ACTORS' IMPASSE COULD AFFECT COMIC-CON

Steven "Frosty" Weintraub, who runs the Collider entertainment website, has warned that if the Screen Actors Guild and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers are unable to reach an agreement by early next month, actors would likely disappear from the July 24 Comic-Con convention in San Diego. "Most people go to Comic-Con to get a glimpse of some of the biggest actors working in the entertainment industry," Weintraub wrote. "Where else can a fan from Colorado show up and know their favorite actors will be there and they'd actually have a chance to get an autograph or ask them a question?" Weintraub, who says he was a "staunch supporter" of the Writers Guild strike is clearly opposed to the actors' tactics. If the writers and directors were able to work out a deal with the studios, he comments, "I'd like to think [a precedent] has been set over new media money and other residuals." Meanwhile, the Associated Press reported on Tuesday that Jack Nicholson, Viggo Mortensen, Nick Nolte are among some 60 actors who have signed a letter supporting the leadership of the Screen Actors Guild in its effort to persuade members of the American Federation of TV and Radio Artists to vote against the contract with the AMPTP negotiated by their union's leaders.

BLU-RAY MAKING FASTER INROADS THAN DVD

Consumers are buying Blu-ray Disc players at a rate faster than they did conventional DVD players when they first appeared nine years ago, according to a new study. UK-based Futuresource Consulting estimated that Western European consumers are grabbing up Blu-ray players at more than six times the rate that they bought DVD players in 1999. Video Business magazine quoted Futuresource exec Jim Bottoms as saying, "As player prices continue to fall, title availability grows and awareness increases, Blu-ray Disc players will become the product of choice, given the fact that they also play DVD and CD media." Other analysts, however, have previously questioned the longterm viability of the high-definition players, noting that most of those sold are in fact Sony PlayStation 3 consoles and that many consumers have expressed an unwillingness to pay a significant premium for Blu-ray discs.

DISNEY TO OVERHAUL WEBSITE

For the second time in two years the Walt Disney Company plans to overhaul its primary website, Disney.com, vastly increasing the number of videos available on the site, including feature films, and making the site easier to navigate and more compelling to use, the New York Times reported. The newspaper observed that Disney.com, which remains the leading online site for children, is worried that it may be overtaken by rivals, particularly Nickelodeon.com. The Times noted that in May, while the average user spent 44.9 minutes on Disney.com, Nickelodeon kept its visitors busy for 79.8 minutes. Disney also plans to reposition the website as a place that entertains, not one that merely exists to promote Disney product.

WALL-E DRAWING ECSTATIC EARLY REVIEWS

While last weekend's new films drew some of the most scathing reviews of the year, next weekend's WALL-E, from Disney/Pixar, is likely to draw some of the most enthusiastic, if early reviews are any indication. Indeed, New York magazine asks in its current issue, "Is it possible that Wall-E's over-the-top advance reviews are correct, and this truly is a masterpiece?" Robert Wilonsky in New York's Village Voice comes close to saying as much, calling the movie "a film that's both breathtakingly majestic and heartbreakingly intimate," and concluding his review by remarking, "You'll adore it because of a cuddly, lonely little robot who breaks your beeping heart." And Harry Knowles of the AintItCool.com website praised the film as "one of the absolute best hard science fiction films made in my adult life."

FROST/NIXON TO OPEN LONDON FILM FESTIVAL

The 52nd Times-BFI London Film Festival has selected the movie version of Frost/Nixon as its opening-night feature on October 15. The film, directed by Ron Howard and produced by Brian Grazer, stars Michael Sheen and Frank Langella as British interviewer David Frost and former President Richard Nixon respectively, in a repeat of their stage roles.

Cinemark Movie Club
Brian B.