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August 1994


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 29 Aug 1994 11:56:28 EDT
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I publish the daily industry newsletter, STUDIO BRIEFING, a roundup of
entertainment-industry related news synopsized from some 65 trade papers,
general-circulation newspapers, magazines, and TV news and talk shows. Our
primary subscribers receive the newsletter via fax before 8:00 a.m. PT Monday
through Friday. We also have a number of subscribers who receive it via
e-mail. In addition, it is available in the Critics Choice area of America
Online and in the entertainment area of Delphi as part of their basic
services and will soon be available on Compuserve as part of their extended
services and at an added fee.  Our subscription rate is $20 per month via fax
in the U.S. ($50 internationally) and $7.00 per month via e-mail.
It occurs to me that many of the people who access your Internet list might
be interested in receiving our newsletter. I would therefore like to post it
each day for the next several weeks with a note saying something to this
"Sample copies of STUDIO BRIEFING, a daily summary of entertainment industry
news, are being posted here through September 30. For information about
subscribing via e-mail or fax, contact Lew Irwin at [log in to unmask] or
send a fax to (310) 657-0724."
Please let me know whether such a posting conforms with Internet etiquette.
= Lew Irwin
A sample issue of STUDIO BRIEFING follows:
                               STUDIO BRIEFING
                        Copyright Studio Briefing 1994
Film: 8/29/94
Stephen Spielberg has criticized Disney chairman Michael Eisner for his
unwillingness to reach an accommodation with Jeffrey Katzenberg. He told Time
magazine in its current issue: "I think Jeffrey should have been given
anything he asked for, based on his mountain of accomplishments at Disney."
In a separate interview with The Los Angeles Times appearing today (Monday),
Spielberg said: "Jeffrey Katzenberg's exit will be Michael Eisner's
Machiavellian loss -- and Corporation X's El Dorado." Katzenberg and
Spielberg are partnered in a Century City (L.A.) restaurant, Dive.
Katzenberg, meanwhile, told Time that, at Eisner's request, he had recently
put together a four-page outline of his vision for Disney. "I dealt with the
movie studio, then the company, then the outside world -- things that would
reinvent the company, as Michael has often said he wants to do. I met with
Michael last Wednesday to discuss them. And you know, that envelope is still
in my briefcase. We never got around to the conversation."
Disney's new motion picture head, Joe Roth, is not expected to alter Disney's
course of turning out "lackluster and forgettable" live-action movies,
according to unnamed industry observers quoted in today's (Monday) Los
Angeles Times. Roth himself told The Times that he intends to cut number of
films produced by Disney. "I told Michael Eisner that the goal shouldn't be
numbers. We should be producing only those scripts for which there are good
ideas. Live-action movies consume a lot of cash. Marketing expenses have
A Disney shareholder said Friday that he had officially protested Disney's
plans to build a theme park near Civil War sites in Virginia. William Dunlap
of Alexandria, VA said he also plans to place a resolution before Disney's
shareholders meeting next February calling for company to seek a different
Euro Disney shares plummeted more than 10 percent Friday on word that Paribas
analyst Nigel Reed had valued it at just 1.50 francs. Euro Disney closed at
9.30 francs.
Opening of Oliver Stone's Natural Born Killers shot up to number one at
weekend box office with an estimated $10.6 million. Paramount's Forrest Gump
remained close behind with $9.9 million while Clear and Present Danger was
third with $8.1 million. The Mask followed with $5 million. Expanded release
(698 screens) of Corrina, Corrina was fifth with a surprising $3.8 million.
In an unexpected surge in motion-picture attendance in Europe, Arnold
Schwarzenegger's True Lies took in $9.5 million in its second week, while The
Flintstones garnered $7.9 million in its sixth. The Mask debuted in third
place with $5 million, followed by Beverly Hills Cop with $5.1 million. Four
Weddings and a Funeral remained surprisingly strong with $5 million in its
17th week, bringing its total European gross to $69.3 million, according to
figures published today (Monday) by Daily Variety.
Director Ridley Scott has been unsuccessful in persuading Fox to move forward
with Crisis in the Hot Zone using Susan Sarandon in Jodie Foster's role and
either Paul Newman, Jeff Bridges or Warren Beatty in Robert Redford's, Time
magazine reported today (Monday) in its current issue. Citing unnamed
sources, Time said that Fox execs concluded that they needed bigger names to
sell a big-budget film internationally.
In another demonstration of "synergy" among its merged divisions, Viacom
announced Friday that Paramount amusement parks in Virginia, Ohio, and
California will begin featuring Nickelodeon theme areas next year. All areas,
it said, will feature Nickelodeon's "trademark brand of silly, messy,
hands-on entertainment." In a statement, Viacom president and CEO Frank
Biondi said, "This partnership demonstrates the scope and reach of our many
powerful brands."
TV 8/29/94
A partnership of Cablevision Systems and ITT has agreed to purchase Viacom's
Madison Square Garden properties for $1.075 billion, winning out over TCI's
Liberty Media, which had bid $1 billion. Financial analysts, who had valued
MSG properties at about $600 million, expressed surprise at size of winning
bid. The New York Times reported Sunday that an expected deal with TCI never
materialized because of "the strong-willed personalities" of Viacom chairman
Sumner Redstone and TCI chief John Malone. It quoted one unnamed exec as
saying, "Redstone and Malone had too many arguments." However, today's
(Monday) Wall Street Journal quoted sources as saying that, while both TCI
and Viacom are privately accusing one another of reneging on earlier
agreements, they are amenable to resuming talks concerning sale of Viacom's
cable operations and a joint venture involving both companies' pay-TV
New York state's Consumer Protection Board director Sunday expressed
misgivings about the Cablevision-ITT deal involving MSG network. "My concern
is you'd have the two major sports channels [in New York] owned by the same
entity, which also happens to be a cable operator," Richard Kessel told The
New York Times Sunday. (Cablevision already owns New York's SportsChannel.)
"We've had two entities competing for business. Now they could be linked, and
it raises antitrust, competitive questions." However Cablevision chief
Charles Dolan said in a statement Sunday: "We will pursue our long-held dream
of an 'electronic stadium' that gives everyone an affordable front-row seat
at every game."
A former NBC president has warned that if Fox TV is successful with its NFL
coverage, it can emerge on an equal footing with the Big Three networks.
Robert Mulholland told The Chicago Tribune Sunday: "He [News Corp chairman
Rupert Murdoch] has to prove that they can cover the games and attract the
audience. They don't have to match the ratings, but once they prove they can
do it week in and week out, then he can bid for any other sports contest
going because he's proved he can do the biggest and the best."
What was described as a "minor skin cancer" was removed from Ted Turner's lip
at a doctor's office Saturday. Earlier he had cut short a commencement speech
at Georgia State University after revealing his impending operation, saying,
"The one piece of advice I can give you is put on sunscreen and wear a hat."
In an apparent bid to rev ratings as Roseanne moves to Wednesday nights, plot
line of new season's shows will concern Roseanne's unexpected pregnancy.
Variety columnist Army Archerd reported today (Monday) that producers have
not yet decided whether character will "get through the pregnancy to
A Florida tape-rental chain, Video Tape Town, is offering free rentals of
Schindler's List.