Showbiz Sandbox 282: Broadway’s Not So Big Night at the Tony Awards

A musical about family, sexuality and suicide along with a play about an adolescent with Aspberger’s syndrome won the top prizes at this year’s Tony Awards over the weekend. Based on Alison Bechdel’s graphic memoir, “Fun Home” was awarded Best Musical and “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” earned Best New Play. On paper, both could have been marginal longshots to win Tonys, which can at times go to more commercial productions.

We go over the list of this year’s Tony Award winners and choose a few highlights from a ceremony in which they were quite sparse. It was great to see Kelli O’Hara win a Tony for Best Actress In A Musical after she had been overlooked the last five times she was nominated. Yet, in a year which saw Broadway break box office records, the telecast flirted with all-time low ratings.

Meanwhile, as we record this episode Apple appears set to announce their streaming music service which some big record label executives see as a tipping point that could save the industry. That seems like a tall order given how late the company is getting to market, but it’s never a good idea to underestimate Apple.

Of course, we also cover the week’s top entertainment news stories including how Netflix is heading to Spain, Senator Chris Dodd is staying on as head of the MPAA and Showtime is going over the top with its new streaming service.

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Showbiz Sandbox 213: Has Thor Brought The Hammer Down On 3D Movies?

There is no disputing the financial success of “Thor: The Dark World”, a sequel in the franchise based on the Marvel Comics superhero. What’s less clear is what the film’s box office grosses say about the adoption of 3D. During opening weekend 700 2D screens in North America accounted for 60% of tickets sales, as opposed to the 40% earned by 3,100 3D screens. Is this yet another sign audiences have given up on 3D movies?

Netflix doesn’t care how you see a superhero movie, so long as you’re watching it through their service. Last week the on-demand video powerhouse cut a deal with Disney to produce four new original series based on Marvel superheroes, all of which will lead up to a crossover miniseries.

As if competing with Netflix wasn’t bad enough, television broadcasters are still figuring out how to deal with DVRs and the growing number of audiences who time shift their content. One major broadcast network is pushing for advertisers to pay for increased viewership on DVRs for up to seven days after a show originally airs.

Of course, we also cover the week’s top entertainment news stories including the death of Blockbuster Video, the official release date for “Star Wars: Episode VII” and Richard Branson brings reality television into space.

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Showbiz Sandbox 175: Fixing Electronic Oscar Voting In One Easy Step

When the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced it would allow electronic voting for this year’s Oscar nominations many industry insiders felt it was long overdue.  However with a median age of 62, the Academy’s membership may not be ready to cast ballots online.  Heck, some members don’t even have computers.

Now reports have emerged that the Academy’s electronic voting procedure has hit a few speed bumps.  Members have had password problems and those that were able to log into the voting system found it difficult and complicated.  Some fear that voting for the Oscars will reach an all-time low.  Yet there may be a very simple way to overcome some of the security concerns the Academy and its members have in casting online ballots.

The National Film Registry cast a vote of their own last week, adding 25 films to its archives in the Library of Congress, declaring them culturally, historically or aesthetically significant.  Unfortunately this doesn’t necessarily mean these films will actually be preserved.

Of course, we cover the week’s top entertainment headlines, including a lucrative holiday box office, big changes for “The Walking Dead” and a historical court ruling for screenwriters.

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Showbiz Sandbox 170: Why Star Wars Is Better Off Without George Lucas

Two weeks ago Disney surprised everyone by purchasing Lucasfilm for a pricetag of $4 billion. Like the studio’s acquisition of Marvel in 2009, the move makes perfect sense since Disney can exploit the Star Wars franchise in films, television and theme parks. Given the quality of the prequels, it’s not hard to see why fans were relieved to hear George Lucas, the creator of the Star Wars universe, will have a limited role in the sequels Disney plans on releasing.

Speaking of lucrative franchises, the latest James Bond film, “Skyfall” was released to both favorable reviews and huge grosses. The twenty-third installment of the Bond series may earn over $1 billion at the international box office. And all without 3-D ticket surcharges.

Though audiences continue to reject paying a premium for 3-D movies in theaters, consumer electronic manufacturers report that the sales of 3-D capable televisions and Blu-Ray players is on the rise. However just because a TV can play 3-D content doesn’t mean people will take advantage of the technology.

Our former host Karen Woodward joins us for a rundown of all the top entertainment news stories from the past two weeks, including the huge sales figures from Taylor Swift’s new album, Mark Wahlberg signs on for the next “Transformers” film and CBS finally signs up for Hulu.

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Showbiz Sandbox 132: Moviegoing Is Alive And Well In The Modern Age

According to mainstream media, nobody goes to the movies anymore. However news about the death of movie theaters has been greatly exaggerated according to John Fithian, President of the National Association of Theater Owners. In fact, statistical trends for the last three decades show that movie attendance is actually on the rise. In a discussion that touches on everything from the price of tickets to digital cinema technology, Fithian reveals the truth behind today’s movie going experience.

Meanwhile, the Golden Globes handed out this year’s awards. The big story wasn’t necessarily who won awards, but rather which stars were victims of host Ricky Gervais’ scathing humor. Ironically the comedian managed to steal the spotlight again by being less insulting than last year… go figure!

There is some fresh news about two antipiracy bills making their way through Congress now that the Obama administration says they won’t support them.

We also cover the week’s top entertainment news including how Spin magazine intends to review new music releases, a slight delay for the “Avatar” and Hulu’s plan for original content.

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Showbiz Sandbox 55: I Want My Google TV

It’s official. Google is getting into the television business with help from Sony and Logitech. Will making television searchable cause viewership to rise? On the other hand, movies have apparently found a way to shrink their audience – raise movie ticket prices. While “Shrek Forever After” may have topped the North American box office, it’s $71 million debut was seen as a bit of a disappointment. Industry pundits are pointing to the rising cost of 3D movie tickets as part of the cause.

And if you think movie tickets are getting too expensive just wait until cable companies start offering “home theater on demand”. Movie studios are being pitched by cable operators on distributing their movies via video-on-demand just 30 days after they are released in theaters. However, the $20 to $30 price tag may turn potential customers away.

We wrap up our coverage of the Cannes Film Festival, where an obscure “auteur” film from Thailand took the top prize. Michael Giltz and J. Sperling Reich tell us about all the films they liked (and hated) at this year’s festival.

The series finale of “Lost” aired over the weekend, though it received mixed reviews and mediocre ratings. Continue reading Showbiz Sandbox 55: I Want My Google TV

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Showbiz Sandbox 2: Disney Hearts Hulu, Endeavor Hearts William Morris

Disney Hulu“Wolverine” opens big with $87 million in North American box office, Disney joins online video site Hulu.com, meanwhile Sony streams movies on Crackle.com.  An advance look at NBC’s uprfront announcement about which of their television shows are being picked up and which are dumped.  Scrubs may be back on ABC next season after all.  Hasbro and Discovery are putting together a cable network. Obama’s ratings drop and McCain hosts a movie marathon.  Oliver Stone will make “Wall Street 2” with Shia LeBeouf, Chris Noth signs on to “Sex and the City 2”, Universal remakes “Drop Dead Fred” and Don Johnson will play a porn director.  Theatre chain National Amusements is up for sale and studios stop paying for 3D glasses.  Finally, it’s official – talent agencies Endeavor and William Morris will be merging.

“Wolverine” A Hero At The Box Office
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/content_display/film/news/e3i06056b3e434534846b7ff5e99f2211b9

Disney’s Anne Sweeney Talks Hulu: It’s All About Casual Viewers
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/05/01/AR2009050100374.html

Disney’s Hulu Deal Raises Question About YouTube Model
http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20090430-726930.html

Denis Leary goes Hulu, mocks your ‘Tweety-pages’ and your ‘Faceyspaces’
http://watching-tv.ew.com/2009/05/denis-leary-goe.html

“TV Everywhere”: Pay your cable bill, watch Entorage online
http://arstechnica.com/media/news/2009/03/tv-everywhere-pay-your-cable-bill-watch-entourage-online.ars

Sony Offers Free Films On Crackle
http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118002988.html?categoryid=13&cs=1

NBC Gets Rolling Before Its Upfronts
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/content_display/news/e3i06056b3e43453484c9327754ccee4248

NBC Exec Dies On “Parenthood” Set
http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118003057.html?categoryid=14&cs=1

Chuck Decision Delayed For A Week Or More
http://www.eonline.com/uberblog/watch_with_kristin/b121695_chuck_decision_delayed_week_more.html

Talks Continue For “Scrubs” Return
http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118002915.html?categoryid=14&cs=1

Hasbro and Discovery Plan Channel Based On Toy Brands
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/01/business/media/01hasbro.html?ref=business

Full Orchestra Puts “Lost” Audience On Edge
http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118002951.html?categoryid=16&cs=1

Obama Presser Audience Slides But Still Beats Idol
http://blog.newsweek.com/blogs/thegaggle/archive/2009/05/01/ratings-slide-for-obama-s-presser-but-he-still-beats-idol.aspx

McCain To Host AMC Movie Marathon
http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118003028.html?categoryid=14&cs=1

Stone To Walk “Wall Street” Again
http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118002934.html?categoryId=13&cs=1

Mr. Big To Return In “Sex and the City 2”
http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118002957.html?categoryId=13&cs=1

Universal remaking “Drop Dead Fred”
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/content_display/film/news/e3i6832227f5a72401e04337dda02eb1b4b

Don Johnson set to play porn director
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/content_display/news/e3i6832227f5a72401efa73da45a9169527

Bruce Willis Is Living Hard
http://www.riskybusinessblog.com/2009/04/bruce-willis-is-living-hard.html

Relativity reaches deal with Lionsgate

http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118002881.html?categoryId=13&cs=1

Viacom Profit Veers Down
http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118003020.html?categoryid=13&cs=1

National Amusements Ups Ante On Auction
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/content_display/news/e3if87cf911cde7b6e932294cdc836335a5

Biz Balks At Cost Of 3D Glasses
http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118003092.html?categoryid=18&cs=1&ref=ssp

Battle Brews Over 3D Glasses In Europe
http://celluloidjunkie.com/2009/03/26/battle-brews-over-3d-glasses-in-europe/

WMA, Endeavor Approve Merger
http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118002879.html?categoryId=18&cs=1

As Willliam Morris and Endeavor Near a Merger, a New Book May Cause Discomfort
http://carpetbagger.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/04/22/as-william-morris-and-endeavor-prepare-to-merge-a-new-book-may-cause-discomfort/

Paradigm Makes a Move of Its Own
http://carpetbagger.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/04/22/with-all-eyes-on-endeavor-and-william-morris-paradigm-makes-some-moves-of-its-own/

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