From the LA Times Company Town Blog. Click here for the latest industry news.
That was fast. Current TV gave Keith Olbermann his walking papers just eight months after his show debuted there. Olbermann, who has clashed with bosses at just about every place he's worked (ESPN, Fox, MSNBC), has threatened to sue. Current banked on Olbermann to turn it into a serious competitor in the news/talk game and gave him a five-year, $50-million deal. More on the latest Olbermann drama from the Daily Beast.
The Daily Dose: Perhaps in a sign of things to come, Fox and Time Warner Cable are fighting over a new deal for a regional sports channel in San Diego. Fox won the rights to the San Diego Padres but has been unable to get Time Warner Cable to agree to carry its new channel, meaning Padres fans will be missing a lot of games this season. Later on this year, closer to home, Fox and Time Warner Cable are expected to square off in a battle for TV rights to the Dodgers.
"Bully" does well at Box Office.The ratings controversy seems to have boosted “Bully” at the box office. Lee Hirsch’s teen-bullying documentary, released in a total of five theaters in Los Angeles and New York this past weekend, grossed $115,000, according to an estimate from distributor the Weinstein Co.
The $23,000 per-screen average is strong given the film’s genre. Two recent, reasonably successful issue-oriented documentaries, “Food, Inc.” and “Inside Job,” each tallied a slightly lower per-screen average of $20,000 in their limited-release openings. Those movies went on to gross a solid $4 million to $5 million at the domestic box office. It remains to be seen, however, whether “Bully” can capitalize on the solid start as its publicity glow fades.
“Bully,” which examines five families affected by bullying, was given an R rating by the Motion Picture Assn. of America for the use of profanity. (An R means that children younger than 17 can see the film only if accompanied by an adult.)
After the MPAA’s appeals board upheld the rating, the Weinstein Co. howled in protest and a grass-roots movement sprang up. Nearly 500,000 people — including Meryl Streep, Justin Bieber and Johnny Depp — signed a petition started by a Michigan teenager that urged the MPAA to change the film’s rating to PG-13, which would allow teens to see it without an adult. The publicity made many aware of a movie that they otherwise might not have heard about, and gave Harvey Weinstein a low-cost, high-profile platform to promote the film.
Weinstein eventually decided to release the movie without a rating, prompting a range of responses among theater owners. The country’s first- and fourth-largest chains, Regal Entertainment and Carmike Cinemas, said they would play the film but treat it as R-rated when it arrived in their theaters in mid-April. The third-largest chain, Cinemark, said it would not play the movie because it has a policy of not screening unrated films.
AMC, the nation’s second-largest chain, took the least restrictive tack: The company said it would play the movie and allow children younger than 17 to see it unaccompanied, providing they had permission from an adult. (AMC screens represented two of the five outlets showing the film this past weekend; the remainder were art house theaters.)
As it turned out, a vast majority of those who saw “Bully” were adults — 73% were at least 25 years old, and 41% were 35 and older, a Weinstein distribution executive said.
By the standard of unrated films, “Bully” did well, if not outstandingly so. A little more than a decade ago, Darren Aronofsky’s unrated drug drama “Requiem for a Dream,” which also had a high-profile debut after losing a battle with the MPAA, opened to $32,000 per screen in limited release.
“Bully” will expand to 50 markets on April 13. But the film’s unrated status is unlikely to be a factor then. A tweaked version is expected to be rated PG-13--that is the version that will be shown in wide release.
"Jack and Jill" sweeps the "Razzies." Adam Sandler's critically lambasted cross-dressing comedy "Jack and Jill" made history of sorts Sunday at Magicopolis in Santa Monica: It became the first film ever to sweep every category at the 32nd annual Razzie Awards, which honor the year's worst cinematic achievements.
"Jack and Jill" won for worst film of 2011 and worst actor and actress — with both awards going to Sandler. It took the prize in all seven other categories too, including for Al Pacino as worst supporting actor, David Spade as worst supporting actress and Dennis Dugan as worst director.
The directing award for Dugan and the acting award for Sandler also recognized their work on another 2011 comedy, "Just Go With It."
Going into the tongue-in-cheek awards, Sandler had scored a record 11 nominations for himself as an actor, actress, writer and producer.
"Jack and Jill" stars Sandler as both a successful commercial director and his own whiny twin sister. Zaniness ensues when Jill arrives for a Thanksgiving visit with the family that turns into an extended stay. In "Just Go With It," Sandler plays a plastic surgeon who poses as an unhappily married man to woo single women.
In the past, the Razzies, more formally known as the Golden Raspberry Awards, have been presented the night before the Academy Awards ceremony, but this year co-owners John Wilson and Mo Murphy changed the date to play up the comedic aspect of these "dis-honors" by handing out the awards on April Fool's Day.
Big appetite."The Hunger Games" took in more than $60 million in its second weekend and easily dominated the competition. "Wrath of the Titans," the sequel to "Clash of the Titans," took in $34.2 million, which is much less than what the original opened to a few years ago and less than industry analysts had projected. "Mirror Mirror," a new take on "Snow White" starring Julia Roberts, took in $19 million. "Bully," the documentary from the Weinstein Co. that was released unrated, got off to a solid start limited release. Box office coverage in the Los Angeles Times and Movie City News.
Going to the mattresses. Los Angeles Times parent company Tribune Co. yanked its television stations off satellite broadcaster DirecTV over the weekend. The two are the latest media giants clashing over program fees. Tribune wants DirecTV to pay to carry its local stations and its national cable channel WGN America. DirecTV says it'll pay but the two sides can't agree on terms. Viewers, in the meantime, are left in the lurch. Coverage from the Los Angeles Times and Multichannel News.
Mel vs. Malone. Liberty Media, the holding company controlled by cable mogul John Malone, is putting the squeeze on satellite radio company Sirius XM. Liberty, already the largest stakeholder in Sirius XM, is trying to make the case that it is in defacto control and has asked the Federal Communications Commission to award it Sirius XM's radio license. Sirius XM, which is headed by Mel Karmazin, is fighting back. More on the drama from the Wall Street Journal and Los Angeles Times.
Bubble-bursting time. USA Today looks at which shows are in danger of being cancelled and asks its readers to vote on which ones should be spared the death penalty. Among the programs in danger of being cancelled are NBC's critical darling "Community" and Fox's "Fringe."
Bottle, not draft. James Bond will have a Heineken in this fall's "Skyfall," according to Ad Age. Not sure if that means he has sworn off martinis or is just trying something new, but it does go to show you what money can buy!
Inside the Los Angeles Times: It was supposed to be a slam dunk, but Oprah Winfrey's OWN has had problems since Day One. Adam Sandler's "Jack and Jill" was a big winner at the Razzies, the awards that honor uniquely bad movies.
— Joe Flint
Follow me on Twitter and we can be right together. Twitter.com/JBFlint
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From the LA Times Company Town Blog. Click here for the latest industry news.