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Studios Proceed With This Weekend's Movie Openings -- Without TV Ads to Drive Them to Market

14 Sep, 2001 By: Hive News

Tuesday's terrorist attacks have pushed some film studios to postpone movies, but this weekend's slate of planned is moving ahead according to schedule.

Paramount Pictures' Hardball and Sony Corp.'s The Glass House, the new movies scheduled for release Friday, are making their debuts despite concerns by some studio that the moviegoing public may not in the mood to hit theaters this weekend.

"We obviously were concerned whether the country would be in a frame of mind to want that entertainment distraction. We concluded they would be," Rob Friedman, vice chairman of Paramount, told CBS.MarketWatch.com.

Friedman said Hardball is more of an inspirational tale about an aimless man whocoaches a group of inner city kids to play Little League baseball. Thus, it was deemedsuitable for release this weekend.

Sony said they were going ahead with the release ofGlass House, a psychological thriller. It is believed the film contains no sensitive material relevant to the terrorist attacks.

While movies have weathered economic storms before, Dan Marks, senior analyst for box office tracker AC Nielsen EDI, told CBS.MarketWatch.com, he said it was unclear how the weekend's films would actually fare.

A number of films also are scheduled for limited release, several in New York,Paul Dergarabedian, president of Exhibitor Relations Inc., told the wire service. Those may not make it to screens if the theaters don't open, he said.

Nationwide business was half typical business on Tuesday, the day of the attacks, according to Dergarabedian. Theaters registered roughly $3 million in ticket sales, compared with $6 million the previous week. Ticket sales climbed back to $4 million on Wednesday.

To complicate matters, studios will have a difficult time marketing their movies this weekend. Networks have dropped advertising in favor of continuous news coverage, making it almost impossible to get out the word about new films opening via television. On top of that, it's also traditionally a slow frame for films.

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