NO JOKE: BORAT IS MAKE UNGLORIOUS SLASH

Apparently coming to the conclusion that middle-America will not "get" Borat (official title: Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan), 20th Century Fox has cut in half the number of theaters that had been booked to show it, the studio confirmed Tuesday. Fox distribution chief Bruce Snyder told today's (Wednesday) Los Angeles Times that despite enormous pre-release publicity and marketing, the studio's research had concluded that the movie was "soft in awareness." The Times noted that industry analysts could not recall a similar action by a studio taking place just two weeks before a film's opening. Fox indicated that it hopes that by opening Borat in 800 theaters, the resulting word of mouth will propel it into a stronger position the following week when it will be expanded to 2,200 screens.

DON'T SMOKE PSA'S COMING TO DVD

The Weinstein Co. will become the first studio to add anti-smoking messages to DVDs of movies in which people smoke, beginning with Clerks II, to be released in December. Company founders Bob and Harvey Weinstein were responding to appeals from 41 states, Puerto Rico, Washington D.C. and two U.S. territories, which sent anti-smoking ads to 13 studios, asking that they be included in DVD releases. In a statement, Harvey Weinstein said, "As a former smoker, I feel like it's my responsibility to do everything I can to educate young people about the dangers of smoking."

STARS BATTLE ONE ANOTHER OVER EMBRYONIC STEM CELL RESEARCH

Opponents of embryonic stem cell research have quickly enlisted the aid of James Caviezel, who played Jesus in The Passion of the Christ, and Patricia Heaton, who co-starred in Everybody Loves Raymond, to counter ads featuring Michael J. Fox, who is supporting Congressional candidates favoring expanded federal funding for such research. Fox, who suffers from Parkinson's disease, was also criticized by conservative radio commentator Rush Limbaugh, who suggested that Fox was "either off his medication or acting" before filming the spots. On the other hand, New York Times critic Alessandra Stanley wrote today (Wednesday): "These are times in which most actors seem prepared to do anything, and pay any price, to disguise flaws that could harm their careers. So when a famous one exposes the full, frightening extent of his infirmity in the name of saving lives, it tends to get noticed."

DID BLOOD DIAMOND PRODUCERS BACK OUT OF DEAL WITH AMPUTEES?

The producers of the upcoming Blood Diamond have denied reports that they had reneged on an agreement to provide prosthetic limbs to amputees used as extras in the film. The New York Post quoted one amputee, Nkululo Mnisi, as saying that Warner Bros. had promised to buy him and 27 other extras the prosthetic devices. But producer Ed Zwick, in an interview with L.A. Weekly columnist Nikki Finke, said that such reports are "the work of someone who clearly bears the film ill will." Zwick claimed that those involved in making the movie set up a fund to aid the villagers who appeared in it. He said that the fund is being used for everything from classroom repair to road repair to prosthetics. Zwick added, "People are still continuing contributing to the fund months since production ended. They were really trying to affect positive change. The fund has gotten to a number of things on the list, but there's more to go. And in the list of things to do, prosthetics are part of that list."

SONY PROJECTORS TO BE INSTALLED IN THEATERS

Sony said Tuesday that it's ready to begin installing its SXRD high-definition digital projectors in theaters across the country. The system boasts 8.8 million pixels, or four times the resolution of systems already in place in U.S. theaters. The 4K systems have recently been tested in 12 Landmark Theater screens. Now, Sony says, it is ready to begin turning out 100 projectors a month beginning in December. Sony said it had received commitments from four major studios to release films on digital files in the 4K format.

Brian B.