Meryl Streep, Julie & Julia, Michelle Obama

Jonathan Wenk/Sony Pictures Entertainment, AP Photo/Charles Dharapak

Since when can Bill Clinton just call up a studio and order a copy of a movie that's still in theaters? Somebody needs to tell him he isn't president anymore.

Correct. He is not. Bill Clinton does, however, still wield legendary Gonads of Diplomacy, which freed two imprisoned journalists from North Korea—and which, apparently, enjoy chick flicks like The Ugly Truth. Ditto with first lady Michelle Obama, who arranged a private screening of Julie & Julia at the White House—one month before it opened.

Now, this is not a case of somebody sending over a DVD movie screener. We're in much too high a stratosphere for that. If you're powerful enough, you enjoy only big-screen movies, messengered to your home, direct from the source, in a kind of elite library system for the rich and famous...

We're talking a tiny handful of people, here. People either with instantly recognizable names—Tom Cruise, etc.—or instantly recognizable jobs, like That Guy Who Directed Michael Clayton.

Those elites have their assistants call an assistant working for the head of a studio, who then messengers a print over to the luminary's office, residence or private screening room.

Examples: Michelle Obama's Julie & Julia screening. (Laura Bush preferred Akeelah and the Bee.) Cruise used his clout to win distribution for the Joe Carnahan film Narc after the actor requested a print to view in private.

And the British royal family reportedly has asked for a copy of Brüno to be sent to Balmoral Castle in Scotland. Buckingham Palace apparently sent an email to Universal Studios asking that the print be sent forthwith and pip-pip.

But here's the thing: According to a big-time film-marketing source of mine, even that kind of power only goes so far. Most of those prints must be returned, library-style, to the studio from whence they came.

No word on whether the library card for all this comes in gold or platinum.

Ask me. Anything. On Twitter.


Michelle Obama = major style icon! See why in our Fashion Spotlight gallery.

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