IGER: NO PLANS TO REVIVE TALKS WITH SAG

Disney chief Robert Iger, who is often credited with having found common ground between the Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers and thereby ending the writers' strike, has suggested that a similar accord with the Screen Actors Guild is unlikely to come about. Speaking during a conference call to discuss Disney's latest quarterly results, Iger said that producers are unlikely to "offer to SAG terms that are different than what the other guilds agreed to." Iger insisted that the standoff is not likely to have "a damaging impact" on Disney's film business and that the company is moving forward with its TV and movie productions. Of greater concern, he suggested, was the deteriorating economy. However, he insisted, "We hold a strong hand in a very tough game." Disney's net income for its third quarter rose 9 percent from a year ago to $1.3 billion on revenue of $9.2 billion, beating analysts' estimates. Although results for its film division were down significantly from a year ago when Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End was breaking box-office records, Iger says that the division will likely show strength in the next quarter when the effects of WALL-E are felt. remained at No. 3 on the Nielsen VideoScan First Alert sales chart.

21 IS NO. 1

Sony's 21 debuted at the top of the DVD sales charts, rental charts, and Blu-ray charts last week. The film, which earned $81.2 million when it was released in theaters earlier this year, yanked Disney's Step Up 2 the Streets off its perch on the sales charts and Lionsgate's The Bank Job off its perch on Home Media magazine's rental charts. Riding the tails of The Dark Knight, a limited-edition gift set of Batman Begins remained at No. 3 on the Nielsen VideoScan First Alert sales chart.

BAY: SHOW WILL GO ON WITHOUT LEBEOUF

Director Michael Bay has disputed reports that production of his latest Transformers sequel has been put in mothballs until its star recovers from a recent auto accident. Writing on the film's website, the veteran director blasted reports that he had planned to pu the production into hiatus at a cost of some $200,000 per day while Shia LaBeouf recovered from injuries to his hand and knee. (The hand injury required surgery.) ""The car crash with Shia is unexpected, but we are still filming" Bay said on the film's website. "The movie has not shut down -- there is plenty to do without Shia. The shooting is also going great -- I'm having a blast making this movie! Shia will be back soon and we all wish him a fast recovery."

CHE REMAINS IN STORAGE

Two months after garnering a raft of enthusiastic notices and a best-actor award for its star, Benicio Del Toro, Steven Soderbergh's $65-million Che has still been unable to find a distributor, the Hollywood Reporter observed today (Thursday). Even in the best of times for independent film makers, the film would have faced an uphill battle: it is more than four hours long; the actors speak Spanish; and it deals with a highly controversial figure. But now, the trade publication pointed out, the film must also compete within an independent film industry "rattled by folding specialty divisions, economic woes and the challenge of keeping films in theaters. A climate of risk-aversion not seen since the death of auteur-driven films in the 1970s has set in." The Reporter also noted that two other U.S.-made films that premiered at Cannes have also not had an easy time. Charlie Kaufman's Synecdoche, New York only recently landed a distributor, Sony Classics. But James Gray's Two Lovers, produced by Mark Cuban's 2929 Productions, was unable to find a buyer and is now scheduled to be released by Magnolia Pictures, also co-owned by Cuban.
Cinemark Movie Club

Brian B.