When the Oscar nominations were announced, it seemed as if Academy voters were paying a lot more attention to commercial success than they had in past years -- and it turns out the figures back up that impression.
A Hollywood Reporter tally found that the five current best picture nominees had grossed more than $232 million by the time of their nomination, close to double the $124.5 million earned by last year's nominees. The 1986 nominees, by way of comparison, had grossed almost $195 million, while the 1985 lineup had barely passed the $90 million mark.
Of course, the fact that this year's lineup has made more money means the winner won't likely be as affected by the award as, say, last year's winner, "Platoon," which had grossed $38.3 million at the time of its nomination but went on to top the $150 million mark. By contrast, "Fatal Attraction" had already made $143 million when it was nominated, and a win would have only a minor effect on its overall total.
Incidentally, in each of the past three years the best picture award has gone to one of the two top-grossing films among the nominees: "Platoon" had made more than any other nominee when the lineup was announced last year, while "Out of Africa" and "Amadeus" were second to "Witness" and "Places in the Heart" in 1986 and 1985, respectively. If that trend continues, it means "Fatal Attraction" or "Broadcast News" will win this year.
In Hollywood, Ted Turner's commitment to classic movies is suspect, to say the least: among moviemakers he's best known for buying MGM and then selling everything except its movie library, which he proceeded to colorize. That's one example of what Steven Spielberg recently decried as "big-business greed that doesn't care about the desecration of timeless treasures," and one of the things Spielberg and George Lucas will be arguing against when they come to Washington to speak next Thursday before a Senate subcommittee considering a copyright bill that may contain a "moral rights" provision prohibiting such changes. (That provision, which would help bring U.S. copyright law in line with the international Berne Treaty, is on shaky ground in Congress.)
Still,Turner is evidently committed to preserving at least one old movie -- naturally, one in color -- in its original, pre-TV form. He not only owns a theater in Atlanta that shows "Gone With the Wind" every day, but also plans to build a $1 million exhibit commemorating that film in the CNN headquarters next to his movie theater. Turner reportedly wants the exhibit to open in time to lure Democratic National Convention delegates when they arrive in Atlanta in July.
Rest of the Reel
Tri-Star Pictures has changed the title of "50" to "The Comeback Kid," a move that may or may not have something to do with the fact that the actor tabbed to play the title role as a man of 50 is Richard Dreyfuss, who's listed in the Halliwell film reference guide as 38. Dreyfuss recently expressed some reluctance to do the film after seeing a new version of the Marshall Brickman script, which was based on Avery Corman's book. This week, Tri-Star chief Jeff Sagansky said the dispute with Dreyfuss has nothing to do with the character's age, and added that the company will make the movie with or without him ... Steve Guttenberg, who's done his share of sequels in the past (returning regularly to the "Police Academy" even when most of his other roles are in slightly classier projects), has become the last significant cast member to sign on for the "Cocoon" sequel, which, Daily Variety reports, its producers insist on calling an "equal" rather than a "sequel." Shooting begins in a month on the Dan Petrie-directed movie, which finds the original's senior citizens returning from their haven in outerspace ... After taking on motherhood in "Throw Momma From the Train," Danny DeVito will turn his sights to marriage for "War of the Roses," a comedy about divorce that he'll direct and star in for producer James L. Brooks. It starts shooting in the fall, after DeVito finishes playing the extremely nonidentical twin of Arnold Schwarzenegger in Ivan Reitman's "Twins."