In Warner's "The Sheltering Sky" (Dec. 7, limited), Bernardo Bertolucci ("The Last Emperor") reportedly elicits exquisite performances from his cast (Debra Winger and John Malkovich) but seems more comfortable on the epic scale than on an intimate one. "The fact that Warner Bros. didn't screen it early says to me that there's something slightly rotten," said an executive at a rival studio.
Warners has another tough sell with "Hamlet" (Dec. 19, limited). Not only is it Shakespeare, but the casting of Mel Gibson in the lead has reportedly drawn laughs in theaters where the trailer has been shown. Still, the word on Gibson's performance is good and director Franco Zeffirelli has been a master at popularizing works of the Bard.
For the Record
Los Angeles Times Thursday November 15, 1990 Home Edition Calendar Part F Page 7 Column 1 Entertainment Desk 1 inches; 28 words Type of Material: Correction
Release dates--20th Century Fox's release of "Predator 2" will open on Nov. 21 and the studio's "Come See the Paradise" opens on Dec. 25. Incorrect opening dates were reported in Wednesday's Calendar.
As always, there's talk of some clinkers. Paramount's "Almost An Angel" (Dec. 19.) is said to be an unfortunate departure for "Crocodile Dundee" duo Paul Hogan and wife Linda Kozlowski. MGM-Pathe's "Rocky V, The Final Bell"(Nov. 16) has been called "the major groan of the Christmas season," an expensive embarrassment to a studio with a paucity of riches.
Research screenings of Brian De Palma's "The Bonfire of the Vanities" (Warner Bros., Dec. 21) have reportedly not gone well. One eyewitness called it a "cartoon" of a film and questioned whether the material was suited to De Palma's blood-and-guts style. "Everyone is asking if Brian can find a way to mutilate a woman in it . . . Melanie Griffiths watch out," said a producer.
Fast Out of the Gate:
Kevin Costner's "Dances With Wolves" soared on opening weekend, turning in a per-screen average of more than $40,000. Industry analysts believe it will hold steady when it's released wide in the coming weeks.
On the Outside:
Independent films will also be jockeying for position. Among them, Miramax has three entries: Merchant/Ivory's "Mr. and Mrs. Bridge" (Nov. 23, limited), a slow but tasteful art house film co-starring Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward; "The Long Walk Home" (Dec. 25, limited), a well-intentioned civil rights drama starring Sissy Spacek and Whoopi Goldberg; and "The Grifters" (Dec. 5, L.A. one-week Oscar-qualifying run), a dark comedy with great performances by Anjelica Huston and Annette Bening considered a bit downbeat for holiday fare.
Orion Classics is set to release "Cyrano" (mid-December in L.A.), a lush French production that won its star, Gerard Depardieu, the best actor award at Cannes.
No word at all on Bruce Beresford's "Mr. Johnson" (Avenue, Dec. 12), but referring to its setting of road building in West Africa in the 1920s, one producer quipped: "They ought to put speed bumps in the aisle . . . to prevent people from leaving in droves."