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June 2007 Archive

Exactly Why I So Love Hollywood, Part II

UPDATE: I thought it sounded familiar. Turns out this latest email skirmish was picked up by the media back in 2002, so read the full exchange here. But the insults traded by these witty wounded egos made another go-round in Hollywood under the banner, “If you enjoyed Saperstein vs Strickler, then you’ll adore this…” It’s between Judd Apatow — yes, the writer and director and producer of The 40-year-old Virgin and this summer’s comedy hit Knocked Up — and Mark Brazill, an… Read

Box Office

'Transformers' Opening July 2, NOT July 3

I’ve never seen Hollywood studios so slippery when it comes to box office as they’ve been this blockbuster crowded summer. Here’s the latest example: I was told as late as yesterday — yesterday — by Paramount that it was still opening DreamWorks tentpole Transformers next Tuesday July 3rd and would have a “6-day total” over Fourth Of July. But rival studios alerted me tonight that, very quietly, Paramount has slipped in Monday July 2nd showings of the heavily anticipated… Read

This Is Exactly Why I So Love Hollywood

People know Endeavor agent Tom Strickler has a deliciously arch sense of humor. People also know that Richard Saperstein used to work for Bob Shaye at New Line, and now toils for Harvey and Bob Weinstein as prez of production at Dimension. (What a masochist given those three bosses.) Anyway, Strickler and Saperstein, who are friends, recently had a minor verbal skirmish over a new spec script Endeavor sold to Saperstein’s old workplace New Line: it’s called The $40,000 Man… Read

MySpace Pair Looking To Loot News Corp

EXCLUSIVE: I’m told that MySpace founders Chris DeWolfe and Tom Anderson have made a very aggressive (some would term it rather fanciful) compensation proposal to owner News Corp for when their contract is up in October. They’re asking Peter Chernin and Rupert Murdoch for a 2-year deal worth $50 million total. That comes out to $25 million each, or $12.5 million a year. Plus, the pair want a development fund of $15 million to invest in internet companies. Even though… Read

Harv's Board Hiring CEO To Run Company

Remember when Harvey Weinstein told me, “Now I have to go back to being Harvey” and refocus on the movie biz? That was back in April after Grindhouse bombed. Well, it’s not even his choice anymore. Not only is The Weinstein Co board of directors stepping up its oversight and meeting nearly every month — as it did by teleconference on May 18 during the Cannes film festival — but it’s also searching for a top executive to run day-to-day operations. So says Fortune magazine… Read

Has LA Times Turned Hollywood Tabloid?

There are a lot of insufferable pricks in Hollywood. Risa Shapiro isn’t one of them. Even agency rivals like and respect the ICM agent who helped take many actors and actresses including Julia Roberts, Jennifer Connelly, Andie MacDowell, Hugh Grant, David Duchovny and Rosie O’Donnell from obscurity to worldwide fame. Nor is she even an ICM partner or a highest paid agent. Her film producer ex-husband isn’t a mogul. Neither of them are billionaires whose divorces set legal… Read

Box Office

Why 'Evan' Is Not 'Night At The Museum'

Today’s Los Angeles Times story finally writes what I’ve been reporting for the past month about Universal’s Evan Almighty, even down to identical language. Theirs: “Saying prayers as Evan Almighty opens to $32 million”. Mine: “Moguls at the studio are resorting to just plain prayers.” But the LAT didn’t even bother to look at the tracking before the pic’s release, or the marketing problems, or the exit polling after, as I did, which all tell the story of why the movie… Read

NYT Investigates Murdoch For Monday; Auletta Promises But Doesn't Probe Rupe

Once again, The New Yorker‘s Ken Auletta, who invented the journalism genre I’ve dubbed CEO Porn, wastes valuable trees — this time, in a lengthy look at the Murdoch-Dow Jones/Wall Street Journal battle for ownership that doesn’t lay a glove on the media mogul. The only interesting anecdote Auletta reports is that some members of the Dow Jones board and the Bancroft family were unhappy with the pro-Murdoch role of DJ CEO Richard Zannino, who met with Murdoch on March… Read

Box Office

MORE SINKING SEQUELS: 'Evan Almighty' Debuts Weak; 'Silver Surfer' Drops -65%

SUNDAY AM: Hollywood’s most expensive comedy ever needed divine intervention and didn’t get it at the box office this weekend as Universal’s Evan Almighty debuted to a disappointing $32.1 million. That’s well below the $50 mil which box office gurus initially expected and the studio’s own lowered expectations of 40+ mil. The PG faith-based pic made less than half the $68 million that the original PG-13 Bruce Almighty took in its opening weekend at the box office. Neither… Read