here (Feb. 25- March 2) and also urged the Japa¬ nese Finance Ministry to channel its increased foreign currency holdings into trade channels imr mediately and not to hoard its re¬ serves. While here Johnston addressed T 0 vL^J^amber of Commerce luncbtronT He proposed an eco¬ nomic development program for Asia which would place Japan in a position of leadership and see the investment of American funds in small business enterprises here. _ In his discussions with Finance Ministry officials Johnston is be¬ lieved to have hinted that if Japan agreed to the increase in U. S. imports and. remittances, his Motion Picture Export Assn, would he willing to divert part of its ac¬ cumulated yen for industrial in¬ vestment in Japan. Although not •?JL 1 ? ctua i investment, last year’s MPEA loan of $7,500,000 for hy- aioelectric development here was a step toward *what Johnston pro¬ poses. ‘Richard III’ Hits Canada 10 Days Before NBC Spec Toronto, March 6. Beating the pistol on the NBC three-hour telecast skedded for Sunday (11), “Richard III” had its North American film premiere at the international Cinema, Toron¬ to, on Thursday night (1). Sellout here extends for two weeks, with heavy, advance on subsequent fort¬ night. Trans-Canada franchise has been granted by London Films to Inter¬ national Film Distributors, with Lopert Films handling in U.S. “Richard III” opens its American run at 8:30 p.m.. Sunday (11) at the Bijou, New York, after the televi¬ sion matinee that same day. Scaled at the International Cinema, Toronto, runs to $2 top against New York's $2.80. SLICE OVERHEAD RKO and Allied Artists have in the talking stage a merger of. in¬ terests in Hollywood and abroad. New York sources stated this week that AA, being in need of studio space and distribution out¬ lets overseas, is anxious of avail¬ ing itself of the RKO facilities on both ends. And RKO, while blue¬ printing a full-scale production program for the future, could cut down on its overhead immediately by partnering with AA. Latter is well-heeled with product numeric¬ ally and is now moving into a quality status with product com¬ ing from such sources as William Wyler, John Huston and Billy Wilder. Wyler’s first production for AA, “Friendly Persuasion,” would be unaffected by any deal. This is al¬ ready completed and set for dis¬ tribution in the foreign market by Metro. But concerning the future, AA film-makers, because of the com¬ pany’s pint-sized Coast lot, already have been forced to operate at the Goldwyn and Republic studios and AA would prefer to keep them on home grounds. RKO has two pro¬ duction plants' and one of these, which had been given over to David O. Selznick, is continuing idle as a result of Selznick’s disaf¬ filiation. This could be “home” to AA if the sharing of interestsj materializes. Foreign-wise, AA has only a rel¬ atively few offices. This means franchise deals with local dis¬ tributors in many countries and, of course, a lesser cut for AA from the grosses. It’s said that a team- up with RKO would enhance AA’s prospects for money from abroad and reduce RKO’s operational ex¬ penses. i HIT CRITIC FOR SAYING ‘BRITISH FILMS AWFUL’ London, March 6. George H. Elvin, general secre¬ tary of the Assn, of Cine Techni¬ cians, has challenged the assertion by Daily Herald film critic, An¬ thony Carthew that “British films are awful.” He accuses the col¬ umnist of merely following with a series of sweeping generalizations that have little relevance to his allegation. Refuting Carthew’s suggestion that, money is being spent on or¬ ganization a,nd not production, El¬ vin quotes figures published by the National Film Finance Corp. that out of every $280 spent, only about $10 goes on overheads. The union topper also suggests that the Her¬ ald critic is out of step with public taste, citing the fact that of the 12 best box office films .in Britain last year, seven were made in local studios and only five were Ameri¬ can. He also draws attention to the results of the Rank Organiza¬ tion who showed a trading profit of around $20,000,000, although they showed 36% British features well in excess of their quota. The As- sociated-British group, he added, made a trading profit of over $8,- 000,000 by showing more British films than necessary by law. Were these companies, he' asks, being altruistic? JOHN DAVIS (RANK) IN RAP AT YANK‘QUALITY’ London, March 6. John Davis of the J. Arthur Rank Organization is now attack¬ ing the quality of the product c'om-J ing from Hollywood. Speaking at 1 the first national convention of the Circuits Management Assn, (the company responsible for adminis¬ tering the Odeon and Gaumont (Continued on page 63) lex Harrison, 20th Sales Chief; Bill Gehring Given Global Veepcy, Perpetual Pact, Policy Voice Love tef Put in Rap Washington, March 6. Iron Curtain nations are still avid for films which can be used to indict non-Commu- nist lands. The official Rou¬ manian radio said on one of its domestic broadcasts last week: “The French movie, 'Bel Ami,’ based upon a novel by Maupassant, will soon be shown on Bucharest screens. The picture, which depicts the corruption of the French rul¬ ing class at the end of the 19th century, has been banned in France. It was filmed in Vienna.” Prince-or-Pauper Evaluations Echo Intra-Trade Bias Whether or not the film business is in good shape depends upon which industry source is offering a boxoffice analysis. There’s mark¬ ed intra-trade conflict concerning the matter, and adding to it this week was a report dispatched by the studio publicity directors com¬ mittee of the AssnC"of Motion Pic¬ ture Producers. Elmer Rhoden and “other ex¬ hibition leaders” have reported a “rising trend boxoffice-wise” since last Christmas Day and this is ex¬ pected to continue, stated the AMPP group. And the studios are showing confidence by earmarking $100,000,000 for production through April, it was added. The six-page statement there¬ upon went into extensive detail on the product coming from all com¬ panies. This is not at all what many (Continued on page 62) This appears to be the new' ex¬ ecutive setup at 20th Century-Fox, due for formalization quite soon: Alex Harrison will become th« new sales topper as A1 Lichtman takes consultancy status. William C. Gehring will be a globetrotting High echelon trou¬ bleshooter with rank as vice presi¬ dent and as executive assistant to president* Spyros Skouras. Gehring, a vet for 37 years w'ith 20th and until this week assistant general sales manager, has been handed veep stripes. He will con¬ tinue to supervise 20th's distribu¬ tion in the domestic market giving the 41-year-old Harrison the bene¬ fit of his experience. Latter ha* been western division manager for 20th since 1952. In his new position, in which ha is expected to have a strong voica in formulating 20th policies as Skouras' adviser, Gehring is being handed a perpetual contract by tha company, and is expected to con¬ cern himself with all aspects of 20th activities, from production to distribution. It is indicated that Gehririg will operate internationally, with Skou¬ ras usirtg his experience on occa- (Continued on page 62) Sues to Prevent Zanuck Indie Plan Stockholders suit was filed in New York Supreme Court yester¬ day (Tues.) seeking to enjoin Darryl F. Zanuck from following through on his announced plans to enter independent production, i with 20th-Fox providing the financing and distribution. De¬ fendants are Zanuck, 20th and Spyros P. Skouras. Action was instituted by William Weinberger, who identified him- (Continued Qn page 61) National Boxoffice Survey Biz Stays High; ‘Picnic’ Again "No. 1, ‘Conqueror’ 2d, ‘Holiday’ 3d, ‘Carousel,’ ‘Tattoo’ Next Uncertain weather and usual downbeat during Lent is setting in currently, but many key cities cov¬ ered by Variety report that the top five big grossing pictures con¬ tinue to fare unusually well. It Is with the lesser films that most exhibit are having their headaches. “Picnic” (Col) is boxoffice champ again for third week in suc¬ cession. And attesthlg to its sus¬ tained strength is the fact that it is grossing virtually as much this session as last week and has widened the margin between itself and its closest competitor. “The Conqueror” (RKO) is wind¬ ing Up second again, same as a Week ago, by a substantial margin. “Cinerama Holiday” (Indie) is pushing up to third position. “Carousel” (20th), now playing in seven keys, is capturing fourth place, this being the first time it has figured in the ratings. Addi¬ tional engagements may raise its rating. “Rose Tattoo” (Par) is winding in fifth spot. Pic is now playing in 13 keys. “I’ll Cry Tomorrow” (M-G) will take sixth money. “Court Jester” (Par) again is copping seventh po¬ sition. “Golden Arm” (UA) is fin¬ ishing in eighth slot. “Benny Good¬ man Story” (U), big grosser in February, is still showing enough to land ninth place. “Guys and Dolls” (M-G), which has finished' bulk of its principal firstrun dates, is again ,10th.. . i “Diabolique” (UMPO) is takine 11th spot nationally while “Littlest Outlaw” (BV) rounds out the Gold¬ en Dozen. It’s the highest weekly rating yet for “Diabolique.” Several new entries show prom¬ ise. “Doctor at Sea” (Rep) shows signs of becoming a strong suc¬ cessor to “Doctor in House.” It is great in N. Y. and smash in Chi¬ cago, two initial playdates. “Slight¬ ly Scarlet” (RKO), also new, is neat in Louisville and okay in Balto. “Last Hunt” (M-G) shapes sturdy in St. Louis and fairly good in New York. “Sins of Borgias” (Indie), sold heavily on sex. angle, is doing nice¬ ly in N. Y. “Man Who Nevgr Was” (20th) is rated drab in Balto, okay in Portland, fairish in Denver, dis¬ appointing in Philly and fairly good in Cleveland. “Our Miss Brooks” (WB), mild in Providence, looks poor in Philly and mild in Buffalo. “Come Next Spring” (Rep) is fair in Buffalo but mild in Washington and Philly. “The Lady killers” (Cont), fine in L. A., still is great in second N. Y. stanza. “Lease of Life” (IFE) is trim in Frisco and okay in N. Y. “Never Say G doyoeb(”U) bk W shrdl Say Goodbye” (U), hotsy in Philly, is solid in Louisville. “Lone Ranger” (WB) . looks bright in Louisville. “Rains of Ranchipur” (20th) looms stout in Chi. (Complete Boxoffice Reports on Pacies 10-11.) TjXriety Trade Mark Registered FOUNDED 1905 by SIME SILVERMAN Published Weekly by VARIET.Y, INC Harold Erichs. President 154 West *6th St. New York 36. N. V JUdson 2-2700 Hollywood 21 6311 Yucca Street Hollywood 9-1141 Washington 4 1292 National Press Building STerllnjZ 3-5445 Chicago 11 612 No. Michigan Ave. DElaware 7-4984 London WC2 ? St. Martin's PI., Trafalgar Sq. Temple Bar 5041 SUBSCRIPTION Annual .. $10 Foreign *11 Single Copies . 25 Cents ABEL GREEN. Editor Vol. 202 c^ggj^ 120 No. 1 INDEX . Bills . 53 Chatter .... . 62 Concert, Opera . 60 Film Reviews .. .•. 6 House Reviews. 53 Inside Legit . 56 Inside Music .. 48 Inside Pictures . 16 Inside Radio-TV . 38 International . 13 Legitimate .56 Literati . 61 Music . 40 New Acts . 52 Night Club Reviews. 54 Obituaries . 63 Pictures . 3 Radio Reviews . 36 Radio-Television ........ 22 RecoTd Reviews . 40 Television Reviews . 27 TV Films . 31 Vaudeville . 49 Wall Street . 15 daily variety (Published in Hozlyv/ood by Daily Variety, Ltd.) 1 $15 a year $20 Foreign