.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Thursday, March 09, 2006



by Don Rose

(March 8, 2006 : Century City, CA) A long, long time ago, in a state far far away, I recall learning a grade school weather aphorism that says March “comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb”. So what better time than early March for MGM to host a press luncheon, where the studio (owner of the world’s most famous lion logo) previewed a new lineup of films set to begin rolling out this April. The star talent in these films is top-notch, including A-listers like Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, Michelle Pfeiffer, Richard Gere, Ben Kingsley, Kevin Costner, William Hurt, Eva Longoria and more. Some of the important “lion dates” coming up that caught my eye: April 7 for the release of “Lucky Number Slevin” – a New York gangster/murder pic -- starring Willis, Lucy Liu, Kingsley and Freeman; August 18 for the long anticipated Kevin Smith sequel, “Clerks II”; February 2007 for “Darwin Awards”, starring Joseph Fiennes, Winona Ryder, David Arquette and Juliette Lewis; and first quarter 2007 for “Mr. Brooks”, a psychological thriller starring Costner and featuring Hurt (fresh off an Oscar nom).

Other news of note at the luncheon:

- There will indeed be a “Pink Panther” sequel to the Steve Martin remake. Not surprising, since they said the Martin movie has made over $70 million so far and is growing, expected to top the magic $100 mil mark after its trek overseas.

- There will also be a sequel to “The Thomas Crown Affair” starring Pierce Brosnan, ex-007. I guess he and MGM see eye to Goldeneye now.

- The sixth installment of the “Rocky Balboa” saga just wrapped production, coming to theatres most likely next year.

- MGM partner Sony is making and marketing the new James Bond film, “Casino Royale”. Looks like the new Bond will debut (or live another day, if you will) this November, but next year would seem to be the one meant for marketing magic; you can't get better numerological synchronicity than 2007=007!

- The MGM folks hinted they may be looking for a new Terminator, acknowledging that Arnold is a bit busy these days. True, the original Terminator is now the Governator, but MGM knows a good franchise when they see one; Bond, Panther, Rocky – they always seem to find a way to keep these sequel machines going, so making more machine-laden “Terminator” tales seems a sure bet as well.

In addition to the speeches, film presentation and Q&A, press guests were treated to excellent food (catered by a cool guy named Kai) and tours of the MGM offices, where several of the studio’s 209 (count ‘em, 209!) Oscars are on display (the 209th coming a few days ago, for Best Actor Philip Seymour “Capote” Hoffman – he still has that one in his possession, I assume). Finally, I must give kudos to the press kit itself, which roars like a lion as you open it. With a slew of top talent on display in their upcoming films, perhaps the greatest film library in the world, and a strong alliance with Sony, MGM should be roaring indeed.

# # #