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This week in Hollywood

Movie ratings and ”Duets” made news March 17, 2000

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Letter Rip
”Pervasive language, strong sexual content, some drug use & a brief scene of violence” reads the fine print beneath the rated-R logo in the ad for 3 Strikes — almost makes you want to see the movie, no? Similar explanations have popped up in ads for The Ninth Gate and Ghost Dog in response to a decree from the MPAA, which last November said that ads would start carrying content descriptions early this year. On March 7, however, the MPAA called off the print plan and is instead including the details at www.filmratings.com. ”It’s the easiest and most efficient way to get the information out there,” says an MPAA spokesperson.

Sounding Off
Disney isn’t trilling over Duets, Bruce Paltrow‘s drama about karaoke singers starring his Oscar-winning daughter Gwyneth. The project was picked up by the Mouse House for its Hollywood banner after Columbia dropped it — following the breakup of Gwyneth and Brad Pitt, who originally was going to costar and was replaced by Scott Speedman. While reports surfaced that the movie was too violent for the studio’s taste, a Disney source says the problem has nothing to do with gore: Director Paltrow refused to make edits the studio wanted, and then balked when it decided to give the film a limited release. When Disney allowed Paltrow to shop the picture, he found no takers. Paltrow couldn’t be reached for comment, but screenwriter John Byrum (The Razor’s Edge) says, ”It’s not a movie for everyone,” although he does allow that ”if Bruce had made a couple of these changes Disney requested, it [probably] would have had a much bigger release.” Disney has yet to decide when — or how widely — Duets will debut.