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3 items from 2007

MGM throws catalog party for UA

30 October 2007 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

MGM Home Entertainment will celebrate the 90th anniversary of the United Artists studio with an 18-month worldwide catalog promotion that kicks off next month.

MGM will release at least two collector's or special-edition DVD titles each quarter, along with anniversary-branded gift sets in commemorative packaging, through March 2009. In addition, each quarter will focus on a particular aspect of UA's filmmaking history to honor the films, directors, actors and music that represent the studio's heritage.

To launch the promotion, MGM on Dec. 11 will release the "United Artists 90th Anniversary Prestige Collection Gift Set," consisting of 90 classic UA films, including eight that won best picture Oscars: Marty, The Apartment, In the Heat of the Night, Annie Hall, Rocky, Rain Man, West Side Story and Midnight Cowboy. The set, housed in a Plexiglas case, will sell for $869.98, making it one of the most expensive gift sets ever.

Also out Dec. 11 is a three-title "Essential Collection" gift set.

The fourth quarter also will see the release of "Rocky: The Complete Saga," with all six films in the franchise; the 21-title "James Bond Ultimate Collector's Set"; and a 30th anniversary edition of New York, New York.

MGM also has released a three-volume Best of United Artists collection, with each volume containing four films as well as two movie tickets for the theatrical release of the new UA's first film, Lions for Lambs, directed by Robert Redford and starring Redford, Meryl Streep and Tom Cruise. »

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Cinematographer Laszlo Kovacs dies at 74

24 July 2007 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Internationally acclaimed cinematographer Laszlo Kovacs, who lensed the landmark cinematic achievement Easy Rider and compiled more than 70 credits, has died at his home in Beverly Hills.

Kovacs, who died Sunday, was 74. The cause of death was not known as of press time.

One of Hollywood's most influential and respected directors of photography, Kovacs lensed Five Easy Pieces, Shampoo, Paper Moon, New York, New York, What's Up, Doc? Ghost Busters, My Best Friend's Wedding and Miss Congeniality.

"He was one of the great wave of cinematographers in the 1970s who basically changed the way movies had looked up until that time," said Richard Crudo, past president of the American Society of Cinematographers. "His roots were in the low-budget independent world, and he took a lot of that ethic to another level." Years later, he became a master of the high-gloss studio look. But no matter what he did, there was always a tremendous amount of heart in his work.

"He was loved by everyone at the ASC, and there are legions of students and young cinematographers who owe a tremendous debt to Laszlo's generosity of spirit."

ASC president Daryn Okada added that Kovacs had "incredible generosity to give back -- to students, to other cinematographers and to the ASC. Laszlo inspired me to do the same," Okada said. "It is a great loss, not just to cinematographers, but to anyone who has seen the movies he photographed."

The Hungary-born cinematographer never won an Oscar but carried during his career a remarkable story of courage that occurred 50 years ago during his country's revolution.

Kovacs was born to Imre and Julianna Kovacs and raised on a farm in Hungary when that country was isolated from the Western world, first by the Nazi occupation and later during the Cold War. »

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De Niro takes cut of Primus' '20%'

25 June 2007 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

NEW YORK -- Robert De Niro is executive producing writer-director Barry Primus' upcoming dramatic comedy "20% Fiction."

The film centers on a respected acting coach dissatisfied with his superficial life in Los Angeles. He finds love and self-fulfillment after moving to a small town and working with its quirky residents.

De Niro produced and co-starred in Primus' 1992 sophomore directorial effort, Mistress. Primus has served as De Niro's acting coach, and the two longtime friends have acted together in such films as New York, New York, Night and the City and Guilty by Suspicion.

Bret Saxon, Jeff Bowler and Ari Palitz of Insomnia Media Group are financing the film and producing with Deco Entertainment's Nicholas Celozzi and Freddy Braidy. Principal photography is slated to begin in late September in Los Angeles.

Insomnia's recent projects include Zak Penn's The Grand. Braidy produced the Paris Hilton starrer Bottoms Up. »

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