UNIVERSAL SIFTS ITS ASHES

Last week's devastating fire at Universal Studios, which destroyed the company's vault holding thousands of prints of movies and TV shows, may have been more serious than originally believed, Daily Variety reported today (Thursday). The trade paper noted that while studio executives had stated following the fire that the prints were replaceable since the original negatives were stored elsewhere, striking prints from older films is no simple matter. "There might be issues with the negative fading, or it could have shriveled," George Eastman House curator of Motion Pictures Patrick Loughney told Variety. David Schwartz, chief curator of the Museum of the Moving Image in New York, observed that some of the movies may have been shot in Technicolor, which used a printing process rather than a chemical one -- a process that no longer is used. "You're not going to get a print of the same quality," he said. On the other hand it was reported that many copies of the prints had been stored at other locations and some of the Universal City collection were in circulation or in the studio's shipping depot at the time of the fire. Moreover all of the films were reportedly insured.

SAG MAY ASK AFTRA MEMBERS TO REJECT DEAL

In a move that will likely exacerbate tensions between the two primary actors' unions in Hollywood, leaders of the Screen Actors Guild plan to ask members who also belong to the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists to vote against the recent deal negotiated between AFTRA representatives and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. According to the Hollywood Reporter SAG President Alan Rosenberg and Executive Director Doug Allen told top executives of Sony Pictures Monday that the guild plans to derail the AFTRA deal. Neither SAG, AFTRA or the AMPTP has commented on the report.

RAMBO MUSCLES TO THE TOP

Rambo remained alive and hot at the video rental stores, pulling in $8.6 million in its first week of release -- a figure that represents 20 percent of what it took in domestically during its entire theatrical run, according to Home Media magazine. Rambo was also the top seller on the Blu-ray disc chart, while the new "Rambo Trilogy" set debuted at No. 3 on the high-definition list, according to Nielsen VideoScan. The Sylvester Stallone sequel came in at No. 2 on the primary DVD sales chart, however, behind National Treasure: Book of Secrets. No. 3 on the sales list was another DVD set, "The Adventures of Indiana Jones," consisting of the three original Indy movies.

JOLIE: WHERE ARE DISNEY'S BLACK PRINCESSES?

Angelina Jolie has criticized the Walt Disney Co. for failing to produce an animated film featuring a black princess. Jolie, whose adopted child Zahara was born in Africa (two other adopted children, Maddox and Pax were born in Asia), told the British celebrity magazine OK!, "There still isn't a Disney princess that's African and it's very difficult because our daughters' getting into princesses right now and it upsets me." Jolie, however, may not have been aware of Disney's plans to release The Frog Princess, which features a black princess (from New Orleans), next year.

MIDWEEK TICKET SALES FOR SATC CONTINUE TO SOAR

Warner Bros.' Sex and the City showed no let-up in its midweek dominance at the box office Tuesday. According to box-office trackers Media by Numbers, the film earned $5.51 million Tuesday, about the same as it had earned the day before. Its total gross has now reached $68.06 million. Ticket sales for the film ran well above those for the previous week's winner, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, which earned $3.86 million on Tuesday and brought its domestic gross to $223.03 million.

Brian B.