The "Squawk on the Street" crew discusses the harsh reaction to Sony Pictures pulling the Christmas release of the controversial film "The Interview."» Read More
There's no question that Blockbuster's livelihood is under attack--the business of driving to a store to rent a DVD and driving back when you're done is threatened from video on demand, and digital downloads, especially since both technologies are getting better and faster. So, looking to avoid going the way of the Beta Max, Blockbuster just purchased online movie downloading company Movielink for under $20 million.
DreamWorks SKG couldn't have gotten off the ground more than a decade ago if it weren't for Paul Allen's $500 million investment. Perhaps his work is done--now he's selling $150 million of DreamWorks Animation stock back to the company, and doing a secondary offering to sell an additional 10 million shares to the public.
A credit crunch affects any type of leveraged buyout--debt becomes more expensive and harder to obtain, requiring more equity, making returns lower. Considering how many leveraged deals Hollywood has made, that industry should be no exception. Wall Street players--private equity, hedge funds, investment banks--have put together more than $12 billion dollars of financing for the Hollywood studios' 'slates' of films.
The amnesiac assassin Jason Bourne is back, and this time he clobbered Homer Simpson. "The Bourne Ultimatum," the third movie in the espionage action series starring Matt Damon as a one-time CIA hit man searching for his past, grossed $70.2 million its opening weekend to rank as North America's top film at the box office, according to estimates.
I can't help but comment on Viacom's earnings. On Thursday, the media giant beat Wall Street estimates, thanks largely to the filmed entertainment division's profit quadrupling. But the studio (Paramount and DreamWorks) is a much smaller part of the company than the 'Media Networks' division, which includes MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon, Spike TV, etc. I'd say Viacom's largest challenge moving forward is growing its ad revenue on these cable networks...
A hospital in Pittsburgh is banning Crocs, the comfy rubbery shoes with holes in them. Hospital officials call them a hazard, fearing a nurse might drop a syringe on his or her foot and, bingo! One nurse tells the AP that's a croc. "I mean, I can get a needle stuck in my arm or my leg."
CBS announced second-quarter earnings that disappointed on the top line, beat expectations on the bottom line, and landed flat with growth-hungry Wall Street. Revenue disappointed--down 3% to $3.37 billion on a loss of TV revenue from shutting down UPN and the timing of the NCAA basketball tournament.
So Star Jones finally admits she had gastric bypass surgery. Really? People, it's like denying you had a facelift, collagen, or breast augmentation. WE KNOW. 177,000 people had gastric bypass last year, nearly double from 2003, making it one of the fastest growing plastic surgery procedures. So is PhotoShop. Check out Kelly Osbourne--I'll have what she's having.
Despite all the concern about the credit crunch, a big private equity deal seems to be moving forward. On Monday, John Malone, Chairman of Liberty Media tells the Financial Times he's considering enterting the auction for Richard Branson's Virgin Media. This could be a huge deal--the largest cable transaction outside the U.S.
It sounds like a Hollywood script. Futuristic looking car generates the type of buzz needed to become a star: but it never shines as predicted, flames out amid scandal, and years later its devoted fans pine and plan for the icon's revival. It's only fitting I see this story in the Los Angeles Time this weekend. The star car in question is the DeLorean. The famed sports car that has achieved greater popularity since its limited production finished in 1982.
After paying their dues on the small screen for 18 years, "The Simpsons" have become movie superstars in just one day.
The buzz about Fox's "The Simpsons Movie" has been so hot--and tracking of knowledge of the film so broad--that Fox is expanding the film's debut to 3,922 theaters and about 5,700 screens. Fox is cautiously expecting to hit the mid $30 million dollar range, but the average prediction for the $70 million budget film's opening weekend is over $57 million dollars, and it's sure to take the top spot.
While Wall Street weathers the market drop, Comic Con--the annual comic convention--is at a full roar in San Diego California. And the highlight to any true fanboy is the bit of information producer J.J. Abrams is releasing about his mysterious Paramount Pictures' movie. The trailer premiered right before "Transformers," a guaranteed blockbuster, with that obsessive young male audience, primed to get psyched for a big new idea--perhaps a big new monster. In a summer of sequels, this new movie looked fresh, and there was no title.
Note to PR people: please actually WATCH our network and understand what CNBC does before sending pitches. Here's a shortened list of press releases sent my way in the last 24 hours: "Draumr Publishing, an independent U.S. press, has finally released 'Moon Child,' the tantalizing new novel by first time Canadian author Simone Maroney, to the North American public. The book is a rollicking good ride, complete with adventure, betrayal and harrowing escapes from dire circumstances." And then there's Lindsay Lohan.
The "Mouse" is fighting Joe Camel and coming out against the tobacco industry. Just moments ago Disney CEO Bob Iger announced the company's new commitment to remove cigarette smoking from future Disney branded films. Disney made this news public not in Hollywood, but on the national stage of Congress. Iger declaring his company's new commitment in a letter to House Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass), who last month held a hearing on smoking in the media, asking media companies to join the anti-smoking effort.
Walt Disney on Wednesday became the first major Hollywood studio to ban depictions of smoking, saying there would be no smoking in its family-oriented, Disney-branded films and it would "discourage" it in films distributed by its Touchstone and Miramax labels.
Adam Sandler's faux gay comedy "I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry" charmed $34.8 million from moviegoers its first weekend in theaters to nudge the latest "Harry Potter" film from the top of the box office, according to studio estimates on Sunday.
The conflict between Sumner Redstone, chairman of Viacom and CBS, and daughter Shari Redstone, vice chairman of the two media companies, grew more bitter on Friday: The paterfamilias publicized his displeasure with Shari's ostensible ambition to succeed him, in a harshly-worded letter to Forbes.
A new musical, called "The Street" about Wall Street is having a sneak peak next week in lower Manhattan and opening in the Midtown International Theater festival. The press materials say "stock shorts, long odds, undercover moles and a misanthropic metrosexual all collide." Wall Street worked as subject matter for the movie "Wall Street" as well as some other fantastic street-themed films including "Boiler Room" and "American Psycho" (well, that's the worst part of that culture).
Sumner Redstone thinks he'll live forever. Last fall on CNBC's "Conversations with Michael Eisner" when Eisner asked what his succession plan was, he said he'd live forever. If Thursday's news is any indication he was serious! It's been widely reported--first in Fortune and then also immediately in The Wall Street Journal, that Sumner and Shari Redstone had a huge falling out and that Shari would be stepping down from Viacom's board--presumably trading her stake in Viacom and CBS for full ownership of National Amusements, the theater chain which she currently runs and also has a stake in.
Hollywood, politicians, techies and others react to Sony's 'unprecedented' decision to cancel next week's release of the controversial film "The Interview".
Some U.S. movie theater chains are not planning to show "The Interview" on its opening day, sources said.
Hulu's former CEO, Jason Kilar, announced a new online video venture named Vessel.
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...