PARAMOUNT TO PAY DREAMWORKS ADDED RESPECT

In an apparent effort to smooth ruffled feathers among DreamWorks executives, Paramount has agreed to give DreamWorks enhanced recognition on its future film releases, Daily Variety reported today (Wednesday). For example, it will state publicly that future DreamWorks films are distributed by DreamWorks-Paramount instead of saying that they are distributed by Paramount alone. The designation will first appear in connection with this weekend's release of The Heartbreak Kid, starring Ben Stiller. "It was important to [DreamWorks principals David Geffen and Steven Spielberg] that things be clear in term[s] of the movies that are theirs," a Paramount executive told the trade publication, which commented that the "concession indicates that Par[amount] is trying to do what it can to save the DreamWorks marriage and keep Steven Spielberg and David Geffen from bolting at the end of 2008," when their contract expires.

INDIANA JONES AND THE MYSTERIOUS LEAKS

On the same day that it was announced that Lucasfilm and DreamWorks Pictures had settled a lawsuit that they had brought against an actor in the new Indiana Jones movie who had revealed some innocuous plot information about it, the Los Angeles Times reported that computers and photographs related to the movie had been stolen. The Times quoted a spokesman for Steven Spielberg as saying that the director was concerned that the thieves might try to sell the material. He warned the media that it was considered stolen property. Meanwhile, the studio declined to provide terms of its settlement with Tyler Nelson, who appears briefly in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and who, breaking a non-disclosure agreement, discussed his experience on the set of the movie with his hometown newspaper in Oklahoma -- a story that was picked up by other newspapers, including the New York Post.

VIACOM CHIEF CALLS FOR GREATER COPYRIGHT SAFEGUARDS

Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman appeared to part ways with several other media executives -- including Apple's Steve Jobs and Les Moonves, his counterpart at corporate sibling CBS -- as he called for media companies to install more DRM safeguards and watermarks to combat piracy. Doing so, he said, "will usher in an unprecedented period of creative output across the globe." The techie website Techdirt commented that past efforts by media companies to force consumers to accept their current business model has only made the copyright problem worse. "Limiting what people can do and treating them like criminals diminishes value, rather than increases it," it said. Referring to Dauman's remarks, it concluded: "It's hard to craft a forward looking strategy for a rapidly changing market when your boss seems to have nearly all of his assumptions wrong."

HONG KONG GOVERNMENT TO HELP BACK MOVIES

Hoping to revitalize its once dynamic movie industry, the government of Hong Kong announced today (Wednesday) that it is setting up a $39-million fund to back small- and medium-budget movies. In a statement, Hong Kong Film Development Council Chairman Jack So outlined a plan that would require qualifying applicants to be established Hong Kong film companies that have already produced at least two commercial features during the past 10 years and who have secured other investment sources for their films. The Council will also assess whether the films have a reasonable chance for box-office success. "We don't want movies with no audience. We want productions that will sell,"director Gordon Chan, a member of the Council, told the Hong Kong Post.

SEX AND THE CITY SPOILERS APPEAR

Fans of Sex and the City have posted spoilers related to the upcoming movie version of the series after spotting location filming in New York City. "Fans are advised to stop reading now if they want to be kept in the dark," read a report in the New Zealand Herald. Several websites and blogs carried pictures of Sarah Jessica Parker in a wedding dress taken at St. Patrick's Cathedral Tuesday. (Her character, Carrie, is presumably marrying Mr. Big, played by Chris Noth, in the movie.) Other blogs noted that Kristin Davis was spotted during location filming at the Italian restaurant Lumi wearing a large prosthetic device to make her appear pregnant.

Brian B. at Movieweb
Brian B.