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Work on 'Babe' Stretches Well Into the 11th Hour

Movies: When fine-tuning threatened the Thanksgiving release, gossip spread through Hollywood. Universal and the director downplay the situation.

November 20, 1998|ROBERT W. WELKOS and RICHARD NATALE | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

But the premiere's sudden cancellation triggered rumors of a possible catastrophe-in-the-making that swept through Hollywood, raising questions about a studio in need of hits. Earlier this week, the studio's parent firm, the Seagram Co., pushed out the studio's chief executive, Frank Biondi Jr., after Universal's big-budget release "Meet Joe Black," starring Brad Pitt, debuted in third place.

As a result, much more will now be riding on "Babe: Pig in the City."

Rocco said that the studio surveyed exhibitors across the country after Wednesday's screening and received positive responses, including one from a mother who came with her small children, who said they loved the movie.

Some other exhibitors said they found the film entertaining but not as good as the original "Babe."

An exhibitor from Kansas City said the film was "similar to the first, but not as marketable." An exhibitor from Des Moines said there wasn't the same impact as the original film, "but it's cute and entertaining." And an exhibitor from Charlotte, N.C., added: "Good special effects. Should attract kids 3 to 12."

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