Fox and Disney have been slugging it out on the family- entertainment battlefield all month, and the outcome remains inconclusive. In what has been widely seen as an assault on the Disney empire, Fox released its first animated feature, Anastasia, a lavish, historically suspect Romanov-dynasty epic. The studio has spent a reported $100m making and marketing the film, even going so far as to target school lunches (Rasputin Rolls, Anastasia's Apple Sauce, etc). In addition to its just- released, live-action Flubber (a remake of The Absent-Minded Professor, starring Robin Williams and flying green goo), Disney has reissued the eight-year-old Little Mermaid, and advertised it even more aggressively than Anastasia. In its opening week, Anastasia comfortably outperformed Mermaid; both were trounced, however, by Mortal Kombat: Annihilation.
The sweeps months, during which advertising rates are determined, bring out the best and, far more often, the worst in American television. Squarely in the latter category is the Fox network's distressing habit of packaging camcorder footage into enticingly titled hour-long specials - like Cheating Death: Catastrophes Caught on Tape, World's Scariest Police Chases, and World's Deadliest Swamps (the network apparently drew the line at Prisoners Out of Control). All through November, the sitcoms resorted to gimmicks - mainly, borrowing guest stars from other sitcoms. Best news: signs of progress finally on Ellen after yet more months of neurotic dawdling - Ellen Morgan, celibate since last May's notorious and protracted outing, finally had sex with a woman last week.Reuse content