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She’s The Hostess With Oscar’s Mostest: Everyone Who’s Anyone Goes To Dani’s

By | Friday February 23, 2007 @ 2:05am PST

daniclint.jpgWhen it comes to Oscars, there’s only one party that really matters: Dani Janssen’s. It’s the most private, the most star-studded, the most relaxed in town. Only my pal Dani is a bundle of nerves on the phone with me because she just found out her condominium had stripped a lobby wall the day before. So the first thing greeting her VIPs when they arrive is a demolition mess. (See photo below.) Trust me, no one will be looking. Not with guests like Jack Nicholson and Barbra Streisand and Steven Spielberg and Reese Witherspoon and Jim Carrey and Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn and Harrison Ford and Al Pacino and Owen Wilson and Mariah Carey and Bruce Springsteen and Sting and Oprah attending. oprahbarbra.jpgThis year, she’s hoping her close friend Clint Eastwood wins a pair of Academy Awards and displays them on her dining tables just like he did the years before. (The two have known each other since they were in Universal Studios ingénue school together.) Right after he won Best Director and Best Picture for Million Dollar Baby, and snagged Academy Awards as well for his leading lady Hilary Swank and supporting actor Morgan Freeman, Eastwood told the media he was going “to Dani’s for an ale.” And when the media clamored to follow him, Clint smiled, “This party is … Read More »

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DHD Will Be Live-Blogging The Oscars: Come For The Cynicism And Subversion

By | Thursday February 22, 2007 @ 11:57pm PST

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Could Sunday’s Oscars Be Longest Ever? Right Now, Show Cutting, Cutting, Cutting

By | Thursday February 22, 2007 @ 4:27pm PST

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UPDATED THURSDAY PM: Sunday night’s Academy Awards telecast could end up the longest on record. That’s the prediction I’ve been given by one VIP who helps oversee this 79th Oscars and is therefore in a position to know. Sad but probably true, since this year’s producer is nikkioscarbox.jpgLaura Ziskin (Spider-Man) who was responsible for bringing in the 74th show at what was then a record 4 hours and 23 minutes. Yikes, is the Academy trying to drive away TV viewers? But I’ve also received a phone call tonight from an insider working on the show assuring me that today’s rehearsal clocked in at only 3 hours, 41 minutes long. “Right now, the show is cutting, cutting, cutting. We’re chipping away at the package,” the insider explained, saying the producers are determined to bring it in at under 4 hours. (Haven’t we all heard that before…) The year of Ziskin’s record-setting lengthy telecast, the Academy gave away each of its three testimonial awards: the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award, the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, and the Honorary Award for lifetime achievement. After that fiasco, the Academy decreed that no more than two testimonial awards could be presented in any year. This time around, two of the three testimonials will be handed out: Sherry Lansing, the former chairman of Paramount, will receive the Hersholt, and composer-conductor Ennio Morricone will receive the Honorary. … Read More »

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DHD UPDATE: Our One-Year Anniversary!

By | Thursday February 22, 2007 @ 3:21pm PST

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This year’s Academy Awards coincides with another event, albeit a tiny one: it’s almost Deadline Hollywood Daily’s one-year anniversary. The website went up last Oscar weekend (March 3, 2006), and my immense thanks to everyone (and anyone) who’s reading it. DHD now has 6.5 million page views! To celebrate, I’ll live-blog the Oscars on Sunday night. And, if I’m not too busy, I’ll live-blog the IFP’s Independent Spirit Awards on Saturday, too. Here’s to the start of another great year together…

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Now Come Out The Truth And Lies, #2

By | Thursday February 22, 2007 @ 12:48pm PST

matthews.jpgMeanwhile, insiders tell me that Hillary Clinton’s communications director Howard Wolfson may be pushed out sooner rather than later and that senior campaign adviser Ann Lewis already is taking more of a top role in that area. Lewis, of course, was director of communications for Hillary Clinton’s Senate re-election campaign and formerly White House communications director in Bill Clinton’s administration. It was Wolfson who made yesterday’s major mistake: saying Geffen is Obama’s campaign finance chair when he isn’t. But then, even after Geffen and others corrected the record, Wolfson went on Chris Matthews’ MSNBC show Hardball and not just repeated the error but compounded it.
First, there’s this exchange between Wolfson and Matthews:
MATTHEWS: Why do you call him his finance chair? He said that’s not his title. Why do you say that about Geffen?
WOLFSON: If somebody hosts a million dollar plus event, I’ll let you decide what you want to call them.
Then there’s this incredulous one:
WOLFSON: I’m surprised, as I said, that a candidate whose campaign is premised on changing politics, who’s campaign is premised on hope and changing — supposedly premised on hope and changing and getting rid of the politics of slash and burn wouldn’t just disavow these comments. It makes you wonder whether or not he agrees with them and whether or not the campaign put Mr. Geffen up to this.
Read More »

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Now Come Out The Truth And Lies, #1

By | Thursday February 22, 2007 @ 12:17pm PST

lou_dobbs.jpgI’m told that CNN yesterday had a heck of a time trying to find anyone in Hollywood or politics willing to go on air and disagree with David Geffen re the Hillary-Obama Drama. I understand that the many “names” who turned down the cable news network said virtually the same thing: they didn’t want to incur Geffen’s wrath and possible revenge by dissing him in public. Now that’s power. So, finally, CNN grabbed Robert Zimmerman, the Democratic National Committee member and a top Democratic fundraiser who is also a Hillary supporter. (I talked to him as well yesterday.) Here’s what happened on CNN’s Lou Dobbs:
ZIMMERMAN: OK. But I think there is a different issue here at stake, and that is the fact that obviously, we’ve all been through national campaigns. And many times, supporters get carried away. And in this case, comments made by David Geffen were obnoxious and vulgar and thoroughly inappropriate. And I think Senator Barack Obama should…
DOBBS: Bad David Geffen, bad!

ZIMMERMAN: There’s more at stake here that that the conduct of the supporters. I think Senator Obama shouldn’t beat Senator Clinton’s standard and simply ask — and certainly repudiate — certainly repudiate the comments David Geffen made. They were inappropriate, and they distract from the real issues.

ED ROLLINS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: My good friend Mr. Zimmerman is off Read More »

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Right-Wing Having a Field Day With This

By | Thursday February 22, 2007 @ 12:12pm PST

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Getty Images Growing Showbiz Photo Biz

By | Thursday February 22, 2007 @ 10:42am PST

Because of our sick obsession with images of celebrities, it’s one of the fastest growing categories in the visual content business. Today, Getty Images, the world’s leading creator and distributor of visual content, announced it has entered into an agreement to purchase WireImage, one of the leading creators of entertainment and event imagery, for approximately $200 million in cash. photographers.jpgThe deal also will include MediaVast, Inc. the owner of WireImage, and sub-brands FilmMagic and Contour Photos. “The demand for entertainment, event and celebrity imagery is growing exponentially, and Getty Images has determined that there are great growth opportunities in the category,” said Jonathan Klein, co-founder and CEO of Getty Images. “We are confident that the proposed acquisition will help us expand our global entertainment and celebrity imagery business, allowing us to satisfy growing customer demand in the U.S. and abroad.” WireImage’s founding photogs and key execs have signed long term agreements to remain with WireImage and Getty Images following the acquisition.

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UPDATE: Geffen In Clinton-Obama Drama: Hillary Demands Obama Disavow/Cut All Ties; Obama Camp Issues Quick Refusal; Hillary Misrepresents Geffen-Obama Role; Is She ‘Trying To Gin Up A Controversy’?

By | Wednesday February 21, 2007 @ 10:38am PST

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UPDATED (keep refreshing for latest): Hollywood’s David Geffen has suddenly become THE campaign issue between two of the Democratic candidates running for president on the heels of last night’s huge Obamamania fundraiser in Beverly Hills. Today, the Clinton Camp told Barack Obama to cut ties and return cash “from its top booster” Geffen. dowd-ts-190.jpgClinton Communications Director Howard Wolfson issued the following statement today demanding that Obama disavow what Wolfson termed “personal attacks” by Geffen, whom he identified as Obama’s campaign finance chair, against Sen. Clinton in this morning’s Maureen Dowd column in The New York Times. “While Senator Obama was denouncing slash and burn politics yesterday, his campaign’s finance chair was viciously and personally attacking Senator Clinton and her husband. If Senator Obama is indeed sincere about his repeated claims to change the tone of our politics, he should immediately denounce these remarks, remove Mr. Geffen from his campaign and return his money. While Democrats should engage in a vigorous debate on the issues, there is no place in our party or our politics for the kind of personal insults made by Senator Obama’s principal fundraiser.”

But here’s the thing: I’ve just confirmed that the Hillary camp is wrong. Geffen is NOT the Obama campaign’s finance chair (as her communications chair Wolfson claims in his … Read More »

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Movie Moguls And Democratic Candidates

By | Tuesday February 20, 2007 @ 4:16pm PST

hwooddemocrats.jpgAnd just whom are some movie studio heads really backing for president? Publicly, most claim they haven’t made a decision yet while they give to all the Democratic candidates who’ve announced a run for the 2008 presidency. But, in some cases, that’s just camouflage. The fact is a few have already made up their minds. Sony Picture Entertainment’s two chairmen, Michael Lynton and Amy Pascal, are both backing Obama, I understand. Lynton has an Illinois family connection that puts him squarely in the Obama camp, while Pascal went to hear Obama speak a while ago and developed a lasting enthusiasm for his candidacy. Universal Studios prez and COO Ron Meyer is giving to the whole field but in fact supporting only U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd. I’m told it’s because the two men have a personal friendship dating back decades. And MGM chairman Harry Sloan is a stalwart McCain backer and has already hosted a fund-raiser. But a lot of eyes are still on Warner Bros’ prez and COO Alan Horn who has been one of Al Gore’s most lasting loyalists. Hollywood isn’t going to believe Gore is sitting out 2008 until eco-minded Horn gets his carbon footprint behind another Democratic candidate.

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Giuliani’s Hollywood Coup Is A Grey Area

By | Tuesday February 20, 2007 @ 5:47am PST

Did Rudy Giuliani’s camp get too far out in front of its recent claim of a forthcoming endorsement and fundraising push from one Hollywood mogul?

bradgrey2.jpgrudy1.jpgAmong the Hollywood VIPs attending tonight’s huge Barack Obama fundraiser is Brad Grey. Just getting inside the Beverly Hilton benefit requires a donation, and I’ve confirmed that the Paramount Pictures chairman coughed up a contribution. Grey’s attendance follows what I’m told was a private meeting he had with Obama on Capitol Hill two weeks ago. None of this would be newsworthy if, on Friday, The Hotline (the National Journal‘s respected daily briefing on politics) hadn’t reported that Grey “has agreed to raise money for ex-NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani…. [and] plans to endorse Giuliani next week, two sources close to the Giuliani campaign confirmed.” The scoop was picked up around the Internet Friday night. One problem: the news came as a surprise to Grey and his people. Because, I’m told, it wasn’t true. ”Brad is a longtime friend of Rudy’s. He spoke to him three weeks ago and said ‘I’ll help you.’ But that’s it. He hasn’t committed to anybody. It’s very early in the race and he will help out a lot of people until it gets closer. He’s not officially a Republican,” an insider said to me.

In fact, Brad and Rudy have been friends since Grey’s production company, Brad Grey Pictures, produced with HBO the 2002 documentary, In Read More »

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Remember, Vote For Oscars Early & Often

By | Tuesday February 20, 2007 @ 1:51am PST

Almost over: final polls for the 79th Academy Awards close at 5 p.m. PST today.

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Their Big Fat Satellite Radio Wedding…

By | Monday February 19, 2007 @ 12:21pm PST

sirius.jpgSo, finally, satellite radio operators XM and Sirius announce today they’re going to merge. Which means Howard Stern and Martha Stewart will pair up with Oprah Winfrey and Ryan Seacrest. (Like they’re not already over-exposed.) But whether antitrust and communications regulators will agree is dicey. Already FCC Commissioner Kevin Martin is voicing concerns. As of Friday, Sirius carried a market capitalization of $5.2 billion. XM was valued at about $3.8 billion. Combined, the tax-free, all-stock merger has a combined enterprise value of approximately $13 billion. According to news reports, the two companies worked over the weekend to finalize a ”merger of equals,” but Sirius CEO Mel Karmazen (ex-Viacom and Infinity) will run the new corp while XM chairman Gary Parsons will keep the title.

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‘How High Do We Jump, Mr. Spielberg?’

By | Monday February 19, 2007 @ 10:57am PST

dreampar.JPGWell, Steven Spielberg has achieved immediate results after complaining publicly that Paramount was grabbing credit for DreamWorks movies. Look at this tortured clarification which a Paramount publicist issued by email today to Hollywood reporters to ensure there is no confusion: “To clarify, Norbit is a DreamWorks Pictures production, marketed and distributed by Paramount. Dreamgirls is a co-production between DreamWorks Pictures and Paramount Pictures, also marketed and distributed by Paramount.”

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‘Ghost Rider’ Sets Record For Biggest Prez Wkd Opener; ‘Bridge to Terabithia’ No. 2

By | Saturday February 17, 2007 @ 9:28am PST

nicolas_cage4.jpgMONDAY AM: Ghost Rider gunned the Marvel / Sony marketing engine for No. 1 as the biggest Presidents Day Weekend opening ever by a big margin. It sped to a whopping $44.5 million for Fri-Sat-Sun and $51.5 mil for the four-day holiday. Even though critics were lukewarm at best about the action film based on the popular Marvel comic book, it beat previous record holder 50 First Dates ($45.1 mil for the four-day holiday). Ghost Rider is the biggest film opening so far in 2007 — and Nicolas Cage’s biggest since 2003′s National Treasure because he’s been in a slump at the box office. Audience breakdown for the film is 62% male and 38% female with 55% under age 25 and 45% are age 25 and older. On the other hand, newcomer Walden / Disney’s children’s fantasy Bridge To Terabithia received wonderful reviews which propelled it into 2nd place for the weekend with $22.2 mil for Fri-Sat-Sun and $27.6 mil for the four-day holiday. With the long weekend stretching ahead of parents, the pic received a nice Saturday and Sunday kiddie bounce. DreamWorks’ one-week holdover Norbit starring Eddie Murphy in multi-roles was the surprise No. 3 considering that five new films came into the marketplace, all of which made over $10 mil for the three-day weekend. (Its cume as of Monday is $62.7 mil.) Pic made $16.8 mil for Fri-Sat-Sun and $20.7 mil for the four-day holiday. Read More »

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Bad Timing For Disney’s Legal Pooh-Pooh

By | Friday February 16, 2007 @ 10:40pm PST

tigger.jpgIn light of Disney losing a federal court ruling revealed today over Winnie the Pooh rights, I’m told that the Disney Channel is getting ready to unveil its My Friends Tigger & Pooh cable TV show. This is basically a re-launch of the company’s very profitable Pooh franchise. Tens of millions of dollars have been poured into the creation of this new CG TV series, all with the hope of freshening up A.A. Milnes’ characters and making Pooh & pals seem that more appealing to the SpongeBob generation. Even more to the point, I’m told the Mouse House has already lined up dozens of licensees to create My Friends Tigger & Pooh merchandise, which supposedly is due to hit store shelves this Fall. With this huge new Pooh push about to get underway, the company can’t want negative publicity to undermine what Disney hopes will be as big a goldmine as that new Mickey Mouse Clubhouse CH TV series has proved to be. Talk about bad timing…

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Is Disney Now In Deep Legal Pooh-Pooh?

By | Friday February 16, 2007 @ 6:42pm PST

There’s an important federal court ruling revealed today having to do with Disney and rights to the Winnie the Pooh character. The case is Clare Milne et al v. Stephen Slesinger Inc., U.S. District Court, Central District of California, 02-8508.
I defer to Bloomberg’s story:

pooh.jpgDisney Loses Court Ruling Over Winnie the Pooh Rights: By Edvard Pettersson. Feb. 16 (Bloomberg) — Walt Disney Co., the world’s second-largest media company, lost a court bid to void the rights to the Winnie the Pooh characters held by Stephen Slesinger Inc. U.S. District Judge Florence-Marie Cooper ruled yesterday in Los Angeles federal court that Disney and the granddaughters of Pooh author A.A. Milne and illustrator Ernest Shepard can’t challenge a licensing agreement struck with Slesinger in 1983. The ruling, disclosed on the court’s Web site today, eliminates a procedural hurdle to Slesinger seeking more than $2 billion in damages from Disney. Disney had tried to terminate Slesinger’s rights to characters the media company has marketed for more than four decades. Slesinger acquired the rights from Milne in 1930. ‘This is definitely a setback for Disney,’ said Carole Handler, an intellectual property lawyer with Foley & Lardner in Los Angeles. ‘They tried to dismantle the license of the party that has been most troublesome to them in court.’ The ruling is part of a larger 16-year legal battle between Disney and Slesinger that’s being fought in state and federal courts and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Last week, Los Angeles-based Slesinger asked the Patent Office to cancel rights to 25 Pooh-related names obtained by Disney since 1996. Disney ‘was not the owner of the registered marks at the time that these filings were made,’ Slesinger said in a petition. The company was ‘at most, only a licensee.’ Read More »

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WHY? LA Times Targets Hollywood Mogul; …This Is Tabloid Journalism At Its Worst

By | Friday February 16, 2007 @ 2:33pm PST

target_practice.gifHollywood, beware: the Los Angeles Times has decided to pursue the type of tabloid journalism associated with the National Enquirer. I have learned that reporter Kim Christensen is working on an article about studio mogul Ron Meyer’s gambling history. It is a history that is years old, that has never impacted his professional work, and that is not illegal. Nor has Meyer, in his 12th year as president and COO of Universal Studios, tried to keep his gambling a secret: he has routinely informed all his employers about this over the years. (I myself have known all about his high-stakes poker games for eons…  his Hollywood friends have known all about it for eons… and Julia Phillips mentioned it in her autobiography, You’ll Never Eat Lunch In This Town Again.) Further, there is no apparent peg for his gambling to be made public now — especially since Meyer hasn’t gambled in years. Yet Christensen is pursuing the story nonetheless, convinced there is some convoluted Pellicano link to it. (FYI, I understand Pellicano and Meyer never once talked about his gambling…) I could understand if the mogul chose to talk about his gambling history and therefore sought out the Los Angeles Times. But, instead, the paper is trying to drag the info out of the mogul. I am aghast. I, for one, pride myself on being a tough reporter, but I and other serious … Read More »

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This Prez Weekend Pics: Ghost Rider #1, Tyler Perry #2, Hugh Grant #3, Bridge #4

By | Thursday February 15, 2007 @ 4:32pm PST

nicolas_cage4.jpgMarvel / Sony’s Ghost Rider opens this holiday weekend and my box office gurus are sticking to their prediction of $35+ mil. (Pic could aim at Daredevil-like box office “but $45 mil looks like a lot to do with all the competition,” I’m told.) Right now, the experts say positions 2 through 5 are really hard to call. From Lionsgate, Tyler Perry’s Daddy’s Little Girls opened Wednesday with $4.5 mil, slightly higher than Warner Bros.’ Music and Lyrics, which did $4.1 mil. So perhaps they’ll be #2 and #3. On the other hand, Walden/Disney’s Bridge to Terabithia is getting great reviews, and it may be #4 or #5 depending on how much DreamWorks / Paramount’s Norbit drops. Meanwhile, did you guys see Nic Cage on Leno this week? He had even worse hair than he sports in the pic.

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