THIS OUGHT TO PACK THEM IN
"Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" is sure to be a hit, now that movie fans know they'll be able to see a new trailer for "Star Wars: Episode II -- Attack of the Clones" just ahead of the "Potter" feature.
Lucasfilm Ltd. announced Tuesday that it will ship the trailer to theaters. It runs more than two minutes and provides more images of "Attack of the Clones" than the one-minute trailer that precedes "Monsters, Inc." on U.S. movie screens.
"Attack of the Clones" is scheduled to open in May 2002.
Owners of "The Phantom Menace" DVD will be able to access an Internet preview of "Attack of the Clones" via a DVD-ROM link at starwars.com beginning Friday.
'RINGS' DIRECTOR DOWNPLAYS RIVALRY WITH 'POTTER'
Some fans and some journalists might want to see a rivalry developing between the upcoming movie adaptations of "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" and "The Lord of the Rings" -- but "Rings" director Peter Jackson is not inclined to fuel that particular fire.
"Everybody paints this sort of competition between 'Harry Potter' and 'Lord of the Rings,'" said Jackson, meeting with reporters in London this week. "It's sort of crazy because I just wish 'Harry Potter' all the best and I'm sure it'll be great."
"Potter" opened to critical raves Sunday in London -- where it goes by the title, "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone."
Jackson's adaptation of the first book of J.R.R. Tolkien's "Rings" trilogy -- "The Fellowship of the Ring" -- premieres in London on Dec. 10, and opens in U.S. theaters on Dec. 19.
'POTTER'S MARKETING STRATEGY
AOL Time Warner's promotional campaign for "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" has drawn attention for its scale -- relatively modest in comparison to recent marketing campaigns on behalf of big-ticket movies.
The company's strategy apparently includes limiting in-depth TV coverage of the event to such items as a one-hour NBC News special this Sunday -- even though AOL Time Warner owns its own TV network, the WB.
NBC News is turning over Sunday's hour of "Dateline" to a Katie Couric report on the making of "Harry Potter." The special is scheduled to run at 7 p.m. -- opposite "60 Minutes" on CBS and ABC's "Wonderful World of Disney," which will show a "Facts of Life" reunion movie.
Couric visited the "Potter" set in London over several months, taping interviews with director Chris Columbus and members of the cast -- including Daniel Radcliffe, who plays the young wizard at the center of author J.K. Rowling's best-selling book series.
WRITER ACCUSES SPIELBERG OF STEALING 'SMALL SOLDIERS' IDEA
According to a report in Daily Variety, writer-director Gregory Grant is accusing Steven Spielberg of stealing his idea for the movie "Small Soldiers," which grossed $55 million for Spielberg's DreamWorks studio in 1998.
"We see this as a little guy against the big guy case," said Grant's lawyer, Ira Reiner.
The former Los Angeles district attorney told Variety, "It is highly unlikely that a jury will conclude anything other than that there was copying here."
Well-known Hollywood lawyer Bert Fields is representing all defendants in the case -- including Spielberg, his production company, Amblin Entertainment, and Universal Pictures, which partnered with DreamWorks to make the movie. Fields told Variety Grant doesn't have much of a case.
"'Small Soldiers' was independently created by the DreamWorks people," said Fields. "As much as I like and respect my friend Ira Reiner, he's not going to go very far."
Fields said his clients have a license from Grant's ex-wife, a co-author on the project, to make the movie. Reiner said the license might not get the defendants off the hook.
"Spielberg sought out the ex-wife after we sued, and bought her off for $20,000," said Reiner. "We can show that the only thing she did was type up the script and clean up the grammar."
Spielberg did not take a credit on "Small Soldiers," which was directed by Joe Dante ("Gremlins," "Twilight Zone: The Movie"). Writing credits went to Gavin Scott ("The Borrowers"), Adam Rifkin ("Detroit Rock City"), and the team of Ted Elliott & Terry Rossio ("Shrek," "The Road to El Dorado," "Aladdin").
'X-FILES' HEADED BACK TO BIG SCREEN
According to published reports in Hollywood, 20th Century Fox is in talks with Chris Carter about developing a second feature film based on his long-running Fox-TV hit, "The X-Files."
There is no word yet on the cast for the follow-up to the 1998 feature, in which David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson starred as FBI agents Mulder and Scully, the characters they created when the show premiered in 1993. Anderson won the Emmy for lead actress in a drama series in 1997.
Duchovny is no longer on the show. Anderson has made it plain she wants to leave the show at the end of the 2001-02 season, which premieres Sunday.
'MRS. ROBINSON' HEADED FOR BROADWAY
Speculation is under way as to whether Kathleen Turner will disrobe when she plays Mrs. Robinson in the upcoming Broadway production of "The Graduate."
Turner ("Body Heat," "Prizzi's Honor") raised eyebrows by taking it off on the London stage where she originated the stage role in April 2000. The West End production is still running.
Anne Bancroft was nominated for a best actress Oscar and won a Golden Globe for best actress in a comedy for her performance as Mrs. Robinson in the 1967 movie, "The Graduate," based on a Charles Webb novel.
Producers have announced that the U.S. production will launch a pre-Broadway tour in Baltimore in January. After stops in Toronto and Boston, the show will have previews in New York beginning March 15, with an opening scheduled for April 4. Producers have not announced which Broadway theater will get the show.
BUY AN AD -- HELP THE TERROR VICTIMS
According to a report in the Los Angeles Times, Daily Variety is offering movie studios and publicists an opportunity to help raise funds for victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, even as they campaign for awards for their pet movies, directors, stars and other assorted filmmaking professionals.
Variety plans to donate $100 from the sale of each full-page campaign ad for the Academy Awards, the Golden Globes or other major movie awards.
Publisher Charles Koones acknowledged that the policy -- a first for the trade paper -- is intended not only to raise funds for a good cause, but also to help Variety sell ads.
"As they say, 'doing well by doing good,"' said Koones. "We want to take the momentum of this season -- our busiest -- and focus it in a positive way.
Koones said Variety does not expect a drop in awards season ad sales -- even though the overall advertising environment has turned down dramatically -- because competition for the Oscars, Golden Globes, etc. appears to be very tight.
"No clear-cut winner has emerged in any category," he said, "so ads may be even more important -- and prevalent."
JACKO SETS NEW MARK
While Michael Jackson and Epic Records wait to see how Jackson's new CD, "Invincible,' sells in its first week in stores, the label has announced that Jackson's online chat on Oct. 26 attracted more visitors than Eminem drew in August 2000 -- and set a record for the pop music destination, GetMusic.com
Epic reported that fans from Australia, Canada, France, Germany, India, Iran, Italy, Netherlands, Russia and elsewhere logged on with questions for Jackson.
Sony Music linked to the one-hour chat, which was hosted by Anthony DeCurtis, the host of GetMusic's "The A List with Anthony DeCurtis." The audio interview is available at getmusic.com and at michaeljackson.com.