A month ago, soothsayers were predicting that The Flintstones, Steven Spielberg's live-action rendering of the cult cartoon series, would do Jurassic Park box-office this summer (the film opens in the UK on 22 July). That was before the previews. Those stumbling from early screenings haven't been gasping over the state-of-the-art FX or laughing at the Stone-Age gags supplied by a record 32 writers. Older patrons especially have been irritated by the film's pandering to the kiddie crowd: as one anonymous executive puts it, 'I think you could sum this picture up in two words - young and stupid.' This is bad news for Universal, Spielberg's co-producers. Given The Flintstones' relative lack of star power (John Goodman's last four films have flopped to the tune of some dollars 200m), Universal were banking on Baby Boomers turning out in droves. With word of mouth rapidly turning from Yabba-dabba-do to Yabba-dabba-don't, they may well be tempted to stay at home instead and watch the Cartoon Network's 84-hour marathon transmission of every Flintstones episode ever made.
The Hollywood Walk of Fame is ejecting 840 of its stars (a third of the total) to make way for a subway extension. Already Gene Kelly's and Jeanette MacDonald's plaques have been prised from the pavement and banished to storage, while Bette Davis, Elvis Presley, Gary Cooper and Marilyn Monroe await the tender mercies of the jackhammer. Rabid fans have signalled their intention of saving their favourites from the indignity of being dug up, which worries LA's transportation authority less than the community groups threatening a federal lawsuit for 'wrecking a historic district'.
Hollywood's honorary mayor, Johnny Grant, promises that Elvis and Marilyn will be relocated further up Hollywood Boulevard 'near Sophia Loren' and that the expelled luminaries will be out of mothballs four years from now to once again take their rightful place, but some devotees are not to be placated. As Rose Bitters, a 71-year-old Barry Manilow fan, grumbles, 'It stinks. I feel like putting decals on the ground that say 'Barry Manilow was here. Evicted. Not of his choice.' '
SUBMISSIONS are being asked for the second British Short Film Festival, starting on 23 September at the Plaza 2, London, and running for a week. There will be a programme strand entitled 'The Best of British', which will include the latest student productions. The festival is competitive.
Details: 081-743 8000 ext 62222 / 62052.
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