Howard Stern's The Adventures of Fartman won't land in theaters this summer after all. Stern is angry at New Line Cinema's attempt to turn his $10 million movie about a gassy superhero from an R-to a PG-13-rated film. ''It's insane,'' says screenwriter-director Jonathan Lawton. ''It has to be raunchy and slightly offensive.''
New Line's push is a bottom-line decision. ''We're eager to find another franchise like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,'' says a company source. The small studio also regrets missing out on the merchandising rights to the three $250 million Turtles and has been arguing with Stern over Fartman rights. ''If Howard gives in, maybe New Line will let him make an R-rated movie,'' Lawton says.
While all this will no doubt delay Stern's screen debut, Lawton says it will not deter Fartman. ''Once Howard started talking about this on the air,'' says the Under Siege screenwriter, ''we had three other studios calling.'' He predicts the Stern starrer, which New Line reportedly agreed to without a formal contract, will fly soon: ''We're talking Wayne's World kind of business ($122 million). It's foolproof.''