Showbiz Sandbox 262: Will “The Interview” Become A Rallying Cry For Freedom?

When the U.S. government identified North Korea as the culprit behind a cyberattack on Sony Pictures, the incident quickly became a matter of international security. As the studio halted the release of an upcoming political satire it seemed as if they had acquiesced to the hacker’s demands in what many saw as a direct attack on free speech. Now that Sony has reversed course and will distribute the film, will “The Interview” become a patriotic rallying cry for freedom?

Maybe one day “The Interview” will be selected by the Library of Congress for the National Film Registry. This year’s entries include “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”, “The Big Lebowski” and “Rosemary’s Baby” along with many other influential movies.

Meanwhile, an upstart performance rights organization continues to threaten YouTube over more than 20,000 songs for which it says the streaming media giant doesn’t have a license. The details of the dispute get mired down in complicated copyright law, but it just goes to underscore how important streaming revenue is becoming to entertainment companies.

Of course, we also cover the week’s top entertainment news stories including Madonna’s new album gets leaked online, the hit film “School of Rock” is heading to Broadway and why HBO is giving up on overnight ratings.

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Showbiz Sandbox 244: Hollywood Faces An Epic Struggle Over the Future of Entertainment Distribution

Whether it’s movies streaming online before they premiere in theaters, the never-ending retransmission dispute between television networks and cable companies or the dwindling number of book retailers, how media companies are distributing their content has never been more in flux.

The Weinstein Company released their critically acclaimed release “Snowpiercer” on VOD just two weeks after the film opened in cinemas. Then they agreed to let “One Chance”, a biopic of talent show winner Paul Potts, stream free on Yahoo! ten days before the movie opens in the United States.

Meanwhile, rather than sell you books, Amazon is hoping you’ll be willing to pay a monthly fee for their new e-book subscription service. The only problem is the service’s limited selection (not to mention the company’s inability to make a profit), making us wonder whether such a business model is viable.

Of course, we also cover the week’s top entertainment news stories including how Weird Al Yankovic’s album wound up at the top of the sales charts, the Emmy’s snub broadcast networks and Garth Brooks comes out of retirement.

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Showbiz Sandbox 3: Award Season Redux

Star Trek

“Star Trek” cleans up at the box office earning $76 million in North America over the weekend while “Wolverine” pulled in another $27 million. Fox sets release dates for its blockbusters in Mexico, though actors may not start kissing on telenovelas for a while. “Billy Elliot” heads up the Tony Award nominations. Bono and the Edge are headed to Broadway with a Spider-Man musical, but Andrew Lloyd Weber is falling behind on his sequel to “Phantom of the Opera”.

“Slumdog Millionaire” and “Twilight” lead the MTV Movie Award nominations, but does anyone care. Big media and celebrities top the Webby awards. NBC announces its primetime schedule and there are rumors about a few CW shows. Looks like the “Gossip Girl” spinoff is a no-go. As scripted television looks to shrink their writing staffs, CBS debates whether they should bring back such game shows as “The Dating Game” and “Let’s Make A Deal”. A computer bug delayed nearly three days of Nielsen television ratings, however advertisers may want to start using more effective “engagement” ratings anyway.

Disney CEO Bob Iger discusses Hulu and informs everyone that new media is here to stay. The MPAA teaches everyone how to pirate DVD’s using a camcorder, in fact they prefer the method over the ripping of content off DVD’s. Revenue at Warner Music plumets as do satellite radio subscribers at Sirius XM. Looks like Roman Polanski isn’t going to return to see if a court will drop his 30-year-old rape charges. Finally, now that the William Morris/Endeavor merger has been announced, clients have started jumping ship in all directions.

“Star Trek” Draws $72.5 Million
http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118003414.html?categoryid=19&cs=1

Swine Flu Curbs Telenovela Kissing
http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118003390.html?categoryid=14&cs=1

Billy Elliot Leads Tony Nominations
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/06/theater/theaterspecial/06tony.html

Bono, The Edge Team Up For “Spider-Man” Musicalhttp://www.spin.com/articles/bono-edge-team-spider-man-musical

“Phantom” Sequel Delayed Until 2010
http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118003402.html?categoryid=15&cs=1

“Twilight”, “Slumdog” Lead MTV Kudos
http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118003151.html?categoryid=16&cs=1

MTV Movie Awards Ballot
http://www.mtv.com/ontv/movieawards/2009/

Celebrities Win Madeup Webbys, Big Media Wins Some Real Ones
http://weblogs.variety.com/technotainment/2009/05/celebrities-win-madeup-webbys-big-media-wins-some-real-ones.html

NBC Announces 2009/2010 Primetime Schedule
http://www.deadlinehollywooddaily.com/nbc-announces-20092010-primetime-sked/

Fox Orders Second Season of Fringe
http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118003158.html?categoryId=14&cs=1

Nikki Finke On CW Upfront Rumors
http://www.deadlinehollywooddaily.com/that-gossip-girl-spinoff-dead-at-cw/

Shows To Scrimp On Scribes
http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118003411.html?categoryid=14&cs=1

Networks Fume Over Nielsen Delay

http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118003280.html?categoryid=14&cs=1

TV Ads That Measure Viewer Engagement
http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/09_20/b4131056581434.htm

Disney’s Bob Iger On YouTube Hulu: “New Media Isn’t Going Away” Planning Movie Subscription Service
http://www.paidcontent.org/entry/419-disneys-iger-on-hulu-youtube-deals-new-media-isnt-going-away/

MPAA To Teachers: Don’t Rip DVDs, Just Record Your Television With A Camcorder
http://www.boingboing.net/2009/05/07/mpaa-to-teachers-don.html

Warner Music Hits Online Slump
http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118003337.html?categoryid=16&cs=1

Sirius XM’s Subscriber Drain
http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/may2009/tc2009057_956955.htm?chan=top+news_top+news+index+-+temp_technology

Polanski won’t appear in U.S Court
http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118003182.html?categoryId=22&cs=1

Endeavor Spins Recent Client Exodus
http://www.deadlinehollywooddaily.com/endeavor-spins-recent-client-exodus/

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