ANIMATED MOVIE TO OPEN CANNES FOR FIRST TIME

Disney/Pixar's Up will have its world premiere as the opening film of the 62nd Cannes Film Festival on May 13, becoming the first animated film as well as the first 3D film ever to open the celebrated festival, organizers announced today (Thursday). It is due to be released in the U.S. on May 29th. While other animated films have been featured in and out of competition at Cannes over the years, the French black-and-white film Persepolis is the only one ever to have won a prize, taking the Jury Award in 2007. While in making its announcement the festival listed nine other animated films that had been included in its Official Selection in the past, it oddly made no mention of Persepolis, a film about an Iranian girl growing up during the Islamic revolution. Like Up, Persepolis was to have had the prestigious spot as the opening film at the Bangkok Film Festival in 2007 but was yanked following protests by Iranian diplomats in the Thai capital.

PINOCCHIO DOES WHALE OF A BUSINESS

Seventy years after it was originally released in theaters, Walt Disney's Pinocchio rose to the top of the home video sales charts last week, according to Nielsen VideoScan First Alert. It was also the top seller on Nielsen's Blu-ray Disc chart. Home Media Magazine reported that Blu-ray sales accounted for 15 percent of the total. Universal's Role Models debuted strongly in second place. Home Media Magazine said that the demand for the film, which earned $67.3 million during its theatrical run, was so strong that less than a week after it hit the shelves, 70 percent of inventory -- translating to about 2 million units -- was gone.

DVD RELEASE DATES SET FOR BEST FILM NOMINEES

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button , second only to Slumdog Millionaire among 2008 award winners, will be released on DVD on May 5, Paramount Home Video announced today (Thursday). Clearly Paramount is keeping a window open wide between the film's theatrical run and its availability on home video, something that makes the much earlier DVD release of Slumdog appear all the more curious. Slumdog, which finished in sixth place at the box office last weekend with $5 million and has moved up to fifth place in mid-week business, is being released by Fox on March 31. Universal has already released Milk, another film nominated for best picture (but it did little business theatrically). It has also scheduled Frost/Nixon for release on April 21.

U.K. WATCHDOG BANS AD FOR WANTED

Britain's Advertising Standards Authority has banned a TV ad for the DVD version of Universal's Wanted that shows Angelina Jolie firing weapons. The ASA ruled that the add "could be seen to condone violence by glorifying or glamorizing the use of guns." A billboard touting the DVD was similarly banned by the ASA when it was released last October. In response, Universal Pictures observed that similar ads featuring male actors have passed muster with the ASA in the past and accused the ad group of coming down on the Jolie flick because "some people did not like to see a woman in a strong lead role."

NATASHA RICHARDSON DIES FOLLOWING SKI ACCIDENT

Natasha Richardson, who fell during a beginner's ski lesson at a resort near Montreal on Monday, died Wednesday as a result of a head injury that at first was believed to be minor. The Toronto Globe and Mail reported today (Thursday) that paramedics who initially responded to a phone call from the ski resort were told they were not needed when they arrived and were sent away without seeing the actress. The director of emergency services of the ambulance company told the newspaper that it sent another ambulance to Richardson's hotel later when her condition appeared to worsen. He said that victims of serious head trauma often believe at first that they are fine, but that their condition can deteriorate quickly. Richardson, 45, a Tony Award winner for a revival of Cabaret, was married to Liam Neeson and was the daughter of Vanessa Redgrave and director Tony Richardson.