The 60th annual Cannes Film Festival opens tonight with the screening of director Wong Kar-wai's English-language My Blueberry Nights, starring Jude Law, Norah Jones, Natalie Portman, and Rachel Weisz. A bevy of top Hollywood stars are expected to walk the festival's famed red carpet during the upcoming week and a half, including George Clooney, Leonardo DiCaprio, Daniel Craig, Matt Damon, Brad Pitt, and Angelina Jolie. The festival is also scheduled to screen edgy artistic efforts from some of the world's most acclaimed filmmakers. Many critics who have made the trek to Cannes annually have commented that this year's lineup is one of the strongest ever. "Cannes manages to blend glitz and artistic credibility in a way no other film festival does," the Associated Press commented today (Wednesday).


The Los Angeles Timesobserved today (Wednesday) that the costs of premiering a film in Cannes have skyrocketed as the dollar drops in value and the buzz at the festival increases in value. The newspaper said that while a Hollywood premiere may cost as much as $750,000, last year's premiere of The Da Vinci Codeat Cannes is believed to have cost as much as $4 million. Hotel rooms at some of the swankest hotels are going for up to $3,000 a night, with many hotels demanding minimum stays of 12 days. The Timesobserved that when the producers of Mark Wahlberg's latest film We Own the Night balked at putting up his five-member entourage at the Hotel Du Cap, Wahlberg notified the company that he would not attend the festival.


Following a trial watched intently by the movie industry, a jury delivered a mixed verdict Tuesday. It ordered author Clive Cussler to pay Philip Anschutz's movie company Crusader Entertainment $5 million, presumably for having made derogatory comments about the film Sahara publicly and encouraging his readers to boycott it. The movie, which flopped at the box office, was based on Cussler's book. Crusader had sought $115 million in damages. At the same time, Crusader was ordered to pay Cussler what could amount to $8.5 million for second-picture rights to another book he sold to the company. Cussler's attorney did the math and pronounced victory for his client -- saying that he'll end up with $3.5 million after paying Crusader the $5 million. But Crusader attorney Marvin Putnam maintained that the jury's verdict represented "a complete victory" for Crusader on the issue of liability, "just not a finding of damages." News accounts suggested that each side spent more on legal costs than they won from the verdict.


Sony's fourth quarter earnings were hit hard by losses in its video games division, which has been selling PlayStation 3 consoles for less than it costs to produce them, hoping that they'll make up the losses from sales of games. The unit has also been hit hard by the popularity of Nintendo's Wii video game with its highly praised motion-sensor controller andcosting less than half the price of a PlayStation 3. Nevertheless, Sony put a positive spin on the results, noting that profits at its movie unit rose 9 percent, largely as a result of strong ticket sales for Casino Royaleand The Pursuit of Happyness. Its line of Bravia television sets also generated strong sales. The company said today (Wednesday) that it expects net income will more than double this year, largely due to continued strength in its consumer electronics division and narrower losses in its games unit. Mitsushige Akino, an analyst at Ichiyoshi Investment Management Co. in Tokyo, told Bloomberg News, "It's clear that Sony has got out of its worst period."


A film about Japan's World War II suicide pilots has opened strongly in Japan and is expected to earn more than $17 million at the Japanese box office, Daily Varietyreported today (Wednesday). The movie, For Those We Love, was written by writer-turned-politician Sintaro Ishihara, the governor of Tokyo. A spokesman for Toei, the film's distributor, said that the kamikaze drama is drawing a wide audience -- from teenagers to those who were alive during the war. Although Ishihara, 74, is regarded as a staunch nationalist, the film reportedly comes across as pacifist, some reports have suggested. Director Shinjo Taku told reporters Tuesday, "I think the military leaders of the time were despicable. ... They took these pure, inexperienced young men and sent them off to die. I think they should take responsibility for that."