July 29- DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc said the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating the company's write-down of film inventory on "Turbo". DreamWorks took an impairment charge of $13.5 million, or 12 cents per share, on "Turbo" in the fourth quarter due to the poor performance of the movie, about a garden snail that races in NASCAR.» Read More
Here are more song parodies (see my previous post) to try to bring a smile to those of you upside down in your mortgage (or upside down in your Capital One and Countrywide stock): From a Colorado mortgage company grunt, the appropriately named Rocky M (talk about smiling through the pain), called 'Green Tree Beret" and sung to the "Green Beret" theme:
Another battle in the very long war. For years Sony's Blu-ray has been battling with Microsoft and Toshiba-backed HD DVD. And everyone--the studios, the disc and player manufacturers, and consumers--is just dying for one format to emerge victorious and the other format to fall the way of the BetaMax. HD DVD just scored an unexpected win, after Blu-ray had taken the lead. DreamWorks Animation and Viacom's Paramount (including DreamWorks Studio) just committed to releasing their films...
Conan O'Brien was spotted by Jane Wells strolling around Universal City walking with an entourage yesterday. And now we know why! "Desperate Housewives" likely will be moved from its current stage here at Universal to accommodate the "Tonight Show," which would move from NBC's Burbank lot just for Conan.
"Transformers" must really have been a huge hit -- isn't imitation the sincerest form of flattery? Since the rights to Transformers are already sold, Hollywood is looking to the next best thing. New Regency is negotiating with the Mark Gordon Co. to bring to the big screen "Voltron: Defender of the Universe," a 1980s Japanese animated TV series.
Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank are pulling out of their commitment to underwrite $1 billion of financing for MGM's slate financing deal, according to the Financial Times, which broke the news.We know that the credit crunch is being felt far and wide -- and now we see that it's being felt all the way in Hollywood at the most hallowed of filmmaking institutions. No one is raising any debt right now, and until the credit markets calm down, things will be quiet. Goldman Sachs and MGM were was raising about one billion dollars to finance a slate of MGM productions and co-productions, including the Hobbit, the fourth Terminator movie, and most likely the next James Bond film (co-produced with Sony).
You can always count on Nielsen/Net Ratings to let you know exactly how huge a pop culture issue actually is. Michael Moore's film, Sicko, released back on June 29 -- is still making waves online. Web traffic to blogs discussing Sicko reached 1.2 million unique visitors in May. By June traffic was down to 814,000, though people are still visiting related websites, especially as the presidential political debate on health care heats up.
Just putting Erin Burnett's picture on my blog boosted my traffic more than 100% yesterday. Or maybe it was the Fake Jane pic.
People rushed to theaters to see the buddy cop comedy "Rush Hour 3," making the last of this summer's big budget Hollywood films the top movie at the weekend box office.
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.
Lower costs, less competition and diverse ingredients are prompting chefs like Daniel Kayser to leave NYC. The NYT reports.
CNBC's Julia Boorstin speaks to Thomas Tull, Legendary Entertainment CEO, about the state of the movie industry and his plan for growth at home and in China. Tull said the focus is on making great content across the board.
'Orange is the New Black' and 'House of Cards' show that Netflix is ready to be a player in TV. Fiscal Times reports.