News Roundup, Feb. 21: Theaters Sued Over Commercials

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The new practice of showing commercials in theaters before a film starts has irked several moviegoers to the point they have filed class-action lawsuits against two movie theater chains. The Associated Press reports the lawsuits, which claim the theaters defraud people by falsely advertising when a film is to start, were filed Tuesday in Illinois’ Cook County Circuit Court against Classic Cinemas and Loews Cineplex Entertainment. Both ask that theaters state films’ actual start times in their ads or pay no more than $75 “for anybody who’s had to sit through these things, millions of people,” attorney Mark Weinberg told AP. Miriam Fisch, a Chicago high school teacher, filed one of the lawsuits and told AP when she recently went to see The Quiet American, she had to sit through four ads before the movie started. One of her attorneys, Douglas Litowitz, told AP the movie industry went for 100 years without commercials. “Our basic proposition is that if you are forced to watch commercials, you should be compensated for it,” Litowitz said.


Drew Carey, the comedian from Cleveland, Ohio who got one of his first big breaks competing on Star Search in 1988, will get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame today to mark the 200th episode of the sitcom bearing his name, City News Service reports.

Canadian singer Celine Dion is making plans to sell her home in Jupiter, Fla., and build a new home in one of Florida’s most exclusive golf course developments in Palm Beach. AP reports she bought a three-acre lot for $3.5 million in Jack Nicklaus’ The Bear’s Club because of its “exceptional privacy and security.”

Baywatch star David Hasselhoff and his wife, actress Pamela Bach, were injured Thursday in Los Angeles when Hasselhoff lost control of the motorcycle they were riding and hit a curb, AP reports. The couple was taken to the UCLA Medical Center, where Hasselhoff, 50, was treated for possible lower back fractures, a broken rib and cuts and bruises, according to police. Bach, 39, was treated for a fractured ankle and broken wrist. They were both wearing helmets.


The Tribeca Film Festival, whose inaugural run last year helped boost New York City’s post-9/11 economy, will return for year two, AP reports. Scheduled for May 3-11, the festival will feature 200 premieres and offer more awards than last year’s event, which took place eight months after the terrorist attacks. Festival organizer Robert De Niro and actor Kevin Spacey were on hand at Thursday’s news conference to announce the festival’s return.

Stephen King‘s novella Riding the Bullet, which first appeared as an e-book three years ago, will get the big-screen treatment, Variety reports. The story revolves around a suicidal college kid trying to hitchhike across Maine to see his ailing mother. After a series of bizarre rides and misfortunes, the teen is finally picked up by a menacing stranger–a spectral figure who offers a terrible ultimatum as well as a new perspective on life. No talent has been attached as yet.

Goldie Hawn is just a writin’ fool these days. According to Variety, G.P. Putnam’s Sons has bought the world publishing rights to the actress’ spiritual memoirs, A Lotus Grows in the Mud: Footprints of a Spiritual Life. Hawn is also shopping her feature screenplay Ashes which she wrote with Bulworth scribe Jeremy Pikser.

It’s official. AP reports Warner Bros. announced Friday Irish actor Michael Gambon, who recently starred in the HBO film Path to Glory, will replace the late Richard Harris as Professor Dumbledore in the next Harry Potter installment, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.


The Cartoon Network has made a deal with Lucasfilm Ltd. to air 20 animated shorts based on the Star Wars franchise. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the shorts, titled Clone Wars, will be three minutes in length and will connect the story lines between the movies Star Wars: Episode II–Attack of the Clones and Episode III. They’ll begin airing in November.


Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel may make their first joint public appearance in 10 years, if they reunite for this Sunday’s Grammy Awards. A spokesman for Simon told Reuters the two sang together in a private setting on Wednesday. “They got together yesterday and had a wonderful time. They got together as two great old friends and sang for the first time since 1993. They’re thinking of performing at the Grammys, but they’re not sure if they have enough time,” the spokesman said.

Reuters reports Ms. Dynamite, Coldplay, Robbie Williams, Norah Jones and Eminem were among the winners at the Brit awards Thursday, which honor the U.K. recording industry.