The best place to make a movie is, of course, Los Angeles. The second-best place to make a movie is Texas. At least, so says a study by the California Senate's Select Committee on Motion Picture, Television, Commercial and Recording Industries.
The committee is looking into the growing trend of film and TV producers shooting outside California. The survey of producers, location managers, executive producers and other film professionals rated Texas second and Florida third for desirable shooting locations and conditions, followed by Arizona and New York. Also mentioned were Illinois, Utah and New Mexico.
Hollywood has been trying to fight runaway productions -- its name for films that shoot outside L.A., often for financial reasons -- for some time. Recently it took another visible, if minor, step: Amid all the movie billboards on the Sunset Strip, there's now a sign singing the praises of shooting in L.A.; a month ago, the only such ads belonged to San Antonio, Illinois and several other film commissions. The Game of Musical Titles
Name changes: The film version of David Mamet's "Sexual Perversity in Chicago" is now called "About Last Night . . ." because some newspapers and radio stations were squeamish about taking advertising under the original title . . . Paul Schrader's rock 'n' roll film "Just Around the Corner to the Light of Day" (which, once upon a time, was called "Born in the U.S.A.") is now simply "The Light of Day," which ought to fit on theater marquees a lot more easily . . . Blake Edwards' "Crisis," which stars Julie Andrews and Jack Lemmon, is now "That's Life." . . . Cannon's "Choice Kill" has become "Dangerously Close"; "Violated" will be released as "The Ladies Club" (coming up soon, title intact: "The Men's Club"); and Andrei Konchalovsky's "Duet for One" was retitled "Gift of the Heart" and then re-retitled "Duet for One." Etc., etc., etc.
Insurance Rates Rise
At an entertainment industry legal seminar last weekend, the president of the insurance company that issues coverage for at least 60 percent of today's feature films said that movie insurance premiums have risen more than 25 percent in the past six months, to the point where some independent productions may be hard pressed to secure any insurance. The problem, said Donald Cass of Albert G. Ruben & Co., includes rising medical costs, increased worker's compensation rates and a legal climate in which companies could be hit with huge settlements. One solution, he said, is for insurance companies to take care of the major studios "and not pay much attention to independent films." Quincy Jones' Qwest Continues
Oscar or not, "The Color Purple" coproducer Quincy Jones was apparently encouraged by his first foray into film: The musician turned movie producer has just launched a film arm of his Qwest Entertainment Co., and he's working on two feature film projects. One is a musical based on an idea of Jones'; the other is a multisegment movie consisting of filmed versions of three of the short stories Langston Hughes wrote around the character of Jesse B. Simple. Trailers
Norman Mailer has had conversations with director Francis Coppola about a possible film version of Mailer's "Strawhead," the two-act workshop play about Marilyn Monroe that landed its star -- Mailer's daughter Kate -- on the cover of Vanity Fair magazine . . . An American movie with the word "purple" in the title won the Best Picture award in Denmark's version of the Academy Awards, but that doesn't mean Steven Spielberg has anything new for his mantle. Instead, chalk up another overseas victory for the U.S. film that has won more European honors than any other movie of the past couple of years: Woody Allen's "The Purple Rose of Cairo" . . . Two decades ago Ed Sullivan made him change the words to "Let's Spend the Night Together"; now Walt Disney's company is the unlikely source giving Mick Jagger a forum for his music. Jagger has reportedly signed to sing the title track to "Ruthless People," an upcoming film starring Bette Midler and Danny DeVito from Disney's Touchstone division. Billy Joel and Bruce Springsteen also will have songs in the film.