Screen International No. 276, January 24-31, 1981

Posted on 18th May 2017 in "Times Square"
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Page 1 (cover)  Issue contains mention of "Times Square" in article on musicals in center spread, and article on Robin Johnson in London on page 23.  The list of "London's Top Ten" indicates "Times Square" opened as the 7th highest-grossing film in London that week:  London’s Top Ten 1	(1) Flash Gordon (Col-EMI-War) ABC 1 Shaftesbury Avenue, ABC 2 Bayswater, ABC 4 Edgware Road, ABC 1 Fulham Road, Classic 1 Haymarket, Studio 4 £24,179 2	(4) Caligula (GTO) Prince Charles	£17,405 3	(2) The Dogs Of War (UA) Odeon Leicester Square £16,628 4	(3) Airplane! (CIC) Plaza 2, Classic 5 Oxford Street, ABC 3 Edgware Road, ABC 4 Fulham Road	£15,071 5	(—) Tribute (20th Fox) Leicester Square Theatre	£14,789 6	(6) Hopscotch (Rank) Plaza 1, Classic 3 Oxford Street, Odeon 2 Kensington	£13,374 7	(—) Times Square (Col-EMI-War) ABC 2 Shaftesbury Avenue, ABC 1 Bayswater, ABC 1 Edgware Road, ABC 2 Fulham Road, Scene 2, Studio 2	£12,791 8	(8) The Stunt Man (20th Fox) Classic 2 Chelsea, Classic 2 Haymarket, Classic 2 Oxford Street	£10,546 9	(7) Stardust Memories (UA) Classic 1 Oxford Street, Cinecenta 2, Cinecenta 3	£10,259 10	(5) Any Which Way You Can (Col-EMI-War) Warner 2, Classic 4 Oxford Street, ABC 3 Fulham Road	£9,526

 

 

The number one film in mid-January 1981 London was, unsurprisingly, Flash Gordon, which had already been open for six weeks to Times Square’s one. Times Square debuted at number seven and was falling fast, but its “tepid” performance hadn’t yet doomed it to closure when this issue of Screen International came out.

 

The box office totals for the previous week. Relevant text: Page 2—Screen International Saturday 24th January 1981 LONDON BOX OFFICE By Chris Brown IT WAS once again a week when cinema-goers stuck to the tried and true rather than paying to see new releases in the West End. Two films came into the Top Ten this week, Tribute and Times Square, but neither showed much sparkle. “Tribute” netted a uninspiring £14,789 at the Leicester Square Theatre, with “Times Square” doing very tepid business at its six screens.


     

The film still merited a mention in the issue’s big article on the use of pop music in motion pictures, wherein we’re informed that The Clash refused to sully themselves by letting their art be exploited for Hollywood’s bourgeois commercial gain by allowing one of their songs to be used in Times Square. The issues and ironies involving the concept of exploitation in Times Square, both within the film itself and as a (failed) commercial property, deserve an essay to themselves, which you’re not going to get from me anytime soon, sorry.

 

 

But the best thing about this issue of Screen International is page 23, which is covered in photos of Robin schmoozing with British film critics. The film hadn’t completely tanked, but as we’ve seen previously RSO had already realized that the one thing the movie had going for it (aside from the soundtrack) was Robin, so they sent her overseas to promote it.

Screen International No 276, January 24, 1981, p. 23.  The photo-illustrated article on Robin Johnson's trip to London appears to be an advertisement.  Text:  Saturday 24th January 1981 Screen International —Page 23 • Robin Johnson gets her first sight of London from Tower Bridge. • David Land (co-deputy chairman, Robert Stigwood Group) with Robin Johnson. • Molly Plowright (“Glasgow Herald") and Robin Johnson. • Glenys Roberts (freelance), John Coleman (“New Statesman") and Robin Johnson. Robin: a new star in ‘Times Square’ ROBIN JOHNSON, the screen's latest teenage sensation, arrived in Britain last week to publicise the London opening of EMI's "Times Square" in which she plays a rebellious girl who lives off her wits on the harsh New York streets. Robin, accompanied by her mother, Ida, and representatives of The Robert Stigwood Group, the film's producers, attended a special luncheon where she met and charmed the national critics as well as taking part in interviews for radio and TV. After a weekend of sightseeing the party left London for a promotional tour to attend special preview screenings, followed by more interviews, in Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow, Newcastle and Leeds. Her abrasive performance in the film, which also stars Trim Alvarado and Tim Curry, has earned Robin acclaim from the critics, "The New Standard" describing her as "a real discovery". "Times Square" is released in the UK by Columbia-EMI-Warner Distributors. Photos: PIC • Denise Silvester-Carr ("London Weekly Diary") and Rod Gunnar (managing director, Robert Stigwood Group). • Margaret Hinxman ("Daily Mail") and Robin Johnson. • Kenelm Jenour ("Hollywood Reporter"), Robin Johnson and Bill Hall (freelance). Advt.

Robin: a new star in Times Square’

ROBIN JOHNSON, the screen’s latest teenage sensation, arrived in Britain last week to publicise the London opening of EMI’s “Times Square” in which she plays a rebellious girl who lives off her wits on the harsh New York streets.

Robin, accompanied by her mother, Ida, and representatives of The Robert Stigwood Group, the film’s producers, attended a special luncheon where she met and charmed the national critics as well as taking part in interviews for radio and TV.

After a weekend of sightseeing the party left London for a promotional tour to attend special preview screenings, followed by more interviews, in Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow, Newcastle and Leeds.

Her abrasive performance in the film, which also stars Trini Alvarado and Tim Curry, has earned Robin acclaim from the critics, “The New Standard” describing her as “a real discovery”.

“Times Square” is released in the UK by Columbia-EMI-Warner Distributors. Photos: PIC

As I’ve mentioned before, Times Square came out at the dawn of the home video recording revolution. As far as I know, none of the radio and television appearances mentioned in the article have survived. If you have a recording of any of them PLEASE let me know.)

This previous post occurred well after this, that interview taking place at the end of her promotional tour, but this page is more impressive what with all the photos of Robin. Unfortunately the newspaper-style printing leaves a lot to be desired, and reproducing them on a computer screen only highlights their limitations.

The first photo accompanying the article/ advertisement 'Robin: a new star in "Times Square"' from Screen International No 276, January 24, 1981, p. 23.  Text:   Robin Johnson gets her first sight of London from Tower Bridge.

And finally, returning to the theme of exploitation, the very bottom of the page carries the abbreviation “Advt.” It’s not a real article at all, but an ad placed by RSO, selling Robin. Odds are this was and probably still is a common practice, but it’s still another layer of exploitation, and irony, considering how RSO handled the next stage of her career. But we’re not there yet…

 

 


Screen International, No. 276, January 24-31, 1981 (magazine (periodical), AAT ID: 300215389) ; 38 x 29 cm; (contains:)
Chris Brown, “London box office: Old, familiar favorites” (article, AAT ID: 300048715) ; p.2
Nick Robertshaw, “Record companies – is the time ripe for pop with pictures?” (article, AAT ID: 300048715) ; pp. 16-17
“Robin: a new star in ‘Times Square'” (advertisement, AAT ID: 300193993) ; PIC, photography ; p. 23 (works)

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