Film premieres shift day

The cinema-going public’s habits will be changing as of August 18 as film premieres will now be moved back a day, from the customary Friday of each week to Thursday. The decision, reached by the Greek distributors’ association in cooperation with foreign production companies, aims at broadening the Friday-to-Sunday boom by including one more day of greater activity. Thursday traditionally is the slowest box-office day. By launching new films on that day, distributors hope to spread cinema attendence more evenly over the week. The new measure will take effect next week, but the summer lull means the effect will not really be felt until activity picks up again in September. On a different note, movies that made their premieres over the summer have so far yielded better box-office results than expected for the season. International studios may have been forced to make use of the 12-month cinema season in order to make sure that films premiered at the same time all over the world, but over the last two years, film companies have had good reason to release new movies in the middle of the summer, with slightly cheaper tickets, rather than in the winter. The widespread trade of pirated DVDs has had a great negative impact on studios and distributors. All the most popular films are nowadays available on the street just a few days after they appear at movie theaters. And this occurs not only with the big Hollywood blockbusters; last winter, bootleg copies of Alejandro Amenabar’s «The Sea Inside» were available all over Europe. The biggest hit of the summer season so far in Greece has been «Mr & Mrs Smith,» starring Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, with 292,000 tickets sold. Next came Steven Spielberg’s «War of the Worlds,» with 255,000 sales. Ridley Scott’s «Kingdom of Heaven» followed with 220,000, and «Monster-in-Law,» starring Jane Fonda and Jennifer Lopez, came close behind with 211,500. Movies that fared worse than expected included «Batman Begins» (167,200 ticket sales) and «Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith» (145,000). The opening of Robert Rodrigues’s «Sin City» did better than expected, as it sold 80,000 tickets in just the first two weeks of July, while the release of «Edison» was lackluster at 11,000 tickets, especially considering that its opening was a world premiere. Finally, among rereleases, a summer theater staple, the most successful was Roman Polanski’s «Repulsion» (3,500 tickets) and Louis Malle’s «L’ascenseur pour l’echafaud» with 5,500 tickets. The biggest surprise, however, was «Amici miei atto II» by Mario Monicelli, which has already rung up 15,000 ticket sales.