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Inside Move: Rupe’s newsies rally for ‘Rouge’

News Corp.'s five major Oz papers support pic

Movies rarely make major headlines Down Under, but pre-release coverage of locally rooted “Moulin Rouge” has been inescapable — at least across the pages of Rupert Murdoch’s newspaper stable.

News Corp. publications fox-trotted into alignment for the Oz release of News Corp.-owned 20th Century Fox’s “Moulin Rouge” on May 24.

The global conglom’s holdings include the most influential newspapers in all but one Oz city, and the full editorial weight of that reach was thrown behind the pic. Front-page color banners pointed to a multitude of stories about every aspect of production, florid previews and coverage of the pic’s Sydney premiere.

“Fever for the theatrical experience ‘Moulin Rouge’ began mounting yesterday with 350 media types assembling for the film’s first Sydney screening,” gushed Sydney’s Daily Telegraph following media screenings.

Melbourne’s Herald Sun featured a review that carefully accentuated the pic’s positives: “Love it or hate it… You’ll certainly never forget it.”

Nary a skeptical word could be found in News Corp.’s five major Oz papers, but non-Murdoch publications offered vigorous counterpoint.

The Fairfax-owned Sydney Morning Herald, for example, ran a front-page banner: “Beyond the Hype. What independent critics really think of ‘Moulin Rouge.’ ”

One critic wrote, “moments of brilliance” were swamped by “an over-abundance of technique.”

Another declared, “It’s all very hip and post-modern, but for all the color and movement, it’s not nearly as exhilarating as it should be.”