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May 2008 Archive

Digital Big Media vs Prehistoric Hollywood

I smirked while watching the highlight reels of Big Media moguls like Rupert Murdoch and Sir Howard Stringer and Jeff Bewkes being interviewed at the “All Things Digital” confab (aka D6 co-hosted by the Wall Street Journal‘s Walter Mossberg and Kara Swisher) taking place right now at the Four Seasons Resort Aviara in Southern California. And not just because of the stupid stuff that gets said. (For instance that Hollywood “ex”, Barry Diller, seemed very proud today of his… Read

David Bergstein/ThinkFilm Sued for Fraud

A lawsuit was filed today in Los Angeles Superior Court by Boston-based Allied Advertising Ltd alleging breach of contract, fraud and deceit, and unfair business practices against David Bergstein and his ThinkFilm movie distribution company. It seeks more than $4.1 million in unpaid bills and contracts, plus damages, interest and a 5% penalty for all sums not paid in full within 30 days of a demand for payment. It is yet the latest twist and turn in what is obviously… Read

Kramer And Jacobs Boosted To UTA Board

EXCLUSIVE: David Kramer, a 16-year veteran who started in the mailroom, and Tracey Jacobs, a 10-year veteran who came over after a long career at ICM, have been promoted to members of United Talent’s governing board of directors. Agency head Jim Berkus is telling the tenpercentery about it right now. Both agents were in play, with Endeavor courting Jacobs hard, and CAA’s Richard Lovett calling Kramer twice a day. Jacobs especially was hamstrung: she can’t leave UTA… Read

AFTRA Deal With AMPTP Caves On Clips; SAG Vowing To Fight Hard On This Issue

UPDATE: I’m told that AFTRA’s New Media deal terms are the exact same offered by the networks-&-studios group to SAG on Day 1 of their negotiations last month. So AFTRA negotiated with the networks and studios for 16 days only to obtain what SAG flatly rejected. So that was heavy duty bargaining by AFTRA, eh? It’s also the same exact deal (minus the clips issue) which the AMPTP made with the WGA. See also my AFTRA Skedaddles To Avoid Briefing SAG. The AFTRA-AMPTP deal… Read

Capitol Films Cash Crunch: SAG Demands Meeting With Owner David Bergstein

EXCLUSIVE: The following email was sent this month by the Screen Actors Guild to David Bergstein, the owner of Capitol Films, whose financial meltdown has been crushing indie after indie while he reportedly was lounging on a yacht during the Cannes Film Festival. It confirms all my recent reporting: To: David Bergstein Screen Actors Guild Subject: Request for Meeting Dear Mr. Bergstein: We understand that Capitol Films and Capco Group are intending to start principal… Read

AFTRA Keeps SAG In Dark For Past Week

On the eve of the restart of negotiations with the AMPTP, SAG prez Alan Rosenberg sent this message to members. Following it is an AFTRA insider’s response to me: May 27, 2008 Dear SAG Members, Tomorrow we will resume TV/Theatrical contract negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP).  As you know, the AMPTP suspended our negotiations on May 6 to begin talks with AFTRA for its primetime Exhibit A contract. Screen Actors Guild… Read

Anatomy Of A Showbiz News Inaccuracy: How Reputable Reporters Screwed Up…

UPDATE: A Fox spokesperson issued a public denial tonight. “The story about the Studio banning CAA from the Fox lot, is categorically untrue. The exchange, which took place well over a year ago, between a Fox executive and a CAA agent — that supposedly triggered the ‘ban’ — never at any point escalated to the level and language as reported on” The gossip website Defamer today is running word-for-word with a CAA-Fox story which an anonymous tipster… Read

R.I.P. Sydney Pollack

So sad to be gone all Memorial Day and come back to dozens of phone and email messages that Hollywood’s great filmmaker Sydney Pollack has died after a long bout with cancer. I first heard about the seriousness of his illness when he went to Houston to seek powerhouse medical treatment. For the many months since then, every name in Hollywood made a pilgrimage to sit with Sydney at his home. It was wonderful that he saw how many friends and admirers he had within the… Read

Box Office

'Indy 4' Reels In $311 Million Global: But Fans Fume Spielberg-Lucas Phoned It In

MONDAY AM: Paramount’s Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull keeps piling up the box office gross domestically and internationally. After a 19-year hiatus, the fourquel mega-hit became the 10th biggest Friday-through-Sunday in the U.S. of all time, the 5th biggest international opening of all time, Steven Spielberg’s biggest opener (passing War Of The Worlds), and George Lucas’s second best opener behind Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge Of The Sith. But there… Read

AFTRA Having Difficulty On AMPTP Deal: Preparing Members For Clips Cave-In?

The message below went out from AFTRA’s leadership to its membership just now. In my opinion, it sure looks as if the union is preparing members for a major cave-in on the clips issue. But I must say that hiding behind a Los Angeles Times opinion piece is ridiculous to the extreme. When it comes to clips and their use and compensation for actors, the issue is not so much the Internet but the fact that the studios and networks want to make free and unfettered use of clips… Read