Par passes on ‘Pop-up’

NEW YORK — By adding Paramount Pictures to their latest “hit list,” VH1’s “Pop-Up Video” creators are now stirring up trouble on both coasts and across media lines.

Bad boys Tad Low and Woody Thompson railed against Paramount Monday for nixing a “popped-up” version of “Grease,” scheduled, they said, for a theatrical re-release by summer 1998. Low said their production company, Spin the Bottle Inc., was already involved in pre-production.

The “popped-up Grease” would have had the trademark bloops and info bubbles (relaying a mix of insightful and embarrassing bits of trivia) appearing throughout the John Travolta/Olivia Newton John starrer, in the same way music videos are “popped” for the regular show.

Paramount “is worried about sullying their brand, but give me a break,” Low told Daily Variety. “Didn’t they learn anything from the ‘Dirty Dancing’ re-release dying on the vine? People don’t want to see the same old crap over and over again.”

What is unclear at this point is why the project was “suddenly halted” last week after months of discussion, so close to the release time.

A Paramount spokesman said a non-popped re-release of Grease is now “on schedule” and “moving ahead.” Look for it in March.

Par Motion Picture Group vice chairman Robert Friedman denied that the project had even gotten to the pre-production phase.

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