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Scripps Yanks Food Network & HGTV Off Cablevision in Tri-State Area (NY, NJ, Conn)

By | Thursday December 31, 2009 @ 10:12pm PST

Cablevision vs Scripps Fight Over Food Network/HGTV Could Last Weeks Longer

UPDATE: Cablevision just gave me this hardball statement:

“We are sorry that Scripps’ current financial difficulties are making it impossible for them to continue our relationship on terms that are reasonable for Cablevision and our customers. We wish Scripps well and have no expectation of carrying their programming again, given the dramatic changes in their approach to working with distributors to reach television viewers.”

Scripps Networks Interactive made good on its threat from yesterday because of its war with Cablevision over programming fees. About 3 million subscribers are affected. Both channels have some special Sunday night programming scheduled, including an Iron Chef episode featuring ingredients from Michelle Obama’s White House vegetable garden, so I suspect there’ll be a surrender before then.

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Marvel Stockholders OK Merger With Disney – UPDATE: See Both Company Statements

By | Thursday December 31, 2009 @ 9:25am PST

UPDATE: Here’s the Walt Disney Co statement:

Disney Logo2BURBANK, Calif., December 31, 2009—Advancing its strategy of delivering great branded content to people around the world, Robert A. Iger,  President and Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) announced today that Disney has completed its acquisition of renowned character franchise company, Marvel Entertainment Inc (NYSE:MVL).

“We’re thrilled to welcome to the Disney family the talented team at Marvel,” said Iger. “We believe the creative and business potential of this combination is substantial and can help us grow both our top and bottom line, leading to a significant increase in long-term shareholder value.”

Under the terms of the agreement and based on the closing price of Disney on Thursday, December 31, Marvel shareholders will receive a total of $30 a share in cash plus approximately 0.7452 Disney shares for each Marvel share they own.

Marvel’s assets include a library of over 5,000 characters featured in a variety of media over 70 years and businesses, including licensing, movie production and publishing.

Here’s the Marvel official news release:

Marvel_logoNew York, New York – December 31, 2009 — Marvel Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE: MVL), a global character-based entertainment and licensing company founded in 1939, announced that at a special meeting held this morning, Marvel stockholders approved the adoption of the Agreement and Plan of Merger entered into by Marvel and The Walt Disney Company (“Disney”), which provides for a

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DHD ADVISORY: Posting To Resume

By | Wednesday December 30, 2009 @ 10:58am PST

Look for new posts starting soon. Thanks for your patience!

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$278M XMAS WEEKEND IS BIGGEST EVER! ‘Avatar’ Back On Top By Beating ‘Sherlock Holmes’; 3D Technopic Takes In $617M Worldwide; ‘Alvin Squeakquel’ Opens #3

By | Saturday December 26, 2009 @ 11:17pm PST

Sherlock Holmes PosterSUNDAY AM WRITETHRU: It’s official: 20th Century Fox’s week-old Avatar fell behind Friday, but was back on top Saturday, and easily beat Warner Bros’ newcomer Sherlock Holmes for No. 1 this 3-day Christmas weekend in North American theaters. As usual, the Hollywood box office experts (who had predicted this to me last week but I doubted them) were right on the money. Avatar‘s take was $23.5M Friday and $28.5M Saturday for the $75M weekend with Sunday’s estimate. As for Sherlock Holmes‘ numbers, the Guy Ritchie directed mystery thriller with Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law made $24.8M Friday and $22.5M Saturday for a slightly less than expected $66M weekend –though Sherlock is playing in 170 more theaters than Avatar,  3,626 vs 3,456.

avatar bigger posterThe 3D technopic’s higher ticket prices made up the difference and more. The contest wasn’t even close after Friday looked like a nailbiter, especially after Sherlock consistently was tracking big because of the good word-of-mouth buzz. Sherlock had the best Christmas Day debut ever (beating Marley And Me from last year and its Christmas Day single-day debut of $14.675M). It’s also a badly needed hit for producer Joel Silver after studio boss Jeff Robinov took a big chance putting him on the project after all of Joel’s recent bombs. Warner Bros domestic grosses crossed $2 billion Saturday, breaking the industry record of $1.789B set by the studio last year. And there’s still more days of … Read More »

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Warner Bros Sets $2+B Film Gross Record

By | Saturday December 26, 2009 @ 12:33pm PST

Warner Bros domestic grosses will cross $2 billion today, breaking the movie industry record of $1.789B set by the studio last year. And there’s still 9 more days of holiday play time left to fatten the record.

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Non-Franchise Sequels You Want To See?

By | Friday December 25, 2009 @ 12:53pm PST

MovieTickets.com asked over 32,000 filmgoers which movie without an existing film franchise they’d like to see turned into a sequel. Here’s a look at the Top 5:

1. The Hangover (37%)
2. District 9 (27%)
3. G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (21%)
4. Watchmen (8%)
5. Paul Blart: Mall Cop (7%)

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Merry Christmas From Deadline Hollywood

By | Thursday December 24, 2009 @ 8:27pm PST


hollywood xmas

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‘Alvin 2′ Beating ‘Avatar’ in Online Tickets

By | Wednesday December 23, 2009 @ 12:31pm PST

alvinsqueakuelposterIt’s 20th Century Fox vs 20th Century Fox. So reports big online ticketseller Fandango as of 11 AM PT. James Cameron’s Avatar continues to be a strong seller on Fandango (and 32% of Avatar filmgoers surveyed on the site say they’ll see it more than once). But Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel is actually outselling the sci-fi epic in ticket sales today when it opens. Avatar is going into its 2nd weekend Friday. Also today Paramount’s Up In The Air is opening wide. Fandango says The Squeakquel has turned out to be Fandango’s top family pre-seller of 2009. Its advance ticket sales were greater than advance ticket sales for Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, Up, and The Princess and the Frog.

Overall, here’s the order:
1. Alvin And The Chipmunks: The Squeakquel (52%)
2. Avatar (33%)
3. Sherlock Holmes (5%)
4. Up In The Air (2%)
5. The Princess And The Frog (2%)

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TOLDJA! Official: Chris Albrecht To Starz

By | Tuesday December 22, 2009 @ 1:24am PST

UPDATES EXCLUSIVE: Ex-HBO Chief Chris Albrecht To Be Named New CEO Of Starz

This announcement will be going out Tuesday:

Englewood, Colo, Dec. 22 – Liberty Media Corporation announced today that Chris Albrecht, former Chairman and CEO of HBO, will join Starz, LLC as its President and CEO. He will oversee all of the Starz entities, including Starz Entertainment, Overture Films, Anchor Bay Entertainment and Film Roman and will assume his new role beginning January 1, 2010.

“We are excited to have an industry leader with an exceptional track record join the Starz team,” said Greg Maffei, Liberty Media President and CEO. “With his extensive experience and success in creating compelling original content and building a premium pay channel, Chris is a recognized visionary in the creative community and uniquely qualified to lead Starz into the future.”

“I am thrilled and honored to be asked to join a great company like Starz and to help take advantage of the challenges and opportunities emerging in media and entertainment,” said Albrecht. “I have always seen Starz as a bold, entrepreneurial and growth-oriented brand – one that I believe will be a great home for me. I look forward to putting my experiences and interests to work with the talented management team at Liberty and Starz to create valued products for consumers and our affiliate partners.”

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EXCLUSIVE: Ex-HBO Chief Chris Albrecht To Be Named New CEO Of Starz

By | Monday December 21, 2009 @ 10:40pm PST

UPDATE: TOLDJA! It’s Official: Chris Albrecht To Head Starz

StarzMONDAY PM EXCLUSIVE: I’ve learned that Liberty Media chairman John Malone and CEO Greg Maffei are installing former HBO chairman/CEO Chris Albrecht as head of Starz. Sources tell me Albrecht’s title will be CEO (and maybe also president), and the announcement could come as soon as this week. Starz previous CEO Robert Clasen is retiring. chris AlbrechtAlbrecht’s appointment is further proof that Starz is fast-tracking its move into more original programming, which was Albrecht’s specialty at HBO ffor 22 years beginning in 1985. In 2007, Albrecht was asked to resign before the Time Warner shareholders meeting after his arrest for allegedly assaulting a woman in Las Vegas brought previous accusations to light in the media. Despite his personal problems, which his pals say he has now overcome, Albrecht is considered a creative and management genius –and just what Starz needs to bring it to the next level.

After he unceremoniously left HBO, Albrecht was named president of IMG Global Media and IMG Entertainment in September 2007 as well as a special limited partner of Forstmann Little & Co. But Albrecht left a year later when IMG/Forstmann didn’t deliver on the financial promises made to him, like a $250 million fund for investments in media and entertainment content which Albrecht would oversee. But it was while there that Albrecht first met with Starz execs and later again when Albrecht founded Foresee Entertainment, an independent content creator. Soon, Foresee … Read More »

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TOLDJA! Rave Buys Up To 35 of Redstone’s National Amusements Theater Complexes

By | Monday December 21, 2009 @ 12:35pm PST

UPDATES EXCLUSIVE: Rave To Acquire 35 National Amusements Complexes

I had this scoop back on December 7th. (Shame on the Los Angeles Times for trying to grab credit.) Today there’s an official announcement:

rave naDallas, TX – December 21, 2009 – Rave Cinemas, LLC (“Rave”), a newly formed company, announced that earlier this month it reached a definitive agreement with National Amusements, Inc. (“NAI”) to purchase the business operations and selected real estate assets of up to 35 NAI theaters and that it closed on the acquisition of an initial group of 29 of those theaters. Concurrently, the company acquired the business operations of four theaters from Boston Ventures-owned Rave Reviews Cinemas, L.L.C. (“RRC”), together with RRC’s corporate infrastructure and the Rave Motion Pictures brand. RRC will retain 21 of its existing theaters, which will be managed by Rave under a management services agreement. The day-to-day business and operations of Rave will be managed by RRC’s former management team, which partnered with equity sponsor TowerBrook Capital Partners L.P. (“TowerBrook”) and co-investors Lambert Media Group (“Lambert Media”) and Charles B. Moss, Jr. to found Rave and pursue the NAI and RRC acquisitions.

Following the close of the acquisitions, Rave, which will operate under the Rave Motion Pictures brand name, anticipates it will own or manage 65 theaters and approximately 1,000 screens located in 20 states across the country and will

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News Corp Negotiations To Buy MGM “Screeched To A Standstill”

By | Monday December 21, 2009 @ 11:25am PST

MgmlogosmallNews Corp insiders tell me: “Our negotiations screeched to a standstill Friday night. We’re at an impasse over a highly restrictive (and unusual) provision in their ‘must sign NDA [Non-Disclosure Agreement]‘. So who knows what will happen next? But for now it’s ‘Pens Down’.” This isn’t good news for the embattled film studio MGM which has been teetering on the brink of bankruptcy because of its crushing $4 billion debt. So it’s on the block and sent confidentiality agreements to about 20 interested parties last month including News Corp, Time Warner, Lionsgate, Sony, etc. (Also, see my previous EXCLUSIVE: Carl Icahn Buying Up MGM Bonds “Like A Bat Out Of Hell”.)

The NDAs are a precursor to letting potential bidders examine its books. MGM’s debtholders who’ve lost patience with the studio want to break up the company and sell off its valuable library. But other creditors would first like to see how bidders value the company if left whole. So far, this isn’t a traditional sales auction with prospectus, etc. Instead, MGM has been setting up a virtual data room and management presentations to give bidders access to information. That the confidentiality agreements also aren’t standard clearly is hindering the process.

MGM lenders have agreed to extend the forbearance until January 31, 2010 as the studio explores various strategic alternatives — including operating as a standalone entity, forming strategic partnerships, or evaluating a … Read More »

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FOX REVISES FIGURES: ‘AVATAR’ No. 2 December Record With $77.025M Domestic; Opens To $242.5M Worldwide

By | Monday December 21, 2009 @ 10:30am PST

BREAKING NEWS! (check for constantly updated and inserted info)

avatar_posterMONDAY AM 4TH UPDATE: 20th Century Fox keeps refining its figures to show James Cameron’s Avatar actuals were better than expected — Friday: $26,752,099, Saturday: $25,529,036, Sunday: $24,744,346. Grosses dropped only -3% from Saturday to Sunday and finished the weekend with an opening number of $77.025481 million (not $77.3M or $76.8M or $73M as the studio previously reported). That placed second to 2D I Am Legend‘s $77.2M record for best December debut ever at the domestic box office. Internationally, the epic surisingly shot up +3% from Saturday to Sunday for $165.5M (not $159.2M) in 106 countries. That’s a $242.5M worldwide bow, including total 3D gross of $54,754,983, which Fox calls the “highest original content (non-sequel, non-franchise) opening weekend ever”.

The big budget 3D technopic was the widest 3D release to date: 2,023 3D runs of 3,452 North American theaters. At the 178 domestic IMAX theaters, a record breaking $9.5M was made. IMAX globally had to add shows to keep up with demand. Overseas, 58 Imax venues grossed $4.1M. The worldwide IMAX total of $13.6M bettered Transformers 2‘s previous record of $11.3M this summer. 

SUNDAY AM: 20th Century Fox just said its big budget 3D technopic Avatar grossed $159.18M internationally from 106 territories (the six territories that have not opened are Japan, China, Italy, Poland, Argentina, and Uruguay). With North America’s snow-slowed grosses of $73M, that’s a worldwide total of $232.18M which the studio says is the “highest original content (non-sequel, Read More »

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R.I.P. Brittany Murphy

By | Sunday December 20, 2009 @ 12:20pm PST

What a tragic waste of young talent. News reports say actress Brittany Murphy went into cardiac arrest this morning at age 32. I always found her performances fresh in both comedies like Clueless, Just Married and Little Black Book, and dramas like 8 MileDon’t Say A WordGirl Interrupted, and Sin City, and the dramedy Uptown Girl. She was about to have a career renewal with several movies coming out in 2010.

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Johnny Knoxville Promises ‘Avatar’ Technology In 2010 ‘Jackass 3D’

By | Saturday December 19, 2009 @ 10:08am PST

johnny_knoxville_narrowwebParamount and MTV Films announced today that they’ve greenlit the 3rd installment of JACKASS in “eye-popping 3D” for release on October 15, 2010. It begins shooting in late January with Dickhouse Production’s Jeff Tremaine directing yet again and producing alongside Spike Jonze and Johnny Knoxville. Said the star in the statement, “We’re going to take the same 3D technology James Cameron used in AVATAR and stick it up Steve O’s butt. We’re taking stupid to a whole new dimension.” (His mother must be so proud…)

I love how the studio announcement boasts about how foul the franchise is. It pointed out that 2002’s Jackass: The Movie earned more than more than $64 million and was heralded as “a disgusting, repulsive, grotesque spectacle, but also hilarious and provocative. God help me, thumbs up” by critic Richard Roeper. 2006 Jackass: Number Two earned over $72 million and was described by The New York Times as being “debased, infantile and reckless in the extreme, this compendium of body bravado and malfunction makes for some of the most fearless, liberated and cathartic comedy in modern movies”.

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More Hollywood PR Fallout: BNC Responds

By | Saturday December 19, 2009 @ 1:44am PST

UPDATES ID Lands 2 PMK/HBH Veteran Publicists
UPDATES TOLDJA! PMK·BNC Finally Confirm Merger
UPDATES Now Rival BWR Under Attack From BNC/PMK
UPDATES Simon Halls Resigns As PMK/HBH CEO; Who’s Next To Go?
UPDATES Andy Gelb Leaves Before Merger; Simon Halls Is A Short-Timer
UPDATES EXCLUSIVE: HOLLYWOOD PR SHAKEUP!

BNC explains to me about recent exits from PMK/HBH prior to the merger:

BNC logoVictoria Harvie and her associate leaving was not unexpected. Many of her clients she was working on conflicted (she reps Mercedes/we rep Audi; she reps EBay/we rep Amazon) with current PMK·BNC clients. She is extremely talented and we wish her the best at ID.

Also we would be remiss not to address what is left at PMK·BNC (in respect to Talent representation). Most of the coverage has focused on the few talent publicists leaving.

By way of background, with a merger of this size we expected that there would be some that chose to pursue other opportunities. Again, we wish them the best. The majority of the talent department executives from

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New Trailer For ‘Shrek Forever After’

By | Saturday December 19, 2009 @ 1:18am PST

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Gary Newman/Dana Walden Spread Un-Joy

By | Friday December 18, 2009 @ 2:34pm PST

You’ve GOT to watch this holiday card from 20th Century Television. Brutally honest and humorous about the biz. (My jaw is still on the floor.) UPDATE: Ah, it was written by Modern Family‘s Steve Levitan which is it’s funny. And it was made in a 1/2 hour during the crew’s lunch break. 

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More Hollywood PR Fallout: ID Hires 2 PMK/HBH Veteran Publicists

By | Friday December 18, 2009 @ 1:58pm PST

UPDATES TOLDJA! PMK·BNC Finally Confirm Merger

Still more PMK/HBH flacks are abandoning ship in advance of the January 1st merger of the newly named PMK·BNC joint company. Others have struck out on their own or joined the newly formed Slate PR. Which begs the question: What exactly is BNC left buying when all the shaking up finally stops?

ID logoLOS ANGELES, CA, DECEMBER 21, 2009 – ID has tapped longtime PMK/HBH brand publicity executive Victoria Harvie as Vice President of Brand Strategies, CEO Kelly Bush and COO Mara Buxbaum announced today. Harvie will co-head ID’s Brand Strategies Department in Los Angeles with Vice President Heather Greenfield who has successfully managed ID’s brand business over the past four years. Also joining from PMK/HBH is Dan Strickford, signing on as an Account Director.

Longtime ID talent publicist Tamar Cohen is expanding her role from personal publicity to serve as a Senior Account Executive in the NYC office where she will continue to represent a select number of personal clients while integrating into ID’s brand representation. Chet Mehta will continue in his integral role as Senior Account Executive in both the film and brand departments.

“We’re thrilled to have Victoria and Dan join ID,” said Bush. “Together they are a dynamic force and will continue to thrive with our full support. Under Heather’s leadership, we’ve grown our brand department and expanded our services in new and exciting ways. ID

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