PELLICANO LAWYER WANTS REPORTER'S PHONE RECORDS

In the latest maneuver to track down the anonymous sources of investigative reporters, lawyers for private detective Anthony Pellicano have asked the Verizon phone company to turn over all of the phone records of ex-cop-turned-reporter John Connolly, who covered the Pellicano case for Los Angeles Magazine and Vanity Fair and wrote a book about it, The Sin Eater, due to be published later this year by Atria Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. Pellicano wants Connolly's records from as far back as 2002, the year Pellicano's offices in Hollywood were raided. .

WEINSTEINS MAKING BIG INVESTMENT IN ASIAN-BASED MOVIES

The Weinstein Co. announced plans Wednesday to invest $285 million In Asian-themed projects, including a remake of the 1954 Kurosawa film The Seven Samurai. In a statement, company said that it had also invested an undisclosed amount in the martial arts film The Forbidden Kingdom, which pairs Jet Li and Jackie Chan. The film company founded by Bob and Harvey Weinstein said that it hopes to impart a "Western sensibility" to the productions in the hopes of producing movies that appeal to both Asia and the West. .

BOLLYWOOD DIRECTOR TO REMAKE CASABLANCA

Indian director Rajeev Nath is making a Bollywood version of the WWII classic Casablanca, which starred Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Berman. Moreover, he plans a premiere of the movie in Casablanca, Morocco itself. "My film will be a tribute to the original," Nath told the Associated Press. "As a student of films, I had watched this great classic 20 times." In the new version, the Bogart character has been changed to an Indian diplomat-turned restaurateur who helps his lover and her husband, both Tamil separatist rebels fighting the Sri Lankan government, escape from India. .

FOX TO PUSH $150,000 MOVIE

Fox Searchlight is planning to give the $150,000 art-house musical Once an advertising push after the film raked in $6.5 million on just 140 screens, USA Today reported today (Wednesday). The film has also received the attention -- and praise -- of Steven Spielberg, who told the newspaper, "A little movie called Once gave me enough inspiration to last the rest of the year." The film's success has apparently surprised the filmmakers, singers Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, who say that they originally planned to sell it only at their concerts. .

FRANCE HONORS DIRECTOR FRIEDKIN

France's Ministry of Culture announced Tuesday that it has named director William Friedkin (The French Connection, The Exorcist) Officer, Order of Arts and Letters (Officier de l'ordre des Arts et des Lettres). The prestigious honor had previously gone to U.S. directors Mel Brooks, Clint Eastwood, Gordon Parks, and Robert Redford. Friedkin will receive the award during ceremonies next fall. In a statement, the director said that he was especially honored to receive it "because of the profound influence French cinema has had on all the filmmakers of my generation." .

THEATER CHAIN CLAIMS DIGITAL PROJECTORS BOOSTED TICKET SALES

Carmike Cinemas, with 276 theaters (2,399) screens in small- to medium-market locations in 37 states, reported virtually flat earnings in its second quarter. In an SEC filing, the theater chain said that it took in $130.1 million during the quarter versus $130.2 million during the same quarter a year ago. In a statement, Carmike chief Michael W. Patrick observed, "While the overall industry box office for the second quarter was not as robust as previously expected, Carmike's ability to participate in the strong blockbuster opening weekends was facilitated in part by our leading-edge digital deployment. Since the majority of our screens have already been converted to digital, we were able to meet the audience demand in a way that we could not satisfy with 35 mm projectors." .

FORMER MGM CHIEF ROSENFELT DEAD AT 85

Frank Rosenfelt, who served as chairman and CEO of MGM from 1972 to 1982, during which time the studio turned out such classics as 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Sunshine Boys, and Network and acquired United Artists, died on August 2 at age 85, it was reported Tuesday. The cause of death was not disclosed.

Brian B. at Movieweb
Brian B.