Inside Moves

Dillon exits 'Congeniality'

Well, that was fast: On April 11, Matt Dillon was set to star in Castle Rock Entertainment’s “Miss Congeniality” opposite Sandra Bullock (Daily Variety, April 11); as of April 14, he had dropped out of the picture. Although a Castle Rock spokesperson confirmed the deal, apparently enough wiggle room remained so that Dillon’s exit does not leave him in breach of contract. No reasons were given for his decision to back out of the pic. The search is on for another actor to portray Bullock’s fellow FBI agent who aids her efforts to go undercover as a beauty pageant contestant in order to thwart the efforts of a group threatening to bomb the event.

— Dana Harris

Warnings put on eBay series video

EBay users, watch out: Network and studio lawyers are watching.

Hoping to combat the rash of press videos and Emmy consideration screeners hitting eBay and other online auction sites, networks and studios have started adding terse, lengthy legal warnings to those tapes.

Promo videos from cult series such as “Buffy, the Vampire Slayer” have sold for as much as $100 on the Web. With 20th Century Fox planning an all-out campaign to push the “Buffy” episode “Hush” for Emmy consideration, the studio — which has aggressively shut down many fan sites devoted to its properties — will wage battle to keep the tape off the Web.

A tag at the beginning of the video reads, in part, “The copying, reproduction, broadcast, sale, transfer, or creation of derivative works of any portion of the episodes on this tape … is expressly prohibited. Without limiting the foregoing, the use or posting of these episodes, or any portion thereof, on any Web site or networked computer environment is strictly prohibited.”

“On the one hand we’re gratified our shows bring that kind of attention,” said 20th Century Fox TV co-prexy Gary Newman. “On the other hand, we’ve got a large staff of lawyers who get paid to protect our copyrights.”

Twentieth isn’t the only outlet striking back at online peddlers. CBS has added a sticker to all screeners warning that the tape is not to be sold, while review copies from the WB now specifically warn that the tape may not be posted on any Web site.

— Michael Schneider

Ellis’ ‘Psycho’ may have a sequel

If titles like “American Psycho: The Revenge” and “American Psycho Goes Hawaiian” send a chill up your spine, never fear. “American Psycho” author Bret Easton Ellis has publicly claimed he’s amazed by the fact that Lions Gate has been pressuring him for the film’s sequel rights.

Not as amazed as Lions Gate, which opened the film last weekend: Tom Ortenberg, co-president of Lions Gate Releasing, said there have been no such discussions.

Besides, if Lions Gate wanted to turn “American Psycho” into a franchise, the company can’t negotiate for the sequel rights: It already has them. When the indie made its deal to back Ed Pressman’s production of “American Psycho,” it included claims on the Patrick Bateman character (who is portrayed by Christian Bale) through 2005.

In an April 12 interview for the weekly New Times, however, Ellis claims that Lions Gate execs already have been tossing around film ideas that would have the film’s titular psychotic relocating to the Silicon Valley or to Hollywood and continuing his merry dismembering ways. Maybe, like the ultra-violence of “American Psycho,” it was only taking place in Ellis’ mind.

— Dana Harris

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