Showbiz Sandbox 6: Down With ‘Up’ And Other Contrarian Opinions

June 1, 2009


We are excited to be joined by journalist Anne Thompson of Thompson On Hollywood who recently returned to the United States after covering the Cannes Film Festival. You may remember Anne as the West Coast Editor for Premiere Magazine and Film Comment, not to mention her stint as the Deputy Film Editor at The Hollywood Reporter. She’s also written for a plethora of media outlets including, The New York Times, Washington Post, Wired and LA Weekly. Anne fills us in on who scored big at this past year’s festival and who wound up spinning their wheels.

There was plenty to talk about this week with Pixar’s tenth animated film “Up” winning praise from both critics and audiences. The film earned $68.2 million during it’s opening weekend in North America, but not a dime from Karen Woodward who’s not a fan of animated films (or as she calls them. . . cartoons). “Up” may just give “The Hangover” a run for its money when it opens next week. The comedy flick from director Todd Philips has been receiving a lot of buzz as a potential sleeper hit. Another animated film trying to capture people’s attention is Robert Zemeckis’ take on “A Christmas Carol”. Though it’s not due out until November of this year, Disney has launched a promotional tour which will have clips of the film visiting 40 cities over the next six months by train.  Actor Jim Carrey tells us why another version of the classic tale is being made.

The Fox Network’s “American Idol” stayed in the news thanks to a potential controversy that AT&T may have skewed the votes for winner Kris Allen. Runner-up Adam Lambert doesn’t seem phased by the flap over the voting or by criticism from singer Clay Aiken. In the United Kingdom, YouTube sensation Susan Boyle lost her temper and reality show “Britain’s Got Talent”, but she’ll probably still have a career in showbiz. Reality star Kate Gosselin has also been making headlines, but J. Sperling Reich wants to know who she is and what show she’s on. Jay Leno’s final episode as host of “The Tonight Show” is now over, but did anybody really care. All eyes are now on Conan O’Brien who takes over hosting duties, but may be too good to be popular according to Variety columnist Brian Lowry. Ashton Kutcher may stop using Twitter over a proposed show based on the social networking phenomenon and NBC cancels movie review program “Reel Talk”.

Finally Time Warner and AOL are going their separate ways as are some of the William Morris Agency’s clients who have been let go by the firm in preparation for their merger with Endeavor.

You can follow Anne Thompson on Twitter @akstanwyck.

Cannes: Winners & Losers

“Up” Rises Above

Dreamworks Plans To Boost Its Picture Production (Five Films Every Two Years)

The Hangover Isn’t Any Headache For Warner Bros.,0,27759.story

All Aboard For “Carol”,0,4987790.story

AT&T May Have Swayed ‘Idol’ Results

Idol Runner-Up Adam Lambert To Clay Aiken: Kiss My Coattails!

Listener Email

Hey Guys,

Good work on the site. I stumbled across it by accident, but I have it bookmarked now.

Just wanted to make a quick comment about your latest posting regarding American Idol. After watching the show all season, I had great hope and little doubt that, in the end, Kris Allen would beat out Adam Lambert to become America’s latest Idol. Allen appears to be an artist, whereas Lambert is little more than a screechy B-list wanna-be lounge act. Perhaps Lambert’s performances were better in person, and just did not translate to television. That is the only way I can begin to understand the judges’ fascination with this singer who, although admittedly has a great range in his voice, nevertheless sounds more like an extra from the Rocky Horror Picture Show, than an American Idol.

It was clear that the judges were rooting for Mr. Lambert who somehow managed to captivate their imagination. The fact that none of the judges could stop fawning over his over-the-top performances was annoying and heavy-handed to most.

Ultimately, however, the American public was not fooled by the poor-man’s Meatloaf, and chose to reward an artist who not only sings, but is musically talented. I hope Queen does not ruin their legacy, and the memory of a truly magnificent singer in Freddy Mercury, by choosing Lambert to front what was a once-great band. Then again, the almighty dollar makes us all do things that a few years from now will leave us saying “What were we thinking”. Mr. Taylor Hicks, anyone?

Keep up the good work.


Susan Boyle Involved In Two Furious Foul Mouthed Outbursts

Susan Boyle Loses Britain’s Got Talent – beaten by Street Dancers Diversity

Is Kate Gosselin Planning “Kate Plus 8 Minus Jon?”

Jay Leno Takes Final Bow On ‘Tonight Show’

Conan: Too good to be popular?

Ashton Kutcher Tweets Twitter TV Show

NBC Cancels Reel Talk

It’s Now Official: AOL, Time Warner to Split

Now They’ll Be Client Layoffs At WME



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