Showbiz Sandbox 30: “Modern Warfare” Stuns Hollywood

November 23, 2009

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As predicted, the teen vampire romance “The Twilight Saga: New Moon” opened this week and earned record breaking box office. The second installment of the “Twilight” franchise made $140 million in North America, making it one of the largest openings in history. The film did manage to break the record for highest grossing midnight screening when it opened Friday morning. What might be more amazing is that the Sandra Bullock vehicle “The Blind Side” came in second with an impressive $34 million. Opening so strongly against a powerhouse tent pole like “Twilight” makes Bullock one of the more bankable stars in Hollywood these days.

Of course, even “Twilight’s” $258 million worldwide opening pales in comparison to what the new video game “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2” raked in during its first five days in stores. Ben Fritz an entertainment business reporter for the Los Angeles Times joins us to talk about the wild success of the video game. Actually, calling it a video game is almost an insult – it’s more like an interactive action movie, and one that made $550 million within five days of its November 19th launch.

Fritz is a prolific journalist who this past week wrote tons of stories for the L.A. Times Company Town column and blog. One such story was on the controversy over the Academy Awards’ Documentary short list. Specifically, everyone wants to know why all the documentaries people actually saw, like “Capitalism: A Love Story” and “The September Issue” were left out of the 19 films still in contention for Best Feature Documentary? Who picked the short list docs anyway?

Meanwhile over in the land of television talk show host Oprah Winfrey has decided to end her successful daytime show after it’s 25th season in 2011. year Maybe it could air on Oprah’s new network. After much prayer and thought, Winfrey is making the decision that she can make more money and build her brand better by launching her own cable network. The next season of “Oprah” will be her last and she will shift her focus to her new network OWN which will debut in 2011. Smart move? Who wins and who loses with Oprah’s decision?

Speaking of questionable moves, remember the 1991 movie “Soapdish”? Well, it’s coming to a theatre not near you. It’s headed to Broadway instead, where Michael Giltz believes it will probably meet a quick death before being relegated to high school musicals.

As usual our popular segment Big Deal or Big Whoop stirs lots of debate on subjects ranging from the nutritional value of movie theatre popcorn to the entertainment value of Adam Lambert’s performance at the American Music Awards (speaking of high school musicals!).

Finally, we finish off by discussing Disney’s new chief Rich Ross during Inside Baseball. Ross has begun to put is own plans in place at the Mouse House, and he started by ending the remake of “Captain Nemo: 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea”, which had already begun preproduction.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Video Game Gets Hollywood-Scale Launch
http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-ct-duty18-2009nov18,0,5238209.story

Oprah Winfrey Announces 2011 End To Her Show
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704888404574546331059957374.html?….
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20091120/ap_on_en_tv/us_winfrey_show_ending

The Oprah Effect: Winners and Losers
http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/entertainmentnewsbuzz/2009/11/the-oprah-effect….

Frustration Over Oscars’ Documentary Short List
http://theenvelope.latimes.com/news/la-et-oscars20-2009nov20,0,5520953.story….

Oscar Short list of Documentaries Draws Controversy
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/20/movies/20docs.html

“Soapdish” Next Movie Headed To Broadway With Music
http://showbiz411.blogs.thr.com/soapdish-broadway-george-stiles-anthony-drewe/

AOL/Time-Warner Divorce
http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118011414.html?categoryid=1009&cs=1

Report: Movie Theatre Popcorn Makes You Fat (Surprise!)
http://celluloidjunkie.com/2009/11/19/report-movie-theatre-popcorn…

Hulu Gets Access To Music Videos From EMI Amping Up Online Competition
http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/entertainmentnewsbuzz/2009/11/emi-music….

Michael Jackson’s Glove Sells For $350,000 at Auction
http://www.reuters.com/article/mediaNews/idUSB9661420091122

Bendinger Launches Screenwriting Contest
http://blogs.indiewire.com/thompsononhollywood/2009/11/19/bendinger….

‘Lost’ Season Premiere Scheduled For Final Season
http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/2412104/lost_season_premiere….

Adam Lambert At AMAs Simulates Fellatio
http://music-mix.ew.com/2009/11/23/adam-lambert-amas-simulated-fellatio/

Disney’s Rich Ross Halts Production of “Captain Nemo”
http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118011454.html?categoryid=13&cs=1
http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/la-et-nemo18-2009nov18,0,6028304….

Disney Studios Drama Might Alter The Industry
http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-ct-ross23-2009nov23,0,4976058.story

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