Ted Turner said he turned to the "Gods and Generals" film project to send a message to those who no longer wanted his generalship.
The displaced media mogul participated in a Washington media junket for the Civil War epic, for which he is the executive producer. "Gods and Generals" is a prequel to "Gettysburg."
"I like things that entertain, inform and inspire," Turner, the 64-year-old founder of CNN, said. "I think that this film was designed to do all three.
"When I green-lit this film three years ago, it was 1 percent of my net worth. By now, today, of my liquid net worth, it's 15 percent. That's how much I've lost on my other assets ..."
Turner said after Turner Broadcasting and AOL Time Warner turned down "Gods and Generals," so he decided to make it himself as an independent producer.
That decision apparently was driven by another -- the one that forced him out of the company.
"I was phased out of the company," Turner said. "I was phased out and I wanted to make a statement. ... This may be the only movie I make, but by God, I wanted to make one good one. I ain't Steven Spielberg, but I'm Ted Turner and my name's up there on this film. I'm excited about it. It's like a new baby. I wanted to do something that would make everybody proud that was involved in it and make America proud and I think it does."
Asked about his decision to "step down" from AOL Time Warner, Turner quickly corrected: "Management. Just day-to-day management, which I didn't have ... I didn't really step down. I gave up my title (vice chairman)."
He then joked: "I didn't really have anything to do anyway. They were just paying me to keep my mouth shut down at the end of the hall. Like a ghost at the end of the hall."
So, now that he's not being paid any more does that mean he's willing to share any secrets?
"I'm free at last. I know what it is to be free!" he said. "But I don't know what to do with my freedom. I'm like a man that has been let out of jail, but he doesn't know what to say.
The one thing I am going to do is I'm going to work hard to see what we can do to restore some shareholder value ... Everybody's lost too damn much money, OK? We want our money back. Show me the money. This place has been not run too well. They've been making a lot of mistakes. OK. Goodbye. That's all I'm saying."
In addition to shepherding "Gods and Generals," Turner also played a small role in the 3 1/2-hour film. Told he offered welcome comic relief to the horrors of war, Turner said: "When you spend $90 million, you better enjoy it! I could have taken a hell of a vacation for that money."
ROMANCE TRUMPS ACTION AT THE BOX OFFICE
Love was in the air at the box office this weekend as moviegoers embraced "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days," which won this week's box-office sweepstakes.
According to studio estimates released Sunday, the critically panned film earned $24.1 million at the box office this weekend, toppling the high-octane Al Pacino-Colin Farrell thriller from last week's No. 1 spot to the No. 4 place with $9.5 million.
Dancing its way into the No. 3 spot this weekend was the Golden Globe-winning musical, "Chicago," which sold $10.7 million worth of tickets.
Rounding out the top five was the horror sequel, "Final Destination 2," which racked up $8.7 million at the box office.
DVD FEATURES OSBOURNES UNCENSORED
Fans of "The Osbournes" will get to hear every bleeping word the family says with the release of a DVD that deletes the bleeps and leaves the curses.
Notorious for their constant on-air swearing, Ozzy, Sharon, Jack and Kelly have kept the censors hopping the past two seasons. Although many of the situations on the Emmy Award-winning reality show are hilarious, viewers miss a lot of what is happening because the Osbournes' coarse language is bleeped out.
"The Osbournes--The First Season," available on DVD March 4, remedies the situation and even offers viewers an "Ozzy translator" for when the aging rocker's slurred speech becomes too cryptic to decipher.
The two-disc DVD includes never-before-seen footage, allowing audiences to see and hear what was edited from the television screen, as well as a "Too Oz For TV" blooper reel and an Osbournes bingo game. For those who prefer not hear the four-letter words, there is a censor option that will play each of the first season's 10 episodes as it appeared on television -- bleeps and all.
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