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 10, 2009 |
New Mexico is determined to stay in the Hollywood limelight. Much to the chagrin of California, New Mexico has emerged as a major draw for movies and TV shows in recent years. Credit a generous 25% film production rebate, favorable climate and an aggressive film office. Now the state that bills itself as "Hollywood's Newest Home" is ratcheting up the competition. With the support of a $10-million economic development grant from the state, developers are about to break ground on a major production studio just outside Santa Fe, the state's capital.
October 29, 2009 |
The Walt Disney Co. said Wednesday that it would build a 56-acre production facility in northern Los Angeles County, casting a ray of light on an otherwise gloomy film economy that has hemorrhaged thousands of jobs in the last decade. The Burbank company said the proposed Disney/ABC Studios at the Ranch would occupy a corner of the Golden Oak Ranch, a sprawling 890-acre parcel off California 14 that has been the setting of such classic films as "Old Yeller." Plans call for 12 soundstages, production offices, a commissary and other facilities that could be used for film, television, commercial and new media projects.
October 19, 2009 |
For most movies, bigger-than-expected Thursday midnight shows are a great start to an opening weekend. For "Where the Wild Things Are," they may have been a mixed blessing. Warner Bros.' adaptation of the classic children's book collected $700,000 before the sun rose Friday, a sign that positive reviews and nostalgia were driving strong interest from adults, particularly younger ones. The flip side is that despite the movie's PG rating, families with children younger than 12 made up only 43% of the audience.
October 12, 2009 |
It may own a mere 20% of NBC Universal, but Vivendi is calling the shots when it comes to whether the fabled movie studio and television company will end up in the hands of cable company Comcast Corp. or some other buyer. That's because every year in November, Vivendi can opt to sell its stake. There's also a little-known clause in the contract between Vivendi and General Electric Co., which owns 80% of NBC Universal, that gives the French media conglomerate veto power on any change in control.
October 6, 2009 |
Rich Ross, the television executive who helped revive the moribund Disney Channel, now has to prove he can work movie magic at Walt Disney Studios. The 47-year-old former talent department head has been tapped by Walt Disney Co. Chief Executive Robert A. Iger to fill the post formerly held by Dick Cook, who was ousted as chairman of the studio Sept. 18 after clashing with his boss and failing to deliver enough hits over the last year. Iger will look to Ross to reinvigorate Disney's flagging box-office fortunes and develop film franchises that can be sold across the entertainment giant's lines of businesses -- including theme parks, consumer products and television -- as well as grapple with a host of technological issues that are quickly reshaping Hollywood.
October 6, 2009 |
Hollywood's biggest slasher story isn't playing at any theater near you. It's hitting the industry's corporate suites, where the sacking of studio executives has reached epidemic level. As evidenced by Disney's recent firing of its studio chief, Dick Cook, and Universal Pictures' dismissal Monday of chairmen Marc Shmuger and David Linde, Hollywood is in a state of panic-producing turmoil. It used to be that Hollywood's corporate parents could stomach a dry spell from their studio managers.
August 26, 2009 |
As the major Hollywood studios line up for and against Redbox, Paramount Pictures is playing it down the middle. The studio, owned by Viacom Inc., has signed a first-of-its-kind trial deal guaranteeing that its titles will be available from the fast-growing $1-a-night DVD rental company through the end of the year. During that time, Paramount will study the effect of Redbox rentals on its total home-entertainment revenue, examining whether there is any decrease in the sales of its DVDs at Wal-Mart stores that house Redbox kiosks.
August 14, 2009 |
Warner Bros. is setting its sights on Redbox and Netflix amid the latest sign that consumers are abandoning retail DVD stores in favor of the fast-growing rental kiosks and mail subscription companies. The Time Warner-owned studio on Thursday joined 20th Century Fox and Universal Pictures in announcing that it would not provide movies to leading kiosk operator Redbox until 28 days after they go on sale. In a surprising move that hasn't yet been made by any of its competitors, Warner said it would impose the same restriction on Netflix and other DVD-by-mail subscription providers unless they agreed to "a day-and-date revenue sharing option."
August 12, 2009 |
The six big motion picture studios Tuesday won a major legal victory against DVD copying. U.S. District Judge Marilyn Patel issued a preliminary injunction blocking the sale of RealDVD, a controversial software application that allows consumers to copy DVDs to a computer's hard drive. The standard anti-piracy software on DVDs blocks consumers from taking the movie file off the disc. The studios filed suit in September in District Court in San Francisco when the RealDVD software went on sale, alleging that it illegally violated their right to restrict the use of their movies in digital form.