Good ‘Hair’ day at conference

Highlights from ShoWest

After three days of Milk Duds and movies at ShoWest, the annual confab is often reduced to a blur. But here’s a quick glimpse at what clicked with attendees:

  • New Line: It’s been a while since Bob Shaye‘s company had something to get jazzed about, but it seems to have the goods with “Hairspray.” The company released the original back in 1988, and the property has taken on a kitschy life of its own. The latest incarnation hits theaters July 20, and the huge ShoWest crowd on hand to watch clips and live perfs was floored by its energy and its earnestness.

  • Lionsgate: 3,000-plus folks gathered in the main ballroom to watch a tight clip reel. Key among indie’s pics was the Russell CroweChristian Bale oater “3:10 to Yuma.” Company also trotted out stars like Jason Statham (“War”) and a hilarious Larry the Cable Guy (“Delta Farce”), whose standup routine was a perfect fit with all the reps for local exhibitors. Lionsgate just did it right.

  • “Ratatouille”: Disney-Pixar’s rodent-who-wants-to-cook movie looks great (12 minutes were screened), and its Parisian setting is the perfect setting for Pixar, which always gets the nuances of its subjects down perfectly. French attitude and foodie culture are hilariously poked and prodded, and attendees ate it up.

About the only losers at the event were journos, who lamented the dearth of big news and screenings. Whereas Jack Valenti used to release the MPAA’s annual B.O. figures at the event, Dan Glickman now does it the week before. The major studios largely kept their tentpoles under wraps. And the press wasn’t even invited to MGM’s Kevin Costner starrer “Mr. Brooks.”

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