June 2006 Archive

Camp Allen Speakers/Panels List Here

I've finally got my hands on the preliminary speakers schedule for Camp Allen, the nickname given Allen & Co.'s annual summer investment conference for the macho mogul set in bucolic Sun Valley, Idaho. The dates for this sleepaway for plutocrats are July 11th-16th. Highlight (or is it lowlight?): the idea of Barry Diller, Rupert Murdoch and Sir Howard Stringer interviewed by Michael Eisner. Oh, to be a fly on the wall for that. But I'm sure everyone will be uber-polite… Read

UPDATED: Thank You For Your Support

UPDATE: It's True: Gawker's Jesse Oxfeld Canned I just want to thank you for all your support re MarketWatch/Gawker. The many emails and phone calls I've received, mostly from women journalists but also from (enlightened) men, have been so gratifying. The great news is that this clearly started a dialogue about how sexism is still widespread in the profession of journalism. (And here I thought we'd moved on from the time when AP's VP in charge of personnel worried that I… Read

No Media Experience For Disney's Incoming Chairman? Wrong!

Wow, so much misinformation and omission in recent newspaper articles, including The New York Times, Los Angeles Times and Wall Street Journal, about Walt Disney Co.'s incoming chairman John Pepper Jr, the ex-CEO of Procter and Gamble. Granted, he looks like he just got cast by ABC Family for an Americanized remake of Mr. Chips, fretting over whether his brood of preppies will horribly haze the new kid. (On second thought, maybe he's planning to do just that to still new… Read

Box Office

Superman Doesn't Return At Box Office: $19 Mil Opening Disappoints Biz Experts

I'm told Warner Bros.' Superman Returns opened Wednesday with $19 million at the U.S. box office. That's only OK — not great, not terrible, prompting box office guru analysis that the gay whisper campaign which crescendoed into newspapers and on the Internet hurt the movie's viability as did its star Brandon Routh's anonymity. (Box Office Mojo put the opening take at $21 mil, but rival studios told me that's too high.) Predictions are that Superman Returns could muster… Read

David Geffen/LA Times Update

It was as recently as April that David Geffen attended a reception for the dean of Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism, Nick Lemann, at the Los Angeles home of Sony Pictures Entertainment chairman and CEO Michael Lynton. I'm told Geffen uninhibitedly demonstrated in front of several guests that his interest in buying the Los Angeles Times was still very much alive and well. Right now, David doesn't want to talk publicly about what he might, or might not… Read

Accidental Gun Discharge At CAA

So today a rumor swept Hollywood about recent gunplay in a crowded lobby of a top talent agency. Here's the reality: I've been told about an accidental gun discharge incident at Creative Artists Agency in Beverly Hills on January 28th at 1:50 p.m. You first need to know that no one was hurt: it was a Saturday and the lobby was empty, and only three people were in the entire building, not including the security guards. And the security guard was employed by Gavin de Becker… Read

I Respond To MarketWatch/Gawker

UPDATE: It's True: Gawker's Jesse Oxfeld Canned I find it shameful that Dow Jones/Marketwatch media critic Jon Friedman has chosen to write such a misogynist piece published today (I refuse to link to it) that trivializes me and what I do. It begins with a bit-o-praise under the headline, “In-your-face Finke keeps Hollywood honest. Nobody writes tougher stuff than this LA Weekly scribe…), then proceeds to dissemble. No mention of my extensive journalism background. No… Read

UPDATED: Whopping $2,995 for Nielsen's New “Modern Movie Experience” Study; Co-Author Explains Why It's Worth It

If you've got $2,995 burning a hole in your wallet, then that's the cost of Nielsen Analytics' and The Movie Advisory Board's new 100-page “Modern Movie Experience” study — billed as “a report on moviegoer behavior today, possibilities for tomorrow, and the impact of digital technologies on the movie value chain.” Quite a mouthful, that. Here's more: “Declines in movie theater attendance, coupled with an explosion in digital entertainment alternatives, has put the movie… Read

Box Office

Da Vinci Code Hits $700 Mil Worldwide

I'm told Sony's Da Vinci Code passed $700 million worldwide gross today. Adding $4 mil domestically and $9 mil internationally this weekend put the total take at $701.3 million. The movie is now the 22nd best earner globally (and 12th best internationally). The breakdown of the total haul is $205.5 for U.S. and $495.8 mil overseas (which was down only 37% despite the huge World Cup weekend). Initially, Sony hoped the movie would take in $500 mil worldwide by summer's end… Read

Box Office

America Loves Adam! Click Opens No. 1; 5th Sandler $40 Mil+ Opening Weekend; Da Vinci Code Hits $700 Mil Worldwide; Indian Mob Ransacks Da Vinci Multiplex

UPDATED: *Adam Sandler is looking like American moviegoers' favorite comedian as his latest Click scored his fifth $40 million+ opening weekend today to become the nation's No. 1 film. The Sony comedy about a man whose TV remote turns into a life remote debuted with $40 mil at the box office. Right now in Hollywood there are very few actors working today that can generate that kind of audience drawing power. The studio's exit polling showed Sandler's audience was 51%… Read

The Day I Sucker-Punched Aaron Spelling

It's the end of Aaron Spelling, and the end of a TV era. To understand his once-upon-a-time utter dominance in the medium, you have to put together both Jerry Bruckheimer's and Dick Wolf's TV empires on one network, and then you'll understand. So I'm sharing with you this sit-down interview I did with him in 1989 way back when I was a Calendar writer for the Los Angeles Times covering the TV biz. Let me set the scene: he had this gargantuan office on what was then the… Read