BATTLE OF SUPERHEROES TAKING SHAPE

Warner Bros. executive Diane Nelson may well be sporting a "This Is a Job for Superman!" t-shirt any day soon, after Time Warner named her to head its newly formed DC Entertainment division. Nelson, who has been responsible for managing the studio's Harry Potter franchise, is expected to revive long-shelved DC Comics properties and return such DC characters as Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and others to the screen. The move comes days after it was announced that Disney was acquiring Marvel Entertainment and its stable of superheroes for $4 billion. "I come into this not as a comic-book fan per se but someone who knows Warner Bros. and how to bring value to the DC properties," Nelson told today's (Thursday) Los Angeles Times. The newspaper observed that until now there has been little coordination among the studio's executives, producers, and the DC Comics publisher. As a result, the Times disclosed, plans to produce a TV show based on the Robin character in the Batman comic books was shot down after it was announced when Motion Picture Group President Jeff Robinow and Dark Knight director Christopher Nolan complained that they had not been consulted and expressed disapproval of the project.

THEATRICAL FLOP IS NO. 1 ON DVD

Universal's crime drama State of Play which grossed only $37 million when it was released theatrically this year, was the top DVD seller last week, according to Home Media Magazine. It was also tops on the rental charts. In fact, Universal, which is coming off a dismal summer at the box office, took four of the top positions on the Nielsen VideoScan First Alert sales chart, including Duplicity, starring Julia Roberts, which also had a disappointing theatrical run.

OLIVER STONE DOUBTS HIS LATEST FILM WILL BE WELCOMED AT HOME

He may be among the top echelon of Hollywood directors, but Oliver Stone has no illusions about the uphill battle he will have to wage to have his documentary, South of the Border, which criticizes U.S. policy towards Latin America, shown in the U.S. In an interview with Reuters at the Venice Film Festival, Stone pointed to other films dealing with the same subject that have been spurned or poorly handled by distributors. "It's always a problem and this is not just me," he said, "Most films that deal honestly with south-of-the border issues run into this logjam," Stone said. "It's an American complex about the back yard, the south, it's been going on for a century."

TRADING HALTED IN STOCK OF PIRATE BAY BUYER

The announcement last June that software company Global Gaming Factory had agreed to buy The Pirate Bay (TPB) for $7.8 million now appears to have been part of an effort at stock manipulation, according to Swedish officials who on Wednesday barred Global Gaming from trading its shares on AktieTarget, the Swedish stock exchange. The exchange said that Global Gaming had misled investors about its ability to conclude the TPB purchase "which prompted a number of investors to do business they probably would not have done if they were properly informed." It had previously been reported that Sweden's Economic Crimes Bureau had launched an investigation into the transaction. Global Gaming CEO Hans Pandeya on Wednesday denied the allegations. Barring Global Gaming from trading its stock, he said, "will be difficult for AktieTarget to explain when we close the deal." Wayne Rosso, a former Grokster president who worked for Global Gaming briefly, told CNET News that during one conversation with Pandeya, "I asked him, 'You don't have the money, do you?' He said, 'Well, I do and I don't.' I told him, 'That means you don't.'"

DIRECTORS FERRARA, HERZOG BATTLE OVER MOVIE TITLE

U.S. director Abel Ferrara has expressed outrage over German director Werner Herzog's apparent decision to lift the title of Ferrara's 1992 classic Bad Lieutenant for Herzog's latest film, Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans. The movie,starring Nicolas Cage, is screening currently at the Venice Film Festival. Herzog had previously said that he had never seen Ferrara's film, which starred Harvey Keitel. But in an interview with Reuters in Venice, Ferrara, upon learning about the title of Herzog's film, exploded, saying, "I wish these people would die in hell." Herzog later clarified his remark, saying that his beef is not with Ferrara or Cage but with the movie's producers. Earlier, Herzog had acknowledged that he was pressured by one of the producers of his movie to use the title in order to turn it into "some sort of a franchise." He said he had insisted on adding the words Port of Call New Orleans to the title in order to avoid any confusion with Ferrara's movie.