Shekhar Kapur, Indian film director, producer and actor, discusses the state of film-making and how Mandela will be remembered in India.» Read More
The Warner Bros. fantasy sequel "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" conjured up a $77.4 million debut to lead the weekend box office, according to studio estimates Sunday.
Shares of DreamWorks Animation SKG, the animation film studio behind "Shrek," rose on Friday after an analyst began coverage of the company with a "Buy" rating, predicting gains from upcoming films
It's been a whirlwind here at the Allen & co. Conference--watching and interviewing all the biggest names in the media world. Everyone's paying close attention to Rupert Murdoch. He rushed into the Sun Valley Inn Wednesday morning just in time for breakfast. .
Microsoft. said Tuesday it struck a deal to make 35 Disney movies, such as the animated hit "Aladdin" and the action title "Armageddon," available for download on its online video game service.
"Transformers" took the box office by storm this weekend, bringing in a total of $152 million at the domestic box office since it opened on Tuesday, and a total of about $250 million worldwide. This isn't just a nice summer opening--this is huge news for Paramount, which is going to get a huge boost from this hit: not just from its take on this film, but also from the fact that it's Paramount's first potential franchise since Mission Impossible. And unlike the MI series, they're not relying on a huge star (Tom Cruise), nor are they paying him a huge chunk of gross.
The shape-shifting robots of "Transformers" have taken on a new form: Huge piles of cash.
In a scientific tie-in to the new Picture film "Ratatouille" (do scientists do this on purpose?) lab humans observing lab rats have determined that rats who've been helped in the past "pay it forward." This is, they claim, the first proof of "indirect reciprocity" in non-humans. In other words, rats that were helped in the past are more likely to help a stranger in the future. The report was published in Los Biology, an online open access journal (the same place I found the stuff about fruitflies having free will--what a gold mine that site is).
Walt Disney's animated movie "Ratatouille" opens Friday against strong competition from better-known franchise films, drawing early industry skepticism that it can match its predecessors' success and posing a challenge for Disney.
I attended the "Transformers" premiere Wednesday night--and my first star spotting epitomized the importance of the film for its parent company. It was Sumner Redstone (he qualifies as a star for the CNBC set) and he was slowly retreating from the hubbub of the red carpet and (surrounded by bodyguards) slipping into a black car.
The Motion Picture Association of America filed suits late Tuesday on behlaf of Paramount Pictures and 20th Century Fox against YouTVpc.com and Peekvid.com. The Wall Street Journal broke the story Wednesday night. The sites don't actually provide copyright-violating material--which is their defence--but they do show users where to find that material, which is the studios' problem with the site.
The businesses of movie making and video game making are tighter than ever. Today, they're rubbing shoulders at the Hollywood and Games Summit. These are two industries that need each other more than ever. Movie studios count on the reliable licensing fees that come from selling 5 million video games. And the video game makers like the fact that by paying a licensing fee they can tap into a guaranteed fan base, and all those marketing dollars the studios have spent. Virtually every big summer movie is also a video game: "Pirates," "Spiderman," "Shreck," and coming up "Ratatouille," "Transformers," and "Harry Potter."
Update: Here's Dimension's response to my blog post: "We are not going to publicly comment on a private business matter." Earlier Post: Two Hollywood insiders just forwarded me an email exchange between Endeavor Agency partner Tom Strickler and Dimension Films President of Production Richard Saperstein about a new “spec” script that Endeavor sold to New Line called “$40,000 Man.” Per Variety, the script is about “an astronaut who finds himself horribly injured in a car accident and rebuilt by the government to be a bionic man, on a budget of $40,000-which makes him not that bionic.” Sounds kind of funny, right?
Legendary Pictures has raised $1 billion plus in new financing, and extended its first-look co-producing and co-financing deal with Warner Bros. through 2012. This means that their first partnership--which they say was profitable--worked out for both parties. About a year ago all my Hollywood banker pals were talking about how the private equity money was going to start pulling out of these movie studios--it's unstable, risky, and Wall Street can get burned.
"Ratatouille" is Disney/Pixar's first joint venture since the acquisition, and the movie--and its associated merchandise -- is exactly why Disney wanted to snap up Pixar. The film's opening on Friday but I got a sneak peak at the premiere a week early, and I was seriously impressed. Call it "Cyrano de Spice Rack", it's the story of a rat who loves to cook, and befriends the garbage boy in the best restaurant in Paris, becoming his secret chef. I was really impressed.
"Evan Almighty" did not live up to its name at the weekend box office in North America.
There's no question that "Sicko" is impacting the national debate on health insurance--but will the movie be a box office hit? It's gotten an incredible amount of press, but as we saw with "Snakes on a Plane," media and YouTube, buzz doesn't always mean box office dollars. (A YouTube search finds 4,800 "Michael Moore" related videos--of those 2,200 come up for "Sicko.)
The tables have turned. Over the past couple of years I've been to a number of pharmaceutical industry related and drug company events--where the security and paranoia have been noticeably increased over what I referred to as "The Michael Moore Effect". Ever since it became known that the documentary filmmaker was setting his sites on healthcare the companies I cover have been on heightened alert. But, at least for now, I think they can let their guard down.
Hollywood's superhero foursome is still fantastic at the box office.
Merrill Lynch reported that Fox (owned by News Corp) is gearing up to launch its business channel in the fall with 30-million plus subscriptions. This could be the largest cable network launch ever, but it's certainly taken them long enough, Fox has been trying to get subscription access for years. And it won't come cheap-- start up costs are estimated to be about $200 million, with News Corp expecting the division to break even by its fourth year. But it sounds like Fox Business Channel won't be anything like CNBC (GE is parent company.)
The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences just approved some new rules for the 80th Academy Awards. The most notable change is a rule that states that nominees for Best Picture can only be "three or fewer producers who have performed the major portion of the producing functions." The board approved the potential for exceptions to that limit, but it definitely sends a message about disputes over who claims awards to films like 'Crash' from Yari Films.
Nick Stone, co-founder of FIXR, says his new clubbing app could revolutionize nights out in London.
Filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan found five ways to improve the schools and close the racial gap in U.S. education. He talked about it on Squawk Box.
Discussing Sirius' strategy to put its radio in more cars, with James Meyer, Sirius XM CEO. Liberty Media president, CEO & director Greg Maffei, asks Meyer how many Sirius-enabled cars are not currently active users.
Anchorman 2 will hit theaters December 18th. CNBC's Julia Boorstin reports Will Ferrell's spots for Chrysler's Durango have been viewed 15.3 million times on YouTube.
Charter Communications president & CEO Thomas Rutledge, says "Charter doesn't need any acquisitions to be successful." He discusses the hypothetical merger with Time Warner Cable. Liberty Media president, CEO & director Greg Maffei, weighs in.
Charter Communications president & CEO Thomas Rutledge, provides insight into Charter's business model, and growth.