Showbiz Sandbox 27: That’s It For “This Is It”

This week we begin with Michael Giltz and Karen Woodward disagreeing over “This Is It,” the Michael Jackson documentary/concert film/eulogy. Is the film recommendable? Not according to the box office numbers, where the film brought in a disappointing $23 million. But since the film made $103 million worldwide J. Sperling Reich wanted to serve Michael some crow pie.

If you don’t want to see “This Is It,” maybe you’ll see “Avatar”? The second trailer for the highly anticipated film was released this week, after the first one bombed. The new trailer looks like this movie is actually about something. How about “Precious”? Sperling and Michael disagree over whether this movie is a heart tugging Oscar winner or shallow drivel.

Speaking of shallow, did Jeffrey Katzenberg really add anything new to the future of entertainment conversation in his recent Business Week interview? Seems more like a politician staying message then a mogul adding to the dialogue. But the folks at his old stomping grounds — Disney — may be adding to the debate by unveiling technology that will enable entertainment companies to adapt their business models to a new reality in which consumers increasingly rely on computers and cell phones in place of DVD players and TVs. But does anyone care? As usual there is a healthy debate in our little corner of the sandbox.

One thing we do agree on is that anyone who DVRs a show and says he/she is still watching the commercials has to be lying. Who would watch the ads if they didn’t have to? Sperling for one: turns out that he uses the commercial time to multi-task. What will advertisers dream up for the rest of us who actually fast forward through brand messaging? We have some ideas.

This week we also return to some old stories, such as Hulu (do they have a right to charge viewers?) and Letterman (is he a letch?); take a risk examining Scientology (thanks to filmmaker Paul Haggis); and ponder over why critics actually liked the latest Broadway revivalk of “Finian’s Rainbow.”

Some of the stories we touch on in our Big Deal or Big Whoop segment include Anthony Hopkins starring in “Thor”, U2’s concert webcast getting 10 million streams on YouTube and Google coming up with a new way to search for music. During Inside Baseball, no we’re not talking the World Series, we’re talking the death of Miramax. What would Harvey do?

‘This Is It’ As His Personal Thriller
http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/la-et-patterson3-2009nov03,0,5784621.story

Avatar trailer #2
http://www.imdb.com/video/imdb/vi531039513/

The Audacity of Precious
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/25/magazine/25precious-t.html

Katzenberg: A Front Row Seat At The Movies
http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/09_45/b4154013688591.htm

Disney Touts A Way To Ditch The DVD
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703816204574485650026945222.html

Once Again, DVR’s Not Killing TV, But Helping It
http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20091101/2150456755.shtml
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/02/business/media/02ratings.html?pagewanted=all

Don’t Touch That Dial
http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/09_45/b4154030720509.htm

Hulu: What happened to free?
http://www.mediafreakblog.com/2009/10/pandora-hulu-what-happened-to-free.html

Former Letterman Writer: Sex Equaled Favoritism
http://tv.msn.com/the-wrap/letterman-sexism/story/?gt1=28103

Paul Haggis On Scientology: Morally Reprehensible
http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/the_big_picture/2009/10/paul-haggis-on-scientology-morally-reprehensible.html

Rave reviews for Finian’s Rainbow Revival
http://theater.nytimes.com/2009/10/30/theater/reviews/30finian.html?hpw

Anthony Hopkins to play Thors Dad
http://www.heatvisionblog.com/2009/10/thor-anthony-hopkins.html

January Jones joins Nicolas Cage Thriller
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/content_display/film/news/e3i018a992ff2ce5f8e634ca597da30fb09

Leno says he’d return to Tonight Show if asked
http://tv.msn.com/tv/article.aspx?news=439635>1=28103

U2 On YouTube: 10 Million Streams
http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118010544.html?categoryid=16&cs=1

Google Searches For Music Sales
http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118010606.html?categoryid=16&cs=1

Miramax Prexy Daniel Battsek Exits
http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118010629.html?categoryid=13&cs=1

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