APPLE UNVEILS CORE OF NEW MOVIE BIZ

Apple's iTunes Store went into the movie business Tuesday as Apple CEO Steve Jobs and Disney CEO Bob Iger announced that future films made by Disney's four studios as well as 75 previously produced movies will be made available for online downloading for as little as $9.99 apiece. Other studios, however, refused to provide films that would be sold at that price fearing that it would undercut DVD sales and anger brick-and-mortar retailers. However, Disney's Iger said Tuesday, "We are perfectly comfortable with the pricing strategy." That strategy calls for brand new films to be sold for $12.99 when they are ordered prior to their release or during the first week of their release. The price will then jump to $14.99. Older movies will be priced at $9.99. Apple also unveiled a new $299 compact device called iTV that allows users to watch movies purchased online on their television sets. Jobs said that it will hit retail shelves in the U.S. in the first quarter of next year. It came as something of a surprise to Apple watchers, who had expected the company to offer a wider-screen video iPod. But Jobs, who has expressed skepticism about the market for portable video players, maintained that people prefer to watch movies on their TV sets. "This is the missing piece," he said Tuesday, as he displayed the iTV device. "It's going to let you enjoy your media on your big-screen flat TV." Reporting on the device, today's Wall Street Journal commented that it "is regarded as key to enabling mass-market acceptance of the growing range of movies, television shows and other videos that media companies are making available online."

JANE FONDA CHASTISES CO-STAR

Jane Fonda, who once was considered to have created the mold for rebellious young film actresses, has taken Lindsay Lohan to task for "burning both ends of the candle" and failing to show up on the set of their film, Georgia Rules. Interviewed on Access Hollywood Tuesday, Fonda fully supported Morgan Creek Productions CEO James G. Robinson, who wrote to Lohan: "We are well aware that your ongoing all-night, heavy partying is the real reason for your so-called 'exhaustion.'" Fonda commented that it was appropriate for someone to tell Lohan, "You know, you're going to pay the piper. You better slow down." Fonda added, "It's hard after awhile to party very hard and work very hard. She learned that, I hope."

MPAA SUES CHINESE PIRATES

Opening a new front in their war against video pirates, the MPAA today (Wednesday) filed lawsuits against two shops in Beijing, China that allegedly stocked knock-off copies of The 40-Year-Old Virgin, The Incredibles, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, War of the Worlds and other titles. In an email to the Associated Press, Frank Rittman an MPAA lawyer, said, "We need every tool _ strong laws to support copyright, strong enforcement of those laws, stiff sentences for people who violate those laws, and most important, an understanding ... that buying pirated movies hurts the industry and makes it difficult for movie makers to make new films."

Brian B. at Movieweb
Brian B.