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FRIDA CALENDAR July 10, 1981 Cos Alleles (Times Part VI TONY BARNARD Lot Anftltf Timet i sv i ABC'S JOHN SEVERINO: THE MAKING OF A LONG SHOT Lit JtlM Jf jT Los Angeles, he has no network management experience and was promoted over many other senior executives. In his new capacity as president of ABC-TV, Severino, 44, will supervise the network's entertainment, sales, affiliate relations and engineering divisions. He inherits the title from Frederick Pierce, who remains executive vice president of the parent ABC Inc. and who will continue to oversee the network's news, sports, station and video enterprises divisions. Some observers have said this restructuring conveniently gives Pierce the parts of ABC with the most growth potential while sticking Severino with the part that is likely to lose ground in the coming years because of increasing competition from other home video technologies.
Severino doesn't necessarily buy that assessment but in any case isn't about to complain. "I'm just happy he (Pierce) gave me one part," he explained. "Besides," he said, "I've been in tough situations before. That's what you want. You don't want to take Please see SEVERINO, Page 6 By LEE MARGULIES Times Staff Writer ohn Severino claims he was just as surprised as everyone else when ABC announced in May that it would be elevating him from head of its Los Angeles TV station to head of its national television network.
But that doesn't mean he'd never dreamed of the possibility. In fact, Severino said recently as he prepared for Sunday's move to New York and the new job, that he'd thought about it as early as the time he became vice president and general manager of KABC-TV Channel 7 in April, 1974. The reason: Other Los Angeles station managers James Aubrey and Robert Wood from KNXT Channel 2, Elton Rule from KABC-TV-had jumped to high-level network positions in the past. "I always thought there was a possiblity that if I proved myself by successfully managing this station, that (sort of promotion) could come about," Severino said. "Quite honestly, I didn't think it would happen; it was too much of a long shot "Thankfully." he added.
"I was wrong." But in the months before his appointment there had been only "general conversations" with top ABC officials about his future with the company, so when the announcement came it was "a total surprise to me," he said. To others, too: Ward Huey chairman of ABC's affiliated stations, learned the news from a reporter who telephoned him for reaction. For Severino, the surprise was in the unexpectedness of the an-' nouncement. For others, it was the unexpectedness and the choice itself. While Severino has steered KABC-TV from third to first in audience ratings and profit margins in John Severino, general manager of SUMMERTIME AND THE VIEWING OF JUDY GRAEME "JvPi ,7 I v.
I c-c m- -SQ 10 A' KABC-TV Channel 7, takes over the holiday weekend, bringing in more than $7 million to up its 28-day total to more than $51 million. Other studios also claim their share of the good times. Twentieth-Century Fox's "The Cannonball Run," which opened to fast business in a saturation release, (about 1,700 theaters) three weeks ago, has begun to show signs of slowing down but not before accumulating a hefty $37,535,551 in its first 24 weeks. Columbia's "Stripes," the new Bill Murray comedy, improved over its first week and brought its box-office totals to $19,203,190 (as of Wednesday). United Artists' James Bond film, "For Your Eyes Only," totaled $17.2 million in its first 10 days.
And "The Four Seasons," the Universal comedy that may eventually get credit for igniting the summertime box-office explosion, continues to plug along steadily. "The Four Seasons," which was released in mid-May, gained business during the Fourth of July and emerged from the weekend with Please see BONANZA, Page 4 Sunday as president of ABC-TV. MOVIES IS nearly $56.5 million and "Raiders" P5r 1 1 PI BET "Superman IF and "Raiders of record breaking box-office sweepstakes, with "Superman IF tallying nuiaips EASY fir more than $51 million to date. hattan skyscraper. The President survives by having slipped into a special escape pod, but he must be rescued within 22 hours to make that conference in order to blackmail the world into peace with a nuclear fission formula contained in a cassette in his possession.
At just that moment a much-decorated hero of the Russian and Siberian Wars turned bank robber (Kurt Russell) is being told to choose between execution and imprisonment in Manhattan. The commissioner of the U.S. Police Force (Lee Van Cleef) tells him if he rescues the President he will be set free. Russell accepts, but just to make sure he follows through, Van Cleef has him injected with a drug that will make his arteries pop unless he meets the deadline and thus will be able to have the drug neutralized by X-ray. Please see Page 10 1 i ax.
A BOX-OFFICE BONANZA By PETER BO YER, Times Staff Writer The Fourth of July and all its accompanying diversions temporarily slowed the summer box-office rush, but the movie industry's celebratory mood has not been dimmed. The summer numbers are impressive, big enough, perhaps, to make up for the grim box-office performance of the first half of the year, big enough, perhaps, to make 1981 a banner year for the movies. The two films most responsible for the good tidings Paramount's of the Lost Ark" and Warner "Superman II" are credited by the trade paper Daily Variety with selling one of every four movie tickets purchased this summer. In its first 19 days of release, "Superman II" tallied $56,506,653, a remarkable showing even if inflation is taken into account. "Superman II's" pace was far ahead of the previous record-setter, "The Empire Strikes Back" in 1979.
"Raiders of the Lost Ark," which opened a week before "Superman II" but has played in fewer theaters, improved its performance during Kurt Russell undertakes rescue mission in "Escape From New York." Disney film tests friendship of puppy, Copper, and young jox Tod. the Lost ArK' lead this summer's owl has the good fortune to be voiced by Pearl Bailey and there are forest backgrounds of surpassing handsomeness and a sprightly if not electrifying crop of songs. Somehow eight, count 'em, eight writers working from Daniel P. Mannix's book have contrived a story as frail as puff pastry. Enough happens for a solid 50 to 60 minutes, yet this is an 83-minute film, and it sags.
The core of "The Fox and the Hound" is friendship, an invaluable theme, heaven knows. This tests boyhood (puppyhood) friendship against the teaching of the adult world. Can "natural" enemies cling to a friendship formed as children? Unfortunately, the friendship that everything revolves around is thin, sticky stuff. It isn't helped by the determinedly winsome little-boy voices of the film's first third, Please see DISNEY FILM, Page 5 I MOVIE REVIEW 'NEW YORK': CYNICISM WITH STYLE By KEVIN THOMAS, Times Staff Writer Talk about loading a situation! In John Carpenter's stylish, scary and utterly nihilistic "Escape From New York" (selected theaters) it's 1997, and the crime rate is so bad that Manhattan has been turned into one big sealed-off prison. The President (Donald Pleasence) is headed for a summit conference in Hartford, when terrorists commandeer Air Force 1, and it crashes into a Man MOVIE REVIEW 'FOX, HOUND' CUTS NO CORNERS By SHEILA BENSON, Times Film Critic The first animated feature from the new group of Disney animators, working with a handful of the remaining old guard, is, or should be, a signal event And "The Fox and the Hound" (citywide) is a lavishly mounted, no-corners-cut work.
The main characters, Copper, a little hunting dog whose folds of velvety skin sometimes pleat down over his eyes; and Tod, a winsome fox cub, are beautifully drawn; the motherly INSIDE CALENDAR FILM: "Richard's Things" by Sheila Benson. Page 12. JAZZ: "Sophisticated Ladies" by Leonard Feather. Page 6. STAGE: Stage Beat by Sondra Lowell.
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