Special Reports Personal Collection:
Norris Carden's (www.nuzman.com) e-mail collection of Drudge's Special Reports (5/31/1997 - 1/17/2001.)
XXXXX DRUDGE REPORT FINAL XXXXX JUNE 13, 1997 XXXXX
'BATMAN' BUDGET BLOWOUT
Most Expensive Film In WARNER BROS History
BURBANK -- One of the best kept secrets not known outside out of the studio
gates here at WARNER BROS is revealed: The new film BATMAN & ROBIN
arrives with a budget between $217-225 million, a studio record. Holy
Schumacher! According to top studio intelligence, WB executives have very
creatively -- and quietly -- amortized the total BATMAN & ROBIN budget,
spreading costs around to various departments and expenditure accounts in
an effort to keep anyone from knowing the full bill. Even the accountants
are confused and can't tell the whole story, it has been explained. The
revealed bottom line represents a cost of more than $1.5 million per minute
of film -- a total budget blowout.
How and why the cost of the project ballooned to record levels is not
clear. The DRUDGE REPORT can dispell the rumors that had director Joel
Schumacher extensively reshooting scenes after two research screenings went
down lukewarm. "He took out his scissors and did some last-minute
editing... the sets have been down since January, he couldn't have shot
more," laughed a studio source over lunch on Thursday.
Official WARNER BROS strongly denies the $200+ million price tag. And one
can predict what Schumacher and pal Liz Smith will write in reaction to the
bat budget that had executives warning: we better fudge it.
Even with its absurd cost, BATMAN & ROBIN could still prove profitable to
the studio. "By the time all of the global receipts, merchandizing and
video sales are in, this film will end up looking like a sound investment,"
explained the source. And on the remote chance that Schumacher has birthed
a dud? "Then clearly we've got some problems." It should be noted,
however, that WARNER BROS is also set to release CONTACT and CONSPIRACY
THEORY, both films are in position to make up for any BATMAN shortfall.
SIDE: Some instant relief for nervous ones involved with the BATMAN budget
blowout as CBS agrees to pay $60 million for the rights to air 15 WARNER
BROS. movie titles, including BATMAN & ROBIN, CONTACT and CONSPIRACY. A
unique sale of films that have yet to be released. CBS ENTERTAINMENT
President Leslie Moonves, the man with expanding clout at WESTINGHOUSE,
former head of WARNER BROS. TV, is behind the bailout.
* * * *
HOLLYWOOD HATES DADS?
LOS ANGELES -- Dad-bashing has become a cliched plot point in Hollywood
movies: "You're never there for me, Dad," whines a child in any typical
Hollywood scene. LOS ANGELES TIMES good guy James Bates, father of three
school-age children himself, is tired of it and goes after Hollywood's
dad-bashing ways in Sunday editions: "In Hollywood Today, Father Doesn't
Bates writes, "It's a rare home that isn't fractured in the movies these
days, especially in films marketed as 'family' ones, with Dad almost always
the problem... whether divorced or married, today's multiplex Dad is
usually a distant, dysfunctional caricature... a one-dimensional cliche
thrown into the script as an afterthought a few minutes into the movie,
serving little more than to provide a convenient diversion from the plot."
Bates goes 1,200 words -- gives endless examples of "weak father" -- but
likes his job [TIMES editors frown on too much edge] and comes to the
eventual conclusion, "None of this is the result of any great conspiracy by
Hollywood to undermine fathers. More likely, it's due in part to an
annoying tendency to take the easy way out..."
* * * *
Impending DOJ-driven indictments of John Huang are hanging in the air on
The Hill. "Reno has to know what it's going to look like if she doesn't,"
an aid to a senior senator tells the DRUDGE REPORT. But the case against
Huang is complex and unstable. Ron Safer's WASHINGTON WHISPER has this
Huang woops: "A donor who Democrats said was dead lives... The Democratic
National Committee, investigating questionable donations, couldn't find the
Michele Lima who gave $3,000 last year without listing an address. [A
donation solicited by Huang.] But the DNC discovered a Michele Lima, who
had been dead for 11 years, and figured she was the one listed. [DNC] told
reporters, prompting news stories about a deceased donor and outrage from
her son," most notably in the NEW YORK TIMES. "But it turns out," says
Shafer, "that there is another Michele Lima. She is the wife of James Lu,
who donated $3,000 the same day and gave the address in Queens where the
couple then lived. That Michele Lima didn't return messages left with two
brothers. The DNC now says it has 'no particular reason to believe' the
real donor is dead."
* * * *
CBS' 60 MINUTES and its obsession with race relations continues this Sunday
in a Mike Wallace segment: EX-PANTHER CLEAVER SAYS MARTIN LUTHER KING'S
INFLUENCE PREVENTED "CATASTROPHE" DURING BLACK POWER MOVEMENT. Eldridge
Cleaver, who once wanted to murder white U.S. leaders, tells Wallace that
had it not been for Martin Luther King's restraining influence on black
people, he and his revolutionaries would have caused large-scale bloodshed.
"...Had it been left to people like Malcolm X or Huey Newton and myself,
we would have had a real holocaust...," says Cleaver, now repentant,
religious and Republican. Cleaver, "minister of information" for the
Black Panthers in the 60s and 70s, on Farrakhan: "He's about 15 to 25
percent horrible because he preaches hate... People like Louis Farrakhan
will constantly remind black people of slavery, because that helps to stir
up the emotion, to stir up the hatred... We need to be released from
accusing each other of the past....We have an excellent opportunity
to...reconcile ourselves to each other and to our Creator."
* * * *
Friday's NEW YORK TIMES paints a picture: "Six and a half years into a
record-breaking bull market, American investors have crossed a threshold,
committing more than half of their mutual fund assets to stocks, double the
level of fund assets that were invested in the stock market at the
beginning of the decade." Reporter Edward Wyatt doesn't scare with any
* * * *
Out of the ashes of PoliticsNow rises CLOAKROOM. Drudge musts, THE HOTLINE
and NATIONAL JOURNAL, are set to launch a site to be officially unveiled
July 4. (www.cloakroom.com), for inside the beltway types -- and, after
the PoliticsNow fiasco, subscription only! Searchable database, up-to-date
news; free to NATIONAL JOURNAL subscribers, $9.95 per month for the rest.
All part of a celebration of freedom: NATIONAL JOURNAL INC. is released
from TIMES MIRROR CO. shackles. Senior executives led by John "Foxy"
Sullivan, the publication's chief executive officer and president, and
Washington publisher David Bradley team to buy NATIONAL JOURNAL. The sale
was announced mid-week; a thousand pounds lighter, Sullivan and group have
not revealed the cost...
TV networks scramble to track down jurors for interviews after the penalty
phase of the Oklahoma City bombing trial. Reborn ABC NEWS is said to have
the upper hand in tracking down home addresses of jurors. But if the order
is death, will it be safe to show a face? "We would be willing to put them
in shadows," offers a hungry NBC producer. Everyone in the business fears
a possible gag order issued by Judge Matsch. There will be temptation to
somehow subvert such an order. CBS anchor Dan Rather back in Denver
Thursday for the sentencing. The only network anchor on hand for the
verdict -- "It's just too big a story to stay away from," Rather tells
Carmody in the WASHINGTON POST. He tells Friday's paper that he'll stay in
Colorado until the sentence is handed down, even if the jury is out over
Now that's a sacrifice.
Filed by Matt Drudge
6/13/97 03:07:09 UTC
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