No more "Dick Tracy"-style blockbusters from Disney? That's what studio president Jeffrey Katzenberg advocates in a leaked pro-austerity memo.
"Having tried and succeeded, we should now look long and hard at the blockbuster business . . . and get out of it," Katzenberg told his corps of executives." `Tracy,' " he wrote, "made demands on our time, talent and treasury that, upon reflection, may not have been worth it. . . . As a company trying to bring to market 25 to 30 films a year, we simply can't afford to indulge in the blockbuster mentality, even as a sidelight."
- Foreign takeovers of big movie studios like Columbia, MGM and Universal may be good for small independent U.S. producers, says an optimistic Robert Redford.
"Foreign corporate ownership might create an . . . opportunity for filmmakers out of the mainstream," he says. Foreign companies, he adds, don't know the American marketplace and "might be willing to take more chances."
- NBC says the Persian Gulf war has cost it $37 million so far in expenses and lost prime-time ad revenue. Together with ABC and CBS spending and losses, that brings the total war cost to more than $100 million for the networks.
NBC has become the first to react and plans to lay off as many as 300 employees this spring.
- The highlight of the 80th-birthday bash for ex-President Reagan at L.A.'s Chasen's Restaurant came when former first lady Nancy Reagan serenaded him with "Our Love Is Here to Stay." She was accompanied by Marvin Hamlisch.
An official birthday banquet a few days later featured a live appearance by Margaret Thatcher; videos by George Bush, Lech Walesa, Helmut Kohl and Brian Mulroney, and performances by Liza Minnelli, Jimmy Stewart, Les Brown and Merv Griffin.
The banquet raised $2 million for the soon-to-open Reagan Library in California's suburban Simi Valley.
- Peter O'Toole on his role in Universal's new "King Ralph": "Comedy is something I've come to slowly and rather reluctantly. It's the most difficult of the things we do and very easy to fail at."
- Golf tournament sponsor Dinah Shore on her favorite sport: "I get a headache if I don't get to play. It's the most humbling sport ever. It's like a lousy lover. It's like some guy who's never there when you need him. Every once in a while he comes back and makes you feel like heaven on earth. And then the moment you say `I really need this,' he's gone."
- Talk-show host Arsenio Hall is suing a pizza shop in his hometown of Cleveland for using his name without permission. Hall is seeking all profits from Arsenio's Pizza Inc. and demands that the store stop using his name. The pizza store owners have responded that they can "use any name we want."
- Johnny Carson has donated $600,000 to help build a theater for a high school in his hometown of Norfolk, Neb. The donation was Carson's third big gift of the past three years to causes in and around Norfolk. In 1988 the "Tonight Show" host gave $650,000 to the Carson Regional Radiation Center at a Norfolk hospital. Last year he gave $50,000 to the Northeast Nebraska Zoo in Royal, Neb.
- James Stewart will get the most prestigious honor of the National Board of Motion Pictures. He'll pick up the D.W. Griffith Career Achievement Award at a New York banquet next month.
- "Unsolved Mysteries" host Robert Stack finally gets to take on the case that stymied Eliot Ness, the real-life G-man he portrayed for years in "The Untouchables." The Feb. 20 edition of Stack's new show examines 12 mutilation murders by the so-called "Butcher of Kingsbury Run." Producers won't say if they've cracked the case.
- The latest plagiarism lawsuit has hit the 1988 movie "Big," with writer Christopher Fink claiming 20th Century Fox, writers Anne Spielberg (sister of producer-director Steven Spielberg) and Gary Ross and four other defendants copied the story from a Fink script called "Wishful Thinking." Lawyers for defendants say the suit "has absolutely no merit."
- He couldn't make it big in the National Football League, but theater owners think Brian Bozworth will be big in movies. The Boz, due for a feature film debut in "Stone Cold" this May, has been named 1991 Action Star of Tomorrow by National Association of Theater Owners.