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Morgan Freeman: Net delivery to inspire filmmakers

New means of distribution will make movies a lot better, the Academy Award-winning actor says.

LAS VEGAS--Hollywood is going Dell, Morgan Freeman says.

The said services that will deliver first-run movies over the Internet to people's homes while the movies remain in theaters are "absolutely" analogous to what happened in the PC business when consumers began to buy their machines directly, during a brief interview with reporters after a Intel CEO Paul Otellini's keynote speech at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) here.

And one of the chief benefits will be more creativity. "You can write a script today, and 10 years down the line, you might get an airing," he said of the current situation. Changes in distribution are "going to revolutionize the whole creative part."

The final cut of "Touch of Evil," the classic directed by Orson Welles, got to the big screen in the form intended by Welles only after his death, Freeman noted.

Actors and directors will take advantage of the new distribution means in a variety of ways, he said. Some will release movies on the Net. Others may create channels where they show off favorite, or unheralded, films.

ClickStar, a joint venture between Freeman's production company and Intel, will release a movie starring Freeman called "10 Items or Less" this year that will be downloadable on the Internet two weeks after its theatrical release. Some films in the future may come out the same day as they appear in theaters.

Danny DeVito and Tom Hanks, who appeared with Freeman as part of Otellini's keynote, said they will participate in ClickStar projects in some fashion. Many other artists will join, too.

"It is not so much that people are frustrated (with studios)...They see opportunities," Freeman said.

The big open question is how the economics will work and how the new business models will evolve.

"We will learn as we go," he said. "We're inventing it on the fly."

Freeman got interested in the Internet as a movie delivery mechanism through Lori McCreary, who heads up his production company and ClickStar.