Showbiz Sandbox 333: Predicting The Biggest Box Office Flops of 2016

Much has been made about the decline in box office this summer, with franchise sequels underperforming and certain pricey movies failing to attract an audience. Kevin Lincoln, a senior editor at New York Magazine and Vulture, takes a look at this summer’s biggest flops and predicts which mega-budget releases might suffer a similar fate as we round out the year.

In China it might be more difficult to know which movies are box office disappointments or crowd favorites since online and mobile ticketing companies have been offering hefty subsidies to cinemagoers in their heated battle for market share. This means the gross of any release is almost always higher than what moviegoers actually paid to see it.

We’ll also dip back into audience figures from the recently completed Summer Olympics in Rio. This time however we have some data about viewership in Europe, Canada and elsewhere. To nobody’s surprise, more people streamed coverage online than ever before.

Of course we also cover the week’s top entertainment news including how Netflix international subscribers will soon outnumber those in the United States, a changing of the guard at Twentieth Century Fox gets expedited and the late Prince’s home and music studio is set to become a museum.

Continue reading Showbiz Sandbox 333: Predicting The Biggest Box Office Flops of 2016

Play

Showbiz Sandbox 293: Why Forecasting Box Office Has Become So Difficult

Though this year’s North American summer box office may wind up being the second biggest on record at $4.4 billion, movie studios are finding it far more difficult to predict opening weekend grosses. An article in the Hollywood Reporter details how tracking pre-release box office has become unreliable in an age when social media buzz and movie review aggregation have become so prevalent.

Word-of-mouth can now spread so quickly that movies like “Ted 2” can be doomed 24 hours after release, opening 33% below its estimated $50 million first weekend gross. And it’s not just flops that suffer tracking mishaps, as evidenced by “Jurassic World” bowing to $208 million, 60% more than originally anticipated.

Until now, Apple hasn’t had to worry about movie box office or even television ratings, but all that might change if rumors the company is getting into producing original content are at all true.

Of course we also cover the week’s top entertainment news including why Aretha Franklin wound up in court last week, why DreamWorks is leaving Disney and who the Academy selected to produce next year’s Oscar telecast.

Continue reading Showbiz Sandbox 293: Why Forecasting Box Office Has Become So Difficult

Play

Showbiz Sandbox 194: Tony Awards Prove Broadway Knows How To Put On A Show

Once again actor Neil Patrick Harris proved he knows how to host an awards show with a dazzling turn as master of ceremonies at this year’s Tony Awards last Sunday. The ceremony provided its share of surprises and dramatic speeches from the likes of Cicely Tyson and pop-star Cyndi Lauper as “Kinky Boots” walked off with six Tonys including Best Musical. Though the telecast may have been poorly directed, it was filled with a mixed bag of performances from this season’s top Broadway shows.

For Broadway play or musical, a Tony can provide a huge boost at the box office, though it’s no guarantee. There has never been a magic formula for investing in the arts which is something JP Morgan and its partners should have looked into before loaning Paramount Pictures a load of cash to finance movies. Now everyone is suing each other after the bank discovered their Hollywood investments weren’t as risk free as they had initially thought.

That kind of inside news is usually reported by the likes of Nikki Finke over at her Deadline Hollywood blog. However, if a scoop from a competing online news source is correct, Finke’s days at Deadline may be numbered. Has Finke’s conentious reputation finally caught up with her, or will a crosstown rival need to eat some crow?

Of course we also cover the week’s top entertainment news including Amazon’s European tax problems, Disney’s digital distribution plans, and the possibly illegal limitations of Microsoft’s new Xbox.

Continue reading Showbiz Sandbox 194: Tony Awards Prove Broadway Knows How To Put On A Show

Play

Showbiz Sandbox 171: Cost Of Sports Could Be Cable’s Unbundling

The rights to broadcast Major League Baseball games through 2021 were recently scooped up by ESPN for a cool $5.6 billion. That’s nothing compared to the $15.2 billion the network will be paying the NFL for “Monday Night Football” over the next eight years. Now News Corp. has coughed up billions for a stake in the New York Yankees network and are on the verge of paying a rumored $6 billion for the rights to air Los Angeles Dodger baseball games for 25-years. Some cable operators are now saying the skyrocketing costs of sports programming is out of control and unrealistic.

Since we’re talking about billions of dollars, we may as well mention Sony Pictures. Thanks to films such as “The Amazing Spider-Man” and “Skyfall” the studio has taken in more than $4 billion worldwide this year at the box office. Lionsgate isn’t doing too bad either, earning $1 billion with releases such as “Hunger Games” and “Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn”.

In fact, the North American box office is on pace to set a new record this year, much like the grosses recorded over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. The $290 million was a new high for the four day period.

Of course, we also cover all the big entertainment headlines from the past two weeks including the ongoing sexual abuse scandal rocking Sesame Street, the death of actor Larry Hagman and NBC’s big win during the November sweeps.

Continue reading Showbiz Sandbox 171: Cost Of Sports Could Be Cable’s Unbundling

Play

Showbiz Sandbox 157: Which Summer Blockbusters Will Spawn Sequels

Though the summer movie season isn’t quite over, its never too early to start debating which of this year’s crop of releases will have studio heads clamoring for a sequel. It’s safe to say neither “John Carter” or “Battleship” will get the sequel treatment. But what about hits such as “Men In Black”, “Ice Age”, “Madacascar” and “Ted”? The Hollywood Reporter has the lowdown on what studio heads are thinking, and it’s always fun trying to second guess them.

Speaking of summer blockbusters, the Olympics continues to pull in huge viewership for broadcasters around the world. In the United Kingdom, the host nation for this year’s games, the BBC has gone interactive with its broadcasts by allowing viewers to program special channels with coverage of any event they want to see.

Meanwhile, a number of large North American cable providers held their second quarter earnings calls last week. Despite a declining subscription base and increased content costs, profits at the companies are up and their executives couldn’t be happier. We’ll tell you why.

We also cover the week’s top entertainment headlines including Snoop Dogg’s reggae transformation, rumors that Nick Jonas will join “American Idol” and a new poll dethrones “Citizen Kane” and crowns a new winner as the greatest film of all time.

Continue reading Showbiz Sandbox 157: Which Summer Blockbusters Will Spawn Sequels

Play

Showbiz Sandbox 78: The Fight Over Streaming Television Online

As if broadcast and cable networks didn’t have enough to worry about with online streaming offerings from Apple and Google, they now have startups such as ivi.TV to contend with. The company recently launched an online service that retransmits signals from broadcast television stations in New York and Seattle with more cities coming online soon. Though networks and movie studios are trying to shut the company down, its CEO, Todd Weaver, explains that ivi.TV is operating legally under current copyright laws.

Another media company dealing with legal issues is MGM who filed for bankruptcy protection last week. Fortunately the restructured studio won’t have to worry about an actor’s strike since the two unions representing thespians agreed to a new contract with studios and networks. The Hollywood Reporter’s Jonathan Handel fills us in on the key deal points as well as what the news means for writers and directors as they begin their own contract negotiations.

This week also marks the return of Conan O’Brien to late-night television as he kicks off his new show on TBS.

Continue reading Showbiz Sandbox 78: The Fight Over Streaming Television Online

Play

Showbiz Sandbox 75: Hollywood Stunned By A Jackass (And It’s Not Perez Hilton!)

Everyone expected the latest installment of the low-rent “Jackass” franchise to bring in a few bucks, especially since it was filmed in 3D, but nobody expected the movie to take in $50 million in its debut weekend and set records for an October opening. Another surprise from this past week came when gossip blogger Perez Hilton told the world he would no longer “bully” or “out” celebrities on his popular website. Hilton has left everyone wondering if he is being honest, or just trying to grab a few headlines.

In television news, the big story was all about the Chilean miner rescue which drew huge ratings for cable news networks. As for some of the season’s new shows, we provide an update on which ones seem to be fairing well and which may be headed into a permanent hiatus.

The nominations for the American Music Awards were announced, though instead of pulling names from Billboard’s Hot 100 chart, the show relied on the Ultimate Chart published by BigChampagne.

Continue reading Showbiz Sandbox 75: Hollywood Stunned By A Jackass (And It’s Not Perez Hilton!)

Play

Showbiz Sandbox 71: Missing Good Movies In Toronto, Eh?

Trying to record a podcast when your hosts are half a world apart in three different time zones is no easy task, but still we persevered. We even managed to land Megan Garvey from the Los Angeles Times as a special guest. She tells us all about the Times’ new iPhone app which provides an interactive tour of the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Host Michael Giltz is at the Toronto International Film Festival and he fills us in on all the movies that people are buzzing about. Unfortunately, he’s been shut out or has missed most of the future Oscar contenders that make their annual debut at the festival.

The MTV Video Music Awards were held over the weekend and Lady Gaga was a big winner. The pop sensation showed up in a dress made of red meat and walked off with eight trophies.

Big Deal or Big Whoop is abbreviated this week due to travel schedules, but we still manage to fill you in on some of the week’s top entertainment news, including a return to “At The Movies” for Roger Ebert and Oprah’s fading ratings. During Inside Baseball we discuss the Hollywood Reporter’s decision to go from a daily trade paper to a weekly magazine.

Play

Continue reading Showbiz Sandbox 71: Missing Good Movies In Toronto, Eh?

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

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.

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

Showbiz Sandbox 54: Le Petit Cannes – Downsizing The Festival

Two of our co-hosts, Michael Giltz and J. Sperling Reich, are still at the Cannes Film Festival. Along with David Bourgeois, who is covering Cannes for Movieline, they discuss all the films they’ve seen, which ones they’ve liked, which ones are duds and the trends emerging at this year’s festival. So far it seems Mike Leigh’s film “Another Year” is the movie everyone has liked, while Woody Allen’s latest proved disappointing.

Ridley Scott’s “Robin Hood” opened the festival, though it didn’t open theatrically as well as everyone had expected. In it’s debut week it couldn’t top “Iron Man 2” at the box office.

The past week also saw some big television news. Networks have begun holding their “upfronts” to announce fall schedules. As usual a number of new shows will be hitting the airwaves and few didn’t make the cut, including “Law & Order” which NBC canceled after 20 years.   Continue reading Showbiz Sandbox 54: Le Petit Cannes – Downsizing The Festival

Play