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Quick Takes: Sounds of Middle-earth

October 25, 2012

Peter Jackson wants movie theaters to be filled with the sounds of Middle-earth.

New Zealand-based Park Road Post Production said Jackson's new J.R.R. Tolkien adaptation, "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey," will be mixed in Dolby Atmos, the state-of-the-art sound system that debuted earlier this year with Disney/Pixar's animated film "Brave."

Developed by San Francisco-based Dolby Laboratories, Dolby Atmos enables sound mixers to place sounds in any location of the movie theater to create a more naturalist and realistic atmosphere.

Dolby aims to have 80 to 100 theaters capable of delivering the Atmos sound system by the Dec. 14 debut of the first "Hobbit" film. The cost of the system, however, could slow its rollout. The equipment runs $30,000 to $50,000 to install, depending on the size of the theater.

—Richard Verrier

'Rear Window' on Broadway?

A producing team has won the theatrical stage rights to "Rear Window," the noir tale that Alfred Hitchcock made into a classic film.

Producer Charlie Lyons, director Jay Russell and actor Tim Guinee announced Wednesday that their two-year hunt for the rights had been successful and that they were hoping to mount the show on Broadway.

"Rear Window" is based on a Cornell Woolrich short story, "It Had to Be Murder," that was first published in February 1942 in Dime Detective Magazine.

The 1954 film version, starring Jimmy Stewart and Grace Kelly, tells the story of a wheelchair-bound witness to a possible murder.

Literary agent Sheldon Abend in 1971 purchased a copyright to the short story on which "Rear Window" was based. The new producing team bought the first stage option ever granted by Abend's trust.

—Associated Press

A little country amid all the pop

The pop music charts are getting an infusion of country this month.

Taylor Swift's new album is expected to set a bevy of 2012 sales records next week, and country star Jason Aldean had the No. 1 album in the United States this week.

Aldean's Broken Bow effort "Night Train" docked at the top spot on the Billboard charts Wednesday after selling more than 409,000 copies, according to Nielsen Soundscan, which gives him the second-best chart debut of 2012.

Only Mumford & Sons' "Babel" sold more in its first week of release this year. "Babel" was No. 2 this week and has now sold about 938,000 copies for Glassnote Records in four weeks of release.

—Todd Martens

That's one hefty sales commission

Al Pacino is being paid a minimum of $125,000 a week for playing washed-up real estate huckster Shelly Levene on Broadway in "Glengarry Glen Ross."

It's one of the biggest-ever pay packages for a Broadway star, proving that death aside, the life of a salesman isn't so shabby.

For the 10-week run of David Mamet's drama about sniping, struggling Chicago scam artists, Pacino is also entitled to 5% of profits. That's contingent on the roughly $2.3-million production paying back investors, according to the operating agreement for Glengarry Broadway LLC, the limited liability company formed to mount the revival.

Pacino's pay tops that of Matthew Broderick and Nathan Lane, who each were paid $100,000 a week plus a sliver of profits when they returned to "The Producers" for three months in 2004, said a member of the show's production team who spoke on condition of anonymity.

In 2009's "A Steady Rain," Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig each earned as much as $120,000 per week or 10% of the box office, a production source from that show said.

—Bloomberg News

The legal wrath of Suri's daddy

An attorney for Tom Cruise said he filed a $50-million defamation lawsuit Wednesday against the publishers of Life & Style magazine for articles that said the actor has abandoned his 6-year-old daughter, Suri.

"Tom is a caring father who dearly loves Suri. She's a vital part of his life and always will be," said the actor's attorney, Bert Fields. "To say it in lurid headlines with a tearful picture of Suri is reprehensible."

The lawsuit was filed in a Los Angeles federal court.

An email message left for a spokeswoman for Bauer Publishing, which produces Life & Style, was not immediately returned.

Cruise and Suri's mother, Katie Holmes, were divorced earlier this year.

—Associated Press


Book deal: Glen Berger, co-writer of the big-budget, disaster-prone "Spider-Man, Turn Off the Dark," is working on a book. "Song of Spider-Man: The Inside Story of the Most Controversial Musical in Broadway History" will come out next year, Simon & Schuster said.

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