Take One

updated 03/09/1987 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/09/1987 AT 01:00 AM EST

Angel Heart, the controversial Mickey Rourke movie co-starring The Cosby Show's Lisa Bonet, was initially branded by the Motion Picture Association of America with an X rating that would have meant death at the box office. But the film could face an even stronger reaction by the ASPCA. Viewers at screenings have objected mainly to the movie's depiction of animal mutilations, not its single explicit sex scene. In one voodoo sequence Bonet appears to cut the head off a chicken and smear the blood over her body. Despite the ruckus, advance viewer reaction suggests the most appropriate rating is ZZZZZZ.

There may not be a movie coming soon to a theater near you. Hollywood is bracing for a directors' strike that could put the industry in freeze frame indefinitely. When the Directors Guild of America's contract expires June 30, studios are anticipating a halt to all film and TV production, which could disrupt the networks' fall schedule. "Everyone is rattling their sabers. There are extremely serious issues," says Disney Studios chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg. Film and TV companies are demanding concessions involving royalties, while directors are resisting. Over at Southfork, Dallas is wrapping some of next season's episodes just in case.

I.R.S. Records is in need of an audit. As the result of an oversight and a missed deadline, Belinda Carlisle's contract was not automatically renewed, and the singer is now up for grabs. Bidding up to $1 million for her name on the dotted line are Geffen and MCA Records. Out of the running is I.R.S., which simply lacks the bucks to compete with the big boys.

Even the raunchiest rock groups don't like to think of themselves as dying for sex. The Beastie Boys have demanded a special rider to their contract with Columbia Records; awaiting them on each stop of their current U.S. tour is a protective assortment of condoms. Columbia, which used to be so worried about the Beasties' obnoxious behavior that it warned promoters about possible violence, isn't concerned anymore. Explains one Columbia spokesman: "Two million records alleviates a lot of nervousness. It's good to be bad when it makes money."

Just as the price of some videotapes soars to $89.95, Paramount's Top Gun, due out next week, will be a bargain at only $26.95. The reason? There's a Diet Pepsi commercial included on the tape, and the sponsor has been airing the 60-second spot—complete with Tom Cruise grin-alike—practically every other minute since last week's Grammys. With that kind of promotion, Paramount expects to sell 1.4 million copies of Top Gun, attracting customers who'll be buying, not renting. The gimmick makes such economic sense that it may not be long before somebody decides to interrupt tapes to bring you a message from the sponsor.

Since his skewering in Heartburn at the claws of ex-wife Nora Ephron, newsman Carl Bernstein has continued to play fortune's patsy. He is being sued for $3.35 million as a result of a 1983 accident in which Bernstein threw his car into reverse and collided with a car driven by an elderly Washington, D.C. physician. Bernstein had been arrested only 13 hours earlier for drunken driving. The charges were dropped after he participated in an alcohol education program. The physician's suit will go to trial next month.

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