HOW TO MARKET A MOVIE WITHOUT ITS STAR?
Lindsay Lohan's arrest early Tuesday on charges of driving under the influence and of cocaine possession has thrown a monkeywrench into the marketing apparatus for TriStar's I Know Who Killed Me, her latest movie, which is scheduled to open on Friday. She had been booked to appear this evening (Wednesday) on the Tonight show with Jay Leno to promote the film, but the network said Tuesday that her appearance had been canceled -- presumably to avoid the inevitable discussion with Leno about her recent scrapes with the law. Today's Los Angeles Times also observed that Lohan's arrest was likely to further set back production on the movie Poor Things, which already was postponed once this year when Lohan checked herself into rehab after an earlier DUI arrest. It was to have started in three weeks. With Lohan no longer available, noted today's New York Times, it was unclear whether the film's financing will hold together. On Tuesday night, the syndicated Access Hollywood read an email from Lohan in which she proclaimed, "I am innocent. ... Did not do drugs; they're not mine."
L.A. TIMES MOVIE WRITER'S COLUMN IS SPIKED
Los Angeles Times entertainment writer Patrick Goldstein, whose "The Big Picture" commentary on the movie business appears in Tuesday's "Calendar" section, saw this week's column spiked by his editors, then appear on the L.A. Observed blog and subsequently excerpted on other entertainment-related websites. In it, Goldstein described how the London Mail on Sunday recently distributed 2.9 million free copies of Prince's new Planet Earth CD with the paper. He called the endeavor a "striking example of how two struggling businesses could reinvent themselves." Goldstein suggested that by following the British newspaper's example, the Times could not only boost advertising, but "transform the image of the paper." Moreover, he argued, "it would create a new income stream that might be less intrusive than putting ads on the front page" -- something that the Times is reportedly considering. Goldstein's article was killed by the Times (in its place was a notice saying that he was "on assignment") on the same day itannounced that associate editor John Montorio, who is believed to have yanked it, was appointed managing editor/features.
TRADES PREDICT BIG BUSINESS FOR SIMPSONS MOVIE
Hollywood's two top trade publications agree that The Simpsons Movie is likely to please fans of the series and become a huge success at the box office. Writing in today's (Wednesday) Daily Variety, Brian Lowry commented, "Put simply, if somebody had to make a Simpsons movie, this is pretty much what it should be -- clever, irreverent, satirical and outfitted with a larger-than-22-minutes plot." Lowry concluded, "The Simpsons Movie clearly represented a marketing challenge, and given the build-up, Fox appears to have been equal to that task. As for magnifying the series without losing its deeply ingrained charms, the producers have mostly passed that test as well, proving their 18-year-old child was ready to go out and face the big bad (theatrical) world." Writing in the Hollywood Reporter, Kirk Honeycutt predicted that the movie "should earn plenty of d'oh." Honeycutt observed that the producers are clearly "going for box office gold" by making a film "that hearkens back to the vintage years of the series." And that, he suggested, is how it should be. "While little has been gained in bringing the Simpsons to the screen, other than a bigger canvas requiring a much larger army of animators,"he wrote, "it's still fun to enjoy the crew in this new setting."
ROBERTS TO BE HONORED BY AMERICAN CINEMATHEQUE
Julia Roberts has been selected to receive the prestigious American Cinematheque award on Oct. 12 in ceremonies scheduled to be broadcast in December by AMC. The cinema arts organization which currently screens restored classic films in what was once the Grauman's Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood and the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica, said that Roberts was the unanimous choice of the selection committee. Last year, she presented the organization's award to George Clooney. In a statement, American Cinematheque's group chairman Rick Nicita said, "Julia Roberts is a true movie star who has delighted audiences and critics in so many pictures," including Pretty Woman, Steel Magnolias and Erin Brockovich.