i>SUPERMAN II: THE OTHER DIRECTOR'S CUT

Time Warner plans to issue a director's cut of Superman II on Nov. 20 that will feature the work of director Richard Donner, who was fired from the movie and replaced by Richard Lester midway through the movie in 1979. According to today's (Wednesday) London Times, the film will include 15 minutes of previously unseen footage of Marlon Brando as Superman's father, Jor-El. The film also employs footage from Donner's screen tests and numerous alternate sequences. In fact, according to the Times, the film uses less than 20 percent of the footage shot by Lester. A spokeswoman for Warner Home Video told the newspaper that the new film was made possible because producers Alexander and Ilya Salkind, who fired Donner, sold their interest in the film to Time Warner. A critic for Britain's Empire magazine who viewed the new version said that it was plagued with continuity problems arising from the fact that Donner was forced to make do with footage on hand, including the screen-test footage. "It's patchy (Reeve's hairstyle changes from shot to shot), badly lit and stagy, but watching Reeve's performance is electrifying," according to the Empire review.

WEINSTEINS WONDER WHAT WOULD HAVE HAPPENED IF...

Miramax founders Bob and Harvey Weinstein have suggested that they might have remained with the Disney Co. had Robert Iger been running it while they were there instead of Michael Eisner. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Bob Weinstein said that they now "have a very good relationship with Bob Iger ... He's set a fantastic tone. There's no animosity. It's actually been good. We've wondered if we'd still be there." Weinstein said that what caused "friction" with the previous regime was that "we walked in every day with the attitude that we were running our own company." The Weinsteins also told the newspaper that their recently acquired Genius video distribution unit has already produced a profits bonanza for their company, putting it ahead of analysts' projections. "When people read Genius's profit statement next year, and the size of the company that we're building, I think they'll weep," Harvey Weinstein told the Journal.

MARKETING DILEMMA: HOW TO PROMOTE A FILM CALLED F***?

How can a studio promote and market a film whose title is the F word? That is the challenge facing ThinkFilm, which is releasing the movie in New York and Los Angeles on Nov. 10 before expanding it. Bloomberg News quoted ThinkFilm's marketing chief, Mark Urman, as describing his quandary this way: "Newspapers, unless they are alternative weeklies, cannot print the word ... and movie theaters cannot put the title on a marquee." Another complication facing the company -- the title of the movie would also force the MPAA ratings board to issue an NC-17 rating; ThinkFilm has therefore decided to release it unrated. However, Mark Cuban's Landmark Theatre Corp. has reportedly agreed to exhibit it in 57 theaters in 23 markets.

MARK FOLEY -- THE MOVIE ACTOR?

Former Congressman Mark Foley, who was accused of engaging in sexually explicit instant messaging with congressional pages, appeared in a 2003 film called Strike Force as a congressman who hires a band of vigilantes to rescue his daughter. According to Radar Online, which discovered Foley's role in the movie, the Lionsgate film went straight to DVD and later aired on Showtime. Radar reported that Foley "was regarded as one of Hollywood's go-to Republicans" and that during the 2000 Republican convention in Philadelphia, "he was feted at a nightclub party hosted by then-MPAA President Jack Valenti, Disney, Viacom and Time Warner."

DREAMWORKS ANIMATION IMPRESSES

DreamWorks Animation outperformed analysts' expectations for the third quarter as it reported net income of $10.5 million, versus a net loss of $700,000 during the comparable period a year ago. Nevertheless, news reports continued to cite analysts' worries about the studio's Flushed Away, a claymation feature from Wallace & Gromit creators Aardman Animation. The film opens this weekend amid a glut of family films that have been churned out this year, including Disney's The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause, which also debuts this weekend.

Brian B. at Movieweb
Brian B.