Showbiz Sandbox 197: Studios Suffer A Summer of Blockbuster Flops

July 8, 2013


Hollywood is learning the hard way that big name movie stars don’t always guarantee the success of a tentpole release. This summer at least three mega-budget titles have tanked; Will Smith couldn’t save “After Earth”, Jamie Foxx and Channing Tatum couldn’t rescue “White House Down” and even the casting of Johnny Depp as Tonto wasn’t enough to rustle up an audience for “The Lone Ranger”.

On the other hand, filmmaker Lee Daniels’ next film may not have a blockbuster-size budget, but it does feature an all-star cast that includes the likes of Forest Whitaker, Robin Williams and Oprah Winfrey. Now all it needs is a new name, since a 1916 Warner Bros. short has already laid claim to “The Butler” causing Daniels and distributor The Weinstein Company to call out the lawyers.

Meanwhile, as we await the court’s verdict in the Justice Department’s antitrust lawsuit against Apple over the pricing of e-books, it turns out Amazon has quietly been raising the ante on a lot of titles, especially those from academic and small presses.

Of course we also cover the week’s top entertainment news including the Academy’s new members, Jennifer Lopez in Turkmenistan and the cost of purchasing a Tony Award.


‘Lone Ranger’ Marks Third Big-Budget Bomb of Summer

Masked Lawman Stumbles At Box Office

As Competition Wanes, Amazon Cuts Back Its Discounts

Why Big Publishers Think Genre Fiction Like Sci-Fi Is the Future of E-Books

Broadway Box Office Mints a Dozen Millionaires

Broadway Success Has A Price: $2,500

BBC Gives Pause Button For 3-D

RIAA Changes Platinum Policy

Jennifer Lopez Performs At Birthday Party For Dictator

OWN To Air All My Children, OLTL

Pixar Sequels Not The Studio’s Emphasis

O’Brien Joins Al Jazeera

Megyn Kelly Moving to Fox News Primetime

Dome Stifles Competition

Pandora Bad For Artists

Ex-Pandora Staffer, Musician Jonathan Segel Warns Against “Pandora Groupthink”

NBC Snags Mark Burnett Bible Follow-up

Academy Invites New Members

Why This Year’s Academy Invitations Give Me Hope (Analysis)

Elmo Puppeteer Escapes Lawsuits

David Boies Charges Extortion As He Returns Fire In ‘The Butler’ Spat Between Warner Bros And The Weinstein Company

‘The Butler’ Battle: Director Lee Daniels Pleads His Case To Warner Bros.’ Kevin Tsujihara

MGMT Set Release Date for New Album


  • mgiltz

    Blah blah blah. Big movies have always flopped. Sometimes it causes studios to make leaner smaller films for a while but then they go big again. And anyone who says movie stars aren’t good insurance hasn’t been paying attention to the box office for the past…100 years. Will Smith and Johnny Depp are both stars and will make big hits again.