6 items from 2014
The number of prestige pics produced by the majors has declined. Traditional adult audiences flock to cable. Ancillary revenue streams remain uncertain. All of which means that the always-challenging Oscar film market is more challenging than ever.
When questioned by Variety’s co-editor-in-chief Claudia Eller about the future of low-cost, prestige dramas like “Million Dollar Arm” on Dec. 10 at the Variety’s annual Dealmakers Breakfast, Disney chief Bob Iger said, “You can quickly lose $40 million on a $10 million film these days.” That’s a potent explanation for Sony Pictures Classics co-prexy Tom Bernard’s observation to Variety’s Steven Gaydos at the Whistler Summit’s Dec. 5 View From the Top panel: “The studios do not want to be in the Oscar business.”
The majors’ divestment in specialty films, dramatically evidenced by the shuttering of divisions like Warner Independent and Picturehouse, can be seen in subtler ways this season. After closing »
- Gregg Goldstein
Universal’s making room for Alex Kurtzman and his Secret Hideout shingle. They’ve signed a three-year production deal with the writer-director-producer’s new banner, which is expanding its operations on the studio lot. Kurtzman, who first pacted with Universal in a two-year deal in 2012 with Star Trek co-scribe Roberto Orci and their K/O Paper Products, will be joined by Focus Features’ Jeb Brody and K/O’s Bobby Cohen as producers at Secret Hideout. Kim Rosen is also moving over to the new company from K/O Paper Products to serve as head of digital and interactive. Kurtzman & Co. will be adding additional offices on the Universal lot while developing filmmaker-driven projects with franchise and multi-quadrant potential.
Kurtzman continues to spearhead Universal’s relaunch of its classic monster franchises with Chris Morgan, starting with the Mummy reboot he’s helming for a summer 2016 release. He is also producing »
- Jen Yamato
The actress, who routinely makes waves with her conservative views, has been hired by the network as a contributor. She will provide “cultural analysis and commentary across various daytime and primetime programs,” according to the announcement.
During the 2012 presidential election, Dash received heavy criticism for endorsing Republican candidate Mitt Romney on her personal Twitter account. Since then, she has come under fire for supporting Paula Deen during the celebrity chef’s racial slur scandal, slamming Jay Z and Beyonce for visiting Cuba, and speaking out against »
- Amber Ray
Stacey Dash, the actress best known, perhaps, for her role in the 1995 Amy Heckerling-helmed film “Clueless,” will join Fox News Channel as a cultural commentator, the 21st Century Fox-owned cable network said Wednesday.
Dash is to offer cultural analysis and commentary across Fox News’ daytime and primetime programs, the network said.
The actress, whose films include “Renaissance Man’ and :”View from the Top,” endorsed then-Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on her personal Twitter account in 2012, a move that sparked some controversy and backlash. Since the election, Dash has continued to take to the media to offer opinion on pop culture, national news and politics.
“Stacey is an engaging conversationalist whose distinctive viewpoints amongst her Hollywood peers have spawned national debates – we’re pleased to have her join Fox News,” said Bill Shine, executive vice president of programming at Fox News, in a prepared statement.
- Brian Steinberg
Showing the vitality of Liam Neeson carrying a gun and a broken heart, Non-Stop recently gave the new action hero one of his biggest box office weekends so far. Involving an air marshal using a particular set of skills to hunt and kill someone threatening his plane (to paraphrase Taken), the film may seem like a generic Neeson actioner. But while his character might be a composite of previous roles, the anxiety he tackles within this film is fresh. Considering its box office success (and my mother’s intense experience in watching the movie), Non-Stop works efficiently as a thriller in 2014 because it provides viewers with imagery of in-flight chaos not seen since before 9/11. It is also the indication of a natural progression for how Hollywood films are »
- Nick Allen
Cameos are usually fun in films, especially in comedies like Anchorman and Zombieland when actors you don’t expect to see pop in for a few laughs. In those cases the cameos aren’t promoted in order to keep them as funny surprises, but also because it would be a pretty low thing to do if misleading advertising suggested that a popular actor who only makes a token appearance has a significant role in a movie.
But don’t think an industry that charges $5 extra for a 3D movie with hardly any 3D effects and $7 for a “small” popcorn is above ripping you off with misleading advertising. Still, trailers and posters are meant to promote a movie so most rational people are aware that they are always an exercise in overselling since not every comedy can be the “funniest movie of the year!” However, at the very least »
- Chris McKittrick
6 items from 2014
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