Pic dances out of Toronto

SARS a contributing factor for 'Dance's' move

TORONTO — Miramax is shifting production of its Jennifer Lopez/Richard Gere starrer “Shall We Dance” from Toronto to Winnipeg, Manitoba.

“SARS was a contributing factor,” Miramax spokesman Paul Pflug said, “but I think everybody was happy with Winnipeg for creative reasons.”

Winnipeg is certainly happy —  it’s the biggest film the town’s ever seen.

Most in L.A. are taking a longer view, according to one studio exec. “I think it was a ‘wait and see’ thing,” was one studio executive’s response after the World Health Organization slapped a travel advisory on the city, which lifted Wednesday. “If movies were to start shooting tomorrow, it might have been different, but shooting down the road, we’d think about it. It’s a common sense thing.”

There are currently more than 20 productions lensing in Toronto, including 20th Century Fox’s “Welcome to Mooseport” with Ray Romano and Gene Hackman.

The city’s politicians and its tourism industry have launched aggressive campaigns to revitalize business.

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