Showbiz Sandbox 30: “Modern Warfare” Stuns Hollywood

November 23, 2009

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. Read more


Showbiz Sandbox 29: Camped Out For “Twilight: New Moon”

November 16, 2009

There was a debate over titling this week’s episode “The Profanity Podcast “due to some various disagreements and the name of a new sitcom. Intrigued? Read on.

Harry Medved from joins us briefly to talk about next week’s number one movie at the box office, “The Twilight Saga: New Moon.” (Did we get the name right? Can’t we just call it “New Moon” or “Twilight 2”?) Yes, that’s right, we’re prognosticating next week’s number one movie in North America. Hey, when women of all ages are lining up just to catch a glimpse of Robert Pattinson and/or Taylor Lautner at the premiere, you know you might have a hit on your hands.

Speaking of hits, is Twentieth Century Fox taking a huge risk by bankrolling a film based on an unfamiliar story with no Hollywood superstars and a budget approaching $500 million? We’re talking about “Avatar,” and particularly Michael Cieply’s article in the New York Times’ on the film directed by James Cameron. (So, is Cameron himself not a superstar?) John Horn and Claudia Eller from the Los Angeles Times write that the movie’s price tag continues to climbe and that its global marketing campaign could cost as much as $150 million, “Avatar” won’t have to do “Titanic” business to make money, but it will have to fill auditoriums around the world for weeks to become profitable. Read more


Showbiz Sandbox 13: Hooliganism At Comic-Con (Or Lack Thereof)

July 28, 2009

We had a plethora of panelists this week, all of whom were in San Diego over the weekend to experience Comic-Con first hand. KPBS’ Cinema Junkie blogger Beth Accomando covered the event for National Public Radio, Todd Gilchrist was there for Cinematical, SciFi Wire‘s news editor Patrick Lee made the trip, as did Phillip Nakov from and Harry Medved, who helped out with Fandango’s coverage of the event as their director of public relations.  Also joining in on this week’s fun is New York Daily News writer and Huffington Post blogger, Michael Giltz.

If you weren’t one of the 126,000 people attending Comic-Con, this episode will fill you in on what you missed.  There was whole day devoted to 3D movies, which apparently isn’t just a gimmick anymore.  The big hits of Comic-Con were “District 9”, “Avatar”, “Kick Ass” and “Iron Man 2” and the biggest miss was Roland Emerich’s next movie “2012” which is either so bad it’s good, or so bad it’s just plain bad.  Irrelevant whether it wowed people at the convention or not was “Twilight: New Moon”, because fans just wanted to see Robert Pattinson .  Hundreds of young girls, their moms and a bunch of sensitive men camped out overnight to get into a jam packed “Twilight” panel. The festival was “the redemption of “New Moon” director Chris Weitz, who was clearly adored by his cast. It was definitely the panel with the most security.

This year marked the first appearance by Tim Burton (as a presenter), Peter Jackson and Terry Gilliam. Johnny Depp stopped by to say two words (literally) in promotion of Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland.”  Read more