Variety (March 1956)

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'VAKIITY'S' L.5NDOHv ■OFFICB t ft. Martin's Flactf, Trafalgar Square INXfiRIVATIOm 13 Brit. Cinema Admissions Off Over 14% in 3d Quarter Vs. Take of ’54 London, Feb. 28. Paid admissions to picture tre¬ aties were down by 14.4% in the third quarter of last year compared with the corresponding Period m 1954 The total was also 6.2% be¬ low that for the second quarter of 1955 Figures were prepared by the Board of Trade films division. The dip in attendance is explained- away, to some extent, by the ex¬ ceptionally fine summer last year, particularly when compared with the bad weather of 1954 (good for cinema trade). The survey is based on returns submitted by 4,478 theatres Total admissions for the quarter is shown at 288,605,000, with gross receipts at $71,988,000. Admission tax lopped off $22,668,800 from the total and payments to the Eady Fund sliced a further $1,783,600. From net receipts of $47,535,600, film rentals accounted for $16,- 839,200, leaving exhibitors with $30!696,400. X The BOT also surveyed the pro¬ gress made in the installation ot anamorphic equipment. There were 2,523 theatres for C'Scope by the end of last September. A break¬ down showed that circuits with more than 50 theatres have re¬ equipped about 94% of their prop¬ erties while smaller groups have converted about one half. Paid admissions for anamorphic films accounted for just over one quarter of the total, with net takings rank¬ ed 28% of the total. . A total of 76,270,000 paid admis¬ sions to anamorphic pix resulted in net earnings of $13,400,800. Av¬ erage admission price for C’Scop- ers is shown at approximately 16c, against 15c for conventional pix at the same theatres. . $25,000,000 for U. S. Films London, Feb. 28. Britain spent- more than $25,- 000,000 last year oh American film Imports, about the same as in 1954. This was stated by the Chan¬ cellor of the Exchequer in a writ¬ ten statement in the House ,of Commons last Friday . (24);. .^.The Chancellor was also ask$d for de¬ tails of dollar earnings-.of British pix, but told the Hpusfrthat no fig¬ ures were available. The Minister said the complete figures of remittances fdr U.S. in 1955 were not yet available, but he felt it was unlikely to differ from the total of $25,200,000 in 1954. That amount included roy¬ alties, import costs of exposed, films, posters and other materials. It excluded profits and payments which cannot be remitted under the Anglo-American filih > agree¬ ment. • Saunders Named London Variety ‘Man of Year’ London, March 6. Peter Saunders, who is current¬ ly presenting “The Mousetrap,” “Spider’s Web” and “The v Water Gipsies” in the West End, is to be feted as theatrical manager of 1955 at a special Variety Club award luncheon on March 13. He is also associated with the current Broadway production of “Witness for the Prosecution,” which he originally staged here. At the same lunch' Diana Dors will be honored as the show biz personality of the year, and Ken¬ neth More as the most promising international star. This will be the third consecutive year of the Va¬ riety Club awards. In 1954, Jack «ylton and Dorothy Tutin were honored and last year the awards went to Sir Arthur Elvin, Jack Hawkins, Diane Cilento and Donald Smden., Yugoslav Opera Runs 1,000 Performanc Belgrade, Feb. 28 -the Yugoslav opera, “Ero i Joeker,” by Dalmatian compo Jakov Gotovac, is hitting its 1,00< Peiformance. First shown in 1! ni Zagreb, Croatia, the opera 1 since been presented 1,000 tin on domestic and foreign stage. ° ve . r half of its performan 5 e , re ^ Yugoslavia, while abro has been presented with succ ff, Ge rmany, England, Italy, A na, Bulgaria, Czechosloval Finland and Holland. 4 --:-- ‘Heaven ahd HeU’ Tag Split Frankfurt, Feb. 28. Heaven and Hell, a neWly opened Frankfurt nightclub, has agreed to change its name. New monicker of the girly-showing eve spot will be solely “Hell.” ; Fightio force the club to change its name was led by Protestant minister KarV. Zeiss of Neidersach- sen, a suburb of -Frankfurt. See¬ ing a newspaper ad announcing the opening of the new club, he led a storm of protest against a hurley spot using the two names lightly under one roof. Owners, who Rev. Zeiss later an¬ nounced “did not act in an evil in¬ tent,” decided that “Hell” alone would bfr as good a drawing title for their nitery. | Yank Films Slip In Italo Market Rome, Feb. 28. Latest compilations show some changes in the seasonal boxoffice stakes in this country,'with Yank releases now splitting the Italo market 50-50 With local and other foreign productions in initial sit¬ uations. Previously, seven Yank pix had made the top 10 for the season. Top grosser, with a strong lead, is .still “World's .Most Beautiful Woman” (Malehotti-Gesi), with a •$432,000 total! It is followed by “20,000 Leagues Under Sea” (Dis¬ ney), at $310,500, and the Italian- made “Bread, Love, and . . .” (Ti- tanus), with a $288,000 gross. Next in order are “East of Eden” (WB), “Catch a Thief” (Par) and “Vera Cruz” (UA). An Italo new¬ comer, “Roman Tales” (Diana), mb.vqs- into the No. 7 spot, with a Spanish-made" “Marcelino, Pan Y Vino,” following “Seven Year Itch” (20th), also a. newcomer, is ninth in ranking, folio-wed by the Italian entry, “Don Camillo and Hon. Pep- pone” (Dear). . Aussie Cinema Patrons Shun Historical Films For Modern-Day, Fare Sydney, Feb. 28. There is ample evidence around this territory from a boxoffice viewpoint that the Aussie fans are giving the thumbs-down signal to those class .historical dramas, which quickly followed the initial success of “The Robe,” first C’Scope pic here. Disappointing run at Hoyts’ Regent of “Helen of Troy” (WB) proved beyond doubt ,,the swing away • from this type-of pic. “Helen” was given a big selling campaign, but the pa¬ trons just would not go for it “Helen,” however, is not the only lean boxoffice gal.. “The Vir¬ gin Queen” (20th) proved another washout and left distributor and exhibitors lamenting. Ahother two to fall by the wayside were Metro’s “The Prodigal” and “Sign of Pa¬ gan” (U). ! The actual truth is that exhibitors fyere are exercising their 25% right of rejection against this historical fare. As against all the glitter of the oldtime spectacle stuff, the patrons are going strongly for modern product with down-to-earth appeal. “A Man Called Peter” (20th), for example, ran for over six months here. “Love Is Splendored Thing” (20th) chalked up four months. “To Catch a Thief” (Par) is re¬ cording terrific coin in this sector while “Seven Y.ear Itch” (20th) is currently in the top coin bracket. Locally-made “Jedda” (Col) is earning more money than many of those “spectacles” put together. Rank’s “Doctor at Sea” also is pulling in the fans. Dr. Jankolovics Par German Chief Frankfurt, Feb. 28. Dr. Boris Jankolovics has . been named supervisor for Paramount in Germany and Belgium. He is taking over the German chores of Rudolf Jellinek, Par’s general manager in Germany since 1949, who has just been reassigned as general manager of Austria. Cinema Unknowns For Chaplin’s Next Film London, Feb. 28. Charles Chaplin is going ahead with his plans to produce “A King in New York” without making any advance distrib arrangements either in America, Britain or else¬ where. At a press confab last week he said that he did not wish to submit his script to any distributor because anxious to safeguard the contents, which he felt included many original gags. He added that in addition to Dawn Addams, who will play femme lead, he has signed British musicomedy singer Shani Wallis to play a cabaret warbler. Film is due to start in four to six weeks. But Chaplin still is undecided whether to make it in London or on the continent. 20th-Fox Seen Taking Over 100% Control New Zealand Moodabe Chain Sydney, Feb. 28. Although hush-hush from the outside presently, insiders claim that 20th-Fox is readying to con¬ summate a 100% takeover of the miajor Moodabe loop in the New Zealand territory. During the re¬ gime of the late Charles Munro as chief of Hoyts Theatres and his 20th-Fox alliance of years ago, 20th- Fox grabbed a 50% stock holding in the Moodabe circuit. Some¬ time later there was another 25% takeover on a separate stock deal with a member of the Moodabe family. Mike Moodabe, who now heads this major film chain, in opposi¬ tion to the Robert Kerridge cir¬ cuit (the Rank Organization holds a 50% stake), recently was in the U. S. And it’s understood, he had several talks with 20th-Fox ex¬ ecutives covering the New Zealand setup. Ernest Turnbull, chief of 20th-Fox and the Hoyts' pic loop Down Under, in which 20th-Fox now holds the top sayso, also was in America for talks with Spyros Skouras on the New Zealand ex¬ pansion. Following the 20th-Fox move into South African exhibition, plus the now major control of the Aus¬ sie Hoyts’ loop, insiders aver that Turnbull, via instructions from Skouras, is the key mover in bring¬ ing about the 100% takeover of the Moodabe loop on a planned expan¬ sion blueprint covering both exhi¬ bition and distribution throughout Aussie and New Zealand territory. Insiders say the deal will be consummated provided- the New Zealand government okays the play for an American organization to take control of this major loop. BEL0W-ZER0 WEATHER HITS GALLIC SHOW BIZ Paris, March 6. Below-zero temperatures in Feb¬ ruary here have created a cold war on Gallic shoyv biz. All branches have suffered. People are sitting it out at home. Perhaps, the only benefits of this cold wave are for radio and video. Theatres, cinemas and niteries are taking a beating. Film houses say that the boxoffice has fallen 40% below average. Legiters also have suffered, few hits weathering the winds. Niteries have that empty look, with even_ the perennial nudies taking to* wearing tights to keep warm. The Opera’s usual hits are play¬ ing to a sixth of the expected audi¬ ences. Only three plays are still do¬ ing biz—Peter Ustinov's “Love of Four Colonels,” Audiberti's “Le Mai Court” with Suzanne Flon, and Jean Anouilh's “Ornifle,” with Pierre Brasseur. The fact that the weather is keepingi'the playgoing foreigners and provincials from Paris also has hurt. Col Changes Mex Outlet Mexico City, Feb. 28. Columbia Pictures has decided to switch its chain outlet, starting June 1, from the Operadora de Teatros, with which it has dealt for several years, to Teatros Nacion- ales, which Geii. Abelardo L. Rod¬ rigues, ex-president of Mexico, op¬ erates. Col’s contract with Op¬ eradora expires May 31. The Rod¬ riguez chain is to have three more cinemas here by June 1. No explanation of the shift has been made so far. Deal includes pix of “Cantiiiflas” (Mario More¬ no), which Posa Films produces and Col world distributes. West End Continues Cold But B.0 Okay; ‘Picnic Smash $10,000 in 3d, ‘Tattoo’ Big 7G, 2d, Wayne 6G, 4th Fess Parker on Scot Trek Edinburgh, Feb. 28. Fess Parker will visit Edinburgh and Glasgow on a tour of 11 key British cities to bally “Davy Crockett.” Trek will last three weeks. Thesper is set to arrive in London March 18. He will visit hospitals, factories, department stores, and appear on tv, radio and at cinemas, wearing the Davy Crockett coon-skin cap and buck¬ skin* suit. He leaves April 8 for the Con¬ tinent. “Davy Crockett” has gen¬ eral release here April 2. Disney-Goldwyn Loan to Japan Tokyo, March 6. A $1,000,000 loan, patterned, on the same lines as last November’s' $7,500,000 loan to th'e Japanese government, has been announced by the Japan representative of Walt Disney and $amuel Goldwyn. Money will be used. by Japan’s Electric Power Development' Corp., as was the MPEA advance, to im¬ prove the country’s hydro-elefctric output. Taken from frozen yen accumu¬ lated by the distribution here of Disney and Goldwyn films by Daiei Motion Picture Co., the loan deal will free some $400,000 for imme¬ diate remittance to the U. S. The remainder will be paid back through a series of annual install¬ ments beginning next year. About 75% of the $400,000 represents Disney earnings. Money will not be loaned direct- 'ly to government, but will be ad¬ ministered by two banks, the Su¬ mitomo and the Mitsubishi Trust and Banking Companies. ‘Detective’ OK in Dublin, Where Pic Was Banned; U.S. Actors in the Cast Dublin, Feb. 28. “Detective Story,” banned by Ireland’s censor as a film, had its legit preem last week at the Gai¬ ety Theatre here. Although pic¬ tures are, subject to redlighting here, there’s no censorship on stage productions. The Sidney Kingsley drama, presented by the Dublin Globe Theatre, went over big with the opening night audience. ^ Its b.o. prospects look good. "* Several American actors, including Philip Vickers, Robert Gallico and Errol MacKinnom, are in the cast. God¬ frey Quigley stars in the role of detective Jim McCleod. Other cast members are Fergus Cogley, Pamela Duncan, John Mol- "loy, Ron Barron, Donal Donnelly, Cecil Barror, Pauline Delany and Sam Lynn. The staging was by Jim Fitzgerald and the sets were designed by Michael O’Herlihy. . Waikiki Biltmore Drops No-Name U.S. Act Policy .. Honolulu, March 6. Waikiki Biltmore hotel, which has been using no-name mainland acts as well as Hawaiian talent in its Top of the Isle nitery, is drop¬ ping that format. Room will con¬ tinue to feature dancing, adding Hawaiian entertainment on week¬ ends. .Hotel was acquired recently by Massaglia chain after a year of operation by Joseph Greenbach, who runs a small hotel chain in California. Until the advent of Matson’s nearby Princess Kaiulani last year, Biltmore was only major hotel in Hawaii with a panoramic top floor nitery. Under-: Greenbach management, Top of the Isle went through a series of policy changes in an effort to discover a profitable format , " London, Feb. 28. A brisk, pace was maintained at most West End firstruns last week although the mercury stayed be¬ low freezing the entire stanza. Only new entry, however, did bad¬ ly. “Othello” looks like $2,500 and stays only one week at the London Pavilion. Most holdovers,. however, did consistently good biz. “Picnic” hit a smash $10,000 in third week at Odeon, Leicester Square. “Court Jester” looks sock $9,500 in third round at the Plaza. “Rose Tattoo” shapes fancy $7,000 in second GaUmont session. “The Cono.ueror” is heading for a stout $6,000 at the Odeon, Marble Arch, in fourth stanza. "Richard III” continues big in 11th session at the Leicester Square Theatre. House was closed for one day to accommodate delegates to a con¬ vention. — “Cinerama Holiday” shapes socko $18,000 in third week at the Casino. Estimates for Last Week Carlton (20th) (1,128; 70-$1.70)— “Rains of Ranchipur” (20th) (2d wk). Fair $5,000 or near. Opening week was $5,200. Casino (Indie) (1,337; 70-$2.15)— “Cinerama Holiday” (Robin) • (3d wk). Smash $18,000. Stays indef. Empire (M-G) (3,099: 55-$1.70)— “Now and Forever” (ABP) (2d wk). Mild«$9 500 or near. “Quentin Dur- ward” (M-G) follows on March 1. Gaumont (CMA) (1,500; 50-$1.70) .—“Rose Tattoo” (Par) (2d wk). Heading for sturdy $7,000 or over. First week was $8,200. Leicester Saiiare Theatre (CMA) (1,376; 50-$l.70) —“Richard III” (IFD) (11th wk). Big $7,800 last stanza (6 days). Stays till March 15 when it transfers to Gaumont for indefinite run. London Pavilion (UA) (1-.217; 50- $1.70)—“Othello” (UA). Well be¬ low average at around $2,500. Wop.’t hold. “Tarantula” (Rank) follows March 2. Odeon, Leicester Square (CMA) (2.200: 50-551.70)—“Picnic” (Col) (3d wk). Set for great $10,000 or close. Second was • $10,500. “A Town Like Alice” (Rank) preems March 1. Odeon, Marble Arch (CMA) (2,200; 50-$1.70) — “Conqueror” (RKO) (4th wk)... Stout $6,000 or over for John Wanye pic. Third week was $6,300. Plaza (Par) (1.902: 70-$1.70>— "Court Jester”. (Par) (3d wk). Still sock at around $9,500. Second was $10,000. Holds. Rialto (20th) (592; 50-$1.30»— “Private's Progress” (B. Lion) i2d wk). Smash $5,200; same as open¬ ing week. Ritz (M-G) (432; 50-$1.30>— “Blackboard Jungle” (M-G). Fair $2,500. Studio Onfe (APT) (600; 30-$1.20) —“Davy Crockett” (BV) (9th wk). Sturdy $3,900. Warner (WB) (1,785: 50-$fl .70)— “Helen of Troy” (WB) (5th wk). Holding at fine $7,200. Fourth was $7,600. “1984” (ABP) opens March 1. BRASSEUR AND FLON FORM OWN LEGIT CO. Paris, March 6. . Suzanne Flon and Pierre Bras¬ seur, the top legit thesps hero boxoffice and talentwise, have de¬ cided to form their own theatre company and do Shakespeare's “Taming of the Shrew,” in 18 months at,the Theatre Athenee. Georges Vitaly will direct but Brasseur and Miss Flon made it plain- that this is not the begin¬ ning of a rep company which will play alternating shows. Each ; piece will run as long as the pub¬ lic comes, and then another show will be brought in. Aim of new group is to also try to find new, worthy young talent as well as restaging many old classics and masters. The fact that Miss Flon and Brasseur are in the company will not exclude other star names from coming in for certain shows. There will be a turnover in directors also. Pres¬ ent hit stints of Miss Flon, in Audiberti’s “Le Mai Court” (Evil Runs) and Brasseur in Jean Anou¬ ilh’s “Ornifle,” has made the opening date of company about 1-8 months hence.