DSTRUX is ripping a page from old spy shows by allowing users to destroy sent emails. But is the technology necessary?» Read More
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.
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.
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...