December 26, 2009 |
It's not every day that movie theaters take retribution against a Hollywood studio. Exhibitors usually don't want to annoy the studios on which they rely for movies to keep filmgoers buying tickets. Yet last month major theater chains pulled the family-friendly animated comedy "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs" from big screens around the country. The action was intended as a warning shot at Sony Pictures -- and Hollywood in general. Sony said it simply wanted to make its movie available to owners of a new generation of the company's high-definition TVs a month before its release on DVD. But movie theaters weren't having any of it. They feared that moving up the date when people could watch the movie at home would discourage them from making a trip to the local multiplex.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 19, 2009 |
Like so many others in the path of the Station fire, the owners of Singing Springs lost everything when flames chewed through a quarter of the Angeles National Forest late last summer. Or so they thought. As the fire swept across the family retreat-turned-movie-ranch Aug. 30, it wiped out all 11 buildings on the 16 1/2 -acre site along Angeles Forest Highway, destroying props, tools, keepsakes and furnishings. It leveled a barn that doubled as the gatekeeper's home, burned down the cabins, scorched the meadow, killed scores of trees and clogged with ash the streams and a swimming hole where trout had hidden.
December 19, 2009 |
The gig : The 47-year-old Brit runs his own production company on the Warner Bros. lot. His most recent endeavors include the upcoming Christmas Day release "Sherlock Holmes," starring Robert Downey Jr.; this past summer's "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" and its forthcoming sequels "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" parts I and II; and the computer-animated "Guardians of Ga'Hoole," directed by Zack Snyder of "300" fame. Background : The eldest of three children, Wigram grew up privileged in London, the son of a banker/real estate developer father and a mother who was a fashion editor.
December 14, 2009 |
Sisters Ornella and Yolanda Schinazi don't eat out much anymore. They rarely go out drinking, and they have cut way back on shopping. Like many Americans, the Glendale residents are feeling the pain of the economic downturn. Ornella, 28, recently took a $25,000 pay cut at her job, and Yolanda, 25, has been frustrated all year in her search for work. But one thing the Schinazis haven't cut back on is movies. In fact, they're going to more of them than ever. "We don't really go out anymore.
December 12, 2009 |
In the latest austerity move in Hollywood, Universal Pictures has asked its three top movie suppliers -- Imagine Entertainment, Working Title and Stuber Productions -- and other production companies it funds to cut overhead and economize to compensate for the tough economic realities of the movie business, according to people close to the situation. Some of the studio's producer contracts will not be renewed when they expire. Others with longer-term agreements, including Imagine, Working Title and Stuber, have agreed to reduce operating costs, watch expenses and find efficiencies in their businesses.
December 4, 2009 |
In acquiring legendary Universal Pictures, Comcast Corp. would make its Hollywood debut during a particularly turbulent time for the movie business. Not only are all studios grappling with declining DVD sales and shifting consumer habits in entertainment, but Universal is also struggling to correct course from a prolonged box-office slump, runaway production costs and turmoil in the executive suites. Comcast wouldn't be able to exert much influence over the operations of Universal until well into next year after its merger with NBC Universal is finalized.
December 2, 2009 |
The filmmakers set up their screen in front of the abandoned Justice Ministry, propped up a creaky 35-millimeter projector and hoped the crowd would come and watch their film in this place where car bombs recently killed nearly 160 people. Soldiers and police checked passing cars as a small crowd gathered to watch "Ahlaam," or "Dreams," one of the first Iraqi features made since 2003. The movie had been shown around the world and won awards at the Brooklyn International Film Festival, but only now was it making its debut in Baghdad.
November 15, 2009 |
Inside a dark mixing stage at 20th Century Fox a few weeks ago, writer-director James Cameron, surrounded by nearly a dozen colleagues, stared at a clip from his upcoming movie, "Avatar," unhappy with the look of the precipitous peaks on the horizon. Circling the summits with a red laser pointer and speaking to his computer-effects team at Weta Digital in New Zealand via videoconference, Cameron came up with a Muhammad-like solution: Shift the mountains to the left. "Moving a mountain," the 55-year-old filmmaker said, laughing, "is nothing."
November 2, 2009 |
The last time one of Michael Jackson's tours played the continental United States was 1988. So perhaps it's no surprise that "This Is It," Sony Pictures' film made from rehearsal footage for Jackson's planned London concert series, did more than twice as much business internationally in its first five days as it did domestically. "This Is It" opened to a studio-estimated $68.5 million in 108 foreign territories from Wednesday through Sunday and $32.5 million in the U.S. and Canada, where it started late Tuesday.
October 30, 2009 |
Sony Pictures desperately wanted to release the DVD of the Michael Jackson concert movie "This Is It" for the holiday shopping season but backed down after movie theater owners complained that it would be too soon after the film's theatrical premiere. That thwarted the latest attempt by a Hollywood studio to shorten the "window" between when movies appear in theaters and when they come out on DVD as the industry grapples with a downturn in DVD sales, which have traditionally propped up the movie business.