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4 items from 2017


Frank Oz on the Legacy of Jim Henson’s Muppets

12 March 2017 9:13 AM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

On Sunday morning, Frank Oz — the celebrated puppeteer behind such Jim Henson characters as Miss Piggy, Grover, Fozzie Bear, and Sam the Eagle — premieres his new documentary “Muppet Guys Talking: Secrets Behind the Show the Whole World Watched” at SXSW. The film is a candid, often bitingly funny conversation between Oz and four of his closest colleagues: Dave Goelz (Gonzo), Bill Barretta (Rowlf the Dog), Fran Brill (Little Bird), and Jerry Nelson (Count von Count), who died in 2012.

Oz, 72, started his career as a puppeteer when he met Jim Henson at 19, and he went on to become a successful director of such comedic hits as “What About Bob?,” “In and Out,” and “Bowfinger.” He got the idea for his latest movie from his wife, Victoria, a business consultant, who thought the close camaraderie he shared with his co-workers is rare — proof that business culture can still be fun.

Oz shot the conversation some years ago, »

- Ramin Setoodeh

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David Geffen, Samuel Goldwyn and the Search for the "Holy Grail" of Missing Movies

23 February 2017 9:00 AM, PST | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

Porgy and Bess. The 1959 musical, based on the George Gershwin opera, was produced by Goldwyn's grandfather, legendary Hollywood pioneer Samuel Goldwyn. Geffen implied that the mogul's grandson had vowed to set up a showing of the film, but if so it had slipped Goldwyn's mind. In any case, though his family still controlled the rights, Goldwyn did not have a print and did not know how to get one.

Prints of Porgy are beyond rare. "It probably is the most elusive film »

- Kim Masters

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With Funding From Universal, Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Looks for Reinvention

22 February 2017 9:45 AM, PST | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Steven Spielberg cleared the way for the latest iteration of DreamWorks Studios a year ago, shifting distribution from Disney to Universal and announcing new investment from Jeff Skoll’s Participant Media, Reliance Entertainment of India, and Entertainment One of Canada.

That financing influx, along with Spielberg’s unusual move to chip in $50 million of his own money and the adoption of a new name, Amblin Partners, signaled the start of an attempted reinvention of the company the renowned director founded nearly a quarter century ago with David Geffen and Jeffrey Katzenberg.

With an additional equity investment last week from Universal (amounting to roughly a 4% stake in the new operation) Amblin Partners has its financial house in order. That makes 2017 the year the company needs to do the same with its creative house — delivering more hits more consistently than DreamWorks did in its spotty recent history.

The plan is for Amblin, »

- James Rainey

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Jeffrey Katzenberg Tapped for Lifetime Achievement Honor by Hollywood Publicists

4 January 2017 7:55 AM, PST | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Longtime Hollywood executive Jeffrey Katzenberg has been selected to receive the Lifetime Achievement award from the publicists of the International Cinematographers Guild.

Katzenberg, chairman of DreamWorks New Media, will receive the award at the Publicists Awards Luncheon  at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Feb. 24.

Katzenberg joined with Steven Spielberg and David Geffen in 1994 to co-found DreamWorks Skg, which produced best picture Academy Award winners .”American Beauty,” “Gladiator” and “A Beautiful Mind.” In 2004, DreamWorks Animation was spun off as a publicly traded company with Katzenberg as CEO.

DreamWorks Animation has gone on to release 33 films. It was acquired by Comcast in August for $3.8 billion with Katzenberg segueing to his current position as head of DreamWorks New Media.

Henri Bollinger, chairman of the Publicists Luncheon Awards committee, said, .”From the outset of his career, Jeffrey has demonstrated an ability to incorporate the essence of entertainment into a wide spectrum of projects. This »

- Dave McNary

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4 items from 2017


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