Showbiz Sandbox 238: Movies With Subtitles – Cinéma Internationale est Morte

Even though subtitles appear more often in mainstream movies like “Avatar”, “Inglorious Basterds” and “Slumdog Millionaire”, North American audiences aren’t any more comfortable with them than they had been historically. In a detailed piece for Indiewire, Anthony Kaufman reports that foreign language films are struggling at both the U.S. box office and in ancillary distribution channels. Kaufman joins us for an in-depth discussion about the endangered state of world cinema.

We’ve just returned from this year’s Book Expo America, the largest annual book trade show in the U.S. The good news is that the publishing industry is actively engaging in digital instead of being frightened by out. Unfortunately, everyone was concerned that an ongoing contract dispute between publishing giant Hachette and online book retailer Amazon is a sign of a contentious future.

Meanwhile the Tony Awards will be held next weekend honoring the best productions and brightest talent to emerge from Broadway over the past year. Hugh Jackman is hosting the ceremony which will feature performances from Neil Patrick Harris, Idina Menzel and even Sting. The real money however, will be earned by whoever takes home the trophies for Best Musical and Best Musical Revival.

Of course, we also cover the week’s top entertainment news stories including a movie poster that’s a little too risqué for the MPAA, director James Cameron teams up with Cirque du Soleil and the record price NBC is charging for a 30-second ad during next year’s Super Bowl.

Continue reading Showbiz Sandbox 238: Movies With Subtitles – Cinéma Internationale est Morte

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Showbiz Sandbox 32: Grammys and Spirits and Comcast, Oh My!

Rolling Stone contributing editor David Wild joins us this week to talk about the 52nd Annual Grammy nominations, a subject he knows a lot about since he’s one of the writers on the awards show. If music isn’t your thing than maybe independent film is. Eugene Hernandez, editor of indieWIRE drops by to discuss the Spirit Award nominees as well as the official selections of the 2010 Sundance Film Festival.

In other news, Sandra Bullock continues to impress moviegoing audiences in “The Blind Side” which knocked “Twilight Saga: New Moon” out of first place in the North American box office over the weekend. Speaking of “Twilight” who would you like to see direct the fourth installment of the franchise, “Breaking Dawn”? J. Sperling Reich, Michael Giltz and Karen Woodward agree that it’s probably not going to be Tim Burton, Peter Jackson or Quenten Tarantino as Moviefone suggests. But then stranger things have happened. Kind of like Apple buying Lala. What could they possibly be planning to do with the struggling music social network?  Continue reading Showbiz Sandbox 32: Grammys and Spirits and Comcast, Oh My!

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Showbiz Sandbox 31: Blind Sided By Adam Lambert’s Double Standard

While we all still may be sluggish from all the turkey and stuffing on Thanksgiving, the North American box office sure wasn’t. It set a record for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend as once again “The Blind Side” surprises everyone. The Sandra Bullock movie defied expectations to earn another $40 million over the five-day period, almost topping “The Twilight Saga: New Moon” as the winner this weekend. Proof positive that Sandra Bullock is a movie star.

So is George Clooney, whose “Up In The Air” opens on Friday. According to Claudia Eller of the Los Angeles Times the film is proving to be a marketing challenge for its distributor, Paramount. Apparently the studio is afraid Jason Reitman’s humorous drama about corporate downsizing may touch a raw nerve. But how could this critically acclaimed movie be a marketing challenge? We’ve got two words that might help Paramount’s advertising campaign: George. Clooney. Sheesh, maybe we should be marketers.

Actually, maybe we should become linguistics experts instead. USC linguistics professor Paul R. Frommer was brought in by James Cameron – writer and director of a little upcoming release called “Avatar” – to develop the language of the 10-foot tall blue Smurfs – um. . . aliens – who inhabit Pandora, the setting for the film’s conflict.  Continue reading Showbiz Sandbox 31: Blind Sided By Adam Lambert’s Double Standard

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Showbiz Sandbox 30: “Modern Warfare” Stuns Hollywood

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. Continue reading Showbiz Sandbox 30: “Modern Warfare” Stuns Hollywood

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Showbiz Sandbox 29: Camped Out For “Twilight: New Moon”

There was a debate over titling this week’s episode “The Profanity Podcast “due to some various disagreements and the name of a new sitcom. Intrigued? Read on.

Harry Medved from Fandango.com joins us briefly to talk about next week’s number one movie at the box office, “The Twilight Saga: New Moon.” (Did we get the name right? Can’t we just call it “New Moon” or “Twilight 2”?) Yes, that’s right, we’re prognosticating next week’s number one movie in North America. Hey, when women of all ages are lining up just to catch a glimpse of Robert Pattinson and/or Taylor Lautner at the premiere, you know you might have a hit on your hands.

Speaking of hits, is Twentieth Century Fox taking a huge risk by bankrolling a film based on an unfamiliar story with no Hollywood superstars and a budget approaching $500 million? We’re talking about “Avatar,” and particularly Michael Cieply’s article in the New York Times’ on the film directed by James Cameron. (So, is Cameron himself not a superstar?) John Horn and Claudia Eller from the Los Angeles Times write that the movie’s price tag continues to climbe and that its global marketing campaign could cost as much as $150 million, “Avatar” won’t have to do “Titanic” business to make money, but it will have to fill auditoriums around the world for weeks to become profitable. Continue reading Showbiz Sandbox 29: Camped Out For “Twilight: New Moon”

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Showbiz Sandbox 18: It’s All Fun And Games Until Celebrities Start Dyin’

Landing at the top of the North American box office this weekend was “The Final Destination” with “Halloween 2,” directed by Rob Zombie, coming in third. Zombie may not be part of that Old White Male club of directors that the New York Times highlighted this week, but apparently he can make a successful film. After reviving the “Halloween” franchise, Rob Zombie will continue to advance the horror porn genre with a remake of the 1958 classic, “The Blob.”

The biggest story of the week was Disney’s purchase of Marvel Comics. What will this mean for “Iron Man”, “Spider-Man”, the “X-Men”, and “Fantastic Four”? Maybe we’ll find out when Disney continues its takeover of the world with their own version of Comic-Con; the D23 Expo in Anaheim. The four day event will celebrate — and sell — all things Disney with celebrity appearances and slick sneak previews of upcoming films, television shows and theme park attractions.

Speaking of theme park attractions, Michael Jackson’s death was ruled a homicide. (Okay it only feels like it’s becoming a theme park attraction.) Continue reading Showbiz Sandbox 18: It’s All Fun And Games Until Celebrities Start Dyin’

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Showbiz Sandbox 8: Everybody’s A Critic On The Internet

This week “The Hangover” hung around, and “The Taking of Pelham 123” opened at lower numbers than expected. Was the film miscast?

James Cameron proves he’s King of the World, or at least of the digital age, by pushing game publisher Ubisoft to create the videogame industry’s first stereoscopic title. What does this mean for future relationships between films and videogames? In other film news, “Slumdog Millionaire” director Danny Boyle signed a three year deal with Fox Searchlight; the quasi-classic “Conan The Barbarian” will be remade; and rumors abound that the director of the summer action film “G.I. Joe” was fired. Plus, DVD fans may have to wait a little longer until movies they didn’t bother seeing in the theaters are available for viewing on the couch.

Despite repeated warnings, chaos still ensued when the switch to digital TV finally happened in the United States. And though there were obvious clues about his sexual orientation, “American Idol” runner up Adam Lambert finally came out to Rolling Stone magazine. Plus, the debate rages on: Can Jay Leno survive at 10pm? Advertisers sure aren’t happy about his new time slot. Continue reading Showbiz Sandbox 8: Everybody’s A Critic On The Internet

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Showbiz Sandbox 5: A Travesty Of American Idol Justice

Kris Allen and Adam Lambert On American Idol The week leading up to Memorial Day was chock full of juicy entertainment news.

The Cannes Film Festival wrapped up in France awarding Austrian filmmaker Michael Haneke it’s top prize, the Palme d’Or. Karen Woodward and J. Sperling Reich recap all the festival winners. In North America the Ben Stiller starrer “Night At The Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian” opened with $70 million against “Terminator: Salvation”. McG’s attempt to reboot the “Terminator” franchise came in second at the box office with $53.8 million. “Star Trek” continued to rake in the dough with an additional $29.4 million and a cumulative $191 million in North America.

Television ratings were also bolstered by the star studded finale of the Fox network’s musical reality show “American Idol”. Kris Allen beat out Adam Lambert during a telecast that an estimated 28.84 million Americans tuned into. That ties the record for least-watched finale in recent “American Idol” memory, though nmore than 100 million votes were cast, a new record for the show. While Karen believes the results were a travesty of justice, Lambert may not be walking away empty handed after all; Billboard reports the rock group Queen may be interested in the young singer to front the band. Musical pop star Pink wasn’t happy with “American Idol” either, though more because she says they butchered one of her songs.

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