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XXXXX DRUDGE REPORT XXXXX SUN MAY 26, 2002 21:01:25 ET XXXXX
BUSH OFFICIAL QUESTIONS RELEASE OF PARAMOUNT'S NUKE-SCARE 'FEARS'
Recent private discussions at the White House question the timing and release of PARAMOUNT's new action movie SUM OF ALL FEARS, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned -- a movie which depicts a nuclear bomb unleashed on an American sporting event!
As the nation's airwaves, newspapers and websites continue to transmit actual terror threat concerns from official Washington -- recent editions of NEWSWEEK report a CIA warning of a "series of explosions using 'low charge' nuclear weapons" -- Hollywood is upping the ante and pouring the butter with its release of FEARS.
In the film, terrorists attempting to start World War III, steal a nuclear weapon and blow it up in a Baltimore, Maryland stadium.
FEARS includes realistic scenes of massive destruction, widespread panic and images of a president flying aboard the National Airborne Command Center in the midst of an international nuclear crisis.
"There is something to be said for awareness," the movie's star Ben Affleck, 29, said during a recent press conference, defending the film. "This movie wants to raise awareness..."
But one senior Bush official, who spoke to the DRUDGE REPORT on condition of anonymity, thinks the movie -- and the timing of its release -- crosses over the line of civic responsibility and commerce.
"After what we've all been through the past year, how can Hollywood so casually roll out a movie which shows Marines pulling a bleeding president from his motorcade?" questions the official, who said he's privately spoken with President Bush about the film.
"The president, of course, will let Hollywood be Hollywood, he will not publicly comment on this... but I can tell you he is not enthusiastic. I, myself, have serious, serious reservations... how it may alarm the public? How it very well may lead to a numbing-down of actual warnings that are issued."
The Bush official continued from Washington: "I mean, I was watching CNN the other day, they actually jumped from a news story on increased security around our nuclear power plants to later showing a clip from this movie which had windows being blown out by a nuclear blast. Really, how is this positive?"
The movie, based on a work by Tom Clancy, was completed before September 11. It was held by PARAMOUNT executives.
Inside of the studio there were serious discussion about shelving the movie indefinitely, according to well-placed sources.
But deep concerns over how the public will react to the film, which cost $70 million to make, have eased.
"The feeling here now is the country is on its way to healing," a top studio source said on Friday. "We are very sensitive to security issues, I doubt any viewer will confuse this motion picture with reality... Yes, we are aware the film's content will be an issue. And I think you'll find the marketing reflects that."
VIACOMPARAMOUNT boss Sumner Redstone personally signed off on releasing FEARS, with PARAMOUNT head Sherry Lansing also advocating this week's open.
Filed By Matt Drudge
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