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UPDATE: Herb Allen’s Sun Valley Retreat – Bloomberg Shines; John Kerry Panel Glitch

UPDATE: Herb Allen’s Sun Valley Retreat – Bloomberg Shines; John Kerry Panel Glitch3RD UPDATE, FRIDAY, 2:50 PM: People actually enjoyed the Michael Bloomberg panel today at the Herb Allen Sun Valley conference as the 72-year-old answered questions from journalist Willow Bay, wife of Disney’s Robert Iger. The former mayor of New York whose fight for reasonable gun laws is well-documented, spoke about his philanthropy efforts and giving back to society. Through Bloomberg Philanthropies, the billionaire does just that in the areas of education, the arts, gun issues, governance and public health. He spoke about how dysfunctional the current U.S. system is politically and otherwise to get things done — no doubt as he personally saw what happened behind the scenes in Washington D.C. as politicians in the pocket of the NRA stymied efforts to get background checks on gun sales passed. Leave it to a politician — an orator and a former Eagle scout (hey, it’s no small task) — to wake up the moguls.

2013-07-11t154703z_2111664344_gm1e97b1tzw01_rtrmadp_3_sunvalley-conference_FotorThe second panel, which was supposed to feature Charlie Rose interviewing Secretary of State John Kerry piped in live from Afghanistan, went awry as the video feed didn’t work (they tried for about 15 minutes to get it up and running to no avail). That conversation, which was expected to be about how heavily the U.S. should be involved in the current explosive situation in the Middle East, will now take place tomorrow after journalist Becky Quick interviews Warren Buffet and Jeff Bezos.

So they are attempting to fix the video feed for tomorrow, but let’s face it, if it doesn’t work, we doubt anyone will be upset as Kerry drones … on and on. Speaking of drones, there has been some attempt to make sure that drones don’t fly over the conference taking pictures, according to Bloomberg News. Ahhh, technology … the age of the paparazzi drone? If people are still awake after Kerry and Rose, a number of younger entrepreneurs will have their turn at bat.

Most all we spoke with don’t expect any major deals to go down at this conference. That Read More »

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Relativity Prepares To Sell ArtistDirect

Relativity Prepares To Sell ArtistDirectRyan Kavanaugh‘s company is in late-stage discussions to sell the music information and download service to an undisclosed buyer for about $1M, I’m told. Relativity Digital is preparing to unload a collection of sites in the deal including artistdirect.com, musicandirect.net, ubl.com, ultimatemusic.com, and playlisted.com. The tiny price suggests how hard it’s been to stand out in a music market dominated by services including Apple’s iTunes, Pandora, and Spotify. Relativity bought ArtistDirect for well under $1M in January 2010, months after the music service delisted its stock. In its last annual report, ArtistDirect said it generated $12.1M in revenues in 2008 — but with nearly $48M in losses.

The sale comes amid other changes at Relativity Digital. On June 13, Randall Cox quietly left as president of the operation. He hasn’t been directly replaced; the unit is being overseen by the company’s new Chief Marketing Officer Angela Courtin. Relativity still intends to expand its presence in digital, a source at the company says. Earlier this year it offered about $1B in its privately held stock for online video power Maker Studios, which accepted a lower cash bid from Disney. It also made a run at multinetwork web video company Fullscreen.

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Disney XD Orders Comedy Pilot ‘Commando Crash’

By | Thursday July 10, 2014 @ 5:03pm PDT

Disney XD Orders Comedy Pilot ‘Commando Crash’EXCLUSIVE: Disney XD has begun production on live-action comedy pilot Commando Crash for series consideration. It features Crash, the popular purple puppet from Disney XD’s Crash & Bernstein, played by Emmy-nominated puppet master and filmmaker Tim Lagasse. The pilot picks up with Crash after he has been sent away to Oak Shield Military Academy, a military school with a stark division between the Alphas, who aspire to learn the good ways of an Oak Shield soldier, and the Clunks, a group of out-casted cadets who are there to mend their propensity for trouble-making. Crash rallies the discouraged Clunks to push their limits and stand up against the long-standing favoritism shown toward the Alphas.
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Disney Wants Autistic Kids Lawsuit Tossed, Denies “Magic List” Exists

By | Thursday July 10, 2014 @ 11:52am PDT

Disney Wants Autistic Kids Lawsuit Tossed, Denies “Magic List” ExistsLooks like Walt Disney Parks and Resorts has no patience with waiting in line for a lawsuit claiming it violated the American With Disabilities Act to make its way through the courts. The division of the media giant bluntly hit back against complaint filed in early April by the families of children with developmental disorders over treatment at its parks. “Disney prays for the following relief,” said the 93-page response filed yesterday in federal court (read it here), “that the Plaintiffs take nothing by their Complaint … Plaintiff’s compliant be dismissed with prejudice in its entirety.”

In fact, in their repetitive point-by-point retort, Disney lawyers Rhonda Trotter and Daniel Paluch of LA firm Kaye Scholer LLP DJP LEGAL BADGEbasically give short shrift to nearly all the allegations of violations of the ADA and Unruh Civil Rights Act from the large group of plaintiffs. The families say the violations occurred because of the introduction in October of a new and cumbersome to say the least Disability Access Service at the company’s theme parks and resorts including Disneyland. Long story short, the DAS left the children disrepected by park employees, stuck in long lines to which their conditions are unsuited and causing “meltdown behaviors.”

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Comic-Con: ‘Star Wars: Episode VII’ Won’t Be There, Only ‘Rebels’ Will Be

Comic-Con: ‘Star Wars: Episode VII’ Won’t Be There, Only ‘Rebels’ Will BeFans hoping to catch footage from Star Wars: Episode VII or autographs from its casts will have to wait. Director J.J. Abrams and the Episode VII cast, who are knee-deep in production over at Pinewood Studios in London, will not be heading to San Diego’s Comic-Con this month sources close to the production and at Comic-Con told Deadline. Instead, Star Wars fans at Comic-Con can elbow their way into the Disney XD’s panel for its animated Star Wars Rebels series on Thursday, July 24 from 6-7 PM in Room 6BCF. Executive producers Dave Filoni and Simon Kinberg along with actors Freddie Prinze Jr. (Kanan), Steve Blum (Zeb), Taylor Gray (Ezra), Tiya Sircar (Sabine) and Vanessa Marshall (Hera) will be on hand showing exclusive content.

This is the second no-show for Episode VII since Disney’s D23 last August, when fans were expecting any type of announcement (final cast was announced back in April). Most of the buzz for Episode VII has been mounted online with TMZ posting photos from the Tatooine set in June as well as Abrams’ @bad_robot Twitter feed. Two days ago a photo was tweeted out (see below) of the new IMAX cameras being used to shoot the film … the photo gave a sneak peak of the camera shooting footage over the Tatooine dunes.

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EMMYS: Overall Nominations By Network

By | Thursday July 10, 2014 @ 7:08am PDT

EMMYS: Overall Nominations By NetworkOnce again, HBO led all networks in Emmy nominations this year, and it wasn’t even close. Here’s a look at HBO’s noms haul in the past decade, followed by a breakdown in who got what this year.

Emmy Nominations HBO Chart 2004 to 2014

 

NOMINATIONS BY NETWORK

HBO – 99
CBS – 47
NBC – 46
FX Networks – 45
ABC – 37
PBS – 34
Netflix – 31
FOX– 30
AMC – 26
Showtime – 24
Comedy Central – 21
FOX– 30
Lifetime – 17
National Geographic Channel – 15
Starz – 11
Discovery Channel – 10 Read More »

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EMMYS: Overall Nominations By Show

By | Thursday July 10, 2014 @ 7:07am PDT

EMMYS: Overall Nominations By ShowGame of Thrones led the Emmy nominations race, but not by much, ahead of Fargo, American Horror Story‘s latest, Breaking Bad and The Normal Heart. Below we have charts with all the shows, organized by most nominations and by name. We also have a show-by-show index of what each show was nominated for. Read More »

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Primetime Emmys: Full List Of Nominees

By | Thursday July 10, 2014 @ 5:53am PDT

Primetime Emmys: Full List Of NomineesThe 66th annual Primetime Emmy Awards nominations were announced this morning at the TV Academy in North Hollywood. Netflix fared well with Best Series nominations in both comedy and drama categories, with Orange Is The New Black in the former and House Of Cards in the latter. HBO fared well with noms for rookie Silicon Valley and Veep on the comedy side and Game Of Thrones and True Detective on the drama side. Both of that series’ stars, Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrleson, received nods in the actor category, as did Mad Men‘s Jon Hamm. The AMC show is back in the drama race with Breaking Bad and Downton Abbey rounding out the category. On the comedy side, the top category includes reigning champ Modern Family, CBS’ The Big Bang Theory and FX’s Louie.

Here’s the full list of noms:

Outstanding Comedy Series

The Big Bang Theory
CBS • Chuck Lorre Productions, Inc. in association with Warner Bros. Television

Louie
FX Networks • Pig Newton, Inc. and FX Productions

Modern Family
ABC • Picador Productions and Steven Levitan Productions in association with 20th Century Fox Television

Orange Is The New Black
Netflix • Lionsgate Television for Netflix

Silicon Valley
HBO • HBO Entertainment in association with Judgemental Films, Alec Berg, Altschuler Krinsky works, and 3 Arts Entertainment

Veep
HBO • HBO Entertainment in association with Dundee Productions

Outstanding Drama Series

Breaking Bad
AMC • Sony Pictures Television

Downton Abbey
PBS • A Carnival Films/Masterpiece Co-Production in association with NBC Universal

Game Of Thrones
HBO • HBO Entertainment in association with Bighead, Littlehead; Television 360; Startling Television and Generator Productions

House Of Cards
Netflix • Donen/Fincher/Roth and Trigger Street Productions, Inc. in association with Media Rights Capital for Netflix

Mad Men
AMC • Lionsgate Television

True Detective
HBO • HBO Entertainment in association with Neon Black, Anonymous Content, Parliament of Owls and Passenger Read More »

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Content Is King, But It Won’t Be For Long: Analyst

Content Is King, But It Won’t Be For Long: AnalystThis won’t go over well with the media moguls hobnobbing at the Allen & Co retreat in Sun Valley. But it’s the thesis behind the “neutral” rating that Barclays Capital’s Kannan Venkateshwar assigns to Big Media in his smart new 100-plus-page inaugural report on the industry. The major players – CBS, Discovery, Time Warner, Fox, Viacom, and Disney — make most of their profits from television. And although revenues in the field have grown over the last five years, “the source of this growth in most cases (with a few notable exceptions) has been through price inflation and an increase in the advertising inventory rather than a more sustainable growth in ratings,” he says. That spells trouble as Netflix, Amazon and others also produce content for the Web, and pay TV distributors including Comcast and DirecTV strike merger deals that make them stronger. They focus on shows and search engines — not networks and schedules. And as they forge stronger ties with subscribers, “traditional media companies get pushed further back into the value chain, further away from a direct relationship with the consumer.”
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Elisabeth Hasselbeck: Rosie O’Donnell Told Me She Produced ‘The View’ Reunion Show (Video)

By | Wednesday July 9, 2014 @ 7:59am PDT

Elisabeth Hasselbeck: Rosie O’Donnell Told Me She Produced ‘The View’ Reunion Show (Video)With reports of Rosie O’Donnell‘s return to The View growing louder and more detailed, Fox News Channel this morning had vacationing Elisabeth Hasselbeck call in to say Rosie has not changed from her previous, short, unhappy time on the ABC talk show, and was calling the shots on the episodes leading up to Barbara Walters’ retirement as The View’s on-air Den Mom.

“Here in comes to The View the very woman who’s spit in the face of our military, spit in the face of her own network, and, really spit in the face of a person who stood by her and had civilized debates for the time that she was there –  coming back with a bunch of control, ready to regain The View with a seat at that table, Hasselbeck said this morning on Fox & Friends.
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ABC Family Shake-Up: Chief Creative Officer Kate Juergens Exits

By | Tuesday July 8, 2014 @ 2:20pm PDT

ABC Family Shake-Up: Chief Creative Officer Kate Juergens ExitsKate Juergens, the executive behind ABC Family‘s defining original programming including Pretty Little Liars, The Secret Life Of The American Teenager, Switched At Birth and The Fosters, is exiting her post as Chief Creative Officer and EVP Original Content. The move was announced today via a staff memo from ABC Family President Tom Ascheim (read it below). He said her departure will result in a restructuring at the Disney cable network that includes the exit of SVP Acquisitions and Scheduling Lynn Stepanian, the odd person out in a new plan to combine Business Strategy, Planning & Development and Scheduling & Acquisitions under one roof and one leader. Both Juergens and Stepanian are departing later this week, and a search is underway for the new position.

Related: Tom Ascheim Named ABC Family President

Juergens was Michael Riley’s No. 2 until his departure in September as ABC Family president. She was tipped to be a front-runner for the top job, much as she was in the mix as the top development executive when Paul Lee left as network president in 2010 — she did not make a play for the post then. Ascheim, a former Nickelodeon GM and CEO of Newsweek, eventually was hired in December after a search led by Anne Sweeney, then co-chair of Disney Media Networks and president of Disney/ABC Television Group (Sweeney reportedly searched for an executive with a strong business background).

Related: Anne Sweeney’s Legacy: Her Hits, Misses & Contribution To Breaking The Glass Ceiling

Juergens said in her own memo to staff today that she began discussions about leaving the network “several months ago.” Ascheim asked her to stay through pilot season, which originally included pickups for three drama pilots; one, Alice In Arabia, about an American teenage girl kidnapped by her extended royal Saudi Arabian family and forced to live with them, was pulled four days after it was announced amid pressure from a Muslim advocacy group.

Stepanian was hired by Riley for her current post in June 2012 from TV Guide Network. In her role she was responsible for off-network series and feature acquisitions as well as overseeing the strategic scheduling of all on-air linear content and longform video.

Here’s Ascheim’s memo, followed by one from Juergens: Read More »

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WATCH: More Is More In Marvel’s ‘Guardians Of The Galaxy’ IMAX Preview, Extended Trailer?

By | Tuesday July 8, 2014 @ 1:41pm PDT

WATCH: More Is More In Marvel’s ‘Guardians Of The Galaxy’ IMAX Preview, Extended Trailer?Below is the latest trailer for Marvel’s Guardians Of The Galaxy, which opens July 31 internationally before debuting stateside the next day. This new action-packed extended peek dropped after Disney/Marvel unloaded 17 minutes of IMAX footage last night to drum up buzz on the superhero team-up, including a looong galactic prison break scene and sizzle reels that drew comparisons to Star Wars from fans and bloggers.

I’ve heard the James Gunn-directed pic is almost done with post with less than a month left to go before release. Given its lesser known comic book characters and the tepid summer on the box office charts so far, Marvel needs to drum up all the excitement it can. Enter the mainstream, older-skewing Guardians soundtrack for dads: Is this how Marvel’s gonna hook the baby boomer set? Read More »

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Comic-Con: Warner Bros. Bringing Peter Jackson, ‘Mad Max’, ‘Jupiter Ascending’, ‘Into the Storm’

Comic-Con: Warner Bros. Bringing Peter Jackson, ‘Mad Max’, ‘Jupiter Ascending’, ‘Into the Storm’In the first of what is yet to come in terms of the major studio film announcements, Warner Bros. revealed today its cinema panel lineup at Comic-Con 2014.  On Saturday, July 26 at 10 AM, the studio is bringing Peter Jackson and The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies to Hall H as well as director George Miller who’ll present a sneak peek at his Mad Max: Fury Road.  In addition, there will be a first look at the Wachowskis’ Jupiter Ascending.  Attending stars will be announced at a later date.  In the meantime, fans can start lining up at the Gas Lamp Theatre for a 10 PM  pre-Con fan screening of New Line and Village Roadshow Pictures’ upcoming “cli-fi” thriller Into the Storm on Wednesday, July 23.

However, the big question Comic-Con attendees really wanna know is: Will Disney bring Star Wars: Episode VII in any shape or form to the fanboy confab? Will J.J. Abrams possibly start that August break just a little earlier and bring the gang to San Diego?  Disney did not reveal any sneek peeks of the franchise at their D23 convention last summer.

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Update: Intl Box Office: ‘Transformers’ Adds $52M In China Weekend; ‘Dragon 2′ Fires Up $30M; And How’s ‘Tammy’?; ‘Maleficent’ Dethrones ‘Frozen’ In Japan; More

Update: Intl Box Office: ‘Transformers’ Adds $52M In China Weekend; ‘Dragon 2′ Fires Up $30M; And How’s ‘Tammy’?; ‘Maleficent’ Dethrones ‘Frozen’ In Japan; More5TH UPDATE, TUESDAY AM: Paramount came in with numbers late on Monday evening showing a slight bump in the overseas cume for Transformers: Age Of Extinction‘s 2nd frame. It was worth to $96.6M, the studio said, although the total overseas figure to date was unchanged at $400.9M. China‘s gross lifted to $52M from the previous $50.9M estimate. That was good for a total box office in the market through Sunday of $212.8M. There is some confusion over the tally, however, as local websites are reporting it had $222.74M through Sunday. That would push it past Avatar as the highest-grossing movie ever in China. We’re working to get the exact figures nailed down. All other figures for TAOE are updated in the copy below.

4th UPDATE, MONDAY, 4:00 PM PT: Paramount Pictures is the only studio that has not reported, and it has, of course, Transformers: Age Of Extinction, which is pounding it way across international markets. So we have finals for everything but the No. 1 pic internationally. The studio is still on holiday in the states. But Sony, Disney, Fox, Warner Bros and Universal have weighed in with updated numbers for their international releases this weekend.

The titles we have final updates for include 22 Jump Street, Deliver Us From Evil, Maleficent, Frozen, The Fault In Our Stars, How To Train Your Dragon 2, Rio 2, The Other Woman, X-Men: Days Of Future Past, Edge Read More »

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Andrew Barrer & Gabriel Ferrari In Negotiations For ‘Ant-Man’ Rewrite

By | Monday July 7, 2014 @ 7:00pm PDT

Andrew Barrer & Gabriel Ferrari In Negotiations For ‘Ant-Man’ RewriteThe duo behind Sony’s upcoming take on Sabrina The Teenage Witch are in negotiations to take a stab at the script for Marvel’s tiniest hero. Andrew Barrer & Gabriel Ferrari made the 2010 Black List fresh out of NYU with Die In A Gunfight and later scored the scripting gig on the horror pic Haunt. Now the pair is eyed to rewrite Ant-Man for director Peyton Reed, who replaced Edgar Wright last month. Adam McKay did the most recent pass on the script about the shrinking superhero. Marvel wouldn’t comment. Barrer & Ferrari are repped by WME and Caliber Media. Latino Review was first to report.

Related: Edgar Wright Exits Marvel’s ‘Ant-Man’ Over Creative Differences

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Disney Channel Orders Comedy Pilot ‘Bunked’

By | Monday July 7, 2014 @ 2:51pm PDT

Disney Channel Orders Comedy Pilot ‘Bunked’EXCLUSIVE: Disney Channel has greenlighted comedy pilot Bunked, written by Joey Manderino (Austin & Ally) and executed produced by Dan Staley (Good Luck Charlie), for series consideration. According to the logline, Bunked follows a tech-savvy teenage girl as she tries to adapt to life as a counselor at a sleep-away camp in Wisconsin. She barely has the skills to unzip a sleeping bag, let alone lead young campers through any outdoor adventures, but with a little help from new friends, and some insect repellent, she might be able to pull it off. Bunked begins production in September.

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BOX OFFICE: July 4th Holiday Down 42% As ‘Transformers’ Led And ‘Tammy’ Bowed

BOX OFFICE: July 4th Holiday Down 42% As ‘Transformers’ Led And ‘Tammy’ Bowed16th UPDATE, Monday, 2:40 PM: Here are the final gross updates for the Top 20 films of the July Fourth weekend. I’ve included both 3-day and 5-day totals for the Top Ten. The jump went to favorite son 22 Jump Street as this morning it looked like it was under Screen Gems’ Deliver Us From Evil. See below for the Monday updates. So while 22 Jump Street won the three-day weekend, it racked up a lesser per screen average than Evil which won the five-day derby. That’s a way to mix it up as they were neck in neck throughout the weekend. Overall, the Fourth of July holiday weekend was 42% lower than last year when Despicable Me 2 bowed to a whopping $83.5M. Last year, the 4th fell on a Thursday.

Interesting to see how the weather affected the box office holiday this weekend. On the Fourth, which was a Friday, Los Angeles was down only 1% night to night (which is fairly normal for the Fourth with good weather in L.A.). However, the East Coast where it was raining saw a huge jump in movie attendance — 76% up from Thursday to Friday in New York and 170% rise on Friday in Boston. When it rains in the summer, people go to the movies, esp. on a rainy holiday.

Transformers: Age of Extinction, in its second weekend dropped 63%. It also dropped 75% Friday to Friday (which included $8.75M of late night grosses) so the studio likely made their adjustments during the week or weekend. Despite what others reported, everyone knows that this industry has yet to see a picture open to $100M. Next weekend, we have Dawn of the Planet of the Apes coming from Fox, but that is not expected to do it either even though it is a high-quality film well-targeted for its demo. Expect a high CinemaScore and great word of mouth. Right now, it’s expected to surpass the opening weekend of Rise of the Planet of the Apes which bowed to $54.8M in April 2011. Dawn opens at 10 PM on July 10.

A shout out to a very high-quality film coming out this coming weekend: Richard Linklater’s Boyhood from IFC Films. It is, simply put, one of the best films I’ve seen so far this year.

Meanwhile, it will be interesting to see how far Tammy falls next weekend as word of mouth is going to hurt it. Here’s the finals from the studios: Read More »

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Broadway Box Office Slumps $4.66M Over July 4th; Audra McDonald Re-Ups With ‘Lady Day’

By | Monday July 7, 2014 @ 1:06pm PDT

Broadway Box Office Slumps $4.66M Over July 4th; Audra McDonald Re-Ups With ‘Lady Day’UPDATE: Tony Winner (for best performance by a leading actress in a play) Audra McDonald has again extended her stay in Lady Day At Emerson’s Bar & Grill at Circle In The Square. The record-holding six-time Tony winner will take a vacation the first week of September and then return to the show from September 9-21.

Meanwhile, Broadway took a major box office slam last week during the July Fourth holiday. Total gross for 30 shows was $25,117,615, down from $29,774,659 the week before for 33  shows, according to the Broadway League trade group. Read More »

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From Long, Long Ago, Georgia’s Oldest Theater Gets Oldest ‘Star Wars’ For Anniversary Screening

By and | Sunday July 6, 2014 @ 4:06pm PDT

From Long, Long Ago, Georgia’s Oldest Theater Gets Oldest ‘Star Wars’ For Anniversary ScreeningAtlanta’s Plaza, the state’s oldest continuously operating film palace, will open celebrations of its 75th anniversary on July 18 with an extremely rare screening of  Star Wars: Episode IVthe first of the six films (for the moment) in the much beloved sci-fi movie cycle. That original Star Wars film came out in 1977, then underwent a substantial cleanup of its VFX and more during the Special Edition version that came out on the film’s 20th anniversary. Disney officials confirmed that the digital print being provided the Plaza will be based on the Special Edition version which got a wide release in 1997. The original 1977 was re-released in April of 1981.

But think of this, some of the tickets are going for $75 a pop.

A few years ago, during a special event spotlighting Star Wars’ visual effects at the American Cinematheque in Los Angeles, writer-director George Lucas said that he would never want to re-release the film’s original version featuring the old (though then ground-breaking) VFX, because the technological progress made in the ensuing decades allowed him to come closer to actually creating the movie that he saw in his own head. Whatever the version on screen, the original Star Wars hasn’t had a lot of runs in theaters in quite a while. But then again, when the movie came out, it stayed out, setting box office records and running in some theaters for more than a year (76 weeks(!) at one Beaverton, Ore., theater alone) as part of … Read More »

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