Steve Daly
January 08, 1999 AT 05:00 AM EST

LIFE GOES ON
In the new millennium, movies promise to be as malleable as computer software — complete with program updates. Case in point: About four weeks after A Bug’s Life opened, Disney and Pixar inserted a brand-new set of ersatz outtakes during the closing credits. This, of course, was just in time to try to upstage DreamWorks’ Dec. 18 opening of The Prince of Egypt. (Says a DreamWorks rep, ”We hoped for more consideration from Disney, but we expected no less.”) But by Moses, there’s more: A Bug’s Life will get a further rejiggering when it arrives on video later this year. According to director John Lasseter, as many as one third of the film’s wide-screen images are being ”reframed and re-computed” to fit square TVs, sometimes with characters bunched closer together to avoid cropping them (a letterboxed edition will preserve the original theatrical version). ”This is a very important innovation,” says Lasseter. ”It lets us make our movie for the wide screen [and] respect the video release without a lot of compromise.”

TITLE TANGO
What directors usually sweat over when they submit a movie to the MPAA is the rating they’ll get. But who knew the MPAA’s title registration bureau sometimes freaks out over a gerund? Certainly not Willard Carroll, writer-director of the Miramax drama formerly known as Dancing About Architecture. He was shocked to be told by the MPAA that because Sony Pictures Classics had already scheduled Dancing at Lughnasa as a fall 1998 release, Dancing About Architecture (which goes wide later this month) would require a new title. Never mind that the films aren’t remotely similar, since the former stars Meryl Streep as an Irishwoman stuck in a rural existence and the latter follows Sean Connery and Gena Rowlands as a married couple seemingly headed for a breakup. So Miramax decided to rename its film Playing by Heart. Carroll mourned losing the original title for ”about a week,” he says, then felt better. ”If you use a word like architecture, it screams ‘art film,’ and the movie isn’t one.”

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