Showbiz Sandbox 76: Taking On The Hobbit And Ticketmaster Down Under

October 25, 2010

Our friends Down Under generated a lot of entertainment news this past week. In New Zealand a union boycott of “The Hobbit” may cause Warner Bros. to relocate the production to another country. Director Peter Jackson has publicly opposed such a move, but as the Hollywood Reporter’s Jonathan Handel explains, this may just be Warner Bros. way of negotiating better government tax subsidies.

Over in Australia, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. has launched Foxtix, a live event ticketing service aimed at capturing a share of Ticketmaster’s business. Taking on Ticketmaster is a difficult and expensive fight, but Adam McArthur, the head of Foxtix, fills us in on how the company will differentiate itself in the market.

Former Australian native and current Hollywood pariah Mel Gibson was all set to make a comeback with a cameo in “The Hangover 2”, but Warner Bros. decided he was just too much trouble and opted for Liam Neeson.

Meanwhile, in television news the Fox network pulled its programming from Cablevision’s channel lineup over a retransmission fee dispute. Don’t worry, Cablevision’s customers were still able to follow the baseball playoffs through Twitter posts from the Federal Communications Commission. Read more


Showbiz Sandbox 74: Showbiz News Gets A Reboot

October 11, 2010

Anne Thompson of Thompson On Hollywood discusses her new role at IndieWire and the recent shuffle of entertainment journalists between media outlets. She gives us her take on the future of IndieWire and the current state of entertainment news coverage.

The Social Network continues to clean up at the box office and if a recent screening of the film for Academy members is any indication, the movie may continue its successful run during awards season. Hopefully, the producers will remember to pay the cast. This seems to be an issue for the cast of the Academy Award winning film “Crash”. Just ask Matt Dillon who is suing producers over the films profits.

The FCC still hasn’t approved the Comcast – NBC Universal merger, though that hasn’t stopped Comcast’s Steve Burke from taking over the reins of the organizations. He takes the place of former NBCU head Jeff Zucker who received a two year paid vacation to the tune of $7.8 million per year. Maybe Zucker can help Google TV get off the ground during his downtime.

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Showbiz Sandbox 69: The Emmys Shine In Google TV’s Shadow

August 30, 2010

Host Jimmy Fallon helped pump some energy into this year’s Emmy Awards where a lot of new names and shows walked away with trophies.  Rick Porter, staff editor at Zap2it, provides some details about who won and who lost.  And the Emmy telecast received rave reviews.  One of the shows writers was David Wild, a contributing editor at Rolling Stone, and he gives us all the dirt on what went on behind-the-scenes.

In the future, the shows that win Emmys may not air on television, but instead be found online.  Alex Ben Block, a senior editor for the Hollywood Reporter and author of “George Lucas’s Blockbusting” fills us in on how we’ll be watching television in the future. . . that is if Google and Apple have their way.

As always, we review the week’s top entertainment headlines during Big Deal or Big Whoop.  Our Inside Baseball topic focuses on the news that video retailer Blockbuster may soon file for bankruptcy.

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Showbiz Sandbox 55: I Want My Google TV

May 25, 2010

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. Read more