Wkd Box Office: Ninja Turtles $24.5 Mil

By | Sunday March 25, 2007 @ 7:29am PDT

PG vs R-Rated Movie Battle At Box Office: Ninja Turtles Kick ’300′ Butt For 1st Place

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Identity Of Producer ‘Mr. X’: No Mystery

By | Saturday March 24, 2007 @ 8:36pm PDT

An oft-repeated truism about Hollywood is “never let them see you sweat’. Which is why movie people go to great lengths to hide even the hint that their careers may not be going well. So I’m certain that’s why a veteran film producer decided to call himself “Mr. X” when he recently penned … Read More »

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PETA Makes Charge That Golden Retriever Puppies Dying On Set Of Disney Sequel

By | Saturday March 24, 2007 @ 2:45pm PDT

puppies10a.jpgPETA is accusing Disney of ignoring an animal crisis on a movie right now that has allegedly resulted in the deaths of at least four golden retriever puppies and the serious illness of dozens more. People For The Ethical Treatment of Animals … Read More »

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Apatow Expecting ‘Knocked Up’ Backlash

By | Saturday March 24, 2007 @ 1:33pm PDT

knockedup_earlyposterbig1.jpgSo you think no one in Hollywood ever reads those cruel public forum and blog posts written by filmgoers just to torture movie people? Well, the guy behind Knocked Up does because clearly he’s neurotic to the extreme. Judd Apatow, the writer/director/producer (whom … Read More »

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Mel F-Bombs Protest At College Screening

By | Saturday March 24, 2007 @ 11:38am PDT

mel-gibson-outburst.jpgYes, it’s true that Mel Gibson cursed an assistant professor and Mayan community leader – but only after the duo disrupted a question-and-answer session at a Southern California University which was screening his Apocalypto Thursday night. That’s something the Internet gossips have … Read More »

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PG vs R-Rated Movie Battle At Box Office: Ninja Turtles Kick ’300′ Butt For 1st Place

By | Friday March 23, 2007 @ 5:25pm PDT

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SUNDAY AM: It wasn’t even a fair fight between computer-generated imagery on the big screen. On Friday, 100% CGI-created Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles easily knocked those 300 CGI-helped hardbodies off their No. 1 pedestal. So who benefits the most? Warner Bros., which has bragging rights to both hit pics. Turtles fought their way to a $24.5 million weekend from 3,110 theaters, compared to 300‘s $20.7 mil weekend from 3,280 venues. At issue was just how much nostalgia there would be among teens who grew up with TMNT the first time around. But the Turtles‘ fourth feature is grittier than the previous live-action films, and that worked for PG audiences. (TMNT is produced by Imagi Animation Studios and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures and The Weinstein Company — the latter two bought the rights from New Line.) The blockbuster 300 dropped only 38% starting its 3rd week out for a hot new cume of $162.5 mil. This R-rated gorefest has exploded into a cultural phenomenon judging from all the smart parodies now available on YouTube. Mark Wahlberg’s so-so reviewed thriller Shooter from Paramount opened in 3rd place, making $14.5 mil for Friday-Saturday-Sunday from 2,806 playdates. Disney’s Wild Hogs continues its long motorcycle ride in 4th, with a $14.1 mil weekend from 3,401 theaters and a hefty new cume of $123.6 mil. shooter_posterbig.jpgThe Top 10 at the movies this weekend were filled with new product. Holdover Premonition, a Sandra Bullock thriller from Sony, climbed to 5th place (only a drop of -42%) with $10.1 mil for the weekend from 2,831 theaters. Its new cume is $32.1 mil. Fox Atomic’s horror film sequel The Hills Have Eyes 2 debuted #5 Friday but dropped to #6 in final weekend numbers of $9.8 mil from 2,447 venues. Hollywood was especially curious to see how New Line’s newcomer The Last Mimzy fared this weekend because the kiddie pic was directed by the studio’s chairman Bob Shaye. New Line spent a fortune marketing it as a result (complete with toy-bribed sneaks) but Mimzy only mustered 7th place and a $9.6 mil weekend from 3,017 venues despite the usual Saturday matinee bounce. Sony’s 9/11 drama Reign Over Me was intended all along as an opportunity for Adam Sandler to show his acting chops since he makes so much $$$ for that studio in his comedies. So it didn’t matter that the pic finished 8th after an $8 mil weekend in 1,671 theaters. Lionsgate’s PG African-American targeted sports pic Pride placed 9th, with a $3.7 mil Fri-Sat-Sun weekend in 1,518 playdates. Finishing the Top 10: Lionsgate’s horrorific Dead Silence dropped 56%, making only 3.5 mil from 1,806 venues this weekend for a new cume of $13.2 mil. Meanwhile, Chris Rock’s bomb at the box office I Think I Love My Wife (Fox Searchlight) dropped out of the Top 10 altogether its second week out. Read More »

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Lily ‘Liberated’ By F-Bomb/C-Word Video

By | Friday March 23, 2007 @ 3:47pm PDT

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Not even Lily Tomlin had seen that three-year-old guerrilla video shot on the set of I Heart Huckabees which showed her and director David O. Russell setting … Read More »

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Hollywood White Guys Have No Rhythm…

By | Friday March 23, 2007 @ 1:56pm PDT

chernin_1.jpgUPDATE: Here’s a YouTube 2007 video of Tom Cruise trying to dance in London. Did he have a stunt double do his rockin’ in Risky Business?

It sounds like one of those hilarious Hollywood moments that you probably had to … Read More »

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Nielsen Business Media Prez/CEO Dead

By | Friday March 23, 2007 @ 1:32pm PDT

robertkrakoffa.jpgRobert Krakoff, president and CEO of Nielsen Business Media which owns The Hollywood Reporter, died unexpectedly last night in his Boston apartment, according to Nielsen chairman and CEO David Calhoun. Among the magazines Krakoff oversaw were Editor & Read More »

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Why I Think LAT Is Such A Horror Show

By | Friday March 23, 2007 @ 12:39pm PDT

scream_3.jpgNow I’ll paint a brief picture of the Los Angeles Times post-Grazergate that’s even gloomier than Andres Martinez’s. Sanctimonious newsroom reporters and editors acting all holier-than-thou about journalism ethics, even though they never complained … Read More »

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Newsroom Feared Grazergate Cover-Up; Martinez Angry Over LA Times Turmoil; UPDATE: O’Shea Now Angry At Martinez

By | Friday March 23, 2007 @ 9:31am PDT

Friday PM: Still more Los Angeles Times roiling, this time from top editor Jim O’Shea who answers outgoing editorial editor Andrez Martinez’s “mud-slinging” at the paper’s newsroom reporters and editors, including O’Shea. In a memo entitled “What’s really important”, O’Shea gives a pep talk to the dispirited staff. (“You all should be so proud of yourselves and your paper. We can’t get distracted by noise from those on the sidelines.” Then he proceeds to list some recent accomplishments, prizes, etc.) But the top editor also squares his shoulders against Martinez’s Internet assault. “I’m not going to sit here like some silent lamb while he distorts my record and attacks this newspaper and my newsroom. I am not in charge of the editorial board of this newspaper. The editor of the editorial page reports directly and independently to Publisher David Hiller. That is as it should be. I strongly believe in the principle that separate editors should be in charge of news and opinion. To suggest that I told David Hiller I didn’t want the editorial board reporting to me on a “whim” is untrue. He is referring to part of a longer conversation with Nikki Finke, and to take my remarks out of context is unprofessional and sloppy. Moreover, no one in this newsroom is on a campaign to ‘storm the editorial page and bring it back into lockstep with the newsroom.’ It is true that we have journalists in the newsroom who don’t agree with Andres’ views on the ethical problems that led to his resignation. I count myself among them. But these are legitimate, genuine differences of opinion held by people with a passion for the news and this newspaper. To suggest otherwise is pitiful… Lastly, Andres suggests I came to Los Angeles as some sort of agent of Tribune Company to quell an ‘uprising by the imperial subjects’. logo_latimes.gifTo refer to the journalists at this newspaper in such a manner in an insult to hard-working people who happen to disagree with Andres. I came here because it was an honor to be selected to lead a great newspaper with an excellent staff in one of the most interesting cities in the world. I will stand on my record and credentials as a newsman and journalist. The suggestion that I make decisions simply to curry favor with the staff is also simply untrue. We face hard times. If I have to make decisions that are unpopular with the staff but in the best long-term interest of this newspaper, I will not hesitate to do make them. That is what leadership is about. I’ve said that openly from the day that I walked into this newsroom. I believe in full disclosure.”

Friday AM: martinez2.jpgHere’s another update on the chaos inside the Los Angeles Times post-Grazergate: Andrés Martinez (photo right) may have left the newspaper, but he is not slinking away quietly and he’s not surrendering to accusations of ethical violations. Instead, he’s using the Internet to attack not only the decisions and actions of the two Chicago Tribune guys sent in by embattled parent Tribune Co. to run the Los Angeles Times, publisher David Hiller and top editor Jim O’Shea, but also those of individual newsroom editors and reporters still smarting from their hero Dean Baquet’s unpopular ouster by the Chicago bosses. Martinez’s main charge is that the newsroom has been trying to dictate to the supposedly independent editorial/opinion/Op-Ed pages. The gloomy picture he paints is of a paper in the throes of internal turmoil, with Hiller (photo left) on one side, the newsroom on the other, and Martinez trapped inbetween. david_hiller1.jpg(Here’s my brief opinion.)  My own new reporting shows that Martinez tried to bridge this gap Wednesday after the paper’s media reporter Jim Rainey was tipped to the potential scandal and started nosing around the editorial editor’s personal life. So Martinez took the unusual step of contacting the newsroom’s leader, LAT managing editor Doug Frantz, and explaining every step that led to Hollywood producer Brian Grazer’s selection as the first Current guest editor, including details on Martinez dating Grazer’s PRwoman. Frantz at first agreed with Martinez there was no story for Rainey to pursue. But instead of quelling the internal controversy, that resulted in even more newsroom consternation that the paper’s management would engage in a cover-up of the supposed scandal. Soon after Wednesday, not uncoincidentally, details about Grazergate were leaked onto the Internet via LAObserved.com (where LA Times newsroom staffers had also gone to complain about the Tribune Co. vs Baquet drama.) And Rainey’s story was going forward with Frantz on board now. (Martinez after his resignation used LAObserved.com today to fight back.

Fascinating how old media is using new media. Read More »

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Ex-Page Six Gossip Sues Bill & Hill Clinton

By | Thursday March 22, 2007 @ 3:55pm PDT

jared-stern.jpgAP is reporting that former New York Post gossip Jared Paul Stern today sued Los Angeles billionaire Ron Burkle in connection with that alleged 2006 shakedown scandal. Among those included as defendants in the lawsuit are the … Read More »

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Adam Sandler’s Wacky Wonderful Week

By | Thursday March 22, 2007 @ 12:37pm PDT

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Adam’s pic Reign Over Me is opening nationwide this Friday. It’s the opposite of a comedy and it has Sandler playing drama, so it’s near-impossible to market. Yet few actors have enjoyed a promotional ride like Sandler has this week, most of it … Read More »

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Andres Martinez Has Just Quit LA Times; Publisher Kills Grazer’s Sunday Current

By | Thursday March 22, 2007 @ 9:50am PDT

UPDATE: I’m told there was just a meeting among the staff of the Los Angeles Times‘ editorial/opinion/Op-Ed pages which editor Andres Martinez supervises and he told them he has just quit. This follows publisher David Hiller’s decision this morning to kill this Sunday’s Current section guest-edited by Hollywood producer Brian Grazer … Read More »

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A Los Angeles Times/Hollywood Affair: Now Andres Martinez Speaks Out After Grazergate Kills Sunday Opinion Section Causing Editorial Editor To Quit In Uproar

By | Wednesday March 21, 2007 @ 6:19pm PDT

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FRIDAY AM AND PM UPDATE

THURSDAY AM UPDATE

WEDNESDAY PM: The Los Angeles Times is supposed to report entertainment news. Now it’s making the news with its own Hollywood scandal. A lot of eyebrows were raised recently when powerful entertainment mogul Brian Grazer was tapped as the first of what would be quarterly ”guest editors” of the Sunday LA Times‘ classy Current opinion section. Well, woo-hoo. It turns out there was a romantic relationship between Andrés Martinez, the paper’s editorial pages editor who assigned the gig to Grazer, and Kelly Mullens, an exec for the Hollywood PR firm 42West which just happens to represent Grazer’s production company Imagine Entertainment. logo_latimes.gifI’m told that publisher David Hiller knew all about it and still didn’t pull the plug — even though the girlfriend’s PR boss Allan Mayer was the person who flacked Grazer to Martinez in the first place. Now Hiller has killed this Sunday’s Current that was put together by the producer rather than run a mortifying editor’s note. And a furious Martinez has quit in protest. Granted, it’s not news that a pushy Hollywood PR firm had considerable influence with the local paper. This is a case of unusual influence. But was it improper influence? And, really, isn’t the Current mess the publisher’s fault since he was making the final decisions after all?

Now the LA Times‘ opinion section is embarrassed, the paper’s news side horrified, the Hollywood mogul humiliated, the PR company spinning. Media critics already beating up on the Tribune Co.-controlled LA Times are gonna have a field day with the latest contretemps. (I’m sure ousted editor Dean Baquet is enjoying it. After all, Hiller fired him.) If all this isn’t enough to get Hollywood and media circles buzzing, consider that, irony of ironies, Grazer and his Imagine partner, director Ron Howard, made the 1994 pic The Paper about journalism ethics at a big city daily. Read More »

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Mystery Solved: He Made ‘Hillary 1984′

By | Wednesday March 21, 2007 @ 5:59pm PDT

hillary_clinton_1984.jpgThe Internet has been buzzing about who made that ”1984″ anti-Hillary Clinton political video posted on YouTube on March 5th under the username ParkRidge47. (Hillary Clinton was born in Park Ridge, Illinois in 1947). There was even a … Read More »

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Pedro Talks Clint, Quentin, Marty & Sex

By | Wednesday March 21, 2007 @ 2:38pm PDT

pedro.jpgThere’s never enough written about Pedro Almodóvar. Who knew that his three favorite films are All About Eve, Some Like It Hot, and John Ford’s The Searchers? That he hates every movie with John Wayne and Spencer Tracy? … Read More »

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Why Did He Hire Her In The 1st Place? Details On Taymor vs Roth Not In NYT

By | Tuesday March 20, 2007 @ 6:20pm PDT

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What a mess surrounding Revolution Studios’ Across the Universe thanks to the idiocy of hiring director Julie Taymor, who may be lauded as a visual iconoclast in the pages of The New York Times but also derided as a cinematic loon based on what Hollywood sources tell me. So now this musical romance pic has dissipated into two warring versions, and its scheduled September playdate hangs in limbo. (See the trailer here.) Meanwhile, distributor Sony Pictures is tiptoeing around the issue of not releasing the pic, especially with a full frills marketing campaign, unless Taymor compromises; the studio is supposed to distribute all of Revolution’s film product under Joe Roth’s about-to-end deal there. In a perfect world, Sony would love to get behind Across The Universe because it’s synergistic. Told mainly through numerous Beatles tunes performed by the characters, it takes advantage of that Sony/ATV music publishing catalog owned with Michael Jackson that boasts some 250 Fab Four songs. Of course, Roth has only himself to blame for his fight with Taymor. This is just the latest of the many missteps he’s made at Revolution whose films have mostly bombed at the box office despite expensive Sony marketing campaigns. He is, after all, the one who hired Taymor in the first place even knowing her notorious Hollywood reputation for directorial pretension and indulgence, which is exactly how people describe her impossibly artsy-fartsy cut of this pic which audiences dislike. acrossuni.jpgWhen Taymor wouldn’t listen to reason, Roth (himself a pretty lame film director) went in with an editor to cut his own version which is not just shorter but more commercial. So I can’t understand why Taymor isn’t kicked to the curb since she doesn’t have final cut. And I’m perplexed why The New York Times took Taymor’s side in this squabble and ignored the terrible truths people have told me about what a disaster she was on this project. Today’s article compares Taymor to Orson Welles. Ridiculous. The article fails to mention Sony’s Beatles biz synergy. Good grief. And there’s not a word about Taymor’s history of awful fights over length and content as the director on Titus (with producers and the MPAA over a possible NC-17 adults-only rating for too much sex and violence and gore, and with Anthony Hopkins who threatened to walk) and on Frida (with Harvey Weinstein, culminating in a loud expletive-filled fight in the lobby of NYC’s Sony Lincoln Square as shocked preview-goers filed past.) The NYT must have let its Nexis research account expire. Also, the paper of record implies that Across The Universe has been “taken away” from the director. Not yet. Now the details. Read More »

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Sony Plans Another Comic Book Franchise

By | Tuesday March 20, 2007 @ 10:03am PDT

hornetbig.jpgSony has optioned the rights to the Green Hornet for a feature film. I’m underwhelmed. Not just because there are already way too many comic book pics. But more because this one’s notion … Read More »

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