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June 05, 1993|Arts and entertainment reports from The Times, national and international news services and the nation's press

Sneakasaurus: Steven Spielberg's "Jurassic Park" will open for advance preview screenings on Thursday evening, a day before its scheduled nationwide opening Friday. More than half of the screens scheduled to show the film will open early for advance screenings on Thursday, beginning in most theaters at 10 p.m. Advance ticket sales for the film, based on Michael Crichton's best-selling novel, have reached record levels nationwide, and many theaters have set additional screenings during opening week to accommodate audience demand, a spokesman said.

'Action' Action: Beleaguered Columbia Pictures executives are breathing easier in the wake of a generally enthusiastic response from theater owners to the studio's hoped-for summer blockbuster, "Last Action Hero." A rough version of the action-picture parody starring Arnold Schwarzennegger was unspooled for exhibitors--many of whom have already booked the movie well in advance of its June 18 opening--at screenings across the country Thursday. "It's a really good summertime movie," said Gene Rutkowski, regional vice president of 1,650-theater AMC chain. "Nobody's going to be disappointed in (Schwarzennegger's) performance, that's for sure." Studio brass and director John McTiernan have been reshooting and re-editing under intense pressure ever since a May 1 test screening yielded disappointing results. But Sid Ganis, Columbia's president of marketing and distribution, said the studio was not surprised by the positive reaction. "This is like scratching your head and saying, 'I told you so,' " he said.


Cutting Back: The Washington-based Fox News Service will cut back staff and services starting Friday. The service, which provides daily news feeds to Fox Broadcasting's seven owned-stations, including KTTV Channel 11, and many of its affiliates, will be cut from eight feeds per day to a single one-hour feed at 8 p.m. Fox News vice president Piers Akerman said many employees facing dismissal will be considered for local news jobs at Fox-owned stations.

Royal Toons: Children's stories written by the Duchess of York, the estranged wife of Queen Elizabeth's son Prince Andrew, may wind up as a television cartoon series. Animators have been commissioned to develop "Budgie the Little Helicopter" for screening on Britain's commercial television network next year.


Broadway Boom: Broadway ticket sales rose to $327.7 million for the season that began June 1, 1992, and ended May 30, 1993, an increase of 11.9% from the previous season's record total of $293 million, the League of American Theatres and Producers reported Friday. Broadway attendance was up 6.5% to 78.6 million from last year's 73.8 million, the league said, adding that the "most astonishing statistic" of the 1992-93 season was the record $621 million in ticket sales for Broadway productions on the road.


Finally, a Hall: The long-delayed Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum will break ground Monday at noon in North Coast Harbor, Cleveland. Funding for the new museum will come from nearly $62 million in bonds--which sold out in less than a day--plus $22 million from private investors and the music industry. Grand opening is expected in 1995.

Short Takes: Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel will reunite for a 10-concert series this fall at New York's Paramount theater as part of a retrospective of Simon's musical career. . . . Singer Mariah Carey, 23, is set to marry her boss, Sony Music President Tommy Mottola, 43, at a Manhattan church ceremony today, which is expected to bring out a celebrity audience, including Michael Jackson, Robert De Niro and Barbra Streisand.


Kudos: Harry Belafonte, who holds the Greek Theatre's record for most ticket sales, will be inducted into the Greek Theatre Wall of Fame today. Belafonte, who will perform there tonight, has sold more than 760,000 tickets in more than 175 concerts since 1956. . . . Actor Brian Dennehy will receive the Artistic Achievement in Acting award from the Florida Film Festival in Orlando today. . . . Ginger Rogers, Lew Ayres, Fay Wray, Gene Raymond, Mary Brian, Charles Lane, Gloria Stuart, Dorothy Granger and many other 60-year members will be honored Sunday by the Screen Actors Guild.


On the Airwaves: Noted mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli made her Los Angeles debut recital last year at the Ambassador Auditorium. But those who missed the all-Rossini performance can hear a broadcast of the concert on "In Recital at Ambassador," from 4-6 p.m. today, on KUSC-FM (91.5).

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