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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Cowboys and Aliens gets out-SMURFED, or marketing really does matter

From the LA Times Company Town, click here for complete story and other news.

It seemed like an uneven matchup. In one corner was "Cowboys & Aliens," one of the most expensive films to be released this year, starring and made by a handful of Hollywood A-listers. In the other: "The Smurfs," a critically panned live-action/computer-animated movie based on a cartoon that originated over 50 years ago.
Heading into the weekend, it appeared a foregone conclusion that "Cowboys & Aliens" would take the No. 1 spot at the box office. But in a surprise, the 3-D movie "The Smurfs" -- featuring a gaggle of diminutive blue cartoon characters -- sold far more tickets than pre-release polling had indicated. As a result, on Sunday the studios behind both pictures estimated that each film would collect $36.2 million domestically by weekend's end. Meanwhile, the weekend's other new wide release, the adult romantic comedy "Crazy, Stupid, Love," brought in a decent $19.3 million.
The soft opening for "Cowboys" is no doubt disappointing for the film's financial backers, Universal Pictures, Dreamworks SKG and Relativity Media, who collectively spent about $163 million to produce the movie. (Paramount Pictures is releasing the picture overseas when it begins rolling out abroad next weekend.) While the film is based on a little-read graphic novel, it also stars well-known actors Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig. The movie was executive produced by Steven Spielberg and directed by "Iron Man's" Jon Favreau, who in recent weeks has done extensive publicity to promote the film.
"Cowboys" performed about as well on its first weekend as "Super 8," one of the only other movies to be released this summer with a largely original concept. That J.J. Abrams-directed film opened to $35.5 million in June and has since grossed $181.2 million worldwide, but it only had a budget of about $50 million.

Can you hear me now? Do you know who I am?

When you answer the phone you may or may not know who is calling, I am not referring to caller ID. I mean you may or may not be able to distinguish between voices and know who it is that is calling. A study in the Journal of Science concludes that people with even minor dyslexia not only have trouble with the printed word and numbers, but with distinguishing between similar voices. The same chemicals that influence the interpretation of images may also influence the interpretation of sound. So the Next time you call a friend, have patience with them or clearly identify yourself. It may not be simply that they are dim or not paying attention.

The philisophical canyon dividing Democrats and Republicans

The major philosophical difference in today's debt ceiling talks.

Republicans believe in bootstraps, and that those in need have to work to pull themselves up with the help of family and local or church communities. "We the people" refers only to protecting our liberties and right to vote and have a voice.

Democrats believe in a basic floor or standard of living for all Americans, and that we all, as taxpayers and a government, share the responsibility for the least of our brothers. Democrats point to how people no longer live in idyllic rural communities and raise their families in the same household or within blocks of where they grew up. They say that "we the people" have some basic responsibilities to each other.

Republicans believe in privatizing social security and medicare, with vouchers and private investments (including the stock market). Republicans believe in that taxes should be cut to stimulate the economy. Republicans believe that cutting government and aiding the wealthy and big business will grow the economy. They feel they were elected on a mandate, despite actual registration of about one third of Americans and only about half of their membership being fiscal or "tea party" conservatives.

Democrats see those directions as a mistake, with the preservation of medicare and social security until the issues can be discussed in small steps and in ways that build for the future of the existing programs. Democrats say that you cannot cut services until you stop giving tax breaks to the most profitable companies in the history of the world, big oil, and that the temporary tax cut passed for the wealthiest Americans are temporary, so reversing those cuts does not represent a tax increase (it represents the sunsetting of emergency legislation that is not only no longer needed, but damaging). Democrats are not for growing government, a Republicans claim, but see it is necessary to operate in the public trust to provide for the life, liberty and pursuit of happiness of all Americans.

Meanwhile the moderate compromise community that is government is disappearing as in a media age, where people seek only the media outlets and those individuals who already agree with them, the ability of politicians to govern while retaining their office and meeting the increasingly high fundraising level needed to stay in office, is reaching the level of being impossible.

Can our increasingly deep canyon between the two parties, the two philosophies, be bridged in the name of the future of America?

Yes, you say, But then you probably believe any bridge must meet your particular views and priorities and not the other guys.

Bet 'cha.

Overextending and the Debt Ceiling

Two wars. Other conflicts in the world. Policing the seaways. Taking care of wounded vets. Taking care of those who have served the nation. Insuring the military and their families. These are the largest elements of the US skyrocketing budget, yet it is a sacres cow you never talk about. Instead cut social programs,  cut of unemployment, stop any stimulus spending, cut back on construction and infrastructure and slash education to balance a budget and "save the US".

When you speak of the high cost of war and being the current largest or only military superpower, you are called liberal or progressive.

When you speak of Christian and Judeo values, of taking car of your fellow human being, you are called a bleeding heart liberal.

No wonder no one can get any serious work done on reducing budget growth (not slashing it overnight to balance it like a checkbook- governments are not household and government budgets are economics not checkbook accounting), or on honestly and Constitutionally mandated raises in the debt ceiling.

Tossing the bums out will not work either, a we have seen what Freshman can do to shake things up, but it also can cause the type of lack of discussion, compromise and governing we see in Washington under the "new" House majority.

Chicago to LA are played by the Big Apple, on TV at least...

New York Is Ready for Its Close-Up

Ty Cacek/The New York Times
The sign for Silvercup Studios, located in Long Island City, Queens.

New York has played many roles on television recently.


The latest on the arts, coverage of live events, critical reviews, multimedia extravaganzas and much more. Join the discussion.
John Paul Filo/CBS
Will Estes and Bridget Moynahan on the CBS television series "Blue Bloods," shot in New York City.
Ty Cacek/The New York Times
The set for the television series "White Collar," shot at Silvercup Studios in Queens.
On “Blue Bloods,” the CBS drama about several generations of a crime-fighting family, the city’s landmarks have been showcased, with the Brooklyn Bridge and Washington Square Park proving to be particularly popular repositories for killers disposing of bodies.
On “Damages,” Glenn Close’s legal thriller on DirecTV, the city has been transformed into a dusty marketplace in Kandahar, Afghanistan, helped along by the strategic placement of a handful of goats and some retro Soviet cars in a cement factory in Red Hook, Brooklyn.
And on the spring HBO mini-series “Mildred Pierce,”starring Kate Winslet, New York actually became 1930s Los Angeles, the unseasonably chilly spring here countered by a heated outdoor greenhouse to prevent the imported palm trees from wilting.
In the past, New York — with a few exceptions, like the omnipresent variations of “Law & Order” — was primarily a location town, where Hollywood shows like “N.Y.P.D. Blue” would come to shoot street scenes before returning out West. But now, thanks mainly to the extension of generous tax incentives, television productions abound. The city stands in for other places (like the Chicago of “The Good Wife”), and industry veterans have said that the days of shooting quintessential New York shows (like “Seinfeld” and “Friends”) in California are numbered.
In the 2011-12 television season, there are 23 prime-time series being filmed in New York, compared with only nine in 2006, according to the Mayor’s Office of Film, Theater and Broadcasting. New York City also drew a record 22 cable and network pilots, compared with three the previous season. Meanwhile, new film production, including that for “Men In Black III,” is going strong.
The television series being filmed in New York and set to make their debuts in the fall are heavy on 20-something angst and police dramas. There is “Girls” on HBO, about recent college graduates struggling to make it in the city; “I Just Want My Pants Back” on MTV, a coming-of-age comedy about a boozing 22-year-old; and “Unforgettable” on CBS, about a female police detective who uses her rare, memory-enhancing condition to solve homicide cases. They will be joining shows like “White Collar,” a show on USA in which a former con man uses his criminal savvy to help the F.B.I. solve crimes, and “Gossip Girl,” the prime-time soap on CW about scheming young (and wealthy) Upper East Siders.
"There is just no better or more versatile character for television than New York City,” said Hal Rosenbluth, the president of Kaufman Astoria Studios in Queens. Its giant soundstages, which once hosted the Marx Brothers and Woody Allen, are squeezed to capacity, with the emergency room patients of “Nurse Jackie” on Showtime providing incongruous neighbors for the longtime residents of “Sesame Street,” including Big Bird, who resides nearby in his oversize nest.
Merrill Karpf, a co-executive producer on “Unforgettable” who has worked and lived in Los Angeles for 30 years, added: “There is just no substitute for the energy of New York, the ethnic diversity, the architectural mix, the subways, the hordes at Times Square. L.A. is boring in comparison.”
At the neighboring Silvercup Studios, in a converted bread factory in Long Island City, Carrie Bradshaw’s stuffed designer-shoe closet has been torn down to make room for the modest Ikea-style student digs of Hannah, the perpetual intern on “Girls,” played by the series’s creator, Lena Dunham.
While Hollywood still dominates television production, industry experts there lament that it is struggling to retain its edge. New York State’s tax credit, extended through 2014, is 30 percent, compared with California’s 20 percent, and amounts to $420 million a year, more than four times California’s figure.
“We are concerned about the competition,” said Paul Audley, the president of FilmL.A.“But I don’t think you will see the Hollywood sign transplanted to New York any day soon.”

Click "read more" below to click here to go to the New York Times.

Depression, or at least a second recession.

There is a fear that we are starting to fall back into another recession or potentially a depression.

It can happen.

Economist, business leaders, and moderates in Congress all warn that we are driving ourselves into a deeper hole by not investing in stimulus, the very programs that are being cut, and most important in infrastructure.

Job creation is weak for many reasons, from hot weather to a weak housing market, layoffs in government to rapid decrease in average income, increases in gas prices to cuts in education. The issue of budget cuts and their potential cuts in funds that put people to work who provide services for Americans, build government projects has businesses hoarding cash and cautious about investing, except outside the US. The debt ceiling debate has been the perfect prescription to making the job market sicker. If faith in the US fails, so will faith in investing in Americans and American jobs.

People believe the optimist if they feel comfortable, already have raised their families, survived the Great Depression or feel their own pocketbooks are all that is important. Others see the sky as falling, doom and gloom if the have lost income, housing values, have family members who have lost jobs or have seen their own career potential go from bright to foggy or dim.

The polarization in Washington and in our won hearts, only makes things seem all the more critical, the potential more bleak and impossible to resolve.

Inaction is the enemy. With no action, neutral watchdog groups warn, comes the tailspin that could give us the double whammy that breaks the camel back and puts us into a depression, not just emotionally but economically.

The coming storm over the debt limit

The debt limit was created by Congress as an interpretation of the intent of the founding fathers and in particular the 14th amendment. The artificial ceiling has become a very real financial milestone utilized around the world. It is no longer simply an exercise in budgeting.

The debt ceiling stalemate in Washington has given some investors the jitters. The market saw a 600 point drop last week and many warn that the county's AAA credit rating could suffer if a debt deal isn't reached by Tuesday's deadline.

The U.S. debt stalemate is of particular concern to China - the largest single holder of U.S. government debt. China holds nearly two trillion dollars in US debt. The US currency value has allowed China to keep its currency strong. A downgrade in US standing will lower the value of China's currency, with an accumulated debt from the US in interests of  over two hundred million dollars a year.

Our credit rating is key to most of the industrialized nations in the world, and their stability, as countries invest in each other and corporations span the globe in their reach and impact. If the US Congress does not get its act together, the impact will be world wide and impact the citizens of the world to one degree or another.

Layoffs on the government level may have some tea partiers celebrating, but those jobs are swelling unemployment ranks, and if the US default seven for a few days on any of its debt, resulting impacts on local bonds, tax base and budgets will accelerate already critical debt problems for states and local budgets.

The truth is that while there will be a negative impact, and the issue,even in potential compromises being discussed has become the political football both parties are gambling the 2012 elections will hinge on.

But is Chicken Little correct, and is the sky really falling?

Eating Crow: Brinkmanship and the Debt Ceiling and how it will hurt all of us

Much of the world are scratching their heads over our self-made political debt crisis. Our debt ratio may seem high in dollars, but in percentage it is not that uncommon, and we are known for our sound currency and financial strength, even as politicians cry "the sky is falling." Economist say that is we simply and routeenly had lifted the debt ceiling, as has always been the case (under a 14th amendment mandate), there would be no fear of a world crisis. Since our politicians, led by right wing "tea party" Republicans in the House of Representative, have turned this into a "capital case", the US and much of the world do face a major financial crisis, maybe not immediately but over not all that long a period of time after the August 2nd deadline.

Uncertainty over the debt ceiling has already impacted the average American in its chilling impact on job growth, on spending and on overall faith in the US currency and the historically sound nature of our word.

Our enimies and potential enimies, and some of our partners, are cheering at the thought of the almighty US taking a misstep and stumbling from its "leader of the free world" and "imperialist" superpower standing.

Even countries with their own deep financial interests in the US have taken to celebrating and rattling swords in anticipation of a great country stumbling as a result of its much self touted democracy. China is showing off drones that can be used as "aircraft carrier killers", and pushing their own currency to replace the US as the world standard. Several Arab states are telling other nations to invest in their oil and gas instead of stockpiling US dollars and bonds.

Even if a resolution is found, the long term impact of this political grandstanding and brinkmanship, may well be a decline in the US, over time, and our having to eat crow along the way.

Southwest Stories, from Emus loose in Edmar to Cheynne Mountain

"Emus Loose in Egnar " is a book by Judy Muller that takes readers on a tour of small-town American weekly newspapers that are facing challenges and thriving. They are famous for their headlines, local sports and community interests news, and are so loved by the communities that locals will advertise just to keep the doors open. Egnar is a town that wanted to be called Range, but a nearby town already had that name. Apparently a local rancher experimented with raising emu's, and some got loose in the middle of town.

Colorado Springs may not have an actual spring, but it does have a statue to its founder Gen. William Jackson Palmer. In fact, marks the 140th anniversary of the city's founding. Of course most people do not think of Colorado Springs as a place founded by General Palmer, but the home of the US Air Force Academy and the Air Force's stronghold stronghold.

They take their chili seriously in New Mexico. Actually it' a major cash crop,. Among those in the know, chili peppers from New Mexico are considered the finest in the world. But in recent years, cheaper foreign imports masquerading as authentic New Mexican chile's have been undercutting the market. In response, a new law kicks in next month that makes it illegal to misrepresent chile's.Maybe it will put a chill on the importers.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Will there be privacy in a world of drones? And can terrorist be stopped?

A drone takes its first flight at Edwards Air Force Base in California in February. In the near future, drones could be used outside of the military for things like traffic helicopters or flying jumbo jets.
EnlargeAlan Radecki/AP
A drone takes its first flight at Edwards Air Force Base in California in February. In the near future, drones could be used outside of the military for things like traffic helicopters or flying jumbo jets.
Every week it seems there are reports about U.S. drones — unmanned, remote-controlled aerial vehicles — tracking down suspected terrorists in remote, unreachable areas of Yemen, Somalia, Libya or Pakistan. Drone technology is becoming increasingly affordable and accessible, with new potential for everyday use in the United States — and new worries for national security.

Jonathan Winters "The Stick" Apr 1964 Jack Paar

A Lifetime Of Laughs: Johnathan Winters

Jonathan Winters' entertainment career began when his wife encouraged him to enter a local talent contest in his hometown of Dayton, Ohio. He ended up winning the contest — along with a wrist watch and a job as a local radio DJ.
EnlargeStephen Shugerman/Getty Images
Jonathan Winters' entertainment career began when his wife encouraged him to enter a local talent contest in his hometown of Dayton, Ohio. He ended up winning the contest — along with a wrist watch and a job as a local radio DJ.
The recent Smurfs movie has the distinction of casting one of America's most admired of comedians. He's Jonathan Winters and he gives voice to Papa Smurf in the new film, but he also voiced Grandpa Smurf in the 1980s TV cartoon series.
Winters has practiced comedy for over 60 years in just about every medium you can make people laugh in — on the radio, on television, in nightclubs, on recordings, in movies and even on telephone answering machines (ask your parents).
His album Crank Calls won him a Grammy in 1995 and he's won two Emmys for his sitcom appearances. In fact, Jonathan Winters is a favorite among many comics — so much so that in 1999 the Kennedy Center awarded him its second Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.

Children and Middle School Girls as Sex Slaves in Bosnia: "The Whistleblower"

Kathryn Bolkovac (at left), the inspiration for the film The Whistleblower, poses at the Toronto Film Festival in September, 2010 with actress Rachel Weisz, who plays the character based on Bolkovac in the film.
EnlargeAlexandra Wyman/Getty Images
Kathryn Bolkovac (at left), the inspiration for the film The Whistleblower, poses at the Toronto Film Festival in September, 2010 with actress Rachel Weisz, who plays the character based on Bolkovac in the film.
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July 30, 2011
In 1999, Kathryn Bolkovac had run into hard times. A police officer in Lincoln, Neb., who had recently lost custody of her daughters in a divorce settlement, she was looking for a new job that would give her the means to live near them.
When Bolkovac heard she could earn good money in a short period of time by becoming part of the U.N. International Police Force in Bosnia — run by a private British agency called DynCorp — she decided to sign on.
She found herself in the middle of an alarming human trafficking web. Mobsters were transporting teenage girls to bars and brothels for sex, and beyond turning a blind eye, the security firm and U.N. personnel seemed to be caught up in the trafficking themselves. She tried to sound the alarm, and she was fired.
Bolkovac, whose story has been adapted into a new movie called The Whistleblower (opening in some theaters on Aug. 5) tells NPR's Scott Simon that her suspicion was first raised during a training session in Ft. Worth, Texas, before she ever left for Bosnia. "One of the men who had done previous missions in Bosnia came bounding into the pool with a beer stating where he could find really nice 12- to 15-year-olds once we got to Bosnia," Bolkovac says. Bolkovac says she and the other new officers tried to convince themselves they had misunderstood.

Debt Crisis Was Long In Coming, Ex-Reagan Aide Says

What impact will the debt ceiling turmoil have on the financial markets? Host Scott Simon talks with former Reagan budget director David Stockman, who predicts some panic ahead.

Ancient Rome Refocused

Episode 8 of Ancient Rome Refocused is up on the blog site. It should take a couple of days for it to appear on itunes. I got an interview with Eric Shanower who wrote and illustrated the graphic novel: THE AGE OF BRONZE. This is his telling of Ancient Troy. You must go to his web site. I start the episode off with Aeneas fleeing the burning city of Troy. Episode Eight is titled: "Ancient Troy, Graphic Novels, and Brad Pitt?"

The Official Webpage of Cartoonist and Graphic Novelist Eric Shanower.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Do they want to cost us all $$$ by going into default?

Today’s update: Last night the GOP couldn’t pass the Boehner bill…because it wasn’t radical enough for the rest of the House Republicans. Today they will vote on a more extreme version that they know won’t pass the Senate.

Why? Because some House Republicans want the nation to default. Instead of helping fix the economy, they would rather intentionally tank it so they can attempt to pin it on President Obama and Democratic candidates. 

And Karl Rove is heading up that strategy with millions in attack ads currently running in swing states.

We will defend President Obama, Medicare, Social Security and everything Democrats stand for. But Republicans are spending millions trying to destroy it all. 
Jason Rosenbaum
DSCC Director of Online Communications

Thursday, July 28, 2011

George M

Your feedback on my election site sought

Suggestions, questions, things you would like to see or answered.
Please respond to
Disclaimer: No offense intended, as my wife is a clinical social worker and I am a social scientist (of sorts).

The changing face of Rural America

Only 16% of Americans live in rural areas. That's the lowest percentage in US History. And of those over three quarters work in recreation, service industries, or are telecommuters. Farming did grow, but by less than one percent, the lowest in history and far slower than the growth of the overall population.

Recreation and retirement migration is fueling growth in the rural portions of America, not farming or ranching. Mining and oil, while growing rapidly, are largely automated and require fewer and fewer workers.

Even rural areas now have the trappings formerly thought of as urban, such as fast food chains, big box stores, Internet and even "urban style" housing.

Panda Problems, Fox in Trouble, Playboy past its prime, Streaming Sundance

Gaming News. THQ Inc.'s shares plummeted after the Agoura Hills game publisher reported disappointing first-quarter financial results due in part to poor sales of Red Faction: Armageddon, a science fiction shooter on which the company had pinned high hopes.
Shares in THQ, which closed unchanged at $3.20 during the regular session, fell 60 cents, or 19%, to $2.60 in after-hours trading. It had not traded that low since early 2009, when the stock fell as low as $2.24 in February 2009.  

The Skinny: So it looks like anyone who got nailed by one of those traffic cameras may be off the hook if they didn't pay. But if they did, then that's another story. I smell class-action suit! In our little world, the headlines include Fox's plan to require viewers to verify they are cable or satellite TV subscribers before being allowed to watch the network's shows online. Also, a big day for James Murdoch on Thursday.
Streaming Sundance. Directors who blew big wads of cash trying to get into Sundance and only ended up with a T-shirt and no deal can now have their movies streamed by the festival on various platforms including Hulu and Netflix. Filmmakers will get a piece of any ad revenue or rental fees. Details from the Los Angeles Times.
Quid Pro Quo? The New York Times makes the observation that MSNBC's newest television personality -- rabble-rouser the Rev. Al Sharpton -- also lent his name to new MSNBC owner Comcast Corp.'s lobbying effort to get government approval of its merger with NBCUniversal. Sharpton, who is filling in as a guest host in the 6 p.m. hour, has been on MSNBC lots of times over the years. Both MSNBC and Comcast say there is no connection between his lobbying and his new prominence on the channel. In fairness to MSNBC, Sharpton has lent himself out to corporate media before. Fox recruited him when it was waging a nasty war against Nielsen over new meters the ratings company was introducing.
Trust but verify. In a move no doubt to appease cable and satellite operators, Fox said it would start requiring viewers to verify that they are subscribers to a pay-TV distributor before they can watch any of the network's shows online after they've aired on the network. Fox, which is squeezing pay TV distributors for big bucks in return for carrying its TV stations, recognizes it can't have its cake and eat it too. Distributors aren't going to pay if the stuff goes online free right after it's on the network. Fear not, consumers, if you can wait eight whole days you will be able to watch shows online without having to prove you are a cable subscribers. Details from the Los Angeles TimesAssociated Press and theWall Street Journal.
The man who knows all. The Wall Street Journal, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., has turned up its coverage of the News of the World phone-hacking scandal after initially only going through the motions of reporting on the debacle. In Thursday's WSJ, a profile of Tom Crone, the former legal eagle of News of the World, who knows where all the bodies are buried and has offered up information that contradicts what Murdoch's son James, who heads the company's European operations, has told Parliament.
Nothing a little makeover can't fix. The Hollywood Reporter chats up CBS News bosses Jeff Fager and David Rhodes about their plans to revitalize the struggling organization, post-Katie Couric, and their thoughts about checkbook journalism.

D-Day for James. On Thursday, the board of British Sky Broadcasting, whose chairman is James Murdoch, will have its first board meeting since the News of the World phone hacking-scandal that led News Corp., the media giant that owns 39% of the powerful broadcaster, to drop plans to acquire the rest. There is speculation that the board may ask Murdoch, who is also deputy chief operating officer of News Corp. and is being probed about what he did and didn't know about the hacking, to step back. Of course, there are plenty of News Corp. execs and cronies on the board so he won't go without a fight. Coverage from the New York Times and the Guardian
But we already put in the new carpeting! Although Comcast Corp. is already running NBCUniversal, a federal judge has issues with the consent decree the Justice Department issued in its approval of the merger last January. Approval is ususally a slam dunk but the judge apparently is troubled by arbitration methods Comcast has agreed to for resolving disputes over online distribution. It would be highly unlikely for the judge not to ultimately approve the consent decree, but never say never. More from the Wall Street Journal.
Put a sweater on that! The Parents Television Council is lobbying NBC affiliates to refuse to air the network's new drama "The Playboy Club," which will premiere next month. The PTC said the show, set in 1960s Chicago, is putting the "veneer of sophistication" on the porn industry, according to a copy of a letter it sent to NBC stations obtained by Broadcasting & Cable. In an unrelated note, I missed a chance to go to the Playboy Mansion last night, but a friend of mine who has been there said the fantasy is better than the reality. The event was for the television critics tour. I'm guessing those were some sad-looking bunnies when they found out who was coming over to party.
Help wanted. Frank Darabont, the executive producer/showrunner of AMC's hit "The Walking Dead," has given his walking papers. There have been mumblings that such a move was possible for several months, but it still is something of a shock given the success of the zombie drama. Details fromDeadline Hollywood.
Sunset for Spielberg's Dreamworks SKG? 
"A terrible, terrible calamity," is how Katenzberg described the domestic performance of "Kung Fu Panda 2."
The comments from the Glendale studio's chief executive came on a conference call with analysts Tuesday after the release of financial results that pleased Wall Street. DreamWorks' revenue of $218.3 million in the quarter ended June 30 was well above most analysts' estimates, sending the company's stock up 4%.
However, those looking for information regarding several looming questions about the company's future were left disappointed. This month, Viacom's Paramount Pictures announced it will produce its own animated movies beginning in 2014 and confirmed it will only continue to release DreamWorks Animation pictures at that point for a higher cut of revenue.
Shares in THQ, which closed unchanged at $3.20 during the regular session, fell 60 cents, or 19%, to $2.60 in after-hours trading. It had not traded that low since early 2009, when the stock fell as low as $2.24 in February 2009.  
Got your tickets? The Toronto Film Festival unveiled its lineup, which includes Madonna's "W.E." Brad Pitt's "Moneyball" and George Clooney's "The Ides of March." Details on the prestigious festival from Entertainment Weekly.
Enjoy the moment. Emma Stone is this summer's It Girl. Her breakout role in the upcoming "Crazy, Stupid, Love" has put her on magazine covers everywhere. It's a long way away from VH1's attempt to remake "The Partridge Family," which was one of her early gigs. A profile from USA Today.
Does anyone go for the movies? The Venice Film Festival announced its lineup. I'm happy to see that Whit Stillman ("Metropolitan," "Barcelona") finally has a new movie -- "Damsels in Distress" -- which will close the festival. I know I don't seem like the type who would appreciate Stillman's witty and urbane preppy upper-crust characters, but there is something sweet, sincere and real about his movies. More on the festival from Variety.
Inside the Los Angeles Times: 
Electric Daisy Goes to Hollywood and other LA Times News. mini-riot broke out at the Hollywood premiere of "Electric Daisy Carnival Experience." Steve Carell and Ryan Gosling make for an odd couple in "Crazy, Stupid, Love." Myspace gets ready for yet another makeover. DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg has a lot to say about "Kung Fu Panda 2" but not much on his company's future. Inside an ugly fight between two local broadcasters.

From the LA Times Company Town (click here)