HASTA LA VISTA, BUENA VISTA
The Walt Disney Co. plans to do away with its remaining Buena Vista banners and replace them with the Disney name, Bloomberg News reported today (Thursday), citing people involved in the plans. The company's distribution division and its home-video unit both bear the Buena Vista designation. Buena Vista Games has already become Disney Interactive Studios. Tuna Amobi, a New York-based analyst with Standard & Poor's, told the wire service that few people associate the Buena Vista name with Disney. "I guarantee millions of people don't know that it's owned by Disney. ... Outside of the industry, it's not widely known.
WRESTLING STAR PREDICTS HUGE OPENING FOR WWE FILM
Wrestler-turned actor "Stone Cold" Steve Austin claims that Hollywood has ignored professional wrestling as a potential launching platform and that it will be surprised by the box-office performance of The Condemned, produced by World Wrestling Entertainment, when the movie opens this weekend. Austin, who stars in the film, told today's (Thursday) San Francisco Chronicle: "I come with a built-in, hard-core audience. ... That's one thing Hollywood doesn't understand here. Wrestling isn't just a couple guys beating each other up. ... It's bigger than that. It's a violent Broadway show, with a worldwide audience fan base. There are hardcore wrestling fans who will come out to see us, and then there are hardcore Stone Cold fans." Austin told the Chronicle that Hollywood executives have frequently questioned whether his stardom in the wrestling ring could translate onto the screen. "I hold [ticket sales] records that won't ever be broken, pay-per-view, arenas. ... I got fans worldwide. ... Guys who go to the top in this business aren't stupid. Dummies don't make lots of money."
ANOTHER CHINESE COURT FINES BOOTLEGGER
For the second time in a week, a Beijing court has ordered a company selling pirated DVDs to pay the six major U.S. movie studios a total of $25,000. The case grew out of an investigation by the MPAA, which found that the Beijing Cherry Blossom Star Culture Co. was selling 13 pirated movies at a shop it owned in Beijing. Earlier this month the U.S. filed a formal complaint with the World Trade Organization charging that China had been lax in cracking down on piracy.
GIANT PLASMA SCREENS DELAYED BY PIRACY FEARS
Samsung's plans to begin delivering 50- and 58-inch HDTV plasma screens have been delayed following complaints from major studios that the wireless signal used in the sets could be hijacked. According to reports appearing on several tech-oriented websites on Wednesday, Samsung now plans to begin distributing them in September if the studios' concerns about piracy can be satisfactorily addressed. A Samsung spokesperson told the ArsTechnica website that the approval is needed by June in order to begin shipments by September. "We have the technology; we are just waiting on approval," the spokesperson said.
GONG LI WINS BEST ACTRESS TROPHY AT HONG KONG FILM AWARDS
Zhang Yimou's Curse of the Golden Flower won four awards, including a best-actress award for Gong Li, at the Hong Kong Film Awards Wednesday. Although it was nominated in 14 categories, including best film, best director, and best actor (Chow Yun Fat), the Gong award was the only major trophy taken away. (The other awards were for art direction, costume and makeup, and original song.) Patrick Tam's After This Our Exile won for best film and best director.