Showbiz Sandbox 90: Pick Up Artists Score At Sundance

The Sundance Film Festival was held in Park City, Utah over the past two weeks and word is that this year’s official selections were well worth the trip. Just back from the festival, Anne Thompson of IndieWire’s Thompson On Hollywood blog fills us in on all the buzzworthy films and why so many of them were picked up for distribution. Could it be the death of independent film has been greatly exaggerated?

After winning top prizes at the Director’s Guild and Screen Actor’s Guild over the weekend “The King’s Speech” has overtaken “The Social Network” as the favored Best Picture Oscar winner. More often than not Academy members follow the guild’s lead when doling out trophies in major categories, but that doesn’t mean they won’t have a few surprises in store.

Netflix continues to do battle with HBO, not only over the networks own content, but also over Warner Bros. films. Meanwhile, rumors abound that Amazon may soon be joining Netflix in the video streaming business.

Continue reading Showbiz Sandbox 90: Pick Up Artists Score At Sundance

Play

Showbiz Sandbox Special Episode: Dissecting This Year’s Oscar Nominations

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced this year’s Oscar nominees yesterday and we were happy to see there were a few surprises.

While “The Social Network” has been a favorite among critics, Academy voters favored “The King’s Speech”, nominating the historical drama for 12 awards including Best Picture. Even the Coen Brothers’ adaptation of “True Grit” beat out “The Social Network’s” eight nominations by garnering 10, including Best Actor for Jeff Bridges, Best Director and Best Picture.

Though there are categories where the winner seems obvious (Best Actor going to Colin Firth for “The King’s Speech”) there are still a few, like cinematography, that are harder to call. that gives us plenty of reason to tune into the ceremony on February 27th, which is to be hosted by Best Actor nominee James Franco and actress Anne Hathaway.

In this episode we analyze all the major nominations along with a few of the Academy’s oversights.

Continue reading Showbiz Sandbox Special Episode: Dissecting This Year’s Oscar Nominations

Play

Showbiz Sandbox 83: The Social Network Tops Critics Year-End Picks

Even the latest “Chronicles of Narnia” film can’t steal the spotlight from “The Social Network”. David Fincher’s little Facebook movie is the toast of critics groups throughout the country with most selecting it as the year’s best film. “Blue Valentine” may be getting overlooked when it comes to top awards, but the MPAA decided to downgrade the film’s NC-17 rating to a more marketable R.

Spotify, Europe’s leading online music service, still hasn’t launched in the United States thanks to licensing disputes with the record labels. We’ll just have to be satisfied with watching music videos on YouTube where artists like Rhianna, Eminem and Justin Bieber rake in millions from advertising.

Disney and ABC aren’t relying on YouTube to make money online with their television shows. Instead, they struck a lucrative licensing deal with Netflix who will stream the shows to to paying subscribers.

Continue reading Showbiz Sandbox 83: The Social Network Tops Critics Year-End Picks

Play

Showbiz Sandbox 82: Training For The Awards Season Marathon

The end of the year always has more “best of” lists and awards show news than any media outlet knows what to do with. Over the past week nominees were announced for the Independent Spirit Awards, the Grammys and the Annies (for animated films). In Europe, they’ve already started holding awards ceremonies, with “The King’s Speech” cleaning up at the British Independent Film Awards and “Ghost Writer” topping the European Film Awards.

Competing at next year’s awards shows will likely be a few films selected for the upcoming Sundance Film Festival which will take place in January. Some outlets noted that the festival’s competition selection didn’t have enough star driven films, but artistic director John Cooper points to the premieres section which has been programmed with films sure to keep the Park City paparazzi quite busy.

In television news, it appears the degree to which networks and advertisers trust Nielsen’s rating system is decreasing by the day. They claim Nielsen’s method of acquiring its numbers is antiquated.  Meanwhile, on Broadway, all anyone wants to talk about is “Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark”. While most avid theater-goers believe the super hero musical is going to be awful, they all still can’t wait to see it.

Continue reading Showbiz Sandbox 82: Training For The Awards Season Marathon

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