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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

How do you take hours of great short stories and turn them into only one movie?

Martian Chronicles, the Movie

A well thumbed paperback, a worn out hard cover, testimony to my passion for the stories contained in the chronological story telling epic by America's greatest living story teller. My all time favorite book, by my all time favorite author (since 4th grade and even today) is being made into a movie. Portions have been made into episodes of  "Ray Bradbury Theatre," "Amazing Stories" and other anthologies. In 1980 a mimi-series starring Rock Hudson aired on TV. Now it is time for a high tech film. Let's just hope that they do not ruin the stories with unneeded effects, chase scenes and popular young stars who cannot act.

-Art Lynch

Paramount is heading to Mars.
Multiple sources say the studio has picked up movie rights to The Martian Chronicles, the classic short story collection by Ray Bradbury, one of the foremost names in 20th century science-fiction literature.
John Davis will produce the adaptation of the book of short stories that Bradbury wrote in the late 1940s about humans trying colonize Mars.
In three structures, the stories dealt with attempts to settle Mars and the Martians’ efforts to fight the humans off, the colonization of the red planet and a nuclear war that eventually forces most of the humans to return to Earth. In the aftermath of the war, humans become the new Martians.
A TV miniseries was made in 1980 by NBC and the BBC that was written by Richard Matheson and saw Rock Hudson leading the cast.
Universal acquired the feature rights in 1997, where Steven Spielberg and Davis, among other producers, tried to get a project off the ground. Michael Tolkin and John Orloff were some of the writers who worked on a script, which focused on a commander investigating two missing space missions on Mars.
The option reverted earlier this year and Paramount has now stepped up.
No writer is on board the new Martian Chronicles.
Davis, via his David Entertainment banner, last year produced Gulliver’s Travels, Marmaduke andPredator.
Bradbury, 90, is repped by Don Congdon Associates.

Dam Short Film Festival expanding screening committee

Screen the best (and worst) short films in the world

Industry professionals willing to volunteer time to screen short films for the Dam Short Film Festival should contact the Festivals new director John LaBoney ( / 702-769-5902) or the Executive Producer and Founder Lee Lanier ( / 702-293-4848). A select group will screen films for the festival, now in its eigth successful year.

The Festival will mounted February 8 to 11th, 2012 in Desi Arnez Jr.'s historic Boulder City, NV Theatre. It is a favorite for its small town charm, attention to film makers and proximity to both the Boulder Dam and Las Vegas.

NOTE: This blogs author (Art Lynch, / 702-454-1067) is on the board of the festival. Feel free to contact me for further information.


Hulu hurts its network parents, Arthur bombs, James Cameron pushed 3D TV, the Muppets, and The Civil War

The cure is worse than the disease. Hulu, the online video site co-owned by News Corp., Disney and NBC Universal, has become popular. That's a problem for its owners because the site's growth has also highlighted the potential the Internet video platform has to undermine the traditional television business. The problem is that the site potentially encourages consumers to drop their cable subscriptions, but the revenue Hulu generates is not nearly enough to foot the bill for the programming costs.  Writes the Los Angeles Times: "The crux of the problem is that Hulu's ad sales are still dwarfed by some $30 billion annually in programming fees that pours into the media giants from cable, satellite and telecom providers. Those fees support the cost of producing content, and undercutting them by steering viewers away from TV and to the Internet would jeopardize the sturdiest financial leg of the TV industry."
Maybe there will be a reality show called "Rosebud." Hearst Corp., the venerable media company whose holdings include magazines, almost 30 television stations and stakes in cable networks ESPN, Lifetime and A&E, has bought a chunk of legendary reality producer Mark Burnett's production company. “This venture provides Mark a platform and freedom to continue and grow his unique type of innovation," said Hearst Entertainment president Scott Sassa, who noted that Burnett's "Survivor" is to reality TV what "I Love Lucy" was to sitcoms. Burnett had been trying to find a buyer or a partner for his company for some time. Analysis from the Los Angeles TimesDeadline Hollywood and theWall Street Journal.
Maybe it just was not very good. The Hollywood Reporter looks at why Russell Brand's remake of "Arthur" bombed. The reasons mentioned include his wiry body and the idea that lovable drunks are not so lovable anymore. My hunch is a little Brand goes a long way and a lot of Brand can start to get annoying. It would be fun to see him play a bad guy in a movie. Maybe he should remake "A Clockwork Orange."
See above. Just as "Arthur" didn't seem to strike the right note with consumers, perhaps the same can be said of "Your Highness." That's not stopping the Wrap from speculating that maybe James Franco's performance as Oscar host hurt the comedy. Yes, because we all know that those young men that the movie was aimed at are just the type to hold a grudge against someone for not knocking it out of the park while hosting an awards show mostly watched by people over the age of 40. I'm starting to get Mark Cuban's rants against some forms of Internet journalism.
Did they flip a coin to see who argues first? A judge has ordered that the NFL and its players to try and resolve their labor differences with a mediator. While talking is good, there is no real expectation of an agreement that would keep the league on track. More on the back and forth between the league, the players and the courts from the New York Times.
Great, now I have to buy a new television. "Avatar" director James Cameron and Vince Pace, his chief cameraman on the hit movie, have created an initiative to ramp up 3-D production for the small screen. "3-D is just how all broadcast entertainment will be done. Sports, episodic drama, scripted and unscripted -- we haven't seen anything yet that doesn't have a great degree of value added by being in 3-D," Cameron told Reuters.
"Hop" stays on top. Universal's "Hop" jumped its way to another $21.7 million at the box office, which was enough to keep the animated bunny in first place. The remake of "Arthur" (after plenty of promotional help from "Saturday Night Live," which had co-stars Russell Brand and Helen Mirren as hosts in recent weeks), took in $12.6 million. That has to be a disappointment. A surprise (to me anyway) third-place finish went to "Hanna," which made $12.3 million. "Soul Surfer," the inspirational story of a girl surfer who sticks to the sport after losing an arm in a shark attack, was strong as well with $11.1 million. Apparently fans of Danny McBride and James Franco were too relaxed or perhaps hungry to go see "Your Highness" as it took in only $9.5 million. Box office coverage from the Los Angeles Times and Movie City News.
Together again? The media industry is abuzz that "Today" co-host Matt Lauer wants to team up with his old partner Katie Couric on a daytime talk show. Couric is expected to leave CBS News in June while Lauer's contract still has close to two years left on it, so this seems a little bit of a reach, unless Katie wants to sit on the sidelines for 18 months. Lauer and Couric were a successful team at "Today,"but  behind the scenes they were not exactly buddy-buddy. Guess if you wave enough money in front of people they will tend to forget everything bad about the last time they worked together. If the two do reunite, clearly they will do a show designed more for mornings than afternoons. With Regis Philbin leaving "Live with Regis and Kelly" later this year, there is a sense that that franchise is vulnerable. Still, this seems more fantasy than reality and spin from the Couric camp. Coverage and speculation from the New York Times and Wall Street Journal. Even though Lauer has a long way to go until he's a free agent, the New York Post jumps in and declares that ABC News talent Chris Cuomo is the leading candidate to replace him in 2013. OK guys, take a chill pill.
Time Warner considering new home. Let me get this straight. Time Warner, which tore up New York's Columbus Circle to make its new headquarters in a building that now houses a shopping mall and is something of a symbol of the corporate gentrification that has overwhelmed the city, now wants to move? According to the Wall Street Journal, Time Warner is thinking of moving to the far west side of Manhattan. The company  has not even been in its current home for 10 years yet and now wants to ruin another neighborhood? That's progress.
Expensive stationery. Media big shots Peter Chernin, Terry Semel and former Google CEO Eric Schmidt are among those investing in a merchant bank headed by media bankers Jeff Sine and Joe Ravitch, along with William Morris partner Ari Emanuel. The bank's name is Raine. I guess that beats Siravi. Details from the Financial Times.
First America, then the world. Netflix is gearing up for a big push abroad. Variety looks at hurdles the company will face as it tries to extend its reach.
Comeback time. Disney wants to reinvent the Muppets. "The Muppets Show," a TV staple of the 1970s and early '80s, also spawned several movies and now Disney will try another one. The New York Times on the behind-the-scenes plans to give Kermit and Miss Piggy another chance.

Inside the Los Angeles Times: Scott Collins on Hollywood's Civil War obsession. James Caan is more than a tough guy.