MOVIES WITH PLENTY TO CHEW ON

Australian media company Village Roadshow has disclosed that tickets for its deluxe Gold Star Cinemas will go for $35 apiece when the theaters open in the U.S. The Hollywood Reporter said today (Wednesday) that the company is planning to open 50 such theaters in this country over the next 5 years, with the first to open in suburban Chicago this year, featuring reserved seating (only 40 seats per theater), special parking, and "upscale" food service by waiters in the auditoriums. "It's an absolutely different environment than anything else that exists," Village Roadshow CEO Graham Burke told the trade paper. Village Roadshow has already opened some 100 Gold Class theaters in Australia, Singapore and Greece.

ATTORNEY FIELDS SAYS HE WON'T TAKE THE FIFTH

Beverly Hills attorney Bert Fields has denied reports that he intends to invoke his Fifth Amendment rights and refuse to testify if he is asked in court about his relationship with private eye Anthony Pellicano, who is currently being tried on wiretapping charges. "I intend to testify. I have nothing to hide," Fields told L.A. Weekly columnist Nikki Finke in a telephone interview Tuesday. Earlier in the day U.S. Attorney Daniel Saunders said in court that it was his understanding that Fields would take the Fifth Amendment if called.

AFTER MINGHELLA DEATH, SHANGHAI FEST LOOKS FOR NEW JURY HEAD

Organizers of the Shanghai Film Festival said today (Wednesday) that they are looking for a prominent filmmaker to head the festival's jury following the death of Anthony Minghella, who died in London earlier this month at age 54. Finding a replacement for Minghella at such short notice "is not an easy job," said Tang Lijun, a member of the organizing committee for the festival. "We need to check each candidate's schedule." The festival also announced that it is planning a retrospective of Minghella's work for the event, which takes place between June 14 and 22. Meanwhile, it was announced that Shekhar Kapur will direct a segment of the upcoming anthology feature New York, I Love You that had been written by Minghella shortly before his death. On his blog, Kapur said that Minghella had asked him to do so before going in for surgery. "I will direct the film now, with Anthony in my heart and in presence of his soul."

MCKELLEN SAYS HE'LL REPRISE GANDALF IF ASKED

On Ian McKellen's official website Tuesday, a fan asked, Have you been approached yet by [producer] Peter Jackson or anyone else about reprising your wonderful role as Gandalf for the two upcoming Hobbit movies?" McKellen responded: Encouragingly, Peter and [co-producer] Fran Walsh have told me they couldn't imagine The Hobbit without their original Gandalf. Their confidence hasn't yet been confirmed by the director Guillermo del Toro but I am keeping my diary free for 2009!"

ART "GOLDEN BOY" ARAGON DEAD AT 80

Art Aragon, the handsome boxer known as "The Golden Boy," who inspired thousands of women to join their husbands and beaus at Southern California arenas in the late '40s and '50s, died Tuesday in Northridge, CA at age 80 following a stroke on March 15. In the 1960s Aragon was romantically linked to such actresses as Marilyn Monroe, Sophia Loren, Mamie Van Doren and Jayne Mansfield. Although he never held a title, he had an impressive career, recording 90 wins, 61 by knockout, 20 losses, and 6 draws. Following his career in the ring, he became a bail bondsman and frequent actor, appearing in dozens of films and TV shows and counting Bob Hope, William Holden, Robert Mitchum and Sammy Davis Jr. among his close friends.

NOTE:

In Tuesday's edition of Studio Briefing, we referred to a statement by the family of the late Bob Marley that it has a policy of not licensing Marley's music for any project, but that it had made an exception in the case of Martin Scorsese's upcoming documentary about the singer. Several readers have pointed out that a Marley recording figured prominently in last year's I Am Legend.Cinemark Movie Club

Brian B.