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Thursday, 26 April, 2001, 14:18 GMT 15:18 UK
Disney splashes out on Pearl Harbour
USS John C Stennis
The film will be screened on the deck
Disney is spending a reported $5m (£3.4m) on the world première for its war epic Pearl Harbour as it prepares to lay off 4,000 staff.

The Walt Disney Corporation has spared no expense on the première, which will take place on the deck on an American aircraft carrier in the Hawaiian harbour where the actual battle took place.

The cost of the première is reportedly more than $5m (£3.4m).

Pearl Harbour
Pearl Harbour has been tipped as a Summer blockbuster
The lavish screening on 21 May comes as Disney prepares to lay off staff because of what it calls the "increasingly pressing challenges of the softening economic environment".

The cuts will result in about $350m (£242m) to $400m (£277m) in annual savings for the company

Military personnel

In a letter to Disney staff the company said: "We must continue to seek ways to manage our businesses even more productively."

Earlier this week the company reported second quarter losses of $567m (£393m), better than the financial markets had expected.

Ben Affleck
Ben Affleck stars in the recreation of the Japanese raid
About 2,000 guests, including 800 military personnel, will attend the screening on board the USS John C Stennis aircraft carrier for the screening.

Pearl Harbour, starring Ben Affleck, has been tipped as one of the summer's major blockbusters, recreating the Japanese attack on the US naval base which precipitated America's entry into the World War II.

Budget cut

The guests will be serenaded by an 80-strong Hawaiian choir and the Navy's Sea Chanters group before watching the film on an outdoor screen on the deck of the aircraft carrier.

Disney executives have argued that the company is working hard to trim costs.

Company president Robert Igor said at a recent news conference that the budget for Pearl Harbour had been cut.

He said: "The fact of the matter is we are looking at everything we do, whether it's marketing expenses, travel and entertainment.

"You name it, we're looking at it."

The film opens in the UK on 1 June and in the US on 25 May.

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See also:

28 Mar 01 | Business
Disney to axe 4,000 jobs
25 Apr 01 | Business
Disney beats analysts' predictions
30 Jan 01 | Business
Disney's internet division closed
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