Showbiz Sandbox 262: Will “The Interview” Become A Rallying Cry For Freedom?

When the U.S. government identified North Korea as the culprit behind a cyberattack on Sony Pictures, the incident quickly became a matter of international security. As the studio halted the release of an upcoming political satire it seemed as if they had acquiesced to the hacker’s demands in what many saw as a direct attack on free speech. Now that Sony has reversed course and will distribute the film, will “The Interview” become a patriotic rallying cry for freedom?

Maybe one day “The Interview” will be selected by the Library of Congress for the National Film Registry. This year’s entries include “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”, “The Big Lebowski” and “Rosemary’s Baby” along with many other influential movies.

Meanwhile, an upstart performance rights organization continues to threaten YouTube over more than 20,000 songs for which it says the streaming media giant doesn’t have a license. The details of the dispute get mired down in complicated copyright law, but it just goes to underscore how important streaming revenue is becoming to entertainment companies.

Of course, we also cover the week’s top entertainment news stories including Madonna’s new album gets leaked online, the hit film “School of Rock” is heading to Broadway and why HBO is giving up on overnight ratings.

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Showbiz Sandbox 176: Hollywood Unchained – 2012 Sets Another Box Office Record

Once again Hollywood raked in record earnings at the North American box office in 2012, though this time it wasn’t because of increased ticket prices.  In fact, both revenue and attendance were up nearly 6% during the year as 1.36 billion tickets were sold to set a new annual box office record of $10.8 billion.

Internationally box office receipts were off slightly.  After a string of years with record grosses, Hollywood movies raked in $13.5 billion outside North America.  The new year is looking up as well since nine films pegged as Oscar contenders are all still raking in big grosses.

The music business didn’t have such good news.  Album sales during 2012 declined 4.4% in the United States where Adele spent a second year at the top of the heap.  What’s noteworthy is that digital downloads outpaced physical album sales for the first time according to Nielsen SoundScan.

Of course, we also cover the week’s top entertainment headlines including the sale of Al Gore’s cable network, the rising ratings for Big Bang Theory and why YouTube is deleting views for music videos.

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Showbiz Sandbox 66: Why Audiences Are Avoiding 3D Movies

Though 3D movies seem to be all the rage in Hollywood these days, it turns out fewer people are actually seeing them. Ever since the release of “Avatar” 3D’s box office earnings have been trending downward. Reporter Ben Fritz and columnist Patrick Goldstein, both from the Los Angeles Times, help us understand why 3D movies aren’t grossing as much as they did just six months ago.

Meanwhile over on “American Idol” they still haven’t worked out who will be judging next season’s competition, however Aerosmith lead singer Steven Tyler said publicly he was asked to join the show.

Arcade Fire released their third album “The Suburbs” to critical acclaim and they celebrated by webcasting their Madison Square Garden concert on YouTube. Making the event even more special, Terry Gilliam directed the webcast. Unfortunately for the concert industry, not every band is as successful as Arcade Fire at selling out their performances. Profits are down at concert giant Live Nation and it’s chairman has jumped on Twitter to explain why.

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