Controversy over a comedy short helped Russell Simmons launch his new YouTube channel All Def Digital yesterday. But a firestorm of complaints over Harriet Tubman Sex Tape, in which the abolitionist has sex with her master in order to blackmail him into creating the Underground Railroad, led Simmons to pull the video today and issue an apology. “In the whole history of Def Comedy Jam, I’ve never taken down a controversial comedian,” said Simmons in a statement. “When my buddies from the NAACP called and asked me to take down the Harriet Tubman video from the All Def Digital YouTube channel and apologize, I agreed.”
“I’m a very liberal person with thick skin,” he continues. “My first impression of the Harriet Tubman piece was that it was about what one of actors said in the video, that 162 years later, there’s still tremendous injustice. And with Harriet Tubman outwitting the slave master? I thought it was politically correct. Silly me. I can now understand why so many people are upset. I have taken down the video. Lastly, I would never condone violence against women in any form, and for all of those I offended, I am sincerely sorry.” READ MORE »
The channel’s called AwesomenessX and it will offer “original sports, gaming, comedy, pranks and lifestyle content” for males in their teens and 20s, says the company that’s owned by DreamWorks Animation. As the Web destination grows it can … Read More »
This is the deal that DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg appears to have been alluding to last night when he said he had video-related “news to share pretty quickly.” He says this AM that the YouTube destination is “one of the fastest-growing content channels on the Internet today and our acquisition of this groundbreaking venture will bring incredible momentum to our digital strategy.” AwesomenessTV has TV and film aspirations which indicates it has “continued cross-platform expansion plans,” the companies say. The deal, which includes contingencies, should provide a nice payoff for founder and CEO Brian Robbins as well as UTA and Ziffren Brittenham — all of whom supported (the trendy term is “incubate”) the young service. Stifel analyst Benjamin Mogil says DWA’s acquisition is “strategically prudent” given the growth in Internet video viewing even though it will “likely be dilutive [to earnings] in the near term.” DreamWorks shares are up 6.6% in mid-morning trading. Here’s the release: Read More »
Brian Brooks is a Deadline contributor.
UPDATED: Just in time for the debauchery of Spring Break that has long provided fodder for Hollywood, distribution newcomer A24 Films scored big time with this weekend’s three-theater opening of Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers. The Venice/Toronto debut headlining James Franco and Disney stars Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens grossed a whopping $270K for a $90K average. That’s the best opening per-theater-average in the specialty arena for 2013. A24 also fared well with their other rollout, Ginger & Rosa, which had the third-highest per theater average of the current weekend with $15K. Both titles should prove strong box office contenders in the weeks to come. GKids released Studio Ghibli’s From Up On Poppy Hill, which averaged an impressive weekend second-best $27,514 in a pair of theaters. The animated film was directed by Goro Miyazaki, son of master Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki, who was co-writer on the movie. YouTube channel AwesomenessTV partnered with AMC Entertainment to open the teen R&B concert pic Mindless Behavior: All Around The World in 117 theaters, grossing over a half-million dollars with a solid $4,351 average. Oscilloscope bowed Matteo Garrone’s Reality in one theater, grossing $8K, while Millennium took Upside Down to 11 locations, averaging $2,570. Read More »