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.
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.
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.
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.
May 23, 1998 |
It happened when he was 8, a boy in Encino, but Todd Haynes, sitting on a hotel rooftop as the "dizzying experience" of the Cannes Film Festival unfolds below him, still can feel its power. "I went to see '2001' with my dad and it was like we took a drug trip together," the writer-director remembers. "It was like 'We're going somewhere, we don't know where, but the more mysterious the better.' I wanted to make a movie like that, that fuels the imagination with ideas.
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.
September 5, 1998 |
Producer Christine Vachon is contemplating the fallout from Todd Solondz's new movie, "Happiness." Some people aren't happy about it. Not only was it dumped by its original distributor, October Films, at the behest of parent Universal Pictures, but at least one Hollywood talent agency refused to pass the script about child molestation to its below-the-line clients--as if working as a costume designer on a film as depraved as that would ruin a career.