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News from the entertainment capital

By
PAT NASON, UPI Hollywood Reporter

MAYBE EVERYTHING HASN'T CHANGED

While Hollywood executives fret over the advisability of featuring violence in movies and TV in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, a new poll suggests that entertainment consumers are not similarly concerned about the issue.

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A poll conducted for The Hollywood Reporter indicates that seven out of 10 people said they do not plan to change their viewing habits in reaction to the attacks and that nearly nine of 10 said they don't feel guilty about having fun.

Two-thirds of those polled said they believe TV shows should cut down on violence. Almost as many said they believe it is critically important for studios to cut down on violence in movies.

However, researchers said that for the most part those who said there should be less violence in movies and TV are the least-frequent moviegoers and least likely to subscribe to premium TV channels.

"This survey exemplifies the good old American way," said Jim Medick, founder and CEO of MRCGroup Research Institute, which conducted the poll. "People are not going to change their habits for anyone or anything. Those saying it's very important to reduce violence in films are the ones who already don't see those types of movies. That's across the board."

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DELAYS COST STUDIOS MILLIONS

Hollywood studios are facing losses in the million of dollars for their decisions to delay the release of movies such as "Collateral Damage," starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, and "Big Trouble," starring Tim Allen.

A major portion of the lost revenue is the money already spent to promote the movies. Some executives now consider much of that expense to be wasted -- even as others acknowledge that their programming decisions have resulted in publicity that money can't buy.

Another major expense is the interest the studios will pay on the millions of dollars they borrowed to finance the productions. The longer the pictures sit on the shelf, the longer the studios pay interest on multi-million dollar loans.

The studios' willingness to write off those losses has made an impression on Schwarzenegger.

"Even though it meant the loss of millions of dollars," he told the Los Angeles Times, "they felt it was better to close the book and think more about healing the wounds than benefiting from it."

In "Collateral Damage," Schwarzenegger plays a Los Angeles fireman who seeks revenge against a terrorist after his wife and young son are killed in an attack.

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"What impressed me the most was that even though the studios have a reputation of being greedy," said Schwarzenegger, "I saw a different side of people."

He said the setback facing the studios "cannot be compared to the setback of the tragedy."

David Foster, a producer of "Collateral Damage," told the paper that the movie's title has become so well known, "we are getting publicity we'd never otherwise get."


POLITICS ON HOLD IN HOLLYWOOD?

Actor John Cusack generated headlines in August with some choice comments about President George W. Bush in a Details magazine interview, but the star of the new movie, "Serendipity," is keeping his counsel these days in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.

At this week's New York premiere of his new movie, Cusack told gossip columnist Mitchell Fink he's keeping his criticism of Bush under wraps -- but only temporarily.

"The country is united, the left side and the right," he told Fink. "I'm sure there will soon come a time when the political debate starts up again. But I don't feel it's appropriate now."

Cusack said some people might want to criticize the president "right now, but I'm not going to be that guy."

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CLINTON IN HOLLYWOOD

Ted Danson, Mary Steenburgen, Danny DeVito and Sylvester Stallone were in the audience Tuesday when former President Bill Clinton accepted the American Oceans Campaign 2001 Partners Award in Hollywood.

Columnist Liz Smith reported that the former president reduced both the audience and himself to tears in his acceptance speech, as he discussed threats to the environment and the nation.

The audience also included Barbra Streisand, James Brolin, Kristin Davis, Bill Maher, Rhea Perlman and CBS chief Les Moonves.

Smith said someone asked Clinton about formerly persistent reports that he was angling for a career in Hollywood, and that Clinton answered with a laugh and a joke: "I'm looking at scripts right now. I'll do whatever they'll put me in."


HOLIDAY MOVIE SCHEDULE GOES THROUGH MORE CHANGES

As Hollywood studios continue to tinker with their release schedules for major holiday movies, there is word that Universal Pictures has changed its plans for the premiere of the upcoming Russell Crowe movie, "A Beautiful Mind."

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Directed by Ron Howard, the story of the brilliant but troubled math genius John Forbes Nash Jr. had been scheduled for a nationwide release on Dec. 25. The studio has decided to hold off on the wide release until Jan. 4, but the picture will have a limited release on Christmas Day in a handful of markets, in order to qualify for this year's Academy Awards.

According to a report in Daily Variety, Universal executives insisted the schedule change was not motivated by Sony's announcement two days ago that it will release "Ali," starring Will Smith as Muhammad Ali, on Dec. 25. At the moment, "Ali" is the only major motion picture scheduled to open on Christmas, but several high-profile movies are set to open on Dec. 21, the Friday before Christmas.

They include: the highly-anticipated animated feature, "Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius"; "Joe Somebody," starring Tim Allen; "Kate & Leopold," starring Meg Ryan and Hugh Jackman; "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" and "The Majestic," starring Jim Carrey as a blacklisted Hollywood writer who loses his memory in a car crash and starts a new life in a small town.

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The schedule also calls for a Dec. 21 opening for the new Martin Scorsese movie, "Gangs of New York," but there has been speculation in Hollywood that Miramax will announce that the movie will have only a limited release -- in order to qualify for this year's Oscars -- then get a wide release in January.


A STAR FOR ROSE MARIE

Rose Marie, who broke into show business 75 years ago and gained lasting fame as a regular on the legendary TV comedy, "The Dick Van Dyke Show," finally has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Van Dyke was on hand this week to celebrate the occasion. So was Carl Reiner, who created the series that won the Emmy for outstanding comedy series from 1962-66.

Marie played Sally Rogers, a member of the writing staff for "The Alan Brady Show," the mythical show-within-a-show where Van Dyke's Rob Petrie was the head writer.

She got her start as a singer in vaudeville when she was 3, billed as Baby Rose Marie. She made her film starring debut when she was 6, in the 1929 in musical, "Baby Rose Marie the Child Wonder."

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Before joining "The Dick Van Dyke Show," Rose Marie starred in her own network radio show and was featured in movies such as "Sing, Baby Sing" and "Top Banana." She was also a regular in the 1960 TV series, "My Sister Eileen."

"I'm usually not speechless," she said at the dedication of her star on the Walk of Fame, "but I am now. I am so honored and thrilled."

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