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Netflix Could Undermine UltraViolet As Low Cost Rentals Trash Studio Profits: Report

Moguls will need a stiff drink nearby when they read Morgan Stanley analyst Benjamin Swinburne’s bracing report today about the state of the home video business — and Hollywood studios. He says that film operations at Universal, Disney, Paramount, Fox, and Warner Bros are worth about $19.3B, down from $40.2B in 2007. And a big reason for the 52% drop is that studios’ annual home video profits from each TV household fell to $100 last year from $127 in 2007 — and will continue to slide to $93 in 2015. Sales and high-priced rentals of DVDs and Blu-ray discs from retailers such as Blockbuster are simply falling too fast as consumers discover that they can do just fine paying $1.20 a night to rent a disc at a kiosk — or less to watch a movie from Netflix. The analyst says it’s possible that studios will boost sales of discs with the UltraViolet initiative, which gives buyers opportunities to stream the movies to mobile and other digital devices. But probably not: Read More »

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Weinstein Co Always Finds Another Sucker

missingharvmilk2.jpgEarlier tonight I received a call from The Weinstein Co’s David Glasser claiming that the cash-strapped indie film company will emerge from its restructuring next week “debt-free”. Do I believe this? About as much as I believe any of the phony baloney spin coming out of the Weinstein PR machine these days. (That Miramax was theirs, for instance?) For six months Deadline has been hearing from TWC how the company was looking to relieve itself of the burden of servicing its mountainous debt which led to massive layoffs, revolving door executives, and a movie release schedule in shambles. (That’s when we wrote: Weinstein Co Gets “New Lease On Life”? at the start of the Sundance Film Festival.)

weinsteinlogoTonight, journalists like myself are being told that TWC’s $400M worth of liquidity woes ($500M six months ago) has miraculously disappeared. “We’re absolved of all our debt,” Glasser claimed to me. Suffice it to say that Ambac Financial Group still won’t pull the plug on TWC, and Goldman Sachs now is holding a lien against 200 films, the vast majority of them home video crap left over from TWC’s Genius fiasco, and I could go on and on with details. But I’m sick of this company’s claims. (Harvey doesn’t even get on the phone to reporters anymore because he’s fearful of saying anything contrary to what he’s claimed to creditors.)

People do business with The Weinstein Co at their peril. I know from my reporting that almost everybody who trusts The Weinstein Co lives to regret it, … Read More »

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Jack Klugman Sues Over ‘Quincy M.E’ Accounting; NBC Uni Claims $66M Losses

The complaint was filed today in Los Angeles Superior Court. This really sounds like one of the worst cases of phony-baloney studio accounting, not to mention sheer arrogance, in Hollywood history. Geez, when is Big Media going to stop this larceny? For instance, according to the lawsuit, NBC Uni is claiming that, as of the end of fiscal year 2006, Quincy M.E. has accumulated over $66 million in net losses — this after we all know that the 1976-1983 series is a classic shown all over the world even to this day. Through his Beverly Hills attorneys Johnson & Johnson [UPDATE: This firm and another are representing me in a class action lawsuit related to a personal matter. I forgot to disclose that when I wrote this post on a busy news day. I apologize for the omission.]

Klugman just gave this statement to me: “I don’t want their money. I want my money. I can’t believe they’ve collected over $250 million dollars and they say they are still in the hole. I have 28% of the net and they won’t even give me a copy of my contract. I worked for them for almost 8 years. I got up at 4 o’clock in the morning. I would rewrite. I did a ton of work. It’s on every day. I haven’t gotten a penny for years.”

nbcuni-logo1.gifWorse, the lawsuit claims that when Klugman asked to see his paperwork with NBC Uni, the … Read More »

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