Distribs Map Oscars Strategies

With the 1990 Oscar nominations barely a week old, distributors already have put their respective Academy campaigns into motion.

Orion

Even as Orion, which led the Academy Awards with 19 nominations, struggles under great financial strain, company officials insisted that marketing dollars are in place to support its two Oscar honorees, “Dances With Wolves” and “Alice.”

Orion distribution and marketing prexy David Forbes said while he is contemplating releasing a four-hour theatrical version of Kevin Costner’s “Dances,” nominated for 12 awards including best picture, director and actor, he vows he would “definitely not” bow it anytime soon.

“The three-hour version is what got nominated so I wouldn’t want to release a four-hour version and confuse audiences [ and presumably Academy members],” said Forbes.

As announced, Orion will be releasing “Dances” both in three-hour and four-hour video versions, several months apart. The Oscar campaign, which Forbes said he is still budgeting and couldn’t project a figure, will include print ads in the trades and consumer papers, Academy mailings and screenings.

Orion has no plans to alter the distribution patterns on either “Dances,” which expanded to 1,500 screens last week, or “Alice” (nominated for original screenplay), which is in around 200 sites and continues to be rolled out.

Orion Classics

A spokesman from Orion Classics, whose “Cyrano de Bergerac” received five nominations including Gerard Depardieu for best actor, said the company has a grassroots Academy campaign in place.

Currently on 29 screens, “Cyrano” ultimately will fan out to around 100 playdates, the spokesman said.

Warner Bros.

Warners will reissue six-time nominee “Goodfellas,” now on 22 screens, in 550 runs. The film captured nominations for best picture, director (Martin Scorsese), supporting actor (Joe Pesci) and supporting actress (Lorraine Bracco) among its haul.

According to Warners spokesman Robert Friedman, the studio is currently contemplating adding more runs around the country on “Reversal Of Fortune,” now playing in four sites. In addition to being nominated for best adapted screenplay, the film brought Jeremy Irons an actor nod and Barbet Schroeder a director nomination.

There will be no change in the release of Warners’ other nominated film, “Hamlet,” currently in 624 houses.

Columbia

Columbia will release “Postcards From The Edge,” nominated for best actress (Meryl Streep) and original song, and “Misery,” nominated for actress (Kathy Bates), as a double bill on 500 screens nationwide.

In addition, “Misery” will continue to run on 300 of the 825 screens it currently occupies.

Columbia’s other nominated film, “Awakenings,” with three nods, will continue to play on 1,300 screens. “Flatliners,” which received one nomination for sound effects editing, is no longer in theaters.

Tri-Star

Tri-Star’s distribution topper William Soady said he will reopen a Los Angeles run of “Avalon,” which received four nominations including best original screenplay, at the Samuel Goldwyn Theaters at the Westside Pavilion. The Barry Levinson-directed yarn is no longer playing in firstrun theaters around the country and bows on video in April.

In addition, Academy campaigns will run in the trades and consumer press.

Paramount

Paramount will expand the run of “Ghost,” currently on 330 screens, with around 100 new playdates, based on its having received five nominations.

Many believe Paramount’s “Godfather Part III,” which was snubbed by the Golden Globes as well as the Los Angeles and New York film critics groups, has the most to gain at the boxoffice by its seven nominations.

Since its record launch on more than 1,800 screens Christmas Day, “Godfather” has been on a downward slide and last weekend took a 40% dive on 602 screens for a paltry average of $1,496 an outing.

Paramount Motion Picture Group copresident Barry London said as was planned (prior to the nominations), “Godfather” will widen out to 736 screens on Friday.

London said Paramount will support “Godfather” and “Ghost” with major Academy campaigns. (Paramount’s other nominated pix, “The Hunt For Red October” and “Days Of Thunder,” are already on video).

Samuel Goldwyn Co.

According to Samuel Goldywn Co. publicity topper Leoni De Picciotto, the company is mulling the possibility of rereleasing “Longtime Companion,” for which Bruce Davison received a best supporting actor nod, on its screens at the Westside Pavilion. The company also plans to mail cassettes of the film to all Academy members and may send out additional mailers as “a final reminder,” said De Picciotto. The film also will be screened for Academy members.

Cassettes of Goldwyn’s other nominated film, “Wild At Heart,” which landed Diane Ladd a supporting actress nod, also may be mailed to voters, but won’t be brought back to the big screen, De Picciotto confirmed. Also possible are some Academy screenings and trade print ads.

Media Home Entertainment said it will back the video release of “Wild At Heart” with a “supplementary” publicity and advertising campaign focusing on Ladd’s nomination. MHE officials said that, to capitalize on the publicity generated from the nomination, it has delayed the film’s video release until April 4 from its original March 21 date,

Miramax

Miramax exec v.p. Russell Schwartz said the company geared its release patterns of its nominated pix “Mr. And Mrs. Bridge,” “The Grifters” and “The Nasty Girl” toward the Oscars.

“Mr. And Mrs. Bridge,” which received a best actress nomination for Joanne Woodward, will widen out from 35 to 80 screens, expanding to more than 200 runs by March 1.

The film will be given “a special Oscar push” with print and tv ads, said Swartz, as will “Grifters,” which will be on 300 to 400 screens this weekend. “If we can add more runs, we will,” noted Schwartz.

Miramax expects to play “The Nasty Girl,” nominated for best foreign language film (Germany), in the top 25 cities by the first week of March. The film is currently on nine screens.

Avenue

Avenue topper Cary Brokaw said his company will support “The Field,” for which Richard Harris took a best actor nomination, with a “carefully focused tv buy” and print campaign.

Brokaw said “Field” will go to 40 houses from its current 23 screen run and will go out “much more agressively” on Feb. 22 with another 20 playdates. By the end of the month, Brokaw said the picture will be playing in 150 to 160 runs.

New Line Cinema

New Line Cinema will focus its Oscar efforts on videocassette mailings of its nominated feature “Metropolitan” to Academy members, possibly accompanied by tea bags – herbal for west coasters, caffeine for east coasters – according to Alison Emilio, senior v.p., publicity and promotion.

Nominated for best original screenplay, “Metropolitan” still is running exclusively in New York.

Disney

A Disney spokesman said the studio has no plans to put either “Dick Tracy,” which garnered seven nominations (with the exception of a supporting nod for Al Pacino, all technical) or “Pretty Woman,” for which Julia Roberts is nominated for best actress, back into theaters. Both pix currently are available on homevideo and are no longer playing on the big screen.

As for “Green Card” (original screenplay), Disney said it has no plans to alter the release of the film – currently on 718 screens – but rather “will play the run ear.”

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