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ENTERTAINMENT
October 5, 2012 | By Amy Kaufman and Ben Fritz, Los Angeles Times
Struggling to compete with big-budget movies at the box office, indie films are increasingly finding a lucrative niche in one of Hollywood's fastest-growing markets: video on demand. The number of films released in theaters and video on demand at the same time nearly doubled from 2009 to 2011 and is projected to jump about 30% this year, to 68. The dark comedy "Bachelorette" exemplifies the trend: It has grossed about $5.5 million from video-on-demand (or VOD) rentals since premiering in August, compared with a paltry $418,000 earned in theaters.
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ENTERTAINMENT
November 30, 2013 | By Rebecca Keegan
Some jobs - catching fastballs, singing pop songs, dancing en pointe - are a lot easier when you're young. Add to that list directing independent movies, where it's not the physical demands that wear out many filmmakers but the financial stresses. At some point, most indie directors tire of the never-ending hustle for the money to make and release their movies and repair to the more lucrative worlds of television and studio fare. That's what makes the career of John Sayles so remarkable.
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BUSINESS
March 12, 2013 | By Richard Verrier, Los Angeles Times
One story depicts girls coming of age in India. Another follows a group of seniors as they compete in an international pingpong championship in Mongolia. Closer to home is the portrait of local priest Father Greg Boyle and his work with ex-gang members. Then there's a look at "fruit detectives" from around the world in search of exotic varieties. Those are among eight documentaries that will be shown on designated nights at two dozen theaters nationwide this spring as part of the Docurama series.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 12, 2013 | By Joe Flint
After the coffee. Before figuring out why the Vatican didn't call me. The Skinny: I like "Mad Men. " I hate all the hype around it. I don't need to analyze a new poster for the show. Tuesday's headlines include a look at the challenges facing the new boss at NBC News and who may be the next FCC chairman.  Daily Dose: Week 2 ratings for History's "The Bible" were still strong but not as huge as Week 1. According to Nielsen, 10.8 million viewers watched Sunday's episode, down from 13.1 million the first week.
NEWS
January 31, 2007 | JAMES BATES, TIMES STAFF WRITER
JOHN SLOSS has been called independent filmmaking's consigliere. He's part lawyer, part salesman, part problem-solver who became an avid film buff watching a movie a day as a projectionist and usher while attending the University of Michigan. Honored films he's been involved with include "Boys Don't Cry," which won Hilary Swank her first acting Academy Award, best documentary Oscar winner "The Fog of War" and current best picture nominee "Little Miss Sunshine."
ENTERTAINMENT
June 20, 2011 | By Amy Kaufman, Los Angeles Times staff writer
"The Art of Getting By," about a high school slacker more interested in a girl than in his homework, barely lived up to its name this weekend at the box office. The film, which stars young actors Freddie Highmore and Emma Roberts, had what even distributor Fox Searchlight acknowledged was a "disappointing" opening. According to a studio estimate, the movie collected only $700,000 from 610 theaters for a dismal per-theater average of $1,148. "The Art of Getting By" — previously titled "Homework" when it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January — did worse than two other independent movies that opened this weekend and also played at the Utah event.
BUSINESS
May 25, 2010 | By Claudia Eller, Los Angeles Times
Focus Features remains one of the rare specialty film companies tied to a major studio. And at the moment, it has more to brag about than its parent Universal Pictures. Focus celebrated Mother's Day with the better-than-expected debut of its feel-good documentary "Babies," which chronicles the lives of four infants around the world from birth to first steps. The movie company, known for such unconventional hits as "Brokeback Mountain" and "Lost in Translation," also has one of the most anticipated independent movies of the summer coming July 7, the family comedy-drama "The Kids Are All Right" starring Annette Bening and Julianne Moore as a lesbian couple whose two teenage kids seek out their sperm donor.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 7, 2011 | By Amy Kaufman
It's not uncommon for independent movies to debut on video-on-demand the same day they are released in theaters. Most of the time, however, such low-budget films are playing in only about half a dozen theaters nationwide. That wasn't the case, however, with "Margin Call. " The Wall Street drama debuted in 56 theaters three weeks ago and simultaneously became available to cable subscribers who wanted to watch the picture from the comfort of their own homes. The movie has since expanded to 178 theaters and has brought in $2.5 million since its opening, according to an estimate from distributor Roadside Attractions.
BUSINESS
October 3, 2009 | Claudia Eller
Walt Disney Co., looking to rein in costs at its Hollywood studio as it focuses on mainstream movies, is slashing staff by 70% at its Miramax Films specialty label and is substantially reducing the number of pictures it releases. The retrenchment, which has been foreshadowed in Disney Chief Executive Robert Iger's strategy to emphasize family and "branded" films, comes quickly on the heels of the recent ouster of former Disney Studios Chairman Dick Cook. The former movie chief left abruptly last month under pressure from Iger, who had been unhappy with the studio's direction and performance.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 30, 2013 | By Rebecca Keegan
Some jobs - catching fastballs, singing pop songs, dancing en pointe - are a lot easier when you're young. Add to that list directing independent movies, where it's not the physical demands that wear out many filmmakers but the financial stresses. At some point, most indie directors tire of the never-ending hustle for the money to make and release their movies and repair to the more lucrative worlds of television and studio fare. That's what makes the career of John Sayles so remarkable.
BUSINESS
March 12, 2013 | By Richard Verrier, Los Angeles Times
One story depicts girls coming of age in India. Another follows a group of seniors as they compete in an international pingpong championship in Mongolia. Closer to home is the portrait of local priest Father Greg Boyle and his work with ex-gang members. Then there's a look at "fruit detectives" from around the world in search of exotic varieties. Those are among eight documentaries that will be shown on designated nights at two dozen theaters nationwide this spring as part of the Docurama series.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 5, 2012 | By Amy Kaufman and Ben Fritz, Los Angeles Times
Struggling to compete with big-budget movies at the box office, indie films are increasingly finding a lucrative niche in one of Hollywood's fastest-growing markets: video on demand. The number of films released in theaters and video on demand at the same time nearly doubled from 2009 to 2011 and is projected to jump about 30% this year, to 68. The dark comedy "Bachelorette" exemplifies the trend: It has grossed about $5.5 million from video-on-demand (or VOD) rentals since premiering in August, compared with a paltry $418,000 earned in theaters.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 12, 2012
On Tuesday morning, there was a moment of silence in New York City and Washington, D.C., to honor the people who died in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The moment, which had the participation of the New York Police Department, the New York Fire Department and President Obama and the first lady, was covered live by all the cable news channels, CBS and ABC. But at 8:46 a.m., NBC's "Today" show was airing an interview with Kris Jenner, matriarch of the Kardashian clan. Jenner spoke with "Today" co-anchor Savannah Guthrie about the new season of "Keeping Up With the Kardashians" and about her breast-implant surgery.
ENTERTAINMENT
August 23, 2012 | By Amy Kaufman
With the end of summer rapidly approaching, it seems there aren't many people who want to spend their final no school or work days at the movie theater. The four new pictures hitting multiplexes this weekend aren't generating much interest among potential audiences. As a result, last weekend's No. 1 film "The Expendables 2" is expected to top the box office yet again, collecting at least $10 million more after its $28.6-million debut. Of the new offerings, the action chase film "Premium Rush" may fare best.
BUSINESS
January 14, 2012 | Ben Fritz
Combining Hollywood's two biggest independent film studios and the blockbuster young adult franchises "Twilight" and "The Hunger Games" into one powerful entity, Lions Gate Entertainment has agreed to acquire Summit Entertainment for $412.5 million in cash and stock. The two Santa Monica companies have engaged in on-and-off merger talks since late 2008 as Lions Gate sought to bolster its library of film and TV properties and Summit's investors tried to cash in on the lightning-in-a-bottle success of the "Twilight" movie series, which has grossed $2.5 billion worldwide over four films.
BUSINESS
January 6, 2012 | By Alex Pham and Ben Fritz, Los Angeles Times
Billionaire Ron Burkle has added movie production and concert promotion to the arenas he wants to play in. The man who made his fortune bagging supermarket chains and selling them off for billions went into the live music business Thursday by purchasing Artist Group International, a New York agency that books concerts for Billy Joel, Metallica and others. He concurrently invested in the movie business by taking a stake in independent movie studio Relativity Media. Y Entertainment group, a newly formed subsidiary of Burkle's investment firm Yucaipa Cos., made the two deals separately for undisclosed sums of money.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 12, 2002 | RICHARD NATALE
The $2-million romantic comedy "Cherish" from Fine Line Features doesn't have a big-studio summer movie marketing budget, and Marian Koltai-Levine hasn't had the six months her big-studio counterparts have to plot its release.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 11, 1997 | SCOTT COLLINS, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Television viewers this week can tune into an unusual offering from Miramax Films: "Mr. Thornton Goes to Hollywood." But this is no dramatic feature by a latter-day Frank Capra. "Mr. Thornton" is a paid infomercial, promising "the fascinating story behind 'Sling Blade' and its creator and star, Billy Bob Thornton." Switch on the morning talk shows, and there's Brenda Blethyn, no longer "Brenda who?" following her Oscar nomination in October Films' "Secrets & Lies."
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 14, 2011 | By Elaine Woo, Los Angeles Times
Bert Schneider, the iconoclastic producer behind a trio of influential movies — "Easy Rider," "Five Easy Pieces" and "The Last Picture Show" — that captured the rootlessness and discontent of the late 1960s and '70s and became symbols of a new era in Hollywood, has died. He was 78. Schneider had been in failing health and died of natural causes Monday at Olympia Medical Center in Los Angeles, said his daughter, Audrey Simon. The son of a Hollywood power broker — his father, Abraham, ran Columbia Pictures in the late 1960s — Schneider helped revitalize moviemaking in the "New Hollywood" movement in which directors, not studios, held the creative reins and made movies that embraced the sensibilities of the emerging counterculture.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 7, 2011 | By Amy Kaufman
It's not uncommon for independent movies to debut on video-on-demand the same day they are released in theaters. Most of the time, however, such low-budget films are playing in only about half a dozen theaters nationwide. That wasn't the case, however, with "Margin Call. " The Wall Street drama debuted in 56 theaters three weeks ago and simultaneously became available to cable subscribers who wanted to watch the picture from the comfort of their own homes. The movie has since expanded to 178 theaters and has brought in $2.5 million since its opening, according to an estimate from distributor Roadside Attractions.
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