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

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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.

TUESDAY AM: News reports this morning say News Corp’s last-minute $30 million bribe to the Bancroft family worked, and Dow Jones & Co will become a cog in the wheel of Rupert Murdoch’s Behemoth Media empire. Now he can use the Wall Street Journal brand to help launch his Fox Business Channel later this year. Gee, most people would have been offended that Rupert was treating them like prostitutes — in effect, saying: we’ve already established that you’re a whore, now we’re just negotiating the price. But the Bancrofts let greed be their guide instead of their conscience. So now we know: $30 mil is the current price of the principle of press independence. I’m still sure key holdout Christopher Bancroft didn’t give up the good fight. But news reports say Bancroft family members owning 32% (of the clan’s 64.2%) of Dow Jones’s overall votes have agreed to support Rupe’s $5 billion bid – more than enough to clinch the deal. News Corp has scheduled a board meeting for 4 p.m. this afternoon, and Dow Jones’s board is due to … Read More »

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Goodbye Tom, Ingmar, Now Michelangelo

By | Tuesday July 31, 2007 @ 6:44am PDT

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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 and L’Avventura. Gilles Jacob, the veteran president of the Cannes Film Festival, told world media that Antonioni was the “alchemist of intimacy, the architect of space and time in contemporary cinema.” Italian President Giorgio Napolitano said Italy had “lost one of cinema’s greatest protagonists and one of the greatest explorers of expression in the 20th century.” Antonioni’s body will lie in state on Wednesday at Rome City Hall. His funeral is scheduled for Thursday in his native Ferrara.

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Global Film Tributes To Ingmar Bergman

By | Monday July 30, 2007 @ 9:47pm PDT

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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.”

persona.jpgBibi Andersson, who made 13 movies with Bergman,: ”It’s very sad, but he was an old man, so we were prepared that he would die. I knew him well and will miss him very much.”

Michael Apted, head of the Directors Guild of America: ”Bergman was the epitome of a director’s director — creating beautiful, complex and smart films that imprinted permanently into the psyche.” The DGA gave Bergman its highest honor, the Lifetime Achievement Award in 1990.

Woody Allen bid him farewell with a final joke. “I was very saddened by the death of Ingmar Bergman. He was a friend and certainly the greatest film artist of my lifetime. He told me that he was afraid that he would die on a very, very sunny day. and I can only hope it was overcast and he got the weather he wanted.”

Gilles Jacob, president of the Cannes Film Festival, said “modern cinema has lost one of its last pioneers, a pioneer of genius.”

Sir Richard Attenborough: “The world … Read More »

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Murdoch Offers Bancrofts $30+ Mil Bribe

By | Monday July 30, 2007 @ 9:11pm PDT

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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 to appeal to those Bancrofts who don’t want to sell out to him. Gee, most people would be offended that Rupert is treating them like prostitutes — in effect, saying: we’ve already established that you’re a whore, now we’re just negotiating the price. But leave it to the Wall Street Journal to describe the News Corp bribe oh-so-delicately as “an unusual deal for the company to cover advisory fees for the Bancrofts in exchange for some holdout family members supporting the deal… chrisbancroft.JPGThe late-night proposal under discussion was for the Dow Jones board to create a fund to cover payments to firms advising Bancroft family members, including Merrill Lynch and the law firms Hemenway & Barnes and Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz. News Corp. would assume these liabilities if it bought Dow Jones. The fees could total at least $30 million, according to people familiar with the situation.
“Dow Jones is expected to argue that the Bancrofts deserve help with their advisory fees because their trusts … Read More »

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

By | Monday July 30, 2007 @ 11:12am PDT

(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. logo_hollywood-reporter.gifBut 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 like an also-ran. But Kilcullen inexplicably needed to hire not one but two high-priced executive search firms to choose an editor who was right under his nose. thrguider.jpgGuider’s selection also continues the increasing “Variety-zation” of THR starting with parent company Nielsen Business Media’s hiring of Variety publishing bigwig Gerry Byrne as a consultant and Variety veterans Eric Mika as senior V-P and publishing director and Rose Einstein in the role of V-P and associate publisher. Of course, what’s especially amusing about Guider’s selection is that she used to trash THR at every public opportunity while at Variety. One source recalls a 2000 USC entertainment industry confab composed of showbiz journalism panelists from the Los Angeles Times and trades, including Guider. ”Everyone was surprised by the verbal grenades and utter contempt she had for The Hollywood Reporter. And it is all on camera. Good thing the trades don’t do TV ads,” an eyewitness said. Another insider tells me, … Read More »

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Has Clint Eastwood Retired From Acting?

By | Sunday July 29, 2007 @ 1:38pm PDT

clinteastwood1.jpgThat 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? (Well, even the reporter Gregory Kirschling admits on EW’s blog that he “stumbled across the news” for the mag’s upcoming Fall Movie Preview issue.) But Haggis appears to confirm Clint quietly joined the Paul Newman/Sean Connery retirees club:

EW: There was talk of Clint playing the Tommy Lee Jones part. Is that true?
Paul Haggis: Well, that was my idea, but it was never his. (Laughs.) [Eastwood] told me from the beginning he was never gonna act in anything else. He said, “Well, Paul, I was in retirement, I came out of it to do Million Dollar Baby. I don’t think I can go out better, do you?” I went, “Oh, damn, how can I argue with that?”

EW: I didn’t realize he’d retired from acting.
PH: Yeah! [Million Dollar Baby producer] Al Ruddy, who was his friend, sent him the script [for Baby] and talked him into considering it again.

EW: Is that widely known?
PH: No, I don’t think so.

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

By | Friday July 27, 2007 @ 3:45pm PDT

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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. groeningsimpsonized.jpgAfter 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 an average 55% market share. The toon grossed a phenomenal $96 million in 71 day and date markets, despite debuting in only 8 of the top 15 markets: UK, Germany, France, Spain, Belgium, Sweden, Australia and Argentina. Opening day records included: biggest industry opening day ever in Australia, Argentina, Columbia and Chile; and biggest animated opening day ever in Australia, Belgium, Finland, Germany, New Zealand, Peru, Sweden, Uruguay, Venezuela. Sources told me that CinemaScore had U.S. audiences giving big screen Simpsons an “A-”, with families particularly loving it. There had been early concern inside the studio with tracking showing that the “parents taking their kids” score was lower than execs wanted. But, aided by its brief 87 minute running time, The Simpsons Movie smashed record books for toons. According to Fox, it opened bigger than any Pixar film and bigger than any non-sequel animated film ever. It’s also the biggest opening for a non-CGI animated film including sequels (the previous record holder was Disney’s The Lion King).

The Simpsons Movie’s $30 million Friday was a shock to the Industry because it was more than Transformers made on its opening day and best single day this summer, and good enough for The Simpsons to slot into the Hollywood’s Top 17 opening days of all time (right behind the $30.1 mil of Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones). simpsonspopout.gifBut the well reviewed (a score of 88% positive critiques on Rotten Tomatoes) and wide release (playing in 3,922 North American theaters) pic managed an outstanding per screen average of 7,649 Friday and ended the weekend with a high $18,320 3-day per screen average. Some naysayers didn’t believe the movie could pack a punch, given that The Simpsons is all over television on network and in syndication. Hah! The analysts I’m talking to attribute the film’s success to Fox’s omnipresent marketing (including Homer opening this week’s Tonight Show and earlier American Idol as well as that inspired 7-Eleven cross-promotion). Pic insiders have nothing but praise for the year-long marketing and distribution campaign which Fox orchestrated throughout the News Corp empire. “The old saw of synergy within media companies, that was never full realized before, paid off here,” a source told me. And remember: Fox says the pic cost only $75 million (without marketing) because so much animation work was done in South Korea.

The No. 2 movie, Universal’s buddy comedy with Adam Sandler and Kevin James I Now Pronounce You Chuck And Larry stayed strong (dropping only -44%) and made $19 million this weekend from 3,501 venues. Its new cume is a great $71.6 mil because there haven’t been enough laffers at the box office this summer. whokilledme6.jpgWarner’s Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix scored a big kiddie matinee Saturday and jumped up to No. 3 its 3rd weekend out raking in $17.6 mil from 4,005 runs. Its hot new cume is now a whopping $242.3 mil. New Line’s Hairspray slowed for its 2nd weekend (-44%) to No. 4 and took in $15.4 mil from 3,121 runs for a new cume of $59.4 mil. Jumping into 5th place was the DreamWorks and Paramount coproduction Transformers which added another $11.5 mil from 3,349 dates its 4th weekend in release for a blistering new cume of $284.6 mil. Warner’s No Reservations, starring Catherine Zeta-Jones, opened in the 6th spot (with a CinemScore of “B+”, sources say) with $12 mil this weekend from 2,425 runs.

After five weekends, Ratatouille still managed to rake in $7.4 mil from 2,934 theaters for the 7th spot and a healthy new cume of $179.8 mil. Fox’s Live Free Or Die Hard hangs in for a 5th weekend in 8th place, taking in $5.3 mil from 2,271 runs for a new cume of $125.1 mil. Insiders told me that CinemaScore’s polling of moviegoers resulted in an “F” to Lindsay Lohan’s horror flick I Know Who Killed Me, which opened in 9th place to only $3.4 mil from 1,320 venues. No question she’s killing her career with her off-screen behavior. Rounding out the Top 10, horribly reviewed Who’s Your Caddy? from The Weinstein Co debuted with $2.9 mil from 1,019 venues.

Here’s the Top 10 chart:

  • 1. Simpsons Movie $30M Fri, $23.1M Sat, and est $18.7M Sun. (cume $71.8M)
  • 2. Chuck And Larry $6.2M Fri, $7.2M Sat, and est $5.8M Sun. ($71.6M)
  • 3. Harry Potter Phoenix $5M Fri, $7M Sat, and est $5.6M Sun. ($242.3M)
  • 4. Hairspray $5.2M Fri, $6M Sat, and est $4.5M Sun. ($59.5M)
  • 5. Transformers $3.2M Fri, $4.6M Sat, and est $3.6M Sun. ($284.5M)
  • 6. No Reservations $4M Fri, $4.5M, and est $3.5M Sun ($12M)
  • 7. Ratatouille $2.2M Fri, $2.9M Sat, and est $2.2M Sun. ($179.8M)
  • 8. Live Free Or Die Hard $1.5M Fri, $2.2M Sat, and est $1.5M Sun. ($125.1M)
  • 9. I Know Who Killed Me $1.3M Fri, $1.1M Sat, and est $905K Sun. ($3.4M)
  • 10. Who’s Your Caddy? $950K Fri, $1.1M Sat, and est $850K Sun. ($2.9M)
  • Read More »

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    Comic-Con: The Ultimate Hollywood Orgy

    By | Friday July 27, 2007 @ 3:26pm PDT

    comicon.JPGI 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 promo-ed. On the other hand, the 120,000+ fans are incredibly grateful since they don’t get out much. (Just kidding.) Said one Warner’s insider to me, “So cool to see fans respond to content. There’s a great energy and makes me proud that I work in this biz. Some days it can feel like I’m just in insurance.” Check out my sister paper OC Weekly‘s Comic-Con blog. In the meantime, here’s my studio-by-studio roundup:

    SONY
    sony_pictures_logo.jpgThere’s a hot ticket screening of Superbad tonight followed by a Q&A with Judd Apatow, Greg Mottola, Seth Rogen, etc. The trailer for Walk Hard will be shown beforehand. On Saturday, Sony’s panel starts with footage of Resident Evil: Extinction, with a special appearance by Milla Jovovich as well as the world premiere of the trailer. Sony is also showing footage of 30 Days Of Night with an appearance by producer Sam Raimi. Sony’s home entertainment division is hosting a “Blu-ray Experience” event including director Eli Roth … Read More »

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    Predictions/Tracking: Homer & Bart Big!

    By | Friday July 27, 2007 @ 1:07pm PDT

    simpsons-poster.jpgThe 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 much of the animation work being done in South Korea. That’s a bargain! As for Warner’s No Reservations (2,425 venues), my box office analysts predict an opening of only $10 mil. This is such a predictable chick flick with one of the worst trailers, not to mention miscast with Catherine Zeta Jones, that it defies explanation. Some media have asked me whether Lindsay Lohan’s troubles will help her Sony horror flick I Know Who Killed Me (1,320 runs). Nah, it’ll be stillborn at the box office making only $3 mil. And The Weinstein Co’s MGM-distributed comedy Who’s Your Caddy? should eke out only $2.5 mil.

    noreservations_posterbig.jpgNext weekend (August 3rd), my box office gurus are starting raise their estimates for The Bourne Ultimatum which is getting rave reviews. The Matt Damon quintessential action pic looks more like “mid-$50s at least” now instead of just $40+ mil. One of the film’s producers is trying to sucker-bet … Read More »

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    More Bad News For Murdoch’s DJ Deal

    By | Friday July 27, 2007 @ 9:48am PDT

    wallstreet2.jpgNow 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 management and News Corp executives. Though the outcome is seen as too close to call, there’s increasing doubt the deal will get done.
    Previous: Are Bancrofts Leaning ‘No’ To Rupe Deal?

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

    moore_bush_popcorn.jpgLast 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 to ”Guantanamo Bay because I heard the Al Qaeda terrorists we have in the camps there, detained, are receiving free dental, medical, eye care, the whole deal, and our own 9/11 Ground Zero rescue workers can’t get that in New York City.” Moore said that, as a result, the film’s producer The Weinstein Company will be donating 11% of its portion of Sicko‘s box office from August 11 (a Saturday) to “help these workers and the other workers who need help”. mooreleno.jpgFrankly, I find it amazing how willing the Bush administration has been to help market Moore’s movie when presumably their real objective seems to be to stifle Moore and his movie. But we all know that, without this continuing controversy surrounding the Cuba trip, Moore wouldn’t be able to make news like this everytime he goes on national television.

    Moore also repeated on national TV something that The Weinstein Co has … Read More »

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    Reason No. 439 Why I So Hate Hollywood

    By | Thursday July 26, 2007 @ 6:48pm PDT

    redstone.jpgViacom 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 and I think that counts, don’t you?” a Paramount insider tells me. Despite all attempts by others to rehabilitate his image, I wrote off Evans ever since Heidi Fleiss back in the early 1990s shared much more than I ever cared to know about him. But here’s my favorite Industry story about Bob: I was waiting to interview a Paramount mogul who was 45 minutes late, paramount-logo.jpgso I started chatting up the secretaries in the office. And one of them leaned over to me and whispered, “I have a question maybe you can answer. There’s this guy with long stringy hair and weird dirty clothes who stops by from time to time. Someone told us he used to run Paramount.” I thought hard for a half a second, and then I brightened. “Oh, it’s Bob Evans. Yeah, he ran production at the studio. Got convicted for … Read More »

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    LA Times Fixes Its Fox/Film Critics Story

    By | Thursday July 26, 2007 @ 5:43pm PDT

    As I expected, the Los Angeles Times finally swallowed its pride and today posted a “For The Record” correction fixing several facts in its story about the Chicago Films Critics Association and 20th Century Fox. I’m told there will also be a follow-up story. Previous: Chicago Film Critics Assn Says LA Times Story On 20th Fox Wrong

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    UPDATE: ABC Is Wrong; Spielberg Not Thinking Of Quitting Beijing Olympics

    By | Thursday July 26, 2007 @ 10:16am PDT

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    Given how protective he is of his public image, it’s far from surprising that Steven Spielberg is increasingly public about his behind-the-scenes role to convince the Chinese government to influence its largest oil supplier Sudan to stop the Darfur genocide. “We’re making our voice heard,” Spielberg’s political adviser Andy Spahn told me today. He confirmed that they expect a Chinese statement on the issue in the next weeks.

    But Spahn denied an ABC News website article today claiming Spielberg is thinking of quitting his post as an unpaid artistic adviser to the 2008 Beijing Olympics in response to pressure from Darfur actrivists. ”I made no reference to the Olympics,” Spahn told me. As Spahn explains it, “We are doing what we can to engage the Chinese. We’ll made a decision how productive those efforts are in the very near future.” As to Spielberg continuing his work with the Beijing Olympics, “we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it. We’ll look at all our options if that path doesn’t prove to be productive.”

    abc_speilberg.jpgSpahn tells me that Speilberg has been consulting with Darfur activists “every step of the way” of both the crisis and his ongoing private back-and-forth dialogue with the Chinese. “I would say we’ve been in touch with every major organization engaged in this issue as well as leading academics and individuals guiding these organizations. And, in Hollywood, we’ve been in regular touch with George Clooney and Don Cheadle.” (But not Mia Farrow, … Read More »

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    ABC’s Steve McPherson Bashes NBC’s Ben

    By | Wednesday July 25, 2007 @ 7:29pm PDT

    NBC’s Ben Silverman is traveling in the South Of France with his TV idol Norman Lear (someone emailed me claiming it was with American Idol‘s Ryan Seacrest) and therefore can’t defend himself. But ABC Entertainment chief Steve McPherson basically called Ben a big pussy today. Believe me, nothing on the networks is as interesting as what went on after the official ABC exec’s press conference at the Television Critics Association confab at the Beverly Hilton. These suits are suddenly acting like rappers with Glocks. My analysis coming…

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    Disney Ends Cigarette Smoking In Movies

    By | Wednesday July 25, 2007 @ 5:30pm PDT

    This isn’t exactly a surprise because Disney had been moving towards this since 2004 and even earlier when Joe Roth ran the movie division. But Disney CEO Bob Iger today issues a dramatic apology and promise to Congress about depicting smoking in Disney-branded movies. Here’s what’s interesting: dis_cruella.gifmy pal Julia Boorstin at CNBC’s Media Money blog reports that Disney made this news public not in Hollywood, but on the national stage. Iger declared his company’s new commitment in a letter to U.S. Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass), who last month held a congressional hearing on smoking in the media and asked media companies to join the anti-smoking effort. This became a hot button issue this year when the AMA urged the MPAA to give movies with smoking an “R” rating. Now the MPAA says it considers all smoking (not just underage puffing), and especially pervasive and glamorized smoking, in its rating system. Here’s the studio’s corporate announcement today nonetheless:

    The Walt Disney Company today made a commitment to U.S. Representative Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Chairman of the House Telecommunications and the Internet Subcommittee, that it will discourage depictions of cigarette smoking in its films and will place an anti-smoking PSA on DVD’s of any future film that does depict smoking.  Further, Disney will work with theater owners to encourage the exhibition of an anti-smoking PSA before the theatrical exhibition of any

    Read More »

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    Is Mel Gibson Suddenly Keeping Kosher?

    By | Wednesday July 25, 2007 @ 5:08pm PDT

    See why I’m asking here.

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    ICM Makes Motion Picture Talent Changes

    By | Wednesday July 25, 2007 @ 3:28pm PDT

    I’m told that ”as part of the ongoing transition and restructuring” that stripped Ed Limato of his co-president title, veteran ICM agent Toni Howard is the agency’s new head of motion picture talent. icmnewlogo.JPGI understand senior agent Carol Bodie ”chose to relinquish the role” (which Howard last had in 1999) and “focus more on her clients” like Claire Danes, Dermot Mulroney, Jada Pinkett-Smith and Jim Sturgess. Leigh Brillstein will continue to head television talent. toni.jpgAs everyone knows, Toni is not only a tough advocate for her clients, but a stern drill sergeant inside the agency – think Full Metal Jacket in a skirt and a Jaguar. Howard’s clients include Halle Berry, Samuel L. Jackson, Christopher Walken, Laura Linney, Christina Ricci, James Spader. ICM may be negotiating as we speak to key motion picture agents or agencies strong in film talent to come over. I do know this: recently, ICM president and heir apparent Chris Silbermann initiated a meal with some partners at United Talent to kick the tires on a merger. But the problem is what it’s always been: the alpha male owners of major agencies always want to be in charge, and Silbermann told UTA he wanted to be the boss. Oh, and the Los Angeles Times‘ Lorenza Muñoz is working on an ICM story. What more there is to say after my own recent coverage (… Read More »

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    EXCLUSIVE: Chicago Film Critics Assn Says LA Times Story On 20th Fox Wrong

    By | Wednesday July 25, 2007 @ 1:35pm PDT

    chicagocritics1.jpgHere is a new and definitive letter from the Chicago Film Critics Association explaining all about its supposed beef with 20th Century Fox over screening and embargo issues. The end result is that the Los Angeles Times now needs to make some major corrections to the July 20th Calendar article it wrote on the subject. My understanding is that the newspaper was very arrogantly refusing to admit it got anything wrong about the small brouhaha. And the management of the Times wonders why the paper is so disliked. Here’s the letter, which explains everything:

    chicagocritics2.jpgMy Fellow Chicago Film Critics:

    This will hopefully clear up a lot of the misinformation that has been passed around and reported about the Chicago Film Critics Association’s negotiations with 20th Century Fox.

    On July 9, the Chicago Film Critics Association’s Board of Directors passed a resolution to stage an “action of protest” against 20th Century Fox films. This action was not a strike, boycott, quest or “war against Fox,” as it has been described. Rather, our call to action — a temporary freeze on interviews and non-review materials — was designed to open up lines of communication with the studio. The critics wanted a fairer, more inclusive policy to see press screenings earlier, without some critics forced to see a movie the night before its public opening. That prompted the action of protest. We

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