The multiplex that Cineplex Odeon calls the world's largest cinema complex opened just outside Los Angeles last weekend. In three days, the theaters that make up the Cineplex Odeon Universal City Cinemas reportedly brought in far more money than all of the theaters on Hollywood Boulevard, one of L.A.'s two prime movie-going locations.
The new complex boasts 47-foot-high ceilings supported by marble pillars and includes three snack bars, a cafe' and exotic plants in 120,000 square feet of neo-art-deco splendor, mixed with some of the flavor of a Southern California shopping mall. (Par for the course, it also has a confusing parking lot.)
Cineplex Chairman Garth Drabinsky estimates that it will gross about $10 million in its first year, which would also make it the biggest-grossing cinema complex in the world. The second-biggest cinema complex is now Radio City Music Hall -- but then, Radio City's 5,874 seats are all in one big theater, while Universal City's 5,940 seats are spread throughout 18 theaters.
Dylan's 'Hearts of Fire' Cooled Bob Dylan may be drawing big crowds to the concerts he's doing with the Grateful Dead, but his film career is on shakier ground. Executives at 20th Century Fox recently saw a rough cut of "Hearts of Fire," the Lorimar film in which Dylan stars with rock singer Fiona -- and amid much talk that they didn't like what they saw, the studio moved it to November from its originally scheduled August release date. Fox won't comment on that report, but it does dovetail with another story that leaked out of the Dylan camp not long ago. When the project was still in the planning stages, Dylan reportedly sent a script to one of today's most sought-after young actresses, telling her he could get her a million dollars (the same as his salary) for playing the female lead. She read it, told Dylan it was terrible and she wouldn't even consider it -- and added that besides, a million dollars was one third her usual salary.
Paramount, Ahead for Early Summer Universal's "Dragnet" and MGM's "Spaceballs" have bucked the odds in capturing the top slots on the box office charts for the past two weeks running, but so far this summer still belongs to Paramount Pictures. Based on The Hollywood Reporter's box office figures for the first seven weeks of the 17-week summer season, Paramount's one-two punch of "Beverly Hills Cop II" and "The Untouchables" took in a remarkable 45 percent of total business through the end of June. After that, there's a huge gap before second-place Warner Bros. (which took in almost 10 percent, courtesy of "Witches of Eastwick" and "Full Metal Jacket," which is doing exceptionally well in limited engagements), 20th Century Fox (9.7 percent, because of "Predator"), Universal (8.5 percent, from "Dragnet" and "Harry and the Hendersons") and Buena Vista (i.e. Disney, which captured just over 8 percent with "Ernest Goes to Camp" and "Benji the Hunted").
Huston Characters Past and Future This year's Santa Fe Film Festival will salute director John Huston, and one of the special events will be a costume ball at which guests are asked to come as their favorite Huston character. But while 29 of the director's films will be shown in Santa Fe, his version of James Joyce's "The Dead" won't be released until November; meanwhile, Huston will act in "Theophilus North," a film version of the Thornton Wilder novel that will be directed by Huston's son Danny.
Odds and Ends Paul Schrader is reportedly planning a movie about Patty Hearst, to be produced by "Lenny" producer Marvin Worth ... Hollywood began work on 271 movies during the first six months of this year, a 38 percent jump from the same period last year. Much of the increase is due to studios rushing films into production to beat the expected Directors Guild strike.