Showbiz Sandbox 166: How MoviePass Unlimited Moviegoing Service Really Works

October 9, 2012

When MoviePass announced an unlimited moviegoing subscription service last year it faced stiff resistance from cinema owners and film studios. Now, MoviePass has relaunched with a revamped offering that doesn’t need approval from either group. Stacy Spikes, the CEO of MoviePass, joins us to explain why this time the company will succeed.

Over in the world of music, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced this year’s nominees. The likes of Randy Newman, Donna Summer, Public Enemy and Rush head up what has been considered by many to be a very weak list. At least this year however fans get to vote for their favorite nominees.

Meanwhile, Broadway has been consumed with the story of how “Rebecca”, a musical based on the novel by Daphne du Maurier, went up in flames just weeks before opening. Despite having major talent enlisted to write, direct and choreograph, not to mention an ongoing ad campaign, it turns out on of the investors behind the production may have been completely made up.

Of course, we also cover the week’s top entertainment news including a huge debut for Mumford and Sons second album, why MTV is getting out of the “Jersey Shore” business and how Lil Wayne bested Elvis (sort of).

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Showbiz Sandbox 161: Patrick Goldstein On Departing The L.A. Times And Seeing The Big Picture

September 4, 2012

Entertainment reporter Patrick Goldstein surprised everyone two weeks ago in announcing he was leaving the Los Angeles Times after 12 years. His column, The Big Picture, was a must read for anyone in or just following the industry. Goldstein joins us to discuss his departure from the Times, the state of the movie business and where we might be able to read his work in the future.

If one were to look solely at box office alone, they wouldn’t be faulted for believing the film industry was in dire straits. Though receipts were only down 3% to $4.2 billion this summer, movie attendance dropped to a 20 year low in North America.

Televised sports, on the other hand, isn’t having any trouble attracting an audience. In fact, cable networks can’t seem to pay enough for the broadcast rights to sporting events as ESPN proved by signing a multi-billion dollar deal with Major League Baseball.

Of course, we also cover the week’s top entertainment news including why Bruce Willis is mad at iTunes, MTV cancels “Jersey Shore” and how you’ll be able to play, but not hear, Beck’s latest music.

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Showbiz Sandbox 116: Will Hollywood Miss Steve Jobs?

August 30, 2011

Last week’s news that Steve Jobs was stepping down as the CEO of Apple caused headline writers all over the world to work overtime. Sure Jobs became a household name by helping revolutionize personal computing, but he also helped shape the modern entertainment industry with products such as iTunes, the iPod and the iPad. And we shouldn’t forget his role in founding a little animation company called Pixar. We discuss what Jobs departure from Apple means to Hollywood and why some entertainment execs may be secretly relieved to see him exit the stage.

On the other hand, news that filmmaker Ridley Scott was working on a sequel to his sci-fi masterpiece “Blade Runner” didn’t seem to please anyone. Some showbiz pundits went so far as to call the idea “catastrophically bad”. We’ll explain why.

Over in the world of television, one of the husbands on “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” committed suicide causing Bravo to re-edit episodes for the upcoming season. Will the death of Russell Armstrong cause networks to rethink how they handle reality television?

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Showbiz Sandbox 99: How To Fix Hollywood’s Obsolete Residual Payments System

April 11, 2011

Labor and contract negotiations are a constant concern in Hollywood. Entertainment attorney Jonathan Handel is a contributor to The Hollywood Reporter and has written a book about the industry’s labor disputes,  “Hollywood on Strike!: An Industry at War in the Internet Age“. The book grew out of his coverage of the labor unrest that began with the 100 day Writers Guild strike leading to turmoil in all union negotiations over the next two years. Handel proposes a new formula for residuals that could help avoid future strikes.

Blockbuster, the beleaguered video chain which filed for bankruptcy protection last year, was auctioned off to Dish Networks.  How the acquisition will benefit the satellite television provider remains to be seen.

The Grammy Awards are getting trimmed down as they cut more than 30 categories and combine a number of others.  Music industry professionals are split over whether the changes will help the awards show.

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Showbiz Sandbox 87: The Oscars Have A Mommy Complex

January 10, 2011

It seems as if this year’s supporting actress awards are being overrun by a handful of horrible mothers. “The Fighter” and “Animal Kingdom” feature just the kind of evil matriarchs Oscar voters have reward in the past. Stephen Farber of the Daily Beast and Hollywood Reporter discusses the evolution of flawed movie mommies from “Mildred Pierce” to “Precious”.

Ben Fritz of the Los Angeles Times tells us that Hollywood studios are hoping to make selling films online a bit easier and explains how Academy members may soon be able to download awards screeners from iTunes .

Last week during the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas it seemed as if television manufacturers were on the defensive over the lackluster sales of 3D televisions. The music industry isn’t fairing much better as Nielsen reported album sales Fell 12.8% in 2010 and digital downloads were flat.

Of course we also review the week’s top entertainment headlines including a new film version of Gypsy starring Barbara Streisand, the return of “Jersey Shore”, Quentin Tarantino’s flawed top 20 list and Broadway’s record setting box office.

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Showbiz Sandbox 68: Who Said Jennifer Aniston Was A Movie Star?

August 23, 2010

Who would have guessed that in this day and age a Sylvester Stallone movie could top the box office for two straight weeks. But Sly’s “The Expendables” finished first with $16 million beating out five new releases including the Jennifer Aniston vehicle “Switched”. The dramedy opened to a disappointing $8.1 million prompting entertainment pundits like Patrick Goldstein of the Los Angeles Times to question whether Aniston is truly a movie star.

Generating interest doesn’t seem to be a problem for “The Social Network”, which details the founding of Facebook. More than six weeks before its release the film directed by David Fincher is getting a ton of early Oscar buzz.

Google is also making waves in Hollywood. A book about the company’s early days is being turned into a movie and Google TV has the industry worried that consumers will start canceling their cable subscriptions en masse. According to a story in the New York Times however, Americans have not been cutting their cable cords in the large numbers once predicted. Instead, cable subscriptions have increased.

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Showbiz Sandbox 47: Movie Ticket Prices Get Super Sized

March 29, 2010

Another 3D film took the top spot at the box office this past weekend – “How To Train Your Dragon”. It knocked the 3D “Alice In Wonderland” out of first place after three weeks. As well, in order to play the film in 3D, theater owners were forced to take screens away from “Avatar” which caused it to fall out of the top 10 for the first time since its release last December.

Though 3D films seem to be all the rage these days a question remains over how much audiences are willing to pay to see them. This past week several theater chains raised their prices for 3D and 3D Imax tickets, some as much as 26%. Lauren Schuker of the Wall Street Journal drops by to fill us in on why movie ticket prices are rising and how it might affect this year’s record breaking box office returns.

Speaking of box office returns, thanks to the Cantor Exchange you will soon be able to place a wager on how much money you think a movie will make during its first four weeks in release. Though not if the MPAA has anything to say about it. Unfortunately, you won’t have the movie review program “At The Movies” to help your handicapping efforts. The show that launched the careers of film critics Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert was canceled. Have no fear, Ebert has plans to launch a brand new show.  Read more

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Showbiz Sandbox 40: Taylor Ain’t Swift At The Grammys

February 1, 2010

The highlights of this week’s entertainment news were the Grammys and Sundance. First though, there was “Avatar”, “Avatar”, and more “Avatar”. The 3D wunderkind was number one at the box office again and has sold roughly 56 million tickets in North America so far. “Titanic” sold roughly 128 million admissions in North America, so if “Avatar” did that, it would gross about $1.2 billion in the U.S alone.

But there is more going on in the entertainment world besides “Avatar”. The music world gathered for the Grammys on Sunday, January 31. Geoff Boucher from the Los Angeles Times and David Wild, one of the writers on the Grammy telecast, join us to discuss the hits (Pink’s performance), the misses (Taylor Swift and Stevie Nicks) and what was going on backstage (Alice Cooper hangs with Smokey Robinson).

The Grammys weren’t the only prizes handed out over the weekend. Sundance announced its festival winners and Alison Willmore, a senior editor at IFC.com, stops by to talk about her favorite festival films and a few she recommends skipping. Read more

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Showbiz Sandbox 33: “Avatar” Is A $100 Hamburger

December 14, 2009

James Rocchi was one of the lucky entertainment journalists invited to the “Avatar” premiere and press junket in London and he joins us this week to tell us all about it. Rocchi also helps us dissect all those year-end “Top 10” critics lists, not to mention one that rates the year’s best unproduced screenplays. Who do you think will be on the red carpet at Oscar time?

And the Best of 2009 lists extend into television and music territory as well. The Los Angeles Times rounded up the TV winners and losers for the season (and we compare them to our own predictions for this year’s television series from Episode 22). Meanwhile, SoundScan released the best selling albums and artists of the decade. Guess how many of them were released before 2002? Listen to the podcast to find out.

We sail through some of the week’s top entertainment news headlines in our Big Deal/Big Whoop segment, including the possibility of a “Ghostbusters 3” sequel in the works. Read more

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