Variety (March 1956)

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PICTURES 15 Wednesday, Marc^ 7y. 1956' PfosiETY Amusement Stock Quotations (N.Y* Stock Exchange) Forr Week Ending Tuesday (6) N.Y. Exhibs Address John Rankin, M.P. Patron Appeal Not National Origin Is the Rub On British Product, Declares Frisch '+--:--- The British Parliament and the British film trade have been told that it was patron appeal and'not “national origin” that, dictated the booking policies of exhibitors in the New York metropolitan area which is about 14% of U.S. market. In a letter addressed Xo John Rankin, British M.P. who recently had charged that his country’s films were being held back deliber-. ately from or by U.S. theatres, Emanuel Frisch, president of the Metropolitan Motion. Picture The¬ atres Assn., declared Rankin had been “completely misinformed; and misled” about the situation^ . “Universally, the- theatre-going public is the sole judge of the suc¬ cess or failure of any piotion pic¬ ture at the. boxoffice. The only yardstick, therefore, available to any exhibitor ... is the interest or desire of his patrons to see a particular film,” Frisch wrote. American exhibitors, he said, were “desperately in need of more. product” and he went on: “You can unhesitatingly clarify = the} issues for your colleagues In the House, as ^yell as the British public and motion picture industry, by assur¬ ing then* that we who operate mo¬ tion picture theatres here,, need and want all available British films of the type that our patrons are anxious to see.” 20th Profit Outlook Put At $3 by Fiscal Swami, Oil Wells Play Part Prediction of a sharp rise in earnings for 20th-F.ox in 1956, with per share likely, is made in an evaluation of the film company by S] ^u rshon > Ham n?ill & Co. The special report cites the cur- rent $1.60 dividend and notes that if earnings materialize as antici¬ pated an extra payment seems like¬ s'- «££ d * tional P lu * factors favor¬ ing 20th are quoted as the oil an the studio lot, a growing stake In Production of pix for tv, and the Possible sale of the 20th library to As to the oil, the report said u was believed that 20th’s total n« l ?i ngs from that source alone ould run as high as $10 per share field 101 ’® ° Ver the ful1 life of the Rock Hudson, U. Pactee, Forms Own Co. Anyway Hollywood, March 6. . Rock Hudson and Henry Gins¬ berg have formed an indie to pro¬ duce several Hudson starrers as soon as Hudson ends present con¬ tractual obligations. His Universal j contract has until November 1961 to run. Commented a U official: | “Hudson can invest but can’t per¬ form under His deal.” U, however, may “loan” Hudson to company, having previously, loaned him to. Ginsberg and George Stevens for ’.‘Giant.” ' No U.S. Appeal On 16m Pix Suit Washington, March 6. The U.S. Government will not appeal the Los Angeles federal court decision favoring the film company defendants in the Gov¬ ernment’s 16m antitrust suit charg¬ ing, the motion picture companies with conspiracy in not selling pic¬ tures to television, the Attorney General’s office announced today (Tuesr). In withdrawing further Govern¬ ment action, Attorney General Herbert Brownell Jr. pointed to the recent actions of five of the defendants — RKO, Columbia, Warner Bros., Universal and Re¬ public — In the licensing or sale of more than 1,800 features to tele¬ vision. He also called attention to the reports that the remainder of the defendants are negotiating to release about the same number of pictures to tv. Brownell maintained that the principal objective of the suit had been accomplished — to make fea¬ ture films available to tv by knock¬ ing down illegal barriers. Suit was filed against the major film com¬ panies in 1952. A Federal Court judge on the Coast ruled in favor of the film companies after a trial a few months ago. J SALMON, INJURED, RESIGNS Succeeded at Riyoli, N. Y. By Television-Acting Nick Justin Montague Salmon, Rivoli Thea¬ tre managing director since 1942, has resigned the Broadway post due to’ ill health and is being re¬ placed by Nick Mark Justin as acting manager. Justin has been Salmon’s as¬ sistant since 1951. He started with RKO as an usher in 1941 and has also been active as a television ac¬ tor. Salmon is a vet of the Skouras Theatres operation which he joined in 1931. He injured his legs in a car accident in London last year and, early this year, fell and broke his hip. A post-operation complica¬ tion is said to have further set him back. Norman Krasna French Studios i - . , Hollywood, March 6. Provided an American goes tb France and makes up his mind to turn out a film that corresponds with local conditions, and fits into the local scene, such a picture can .be done very economically, says Norman Krasna. Producer, just back from making ' “The Ambassador’s Daughter” In France, feels the current contro¬ versy over foreign production im¬ plies. an unjustified rap at techni¬ cians overseas. In his own case, he points out, he made a picture for around $1,200,000— ; about $700,- 000 less than it would have cost here. , “You can make a good picture in France and make ^ it economi¬ cally. And you get enthusiastic co¬ operation from : all concerned,” he said, adding there were minor drawbacks- such as billeting and working on stages that aren’t as comfortable as those at home. “The technicians in France are as good as you can find,” Krasna com¬ mented. . If some producers complain that costs in France are too high, it may be their own fault because they are trying to make “Ameri¬ can” pictures, the producer opined. By that he means films produced with American crews and involving scenes in which the action sup¬ posedly takes place in America. When U. S. crews are brought to France, union regulations require standby crews. “This jumps the budget because you’ve got two peo¬ ple on every job,” Krasna points out. SUBSEQUENTS’ PLIGHT, •/ AS FISHER SEES IT Minneapolis, March 6. Under present changed exhibh; tiori conditions and the manner in which the film industry is now conducted most local non-art neighborhood subsequent-run the¬ atres will have a survival chance if, and only if, they’re allowed to obtain at least occasional first-runs of important boxoffice pictures, like the uptown art houses here. Such is the opinion of Sol Fish¬ er who, with his father, owns and operates three local de luxe neigh¬ borhood houses, one of which is an art theatre. Downtown firstrun theatres are prospering with big boxoffice pic¬ tures, but the bulk of the neighs borhoo'd subsequent - run houses slowly starve to death, declares Fisher. “The product situation alone forces us to go out and try to ob¬ tain firstruns. There just aren't enough good pictures anymore for us to exist. Also, the long down¬ town first-runs not only milk the important attractions, but they op¬ erate on our availabilities in a way that on the clearance breaks we frequently find ourselves without anyjboxoffice offerings to play.” ‘Wonders’ Hits Philly April 24 Philadelphia, March 6. “Seven Wonders of the World,” third Cinerama production, will have Philly preem at the Boyd Theatre April 24. Follows the 14-month run of “Cinerama Holiday” which will have been viewed by ’ approximate¬ ly 900,000 persons. Dpciirve of Costs Plague Europe, ChiU-Kill Italy’s Dream-Rossen | Screen Publicists Begin Homeoffice Bargaining The Screen Publicists Guild, representing pub-ad staffers at five homeoffice film companies, opened negotiations Monday (5) with War¬ ner Bros., 20th-Fox, Universal, and Columbia for a new contract to re¬ place the individual pacts expiring during March and April. Talks are being held on a joint basis with the four compar 'es with the understanding that any of the firms m^y ask for separate nego¬ tiations should they desire. The four companies dickering with the SPG requested that United Artists, although an SPG company, be omit¬ ted from the joint discussions. The SPG acceded to this request since the situation with respect to UA is different. UA, in previous pacts, has given the SPG many of the conditions now being asked of the other companies. The SPG is requesting a 15% general wage hike, a $150 mini¬ mum for senior publicists, a min¬ imum salary of $130 after four and half years employment, a three- week vacation after five years, and elimination of the tolerance pro¬ vision whereby pertain staffers work overtime without extra com : pensation. ♦ Hollywood, March 6. European producers, if they 6tre to survive, must-get government subsidies to. meet soaring produc¬ tion costs abroad, according to ! Robert Rossen, who. visited here j for a week after making “Afex- j ander the Great” in Spain for ! United Artists release, j Producer reported . European : costs are now practically on a par | with Hollywood. Most glaring ;jn- ■ stance is in Italy. Italians, he felt, : have relinquished their dream of ! being a top film supplier to the world’s market, and the industry in that country is now at a virtual standstill. Costs got out of hand when they were making their global pitch, and now everybody is suffering, including Americans. Rossen is due in London for world preem of “Alexander” on March 22. UA Loathe To Britain to U. S. Film Men: Get Re-Entrance Permit To Cover Actors’ ‘Return’ American companies producing in Britain have been warned that British Equity is concerned over seme of their practices. Britain's Ministry of Labor has urged the U.S. outfits that, if they go on location with non-British talent and plan to bring these ac¬ tors back to Britain, a permit has to be applied for prior to going on location. United Artists had adopted a policy of staying with the same Ad campaign ’ through the "Tun of a picture.. In other words, there'll be no departures from'the. format once it's decided upon, Making changes in the ad ap¬ proach has been normal in the trade but, UA feels, these rarely if ever improved business. - Parar mount, for 1 example, • pulled • a switch with “Desperate Hours*' after it had played initial dates, going from the family-in-distress theme to a display of Humphrey Bogart with gun in hand. This ap¬ parently didn't matter; “Hours”, still shaped as a disappointment. UA’s thought is that the original campaign .gives a film its identifi¬ cation for both trade and public and to pull back on layouts and promotional copy would be con¬ fusing. Distrib’s execs further in¬ sist that the amount of money to' be shelled out for the', “sell” can only be ' based on ' experience- meaning their judgment of a fllniV; potential. . It’s conceded that this is an inexact science but there’s no definite formula to guide, the industry and their record shows f$w errors. GEORGE SCHAEFER LOSES 3-D (GUNZBURG) SUIT Los Angeles, March 6. Federal Judge Ben Harrison ruled in favor of the defendants in George S. Schaefer's $2 ( 000,000 suit over Natural Vision, the 3-D process, a-firster in the industry's switch to big screen and new tech¬ niques. Defendants in the action were Milton L. Gimzburg, Natural Vision Corp., Dr. Julian Gunzburg, Vera Gunzburg, Rose Berch and Samuel Gunzburg. Schaefer originally asked that he be. declared an equal partner, but the partnership phase of the action’ was dismissed last October. In rul¬ ing for the defense, the court held that the arrangement between them and Schaefer was that of a producer and a producer’s broker and that any compensation paid the broker was dependent upon his success. Such effort, the court held, were strenuous but “failed to produce the results contemplated.” ‘WorfJlers’ to St. Loo S. Louis, March 6. “Seven Wonders of the World,” the third Cinerama production, will tee off its run at. the Ambassador theatre April 26. Second production, “Cinerama Holiday,” passed the 52 week stand last week and. has been seen by more than 455,000 payees. Otherwise, the companies were told, “British Equity has served notice that it will actively oppose their entry under any other condi¬ tions.” CREDIT TV WITH SLIDE OF MPLS.’ UPT CHAIN Minneapolis, March 6. , Striking industry development of past three years here has been and continues to be United Para¬ mount Theatres’ (Minnesota Amusement Co.) relegation to the exhibition background, numerically speaking. For what’s occurring, it’s pointed out, television rather than the consent decree’s divorcement provision, is credited. Once by far the dominant ex¬ hibition constellation locally, the shrinking theatre chain now has fewer neighborhood theatres than at least three independent circuit ..operations. Moreover, there is no Indication it would enter the drive- in theatre field even if the consent decree permitted. ; Ityhereas the Volk Bros, and W. R. Frank, each operate four local circuit neighborhood theatres and Clyde Cutter has just increased his holdings to three, United Para¬ mount, as a result .of the recent Loring sale- and other past several years’ relinquishment, is down to only a pair. At one.time not so long ago it operated as many as seven. In downtown Minneapolis and, for that matter, throughout the territory, a similar United Para¬ mount shrinking has been taking place. Whereas at the peak the chain boasted six loop first-run theatres here, it operates but three now. This compares to RKO The¬ atres’ pair and one each for Cin¬ erama, Ted Mann and Bennie Berger. As for the Paramount Northwest circuit as a whole it’s down from a comparatively recent 70 to around 44. Many of the theatres that have been sold or abandoned upon expiration of their leases have been converted to commer¬ cial purposes. Hunch-Booking‘Marty’ As Oscar Probable Minneapolis, March 6. Although “Marty” just finished playing many neighborhood houses at lower admission, the loop usual¬ ly first-run Gopher has bought the film at a fancy price for a second loop r.un. House is gambling on the picture winning the 1955’s best Oscar and will set it in the week of the awards, however, whether it cops the victory or not. Original down¬ town opening of “Marty” here was somewhat of disappointment, sur¬ viving only three weeks to moder¬ ate grosses at the 400-seat World.