MGM OUSTS ITS CEO
MGM on Tuesday ousted Harry Sloan as CEO of the studio, replacing him with an "office of CEO," but kept him in the position of chairman. The CEO duties will now be carried out by production head Mary Parent, Chief Financial Officer Bedi A. Singh and restructuring expert Stephen F. Cooper. Sloan's efforts to revive the studio's United Artists unit, included bringing in Tom Cruise and producing partner Paula Wagner to run it, a decision that proved costly. Wagner left the company one year ago, and MGM has not released a movie since Valkyrie, which starred Cruise, opened with so-so results last December. It is due to release a remake of the '70s' musical Fameon September 25.
MOVIE ACADEMY NAMES SHERAK NEW PRESIDENT
Veteran studio executive Tom Sherak has been named president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences (AMPAS). He will succeed Sid Ganis, who has served as president since 2005 but is barred by Academy rules from serving more than four consecutive one-year terms. As chairman of AMPAS's Awards Review Committee, he is regarded as the principal proponent of the controversial measure that will see ten films being nominated for Best Picture next year rather than the usual five.
TOKYO FILM FESTIVAL NAMES JURY PRESIDENT
The Tokyo Film Festival has named Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu to head the jury in this year's competition. The award-winning director (Amores Perros, Babel) said in a statement that he regarded the festival as a meeting place for "those who will change the rules and those who have already enriched our vision with their films. ... I am looking forward to finding new voices that will generate in us catharsis and reflection." Ironically, Iñáritto's selection comes days after the festival began courting controversy with its snubbing of the critically praised documentary Cove, which deals with the slaughter of some 23,000 dolphins a year by the Japanese town of Taijii -- and the alleged efforts by the Japanese government to cover up the town's crimes. In a recent note to Deadline Hollywood Daily's Nikki Finke, actor/filmmaker Fisher Stevens expressed dismay over The Cove's rejection by the TIFF. "Most of the Japanese population has no idea that this is going on. What better way to let them know than to premiere [the movie] on the green carpet of this year's festival?" (The festival this year has a "green" theme.)
BRITISH CENSORS BAR JAPANESE HORROR FLICK
The British Board of Film Classification, the U.K. counterpart to the MPAA Ratings Board, has refused to issue any ratings certificate whatsoever to a Japanese horror film, titled Grotesque, thereby effectively barring it from being shown in Britain.In a statement, BBFC director David Cooke said, "Unlike other recent 'torture'-themed horror works, such as the Saw and Hostel series, Grotesque features minimal narrative or character development and presents the audience with little more than an unrelenting and escalating scenario of humiliation, brutality and sadism. The chief pleasure on offer seems to be in the spectacle of sadism (including sexual sadism) for its own sake." The board said that allowing the film to be shown in Britain would put those viewing it in "risk of harm."