Dinosaurs work again in ‘Dinotopia’

GOOD MORNING: Can you picture moving a 5-1/2 acre movie set? Next week, EuroDisney reps will visit one of the “Dinotopia” sets on the back lot at Pinewood with an eye toward relocating it at the Paris park when the pic winds, reports Robert Halmi. His $80 million — “so far” — six-hour ABC’er airs May 2002. “It is completely stupid to spend so much money on a TV show,” he admits. But then reminds that the tangential, franchise profits could be enormous. I reminded him there are already so many dinosaur-related ancillary products from “Jurassic Parks” well as Disney’s “Dinosaur.” But he said, “There has never before been a movie with inter-active dinosaurs working, with/for humans, as intelligent, friendly creatures. All the other dinosaur pictures concentrated on the violence of these creatures. Hollywood chose to make them nasty and bloody. Not ours. I think it will make history” — and money. The mini will be followed by a 22-episode one-hour ABC series. The feature, on nine stages on 43 sets at Pinewood (plus the back lot), has three-four more months of principal photography and a year in post. Marco Brambilia directs and the human cast members include Tyron Leitso, Alice Krige, Wentworth Miller, Katie Carr, David Thewlis, Jim Carter. Lest we think “Dinotopia” is Halmi’s only project, he just wrapped “Snow White” for ABC and “Prince Charming” for TNT and next starts “Boss Lear” starring Patrick Stewart. He says he also has many feature ideas — “and I found that I can do the feature movies for less (money) than the TV ones!”

AND TALKING ABOUT MERCHANDISING: Ismail Merchant says he’s made a tie-up with Steuben for special edition golden bowls — to sell at $14,000 each — to accompany Merchant-Ivory’s release of “The Golden Bowl” in the U.S. They’ll be sold at Neiman-Marcus in L.A. and at Steuben (on Madison Ave.) in N.Y. Due to “creative differences” with Miramax, Merchant says M-I bought back the pic and chose Lions Gate (of the three bidding) to distrib — starting April 27 in L.A., N.Y. and Paris. The pic was shortened six minutes, Merchant tells me, and he forwarded ecstatic reviews from London. In Jan. he’ll direct V.S. Naipaul’s “The Mystic Masseur” in Trinidad for the Global Cinema Group with the French government again one of the M-I backer$. In June, Jim Ivory starts Diane Johnson’s “La Divorce ” for 20th with script by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala … Down Barbados way, Dan Cortese, Olivia d’Abo and Dorian Harewood have joined Luke Perry in TBS Superstation’s original movie, “The Triangle.” From the location, Perry says the Bermuda Triangle lives up to its reputation — with high seas and “non-cooperative weather.” He plays a millionaire trying to seek the secrets of the Triangle and reports the pic boasts spectacular special effects — as well as the real ones supplied by the sea. Despite this, Perry, an alumnus of eight terra-firma’d years on “Beverly Hills, 90210,” sez he learned to scuba and dove 30 feet to a (real) sunken ship. Coincidentally, he next heads to Amsterdam to star in a feature, “Fogbound.” I hope they won’t be fogbound on “The Triangle,” directed by Lewis Teague and exec produced by Chris O’Donnell … While Florida’s balloting leaves many unanswered problems, it was no problem for members of the Hollywood Women’s Press Club to select this year’s Sour Apple winner — there was only one nominee, Dr. Laura Schlesinger. Some “Sour” winners in the past have shown to receive their award. Will Schlesinger show Dec. 10 at the BevHilton event? … Bill and Hillary Clinton were all smiles for some TV cameras this week — those of producer Bruce Nash who lensed “The First Family’s Holiday Gift to America: A Personal Tour of the White House” to air 8-9 p.m. Dec. 15 on Fox. Nash says, “The president and the first lady have taken a delight in showing us rooms in the White House which haven’t seen a TV camera before.”

TOM SELLECK’S B’WAY DEBUT is postponed. He was to have started rehearsals in Herb Gardner’s “A Thousand Clowns” Jan. 1 but the unavailability of a theater for a March opening has pushed back his bow until Aug. He can now accept the pic/TV offers he’d previously nixed in order to B’way-bow … Close to $400,000 was raised at the Calif. Fashion Industry Friends of AIDS Healthcare Foundation at the BevWilshire honoring Nicole Miller … Billie Myers and NBC-TV’s “Passion” costar McKenzie Westmore join celebs today at the Fulfilment Fund’s 28th (!) annual holiday party at UCLA, bringing Christmas to 250 physically disabled children. The event’s spearheaded by Fulfillment Fund founder, Dr. Gary Gitnick … Pam Wisne, president of David E. Kelley Prods., who suffered a cerebral aneurism Nov. 13, is out of ICU at Cedars-Sinai and is expected to make a full recovery … Natasha, Katie and Courtney Wagner chair today’s first fundraiser for the Lynne Cohen Foundation for Ovarian Cancer Research at the Hotel Figueroa. Natasha, who just wound the comedy, “Sol Goode” with dad Bob Wagner, Tori Spelling, Balthazar Getty, Cheri Oteri, Kate Towne, etc. says this is the first charity chairing for the sisters who want to heighten awareness among young women about ovarian cancer … Another World AIDS Day memorial today is at Skylight Books in Los Feliz to honor writers who have died of AIDS … Florence Henderson was honored Thursday at the City of Hope in Duarte for her untiring support — time and talent. Norm Crosby, the City of Hope’s Goodwill Ambassador m.c’d.

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