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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Spiderman and other Superheros may be headed to Disney. "Luck" suspends shooting of horses. Hunger Games premieres. Do the books cheapen "The Godfather?"

Photo: Jennifer Lawrence and Joe Drake at the premiere of "The Hunger Games." Credit: Kevin Winter / Getty Images
From the LA Times Company Town Blog. Click here for the latest entertainment industry news

Getting hungry. "The Hunger Games" hasn't even hit theaters yet, but Disney's ABC Family cable channel has already landed a deal for the basic cable rights to the movie. That means if you're not planning on catching it in theaters and don't have pay cable, Netflix or a DVD player, you'll only have to wait 2 1/2 years to see it on television. Details from Broadcasting & Cable.

"The Hunger Games" is the last hurrah for Lions Gate's outgoing president.  "The Hunger Games" premiere Monday night was kicked off by an introduction from a soon-to-be former Lionsgate employee who oversaw the biggest and most important movie in the company's history.

Joe Drake, Lionsgate's former motion picture group president, was the first person to walk on stage in front of thousands of Hollywood professionals and screaming fans at the Nokia Theatre in downtown Los Angeles. The executive, who had been involved in shaping "The Hunger Games" movie from its inception, is currently negotiating his exit from the studio.

He was recently replaced by Rob Friedman and Patrick Wachbserger, the former co-chairmen of Summit Entertainment, which Lionsgate acquired in January. The duo are bringing over many of their senior executives from Summit, resulting in a shake-up in the ranks of Lionsgate executives who have managed "The Hunger Games."

PHOTOS: "The Hunger Games" black carpet arrivals
After mentioning the company's chief executive, Jon Feltheimer, and vice chairman, Michael Burns, Drake took the time to personally thank members of his team, some of whose futures at Lionsgate are soon ending or in doubt. Among them:

-- Production president Alli Shearmur, who bought the "Hunger Games" book trilogy in 2008 and oversaw production of the first movie. She has been replaced by Summit's Erik Feig and is expected to sign a producing deal with the studio.
-- Executive vice president of distribution David Spitz, who is remaining with the company but instead of running his department will take the No. 2 spot under Summit's Richard Fay.
-- Marketing president Tim Palen, who designed and oversaw the marketing campaign for "The Hunger Games." His future at Lionsgate is uncertain as the company must decide whether he or Summit's Nancy Kirkpatrick will take the top marketing job, or if the two will share power in some way.
-- Julie Fontaine, executive vice president of publicity for Lionsgate, who has managed press coverage for the film. Her future is uncertain, too, as no decision has been made on whether and how she will work alongside Summit's Eric Kops.

Absent from the list of those thanked by Drake was the Summit team, who were in attendance at the premiere.

"Hunger Games" director Gary Ross, who took the stage after Drake, also thanked Shearmur and Palen by name.

HBO is suspending production of scenes with horses on Luck

Photo: HBO's "Luck." Credit: Gusmano Cesaretti/Associated Press 

No horsing around. After the death of a third horse, HBO's gambling drama "Luck" has suspended shooting scenes that feature horses. The show, which was already renewed for a second season despite lackluster ratings, has been filming new episodes at the Santa Anita racetrack. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has already been loudly complaining about the treatment of horses during the shooting of "Luck." More from Bloomberg.

Daily Dose: The bad economy creeps up as a subplot in two new TV shows. Lifetime's "The Client List" is about a woman who goes to work in a "massage" parlor to make ends meet while CBS' new cop drama "NYC 22" features one character who turns to law enforcement after getting laid off as a newspaper reporter. Too bad I'm too old for the police academy.

Standing in line next to Spider-Man. Walt Disney Co., which bought Marvel Entertainment in 2009, is working on a plan to bring the comic book giant's characters to its theme parks. Of course, Universal owns the rights in perpetuity for its Marvel Super Hero Island attraction featuring many famed characters, so just what Disney has in mind is not clear yet. Walt Disney Co. Chief Executive Bob Iger also said at the company's annual meeting that Disney has a plan to hire 1,000 U.S. veterans. Coverage of the annual meeting from the Los Angeles Times and Reuters.

BSkyB next casualty for News Corp.? The never-ending ethics scandal at News Corp.'s British tabloids could affect the company's involvement in British Sky Broadcasting, the satellite giant that News Corp. is a large stakeholder in. James Murdoch, the son of News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch, may be pressured to resign as chairman of BSkyB. That's just for starters. If the British government decides that News Corp. is unfit to have any involvement in the broadcaster, the company could have to divest. More from the Evening Standard and Financial Times.

Bottomless wallets. ESPN is near a deal to extend its contract to carry the Big 12 Conference. According to Sports Business Daily, the cable sports empire is going to shell out $1.3 billion for a nine-year extension with the conference. Where does ESPN get all this money? Oh yeah, from cable and satellite subscribers like you and me.

Don't ever take sides against the family again. The family of late "Godfather" author Mario Puzo has sued Paramount Pictures for ownership of the classic movie. That suit is in response to Paramount's suit trying to stop the Puzo heirs from publishing another "Godfather" book. Paramount has argued that the books cheapen the value of the movie franchise. Maybe, but didn't "Godfather III" do that too? Details from the Wall Street Journal.

Shrinking window. Fans of CW shows "Gossip Girl" and "The Vampire Diaries" won't have to wait three days anymore to watch them online. The CW, concerned about piracy, is shortening the three-day wait to just eight hours. The network ran some tests and determined that such a small window would not hurt the broadcast ratings of the show. Coverage from Variety.

Inside the Los Angeles Times: "Walking Dead" producer Gale Anne Hurd makes the case for California to expand its film credit to boost production here.

-- Joe Flint

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From the LA Times Company Town Blog. Click here for the latest entertainment industry news

1 comment:

A Carlos Com 101-4049 said...

What stood out the most was the section of this article as it related to Marvel, bought in 2009?? Where have I been? It is going to be intresting to see what happens when they bring fairy-tale and mix it in with Super-hero/Villan central loaded Marvel. Will they turn Cinderella into crime-fighting vixen? Okay,enough with the cartoons, they plan to hire 1,000 U.S. Veterans- why do they have to plan? They are a huge company more than capable of hiring them without the press release. Just saying...
A. Carlos Com 101-4049