Bolt promo annoys theatre owners

If movie trailers can show up on DVDs, then I guess it only makes sense that DVD-ish bonus features should show up on the big screen.

Yesterday, I finally got around to seeing Beverly Hills Chihuahua, more out of a sense of professional obligation than anything else — and I was struck by how, before the film, there was a promo for Disney’s upcoming animated film Bolt, in which John Travolta and Miley Cyrus spoke directly to the camera, as themselves, to introduce two entire scenes from the movie (one of which seems to come from fairly late in the story arc).

This is the sort of promo that we see on DVDs all the time — if memory serves, Ben Stiller did a similar ad for the original Madagascar (2005) on the DVD for Shrek 2 (2004) — but I can’t recall seeing anything quite like this on the big screen before.

The nearest thing to a precedent that comes to mind is the original teaser for WALL·E, which featured talking-head footage of director Andrew Stanton — but only offered the briefest of glimpses of actual footage from the actual film.

Anyway, apparently I am not the only person who finds the Bolt promo a little unusual. John Horn and Patrick Goldstein, both writing for the Los Angeles Times, report that theatre owners are upset with Disney for running such a lengthy promo — thus eating into time that could have been available for other advertisers — and for getting the MPAA to classify the promo as a “short film”, complete with PG rating, rather than as an ad.

Disney says they won’t do it again, but who knows? Even if they abandon the practice, others might follow their lead.

A Bible study guide with no Bible references?

In their efforts to connect with the faith-based market, Hollywood studios sometimes distribute “Bible study guides” based on their movies. Indeed, sometimes these study guides are so movie-based that they fail to make any reference to the, uh, Bible. Case in point: the study guide for The Secret Life of Bees, in which a group of black women help young Dakota Fanning to get in touch with her sacred feminine side. CT Movies has the scoop.

Happy-Go-Lucky — the review’s up!

My review of Happy-Go-Lucky is now up at CT Movies.

Newsbites: Quantum of Solace edition!

Listed in order from the least spoiler-ish to the most spoiler-ish.

1. Gemma Arteron, one of the new film‘s co-stars, says she was born with six fingers on each hand, but the extra digits were removed when she was a child. I can’t help thinking that that’s just the sort of odd physical detail that Ian Fleming and the writers of these movies might have found interesting. — WENN

2. Mexican directors Guillermo del Toro (Hellboy, Pan’s Labyrinth) and Alfonso Cuaron (Children of Men, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban) will both have “voice roles” in the new film, the latter as a helicopter pilot. — Associated Press

Warning: There be potential spoilers here.

3. For the first time in the franchise’s history, James Bond will not have sex with the primary Bond Girl. Says producer Michael Wilson: “Someone said they were disappointed there wasn’t a romance as such, but in our mind he couldn’t really have a romantic relationship . . . His relationship with Olga in this film is a romantic one in the purest sense of the word. It just isn’t a physical one. They’re sort of twin souls.” — Jam! Showbiz

Kings — a few more cast members.

Last week, it was announced that Brian Cox had joined the cast of Kings, the upcoming NBC series that is based on the biblical story of Saul and David but is set in a sort of alternate version of the present day. Cox was said to be playing a “former king” named Vesper.

Now, Entertainment Weekly reports that Macaulay Culkin is also joining the cast, as “the king’s nephew, who was exiled for mysterious reasons.” I assume the king in question is Silas, who is played by Ian McShane and seems to be the Saul figure in this series.

I can’t recall the biblical Saul having any nephews, let alone sending them into exile, so between this and the “former king” business, it does sound like the series is following its own path, and not following the biblical narrative all that closely. The question remains, though: How far afield will it go?

EW also reports that Miguel Ferrer, Michael Stahl-David and Leslie Bibb have signed on for multiple-episode story arcs, too.

OCT 24 UPDATE: Matt Page notes that NBC has posted an official website for the series, with more details about the show.

Now that he’s done his Che Guevara biopic…

Steven Soderbergh is developing a movie about Cleopatra, with Catherine Zeta-Jones as the legendary Egyptian queen and last of the Pharaohs, and Hugh Jackman as her lover Mark Antony.

It will be a musical, with music by the indie rock band Guided by Voices and a script by former bassist James Greer.

And it will be in 3-D.

Yes, 3-D.

I swear on a stack of Variety magazines, I am not making this up.