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July 2007 Archive

UPDATE: Boards OK Murdoch/Dow Jones; Rupe's $30M Bribe To Bancrofts Paid Off

TUESDAY PM: The Wall Street Journal announced this evening that News Corp.’s $5 billion purchase of Dow Jones has been approved by the boards of both companies, which met separately over the past few hours. After three months of drama in the Bancroft family and public debate about journalistic values, the two companies are expected to sign a merger agreement and issue statements in the next few hours. The deal ends a century of Bancroft-family ownership at Dow Jones. TUES… Read

Goodbye Tom, Ingmar, Now Michelangelo

These things really do come in threes: Tom Snyder, Ingmar Bergman, and now Italian filmmaker Michelangelo Antonioni, dead late last night at age 94. Film critics praised his portrayals of modern angst and alienation which won him a cult following as well as global fame for a career spanning six decades. He received an Oscar for Lifetime Achievement in 1995, after he’d suffered a stroke and could barely talk. His work included the Oscar-nominated Blow-Up, Zabriskie Point… Read

Global Film Tributes To Ingmar Bergman

Respects poured in from world cinematic headliners today for Ingmar Bergman who died at his Swedish home at age 89. Here’s a brief round-up from news reports: Max Von Sydow (who appeared in 11 Bergman films) spoke of his “infinite gratitude” not only for the professional opportunities but also “the immense privilege to have been his friend.” As an actor, he said, “no one counted as much for me as Ingmar Bergman.” Bibi Andersson, who made 13 movies with Bergman,: “It’s… Read

Murdoch Offers Bancrofts $30+ Mil Bribe

After all News Corp’s big talk how it wasn’t going to raise its price for Dow Jones & Co, tonight comes news that Rupert Murdoch is now talking about a sickening payoff to the Bancroft clan. That’s right, an out-and-out bribe in the neighborhood of $30+ million for the family holdouts to either forget about the principle of press independence or else forget about the idea of a richer offer. It’s not surprising, though it is disgusting, that Rupe is using greed as a way… Read

Elizabeth Guider Named New THR Editor: But Is This A Get Or A Variety Also-Ran?

(Refresh for latest…) Publisher John Kilcullen kept saying for months and months he was looking for a “star” to be the next editor of The Hollywood Reporter. He even delusionally told job candidates he wanted someone “along the lines of Ken Auletta”. No, he wasn’t joking. But it does seem like a joke that he’s now hired Elizabeth Guider, an unimpressive choice who sources tell me was passed over and demoted at Variety. In short, this looks to be far less of a get and more… Read

Has Clint Eastwood Retired From Acting?

That seems to be the word from Paul Haggis. The director and screenwriter gave an interview to Entertainment Weekly (not yet published) about his September 14th film, In The Valley Of Elah, and Clint Eastwood’s name came up. Remember, the 77-year-old icon has not acted in anyone else’s movie since 1993’s In the Line of Fire and only his own films after that (and not in his last two). I know what you’re thinking: there’s a scoop in the official magazine of receptionists… Read

Box Office

#1 'SIMPSONS' D'OH! $167M Worldwide: Bigger Than Any Pixar Toon, Fox Boasts

SUNDAY AM: A toon triumph! I’m told 20th Century Fox says its four quadrant hit The Simpsons Movie shred the competition for No. 1 with a $71.8 million North American weekend, or more than double what the studio hoped. After a stunning $30 million on Friday from 3,922 North American theaters, Homer and the family fell 23% Saturday to take in $23.1 million. The studio projects an $18.7 million Sunday (-17%). Overseas, The Simpsons Movie is also No. 1 by a wide margin with… Read

Comic-Con: The Ultimate Hollywood Orgy

I don’t do geek. But that doesn’t matter because this weekend most Hollywood studios are pushing ALL their movie and other entertainment product at Comic-Con in San Diego. It’s like, let’s throw mud against the wall and see what sticks. (Which explains why Owen Wilson’s latest comedy Drillbit Taylor to the Get Smart remake are poised for convention traction.) The result is that the true Comic-Con oriented product gets lost in the orgy of all the other stuff being… Read

Box Office

Predictions/Tracking: Homer & Bart Big!

The Simpsons Movie is still looking at a great opening this weekend with wide distribution domestically (3,922 theaters) and omnipresent marketing. My box office gurus are predicting at least a $50 million and maybe even a $60 million opening — even though 20th Century Fox internally projects only high $30s. Once again, the studios keep playing this game of lowered expectations. The story here is that Fox is claiming the toon cost just $75 million to make thanks to so… Read

More Bad News For Murdoch's DJ Deal

Now the Denver branch of the Bancroft family will vote against accepting News Corp’s $60-a-share offer, putting pressure on Rupert Murdoch to raise its offer, according to a news alert by the Wall Street Journal this morning. But News Corp has no intention of raising the price of its offer. The Denver clan, which holds 9.1% of Dow Jones’s voting stock, is seen as an important faction within the Bancroft family and has been one of the most closely watched among Dow Jones… Read

Now A Subpoena! Bush Administration Helping Market Michael Moore's 'Sicko'

Last night Michael Moore was again a guest on The Tonight Show and announced that he’s been subpoenaed by the Bush administration investigating his filming trip to Cuba for his health care documentary Sicko. (Hey, I said the director was a marketing genius.) “I haven’t even told my own family yet.” Moore began, “I was just informed when I was back there with Jay that the Bush administration has now issued a subpoena for me.” Moore took 9/11 rescue workers with him… Read

Reason No. 439 Why I So Hate Hollywood

Viacom shareholders are going to jump for joy when I tell them that recently Bob Evans’ deal at Paramount was renewed yet again. And best buddy Sumner  Redstone is the reason, even though Evans has had exactly one movie producer credit for the studio since 1999 (How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days) and legend has it he’s rarely even allowed on the set of a film anymore. So why is old coot Sumner carrying basket case Bob? “Because, among other things, he helped build the place… Read