COURT RAISES KANE SUIT
A federal appeals court in San Francisco has revived a lawsuit filed by the daughter of Orson Welles in which she claimed that the estate of the renowned filmmaker is entitled to a percentage of the profits from sales of Citizen Kane. The film is currently part of the library of films owned by Turner Entertainment Co., a division of Time Warner. An attorney for Beatrice Welles later told Bloomberg News that under an agreement she signed with Turner the reversal of the lower-court decision will entitle her to compensation amounting to "seven figures." But David Quinto, a lawyer for Turner Entertainment, disagreed, saying, "Beatrice Welles hasn't won anything yet." He suggested that the case may still go to trial.
APOCALYPTO DEBUTS AS TOP DVD
Apocalypto, Mel Gibson's controversial -- and violent -- account of the fall of the Mayan civilization, debuted at the top of the home video sales and rental charts last week, replacing Pan's Labyrinth, the previous champ. Home Media Retailing magazine said that the Gibson film generated an estimated $6 million from rentals, while Labyrinth was close behind with $5.6 million, bringing its two-week gross to $12 million. Epic Movie debuted at No. 3 on the rental chart with $5.4 million, while Clint Eastwood's Letters from Iwo Jima bowed at No. 4 with $4.4 million.
MOORE SAVES SINGLE-SCREEN THEATER IN MICHIGAN
Michael Moore will reopen a 58-year-old theater in Traverse City, MI that has been closed for more than a decade, refurbish it with new screen and projection equipment and use the theater as the site for his Traverse City Film Festival, which he founded two years ago. The controversial documentary maker said that in order to take over the theater he had to promise Carmike Cinemas, which owns two multiplexes in Traverse City, that he would only show films that open on 200 or fewer screens nationwide. The theater will operate on weekends only during the winter and daily during the rest of the year, Moore said. Residents of the town, he added, will now "be able to see great films the way they were intended to be seen: projected on a big screen with great sound in an atmosphere where going to the movies can be an exhilarating experience."
THEATER CHAIN HANDS OUT TATTLE-TALE DEVICE
A device being handed out to select patrons at 144 Regal theaters that will summon a manager if fellow patrons disturb them has received a mostly positive reception in its initial roll-out, published reports said today (Thursday). The device, labeled a Guest Response System, can also alert management if a problem occurs with the picture or sound or if someone is spotted camcording a movie. But one moviegoer told the Boston Herald, "[GRS] isn't going to stop disturbances from occurring. ... You'll only accomplish making a bigger disturbance when the theater staff come to 'fix the problem.'" Meanwhile, New York Magazine has suggested the addition of several other buttons on the device, including one labeled, "Plot/Cinematography."
SPRINGFIELD, MN WANTS NO PART OF SIMPSONS PROMOTION
Springfield, Minnesota has taken itself out of the running to be recognized as the Springfield where the Simpsons reside. The country's 32 Springfields have been invited to compete for a chance to host the world premiere of the upcoming animated movie, The Simpsons: The Movie. But City Manager Mac Tilberg told the St. Paul Pioneer Press. "It sounded like a chamber of commerce-type deal that could make some noise for your town, but quite a bit of the input I got was that we are obviously not the Springfield on the show," Tilberg said. "We're a clean, close-knit community. There's no pollution, no waste dumps, nobody misbehaving all the time. And we don't want to be made a parody of. ... We wouldn't even be promoting our community. We'd be promoting 20th Century Fox's movie." But Jim Miesen, who owns a local paint store, told the newspaper, "For a town of this size, the thought of Hollywood coming to town would be exciting."
ARNOLD PUMPS FOR COPYRIGHT SAFEGUARDS IN CANADA
Spurred by visiting California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Canadian lawmakers said Wednesday that they plan to introduce legislation to combat video piracy. In Ottawa, the governor himself told the Toronto Globe & Mail that he had talked to British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell "about how important it is to pass laws to protect intellectual property, which is something that could happen very soon." The Canadian Press wire service also reported that Schwarzenegger had taken up the matter with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Hollywood has been applying pressure on Canada to pass legislation that would make it a criminal offense to camcord movies in theaters. But several movie-oriented websites have pointed out that such legislation appears futile -- that only one person needs to succeed in posting a movie online -- and it immediately becomes available universally.
MALAYSIA WANTS MORE DVD-SNIFFING DOGS
The government of Malaysia was so impressed with the work of two Irish-trained Labradors -- loaned to them by the MPAA -- in sniffing out illegal CDs and DVDs that they have asked the movie organization for permanent replacements. Iskander Halim with Malaysia's Domestic Trade Ministry told the Associated Press that the two Labs had helped uncover more than 1.3 million counterfeit DVDs and CDs worth $4.43 million on the black market.