Hollywood Playbook: Tuesday's Top 5 News Items

Hollywood Playbook: Tuesday's Top 5 News Items

Craig Ferguson to Leave ‘Late Late Show’ in December

Craig Ferguson claims there is no tension or drama behind his decision to leave CBS and the “Late Late Show” after ten years in December. But there are reports he had a clause in his contract guaranteeing him Letterman’s slot (should Letterman retire) or $10 million. Apparently, CBS didn’t even consider him and happily paid the $10 million.

That had to hurt.

THR believes Ferguson’s replacement could be either Neil Patrick Harris or Aisha Taylor. Because the left-wing media is so enamored with the left-wing Stephen Colbert, CBS got away with hiring another Late Night white male. Because these Late Late slots are looked at as a farm team where talent rises or falls in preparation for the big leagues, CBS will probably feel a lot of pressure to look outside the white male club.  

Not even being mentioned — at least so far — as a possible replacement for Ferguson is Chelsea Handler, who lobbied hard for a shot at the Letterman gig. She got nowhere there and is now claiming she is in talks with Netflix.

Personally, I think she looks a little used up.


Dinesh D’Souza’s “America” Trailer

“America” is a follow-up to Dinesh D’Souza and Oscar-winning producer  Gerald R. Molen’s “2016,” which was the second-highest grossing documentary in history.

D’Souza directly takes on a number of high-profile academics who get fat, rich and famous infecting our children and cable news outlets with odious and dishonest opinions of America. “We answer the central moral challenge of America’s critics, which is that America’s greatness is based on theft, plunder and oppression,” D’Souza says in the trailer.


Gosnell Movie Raises $1.5 Million

With two weeks left, the historic crowdfunding campaign to finance a $2.1 million narrative feature film about abortion doctor and serial killer Kermit Gosnell, has reached 71% of its goal — $1,497,080.

From the film’s producers, Ann McElhinney and Phelim McAleer:

Indiegogo enables “crowdfunding” for important projects.

But here’s the catch. We’ve set the budget. But if we fail to raise our target budget, Indiegogo will return all the funds, we will received nothing and the film will never be made.

Indiegogo allows us to bypass the Hollywood studios and the usual funding sources for movies.

Hollywood never would fund a movie such as this.

We funded our last film FrackNation using crowdfunding.

So far, the biggest “crowd funded” film of all-time is the Veronica Mars movie, a teen detective story that asked for $2.1m and raised $5.7m, we think the Gosnell movie is more important, we think you do too.

So we are asking for $2.1m and we are hoping to break the record and make history.

With your help we’re going to hire the best screenwriter, director and actors to make sure that the story of Kermit Gosnell gets into every home in America.

Please pledge right now.

McElhinney and McAleer have a proven track record as filmmakers. They have already cut their teeth on feature documentaries that have won distribution and awards: FrackNation, Mine Your Own Business, Not Evil Just Wrong, and The Search for Tristan’s Mum.

Think about the many hundreds of movies produced every year. Then think about the tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of hours of television produced every year… But to get this story made, it has to go outside the Hollywood system because not a single one of the gatekeepers don’t want it told.

I was happy to contribute $100.

Power to the people.


Katzenberg: ‘Movies Are Not a Growth Business’

Dreamworks Animation chief Jeffrey Katzenberg told a gathering in Beverly Hills that movies are no longer a growth business. The future is television, streaming, and on-location entertainment. He also believes that within a decade, movies will move from the theatre to home video within two or three weeks:

“The model will change and you won’t pay for the window of availability you’ll pay for the inch that you watch,” Katzenberg told the packed ballroom at the Beverly Hilton. Saying he may be putting his foot in his mouth, the DWA boss predicted that movies will still come out on the big screen in a decade but what happens next will be the big shift. “On the 18th day it’ll be available everywhere and you’ll pay for it on the size of the device you watch it on,” he said. “When that happens and it will happen, it will reinvent the enterprise of movies.

Diversification of platforms and formats was another big topic for the panel today. “I wish it was an offense move,” said Katzenberg “Diversity is essential for us if we want to grow the business.” He added, “It can’t come fast enough” of the need to seek new platforms and outlets like TV, streaming and on-location entertainment.

Movie theatres will never go away. That communal experience, especially for teens with too much money and free time, will always be with us. What is dying is the old rationale for a 3 to 4 month window between the theatrical and home video release.

The thinking used to be that shortening that window would hurt theatrical revenues. Why would people pay to go to the theatre when the movie will be available at the local RedBox in three weeks?

That doesn’t make much sense anymore. Ticket sales are flat and have been for a decade (despite population growth). Gimmicks like 3D and Imax have boosted revenues, but admissions are not moving. People don’t go to the movies to watch movies anymore.

We watch movies at home.

We go to the movies to go to the movies and shortening the home video release window will not change that. And as we see most every weekend now, the film business has changed dramatically over the last 10 to 15 years. Spectacle aimed at teens rules like never before.

Dovetailing the home release into the theatrical release might even be more profitable. It will allow the home video release to ride the advertising blitz attached to the theatrical release. Distributors won’t need to pay for another campaign three months later to reawaken awareness. It will already be there.

But Katzenberg is right, movies are a no-growth business. That business is what it is. The growth and excitement and evolution is digital.

Liberty CEO Greg Maffei was also on the panel and said it all with this, “”Netflix’s success is the failure of the cable company to not create TV Everywhere.”

People want to watch what they want to watch when and where they want to watch it, and on any device of their choosing.

What worries Hollywood is that revolution is not so much about content. It’s about cheap prices and convenience.


Streaming Spooks Chinese: Four US TV Shows Ordered Off Websites

Chinese authorities ordered a video streaming website to remove four American TV shows, including “The Big Bang Theory,” “NCIS,” and “The Good Wife.” At first the removal seemed censorious, a desire by the State to shut down streaming television which is considered freer than state television. But now those same shows are scheduled to reappear on state television.

Apparently, the streaming revolution is already killing television in China:

Initially it looked like the decision to ban the shows and increase monitoring of foreign shows online was part of an effort to impose ideological rigor on the relatively freewheeling online sits and bring them back into the remit of the Communist Party’s embrace.

That may yet be the case, but there is also a growing suspicion that the government is intervening to give the flagging fortunes of the state broadcaster a boost.

CCTV is seriously hurting from the competition provided by the Sohu’s and Youku’s of this world.

It is going to happen here.



Quick Hits

Star Wars: Episode VII Cast Announced

Yahoo Preps Pair Of Original 30-Minute Comedy Series For Web

Netflix, Verizon Reach Streaming Deal

Hill Street Blues transcends its era to remain tremendous TV

Roland Emmerich Eyes Historical Adventure ‘Maya Lord’



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