Valenti says good-bye to Hollywood

Jack Valenti, who has represented Hollywood in Washington for nearly four decades, took another step in his long goodbye yesterday, telling movie theater owners that he will retire within the next few months.

Valenti, 82, set up a search committee two years ago to seek a successor to take over the film industry's trade group, the Motion Picture Association of America. None has yet been named.

The process has accelerated in recent months while the group has suffered some misfires, approaching candidates who flirted with the job only to turn it down. Executive search firm Spencer Stuart is casting a wide net in Hollywood and Washington, said an industry source familiar with the search, and is attempting to keep the names of potential candidates out of the media, reports

Hollywood's top lobbyist has revealed that the average cost of making and marketing a film for the major studios he represents has passed $100 million (54.2 million pounds) for the first time last year.

Negative costs per film climbed to $63.8 million, an 8.6% increase over 2002, outgoing Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) president and CEO Jack Valenti said in his annual report to the U.S. cinema industry's annual ShoWest convention on Tuesday, inform

According to E Last year, the top seven studios spent an average of $102.8 million each to make and market their films, a figure that caused Valenti consternation. "Budget discretion has to be a fervid priority at every studio," Valenti said. All told, studios spent an average of $63.8 million on production budgets for the 198 films released in 2003, which constituted an 8.6 percent leap.

The films' marketing budgets, too, were on the rise, jumping to $39 million - a 28 percent increase over the previous year.

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