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SAG National Negotiating Committee To Discuss AMPTP’s Rejection This Week

By | Tuesday September 30, 2008 @ 5:19pm PDT

Los Angeles, (Sept. 30, 2008)  –  The Screen Actors Guild released the following statement from SAG National executive director and chief negotiator Doug Allen in response to the AMPTP’s Sept. 29, 2008 statement: “We are disappointed to hear that the employers and their AMPTP representatives are refusing to engage in the process necessary to complete a deal. We do not believe that their rejection of our reasonable request  is in the best interests of our members or the industry.  Our National Negotiating Committee will be meeting later this week to consider management’s response.”

  • AMPTP Rejects Today’s SAG Overture
  • SAG Sends Letter To Chernin, Iger, Counter To Restart Formal Negotiations
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    ICM Hires 2 Gersh Movie Talent Agents

    By | Tuesday September 30, 2008 @ 4:11pm PDT

    I’m told that Lorrie Bartlett and Chuck James will be joining ICM as senior agents in the motion picture talent department after working at the Gersh Agency for several years. Their clients include young talent like Academy Award nominee Djimon Hounsou, Megan Fox, Zoe Saldana, Eliza Dushku, Elisha Cuthbert, Mena Suvari, Dennis Haysbert, Kelly Macdonald, Rodrigo Santoro and Jordana Spiro.

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    Warner Bros Warns Harry Potter Fans

    By | Tuesday September 30, 2008 @ 2:33pm PDT

    Now that the new Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince pic has been delayed, this Warner Bros faux flack has some choice words for angry Harry Potter fans.

    Comments (12)

    She’s Got Bette Davis Eyes But No Ciggy

    By | Tuesday September 30, 2008 @ 1:40pm PDT

    This email is making the rounds from the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences to Hollywood’s name talent criticizing the U.S. Post Office for this stamp issued September 18th. I’ve X’ed out the names:

    From: ”XXX” <>
    To: <>
    Date: Tue, 30 Sep 2008 11:23:26 -0700
    Subject: Re: Postal censorship
    Have you seen the new Bette Davis postage stamp?  It’s a photo from ALL ABOUT EVE, and after staring at it for a while I realized there was something wrong.  She has a gloved hand raised beneath her chin in a very awkward pose.  They removed a cigarette from her fingers!  Censorship from our Uncle Sam.  Didn’t they think anyone would notice?  Film historians should revolt!

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    Studios Always Find Money For Lawyers: Majors Sue To Stop RealDVD Software

    By | Tuesday September 30, 2008 @ 12:08pm PDT

    The Motion Picture Association Of America just released this press statement:

    Los Angeles – The nation’s top movie companies filed a lawsuit today asking a federal court to stop RealNetworks Inc. from distributing the company’s RealDVD software which allows movies to be copied illegally.  In their complaint and motion for a temporary restraining order, the studios said that RealNetworks’ RealDVD violates the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) because its software illegally bypasses the copyright protection built into DVDs that protect movies against theft.

    “RealNetworks’ RealDVD should be called StealDVD,” explained Greg Goeckner, Executive Vice President and General Counsel for the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA).  “RealNetworks knows its product violates the law and undermines the hard-won trust that has been growing between America’s movie makers and the technology community.  The major motion picture studios have been making major investments in technologies that allow people to access entertainment in a variety of new and legal ways. This includes online video-on-demand, download-to-own, as well as legitimate digital copies for storage and use on computers and portable devices that are increasingly being made available on or with DVDs. Our industry will continue on this path because it gives consumers greater choices than ever.  However, we will vigorously defend our right to stop companies from bringing products to market that mislead consumers and clearly violate the law.”

    The Content Scramble System (CSS) built into DVDs prevents the unauthorized reproduction and distribution of copyrighted material released in DVD format.  The RealDVD software illegally circumvents this copyright

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    Roller-Coaster Dow Up 485 Pts Tuesday

    By | Tuesday September 30, 2008 @ 11:44am PDT

    1:00 AM: Media stocks recovered slightly while the rest of the Dow is regaining nearly 2/3′s of what it lost the day before. At first, no one could really give a decent explanation as to why the stock market headed up instead of down today. Because the financial bailout may be approved by Friday? Because the bill may not pass by Friday? Because investors sitting on the sidelines with cash under their mattress may be in the mood for some Dow bargain-shopping? Because the SEC may change the way that the bonds are accounted that back America’s banks? Do we care why?

    DOW CRASHES: Closes Down 777 Monday

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    UPDATE: Rudin Admits ‘HW’ Email Is His

    By | Tuesday September 30, 2008 @ 2:32am PDT

    Scott Rudin confirmed to me Monday night that it is his email describing Harvey Weinstein’s alleged callous treatment of the late Anthony Minghella’s and the deceased Sydney Pollack’s families. Rudin also claimed to me that HW’s people all day pestered him ”to protect Harvey and deny the email and lie to Page Six” — so he told me he did “in order to keep peace for the next weeks that the two of us still have to work together on The Reader.” See my previous, Harvey Weinstein’s Offer I Can’t Refuse… and Harvey Weinstein vs The Film World.

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    MGM Memo Surveys ‘Valkyrie’ Online Buzz

    By | Tuesday September 30, 2008 @ 1:07am PDT

    It never fails to amaze me how studios convince themselves that up is down, and left is right. Here’s an internal MGM memo giddy over the possibility that the new trailer for Tom Cruise’s December 26th Nazi pic will translate into big biz:

    From: Sandro Bellini [Digital Marketing | Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc]
    Sent: Monday, September 29, 2008 4:27 PM

    Attached is an updated report on online buzz around the new Valkyrie assets:
    Favorable Tone Dominates Trailer Buzz – Currently, reactions to the Valkyrie trailer are significantly favorable (approximately 80%) within Entertainment, Fan-Boy, Video Sharing, Social Networks, Social Bookmarks, and Fan communities. Fans deem the trailer “fantastic,” often praising the “stylistic” way that the footage was cut and asserting that it is “way better” than the initial teaser. Enthusiasts also note that the “intriguing” trailer has furthered their anticipation for the film’s release and anticipate that it will feature many great performances from the ensemble cast. Additionally, many viewers share avid excitement to see Bryan

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    AMPTP Rejects Today’s SAG Overture

    By | Monday September 29, 2008 @ 7:10pm PDT

    The AMPTP tonight issued its response to today’s letter from SAG‘s Alan Rosenberg & Doug Allen asking Peter Chernin, Bob Iger, and Nick Counter to restart formal negotiations. Disappointing, but not surprising. Obviously, no one has bothered to tell Counter that his Big Media bosses keep telling Wall Street their business isn’t being hurt by the economic downturn, and, if anything, New Media revenues are through the roof. Yet Counter still tries to plead poverty to SAG. Hey Nick, you want cheese with that whine?

    September 29, 2008

    Dear Alan and Doug:

    This is in response to your letter dated September 29, 2008 to Peter Chernin, Robert Iger and me.  Your letter indicates that the Screen Actors Guild is not prepared to change its position on any of the threshold issues in our negotiations.  The Guild’s position remains unchanged since we last met on July 16, 2008.  Further, in addition to new media, there are a number of significant issues which, in and of themselves, prevent the parties from reaching agreement.

    Our Final Offer to the Screen Actors Guild is comparable to our agreements with the Directors Guild of America, the Writers Guild of America and AFTRA.  Our Final Offer memorializes a set of compromises, including in the area of new media, worked out with other Guilds and Unions and particularly addresses actor specific issues raised during the Screen Actors Guild negotiations.

    We do not believe that it would be productive to resume negotiations at this time given SAG’s

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    Harvey Weinstein’s Offer I Can’t Refuse…

    By | Monday September 29, 2008 @ 5:38pm PDT

    The New York Post‘s Page Six just called me saying Harvey Weinstein has told them he’ll give $1 million to charity if I can produce the Scott Rudin email about HW’s alleged callous treatment of Anthony Minghella’s and Sydney Pollack’s families. Because Harv doesn’t think it exists. Question is, do I get to choose the charity? (UPDATE: As for Scott Rudin, he confirmed to me Monday night that it is his email and claimed that Weinstein’s people pestered him ”to protect Harvey and deny the email and lie to Page Six” — so he said he did “in order to keep peace for the next weeks that the two of us still have to work together on The Reader.“) Here’s the email. I’ve blacked out the recipient of the message as well as SR’s email address:



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    UTA Hires 360 Manager Doug Johnson

    By | Monday September 29, 2008 @ 4:53pm PDT

    A rare instance of a manager becoming an agent. Then again, UTA can use more people whom Hollywood actually likes. (Just kidding.) Doug Johnson is telling clients right now that he’ll be joining UTA’s motion picture lit department after 6 years at Management 360. He reps Jordan Cahan (My Best Friend’s Girl), Frank Coraci (Click), Michael Gordon (300), Jim Hecht (Ice Age 2), Josh Safran (Gossip Girl), Lorene Scafaria (Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist), Brett Simon (Assassination Of A High School President), Albert Torres (Henry Poole), and others.

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    SAG’s Alan Rosenberg & Doug Allen Send Letter To Peter Chernin, Bob Iger, Nick Counter To Restart Formal Negotiations

    By | Monday September 29, 2008 @ 12:09pm PDT

    UPDATE: AMPTP Rejects Today’s SAG Overture

    It was released to the SAG board today and sent to News Corp (Fox) No. 2 Peter Chernin, Walt Disney Co CEO Bob Iger and the Big Media cartel’s negotiating clique AMPTP president Nick Counter. Both Chernin and Iger took personal roles in settling the writers strike. Here’s the letter:

    Dear Gentlemen:

    We believe it is clear that our members would fail to ratify your proposal of June 30, 2008.  It would serve no productive purpose, therefore, to send our membership a proposal that SAG’s National Negotiating Committee and National Board have rejected and that our membership would not ratify.

    It is our fervent hope that this news will encourage you and your colleagues to reengage in formal bargaining, with the exchange of proposals and compromise by both sides necessary to reach an agreement.

    Our discussions with you and many of your colleagues since formal talks ended have educated both of our teams about our respective priorities and flexibilities.  As we have said to SAG members members, if we can reach agreement on three threshold issues, we believe we can finish these negotiations.  One issue you brought to the table: force majeure protection for actors held by contract to a suspended production.  Two issues we have identified as core principles: coverage for all new media productions (including those below $15,000/minute) and residuals for made-for new media productions re-used on new

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    DOW CRASHES: Closes Down 777 Monday; Worst Single Day Point Drop In History

    By | Monday September 29, 2008 @ 11:12am PDT

    1 PM UPDATE: Because it took everyone by surprise that the financial bailout bill failed in the House Of Representatives. This is terrible news for media stocks, Wall Street, and Main Street as the credit markets literally start to shut down. The S&P alone has lost 8% of its value. Today’s market plunge was the biggest single day drop, even worse than post-9/11. Though the 1987 crash was worse proportionately. Can the bailout be salvaged?

    MONDAY, September 29, 2008
    (NBC Universal) fell $2.15 (-8.51%) to $23.10
    Disney fell $3.02 (-9.22%) to $29.73
    News Corp (Fox) fell $1.18 (-8.91%) to $12.07
    Time Warner fell $1.31 (-9.22%) to $12.90
    Viacom fell $1.85 (-7.25%) to $23.66
    Sony Corp fell $1.65 (-5.09%) to $30.76
    CBS fell $1.10 (-7.14%) to $14.30
    DreamWorks Animation fell $1.34 (-4.18%) to $30.68
    Marvel Entertainment fell $1.36 (-3.95%) $33.05

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    PARAMOUNT-MARVEL DEAL: Paramount To Distribute Next Five Marvel Films

    By | Monday September 29, 2008 @ 9:15am PDT


    2ND UPDATE: I’m told that Marvel received from Paramount a so-called volume discount with regard to distibution fees under this new deal. For Iron Man, Paramount was paid 10% distribution fees by Marvel. Now that figure goes to down to near the 8% Paramount is paid by DreamWorks Animation.

    marvel-par2.jpgEXCLUSIVE: I know that Paramount was thrilled with picking up those fat distribution fees during the enormous $574 million global success of Iron Man this past summer. Now it’s got a lock on Marvel Studios’ coming product which should prove successful at the box office if the publicly traded indie’s creative chief Kevin Feige doesn’t screw it up. I’m told that Paramount and Marvel have done a big overall deal calling for the movie major to distribute Marvel’s next self-produced films on a worldwide basis. The deal includes theatrical distribution in foreign territoies previously serviced by Marvel through local distribution entities (Japan, Germany, France, Spain, and Australia/New Zealand). The pics are Iron Man 2 (May 7, 2010) and 3 (unscheduled), Thor (July 16, 2010), Captain America (May 6, 2011), and The Avengers (July 15, 2011).

    10:00 AM UPDATE: The announcement just came out:

    “Coming off of Iron Man’s incredible success this summer, we could not be more excited about extending our relationship with Marvel,” said Rob Moore, Vice Chairman of Paramount Pictures. “Marvel’s iconic brand, its popular characters and its proven ability to create compelling and visually spellbinding films

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    HARVEY WEINSTEIN VS FILM WORLD: Scott Rudin Wins War Of Wills With TWC: ‘The Reader’ Director Is Given More Time

    By | Sunday September 28, 2008 @ 1:13pm PDT

    2ND UPDATE: Rudin Admits ‘HW’ Email Is His
    UPDATE: Harvey Weinstein’s Offer I Can’t Refuse…

    He was once The Big Macher and now is The Big Loser. This post goes behind-the-scenes of Weinstein’s desperate attempt to roll over The Reader‘s director Stephen Daldry (The Hours, Billy Elliot) even though the helmer had final cut approval and other contractually guaranteed rights. And I am in possession of plaintive emails from Daldry, and angry letters from entertainment law pitbulls, all attacking Weinstein’s disgusting behavior.

    At issue superficially was whether The Reader could be properly done on time for distribution this fall or even for awards consideration this year by Daldry who had sole discretion to determine when the picture could be released. The film already had been delayed by 8 weeks because of Nicole Kidman’s pregnancy. Then the pic had to wait for a a minor to turn 18 so the actor could be old enough to engage in some on-screen sexual activity. So the shoot that was supposed to end in February didn’t finish until July. And the $22 million budgeted movie climbed in cost to $30 million.

    Despite all that, Weinstein was still pushing Daldry to lock in the film as soon as September, or October 7th at the latest, in order to meet the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s delivery date of November 7th. But Stephen was … Read More »

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    Hollywood Wonders Why ‘Fireproof’ Did So Well When Other Christian Pics Don’t

    By | Sunday September 28, 2008 @ 11:48am PDT

    A big surprise at the box office this weekend was the 4th place opening of Provident/Samuel Goldwyn’s Fireproof, the small budget and limited release pic about a firefighter who recommits to his marriage and his faith. The movie is the latest from Sherwood Pictures, a nonprofit ministry of Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Georgia, that previously put out the popular Facing the Giants and the lesser-known Flywheel. Samuel Goldwyn Films is the theatrical distributor, while Provident Films handled Fireproof‘s outreach and marketing to Christian audiences. It debuted to a $2.3M Friday and $2.6M Saturday for a $6.5M gross weekend though released into only 839 dates and costing just $500K. The reason why is that the pic used grassroots methods to directly reach churches  on behalf of the PG film starring the grown-up star of TV’s Growing Pains, Kirk Cameron. (The evangelical actor claims he donated his pay from Fireproof to a camp for seriously ill kids he runs with his wife.) It had the year’s highest grossing opening weekend return of any film (except 3-D Hannah Montana) released on 1,000 screens or less. Faith-based “Action Squads” bought up blocks of tickets. “Just between you and me, keep your eye on the Fireproof per screen averages this weekend,” a source at Grace Hill Media, which markets to the religious community but wasn’t involved with this movie, tipped me. “On Sunday, I think there will be some distribution execs around town who will be asking ‘What the hell is Fireproof?’ ” The studios … Read More »

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    Tina Fey Returns In Palin-Couric SNL Skit: Plus, SNL On First McCain-Obama Debate

    By | Saturday September 27, 2008 @ 10:31pm PDT

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    R.I.P. Paul Newman

    By | Saturday September 27, 2008 @ 7:43am PDT

    His death at age 83 following a long battle with cancer was described as just as private and discreet like the way he had lived — surrounded by family and friends at his farmhouse home near Westport, Conn. I had the opportunity to interview him for the cover of the old Los Angeles Times magazine during that most elegant of moments when every Oscar contender is bound equally by hope. Back then seven times a contender, never a champion, Paul Newman was still waiting for his Best Actor Oscar. That year, he was being judged not only for his nominated role as “Gramps” Fast Eddie Felson in 1986′s The Color of Money but also for four decades of playing anti-heroes. He thought his moment had come and gone when he was earlier awarded an honorary Oscar recognizing his personal integrity and dedication to his craft. He told me it was “for people who are already up to their knees in weeds. But at least I was working at the time on The Color of Money, so I knew something that they didn’t know: that the pasture was quite a bit in front of me.”

    Newman lamented the passing of ”the golden age” of Hollywood in the 1950s and 1960s. It’s as if this son of a Jewish sporting-goods store owner from Shaker Heights, Ohio; this Navy Pilot Training Program reject and World War II torpedo-bomber radioman; this stage and screen and television actor who married the understudy (Joanne Woodward); this father, movie director, racecar driver, … Read More »

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    Shia’s Political Thriller ‘Eagle Eye’ No. 1: ‘Nights In Rodanthe’ #2; U.S. Presidential Debate Dampened Weekend Box Office

    By | Saturday September 27, 2008 @ 12:16am PDT

    SUNDAY AM: Even though they’re getting a divorce after two dysfunctional years, Steven Spielberg and Paramount have still had a successful marriage with films starring Shia LaBoeuf, including Disturbia, Transformers and Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull. (I suspect DreamWorks and Paramount will work out joint custody of the 22-year-old action star…) Now Shia is in another of their joint PG-13 thrillers, newcomer Eagle Eye, which wound up the #1 pic in North America this weekend with $9.8 million Friday and $12.3 million Saturday from 3,510 theaters for a $29.2M FSS. It was the 4th best September opening of all time. Even so, studios felt the U.S. presidential debate dampened Friday’s box office with young and older males, but numbers bumped up 25% for Saturday. (Paired with the film was the new trailer for Tom Cruise’s Nazi Christmas movie Valkyrie, and UA/MGM boasted to me that it ”killed”.)

    After a heavy TV marketing campaign, Warner Bros’ mature romantic tearjerker based on the Nicholas Sparks novel Nights In Rodanthe starring Diane Lane and Richard Gere opened surpisingly well. It was No. 2 with $4.7 million Friday and $5.5 million Saturday considering it was only playing in 2,704 venues. Its weekend was $13.5M thanks to the older female quadrant which studios are now starting to recognize and respect. Holdover Lakeview Terrace from Screen Gems/Sony grabbed the #3 spot with a $2.0M Friday and $3.3M Saturday for a $7M weekend and new $25.7M cume.

    A big surprise … Read More »

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