Millennium Bug Watch

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WOULD IT be a good idea or a bad idea for Hollywood to make a film about the millennium bug? It probably depends who you are.

Earlier this year, Warner Bros bought the screenplay for a film tentatively titled Y2K (the acronym for "year 2000"). It was described by those who had seen the script as "something like Deep Impact [in which a meteor hits the Earth], with the year 2000 in the background". Stu Zicherman, who wrote the screenplay, was justifiably excited at the deal: "In any movie, you're looking at a ticking clock, and this is the greatest ticking clock ever. It's one of the few deadlines in the history of the world you can't push back."

However, things have been a little quiet since, tempting some to suggest that Warner Bros has been leant upon by Washington experts who do not want people too worried about computers crashing everywhere. But some sources are suggesting that it is not conspiracy at all - and that Mr Zicherman was more correct than he realised.

The film executives have realised that if the film was released in the US in the autumn of 1999, as planned, then it would not reach its other English-speaking markets (such as Britain) for another three or four months - that is, after its watch-by date. A slightly less time-dependent treatment is now thought to be in the works.