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  • Ratatouille Prompts Study: Rats Nicer Than People? Tuesday, 3 Jul 2007 | 12:27 PM ET
    Ratatouille's Remy

    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).

  • 'Ratatouille' Seen as Test of Disney-Pixar Deal Friday, 29 Jun 2007 | 3:28 PM ET

    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.

  • Transformers

    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.

  • YouTVpc and Peekvid Sued By Movie Studios Over Piracy Thursday, 28 Jun 2007 | 11:01 AM ET

    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.

  • Video Games "Play" Into Hollywood's Picture Wednesday, 27 Jun 2007 | 11:45 AM ET
    Wii Cars Video Game

    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."

  • The Six Million Dollar Man

    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

    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": Why Disney Spent $7.5 B On Pixar Tuesday, 26 Jun 2007 | 8:20 AM ET
    Disney/Pixar's "Ratatouille"

    "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.

  • Will "Sicko" Be Healthy At the Box Office? Friday, 22 Jun 2007 | 2:09 PM ET

    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.)

  • Michael Moore's "Sicko" Summer Thursday, 21 Jun 2007 | 12:03 PM ET
    Michael Moore

    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.

  • Fantastic Four

    Hollywood's superhero foursome is still fantastic at the box office.

  • The Fox "Business" Plan For TV Success Friday, 15 Jun 2007 | 2:46 PM ET

    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.)

  • Oscar's New Rules, Middle East Cell Phones, And More Thursday, 14 Jun 2007 | 2:12 PM ET
    Oscar Awards

    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.

  • The Marty Ingel's Memo: His Rebuttal To Me Thursday, 14 Jun 2007 | 10:21 AM ET

    On Friday I poked some fun at Shirley Jones for sending out a press release when Florence Henderson reportedly called her a nasty name. Well, I got an earful on the phone from Jones’ husband, comedian Marty Ingels, who wanted to know if I’d be willing to print a rebuttal. I said, “Absolutely! Every word!” Oops! Last night in the ol’ email inbox I got a four-page scanned hand-written letter from Ingels. Here it is, the whole thing...

  • Blockbuster Offers Cheaper Online Rental Wednesday, 13 Jun 2007 | 6:29 AM ET

    Blockbuster  is offering lower-priced plans for online movie rentals as it competes with Netflix  in a market that some analysts believe could grow more than 40% this year.

  • Alzheimer's is Everywhere Tuesday, 12 Jun 2007 | 11:53 AM ET

    Yes, Alzheimer's is everywhere. And I'm not referring to the new study that forecasts that the number of people worldwide with Alzheimer's Disease will quadruple between now and 2050 to more than 100 million cases. Staggering, sobering, daunting, scary. No, I'm referring to the sudden critical mass of media coverage of the disease.

  • Failing Enough to Succeed Monday, 11 Jun 2007 | 3:19 PM ET
    Judd Apatow and wife

    Have you failed enough to really succeed? Go back and re-read that question... Have you failed enough to really succeed? Of course, you always hear about the success stories, but what you don't always hear about are the stumbles that an entrepreneur, or artist -- or anyone -- makes before they finally make it big. I write in my book, you cannot be afraid to fail, else you have already failed. For Judd Apatow, his career is a lesson in this "failure" formula.

  • Hollywood's Most Powerful Agency Loses Big Client Monday, 11 Jun 2007 | 11:35 AM ET
    Hasbro.com

    Everyone's talking about the New York Times piece on Creative Artists Agency losing Hasbro. Now everyone's wondering if CAA's trying to do too much for too many. CAA has said its going for 100% market share. But does that really make sense in an industry where you don't want to be represented by the same company as your competitor is.

  • 'Ocean's Thirteen' Steals No. 1 Spot at Box Office Monday, 11 Jun 2007 | 10:09 AM ET

    The all-star caper film "Ocean's Thirteen" made off with $37.1 million in ticket sales during its opening weekend to steal the No. 1 spot at the North American box office, according to studio estimates on Sunday.

Entertainment

Television

  • MEXICO CITY, Sept 19- One of Mexico's richest men has resigned from broadcaster Televisa's board over a potential conflict of interest because he wants to acquire his own television network, the company said on Friday.

  • NEW DELHI, Sept 19- An Indian TV news anchor has been sacked after she referred to Chinese President Xi Jinping as' Eleven' Jinping, apparently confusing Xi's name with the Roman numerals XI, a senior official at the state television channel said on Friday,.

  • *Turkish TV saturated by images of brutality. ISTANBUL, Sept 18- Sefer Calinak killed his first wife when he was 17 and murdered his girlfriend a few decades later with an axe. prime-time talk show host Seda Sayan asked Calinak, who served two separate prison sentences for the murders before being released under an amnesty program.