From the Archive — “And we begin, as always, with the latest in movie news….”


As I’ve done on two prior occasions, I’m using the weekly rifle through old writing to share one of the news segments that always started our weekly movie review program. As usual, I must note that the research and subsequent word arranging done here is not my handwork, but was instead handled by my estimable colleague on the show. Previously, I’ve tried to line up the vintage news segment with a spot on the calendar roughly corresponding to its original airing. This time, though, I’ve opted for a different impetus. It seems there’s some symmetry with this weekend’s big movie event and the third and fourth items in this newscast. 

A coalition of right wing religious and public decency groups met last week in Washington, D.C. to propose sweeping changes to the nation’s movie ratings system. The National Coalition on Television Violence called for volunteer citizen rating boards in communities nationwide, similar to one that exists in Dallas, Texas. Under the plan, local boards would assign the following ratings to each film: G, PG, R-13, R-16, R-18, or X. Each film would also carry other ratings: S for sexual content; V, VV, and VVV fir level of violence; D for drug usage (including tobacco and alcohol); L for language; N for nudity; P for perversion; and A for adult situations. These ratings would also be attached to videocassettes. MPAA President Jack Valenti criticized the proposal, saying that it “is not only wrong, but it would create chaos for moviegoers.”

The city of Kissimmee, Florida will not be leveling a fine against theater owners who allow minors into film rated NC-17. Following intensive lobbying by Motion Picture and Theater Manager groups, a proposed $500 fine for such violations was rejected last week by the city council.

George Lucas has won a court decision in Canada, fighting back a claim by screenwriter Dean Preston that the Ewok characters in Return of the Jedi were stolen from a script that Preston submitted to 20th Century Fox in 1978. Lucas testified in trial that he had never seen the script “Space Pets,” and the judge ruled that there was no similarity between the two works. Lucas had been fighting the case for five years.

Speaking of Star Wars and Lucas, word is that he is in pre-production on the early chapters of the series, dormant since 1983. He’s said to be considering shooting the first trilogy back-to-back, similar to the recent Back to the Future sequels, in an effort to save money. If he sticks to his early concept for the series, these films will explore the creation of the Jedi and focus on the young Obi Wan Kenobi.

And in other space sequel news, Paramount has announced plans for Star Trek VI, the release of which will coincide with the 25th anniversary of the TV series. Nicholas Meyer, director of The Wrath of Khan and co-writer of The Voyage Home, will be in charge of this one, and all the regular cast members have signed on. The production is slated to start filming in February, but may have to be pushed back to April to accommodate schedules. And the plot? All Meyers is saying is that Spock falls in love.

A new project has been announced for Mel Gibson. It’s a fantasy/comedy entitled The Rest of Daniel. The plot concerns a test pilot in 1939 who loses the love of his life and, rather than killing himself, he volunteers for a cryogenics experiment. Fifty years later, he’s unfrozen and inadvertently becomes father to a family of children. Warner Bros. paid $2 million for the script.

According to Variety, the film that currently tops the video rental chart is Total Recall.

And the top five films at the box office are:

5. Rocky V, $11.3 million

4. Dances with Wolves, $12.6 million

3. Predator 2, $13.2 million

2. Three Men and a Little Lady, $19 million

1. Home Alone, $28 million

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