REAL MEN DON’T SKIP
August 20, 1998, midnight
He did do it, going the full monty (well, 99%) on the bow of a
mock Titanic high above the stage at the ballroom at the Royal
Pines. Robert Slaviero made history tonight, earning respect and
kickstarting a whole new genre of film biz entertainment as he
made good his promise to strip in front of the industry
(including several international distribution heavies) a la The
Full Monty, if that film topped the $20 million mark in
He made that promise at last year’s Movie Convention,when
The Full Monty was just a twinkle in the distributor’s eye.
Ever since the film delivered the industry has waited for Slav
(as he is known), to deliver; and he did.
But it came after the announcement from MC Paul Johnson of
Hoyts, that Slav had disappeared for the night. Then, footage
showed him preparing himself with feeble gym exercises, and
further footage showed industry heads getting drunk discussing
Enough teasing, enough, to put a professional stripper to
shame. Then, finally, after a strip routine to the tune You Can
Keep Your Hat On by a team of five called Real Men on the dance
floor, Slav took the spotlight up in the bow of a white Titanic
above the stage, modesty preserved only by the slender handrails
– and a tiny (very tiny) jock strap.
If the full monty routine was the highlight of the evening,
Titanic was the anchor, both thematically and in content, with
the dinner menu replicating the ship's final meal; salmon for
entree, roast beef and yorshire pudding for main and bread and
butter pudding to finish.
Then, before the dancing began, the stage Titanic’s bow
nosed further out as the big band struck up the hit single from
the film My Heart Will Go On – as did the evening.
STARRING? NOT WEAVING
August 20, 1998, midnight
“I’m one of those actors you probably find infuriating,’
said a smiling Hugo Weaving as he collected his Australian Star
of the Year Award in front of the 800 delegates tonight “because
I don’t feel very comfortable with the idea of stardom…”
Weaving was warmly applauded as he took the stage during a busy
night of film biz celebrating film biz, featuring the Box Office
Awards, hosted by Hoyts.
The Castle won the Australian Film of the Year award and more
than a dozen movies which grossed over $10 million earned awards
for their distributors, some of whom (Mark Zoradi, International
V.P. of BVI in particular) even recognised the filmmaker’s
contribution, while senior players slapped ech other on the back.
It was a positive night for the industry, with the notion of
passionate film making really taking the awards.
The top grossing films, led by Titanic’s record breaking $58 million Australian box office, are:
UIP’s Tomorrow Never Dies; Mousehunt; Deep Impact.
Columbia’s TriStar’s Men in Black; My Best Friend’s
Wedding; As Good As It Gets; Godzilla.
Fox’s Doctor Dolittle; The Full Monty.
BVI’s Face Off; Flubber; Con Air.
WARD’S DREAMS AMAZE
Wednesday August 19
Amazement and anticipation greeted today’s screening by
PolyGram of a short sequence from Vincent Ward’s new film,
What Dreams May Come, starring Robin Williams and Cuba Gooding
Jr, who will attend the film’s Australian premiere in Sydney
on October 15.
Extraordinary images have been created
by Ward and his team, using digital effects as a painter’s
tool to create a visual world – in heaven.
PolyGram also treated delegates to the
world’s first screening of Elizabeth, starring Cate
Blanchett in the title role, with Geoffrey Rush in a significant
supporting role as a trusted and tough advisor. The film’s
other Australian elements include the score by David Hirschfelder
and editing by Jill Bilcock. Directed by Shakhar Kapur, Elizabeth
looks fabulous, taking us into a 15th century England of ghastly
religious bigotry, international politics by marriage and a
fascinating queen, which Blanchett portrays with great
versatility and dimension.
MARKETING AWARDS 1998
Wednesday August 19
Greater Union’s Morley Cinema in WA has won this year’s
Kodak Marketing Award ($5,000) for its campaign supporting the
release of Crackers, with Hoyts Highpoint in Victoria taking
second prize ($2,000), also for its Crackers campaign, and the
Lismore cinema, operated by Birch, Carroll and Coyle came third
($1,000) with its marketing work on Joey. The Awards were
presented at today’s Movie Convention Breakfast by Kodak’s
Marketing Manager, Jeremy Goddard.
Goddard said the Award had grown in
influence and exhibitors showed great interest in it. He said it
was designed to recognise individual effort that helps sustain interest in Australian cinema.
LET’S DO A DECENT DEAL
Wednesday August 19
Behind the screen, unseen by audiences on their daily outings to
the nearest cinema, conflict between film distributors and the
cinema operators – especially the smaller, independent ones,
has been growing over recent years. Now, a Code of Conduct has
been developed by the industry with the assistance of the
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), and the
delegates at the Movie Convention seemed ready to give it a try.
At this afternoon’s seminar, ACCC’s
Ross Jones outlined the Code and urged everyone to become a
signatory, but said that even if they did not, they would still
have access to the facilities of the ACCC and the Trade Practices
In summarising the provisions of the
Code, Jones said it responded to the main issues that triggered
most small cinema operators’ complaints: difficulty in
getting access to first runs of major films, and secondly the
terms imposed by distributors on same. The ACCC’s concern
was to protect the smaller operators from being squashed by the
major players and he referred to the fact that in Australia, a
handful of major players controlled some 70% of the total box
The new Code creates dispute settling
mechanisms and requires that distributors clarify and justify any
decision that is disputed. The Code also requires and provides
access to greater box office data for disputing parties to use as
key reference material.
In addition, a conciliator can be
appointed in a dispute and issues of urgency are also addressed,
so disputes can be handled swiftly enough to have a commercial
The panel comprised senior
representatives from both sectors: Stephen Basil-Jones (Motion
Picture Distributors Assoc); Michael Hawkins (Australian
Multiplex Cinemas); Paul Johnston (Hoyts Cinemas); Richard
Sheffield (PolyGram, pic); Robert Manson (Greater Union); and Ian
Sands (Roadshow Film Distributors). The panel urged the industry
to try the Code for at least a 12 month trial or possibly face
the imposition of a Code imposed by the ACCC.
BVI BUGS AUSSIE INDUSTRY
Tuesday August 18, 1998
Royal Pines Resort staff have been transformed into little green
bugs, complete with little green antennae and a green leaf big
enough to cover front and back as uniform. The resort foyer, too,
has been ‘bugged’, as was the opening night dinner, as
the biggest Australian Movie Convention of all time kicked off,
with Buena Vista screening advance sequences from A Bug’s
Life, their upcoming wonder of computer animation, from Pixar,
the makers of Toy Story.
The sequences suggest a film full of humour, adventure –
and animation excellence, creatively stretching the possibilities
of the art form.
But the first full film to screen for the 800 delegates from
around Australia was The Parent Trap, Disney’s live action
comedy about two 11 year old twins who discover each other and
try to get their divorced parents together again. It’s as
smaltzy as a puppy, and equally irresistibly entertaining, even
though the script often defies logical examination. (See our full
review when the film is released.)
The dinner following the screening was the occasion for Buena
Vista International to formally introduce its newly appointed
team, headed by ex-Roadshow executive Alan Finney (pic), who will take
over distribution of all BVI films from January 1, 1999, after
the longest commercial marriage that BVI has had with a sub
Head honcho Mark Zoradi (pic) paid tribute to Roadshow’s work
over the years and presented Roadshow managing director Graham
Burke, a unique framed cell from the animated movie Hunchback of
Notre Dame. Burke immediately passed on the thanks to Finney, who
was in large part responsible for the work on BVI films while he
was at Roadshow.
In a nostalgic testimony to the relationship, BVI screened a
specially edited montage of the many films handled by Roadshow on
its behalf, to the tune of That’s What Friends are For.