‘Mad Max’ eyes two possible sequels
Mad Max: Fury Roadhas been collecting plenty of awards at the end-of-year round of gong-giving by critics groups and others, including wins for both the film and director at the Australian Academy Awards. Director George Miller is considering two different sequels for the next film in the series. One concentrates on the Charlize Theron character and the other on the new Mad Max, Tom Hardy. Neither has a green light as yet, but he expects to film in Australia. Mad Max: Fury Road was shot in Namibia due to rain and green fields in Australia's usually dry outback last year.
Hoyts plans to build a new eight-plex in the popular entertainment precinct at Docklands in Melbourne, a short walk from the center of the city. The complex will feature Dolby Atmos sound and include two of Hoyts’ Xtreme screens. All cinemas will have powered recliner seats. Hoyts has changed seats in a number of its Australian venues to powered recliners and plans to continue the rollout. The new complex is destined to be one of the major attractions at the new Waterfront City development on the banks of the city's Yarra River.
During 2015, a small number of major films were released with 90-day windows instead of the Australian norm of 120 days. This was done after consultation between exhibitors and distributors. Distributors have reported that this results in increased income from their home-entertainment divisions. The two groups are currently having discussions on making the 90-day window standard early in 2016. As long as the U.S. retains its 90-day window, there are no plans to reduce the window further in Australasia. (FJI had a very good editorial on windows in the November issue.) However, the 90-day window may result in a larger number of U.S. releases going straight to video. Distributors have said that they would find it hard to justify spending A$1.5 million to launch a film that would only gross A$3 million.
Australian independent distributor and film producer Transmission Films has set up a New Zealand office under general manager Michael Eldred. Transmission has invested in and released a number of New Zealand films in the past, and this is set to increase with the new venture. In New Zealand, Transmission will work closely with Sony Pictures New Zealand in the release of their films, including the highly anticipated thriller 6 Days and the new Roger Donaldson film, McLaren.
Harbour Shore Entertainment has launched in Australia with the aim of making "globally marketable film and TV content that audiences connect with whilst focusing on the financial return that traditionally has been experienced by American films." The major players in the company are managing director Sam Kanj, head of development Anthony Salamon, head of production Yolandi Franken and creative development manager Ronnie Riskalla. They currently have offices in Sydney, with plans to open in Los Angeles. Among their films in development are The Polisher, a Death Wish-style vigilante thriller focusing on a brother seeking revenge, and The Kurtis Weitz Interrogation, which focuses on the leading terrorist in the U.S.
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