OSCAR GOES TO WAR
Oscar voters on Sunday will have a chance to attend screenings of all five nominated films in the documentary category. Three are anti-war films. Michael Moore, who is among the nominees for his film Sicko about the U.S. health-care system, told the French news agency Agence France Press Wednesday, "The Academy has nominated three anti-war films: the thing that I was booed off the stage for is now being honored." He was referring to the negative reception he received in 2003 when, in accepting the documentary Oscar for his film Bowling for Columbine, he declared, "We live in a time when we have a man sending us to war for fictitious reasons. ... We are against this war, Mr. Bush. Shame on you!" On Wednesday, Moore remarked, "Times have changed." Among this year's nominated documentaries is Charles Ferguson's No End in Sight. Ferguson, a former member of the Brookings Institution thinktank, spent $2 million of his own money to pay for a film in which more than 70 people who were involved in managing the war after the invasion were interviewed. He told AFP that he made the film because he had become "quite disturbed at the quality of media coverage of the Iraq war."
DISNEY ADS COMING TO A THEATER NEAR YOU
Disney plans to begin pitching its DVDs aimed at kids as part of the ad clusters screened in movie houses showing G- and PG-rated films. The company announced Wednesday that it has signed a deal with National CineMedia's FirstLook, which delivers ads to theaters owned by such chains as AMC, Cinemark, and Regal in 164 markets. Disney President Bob Chapek said in a statement that the deal gives his company "an opportunity to showcase Disney Home Entertainment content to families in the perfect entertainment environment."
STUDIOS TO CONTINUE FEEDING DEAD FORMAT
Both Warner Bros. and Universal Home Video said Wednesday that for the immediate future, they will continue to release product in the HD DVD format, despite Toshiba's earlier announcement that it will discontinue manufacturing HD DVD players. Warner reiterated that it will continue to release titles in both Blu-ray and HD DVD formats through the end of May. Universal said that it plans to release Fletch in the HD DVD version on March 13. It has not yet indicated when it will begin releasing new and catalog titles in Blu-ray. Paramount indicated that it will continue to turn out HD DVD titles through March but did not indicate when it will phase in Blu-ray releases. When it reportedly received $150 million from the HD DVD camp last year to adopt that format exclusively, Paramount shelved its remaining Blu-ray stock. It was not immediately clear whether those disks were destroyed or whether they can now be dusted off and distributed.
STALLONE ANXIOUS TO TESTIFY AGAINST EX-PRIVATE EYE
Sylvester Stallone said Wednesday that he doesn't "want to be left out" of the court proceedings against former private eye Anthony Pellicano, who has been accused of illegally wiretapping several movie stars while they were involved in litigation. In an interview with the Associated Press, Stallone said that he was not surprised to learn that his phone conversations had been monitored. "In this town, nothing seems as it is," Stallone told the A.P. "There's so much skullduggery." The wire service says that Stallone's calls were intercepted in Feb. 2002 while he was involved in a $17.3-million lawsuit against his former business manager, who, he said, gave him bad advice to hold on to his stake in the Planet Hollywood restaurant chain. The suit was later settled.
DISNEY-DALI COLLABORATION COMING TO DVD
The Walt Disney Co. plans to release Destino, a film that began as a 1946 collaboration between Disney and surrealist Salvador Dali and completed in 2003 under the supervision of Walt's nephew, Roy E. Disney. Disney said that it expects to release the film as part of a two-disc "Walt Disney Treasures" set on November 11, 2008. The set will also include a feature-length documentary describing how the partnership between Disney and Dali developed. Another feature included in the package will be a short entitled "The Disney That Almost Was," about Disney projects that never came to full fruition.