Showbiz Sandbox 154: Understanding Comic-Con’s Tribe Mentality

Last weekend self-professed geeks made their annual pilgrimage to San Diego for Comic-Con. There’s no better person to speak with about the world’s largest pop-culture convention than Los Angeles Times writer Geoff Boucher. His Hero Complex blog has become a must-read for those attending “the Con” and he fills us in on all the big news coming out of this year’s show.

Boucher also had a professional and somewhat personal relationship with producer Richard Zanuck who unexpectedly passed away last week at the age of 77. The executive behind such films as “The Sound of Music” and the producer of movies like “Driving Miss Daisy”, Boucher provides a unique perspective on what Zanuck was really like.

Meanwhile in the world of television, the war over carriage fees has heated up once again. This time Viacom has pulled its 26 networks from DirecTV and AMC has yanked its programming from Dish.

We also cover the week’s top entertainment headlines including Bruce Springsteen’s curfew, the exodus of judges from “American Idol” and why you should see the “The Dark Knight Rises” in Imax.

Continue reading Showbiz Sandbox 154: Understanding Comic-Con’s Tribe Mentality

Play

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

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.

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

Play

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.

Continue reading Showbiz Sandbox 66: Why Audiences Are Avoiding 3D Movies

Play

Showbiz Sandbox 39: Chez Sundance

Co-host Karen Woodward puts a moratorium on any more talk of “Avatar”, James Cameron’s 3D sci-fi epic which continues to break box office records. So instead, we skip straight to Sundance, where the atmosphere has gone from recession (last year) to depression (this year). J. Sperling Reich is in the snowy, cold ski town and fills us in on the movies everyone in Park City is buzzing about.

If you can’t make it to Sundance this year, no worries, you’ll be able to catch a few of the festival’s selections on YouTube.

Also in movie news, anti-smoking activists are claiming that Sigourney Weaver’s line “Where’s my damn cigarette” in “Avatar” should have earned the film an R rating. What set of rules is the MPAA going by when they come up with some of their absurd ratings?

After a brief fly by of the SAG Awards, we head over to television land.  Things have calmed down in the Conan vs. Leno vs. NBC war, but Michael Giltz and Karen must not have gotten the memo. They argue over who was wronged more by the whole debacle. Meanwhile, Conan O’Brien hosted his last “Tonight Show” on Friday.  Continue reading Showbiz Sandbox 39: Chez Sundance

Play