Hollywood Digest

By PAT NASON, UPI Hollywood Reporter  |  April 11, 2002 at 2:49 PM
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The Parents Television Council is urging viewers to contact advertisers who have pulled their commercials from the FX Network's new police drama "The Shield" -- described as gritty in rave reviews from critics, but called raunchy by the PTC -- and thank them.

Apparently in response to the PTC's campaign, Burger King and Tricon Global Restaurants -- which owns Kentucky Fried Chicken, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut -- have pulled their ads. Office Depot and New Balance had previously disassociated themselves from the show following its March 12 premiere.

PTC is also urging viewers to contact companies that are still running ads on the show -- and demand that they also stop supporting it.

"The Shield" stars Michael Chiklis ("The Commish," "Wired") as a hard-nosed police detective. If features frank dialogue and images normally confined to premium channels, but considered groundbreaking for basic cable.

FX -- which is owned by media mogul Rupert Murdoch -- said that despite the defections, "The Shield" is 75 percent sold for its first 13 episodes, because new sponsors have stepped in to replace the ones who left.


Now that Sony Pictures Entertainment has decided to cut back on TV production, the company has more studio space than it needs -- so it has decided to put its historic Culver City lot up for sale.

The lot, which is adjacent to Sony's main lot, has 14 soundstages and 150,000 square feet of office space. It also has a history.

Classic movies including "Citizen Kane" and "King Kong" were made there, and the spectacular "burning-of-Atlanta" scene from "Gone with the Wind" was shot there -- using redecorated scenery from "King Kong" to represent part of the Atlanta skyline.

According to some estimates, Sony could get more than $100 million for the lot.


When "Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron" screens at the Cannes Film Festival on May 18, the audience reportedly will get something out of the ordinary -- a live performance of the film's music by composer Hans Zimmer and rocker Bryan Adams, who wrote and performed several original songs for the animated feature.

"Spirit" combines traditional and 3-D animation in a story about a wild stallion in the Old West.

Adams and Zimmer have already accompanied clips of the movie with live performances of their soundtrack music at least twice -- at the movie industry's ShoWest convention in Las Vegas and at a DreamWorks party in Los Angeles last month.

"Spirit" opens in U.S. theaters on May 24.


Some details have yet to be worked out -- for example, they don't have a theater picked out for matinee showings -- but the date has been set for the premiere of George Lucas' fifth "Star Wars" movie, "Episode II -- Attack of the Clones."

The long-awaited picture will screen on May 12, as the closing attraction at Robert De Niro's new Tribeca Film Festival in New York. They're calling it "'Clones' With a Cause: Hayden Christensen, Ewan McGregor & Natalie Portman in 'Episode II.'"

The event will feature two private screenings in the afternoon for children and families affected by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, and an evening screening designed as a fund-raiser for the Children's Aid Society. The evening screening will be open to the public -- at $500 to $1,000 a pop.

"As a father and filmmaker," said Lucas in announcing the event, "it's my pleasure to offer the film in support of the children of New York City."


John Davis -- the director of the Oscar-nominated animated feature "Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius" -- has a deal to write and direct a screen version of John Nickle's 1998 illustrated children's book "Ant Bully" for Universal Pictures and Tom Hanks' production company, Playtone.

Like "Jimmy Neutron," "Ant Bully" will be computer-animated.

The book is the story of Lucas, a boy who gets bullied by a bigger kid, then turns around and takes it out on ants. But an ant wizard turns the tables, and shrinks Lucas to the size of an ant.

His experiences -- hauling leaves, scratching around for food and fighting off wasps -- help teach him an important lesson.

Playtone, which Hanks runs with his producing partner Gary Goetzman, is also working up CGI features based on the children's illustrated books "Polar Express" and "Where the Wild Things Are."


According to a report in the New York Daily News, the owners of several buildings in Times Square have slapped Columbia Pictures with a lawsuit, claiming that the new movie "Spider-Man" improperly manipulated their commercial signage in scenes set in Times Square.

The owners of 2 Times Square accuse the studio of digitally replacing a Samsung ad on the side of the building with an ad for USA Today. Samsung is a major competitor of Sony, which owns Columbia Pictures.

"We think it's inappropriate to substitute your own image for the one that exists," Anthony Costantini, a lawyer for the building owners, told the Daily News.

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