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Matt Loeb Named New IATSE President

By | Thursday July 31, 2008 @ 7:11pm PDT

UPDATE: The IATSE General Executive Board this afternoon unanimously named Matthew Loeb to be president after today’s retirement of Tom Short. (See my previous, TOLDJA! Tom Short Retires From IATSE.)

According to the IATSE announcement, Loeb said, “I enter into the position of International President with the deepest sense of obligation to the members, who number better than 111,000, and their families. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to Tom Short who made desperately needed institutional changes that will allow me to continue to build on a solid foundation. We are well positioned to meet the challenges of the future. I remain convinced that the interests of IATSE members are best protected when we use all of the resources gained through the unity and coordination of our locals and members throughout the United States and Canada.”

The press release goes on to say: Loeb is credited with devising and implementing an aggressive organizing and bargaining strategy under the leadership of President Emeritus Short. The policies laid the foundation for obtaining more than 1,000 term agreements in motion pictures, television, music videos, and commercials, and the chartering of numerous new local unions adding thousands of new members to the union. Loeb has been a member of the United Scenic Artists Local 829 since 1989, a member of Local 52 since 1996, and is a Charter

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Wkd Prediction: ‘Mummy 3′ $50M (And Watch NBC-Uni Beijing Olympics Synergy)

By | Thursday July 31, 2008 @ 5:22pm PDT

For crissakes! Like TV viewers haven’t been bombarded enough with NBC promos about the August 8th start of the Beijing Summer Olympics, now moviegoers to sister company Universal’s product will be equally assailed. I’m told that the choice of setting The Mummy 3: Tomb Of The Dragon Emperor in China was made to include Jet Li and unlock a new chapter in the location and culture of mummies without regard to the Olympics. But the decision to move the release to this weekend absolutely was. So, too, the inclusion of a bunch of pre-pic theater ads promoting NBC’s coverage of the Beijing Olympics. ”We thought it would be mutually beneficial as the world’s attention focused on China. So there are a series of co-branding spots with NBC,” a Uni exec tells me. Trust me, you’ll wish that dancing box of popcorn was back on the big screen…

This is more a relaunch than a threequel to The Mummy series. The Mummy debuted back in 1999 to $43.3M its first weekend, while The Mummy Returns opened back in 2001 for $68.1M. And let’s not forget that 2002 spin-off The Scorpion King‘s $36M. With an enormous release into 3,759 theaters and a good marketing campaign trumping dreadful reviews (only 27% positive among top critics), my box office gurus mostly agree that Mummy 3 should make at least mid to high $40sM. And it wouldn’t shock them if the number is $50+M. “I don’t think that’s out of line given the history of … Read More »

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LAPD Skips Today’s Confab On Paparazzi: Chief Blames Britney, Paris And Lindsay

By | Thursday July 31, 2008 @ 5:08pm PDT


UPDATE: News reports say today’s 10 AM Los Angeles City Hall meeting about proposed new restrictions on paparazzi included reps from West Hollywood, Malibu, the Screen Actors Guild, and LA County Sheriff Lee Baca. But no members of the LAPD were present at the hearing.  That’s because Chief William Bratton has consistently opposed new legislation that would further restrict and penalize overly aggressive photographers. He called today’s confab a “total waste of time”, “grandstanding foolishness”, and a “farce”.

But look at what this tool arrogantly told KNBC this AM about the paparazzi problem (after the confab was prompted by the LAPD’s decision to spend $25K to transport Britney Spears from her home to the hospital because of all the photog chaos):

“If you notice, since Britney started wearing clothes and behaving; Paris is out of town not bothering anybody, thank god; and, evidently, Lindsay Lohan has gone gay, we don’t seem to have much of an issue. If the ones that attract the paparazzi behave in the first place, like we expect of anybody, that solves about 90% percent of the problem. The rest of it we can deal with.”

Sheriff Baca, by contrast, told reporters, “I’m here to try and find a balanced answer. There’s no question that the industry of public information is an important one to protect and I think that there’s responsibility on the side of entertainers as there is responsibly on the side of those seeking to take photographs.”

Meanwhile, the city of Malibu has turned to Ken Starr, the former independent counsel … Read More »

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TOLDJA! Tom Short Retires From IATSE

By | Thursday July 31, 2008 @ 1:27pm PDT

UPDATE: Matt Loeb Elected New IATSE President

As I first reported on Tuesday (see my previous, Is IATSE Prez Tom Short Stepping Down?), the four-term union president has announced his retirement. Short stated: “IATSE has been such an important part of my life. As hard as it is for me to believe that this time has come, I am now prepared to move on. I am not leaving for political reasons or for health reasons, but rather because I have learned that life is short and there is a great deal that I have yet to experience and enjoy.” Short’s future plans have not been announced. His successor will be elected by the IA’s General Executive Board. Said Short in a parting statement, short21.jpg“I have put forth my energy and every effort to enrich this organization and enlisted the help of what I believe to be a phenomenal staff of intelligent, sophisticated and progressive individuals who have stood ready to work hard and assist in accomplishing the goals I believe we had to achieve in order to survive the many challenges facing this International.”In an unusual move, Short began preliminary talks with Big Media’s negotiators AMPTP this summer, more than a year before the IATSE contract expires … Read More »

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How To Really Cure Stalkarazzi Plague

By | Thursday July 31, 2008 @ 1:27pm PDT

paparazzi.jpg

UPDATE: LAPD Skips Today’s Confab On Paparazzi: Chief Blames Britney, Paris And Lindsay

I consider this public obsession with celebrities in our culture to be a sickness. So I see the photographers who cover them just a manifestation of the underlying disease. Now officials from celebrity enclaves like Beverly Hills and Malibu are meeting for the first time today to discuss tougher regulations against the stalkarazzi or wreckarazzi. News reports say the goal is for each city to adopt its own ordinances to punish aggressive paparazzi, while keeping the rules uniform in the places where celebrities live, work and play. But the already over-burdened police forces would have a hell of a time enforcing any new codes and can’t even enforce the already existing regs like loitering used against the pic-takers. True, the incidents keep mounting of A-list celebs trying to protect their privacy. Meanwhile, the photographers themselves are encouraging the idea of certification program to separate the “legit” paparazzi from the non-legit. But I believe the only way to stop outrageous behavior by the photogs is to hold responsible the editors of those magazines and websites willing to pay outrageous prices for celebrity pictures. None of this would be happening if the photos weren’t worth millions of dollars in newsstand sales. Of course, the public is at fault for wanting to see the snaps in the first place. But I say that if a stalkarazzi is … Read More »

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Greenlight For DreamWorks-Reliance Deal

By | Wednesday July 30, 2008 @ 7:20pm PDT

I’m told that the DreamWorks financing deal with India’s media and entertainment conglomerate Reliance ADA — for at least $500 million – is almost completed and will be announced in the next week to 10 days. The Reliance people were in Los Angeles last week meeting with DreamWorks. I hear they also met with Jeffrey Katzenberg (whose public company DreamWorks Animation has an “out” clause from its Paramount distribution deal after 10 films…). However, David Geffen officially severs his ties with Paramount as soon as August, and Spielberg can leave in October. Then DreamWorks has to make a distribution deal, probably with Universal where Spielberg still keeps his office. To refresh your memories, Geffen had on speed dial the newest Big Media mogul names of Rajesh Sawhney and Anil Dhirubhai Ambani (one of the world’s Top 10 richest men) to help with a planned $1.2 billion total financing for DreamWorks 2.o, the new independent film company the principals are starting post-Paramount. The intent is to make about 6 movies a year. Meanwhile, DreamWorks and Paramount will battle over Spielberg’s exit and all that joint development. For instance, I just heard that Spielberg starts directing Tintin as soon as October — and there’s already confusion if this is a DreamWorks/Paramount or a DreamWorks 2.0 production.

  • DreamWorks Finds Indian Big Bucks To Form New Film Biz
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    New Line Panting For ‘Austin Powers 4′

    By | Wednesday July 30, 2008 @ 2:44pm PDT

    dr_evil.jpg

    UPDATED: I’m told that Mike Myers has started writing Austin Powers 4 which will be an homage to his late father. “It’s very personal with a father and son theme loosely based on his own life,” an insider tells me. As Myers has previously said, this fourth installment of the super spy spoof movie series will focus on Austin’s arch-villain Dr. Evil, who was based on Blofeld of the Bond films. But what hasn’t been known is that the AP4 plot is really about Dr. Evil and his son (introduced already as Scott Evil, played by Seth Green). (NEW) Myers said this week he conceived the film’s plot during a “spiritual quest” of self-discovery to help him cope with his dad’s death in 1991 following a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. And it was during this time in his life that he said he was inspired to create the character of The Love Guru. “In many ways, The Love Guru is honouring him by dealing with his loss, because making silly movies is how I deal with things.”

    Myers is penning his idea with Baby Mama‘s Mike McCullers, who collaborated with Myers on Austin Powers 2: The Spy Who Shagged Me and Austin Powers 3: Goldmember. There’s no deal in place yet but New Line is panting after No. 4 despite Myer’s recent box office bomb, The Love Guru, for Paramount. But does Myers realize he may no longer be a draw? (Probably not. Before the pic opened, … Read More »

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    Ron Meyer’s Queen-For-A-Day Moment…

    By | Tuesday July 29, 2008 @ 5:24pm PDT

    The Hollywood Reporter‘s annual “Leadership” issue features Ron Meyer tomorrow — and the usual sycophantic gushing about his 13 years as prez/COO of Universal Studios all the while equating the release of Bruce Almighty with curing cancer. Geez, I always thought the 63-year-old former marine was one of those rare moguls who didn’t need his ego fed like the rest of the Big Media weenies. But how pathetic to see that he, too, succumbed to such a nauseating suck-up. I hear Meyer initially turned down the issue only to reconsider when he was told THR would work its way down the list of other moguls with a still healthy advertising budget. Meanwhile, I’m told Meyer’s issue sold more ads than past honorees like Rupert Murdoch, Bob Iger and Jerry Bruckheimer. Shame on Meyer for subjecting all his friends (and enemies) to be held up for ransom by THR‘s rapacious ad salesmen. If only all the studio bosses stopped congratulating each other long enough to personally step in and solve the AMPTP-SAG stalemate and put this town back to work. In my estimation, Ron just lost his street cred. I hope he enjoys the tiara and sash and the traditional stroll through The Grill clutching a bouquet of long-stemmed roses.

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    Is IATSE Prez Tom Short Stepping Down?

    By | Tuesday July 29, 2008 @ 2:41pm PDT

    EXCLUSIVE: I’m hearing that longtime IATSE president Tom Short may be leaving his position with an announcement coming as soon as this week. The union won’t confirm or deny, but below-the-liners are telling me they got word from their Union BAs starting last Friday that this was happening. Short is right now in San Diego at the Midsummer General Executive Board meeting which began yesterday and continues through Friday. In an unusual move, he began preliminary talks with Big Media’s negotiating clique AMPTP this summer, more than a year before the contract expired on July 31st, 2009. But I’m told those talks are now “suspended until further notice” when they didn’t reach a resolution. The IATSE is the labor union representing technicians, artisans and craftspersons in the entertainment industry, including live theatre, motion picture and television production, and trade shows.

    short21.jpgShort has been alternately praised and criticized for his relationships with Hollywood CEOs. Either he’s lambasted for being too in their pocket, or he’s lauded for being able to successfully work with them. Before, during and after the writers strike, Short took up the AMPTP’s cause and blamed the WGA for the repeated breakdown in contract talks even though the moguls reps walked away from the negotiations. (For background on the terrible relations between the WGA and IATSE, see my previous, … Read More »

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    Universal Lands Tarantino’s ‘Inglorious Bastards’ Despite Hatred Of Harvey

    By | Tuesday July 29, 2008 @ 1:08pm PDT

    Coming… I’m only one person, remember… I’ve got lots of info to post on this story, and SAG-AMPTP, and Endeavor agency, and my Dark Knight contest winner…

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    CAA Finally Gets Rid Of Partner Rick Nicita

    By | Tuesday July 29, 2008 @ 12:49pm PDT

    After years of complaining about partner Rick Nicita, CAA’s original Young Turks have pushed him out of the agency and foisted him onto Morgan Creek where he’ll be co-chairman and chief operating officer. It must have been a desperate situation for the 63-year-old Nicita who, after years of rumors that he’s on the outs, is now willing to work for James Robinson, one of the worst bosses in Hollywood and one of the biggest assholes in the movie biz. (Kudos to LA Times‘ Claudia Eller who got online first with the announcement… without analysis.)

    This horrible job culminates Nicita’s 42-year career as an agent for first William Morris and then CAA, where he became a partner in 1995 when Ovitz left to become the short-timer prez of the Walt Disney Co. That’s when the agency was handed over to the so-called Young Turks — Jay Moloney, Richard Lovett, Bryan Lourd, Kevin Huvane, David “Doc” O’Connor — as well as to head of music Tom Ross, head of television Lee Gabler, and veteran agent Nicita. Even though Moloney at one point was touted to take over the agency, he was fired in 1996 because of his hopeless drug habit. Since then, the Young Turks have slowly but surely consolidated their grip on CAA, pushing out first Ross, then Gabler, and now Nicita.

    Though considered a diligent agent within the movie biz, I’ve been … Read More »

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    007 DUET: Alicia Keys & Jack White (Of The White Stripes) Record Theme Song

    By | Tuesday July 29, 2008 @ 12:24pm PDT


    Their first choice was Amy Winehouse. But she was too busy doing drugs. Instead, the theme song for the latest James Bond movie Quantum Of Solace will be the first duet in 007 history of 22 films. Sony/MGM announced today that artists Jack White  of  the  rock band The White Stripes, and Alicia Keys, have recorded ”Another Way To Die”, the movie’s theme song which was written and produced by White (who is also featured  as  the  drummer on this track). The soundtrack  to Quantum  of  Solace will be released by J Records on October 28th.

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    That Was One Big Long Earthquake…

    By | Tuesday July 29, 2008 @ 11:45am PDT

    UPDATE: Early reports peg it at a 5.8 5.4 at 11:42 AM. My phone service has been interrupted is back to normal (after I pulled out my Juno hamburger phone).
    Send me any reports of Hollywood production interruption…

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    New ‘Law & Order: CI’ Exec Producers

    By | Tuesday July 29, 2008 @ 11:00am PDT


    EXCLUSIVE: Talk about flattering. I’ve just learned that Warren Leight has been replaced by not one but two executive producers on Law & Order: Criminal Intent. Sources tell me that Dick Wolf’s plan is to break the 16-episode season into two sets of 8 episodes each. Walon Green will exec produce the 8 episodes starring Vincent D’Onofrio, while Robert Nathan will exec produce the episodes starring newcomer Jeff Goldblum who replaced Chris Noth. And of course Wolf supervises everyone. I broke the news back on May 31st that, within days of USA Networks renewing CI and in the middle of hammering out his new CI deal, Leight jumped to HBO’s In Treatment. (See my previous, Leight Leaves ‘Criminal Intent’ For HBO.) But CI is in great hands: both Green and Nathan are Law & Order veterans.

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    Ken Turan & Sam Rubin: Together On TV

    By | Tuesday July 29, 2008 @ 10:40am PDT

    While I’m on the subject of the Los Angeles Times, the newspaper is engaging in another bit of synergy with its Tribune-owned local TV station KTLA — this time about Hollywood. I’m told that LA Times chief film critic Kenny Turan is teaming up with KTLA Morning News entertainment reporter Sam Rubin for a half-hour television show based around the print version of “Sneaks”, the LA Times‘ four-times-a-year look at movies coming out. The show will be called Sneaks and produced four times a year with the first one airing September 7th. One past bit of successful synergy between the newspaper and KTLA was to promote LA Times columnist Steve Lopez’s series about Skid Row.

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    Rocket Scientist New LA Times Publisher?

    By | Tuesday July 29, 2008 @ 10:18am PDT

    EXCLUSIVE: Reliable sources tell me that Eddy Hartenstein, the ex-chief of DirecTV, is under serious consideration to be the new Los Angeles Times publisher, replacing David Hiller who was fired this month. A deal for him isn’t done yet but he’s first choice on the short list. The 57-year-old rocket scientist (yes, really) is a name well-known to Hollywood since he was the Big Kahuna  in the development of modern-day satellite television, serving as DirecTV’s CEO, chairman, vice chairman and president from the company’s inception in 1990 until 2004 when he left after Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp bought the company. OK, so why Hartenstein for LA Times publisher?

    I’m told it’s because he understands subscription-based product and new media distribution after taking DirecTV from zero to 12.5 million subscribers despite facing very stiff competition from cable. Hiring Hartenstein would seem to be a smart move on the part of Tribune Co owner Sam Zell. But why is Hartenstein jumping on board journalism’s equivalent of the Titanic? “He doesn’t need a job, he needs an adventure,” one source explained to me. ”He’s looking for the next bounce.” Hartenstein also served in senior executive positions at the satellite-based communications provider Hughes Communications and Equatorial Communications Services Company, a provider of telephony and data distribution services. Hartenstein was inducted into the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame in 2002 and received an Emmy for lifetime achievement from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in 2007.

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    DHD UPDATE: Posting Resumes Tuesday

    By | Monday July 28, 2008 @ 5:16pm PDT

    I desperately needed a day off. Or two. Lots of informative posts upcoming…
    (and, yes, the Comic-Con coverage is finished…)

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    COMIC-CON 2008: DC Comics

    By | Sunday July 27, 2008 @ 7:11pm PDT

    (Regular DHD readers know I don’t do geek. But frequent LA Weekly film reviewer and comic book expert Luke Y Thompson does. He spends all year waiting for Comic-Con and this time he’s covering it for me. Here’s his latest report.) 

    DC Comics’ Dan DiDio
    As I write this, Comic-Con 2008 has just concluded. Before everything ended, I had to check in on a couple of panels with DC Comics president Dan DiDio. Would nit-picky fans rake him over the coals for not getting DC’s act together regarding their movie properties? (And yes, yes, I know: THE DARK KNIGHT was great. But where’s The Flash? Green Lantern? Martian Manhunter? Marvel’s even getting to third-tier guys like Ant-Man.)

    But I reckoned without a few factors.
    Factor #1: This has been a remarkably easygoing convention crowd this year. They’ll cheer anything.
    Factor #2: DiDio, a loud-talkin’ New Yorker who looks like a construction worker and casually drops profanity, is very good at working the crowd and becoming their best friend.
    Factor #3: Yes, comic fans are nit-pickers, but given the chance to talk to the head of DC, they ask nit-picky comic questions.

    We did find out that there won’t be a Justice League movie any time soon, which is for the better. Having a movie with a different Batman and Superman than Christian Bale and Brandon Routh would be weird while their franchises are still going.

    So here’s some actual comic-book news. At a comic convention. Had to happen eventually:

    – … Read More »

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    COMIC-CON 2008: ‘Friday The 13th’

    By | Sunday July 27, 2008 @ 5:30pm PDT

    (Regular DHD readers know I don’t do geek. But frequent LA Weekly film reviewer and comic book expert Luke Y Thompson does. He spends all year waiting for Comic-Con and this time he’s covering it for me. Here’s his latest report.)  

    FRIDAY THE 13TH Remake 
    Sometimes, I just cannot predict what panels will and won’t draw crowds. Like, the HAROLD AND KUMAR DVD panel filled up Ballroom 20. I would not have called that one. Got in at the very tail end, just in time to hear Kal Penn say that if he hadn’t gotten the role of Kumar, Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Fareed Zacaria would have had to fight it out between themselves.

    I was there for the FRIDAY THE 13TH remake panel, and much as I resent that they didn’t keep the numbered sequels going till 13, I have to admit that this could be the best Jason movie yet. Looking to have a budget about the size of the first five movies combined, and lots of gore effects, it certainly can’t be any worse than some of the existing movies, and has a good shot at kicking certain amounts of ass.

    I’m not crazy about the way the producers went on and on about how this is a “realistic” Jason. Because zombie Jason was always my favorite version, and isn’t his defining characteristic the fact that he keeps coming back? That said, a Jason who runs, thinks, and sets traps could be scary. Star … Read More »

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