On screen, Sting may have been able to breathe life into Jennifer Beals; in the theaters, though, "The Bride" is looking increasingly lifeless. The updated version of "The Bride of Frankenstein" looks to be one of the casualties of the summer, doing negligible business after two weeks. In addition, few critics were kind to the Sting/Beals update: More than one, in fact, has pointed out that the film's air of gentility is ill-suited to a horror-film subject.
But gentility is one problem that B-movie king Roger Corman never had, which may be why Corman has chosen a new version of "Frankenstein" for his return to directing after a 15-year hiatus as a producer and independent studio chief. The new "Frankenstein" will be made for Tri-Star Pictures, which reportedly met Corman's request for a $1 million salary. The film will be set in the 21st century and will probably be shot in Argentina; in it, Dr. Frankenstein is a high-level government scientist. Wes Craven is writing the screenplay, which is in itself noteworthy: Craven, the director of horror films like "Nightmare on Elm Street," has never before written a script for anyone but himself to direct . . .
Speaking of monsters, Godzilla has been quite a visible presence around town lately. The huge lizard has turned into a veritable L.A. party animal, turning up at lunches, at a comic book store and at a movie premiere and party. It's all designed to hype his return to the screen in "Godzilla 1985," a Japanese-made film that marks the big guy's 30th year in the film business -- and it's all designed, he says, to remind people that "Mothra and Rodan are old hat."
While in town, Godzilla has been unusually talkative and friendly for a 30-foot fire-breathing beast. At one press conference, he even showed a touch of remorse.
"People think I like stepping on people," he sighed, "but when you're my size and you're breathing radioactive fire, it's hard to see where you're going . . . Being misunderstood only compounds the problem to the point that rage builds up and you just let yourself go. And then afterward, you say, 'Why did I do that?' I didn't mean to kick over Tokyo's transmitting tower; I didn't mean to level half of Japan, but it's just one of those things. You do it in a blind fury, and later on you pay the price . . . "
And while Godzilla may be out to prove that he's the biggest and the baddest, he'll be facing some stiff competition from a high school werewolf. "Teen Wolf," the Michael J. Fox film about a prep basketball player who sprouts hair every so often, finished in second place among last weekend's films and far outdistanced any of the other new entries. In fact, the only film to make more money was another movie starring Michael J. Fox, "Back to the Future," which, now that it has made more than $120 million, may well yield a sequel in which the movie's 1950s characters are transported into the '80s . . .
Michael Cimino's "Year of the Dragon" isn't faring too well in the hinterlands, dropping to a mediocre $2.9 million in its second week on the heels of what have been some of the most wide-ranging and conflicting reviews ever. But if nationwide audiences are largely staying away from Cimino's violent tale of Chinatown gangs, that's not the case in New York or Los Angeles. Despite increasing charges of racism from the Asian American communities in those cities, "Year of the Dragon" was the top-grossing film in Los Angeles and the second-place finisher in New York last weekend. In New York, it was topped only by a film of a far different color: "Pee-wee's Big Adventure," which is holding up quite well and has just passed the $20 million mark . . .
Sidney Lumet, who has directed 31 films in his 27-year career, including "The Verdict" and the upcoming "Power," with Richard Gere and Julie Christie, has signed an exclusive deal with Lorimar Pictures to make three films over the next three years. He'll start with a version of Elmore Leonard's "Glitz," which begins shooting about the time "Power" is released early next year. And even if the Leonard film falls through, Lumet doesn't have to worry: The Lorimar pact reportedly calls for him to receive a steady paycheck whether or not he makes any movies.