This week in Hollywood

By Steve Daly
September 04, 1998 at 04:00 AM EDT

SCARY SPLICE The Sundance Film Festival, where sexually frank movies unfurl each winter, has put Utah on the map, cinematically speaking. But in nearby American Fork, the Towne Cinema has taken a one-box office stand against what it considers Hollywood licentiousness. Previously, the theater snipped footage of a nude Helen Hunt from its print of TriStar’s As Good as It Gets. Nobody paid it much mind until Paramount’s Titanic docked at the Towne in midsummer and shots of Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) sketching a nude Rose (Kate Winslet), as well as their steamy love scene, were removed. The theater’s owners (who were unavailable for comment) ran ads trumpeting this trimmed version, and Paramount quickly pulled the print, although the studio has since allowed Deep Impact to be shown there. TriStar parent Sony is boycotting the place. ”You can’t just go around cutting things,” says a Sony spokesperson. ”Directors don’t fight to get [final cut] in their contracts so they can give control to some local theater.”

ABANDON SHIP He may be the king of the world, but James Cameron is no longer chairman of the board. In August, the Titanic filmmaker resigned his supervisory post at Digital Domain, the F/X company he cofounded five years ago; fellow board member and cofounder Stan Winston, the effects ace behind Jurassic Park‘s mechanical beasties, has also resigned. While both men will retain their respective ownership stakes in the company, Cameron has said that he’ll only set up future commissions on a ”nonexclusive basis.” Industry sources say the exit could have been prompted in part by Domain’s majority owners, IBM and Cox Enterprises (a media conglomerate), which recently moved to cut off Cameron’s discount privileges. But a Domain spokesperson insists ”it’s just administrative, and this is all totally overblown because anything Jim does is a lightning rod.” Still, in the competitive effects world, losing Cameron as a permanent customer might not help Digital Domain as it seeks to branch out into feature-film production.

SHOWER MESSAGE Alfred Hitchcock shocked the world with Psycho‘s black-and-white bathroom murder. For a remake due in December, director Gus Van Sant (Good Will Hunting) recently shot his version in full color on a closed set with star Anne Heche, and he promises more gore than before. ”We don’t think we can make Psycho a better product,” he says. ”It’s more about appropriation than it is about improvement.”

(Additonal reporting by Chris Nashawaty)

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