NO REDEMPTION FOR INDY 4 WRITER

The latest effort to bring back Indiana Jones appears doomed, according to writer-director Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption). Darabont told a movie website that focuses on films in development that although Steven Spielberg had praised his script for "Indy 4" as "the best draft of anything since Raiders of the Lost Ark," his excitement was not shared by fellow producer George Lucas. In the interview with Devin Faraci of CHUD.com, Darabont said Spielberg's praise "gave me a real sense of accomplishment, especially when you love the material you're working on as much as I love the Indiana Jones films. And then you have George Lucas read it and say, 'Yeah, I don't think so, I don't like it.' And then he resets it to zero." Asked whether he believes "Indy 4" will ever be filmed, Darabont replied, "I don't think so. ... I just think it's fantastically bizarre that for a project that people have been trying to crack for ten years and have a writer come in and finally crack it and then ... [for Lucas to] say, 'No, I don't think so...' It's just bizarre to me. I can't get into George's head."

MOVIE INDUSTRY TO KEEP EYE ON CARS RACE

The motion picture industry will be closely watching sales of Disney's Cars on Apple's iTunes Music Store beginning next Tuesday when it goes on sale at the same time the DVD version hits retailers. The movie will be available for downloading for $12.99 for one week, lower than the wholesale price to DVD retailers. Apple's insistence that pricing of the downloads be kept low has been the main factor in keeping other studios from making films available via the iTunes store. Some retailers have informed the studios that they expect "a level playing field," maintaining that they don't mind lower pricing for online downloads if the same pricing is also available to them.

REPORT: SEX & THE CITY MOVIE BACK ON TRACK

"Substantial negotiations" have begun between HBO and the four stars of Sex & the City" to produce a movie version of the series, according to the gossip magazine OK! Such a movie had been prominently discussed after the series ended a six-year run in 2004, but at least two of the original stars committed themselves to other projects. However, a studio insider told OK! that each of the four actresses, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kristin Davis, Kim Cattrall and Cynthia Nixon, is now available for the movie. "Obviously, there is still a lot to be worked out contractually, but it would be amazing to get this project off the ground," the source said.

COPYRIGHT OWNERS INFLATING PIRACY COSTS, SAYS AUSSIE STUDY

A confidential study for the Australian government has concluded that industry statistics concerning financial loss due to piracy are "unverified and epistemologically unreliable." The study by the Australian Institute of Criminology and leaked to the The Australian, a national newspaper owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp, was said to be in an "early draft" stage. Referring to a comment in the report that statistics used by copyright owners are "absurd," the Institute's principal criminologist, Russell Smith, said that such language would not appear in the final version because "it's not accurate, it's hyperbolic and overblown." What is particularly striking, the newspaper suggested, was that copyright owners had been lobbying to have such a study conducted, hoping that it would encourage stronger law enforcement on piracy. Instead, the report called into question the method in which the owners estimated losses, pointing out that they assume that every person who buys pirated goods would otherwise have paid full price for legitimate ones. "It is inappropriate for courts and policy makers to accept at face value currently unsubstantiated statistics," the study concluded.

BOLLYWOOD TO PRODUCE A SIX-HOUR MOVIE

The Indian epic poem Mahabharata, regarded as one of the longest works in all of literature, is about to become one of the longest works in all of cinema. Veteran Bollywood producer-director Ravi Chopra has told Indian reporters that the film, reportedly budgeted at $28 million -- an extraordinary amount for an Indian production -- will run more than 6 hours. "It will be unjust to tell the most beautiful story of the world in three hours," he said. Chopra said that his plan is to screen the first three hours of the film on one week, then screen the final three hours a week later.

Brian B.