Showbiz Sandbox Special Episode: And The Oscar Nominations Go To….

Early Tuesday morning the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences handed out their nominations for the 82nd Academy Awards. This is the first year since 1943 (when Casablanca won) that the Academy is expanding the list of Best Picture nominees to 10, up from the traditional five. The Academy’s original goal in increasing the field of nominees was that more popular films would be nominated, rather than a handful of independent films few are familiar with. It’s safe to say, they got their wish.

Not only were predictable entries nominated, such as “Avatar” and “The Hurt Locker”, but so were a few surprises that included crowd favorites such as “The Blind Side” and “District 9”. Even Pixar’s “Up” was nominated, making it the second film to ever be nominated for an Oscar. Of course, this year even if the list of Best Picture nominees hadn’t expanded, “Avatar”, the biggest box office winner of all time, was a lock for one of the slots. Continue reading Showbiz Sandbox Special Episode: And The Oscar Nominations Go To….


Showbiz Sandbox 32: Grammys and Spirits and Comcast, Oh My!

Rolling Stone contributing editor David Wild joins us this week to talk about the 52nd Annual Grammy nominations, a subject he knows a lot about since he’s one of the writers on the awards show. If music isn’t your thing than maybe independent film is. Eugene Hernandez, editor of indieWIRE drops by to discuss the Spirit Award nominees as well as the official selections of the 2010 Sundance Film Festival.

In other news, Sandra Bullock continues to impress moviegoing audiences in “The Blind Side” which knocked “Twilight Saga: New Moon” out of first place in the North American box office over the weekend. Speaking of “Twilight” who would you like to see direct the fourth installment of the franchise, “Breaking Dawn”? J. Sperling Reich, Michael Giltz and Karen Woodward agree that it’s probably not going to be Tim Burton, Peter Jackson or Quenten Tarantino as Moviefone suggests. But then stranger things have happened. Kind of like Apple buying Lala. What could they possibly be planning to do with the struggling music social network?  Continue reading Showbiz Sandbox 32: Grammys and Spirits and Comcast, Oh My!


Showbiz Sandbox 31: Blind Sided By Adam Lambert’s Double Standard

While we all still may be sluggish from all the turkey and stuffing on Thanksgiving, the North American box office sure wasn’t. It set a record for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend as once again “The Blind Side” surprises everyone. The Sandra Bullock movie defied expectations to earn another $40 million over the five-day period, almost topping “The Twilight Saga: New Moon” as the winner this weekend. Proof positive that Sandra Bullock is a movie star.

So is George Clooney, whose “Up In The Air” opens on Friday. According to Claudia Eller of the Los Angeles Times the film is proving to be a marketing challenge for its distributor, Paramount. Apparently the studio is afraid Jason Reitman’s humorous drama about corporate downsizing may touch a raw nerve. But how could this critically acclaimed movie be a marketing challenge? We’ve got two words that might help Paramount’s advertising campaign: George. Clooney. Sheesh, maybe we should be marketers.

Actually, maybe we should become linguistics experts instead. USC linguistics professor Paul R. Frommer was brought in by James Cameron – writer and director of a little upcoming release called “Avatar” – to develop the language of the 10-foot tall blue Smurfs – um. . . aliens – who inhabit Pandora, the setting for the film’s conflict.  Continue reading Showbiz Sandbox 31: Blind Sided By Adam Lambert’s Double Standard


Showbiz Sandbox 30: “Modern Warfare” Stuns Hollywood

As predicted, the teen vampire romance “The Twilight Saga: New Moon” opened this week and earned record breaking box office. The second installment of the “Twilight” franchise made $140 million in North America, making it one of the largest openings in history. The film did manage to break the record for highest grossing midnight screening when it opened Friday morning. What might be more amazing is that the Sandra Bullock vehicle “The Blind Side” came in second with an impressive $34 million. Opening so strongly against a powerhouse tent pole like “Twilight” makes Bullock one of the more bankable stars in Hollywood these days.

Of course, even “Twilight’s” $258 million worldwide opening pales in comparison to what the new video game “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2” raked in during its first five days in stores. Ben Fritz an entertainment business reporter for the Los Angeles Times joins us to talk about the wild success of the video game. Actually, calling it a video game is almost an insult – it’s more like an interactive action movie, and one that made $550 million within five days of its November 19th launch.

Fritz is a prolific journalist who this past week wrote tons of stories for the L.A. Times Company Town column and blog. One such story was on the controversy over the Academy Awards’ Documentary short list. Continue reading Showbiz Sandbox 30: “Modern Warfare” Stuns Hollywood