Showbiz Sandbox 82: Training For The Awards Season Marathon

The end of the year always has more “best of” lists and awards show news than any media outlet knows what to do with. Over the past week nominees were announced for the Independent Spirit Awards, the Grammys and the Annies (for animated films). In Europe, they’ve already started holding awards ceremonies, with “The King’s Speech” cleaning up at the British Independent Film Awards and “Ghost Writer” topping the European Film Awards.

Competing at next year’s awards shows will likely be a few films selected for the upcoming Sundance Film Festival which will take place in January. Some outlets noted that the festival’s competition selection didn’t have enough star driven films, but artistic director John Cooper points to the premieres section which has been programmed with films sure to keep the Park City paparazzi quite busy.

In television news, it appears the degree to which networks and advertisers trust Nielsen’s rating system is decreasing by the day. They claim Nielsen’s method of acquiring its numbers is antiquated.  Meanwhile, on Broadway, all anyone wants to talk about is “Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark”. While most avid theater-goers believe the super hero musical is going to be awful, they all still can’t wait to see it.

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Showbiz Sandbox 64: Buzzing About Comic-Con, Digital Comics and E-Books

Geoff Boucher of the Los Angeles Times, Alex Billington of First Showing and Anne Thompson of indieWIRE all attended the 41st annual Comic-Con. They stop by to fill us in on all the the movies and television shows that managed to generate a lot of buzz (as well as a few that fizzled). We recap the pop-culture convention’s highlights and breaking news items.

Of course, before Comic-Con invited movies and television shows to the party, it used to be about buying and selling comic books. However, as Alex Pham of the Los Angeles Times informs us, physical comic books may be an endangered item thanks to the growing popularity of digital comics. These newfangled comics have animation, sound effects and narration. Pham also explains how e-books are changing the future of how and what we read.

E-books were the source of major controversy in the publishing world this past week. Literary agent Andrew Wylie announced he would bypass traditional publishing firms and form his own digital publishing company to release e-book versions of his client’s work, including out of print work from the likes of John Updike and and Philip Roth. Rachel Deahl, senior news editor at Publishers Weekly, tells us why this move was so controversial within the publishing industry.

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Showbiz Sandbox 41: Live Nation Becomes The Master Of Tickets

We swear we’re trying not to talk so much about Avatar, and although this seemed like a good week to skip the Ava-chat (congrats “Dear John!”), alas, the news cycle had other ideas.

But wait! There was also some important television news! Namely, the Super Bowl, which drew an average of 106.5 million people, just edging out “MASH’s” 106 million people in 1983. And football fans didn’t just watch the Saints win; they also watched the ads (which are sometimes the best part of the Super Bowl). This year’s favorite seems to be the Leno-Oprah-Letterman ad, but you be the judge. Where was Conan? Probably negotiating with Fox? It certainly seems like Rupert Murdoch plans on playing hardball with Team Coco (whenever he’s not unofficially greenlighting “Avatar 2”).

A company that doesn’t appear to be negotiating is Hulu, or is it NBC? During a Congressional hearing last week to investigate Comcast’s proposed acquisition of NBC, a representative asked NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker, “What about Boxee?” Continue reading Showbiz Sandbox 41: Live Nation Becomes The Master Of Tickets

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Showbiz Sandbox 40: Taylor Ain’t Swift At The Grammys

The highlights of this week’s entertainment news were the Grammys and Sundance. First though, there was “Avatar”, “Avatar”, and more “Avatar”. The 3D wunderkind was number one at the box office again and has sold roughly 56 million tickets in North America so far. “Titanic” sold roughly 128 million admissions in North America, so if “Avatar” did that, it would gross about $1.2 billion in the U.S alone.

But there is more going on in the entertainment world besides “Avatar”. The music world gathered for the Grammys on Sunday, January 31. Geoff Boucher from the Los Angeles Times and David Wild, one of the writers on the Grammy telecast, join us to discuss the hits (Pink’s performance), the misses (Taylor Swift and Stevie Nicks) and what was going on backstage (Alice Cooper hangs with Smokey Robinson).

The Grammys weren’t the only prizes handed out over the weekend. Sundance announced its festival winners and Alison Willmore, a senior editor at IFC.com, stops by to talk about her favorite festival films and a few she recommends skipping. Continue reading Showbiz Sandbox 40: Taylor Ain’t Swift At The Grammys

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