The bad news from 1985 continues to trickle in. The latest figures show that the 135 films released by the nine major film distributors made about $1.2 billion; the problem is that they cost $1.5 billion to make.
That means film rentals only made back about 80 percent of the movies' production costs -- and marketing costs are on top of that. In most years recently, rentals over all have made back more than 90 percent of production costs. Low-budget movies weren't very successful; the year's two most expensive movies ("Santa Claus" and "Enemy Mine") flopped; and films with budgets in the $3 million to $6 million range were especially disappointing -- they cost a total of $130 million but only returned about $46 million.
Still, the news is hardly disastrous for most of the industry: The growth of home video and cable TV and the demand for American movies overseas has made ancillary rights so lucrative that Hollywood will no doubt come out ahead in the final tally. The Spielberg Snub, Cont.
Naturally, the Steven Spielberg Snub has monopolized Hollywood talk for the past week, but neither it nor the batch of Oscar nominations for "The Color Purple" had much impact on the box office: Though it was showing at double the number of screens last weekend, the film only increased its take by about 20 percent and trailed the still-strong "Down and Out in Beverly Hills." word is though, that sympathy for Spielberg has greatly increased his chances for the Directors' Guild award and his film's chances of winning the Oscar.
Another multiple nominee, "Out of Africa," didn't benefit much from its increased visibility either; it made $3.5 million over the weekend, only $200,000 more than it did the previous weekend. At the same time, the film's ad campaign caused a problem for Universal Pictures: The studio was sued by Time Inc. for using the Time magazine logo in a full-page ad that reprinted Time's rave review in its entirety.
Time says its turned down a Universal request to use the logo "to protect Time magazine's reputation for printing editorial matter that is objective and free of commercial influence." Time wants all the money Universal made because of that ad -- though that's not likely to be very much, since it appeared in a Hollywood trade paper and was aimed at academy members rather than at the moviegoing public. Universal doesn't talk about pending litigation. The '84 Olympics on Film
Almost two years after the event, the official film documentary of the 1984 Summer Olympics will open next month in New York, Los Angeles and Washington. Paramount Pictures has signed a deal to distribute "16 Days of Glory," composed of footage shot by acclaimed sports documentarian Bud Greenspan; the studio plans to build the film slowly after the three-city opening . . . Stuntman-turned director Hal Needham will direct a film based on the autobiography of test pilot-turned-icon Chuck Yeager. Needham and Yeager have worked together in the past, though on a rocket-propelled car rather than a movie. Yeager will be technical adviser of the film, which will concentrate on his days as a World War II fighter pilot and should be out in mid-1987 . . . Around the same time, we should see another movie about a guy who flies. Christopher Reeve has reportedly agreed to take to the sky one more time in "Superman IV."