Many midnight showings of "The Interview" sold out in independent movie theaters, in a show of support for freedom of speech.» Read More
Google will someday rule the world. Look, it’s true. I’m just saying this so when it happens you're not surprised. Apparently one of the top priorities of the Google Defense Department (the GD Dept.? The Googagon?) will be fighting SPAM! Email spam is, as we all know, like herpes—the best you can hope for is to keep it in check until the next erupt
Here's the video of my report today about Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama coming out in support of the Hollywood writer's strike. Take a listen.
The Writers Guild contract expired at midnight--though there's no strike just yet, it is NOT looking good. The rhetoric last night was so angry and stubborn on both sides, I'm predicting a strike by mid-week next week. The WGA says the producers association "refused to continue to bargain until we agree that the hated DVD formula be extended to Internet downloads." HATED? Ouch.
The writers strike all comes down to money, but how much is really at stake? Right now the writers get 4 cents for every DVD sold and they want to increase that to 8 cents. The 4 cents formula is old, based on VHS, which used to be very expensive to produce. So back in the mid 80s the writers and producers agreed to give writers 1.5% of 20% of DVD revenues (assuming production costs were about 80%).
I'm in front of the Writers Guild headquarters in Los Angeles and right now the leadership of the guild is meeting to ratify to decision to strike and to plan the details of exactly when writers should walk of the job. At the Writers Guild meeting at the LA Convention Center last night, 3,000 writers rallied to push a strike forward and it became clear that this WGA leadership means business.
Folks, we are in for a long, ugly strike in Tinseltown unless something gives this week. I covered the Writers strike in 1988, and people lost their homes. Nineteen years later, as Julia Boorstin is reporting, both sides have less leverage because consumers have so many more entertainment outlets now compared to then, from YouTube to Xbox.
Seems I struck a nerve with yesterday's post on the format war involving next generation DVD's. I came into the office today, welcomed by a flood of nasty e-mails challenging the blog, the premise, the spelling (sheeesh, "their" vs. "there" -- it's been corrected!)
Could it be a "black-and-blue" Friday for Blu-ray? There are rumblings about a big announcement coming from Wal-Mart that could give a big boost to HD-DVD. I'm hearing that the company will begin selling the Toshiba HD-A2 for $98 in a special one-day, in-store secret sale. The unit sells for $198 at Circuit City and Amazon, so this is a steep discount.
Here's an update to my previous post: Best Buy now confirms it will match Wal-Mart's $98 HD-DVD sale on Friday on the Toshiba HD-A2 DVD player. The web site Gizmodo says Best Buy online is already sold out, but that local pick-up might work. And Blu-ray? The ball's in your court.
In the entertainment industry, the idea of being green is very, very cool. You can't go two feet without seeing a Prius--they're even becoming the limo-of-choice for the Oscars. I myself bought a Prius in May and I love it. Not only is it eco-friendly, but it's also incredibly convenient. Not having to fill up that often saves a ton of money, and all that time wasted at the gas station. Tons of time.
As many of you know, yesterday was the Taco Bell World Series promotion. I’ve received tons of e-mails from people telling me that I’ve underestimated how many tacos Taco Bell was going to give out. As I’ve said, I admit I underestimated because I didn’t think Taco Bell would promote the giveaway as much as they did. But maybe they really did want to give away tacos.
My head is buzzing at the moment. I've been out on the farm trying to separate fact from fiction in the "great bee disappearance of 2007." This on the same week Jerry Seinfeld debuts in an animated movie in which he plays a bee. It's all about the bees lately. Seinfeld's film, "Bee Movie," is his first big splash since his hit show's final broadcast in May 1998.
NBC Universal and News Corp's HULU.COM finally launches after six months, plenty of delays, name-calling, and mocking. The joint venture between NBC Universal and News Corp's Fox was announced in March, conceived as a media company-controlled way to distribute a broad range of professionally created content--a viable alternative to YouTube.
"American Gangster"--starring Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe--is one of the most highly anticipated Oscar contenders. It's not hitting theaters until a week from today, November 2nd, but it's already available on Manhattan's piracy central, Canal Street, and in downtown Los Angeles.
Haven't had much time to blog as I'm out here covering the California wildfires. Wish I could tell you all I've seen but here's at least one slice. For all the problems people sometimes have with their insurance companies, here in Southern California, right now those agents are heroes.
Malibu is so beautiful, and so far from the grind of LA traffic, it's a natural fit for Hollywood moguls and celebrities who want peace and quiet on their private beach, and the ritziness of the local Malibu Country Mart, which of course is home to a Nobu sushi restaurant. The dozens of high powered Hollywood honchos and are now suffering from the terrible wildfires.
Microsoft has momentum as its friend when it comes to the game console business. Finally. Halo 3 has been like a magic elixir for Xbox 360, by some measures tripling console sales in the wake of the title's release, and for the first time, Microsoft beat sales of Nintendo's Wii during the month of September, selling an average of 105,600 units a week last month.
Fox knows how to produce content--and now its interactive division is producing a special kind of content for the web. But, these aren't just ordinary 'mobisodes:' this is a show created solely for MySpace TV, which is of course owned by News Corp.
The Hollywood screen and TV writers have all cast their votes on whether or not to strike--the deadline was yesterday. And today, at about two or three pm pacific time, the WGA is expected to announce that they've gotten authorization to strike--a nice threat to have in their pocket when they go into the 11th day of negotiations with the Producers on Monday.
Do you remember the bug scene in King Kong (the 2005 version) where the heroes get dumped by Kong into the bottom of a ravine filled giant insects? Well, one of those creepy crawlies might just have been a weta.
Many midnight showings of "The Interview" sold out in independent movie theaters, in a show of support for freedom of speech.
Sony will release its controversial film "The Interview" online Wednesday, with $5.99 rentals available from a variety of sites.
Sony's "The Interview" will be screened in some theaters across the country starting Christmas Day.
Washington is scrutinizing the "blackout rule" that restricts broadcasts for NFL games that fail to sell out.
A look at the massive hack attack at Sony and the nastiness it revealed, with The New Yorker's Ken Auletta. It becomes a real business changer for a lot of people in Hollywood, says Auletta.
Netflix Inc's second season of women's prison comedy "Orange is the New Black" landed a nod, alongside HBO's new tech satire " Silicon Valley"; Hispanic comedy "Jane the Virgin" from The CW, jointly owned by CBS and Warner Bros, and the only broadcast network show in the race; and Amazon Instant Video's transgender show, "Transparent. "The field of television is going...