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So Much Buzz

May 03, 1987|Pat H. Broeske

We did a double-take over syndie columnist Marilyn Beck's item last week that declared "word is spreading fast" that "Cry Freedom"--Richard Attenborough's film about South African civil rights martyr Steve Biko--will be "one of the front-runners in the '87 Oscar race."

We wondered how "buzz" got started over a picture that's still in rough-cut form.

We buzzed Beck. She told us that she ran into Denzel Washington (who plays Biko) at a party and was surprised to hear that, because of the film, he'd already been offered multi-pic pacts from four studios.

Beck called Universal and learned that Attenborough had screened the pic for brass. And, yes, they were high on the film.

But, stressed Beck, that's not the kind of buzz that convinces her that a movie is/isn't hot. ("I just shake my head when I see an article that says 'So-and-so, the head of marketing for some studio, is jubilant over the studio's next picture--and predicts it'll be a big hit.' Come on!")

On "Cry Freedom," Beck also got good buzz from execs at other studios.

Said Beck: "When other studios start to talk up a (competing) project, you listen. What's interesting is that a lot of the time, they haven't even seen the films they're talking about. But something has convinced them. . . . This gets the tom-toms beating. And the message carries."

Added Beck: "Remember, last year, when the buzz started about this little movie made in the Philippines that no one had seen (meaning "Platoon")? But they talked about it anyway."

Beck claims to have the buzz on other top films of the year. But she declined to share her buzz.

"Are you kidding?" she laughed. "I'm not going to blow a column by giving it to you!"

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