In the aftershocks of the stock market quake, exhibitors were re-assessing the box-office potential of Fox's upcoming "Wall Street" (Dec. 11 release). Written-directed by Oliver Stone, it stars Michael Douglas as a savvy stock broker who teaches novice Charlie Sheen the bottom-line on inside trading and corporate raiding.
An informal poll of film buyers yielded mixed results. Said one Midwest buyer: "If the movie's ads seem to exploit the crisis, people will be turned off. Nobody wants to be reminded of a market that dropped 508 points on a recent day. If the Three Mile Island disaster had taken place a month before 'China Syndrome' opened, I doubt that it would have been a hit."
A California exhibitor believes the ads will determine the movie's fate: "The average Joe doesn't know much about the stock market, but if he thinks it's an educational film about Dow Jones, the movie will die. Most film buyers I know are scared that the plot will be too hard to follow and the film won't be very entertaining."
A Fox spokesman said the ads will emphasize Stone's creation of the Oscar-winning film "Platoon" and prominently feature Douglas, who's especially hot out of "Fatal Attraction."