THE ETERNAL drama that is the production of Eyes Wide Shut, Stanley Kubrick's long-awaited film, seems to have entered its final act. Warner Brothers announced a US release date for the film, 16 July next year, with an international release to follow shortly. As next summer's US release schedule stands, Kubrick's psychosexual drama, starring Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman as married psychiatrists, will be up against a number of big hitters released in the weeks before: Will Smith's Wild Wild West, the first of the new Star Wars trilogy, and Bofinger, a vehicle for Eddie Murphy and Steve Martin. The studio will want to avoid this summer's Avengers fiasco and, while Warner Bros have demonstrated notable loyalty to Kubrick over the past 30 years, they'll be looking for a big hit from a production which has given them a lot of headaches.

Since filming began in 1996, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Harvey Keitel have had to pull out and the studio has found it difficult to quash rumours surrounding the film's tortuous gestation. Kubrick can count himself lucky, for instance, that one of the world's most-sought after stars, Tom Cruise, has kept his schedule free for the production - his last big-screen appearance was in Jerry Maguire and the actor was required for re-shoots earlier this year.


WITH MEL Gibson about to appear at a multiplex near you as Martin Lethal Weapon Riggs for the fourth time, news comes that Universal Pictures is gearing up for a fourth installment of the film that set the Australian on the road to Hollywood, Mad Max. Twelve years after the last of George Miller's post-apocalyptic adventures, the director has apparently been signed up to revive the franchise, according to reports in Variety.

Gibson's representatives, however, claimed not even to have been contacted about the possibility of their man sporting his Outback mullet for a fourth time. The actor has come a long way since Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome, and now commands a salary per film in excess of the total cost of the original trilogy. The 42-year-old has already stated that he's unlikely to line up for a Lethal Weapon 5, and if we're to believe that then a fifth Mad Max may be beyond Gibson.


BEST LEAVE the stuntwork to James Cameron and his box of CGI tricks. Police in Michigan, USA, have reported the drowning of a 25-year-old woman who allegedly decided to adopt Kate Winslet's spirit of ecstasy pose on the prow of Titanic in the film of the same name. The woman died when she lost her balance and toppled off the pleasure boat, banging her head as she did so.