Showbiz Sandbox 17: Twitter Makes Movie Critics Important Again

August 24, 2009


Anne Thompson of “Thompson On Hollywood” joins us again this week, with big news of her own: Her blog is now a part of the indieWire network, where she will shine the Hollywood light on outlet which has traditionally covered the indie scene. Thompson can now be read at, and you can always follow her on twitter at

Speaking of Twitter, is the social media platform responsible for the successful opening weekend of “Inglorious Basterds”? “Bruno” and “GI Joe” plummeted at the box office within their opening weekends, and box office watchers posit that social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook have a lot to do with it. Bad news travels fast. Obviously so does good news – and the best news is that studios may have to start making – gasp – watchable movies!

Friday, August 21st was Avatar Day, when fans could hustle over to their nearest IMAX theatre to watch 16 minutes of 3D footage from James Cameron’s “Avatar.” The web site on which people could reserve tickets crashed on the first day because demand was so high, but apparently many theaters were near empty. Could that have anything to do with the trailer being available online beforehand? Entertainment journalist Michael Giltz saw both versions of the trailer and didn’t think either were engaging.

Paramount is pushing “Shutter Island,” the Leonardo DiCaprio movie directed by Martin Scorsese, to February. This may be a sign that the film isn’t Oscar worthy, or perhaps it’s not meant to be Oscar worthy. It’s certainly ture that Paramount doesn’t have the budget to both market the movie’s release and promote an Oscar campaign. Paramount seems to be doing a lot of dumping these days following the shuttering of Paramount Vantage. Of course when one of those movies is “The Goods” starring Jeremy Piven, it probably deserves to be dumped.

Studios are clearly looking at the bottom line these days, as the recent hulabalu over Redbox demonstrates. TimeWarner chairman Jeff Bewkes compared Redbox to second-run movie theatres. According to Patrick Goldstein of the Los Angeles Times, by trying to keep their product away from Redbox for as long as possible, the studios are doing what all businesses do when threatened by dramatic change — they’re trying to hang on to their business model for as long as possible. Meanwhile, the Redbox antitrust suit against Universal was upheld… This is starting to sound like a movie that should star George Clooney.

And we start our remake watch in this episode! Disney is in negotiations with Bob Zemeckis to direct a remake of the Beatles’ animated movie “Yellow Submarine,” Lionsgate is putting Baby back in the corner again (“Dirty Dancing”), and Bryan Singer is developing an “Excalibur” remake.

Meanwhile in television is giving us plenty of reality shows, such as “Dancing with Stars,” which announced the line up for its ninth season, a list that included disgraced Congressman Tom Delay.

In music news, Radiohead’s Thom York dissed the album format but that doesn’t mean free business models don’t work…just ask, well, Radiohead and Thom York. Turns out they leaked their latest song on bittorrent. Someone who still believes in records is Willie Nelson, who is now following Giltz on Twitter. Giltz thinks Nelson’s new record “American Classic” is one of his best.

And our Inside Baseball news this week focuses on the Hollywood Health Report. When this many deck chairs are about to be rearranged, folks in Hollywood start speculating which studios are on the rise and which might be in trouble. Anne Thompson helps us sort it all out.

Twittering May Have Impact At The Box Office

“Basterds” Is Twitter Age’s First True Success Story

Robert Pattinson Death Fake

Avatar Day – A Sneak Peak At 16 Minutes of James Cameron’s Upcoming Film

Paramount Backs Up The Vantage Dump Truck

Paramount Pushes Shutter Island To February

Redbox Explosion: Movers and Shakers

Flurry of Lawsuits Puts Redbox In The Spotlight

Redbox: Is The Movie Biz Doomed To Relive the Napster Nightmare

Redbox Antitrust Suit Against Universal Upheld

Hollywood Goes Yellow

Lionsgate Puts Baby In the Corner Again

Bryan Singer Developing Excalibur Remake

Dancing with the Stars announces new line up

Tom Delay: ‘Conserviatives Can Have Fun Too’

Thom York Disses the Album Format

Radiohead Leaks Its Own Track On Bittorrent

Hollywood Health Report