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ENTERTAINMENT
March 17, 2014 | By Daniel Miller
Layoffs are underway at Sony Pictures Entertainment, the Sony Corp.-owned film and television studio that vowed late last year to significantly reduce its overhead. The cuts, which began Monday and will continue this week, include employees at divisions throughout the studio, according to a source with knowledge of the matter. The layoffs were felt at the studio's Culver City headquarters and at international offices. Among the divisions said to be deeply affected by the staff reductions is Sony Pictures Interactive, the studio's digital marketing arm.  "We are continuously evolving the business to make SPE more efficient and competitive," Sony Pictures spokesman Charles Sipkins said in a statement.  PHOTOS: Behind the scenes of movies and TV At an investors conference in November, Sony Pictures executives outlined  $250 million in budget cuts that were already underway.
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ENTERTAINMENT
March 7, 2014 | By Susan King, Los Angeles Times
Don Murray is a man of convictions. When he was 19 and working as an usher at CBS in New York City for $17 a week while attending the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, Murray turned down an offer to sign a contract with Universal for a whopping $150 a week. FOR THE RECORD: Don Murray: An article in the March 7 Calendar section about a UCLA film event honoring actor Don Murray gave the actor's age as 83. He is 84. "They could put you in whatever picture they wanted," explained the genial actor, 83, over the phone recently from his home in Santa Barbara.
NEWS
March 6, 2014 | By Jon Healey
FilmL.A. produced another one of its gloomy reports on runaway production Thursday, this time looking at the 108 films released last year by the 11 leading studios. One of the most galling findings : More of those films had been shot in Louisiana than in the state that's home to 10 of those studios (that would be California, in case you've forgotten). Louisiana, really? That's almost as bad as the Lakers getting stomped by the Pelicans. What's worse, as my colleague Richard Verrier reports , California's share of big-budget films has shrunk dramatically.
BUSINESS
March 6, 2014 | By Hugo Martin
Construction is set to start later this year on a $2-billion Universal Studios theme park in Beijing, according to published reports. A park in Beijing has been under discussion for years, but details have remained murky. A spokesperson for Universal Studios Theme Parks, a division of NBC Universal, could not be reached for comment. The park would be the sixth for Universal, including four already in operation and one that is set to open in South Korea in 2016. Construction will begin in Beijing later this year, with completion scheduled for 2018, according to the website aastocks.com.
BUSINESS
March 6, 2014 | By Hugo Martín
Construction is set to start this year on a $2-billion Universal Studios theme park in Beijing, according to published reports. A park in Beijing has been under discussion for years, but details have remained murky. A spokesperson for Universal Studios Theme Parks, a division of NBC Universal, declined to comment on the latest report. The park will be the sixth for Universal, including four already in operation and one that is set to open in South Korea in 2016. Construction will begin in Beijing this year, with completion scheduled for 2018, according to the website Aastocks.com.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 5, 2014 | By Julie Makinen
BEIJING - In the mid-1980s, Wu Tianming's star was on the rise. With China opening up to the world after the Cultural Revolution and Mao Tse-tung's death, he had found success as director of movies including "Life" and "The Old Well" and as the head of the Xi'an Film Studio. Under his guidance, daring and innovative filmmakers like Zhang Yimou and Chen Kaige were bursting onto the international scene with pictures like "Red Sorghum" and "King of Children. " Wu was making a name for himself for his willingness to shake up an ossified state-run studio - and was raising eyebrows for calling out Communist Party bureaucrats who meddled in the arts.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 4, 2014 | By Richard Verrier
Culver Studios, a historic independent studio where “Gone with the Wind” and “Citizen Kane” were filmed, is changing hands. Lehman Bros. Holdings has reached an agreement to sell the Culver City property to Hackman Capital Partners, a Los Angeles real estate investment firm, two sources familiar with the matter said. The transaction, expected to close this week, is among former Lehman assets being sold off following the investment firm's 2008 bankruptcy filing. ON LOCATION: Where the cameras roll Hackman Capital is buying the property for $85 million, close to what Lehman and other investors paid Sony Pictures Entertainment a decade ago for the 14-acre Washington Boulevard property, sources said.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 4, 2014 | By Dawn C. Chmielewski
As a child, Shannon Studstill sold gum to her classmates to finance her weekly trips to the video game arcade. That early investment in "Pac-Man" and "Defender" would pay huge dividends. Studstill, one of the most powerful women in the male-dominated world of video games, now runs Sony Santa Monica Studio, the development group responsible for the company's hit franchise "God of War" and the publisher of such critically acclaimed independent titles as "Journey. " The 43-year-old executive is an anomaly in an industry known for its underrepresentation of women.
NEWS
March 1, 2014 | By Booth Moore, Los Angeles Times Fashion Critic
PARIS -     Pharrell Williams was ahead of the trend with the now-infamous Vivienne Westwood mountie-style hat he wore to the Grammy Awards. On the runways this week in Paris, there have been hats galore, and we're not talking your run-of-the-mill headgear either.  At Gareth Pugh, dramatic white wide-brimmed hats were elongated at the crown, and at Lanvin, majorette caps came trimmed in feathers. Westwood even referenced herself, showing an even bigger version of Pharrell's lid at her runway show Saturday.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 26, 2014 | By Glenn Whipp
The last time Oscar voters surprised with a best picture winner came eight years ago when Jack Nicholson opened the evening's final envelope, arched those famous eyebrows and announced "Crash. " He then mouthed the word " Whoa!" Most years, Hollywood insiders have a good idea who will go home with an Academy Award. By the time the Oscars are handed out at the end of a long awards season, clear favorites have emerged from earlier contests.  FULL COVERAGE: Oscars 2014 Going into Sunday's 86th Academy Awards, there are front-runners in the acting, directing and writing categories.
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