Hollywood Report
by Martin A. Grove

The Lobster Lowdown: For years now the media have poked gentle fun at some of the more unusual titles of films screened for foreign distributors at the American Film Market. This year one title that quite understandably generated lots of attention was Electric Pictures' comedy "Lobster Man From Mars," directed by Stanley Sheff and starring Tony Curtis, Deborah Foreman and Patrick Macnee.

"The sales of 'Lobster Man' went very well in the foreign markets. The Movie Group handled the sale and got lots of good results," observes Steven S. Greene, who with Eyal Rimmon co-produced the film, which was executive produced by Nicole Seguin, Staffan Ahrenberg and Tom Eliasson. "I was surprised at the positive response because it really is a particularly American genre -- the '50s science fiction Saturday afternoon movies. This pokes fun at it, but in a very reverent and loving way. It's sort of an homage to that genre."

The film. Greene explains, "is about a space monster, the Lobster Man, who comes to Earth to steal all the air because Mars is running out of air. It's a loving spoof." Actually', "Lobster" is a movie within the movie, being seen in the film by Tony Curtis. who plays a movie producer in familiar-sounding desperate tax trouble who needs a picture that will lose money. When "Lobster" bad as it seems, becomes a hit, he goes to jail.

"Lobster" was shown in late January at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City. Utah. "After the festival was over we had one screening for the public, which was announced on a radio station in Salt Lake City." Greene told me, adding that a small theater was used that could only seat several hundred people. "We had an overflow crowd of 75 kids standing outside who had driven 45 miles to see it."

Greene. a screenwriter whose last credit was for creating and co-writing Paramount's "The Experts," starring John Travolta. until recently ran Warner Bros. Animation. While there, he produced Warner's first animated short for theatrical release in 20 years and also produced an animated feature for the studio. Greene and Sheff are now preparing a project called "Nose Job," which spoofs the business of cosmetic surgery in Los Angeles.

For now, Greene's main focus is getting "Lobster" into release: "I loved the idea of doing this type of picture and I'm real pleased we're getting such positive response, especially among young people. With the good results at the AFM, we are happily awaiting a few finishing touches and we're going to start showing it to domestic distributors next week."

There will be a series of "Lobster" screenings, according to Greene, to accommodate interest from domestic distributors. "Basically, no one has seen it, although we've gotten calls from everybody (asking to have a look)," he notes.

How did the project come about? "It originated with a friend of mine, Stanley Sheff, and another friend, Bob Greenberg, who had written it. I read it while I was still at Warner Bros. and loved it," replies Greene. "Bob, who collected old films and loved to do anything he could to preserve them and get people to watch them. was killed in an automobile accident. The 'Lobster Man' project had been around for a while (by then) and when that happened it focused my attention and Stanley's attention on getting it made."