Showbiz Sandbox 305: Should “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” Box Office Records Require An Asterisk?

The release of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” shattered box office records the world over and became the biggest movie opening of all time by earning $529 million. We explain why in countries such as Japan and South Korea, the latest “Star Wars” not only didn’t win the weekend, but in some cases earned less than earlier installments of the franchise. We also look at the breakdown of which formats audiences favored when buying tickets.

George Lucas’ original “Star Wars” movie was released in 1977 and was added to the National Film Registry in 1989. We weigh in on the annual list of films added to the registry by the Library of Congress, charged with selecting new entrants. It always makes for a fascinating mix; we’ll discuss what made this year’s cut there and why. Hint: It’s not always artistry that counts… and no we’re not looking at you “Top Gun.”

In music news, it turns out online radio services such as Pandora will soon be paying more to license songs. Meanwhile, Adele is trying to prevent her fans from having to pay more to purchase tickets to see her in concert. We’ll tell you about the growing backlash against the secondary market for concert tickets and what some artists are doing about it.

Of course we also cover the week’s top entertainment news including how “Star Wars” bumped Quentin Tarantino’s latest movie out of a historic movie theater, Howard Stern signs a new deal with SiriusXM and the list of this year’s inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

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Showbiz Sandbox 297: Television Networks Brace For Media Measurement Mayhem

In the digital age the viewership of television content has been difficult to track across multiple platforms and devices. The announcement of a game-changing merger between web analytics firm Comscore and the TV and box office data outfit Rentrak suggests a much needed solution for cross-media ratings may soon be available.

The combination of Comscore and Rentrak would finally create a company with the deep pockets and technical expertise to legitimately take on Nielsen, the uncontested reigning king of television ratings for the last several decades. The industry welcomes such competition at a time when advertisers are clamoring for accurate audience measurement across all screens, including mobile devices.

Thanks to the increase in delayed viewing, television ratings have become near impossible to report in a timely manner. Overnight ratings have long been the standard for touting a television program’s success (or failure), but now such numbers can represent less than half a show’s total audience once DVR data is counted. This has made keeping track of who watched what when and on which devices extremely confusing.

Of course we also cover the week’s top entertainment news including the plans to the former hit series “MacGyver” a makeover, “Ghostbusters” gets animated and some of the unnecessary recipients among this year’s MacArthur Genius Awards.

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Showbiz Sandbox 259: Sony Hack Reveals Hollywood’s Digital Dilemma

Digital technology helped Hollywood significantly reduce the production cost of movies that overflow with stunning visual effects. One major downside to such technological advances is how easy it has become to steal, duplicate and distribute pristine copies of digital content. Movie studios were reminded just how vulnerable they are after a cyberattack against Sony Pictures resulted in several upcoming films being leaked online.

Netflix, on the other hand, delivers digital content legally, even if some of its subscribers happen to be access the service surreptitiously from countries where the company doesn’t operate. Netflix announced it would be launching soon in two such countries; Australia and New Zealand.

On Broadway meanwhile, productions are gearing up for what is usually a busy holiday season. A few new musicals however are off to slow starts. We’ll give you a rundown on how all the shows are doing and which are worth seeing.

Of course, we also cover the week’s top entertainment news stories including Russia’s proposed boycott of Hollywood movies, why Hasbro ditched Dreamworks Animation and how Apple intends to bundle Beats Music.

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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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