May 20, 1998 |
The battle to buy the first commercial discovery of the 1998 Cannes International Film Festival began quietly enough. No one had seen "Waking Ned," a comedy made with no movie stars by a British first-time writer-director, before its first screening on Monday afternoon. The 33-year-old filmmaker, Kirk Jones, had just driven the print down from London--a 15-hour trip--because plane tickets were too expensive. He didn't even have any promotional posters.
November 22, 1998 |
On a July day in 1987, a quirk of fate gave me the last full-scale interview with John Huston. Six weeks before he died, the director was seated in a garden in Malibu, smartly dressed in a black turtleneck, blue windbreaker, pressed white pants, white socks and penny loafers, receiving oxygen from a nearby tank through a clear plastic tube. The talk turned to Huston's interest in the far corners of human behavior, to the way he relished exploring troubling material.
January 12, 1999 |
Barry Diller has plans to reenter the movie business. The chief of USA Networks, who early in his career achieved fame as the young head of Paramount Pictures, is negotiating with Universal Studios to take control of the specialty film distributor October Films, as well as some assets of PolyGram Filmed Entertainment, according to sources close to the transactions. The addition of filmmaking would add one more dimension to Diller's increasingly formidable media empire.
March 13, 1999 |
After months of on-again, off-again negotiations, USA Networks has struck a deal in principle with Universal Studios to acquire its 51% stake in specialty film distributor October Films as well as the domestic assets of PolyGram Filmed Entertainment, sources said. The transaction is said to be valued at between $100 million and $200 million. It includes the acquisition price and some distribution advances related to unreleased movies.
March 11, 1997 |
Television viewers this week can tune into an unusual offering from Miramax Films: "Mr. Thornton Goes to Hollywood." But this is no dramatic feature by a latter-day Frank Capra. "Mr. Thornton" is a paid infomercial, promising "the fascinating story behind 'Sling Blade' and its creator and star, Billy Bob Thornton." Switch on the morning talk shows, and there's Brenda Blethyn, no longer "Brenda who?" following her Oscar nomination in October Films' "Secrets & Lies."
May 10, 1998
Monsters and natural disasters get all the attention, but there's more to the summer movie lineup. FRIDAY Bulworth. Producer-writer-director Warren Beatty plays an imperiled U.S. senator who becomes involved with young South-Central L.A. resident Halle Berry. (Fox) Clockwatchers. Parker Posey, Lisa Kudrow, Toni Collette and Alanna Ubach are credit-firm temp workers whose bond is threatened by a new arrival. (BMG Independents) French Exit.
April 21, 1998 |
Here's the way things work: a movie gets made, shown in theaters, released on video and only then broadcast on TV. At least that's the way things normally work. Kicking off an unusual series called "Opening Night," public television station KCET-TV Channel 28 will broadcast the independent film "Driven" on Wednesday at 9 p.m. Then, on Friday, the film will open at the Laemmle's Monica in Santa Monica and the Cinemapolis in Anaheim Hills.
September 4, 1994
Here is a selective list of the major releases due out this fall, through Nov. 11: Friday A Good Man in Africa. Bruce Beresford directs Sean Connery (as a doctor) and Colin Friels as a diplomat assigned to a post at a newly independent African state. Louis Gossett Jr. and John Lithgow also star. (Gramercy) Rapa Nui. A tale of man vs. man during the late 17th Century on Easter Island. Jason Scott Lee and Esai Morales star. (Warner Bros.) Sept. 16 Blue Sky.
June 4, 1996 |
Earlier this year, New York-based specialty movie distributor October Films saw two of its brethren, Samuel Goldwyn Co. and Savoy Pictures, succumb to the financial woes of the independents. While neither company went out of business exactly--Savoy is being thrown a lifeline by Barry Diller's Silver King Communications and will now focus on TV, while Goldwyn is being swallowed up by John Kluge's Metromedia International--neither was left standing on its own two financial feet.