Showbiz Sandbox 318: The CinemaCon and Coachella Experience Is Priceless

Movie theater operators from around the world gathered at CinemaCon in Las Vegas last week to see what Hollywood studios have to offer over the next 12 months; from big budget tentpole releases to potential awards contenders. The loudest buzz at this year’s event was caused by The Screening Room, a company that hopes to bring current movie releases into the home, day-and-date with cinemas. Following a year of record theatrical box office grosses, studios, exhibitors and filmmakers alike spoke out en masse against such an idea.

Meanwhile, the first weekend of this year’s Coachella Music and Arts Festival took place over the weekend and we’ll fill you in on some of the highlights and musical acts as we debate whether big festivals have become too pricey and elitist.

During Inside Baseball, we’ll tackle the growing controversy over acting workshops; the “educational” courses where actors get pointers on how to audition. After a top casting director lost their job over the practice, there is a sense that such workshops feel like scams where struggling actors are conned into paying to audition in front of industry players.

Of course we also cover the week’s top entertainment news including the executive disarray at Disney, how Twitter will stream NFL games next season and why the Golden Globes are tweaking their rules.

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Showbiz Sandbox 257: Debating President Obama’s Position On Net Neutrality

President Obama finally weighed in on the battle over net neutrality calling for the FCC to reclassify broadband providers as utilities under Title II of Telecommunications Act. This inflamed the war between those who believe such a move is mandatory and others who fear bureaucratic regulation will have the unintended consequence of throttling future development and investment in technology. We do our best to debate both sides of a very contentious issue.

Leaking copyrighted content online however, is an issue everyone can agrees is bad. Marvel Entertainment showed how to handle just such a scenario with aplomb when a leaked copy of the trailer for their highly anticipated sequel to “Avengers” hit the Internet before its official release. We’ll fill you in on Marvel’s immediate and exemplary response.

While we’re on the subject of responses, there’s no question how Taylor Swift’s new album was received by her fans. They gobbled up more than 1.2 million copies during its first week on sale. That’s more than the next 106 albums on the weekly sales chart combined.

Of course, we also cover the week’s top entertainment news stories including Lemony Snicket on Netflix, Matt Damon returns to Jason Bourne and Pixar gears up for another “Toy Story”.

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Showbiz Sandbox 45: Changing Faces At Variety

Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland” took the top spot at the box office again this week, which might be why 3D is causing quite a stir at ShoWest this year in Las Vegas. J. Sperling Reich fills us in on what theatre owners are talking about at the annual convention.

This week Hollywood suffered another untimely death, this time it was actor Corey Haim at age 38.

In happier news (for some), Jay Leno seems to be doing quite well back in his old time slot. The late night funnyman went back to “The Tonight Show” and ratings soared. What does this mean for Conan O’Brien and his chances for launching a competing late night talk show?

In music news, Billboard published a list of the Top 40 Moneymakers of 2009. Its well worth checking out as you might be surprised who makes the list. (Although it’s no surprise that U2 tops the list.)

Finally, we are joined by indieWIRE’s Anne Thompson during our Inside Baseball segment to talk about why Variety, the industry’s top trade paper is laying off staff members, including Todd McCarthy, their top film critic. Is this a sign of impending doom for the daily?  Continue reading Showbiz Sandbox 45: Changing Faces At Variety

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