Hollywood Playbook: Thursday's Top 5 News Items

Hollywood Playbook: Thursday's Top 5 News Items

Faith-Based Comedy ‘Moms’ Night Out’ Hits 1,000 Screens Tomorrow

Three Sony-based distributors will ensure that “Moms’ Night Out” lands on 1,000 screens tomorrow. The film is directed by brothers Andrew and Jon Erwin, whose abortion-themed “October Baby” (2011), grossed $5.4 million on a miniscule budget. The film stars Patricia Heaton, Sean Astin, Trace Adkins, and David Hunt.

THR’s indispensible Paul Bond reports that the budget is $5 million and the marketing campaign is a low-budget, grassroots affair similar to other faith-based films:

The PG-rated religious message in Moms’ Night Out is less overt. In the $5 million film, a stressed-out mother of young children (Sarah Drew) attempts an outing with other moms from the same congregation, including Heaton, whose production company, FourBoys Films, is a producer. “The faith is clear but soft, whereas most films targeting Christians seem to go heavier on the message,” says Ben Howard, senior vp at Provident. “We hope this movie broadens the audience.” …

Moms’ Night Out is getting a marketing push on TV and talk radio, but like most faith-based films, it mainly is relying on social media and word of mouth. It has screened about 150 times for roughly 20,000 people, including church groups, military wives and “mom bloggers” who reach 15 million women, says Kris Fuhr, founder of Moviegal Marketing.

Between “God’s Not Dead,” “Son of God,” and Heaven Is for Real,” this will be the fourth Christian film in a little over two months to hit theatres. Three are already surprise successes. If a fourth can prove itself profitable in such a short period of time, that will surprise even me.

Naturally, elite critics don’t like “Mom’s Night Out,” but they are so bigoted and bubbled you can’t trust their reviews.  

The movie’s big draw should be Patricia Heaton, who is a comedic genius. After the first season, I started calling it “Everybody Loves Debra.”


The Mighty Don Rickles Turns 88 Today


Don Rickles and Jerry Seinfeld Get Coffee.

Good day to watch “Mr. Warmth” (2007)


Will Ferrell and Adam McKay to Ruin ‘The Flintstones’

Because you loved what they did with “Land of the Lost”… Will Ferrell and Adam McKay will get a shot at rebooting “the Flintstones.”

There is some good news in the knowledge that this will be an animated reboot, so we won’t have to see Will Ferrell’s butt.

Otherwise, look for a lot of unfunny dinosaur semen jokes and a subplot about the evils of fossil fuel.

Oh, and a Dick Cheney joke, because nobody Speaks! Truth! To! The! Out! Of! Power! Like Ferrell and McKay.


Streaming Audience Explodes 20% Over Last Year

A new study shows that the number of adults watching online video exploded from 45 million last year to 52 million this year. That is a whopping 20% increase. Meanwhile, cable and satellite television providers are  going backwards.

The Wrap makes a good case for why 52 million that number sounds low:

Netflix counts more than 40 million subscribers, according to its latest earnings report.  Google sites (aka YouTube) count 155 million monthly viewers, according to the latest numbers from Comscore. Facebook has more than 80 million. AOL draws 69 million. Yahoo draws 55 million.

None of those statistics account for the number of people watching “original digital video.” People use Netflix to watch movies and other TV shows, and go on YouTube to watch music videos and highlights from TV shows. Yet given that massive appetite for video online, could this study, based on surveys and focus groups, be underestimating the number?

Regardless, what is important is the trend. People are wrapping their heads around the idea of streaming to their televisions, and that is a change of a lifelong habit for many.

Unfortunately, a site I used to write for six or seven years ago is now defunct. Were it not, I could brag (with links!) about how I predicted all of this long before anyone even knew what a Netflix Streaming was. My whole premise was based on the idea that once you could connect your Internet to your television, the revolution would be unstoppable.

The problem is that I have no faith in myself. It’s easy to predict away in writing but when it came to backing it up with purchases of Netflix stock, I never pulled the trigger. A little more faith and I could be an insufferable millionaire today instead of an insufferable nobody.

P.S. I still believe the movie theatre experience will be replaced with glasses you strap to your face that  include 3D sound through headphones.


Pressure Builds Against the Sharia-Loving Owners to Sell Beverly Hills Hotel

The city council of Beverly Hills passed a resolution urging the Sharia-loving/women and gay-hating  owners of the Beverly Hills Hotel to sell. The mayor also announced that she will personally boycott the hotel. The City Council didn’t go so far as to call for an official boycott.

Hollywood is in a tough position here. The Beverly Hills Hotel is one of the few remaining iconic parts of Tinseltown that hasn’t been torn down and replaced with a souvenir stand or Trader Joe’s. When it comes to preserving its history, Los Angeles is cold and unsentimental. This hotel is beloved in the Hollywood community because it is the rare throwback to the past and is still as glamorous and upscale as it was when Cary Grant ruled the town.

According to the hotel managers, thus far the growing boycott isn’t having much of a financial effect. If the Sultan doesn’t divest himself, will Hollywood lose interest in the boycott and hope the rest of us forget about it?

Keep in mind, Hollywood doesn’t really care about human or gay rights. Good grief, they are selling their souls to China. It’s all symbolic and clubby and feel good.

Should be interesting to see who blinks first: The Sultan or Sherry Lansing.


Quick Hits

From ‘Maleficent’ to ‘Hercules’: Summer’s 5 Biggest Box-Office Risks

Lifetime Adapting Bible-Themed ‘Red Tent’ With Morena Baccarin, Minnie Driver, Debra Winger

Directors Guild Wire Transfer Under Investigation by L.A. District Attorney

Where Are the Kids’ Movies This Summer?

Breakheart Pass’ Blu-ray Announced


Home Video News

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Follow  John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC