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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Mind-bending Art: Where the Art Is...


3 D Memorial Day Dudd, PBS Hacked, Pay to Play Video Gaming, Hungover


After months of slow business at the box office, Hollywood's headache may finally be subsiding. Audiences showed up in droves to see a bawdy comedy, an animated family film and even art-house fare over the holiday, making it the biggest Memorial Day weekend on record for ticket sales. (click here for link to LA Times Company Town, source of all material in this post).
What did you do this weekend? Seems most of us went to a movie. Maybe some of us even enjoyed the experience although I was not one of them. Hollywood took in a record $280 million, almost half of which was collected by Warner Bros.' incredibly lame sequel to "The Hangover." Somewhere H.L. Mencken is having a good laugh. The big weekend helped give the industry something to smile about in an otherwise lackluster year. Attendance is still down 10%, compared with 2010. Meanwhile, I may have to see "Bridesmaids" again just to get the taste of "The Hangover Part II" out of my mouth. Box-office analysis from the Los Angeles TimesBloomberg and Deadline Hollywood
Nothing to see here folks. Is 3-D a flash in the pan? The New York Times writes that "ripples of fear" spread across Hollywood after the latest "Pirates of the Caribbean" flick didn't generate a ton in 3-D box office. This past weekend, "Kung Fu Panda 2" also under-delivered in terms of 3-D box office. “Audiences are very smart,” Greg Foster, president of Imax Filmed Entertainment, told the paper. “When they smell something aspiring to be more than it is, they catch on very quickly.”
Indy films going well in limited release
Despite its lofty subject matter and press-averse director, "The Tree of Life" (photo above) found success at the box office this weekend.

The movie from reclusive filmmaker Terrence Malick opened in four theaters and collected a strong $488,920 over four days, according to an estimate from distributor Fox Searchlight. On a three-day basis, the film had a per-theater average of $93,230, just slightly less than the $99,834 per-theater average Woody Allen's "Midnight in Paris" had in its debut last weekend.
"The Tree of Life's" debut was the best ever in limited release for Fox Searchlight, beating out "Black Swan's $80,212 per-theater average. It was also the best opening ever for Malick, whose "The Thin Red Line" averaged $56,506 from five theaters in 1998. That film, a World War II drama, was the director's biggest commercial success, with $98.1 million in ticket sales worldwide. Malick has been absent from any promotional duties for the film, which stars Brad Pitt, Jessica Chastain and Sean Penn and poses questions about family, faith and the creation of the universe.
It remains to be seen how well "Tree of Life," which features little dialogue and does not have a traditional plot, will fare with a broader audience. In May, the movie won the Palme d'Or, the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival, but it has since inspired a divisive reaction among critics.
Fox Searchlight plans to expand the movie to eight new markets next weekend, and to open it in three additional theaters in New York and three more in Los Angeles. The movie, which was independently financed by Bill Pohlad's River Road Entertainment, is to begin playing nationwide in 200 to 300 theaters on July 1. 
Meanwhile, Allen's "Midnight in Paris" continues to do solid business. The movie starring Owen Wilson as a struggling writer who longs to live in 1920s Paris collected $3.5 million over four days, according to an estimate from distributor Sony Pictures Classics. That's already more than the director's last film, 2010's "You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger," grossed over its entire North American run. Though that movie made $31 million abroad, it only had $3.2 million in ticket sales domestically.
Overhauling YouTube. Seeking to improve relations with Hollywood and bring some order to the chaos that is video site YouTube, the company tapped former Netflix executive Robert Kyncl as its vice president of content partnerships. Hired about eight months ago, Kyncl has struck deals with Warner Bros., Universal and Sony Pictures that brought 3,000 movie titles to the site's on-demand rental service. More on Kyncl's mission from the Los Angeles Times.
Pay to play. Activision Blizzard Inc., the video game company behind Call of Duty, wants to take the business to the next level with an online pay model for the latest entry in the franchise. The Wall Street Journal says that this is a "potentially risky bet by Activision that it can further milk profits from consumers, who could feel the $60 they spend on 'Call of Duty' in stores is enough."

Comcast to stay on roller coaster. The Wrap is reporting that Comcast is going to buy the stake in Universal's Florida theme parks it didn't already own for $1.5 billion. Of course, it'd be news if Comcast wasn't buying the stake from private equity firm Blackstone.
Perhaps best drama is a better fit. Hardly a shocker here. Deadline Hollywood says Warner Bros. is not going to submit "Two and a Half Men" for a best comedy Emmy. If they had, that would have been news. The show didn't even finish the season and its best moments were going on behind-the-scenes.
Tree of confusion. "Tree of Life," the big winner at Cannes, didn't just come together overnight. The Daily Beast looks at the making of the movie, which it said is perhaps the "most convoluted production in the history of movies."
Hope they at least left a donation. Hackers broke into PBS' website and posted a bogus story about late rapper Tupac Shakur resurfacing. The hacking seems to be in retaliation for a PBS piece on "Frontline" about WikiLeaks. More from Wired.
Inside the Los Angeles Times: A look at the coin top media executives are pulling in. Corey Stoll is getting attention for playing Hemingway in Woody Allen's latest.


Nevada Film Incentive Vote by Full Assembly Today


AB506 UPDATE!

by Joshua Cohen on Monday, May 30, 2011 at 4:05pm

The Ways & Means Committee hearing on AB506 went very well. We had about 30 people video conference in from Las Vegas, as well as our delegation up north. Big props to JR Reid for leading the charge and our union friends for being so vocal in their support.

The bill should be heard before the Assembly Floor tomorrow. The proceedings will be viewable online.

In the mean time, please continue to write to your State Senator (NOT your Assemblyman) with your support of AB506.

Thanks for your continued assistance, everyone! We wouldn't be this far without you!