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Swine flu Archives -

Swine flu Archives -

Mack Chico


2009/04/29 at 12:00am

‘Star Trek’ postpones Mexico launch

'Star Trek' postpones Mexico launch

What the hell is happening in Mexico?! This swine flu is killing financial opportunities for many companies in the entertainment industry.

Paramount is calling off the May 8 launch of “Star Trek” in Mexico because of the swine flu epidemic, while Sony is debating whether to do the same with sequel “Angels and Demons.”

J.J. Abrams‘ “Star Trek” will open day and date in other major territories May 8.

“Angels,” the follow-up to “The Da Vinci Code,” is opening around the world May 15.

Twentieth Century Fox was the studio most immediately impacted by the outbreak of the flu in Mexico, since “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” is opening day and date Friday. Studio’s international team made the decision over the weekend to cancel the opening of “Wolverine” in Mexico, along with the premiere.

The tricky part now will be deciding when to open the films without inviting too much competition.

And no one’s sure when the situation will improve. Mexico City has virtually shut down, including cinemas. Circuits also are closing theaters in other Mexican cities.

Mexico saw good results for the “X-Men” franchise and also drove plenty of business for “Da Vinci Code.”

Fox’s “X-Men: The Last Stand,” the previous installment, saw its third-best territory gross — $16.5 million — in Mexico. Pic cumed $225 million internationally and $234.4 million domestically.

Mexico also made the top 10 list of highest-grossing territories for “Da Vinci Code,” at $19.3 million. Film grossed a boffo $540.7 million internationally and $217.5 million in North America.

If the situation improves in Mexico, Fox could open “Wolverine” in two weeks. At the same time, the studio might be loathe to go up against “Angels and Demons” if Sony sticks to the May 15 date.

Like Fox and Sony, Paramount is continuing to monitor the situation, and has not yet set another date for the debut of “Star Trek.”

One reason for delaying the launches is that studios don’t want to make huge media spends in the final days before a film’s release and then have to cancel on the eve of the opening.

Fox could even decide to push back the May 22 release of “Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian” in Mexico when coming up with a new plan for “Wolverine.”

So far, studios don’t believe the flu epidemic will affect moviegoing in other territories, including the U.S. and Canada. There have been no deaths outside Mexico.

“Wolverine” is expected to do big business in its debut. The winter and spring have seen record-breaking grosses at the domestic box office, with admissions up both domestically and internationally.

Universal‘s “Fast and Furious” won at the international box office for the April 24-26 weekend, grossing $15.9 million in its fourth sesh for a foreign cume of $170.9 million and a worldwide total of $316.7 million (domestic cume is $145.8 million). Film far outperformed expectations.

DreamWorks Animation/Paramount’s 3-D toon “Monsters vs. Aliens” likewise continued its strong overseas run, grossing $10.7 million for the weekend for a foreign cume of $142.9 million and a world total of $318.2 million (domestic total is $175.3 million).

“Fast” and “Monsters” are the two top foreign earners of 2009.

Jack Rico


2009/04/28 at 12:00am

Swine flu postpones ‘Wolverine’ release in Mexico

Swine flu postpones 'Wolverine' release in Mexico

A superhero is among the casualties of the deadly outbreak of swine influenza in Mexico City — the epicenter of the potential flu pandemic.

Twentieth Century Fox on Monday postponed Thursday’s opening of “X-Men Origin: Wolverine” because most of the capital’s theaters are likely to be closed.

A studio spokesman said a new launch date would be announced once Fox gets a better sense of when theaters will reopen.

Scores of screens owned by exhibitors Cinepolis, Cinemex, Cinemas Lumiere and Cinemark have gone dark, and the remaining chains and indies are expected to follow suit. Cinepolis is also shutting theaters in the states of Mexico and San Luis Potosi.

Cinemark and Cinemas Lumiere sites are closed until further notice, while others hope to reopen later this week depending on the situation.

The theaters are responding to a request from Mayor Marcelo Ebrard, who has also asked that other public places, such as bars and restaurants, close in an attempt to contain the outbreak that had claimed 150 lives by Monday. Schools and public transport have already shuttered.

Lemon Films co-prexy Fernando Rovzar expressed relief at having just wrapped shooting for Kuno Becker vehicle “La ultima muerte” last week.

“Films in theaters, whether they are in their first or 10th week, are suffering, and with them the distribution companies,” he said.

Spanish-language media titan Televisa is forging on with telenovela production but banning live audiences from shows that usually feature them. It is also allowing staff members to take leave to watch kids, who are staying home from school until at least May 6.

That said, sources at the conglom said execs are listening to government recommendations, and policies could shift day to day.

This wait-and-see attitude has gripped the capital of some 20 million people where the traffic on the normally congested streets has been cut by half, public places are no longer crowded, and many of those who venture out are wearing face masks.

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