Showbiz Sandbox 373: Is the Academy’s Diversity Fix Misguided?

July 3, 2017

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After a controversy that faulted the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for being too white, too male and too old, the organization has made great strides to broaden the diversity of its membership over the past two years. During that time the Academy invited over 1,450 new members to join its hallowed ranks, many of whom were women and people of color. Yet there are now grumblings that in the rush to bring in fresh blood the Academy may have lowered its standards for membership.

Major Hollywood studios are less concerned with the Academy’s membership than they are with whether Chinese exhibitors are reporting box office correctly. The MPAA and U.S. trade organizations have forced the Chinese government to let an international firm audit ticket sales for imported films at cinemas throughout the country.

We also review a listener email which goes to great lengths in explaining why satellite radio giant SiriusXM would want to purchase a stake in the online radio streaming service Pandora. The deal is setting up a senior management showdown over the digital music pioneer’s future business model.

Of course, we also cover the week’s top entertainment news including why Adele is canceling the final two shows of her tour at Wembley, how Sony plans on pressing vinyl records again after nearly 30 years and Oscar winning actress Olivia de Havilland lets FX know she doesn’t appreciate being portrayed in “Feud” by filing a lawsuit.

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comScore Announces Official Worldwide Box Office Results for Weekend of June 18, 2017
http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/comscore-announces-official-worldwide-box-office-results-for-weekend-of-june-18-2017-300475596.html

Wonder Woman Keeps Breaking Records, Is Now the Highest-Grossing DCEU Movie to Date
http://www.vulture.com/2017/07/wonder-woman-surpasses-batman-v-superman-at-the-box-office.html

Hollywood Is Auditing China’s Box-Office for First Time
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-06-27/hollywood-said-to-be-auditing-china-s-box-office-for-first-time

Hollywood Conducting First Independent Audit of China’s Box Office
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/hollywood-conducting-first-independent-audit-chinas-box-office-1016930

China Box Office Audit: Why Hollywood Needed to Get Tough
https://variety.com/2017/film/box-office/china-box-office-audit-mpaa-get-tough-fraud-1202479488/

Netflix’s ‘BoJack Horseman’ Blocked on China’s iQiyi Streaming Service
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/netflixs-bojack-horseman-blocked-chinas-iqiyi-streaming-service-1016941

SiriusXM is buying a big stake in Pandora for $480 million
https://www.theverge.com/2017/6/9/15767952/siriusxm-pandora-investment-ticketfly-sale

It’s Official: Tim Westergren Steps Down as Pandora CEO Amid Top-Level Shakeup
https://variety.com/2017/digital/news/its-official-tim-westergren-steps-down-as-pandora-ceo-amid-top-level-shakeup-1202479307/

The Reason You’re Alive by Matthew Quick
http://bookfilter.com/2016/10/12/the-reason-youre-alive-2/

The Last Laugh by Lynn Reed
http://bookfilter.com/2016/09/13/the-last-laugh/

The Clockwork Dynasty by Daniel H. Wilson
http://bookfilter.com/2016/10/10/the-clockwork-dynasty/

Woolly by Ben Mezrich
http://bookfilter.com/2016/10/19/woolly/

Adele Cancels Final Two Shows of Tour: ‘I’m Sorry. I’m Devastated’
https://variety.com/2017/music/news/adele-cancels-shows-vocal-chord-damage-1202485261/

Sony Will Start Pressing Vinyl Records After 28-Year Hiatus
http://fortune.com/2017/06/30/sony-vinyl-records/

Netflix Deploys Dolby Atmos
https://www.rapidtvnews.com/2017062947798/netflix-deploys-dolby-atmos.html

Netflix Is Getting Dolby Atmos Surround-Sound Content
https://venturebeat.com/2017/06/28/netflix-is-getting-dolby-atmos-surround-sound-content/

Cable News Ratings: MSNBC, CNN, Fox News Post Double-Digit Growth in Q2
https://variety.com/2017/tv/news/cable-news-ratings-cnn-fox-news-msnbc-q2-1202479416/

MSNBC Will Replace Greta Van Susteren with Ari Melber
https://variety.com/2017/tv/news/greta-van-susteren-msnbc-departure-1202483212/

Fox’s Sky Takeover Delayed as British Government Recommends Further Scrutiny
https://variety.com/2017/biz/global/fox-sky-takeover-murdoch-1202482496/

AEG-MSG Turf Battle Heats Up: Acts That Play L.A. Forum Cannot Play London’s O2 Arena
https://variety.com/2017/music/news/aeg-msg-turf-battle-heats-up-acts-that-play-la-forum-cannot-play-london-o2-arena-1202485038/

Jeffrey Katzenberg On WndrCo’s New TV Model: “I’ve Found A Brand New Everest” – Cannes Lions
https://deadline.com/2017/06/jeffrey-katzenberg-wndrco-new-tv-model-future-1202118183/

‘Indecent’s Broadway Wraps Head North Of $100K Following Stay Of Execution
‘Indecent’s Broadway Wraps Head North Of $100K Following Stay Of Execution

Olivia de Havilland Files Lawsuit Over ‘Feud’ Portrayal
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/02/arts/olivia-de-havilland-files-lawsuit-over-feud-portrayal.html?_r=0

Academy Invites Record 774 New Members
https://variety.com/2017/film/news/academy-new-members-class-of-2017-1202481404/

Oscars: Academy’s Invitation List Is Well-Intentioned, But Misguided
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/race/oscars-academys-invitation-list-is-well-intentioned-but-misguided-1017509

Oscars: Whoopi Goldberg Among 10 First-Time Victors in Historic Academy Board Elections
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/race/oscars-whoopi-goldberg-10-first-time-winners-academy-board-elections-1018029

Comments

  • mgiltz

    Is AMPAS lowering its standards? I’m willing to bet the Academy has ALWAYS invited some members who would raise an eyebrow and having you saying, “Them? Really? They’re an Oscar voter?” But until the Academy embraces transparency, we’ll never know. It took them decades to invite Eddie Murphy AND Christopher Plummer so let’s just assume their mistakes are color-blind. We just happen to be paying attention now. Are a handful of new invitees really just “TV people?” Yes, but the vast majority make perfect sense. And being a member is NOT equivalent to entering the Hall of Fame. you almost always get invited when you’re an active working member making movies. So enough with all the “affirmative action” complaints!