Views
3 years ago

Boxoffice-January.03.1953

fKeH'^^ SvcHt^ Triple

fKeH'^^ SvcHt^ Triple Damages J^ REPORT by the Business Advisory Council of the Department of Commerce urging that courts avoid imposing retroactive triple damages in antitrust suits where the evidence indicates lack of wilful violation could be of tremendous benefit to the picture business if it is followed by some kind of action. The council made two constructive suggestions: one. that a conference section be set up in the Department of Justice so that complaints can be discussed before going into court, and the other a provision that business men could get authoritative rulings on the legality of business practices through review boards. It was suggested that 90 per cent of government-initiated litigation could be settled in this way. Some of these rulings would inevitably tend to discourage the private antitrust suits that have developed into a menace. Many triple damage awards have been in cases where the defendant had no way of knowing whether the practices were illegal. In this industry, lawyers in a number of places solicit these suits on a contingent basis and at times win awards in court. More often they get out-of-court settlements. About half of the cases fail. Not all the awards are against distributors: many are against circuits, small as well as large. If verdicts were limited to damages which plaintiffs can prove, the litigation would fall off. The triple punitive awards have the lure of a lottery. If only a fraction of the suits now on file should be won for the amounts sought, some distributors would go into bankruptcy. Roxy Gets Fresh Start ^HAT with the booking of Walt Disney's "Peter Pan," starting February 4, plus a new type of ice show illuminated by colored neon tubes imbedded in the ice and with the performers wearing iridescent costumes that furnish spectacular effects, it looks as though the Roxy Theatre might be headed for grosses that would have been the envy of the late Samuel Rothafel. It took courage to invest a quarter of a million in the equipment, but it looks like courage that will pay off handsomely. And it must not be forgotten that Charles Skouras. head of National Theatres, which now controls the Roxy, has a brotherly interest in Eidophor. He is looking forward to the day when color television shows can be piped into other theatres. 'La Boheme' for Screens? DON'T be surprised if "La Boheme," the venerable Puccini opera, should appear soon on theatre screens via television. The motion picture type of showmanship and acting has been introduced into an English version of the opera by Howard Dietz of MOM and Joseph L. Mankiewicz, wellknown director and producer of films. Dietz, who has had long experience with stage musicals other than opera and who b, JAMES M. JERAUU> did the book for a new version of "Fledermaus" last year, put the opera into English. He said it was not simply a translation, but a "free adaptation." Mankiewicz set out as director to get rid of some of the traditional "hectic" acting and tried to group the actors for story-telling purposes without interfering with the singing. A Metropolitan opera audience saw the new version Saturday (21 >. when it was also radiocast. The new technique makes the opera more suitable for theatre TV use. Third-Dimension Films gY THE end of January it wUl be plain whether this industry is in the midst of a spectacular rush for three-dimensional films seen through polaroid glasses that will leave a lasting impression on exhibition. What has already happened shows that exhibitors everywhere are in a mood to experiment with any novelty that stimulates business. "Bwana Devil," a picture that could lay claims to nothing outstanding as entertainment on a flat screen, broke records in two Los Angeles houses in three weeks and now key cities first runs are clamoring for early bookings. George Schaefer has more than 300 contracts that rolled in by phone and telegraph. Warners have announced a new picture to be made with this process and other producers have them under consideration. How far this will go will depend upon the public's willingness to wear the glasses. No complaints have been received to date that they tire the eyes. Costs of synchronizing twin projectors so that two films can be shown at the same time are so low that medium-sized as well as large theatres are making hurried inquiries on how to do it. Wall Street Active ^HE persistent publicity resulting from the sale of Howard Hughes' controlhng block of stock in RKO Pictures has resulted in a lot of Stock Exchange activity. One group has been buying into RKO Theatres quite steadily, another is now making heavy purchases of 20th Century-Pox stock, accompanied by rumors that the management will be changed, and there also has been a recent flurry of Paramount buying. This, on top of the report that Ralph Stolkin and his associates are trying to find buyers for their holdings of more than a million shares of RKO Pictures, has been keeping brokers more active than they might otherwise have been. Snaper Re-Election Seen NEW YORK—Wilbur Snaper will probably be re-elected president of National Allied when the board of directors meets January 11 at New Orleans. Allied customarily names its president for a second term. Snaper succeeded Trueman T. Rembusch, who served two terms like most of his predecessors. Col. H. A. Cole served three t«rms Drive-Ins to Renew Billboard Campaign KANSAS CITY—The national spring drivein billboard campaign, .started three years ago here by Jack Braunagel, drive-in supervi.sor for Commonwealth Theatres, has grown to mammoth proportion.s and again will be launched by the local showman. Braunagel announced this week that the billboard campaign, which three years ago .saw 400 24-sheets put up in 26 states, last year had grown to 500 billboards in 34 states of the union. Braunagel said that the decision to renew the billboard campaign this year grew from many queries from exhibitors at conventions at which Braunagel was speaker. The campaign will include billboard.s urging drivers to attend a drive-in theatre, along with window cards and bumper strips, all of institutional nature and all designed to attract attention of motorists. This yeai-, Braunagel said, there will be no specific date set for start of the campaign. Many .southern state exhibitors already have started using billboards, window cards and bumper strips. However, he said, for the midwest and for Commonwealth drive-ins, a concerted posting campaign will be carried on from May 15 to July 15. Drive-In Theatre Conclave Committee Is Appointed MILWAUKEE—Tlie national drive-in theatre convention, scheduled to be held at the Schroeder hotel here March 24-26. will be under the direction of the following committee: S. J. Goldberg. Hollywood and 29 Drive- In theatres, Wau.sau. president: Eric Brown, Plymouth Theatres, vice-pre.sident and overall convention chairman: Ben Marcus, S&M Theatres, national director of Wisconsin Allied, and national treasurer of Allied, acting as national drive-in chairman: Ohver Trampe, Cudahy Theatres, treasurer of Wisconsin Allied, acting as state chairman; Robert C. Peck, Keno and Westgate Drive-In theatres, Kenosha and Racine, publicity chairman: Edward E. Johnson, Roosevelt Theatre, Milwaukee, advertising chairman. The convention is strictly for drive-in theatres owners and the invitation is extended whether an exhibitor is affiliated or not with Allied, according to Peck. National Theatres Earnings For 39 Weeks in Decline LOS ANGELES— Shareholders in National Theatres. Inc.. were informed via a report from President Charles P. Skouras that the circuit's Wesco Theatres Corp. and subsidiaries, and the Roxy Theatre. Inc., had a net income of $1,503,443 for the 39 weeks ending Sept. 27, 1952. This compares with a net of $1,821,881 for the similar period in 1951. and is equivalent to 54 cents a share on outstanding common stock. Gross income, derived from theatre admissions, rents and other sources, amounted to $45,681,639, as compared to $47,811,376 for the 39 weeks ending Sept. 27, 195L The dividend is the first to be made since the companies involved were separated from 20th Century-Pox via the government's consent decree. 16 BOXOFFICE January 3. 1953

Hollywood Ready to Pay Its Tribute To Adolph Zukor on 80th Birthday HOLLYWOOD—Adolph Zukor, Paramount board chairman, was due in Saturday (3), accompanied by Mrs. Zukor, to be the guest of honor at a gigantic industry-wide banquet on Wednesday (7), his birthday. The event, to be staged at the Hollywood Palladium under the sponsorship of Variety Clubs Iniernaaonal, celebrates Zukor's 80th birthday and 50th anniversary in show business. The affair, to be attended by a host of executives, stars and civic leaders, is the kickoff of a year-long tribute to the film pioneer. The banquet will be preceded on the same day by a birthday luncheon at Paramount. On Sunday (4i Zukor was .slated to place his hand and foot prints in the forecourt of Grauman's Chinese Theatre. Charles P. Skouras, National Theatres and Fox West Coast presidei«, is in charge of banquet arrangements, and the entertainment segment of the program is being planned and produced under the direction of Rouben Mamoulian. Typical of industry-wide interest in and support of the Zukor fete was the action of the Screen Writers Guild, the executive board of which passed a resolution congratulating Zukor on the double occasion of his 80th bn-thday and his "50th year of unselfish service and leadership." 20,500,000 TV Sets in Use WASHINGTON—There are 20,500,000 television sets in use out of 23,000,000 already produced and within another five years there will be 50,000,000 TV .sets in use in the United States, according to A. D. Plamondon jr., president of the Radio-Television Manufacturers Ass'n in a years end statement. Eidophor Being Perfected; May Be Ready Late in Year NEW YORK—Several months have been spent perfecting the Eidophor color television projector for theatres and it will be ready for another demonstration in about six months. If the demonstrations are completely satisfactory, another 90-day period will pa.ss before the production of the apparatus will be put on a commercial ba-sis. Spyros Skouras, 20th Century-Fox president, says he hopes to have the machines on the market by the end of the coming year. Trebilcock Quits Toronto Imperial TORONTO—The film fraternity here was startled at the year's end by the announcement of the resignation of Fred Trebilcock as manager of the big Imperial, largest theatre of Famous Players Canadian Corp., after more than 25 years with the circuit. Trebilcock said he planned to move to California. Russ R. McKibbin, now manager of the Victoria, will move over to the Imperial. One of the greatest roles of a great star JAMES STEWART as Howard Kemp in "THE NAKED SPUR" AN IMPORTANT TRADE SHOW-JAN. 8 AUANY ATLANTA BOSTON BUFFALO CHARLOTTE CHICAGO CINCINNATI CLEVELAND DALLAS DENVER DES MOINES DETROIT INDIANAPOLIS JACKSONVILLE KANSAS CITY LOS ANGELES -G-M's 'THE NAKED SPUR f> Big Adventure-Drama Packed with Romance and Action! 20th- Fox Screen Room 20th- Fox Screen Room M-G-M Screen Room 20th- Fox Screen Room 20th- Fox Screen Room Warner Screen Room RKO Palace BIdg. Sc. Rm. 20th-Fox Screen Room 20th- Fox Screen Room Paramount Screen Room 20th-Fox Screen Room Max Blumenthal's Sc. Rm. 20th-Fox Screen Room Florida State Screen Room 20th-Fox Screen Room United Artists' Screen Rm. 1052 Broadway 197 Walton St.. N. W. 46 Church Street 290 Franklin Street 308 S. Church Street 1307 S. Wabash Ave. 16 East Sixth Street 2219 Payne Avenue 1803 Wood Street 2100 Stout Street 1300 High Street 2311 Cass Avenue 236 No. Illinois St. 128 East Forsyth St. 1720 Wyandotte St. 1851 S. Westmoreland 1« (Technicolor)