Showbiz Sandbox 247: Everything You’ve Heard About This Summer’s Box Office Is Wrong

September 1, 2014

Listening to the chorus of industry naysayers or reading all the media reports might lead you to believe this year’s summer movie season was a complete financial disaster from which Hollywood could not recover. Granted, North American box office declined 15% from the same period last year, marking an 8 year low, and attendance was off by 5%. Even so, there were no huge flops over the summer and certainly none that would send a shiver down the spine of studio execs.

In fact, most of this summer’s releases will make money when international receipts are added to their theatrical grosses. The only problem with that, as Ben Fritz of the Wall Street Journal points out, is that not all box office dollars are counted equally when they are earned overseas.

We’ll also discuss how giant telecom companies are trying to maintain their stranglehold on the Internet in the United States by preventing cities from offering broadband to residents as a public utility. Such legal skirmishes are becoming more important as we move toward streaming services for movies and music.

Of course, we also cover the week’s top entertainment news stories including a new children’s book written by Bruce Springsteen, the first woman ever chosen to head the BBC and a King Arthur movie franchise may finally become a reality.

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Showbiz Sandbox 87: The Oscars Have A Mommy Complex

January 10, 2011

It seems as if this year’s supporting actress awards are being overrun by a handful of horrible mothers. “The Fighter” and “Animal Kingdom” feature just the kind of evil matriarchs Oscar voters have reward in the past. Stephen Farber of the Daily Beast and Hollywood Reporter discusses the evolution of flawed movie mommies from “Mildred Pierce” to “Precious”.

Ben Fritz of the Los Angeles Times tells us that Hollywood studios are hoping to make selling films online a bit easier and explains how Academy members may soon be able to download awards screeners from iTunes .

Last week during the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas it seemed as if television manufacturers were on the defensive over the lackluster sales of 3D televisions. The music industry isn’t fairing much better as Nielsen reported album sales Fell 12.8% in 2010 and digital downloads were flat.

Of course we also review the week’s top entertainment headlines including a new film version of Gypsy starring Barbara Streisand, the return of “Jersey Shore”, Quentin Tarantino’s flawed top 20 list and Broadway’s record setting box office.

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Showbiz Sandbox 66: Why Audiences Are Avoiding 3D Movies

August 9, 2010

Though 3D movies seem to be all the rage in Hollywood these days, it turns out fewer people are actually seeing them. Ever since the release of “Avatar” 3D’s box office earnings have been trending downward. Reporter Ben Fritz and columnist Patrick Goldstein, both from the Los Angeles Times, help us understand why 3D movies aren’t grossing as much as they did just six months ago.

Meanwhile over on “American Idol” they still haven’t worked out who will be judging next season’s competition, however Aerosmith lead singer Steven Tyler said publicly he was asked to join the show.

Arcade Fire released their third album “The Suburbs” to critical acclaim and they celebrated by webcasting their Madison Square Garden concert on YouTube. Making the event even more special, Terry Gilliam directed the webcast. Unfortunately for the concert industry, not every band is as successful as Arcade Fire at selling out their performances. Profits are down at concert giant Live Nation and it’s chairman has jumped on Twitter to explain why.

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Showbiz Sandbox 30: “Modern Warfare” Stuns Hollywood

November 23, 2009

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. Read more

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