News from June 1, 2001

The Washington Post yesterday reports on a study by MarketCast which estimates ticket sales for R rated features are down as much as 30% since the whole Lieberman crap began last year. The study concluded that “significant numbers” of children under 17, principally younger girls, were being deterred from seeing R-rated movies such as The Mexican and Angel Eyes, causing them to lose a major share of the audience that ordinarily would have been attracted to them. The report, however, seemingly failed to notice that the two of the top three films released this year as of this writing, Hannibal and Traffic, were handed R ratings. Granted, neither of them are primarily aimed at the allegedly all important teen audience. But neither were Gladiator or Bridget Jones’s Diary, and they didn’t have much of a problem sustaining long term business. Maybe, and I know I am going out on a limb here, the quality or perceived quality of the film is more important when it comes to R rated films than how many dick jokes and tit shots there might be.

Speaking of dicks and tits – Geoffrey Rush and Kate Winslet really must have enjoyed working together on Quills, wearing all those silly French costumes, for they are reteaming to work with Canadian helmer Francois Girard (of The Red Violin and 32 Short Films About Glenn Gould fame) on The Magician’s Wife. Girard will not be working with frequent collaborator Don McKellar this time out. Instead, ET and Kundun scribe Melissa Mathison will handle the adaptation of Brian Moore’s novel about a French conjurer who is sent to Algeria by Napoleon III to stop an uprising. Shooting in Morocco and France on the $25M film is tentatively set to begin August 1st.

Speaking of highly regarded Canadian filmmakers… Atom Egoyan begins production today on his latest, Ararat. Eric Bogosian and Christopher Plummer will join longtime Egoyan collaborators Bruce Greenwood, Arsinee (Mrs. Egoyan) Khanjian and Elias Koteas in this $25M production about a film crew shooting a movie about the Armenian genocide during the early 1900s.

And in minor movie news, Eva Mendes and Enrique Iglesias are joining the cast of Robert Rodriguez’s Desperado sequel Once Upon A Time In Mexico.