MOVIES’Last Seduction’ Suit Ending: Filmmakers of “The...
‘Last Seduction’ Suit Ending: Filmmakers of “The Last Seduction,” unable to win a preliminary injunction to force consideration of their film in Academy Award balloting, said they would move today to drop their lawsuit. On Monday, Superior Judge Robert H. O’Brien issued a ruling that permitted the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to go ahead with Oscar balloting despite a claim by October Films Inc. and ITC Entertainment Group Ltd. that the awards process is unfair. Under academy rules, films that are first shown on television are not eligible for Oscar consideration. “The Last Seduction” premiered on HBO. In giving up his legal fight, Amir Malin, co-president of October Films, said Thursday: “We hired the best lawyers because we wanted (actress) Linda Fiorentino, (director) John Dahl and the other artists to be considered for Oscars. The court’s denial of a preliminary injunction effectively ends our hope to get them recognition.” Malin also denied a charge by academy President Arthur Hiller that the suit was a publicity stunt. “If all we wanted was publicity--as he charges--we would continue the fight,” he said.
Good Grades: John Singleton’s new drama, “Higher Learning,” trounced the competition when it opened Wednesday to $2.2 million on 1,326 screens, according to a Columbia distribution spokesman. The next highest grossing film was “Dumb and Dumber” with about $550,000. According to Columbia, the “Learning” debut was the biggest mid-week January opening ever, and about double last year’s “House Party III,” which also opened mid-week and grossed $1.1 million. “Learning” is doing best in urban houses with African American audiences as well as in college towns, auguring well for the extended Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend.
‘Kid’ Joins ‘SNL’: Some viewers know him as the Chicken Lady or Darrill, the Excellent Guy or even the Head Crusher, but he’s really Mark McKinney. And at 11:30 Saturday night, he’ll become the newest member of NBC’s “Saturday Night Live,” spawning ground of comedy superstars. McKinney is a member of the Canadian comedy troupe the Kids in the Hall, where he created many of his comic characters. The group appears on CBS and Comedy Central. Joining McKinney on “SNL’s” first original telecast of the year will be Jeff Daniels (“Dumb and Dumber”) and the hip-hop group Luscious Jackson.
Tight Late-Night Race: After three nights of late-night competition, Tom Snyder and Conan O’Brien were running neck-and-neck. Snyder’s CBS “Late Late Show” debuted Monday with a 3.1 rating in Nielsen’s overnight metered markets while O’Brien’s continuing NBC “Late Night” drew a 2.3, according to CBS. By Wednesday, both shows were at 2.3. A CBS spokesman said, however, that Snyder faces a greater ratings challenge because his program appears in only 23 of the metered markets and is shown at various times while O’Brien appears at the same time in 30 of the markets. National ratings won’t be available until next week.
‘Forbidden’ Fun: “Forbidden Hollywood,” a new collection of movie parodies set to music from “Forbidden Broadway” creator Gerard Alessandrini, will open at the Coronet Theatre on La Cienega Boulevard on April 2, with previews beginning March 11. Some of the actors who were in “Forbidden Broadway” at the Tiffany Theatre last year (and at the Theatre in Old Town in San Diego, closing Sunday) will appear, and the March 27 Oscar ceremony will be a target of the show’s barbs. The 272-seat Coronet will be a larger L.A. venue for the group than the 99-seat Tiffany.
Patching the Ahmanson: As finishing touches are applied to the $17.1-million renovation of the Ahmanson Theatre prior to the first preview of “Miss Saigon” Tuesday, workers at the Music Center also are busy patching leaks that became apparent in the recent rains. John Dunavent, executive vice president of the Music Center Operating Co., said that the leaks were in 30-year-old caulking, not related to the recent renovation, and that they won’t delay the “Miss Saigon” schedule.
Bronze ‘Cellini’ Sold: A small bronze statue of Cleopatra that experts believe is the work of Renaissance master Benvenuto Cellini sold for $103,700 Wednesday at Sotheby’s in New York. The buyer, a private collector, asked that his name not be revealed. The work was originally estimated to sell at about $25,000 but that was before a leading art expert said it was a long-lost work by Cellini, a sculptor whose only rival in the Renaissance era was Michelangelo. After being examined by Cellini scholar Peter Meller, Sotheby’s listed the work as “attributed to Cellini” and said it could fetch between $250,000 and $350,000. “I would say it is a Cellini both from its style and from the inventory found in his home when he died in 1571,” said Meller, a UC Santa Barbara art historian. The statue was part of the collection of British art dealer Cyril Humphris. Fewer than 15 Cellinis are known to exist.