United on “United 93”?

Don’t shoot the messenger. Although the opening of Universal’s “United 93” is still a week away, opinions pro-con have started flooding the journalistic gates. And not only is the film itself targeted, but its trailer is also the subject of questioning.

So I asked Universal’s Ron Meyer his reaction to the above scrutiny. He readily admitted he is “not surprised — this is a very powerful story — and the word ‘powerful’ is an understatement.” He promises when audiences see the film, “they will be proud of being Americans.” And yes, he admits that the studio was “very careful” not only in the telling of the story but in its advertising, that is, the trailer. “But everyone (at Universal) felt that this story needed to be told.”

And yes, 10% of the gross receipts of the opening three-day, April 28-30 weekend will go to the Flight 93 National Memorial established by the families of those 40 passengers and crew aboard United 93. (The trailer for the feature “United 93” was not screened at the AMC theater No. 8 in Century City, Monday night when we finally caught up with seeing “Take the Lead.” But the 117 min. feature was preceded by a stultifying number of trailers which made it difficult for any feature film to overcome–and the total screen time almost over-ran our allotted free parking period.)

In my (always-pleasant) conversation with Ron Meyer, I also asked him about the disposition of the CAA building built on the corner of Santa Monica and Wilshire Blvd.’s. It is owned by three of the (original seven) founders of the agency, Meyer, Bill Haber and Michael Ovitz. The agency is moving into new offices around December in the rebuilt complex on Century Park West. It formerly housed the Shubert Theater, ABC and other show biz offices. The current CAA structure owned by the trio will not be sold, Meyer said, they (the trio) will lease it.

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