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March 2009 Archive

Fox Screws Up 'Slumdog Millionaire' DVD

There was a bad batch of Slumdog Millionaire DVDs released without the special features advertised on the box. Missing are “The Making Of” featurette and the “Deleted Scenes” among other promised content. Needless to say, a lot of buyers are complaining to Amazon about it. The web seller has added this note: DVD Alert: We are aware that special features were missing from a number of Slumdog Millionaire DVDs. Fox has set up a hotline telephone number (1-888-223-4FOX) for… Read

CBS: Smaller Shows, Bigger Film Division

UPDATE: You asked, I’ll answer. I’ve just learned that CBS has demanded that each existing TV show — even the hit ones — reduce their budgets for next year, if renewed. This may mean smaller writing staffs. Meanwhile, Hollywood has been speculating about the future of the new CBS feature division. I’m told, “All systems go”. Not only are there no layoffs, but there are actually additions as the division heads into production. Shooting begins April 7th on its first motion… Read

I Bet Sacha's 'Bruno' Charms The MPAA Ratings Board On The 2nd Time Around

Universal isn’t even breaking a sweat. “People don’t get the process,” one exec told me. “The film isn’t even rated yet.” So I can’t believe some bloggers think it’s a big deal that Sacha Baron Cohen’s Bruno has received a possible NC-17 rating on its first submission to the MPAA. Because it happens all the time. Just ask Kevin Smith, whose Zack and Miri Make A Porno received a possible NC-17 rating until the helmer made changes and the MPAA appeals board reviewed the… Read

Can Redstone Go To Fiscal Hell And Back?

I hear Sumner Redstone is denying those persistent rumors that he’s talking to Peter Chernin about replacing Philippe Dauman as No. 2. “Chernin is from the creative side, and Dauman isn’t,” said a source explaining the whispering. And Sumner has been known to make shocking mogul moves. (Just ask Tom Freston.) Meanwhile, on the financial front, the over-leveraged old coot’s auction continues: he’s hawking chunks of his family holding company National Amusements’ theater… Read

Les Is Less: CBS Falls 17% On Downgrade

Just when you think it can’t get any worse for Les Moonves, it does. He’s already slashed the CBS Inc dividend. Today the stock fell more than 17%. That followed a UBS downgrade of the media stock from neutral to sell because so much of the company’s revenues are generated through auto advertising (65%), including local ads which are also dominated by car commercials. So even though CBS shows comprise half of Nielsen’s Top 10, the stock closed today at… Read

R.I.P. Steven Bach

The former United Artists exec wrote what I consider to be the best books about the lunacy of the entertainment business — Final Cut, about how Michael Cimino’s disastrous 1980 Heaven's Gate brought down the studio. Bach also wrote biographies of Marlene Dietrich, Moss Hart and Leni Riefenstahl. He died of cancer at his home in Vermont.  Read

Gersh Hires Former Endeavor Agent Wu

Before she was let go, Endeavor talent agent Daisy Wu’s client list included Oscar winner Mira Sorvino, DL Hughley, Alexander Skarsgard, Lindsay Sloane, Chris Eccleston, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Alex Pettyfer, and Amelia Warner. I’m told it's not confirmed at this time which clients will follow her to The Gersh Agency. Daisy was fielding offers from many agencies. Before Endeavor, she’d worked at ICM.  Read

Warner Bros Woes With Abu Dhabi Deal

When the pact was announced 18 months ago, I noted that, if a sucker is born every minute, all eventually land in Hollywood. And that, after exhausting the German dentist money, then the American tycoon scion money, then the Greenwich hedge fund money, Tinseltown was now exploiting the Abu Dhabi real estate money. A lot was made of the Warner Bros announcement of a “long-term, multi-faceted strategic alliance” calling for a theme park, hotel, multiplex cinemas and joint… Read

Box Office

'Monsters vs Aliens' Blasts Off #1 For Biggest 3D Opening: $58.2M Weekend

SUNDAY AM: Feel that heat? It’s another hot weekend at the box office, +40% over last year for $140 million in overall grosses. And it’s mostly due to the blistering North American performance of 3-D blockbuster Monsters vs Aliens. Despite so-so elite reviews, the pic totalled $58.2M this weekend, performing almost as huge as producer DreamWorks dared to hope, but better than distributor Paramount thought possible. (See below) It was the biggest pic of the year so far… Read

Digital Changes For News Corp: Ex-AOL'er Jon Miller Becomes Digital Media CEO, FIM Prez Peter Levinsohn To “Big Studio Job”

EXCLUSIVE & UPDATED: Sources tell me that outcast AOL CEO Jon Miller has agreed to join News Corp in a newly created role as CEO, Digital Media. He will report to Rupert Murdoch and be based in NYC and in charge of Internet and mobile businesses in a global role driving digital strategy across all News Corp business. This is a really big job, I’m told, because he will collaborate with the heads of the other News Corp businesses. Post-AOL, Miller became one of the founding… Read