Paramount of course marketed the first installment of the psychological thriller precisely on the basis that the original Paranormal Activity was frightening the bejesus out of college town moviegoers. Now it’s happening again. Although Paranormal Activity 2 won’t be released until October 16th, Paramount decided to play its trailer in front of the Twilight Saga: Eclipse blockbuster that opened today. (See trailer here.) Well, after the 12:01 AM and 3 AM screenings of the vampire vs werewolves pic, Cinemark execs called Paramount today and said they have had multiple complaints in Texas that the Paranormal 2 trailer was “too scary” and they are pulling it from several of their theaters. Hey, I saw that trailer, and scary it’s not. There’s a dog. There’s a woman standing in the doorway. Jeez, I’m more scared by the prospect of Carrie Fisher playing me on Entourage. (She is. This season. Don’t ask.) But a studio exec insists, “I actually went to a couple theaters last night, and a ton of girls jumped out of their seats and screamed. All I can tell you is people complained and Cinemark pulled it down.” I say wusses, all.
What a difference nearly two decades can make. Back in 1991, Paul Reubens was arrested for allegedly masturbating publicly in a Florida theater. His showbiz career was seemingly over. Now he’s heading to Broadway, making regular TV appearances, and staging a big screen comeback as the lovable Pee-wee Herman. After seeing Paul perform as Pee-wee onstage in Los Angeles, Judd Apatow is developing a Pee-wee Herman adventure pic for Universal under the Apatow Productions banner. Reubens is writing it with Paul Rust. No director is set.
When Larry King steps down from his CNN gig later this year, he’ll need something to fill his downtime. Bagels will play a role. Just before he announced his exit, King closed a deal to become a financial partner in The Original Brooklyn Water Bagel Company, a Florida-based enterprise that claims to have developed a water treatment technology that replicates the H2O from the New York borough that is the key to churning out bagels that taste like they were made in Brooklyn. (I’m not kidding).
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York (SDNY) announced the launch Wednesday of “Operation In Our Sites,” a new initiative aimed at Internet counterfeiting and piracy. In the first action carried out as part of the initiative, authorities seized nine domain names of Web sites that were offering first-run movies, often within hours of their theatrical release. Seven of those sites were targeted for seizure by the SDNY.
The CW today became the first broadcast network to announce premiere dates for its fall lineup. As usual, the CW will roll out the bulk of its schedule ahead of the traditional fall premiere week, starting on September 8 with the debut of new drama Hellcats.
On Wednesday, September 8, Cycle 15 of AMERICA’S NEXT TOP MODEL (8:00-9:00 p.m.) kicks-off the 2010-2011 season, followed by the series premiere of new drama HELLCATS (9:00-10:00 p.m.). HELLCATS is a drama about a young pre-law student (Aly Michalka) whose world is turned upside-down when she loses her scholarship and has to join the college’s competitive cheerleading squad. Ashley Tisdale also stars as a young woman who is totally committed to the cheerleading squad to realize her dreams.
EXCLUSIVE: Starz has decided not to renew comedy series Party Down and Gravity. I hear the pay cable network may make the announcement later today. Both shows were developed and launched by Starz’s previous regime, but new president and CEO Chris Albrecht has stated repeatedly that he is big fan of Party Down. While the off-beat comedy has become an instant cult classic, I hear at the end of the day its appeal was deemed not wide enough to keep the show beyond its recently concluded Season 2. Consider this: The Season 2 finale of Party Down and Season one close of Gravity last week drew a 0.0 rating in adults 18-49 each and total audiences of 74,000 and 54,000, respectively. That is miniscule even for pay cable standards. And the writing has been on the wall: some of the actors on Party Down have already taken other jobs, like Adam Scott, who recently joined NBC’s Parks & Recreation. Starz’s slate has evolved following the breakout success of period drama Spartacus. The pay cable network has focused on dramas with big, recognizable title like the upcoming series Camelot, Torchwood and the Spartacus prqeuel as well as limited series The Pillars of the Earth. Additionally, Starz is developing an U.S. version of the hit Australian mob drama Underbelly.
UPDATE 12PM: Stephan Shelanski, executive vp programming for Starz Entertainment, issued a statement confirming the cancellations. ”After careful consideration, we’ve …
UPDATE 12:13 PM: Apparition just made official its restructuring plans after Deadline broke the story.
EXCLUSIVE: Bill Pohlad has begun the first phase of restructuring Apparition, the indie distribution company that was thrown into disarray when co-founder Bob Berney exited in bombshell fashion just before the Cannes Film Festival. The first step is painful: 60%, or approximately 15 staffers were informed moments ago they are being let go and receiving severance packages. Last day for those staffers is this Friday.
A decade after their short runs, Judd Apatow’s cult series Freaks and Geeks and Undeclared are getting another shot on IFC. The cable channel has acquired all 18 produced episodes of the NBC dramedy, created by Paul Feig and produced by Apatow, and all 17 segments of the Fox comedy, created and produced by Apatow, from Paramount Pictures, which holds the rights to the two DreamWorks TV series. Freaks and Geeks premieres this Friday, while Undeclared will debut in the fall featuring a previously unaired episode. The two series helped break a slew of young talent, including Jay Baruchel, Jenna Fischer, James Franco, Seth Rogen and Jason Segel.
The UK multiplex operator says total revenue, including ticket sales and popcorn, rose by 3.7% in the 26 weeks to July 1. Box office has increased by 4.1% including this month’s World Cup month. But the ticket sales rise was offset by a 3.2% decline in popcorn and Coke sales. Other income rose by 31.4%. Cinema chains will no doubt welcome England getting kicked out of the World Cup on Sunday. Tumbleweed has been rolling through the multiplexes during the tournament. Next time we Brits invent a sport, we should just keep it to ourselves. That way we might at least win something.
More end-of-civilization reality crapfest with the Guidos & Guidettes:
DC Comics has just given me exclusively this graphic art by Don Kramer, the new artist for the “updated” Wonder Woman comic book. (Copyright DC Comics)
My own thoughts about her: DC Comics Has Ruined Wonder Woman!
DC Comics announced that, starting today, Wonder Woman “will appear like you’ve never seen her before”. And I wish they’d just left her alone, especially since she’s the only comic book character female I’ve ever admired. Of course, it took a bunch of men to ruin her. Look at the new costume design by DC Comics Co-Publisher Jim Lee below: she looks ready for Goth Day at the Sherman Oaks Galleria. (Shame on Diane Nelson, the head of DC Entertainment, for allowing this to happen. And for not finding a talented woman writer now as in years past to update the icon’s saga.) Here’s the announcement about the dumbass stuff that DC Comics is doing to her. So let me start the campaign: FREE WONDER WOMAN!
DC Comics Co-Publisher and bestselling artist Jim Lee has redesigned her costume for the modern era, just in time for BABYLON 5 creator and critically acclaimed writer J. Michael Straczynski and artists Don Kramer and Michael Babinski to launch the Amazon Princess into an exciting and epic new era of adventure.
Starting with their story in WONDER WOMAN #600, which is in comic shops today, Straczynski and Kramer will begin a run that is both forward-looking and true to the legendary character, planting her firmly in the modern era.
Here’s what J. Michael Straczynski had to
Luke Johnson, former chairman of UK broadcaster Channel 4, who tried to rescue the ailing Borders chain, has warned High Street bookshops are finished. Johnson, who tried to turn UK Borders around before admitting defeat, says bookstores will be put out of business through a combination of supermarkets and the internet. Stores such as Asda and Sainsbury’s offer heavily discounted bestsellers, while you can get anything you want via Amazon.
The UK book market itself has shrunk by nearly 3% over the past 12 months.
“I bought Borders thinking we could turn it around,” he told the BBC. “I believed wrongly we could reverse the downturn in High Street book sales. It’s a great sadness that we couldn’t. In my opinion, the High Street book store is doomed.”
Publishers I’ve spoken to agree that the one-size-fits-all bookstore doesn’t have a future. But there is still room for independents that know their customers.
Christopher MacLehose, British publisher of Stieg Larsson (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo), says that the collapse of Borders shows what happens when you try to apply a one-size-fits-all approach to bookselling. Waterstone’s is the only national bookshop chain left in the UK after the closure of Ottakar’s and Dillons. Ironically, the collapse of Borders has left the field wide open to Waterstone’s, which has a powerful retail proposition with its three-for-two paperback offers.
When Waterstone’s was founded in 1982, it originally gave a lot of leeway to individual book …
Lily Allen is writing some of the songs for the new Bridget Jones stage musical, which has staged its first workshop reading. I’m told this was a rough assembly of Helen Fielding’s script and some songs with the Billy Elliot creative team — director Stephen Daldry, choreographer Peter Darling and associate director Julian Webber. Producer Working Title plans to bring the show to London’s West End next year. They’ll be crossing fingers Bridget Jones replicates the success of Billy Elliot, which has been seen by 4.5 million people worldwide and won 10 Tony awards, including Best Musical.
After a 6 year legal maneuvering and a month-long trial, the $250 million case of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? producer Celador v. Disney over profits from the hit game show is now in the hands of the jury. Throughout the parade of witnesses, Celador seemed to prove that it earned less than it could have from the success of the show on ABC. The question is whether it was able to convince the jurors that it was the result of Disney-owned ABC and co-producer Buena Vista TV brokering sweetheart deals among themselves, thus allegedly cheating Celador out of millions — and not because it just made a bad deal.