Showbiz Sandbox 59: Movie Piracy Becomes Unthinkable

June 21, 2010

On the weekend of June 11th the film “Unthinkable” starring Samuel L. Jackson and Michael Sheen rocketed up the Internet Movie Database’s MovieMeter. It wound up at number three beating out such new releases as “Get Him To The Greek” and “Shrek Forever After”. The funny thing is, this film wasn’t playing in theaters and at the time hadn’t even been released on DVD. A pristine pirated version however did leak online.

Cotty Chubb, the producer of “Unthinkable”, joins us to discuss the film, whether the illegal version helped its recent release and ultimately how movie piracy is affecting the entertainment industry.

“Toy Story 3” didn’t have to worry about being pirated when it opened this weekend since most theaters were showing it in 3D. The film earned debuted in first place with a whopping $109 million. That makes it the most successful Pixar opening ever.

Piracy doesn’t seem to be affecting Michael Jackson’s estate either. In the year since the performer’s death his music and film work has earned nearly a billion dollars according to Billboard magazine.

Read more

Play

Showbiz Sandbox 28: Why Spider-Man Is Hard Up For $52 Million

November 9, 2009

We don’t always talk about theater on the podcast, but Los Angeles Times staff writer John Horn wrote a story too good to resist. The Broadway debut of “Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark” has found its greatest enemy is the budget. Horn joins us to talk about the story behind one of the most troubled productions in Broadway history and how he got the scoop (not to mention the musical’s script, soundtrack and a video promo reel).

But first, Michael Giltz eats another serving of crow this week, as the Michael Jackson rehearsal documentary “This Is It” held up respectably and indie-darling “Precious” grossed a stunning $1,800,000 on just 18 theaters over the weekend. “Precious” will no doubt be nominated for a few Oscars come awards season. Speaking of the Academy Awards, Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin are teaming up to host next year’s Oscar telecast. Karen Woodward though the decision to go with Martin and Baldwin was dated and hopes they don’t hijack the show. On the other hand, Michael and J. Sperling Reich thought it was a good choice.

In more frivolous news, Nicolas Cage is suing his former money manager, Samuel J. Levin, for $20 million in Los Angeles Superior Court, claiming he enriched himself while “sending Cage down a path toward financial ruin.” Read more

Play

Showbiz Sandbox 27: That’s It For “This Is It”

November 3, 2009

This week we begin with Michael Giltz and Karen Woodward disagreeing over “This Is It,” the Michael Jackson documentary/concert film/eulogy. Is the film recommendable? Not according to the box office numbers, where the film brought in a disappointing $23 million. But since the film made $103 million worldwide J. Sperling Reich wanted to serve Michael some crow pie.

If you don’t want to see “This Is It,” maybe you’ll see “Avatar”? The second trailer for the highly anticipated film was released this week, after the first one bombed. The new trailer looks like this movie is actually about something. How about “Precious”? Sperling and Michael disagree over whether this movie is a heart tugging Oscar winner or shallow drivel.

Speaking of shallow, did Jeffrey Katzenberg really add anything new to the future of entertainment conversation in his recent Business Week interview? Seems more like a politician staying message then a mogul adding to the dialogue. Read more

Play

Showbiz Sandbox 26: Hollywood Struggles With New Business Models

October 26, 2009

Freelance entertainment journalist Todd Gilchrist joins us this week to talk about movies, music, and journalism. (But he recused himself from discussing TV because he doesn’t watch a lot of it. [gasp!]) Fine. We’ll start with movies then.

“Paranormal Activity” took over the box office this week. The film has been so well received that Paramount, which distributed the film, may produce a sequel. If a film is this successful, is a studio almost obligated to make a sequel? (And will it be as bad as “Blair Witch 2: Book of Shadows”?)

In other news involving Paramount , the studio has angered members of the National Association of Theatre Owners by releasing “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra” on DVD only 88 days after its theatrical run. It also set the Jeremy Piven comedy “The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard” for DVD-rental release 88 days from its theatrical bow, not that anyone wants to see it. “We don’t know what Paramount is up to,” NATO president John Fithian said. “But it’s highly objectionable.”  Read more

Play