Showbiz Sandbox 229: Making South by Southwest A Family Affair

March 18, 2014

Countless bands long to play at South by Southwest, the music festival that takes place in Austin, Texas every March. The event has grown into an important showcases for undiscovered, unsigned and fast rising artists. The Family Crest, an indie rock band from San Francisco, is one of the buzzworthy acts that played at this year’s SxSW. Liam McCormick, the group’s songwriter and founding member, joins us to discuss what it’s being officially invited to play at such a prestigious festival.

In an in-depth conversation, McCormick walks us through how The Family Crest has managed to follow through on all the necessary achievements modern bands strive for in search of success; they’ve funded two albums via Kickstarter which feature hundreds of musicians, they’re signed to an indie record label and NPR is touting the group’s music, which of course can be easily found on all the popular streaming services. On top of all that, television series and advertising campaigns have begun licensing their music.

Much like The Family Crest, Disney is doing quite well for itself these days, at least when it comes to Broadway. What’s surprising is that it isn’t one of the company’s hot new productions that’s the highest grossing production on the Great White Way, but rather “The Lion King”, which opened 16 years ago. It’s all thanks to the new trend of dynamic ticket pricing. We’ll explain.

Of course, we also cover the week’s top entertainment news stories including why the NFL is suing M.I.A., Amazon prepares to enter the streaming music business, and “Big Bang Theory” gets renewed for three whole seasons.

Read more

Play

Showbiz Sandbox 209: Why Twitter and Facebook Are Watching You Watch TV

October 14, 2013

Facebook and Twitter have entered into a fierce battle to hold sway over the conversations taking place around television shows. The social media giants intend to mine the viewing habits of millions of users for data that might be useful to television networks. Karen Woodward, a leading entertainment industry social media consultant, discusses whether social chatter can lead to higher ratings and more advertising revenue.

Meanwhile, as the end of the year nears everyone is talking about awards season. Thanks to the fall film festival circuit and industry previews, virtually all Oscar hopefuls have already been seen and the handicapping of frontrunners has begun. However, it may take a while to view all entries for Best Foreign Language Film that were submitted by a record 76 countries.

The popular music streaming service Spotify turned five this past week and shared a few figures behind its success. One bit of data revealed that of the 20 million tracks hosted by service, 4 million have never even been streamed… not even once.

Of course, we also cover the week’s top entertainment news stories including the rise of a 16-year-old pop star from New Zealand, “Fifty Shades Of Grey” loses a cast member and the Jonas Brothers cancel their upcoming tour.

Read more

Play

Showbiz Sandbox 206: Emmys Offer The Worst of Every Other Awards Show Rolled Into One

September 23, 2013

With Neil Patrick Harris as its host and a wide array of popular shows nominated for top awards, this year’s Emmys ceremony was primed to be a memorable one. The telecast was memorable alright, but for all the wrong reasons. If the Emmys were trying to combine all the worst elements of every other awards show, they succeeded.

It’s hard to determine precisely why this year’s Emmys just didn’t work. It could have been a weak opening, unnecessary musical numbers or the string of depressing memorials. Worst of all, the telecast didn’t provide viewers with a better understanding of the shows being awarded.

Meanwhile, one of China’s wealthiest citizens wants to spend over $8 billion building a movie metropolis that is meant to rival Hollywood. Some of the film industry’s most most recognized celebrities and important leaders have signed on to help the cause. The only question is… why?

Of course, we also cover the week’s top entertainment news stories including the billion dollar launch of “Grand Theft Auto V”, Britney Spears’ new gig in Las Vegas and why WikiLeaks has taken up film criticism.

Read more

Play

Showbiz Sandbox 147: TV Networks Are Upfront About Their New Schedules

May 14, 2012

It’s the time of year when North American television networks put on big presentations to introduce their fall lineups to major advertisers; a process referred to in the industry as “the upfronts”. It’s also the time when TV audiences find out which of their favorite shows are sticking around for another season and which have been canceled. We’ll fill you in on some of the shows that didn’t make it some of the new series we have to look forward to this fall.

Adele continues to make news in the music world. Her album “21” sold 18 million copies last year which accounted for 1.6% of all the music sold around the world. The pop singer even helped the United Kingdom increase their share of global music sales to 13%.

Tom Hanks appears to be headed to the Great White Way to make his Broadway debut. So is Zooey Deschanel who will be starring in a musical based on Loretta Lynn’s autobiography “Coal Miner’s Daughter”.

Read more

Play

Showbiz Sandbox 86: Why TV Viewing Is Rising As Moviegoing Declines

January 3, 2011

On more than a few occasions during 2010 one could hardly fault moviegoers for feeling as if they’d been duped as they left theaters. Movieline journalist and author Alonso Duralde believes that in at least seven instances films were misrepresented by their marketing campaigns. He discusses, among others, the arthouse movie that was sold as an action thriller, the riotous comedy that isn’t funny at all, and a princess tale disguised as a swashbuckling adventure.

Marketing could hardly be the primary reason 2010’s box office was down slightly from the previous year’s record earnings. With ticket sales off by an estimated 5.36% the only thing propping up film grosses were higher ticket prices, which noticeably rose over the past year.

On the other hand, Nielsen reports that Americans are watching more television than last year, around 34 hours per week. Unfortunately for the major broadcast networks which once ruled the airwaves, viewership has become fractured as it spread out across hundreds of cable channels. The only big TV winner during 2010 was living sporting events, which accounted for eight of the top ten highest rated shows of the year.

Read more

Play

Showbiz Sandbox 56: What You Talkin’ Bout Guillermo?!

June 1, 2010

The past week’s entertainment news was filled with surprises. First Gary Coleman, star of the hit 80’s sitcom unexpectedly died at the age of 42 from a brain hemorrhage. Then, after more than two years of work, the ongoing turmoil at MGM causes director Guillermo del Toro call it quits on the film adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit”. A question lingers over whether Peter Jackson will step in to helm the film himself?

Meanwhile, the Hollywood Reporter, one of the industry’s big trade papers, left many mouths agape when they hired former Us Weekly editor Janice Min to transform the film into a broader weekly publication.

Maybe not such a surprise was the tepid box office results over the North American Memorial Day Weekend. Customarily the start of the summer blockbuster season, this year audiences stayed away from theaters, probably because they don’t find any of the new releases, including “Sex and The City 2” and “Prince of Persia” all that interesting. Another expected, though sad, turn of events was the passing of actor Dennis Hopper, who had been battling prostate cancer since last October.

Over in the music world, Germany’s Lena Meyer-Landrut won the 2010 Eurovision Song Contest with her catchy pop song “Satellite”.  Read more

Play

Showbiz Sandbox 51: Ridley Scott Believes 3D Is An “Alien” Concept

April 26, 2010

Hollywood just won’t stop talking about 3D movies, so unfortunately we can’t either. It’s hard to argue against 3D when films like “How To Train Your Dragon” keep coming in first at the box office, even after five weeks in theaters. With the announcement that “The Green Hornet” and “The Last Airbender” will be converted to 3D the debate has turned to whether it’s better to shoot natively in 3D, or add it in post-production.

Filmmaker Ridley Scott won’t have to find out when he makes not one, but two prequels to his blockbuster “Alien” since he’ll be shooting them in 3D. Disney’s head honcho, Rich Ross, also announced a couple of upcoming releases when he finally met the press last week. We’ll be getting a sequel to “Monsters, Inc.” and a “Winnie the Pooh” movie, along with a few other family friendly flicks.

If 3D films don’t excite you, then the upcoming television season may not either. We review a number of pilots that are in the works, most of which seem derivative. In fact, some of them, like “Rockford Files” and “Hawaii 5-0” are simply rehashes of previous hit shows.  Read more

Play