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For North America on Friday, June 27, 1997
**Internet Exclusive**

1. FACE/OFF $7.550 OPEN
2. HERCULES $7.100 ---- $009.304 since opening
3. BATMAN $5.125 -68% $064.597
4. FRIEND'S WED $4.760 -32% $038.963
5. CON AIR $1.640 -45% $074.291
6. LOST WORLD $1.200 -47% $209.887
7. SPEED 2 $1.030 -54% $038.416

Dollars are in million
% denotes change from last Friday
Numbers are moved for private recreation use

FOOTNOTE: HERCULES up a notch in early Saturday afternoon action as
the diaper crowd finds its way into theaters...

* * * *


US NEWS & WORLD REPORT on Monday has former Clinton national security
adviser Anthony Lake, the guy who was once stashed in secret at the
Blair House for personal security reasons, recently signing a $300,000
deal for a book that will examine "potential national security threats
to the United States during the next 10 years." Working title: SIX
NIGHTMARES, the LITTLE, BROWN book will explore scenarios like a
blackmail-terrorist threatening Washington with a nuclear weapon...

* * * *


Bob Altman's new film GINGERBREAD MAN is the latest victim of a test
screening blowup. "It's Awful and unwatchable," one viewer who
attended a screening in Los Angeles this week -- the third in recent
months -- tells the DRUDGE REPORT. "There were about twenty
walkouts... it just doesn't go anywhere. It drags. But it's short,
so I don't know what he could chop. Altman is in a serious creative
rut... Daryl Hannah running around unrecgonizable in a silly black
wig, Robert Downey Jr. playing a drunk, and that ending!"

The vibes at one of the recent screenings were so bad, Director Altman
personally canceled the focus group.

What had Altman angry was the way the audience was selected. A
classic test screening blowup.

Audience recruiters were explicitly told not to tell potential viewers
that the screenplay for GINGERBREAD was written by John Grisham, his
first original screenplay, in the hope they would come in without
preconceived expectations.

But the recruiters blew it. They told viewers that it was a Grisham.

This comes after the first test screening audience was picked by
playing up the Grisham factor -- with very disappointing results.
Viewers that were expecting Tom Cruise and Sandra Bullock gloss,
instead got standard Altman esoterica.

Bad test screening results can often lead to reduced marketing support
for a film.

The Southern lawyer Rick Magruder meets a young woman in trouble.
They sex. He defends her against her demented father. Filmed mostly
at night, under simulated hurricane conditions: Branagh, Davidtz,
Berenger, Duvall, Hannah, Downey Jr.

There is much fuss being made in Hollywood circles over the quirky
ending Altman has given to GINGERBREAD -- a final courtroom scene
where Kenneth Branagh's character will either be disbarred, arrested,
or freed. As the Judge asks everyone to take their seats, and begins
the proceedings, Altman pans the camera away from the courtroom,
points it out the window, zooms in on a jazz combo -- fades out the
judge, fades in the jazz. The viewer is not able to see or hear the
final dramatic scene, whatsoever. "It's a huge 'Fu*k you' to the
audience, John Grisham, and the movie itself," describes a source.


* * * *

Matt Drudge on C-SPAN's WASHINGTON JOURNAL, Monday morning at 9:00 am

6/28/97 23:04 UTC
The REPORT is issued when circumstances warrant.
P.O. BOX 1171, Hollywood, CA 90028
(c)DRUDGE REPORT 1997, All rights reserved

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