The Hot Blog Archive for December, 2007

BYO New Year

Happy New Year to all of you.
2007 was full of adventure, mostly for better in my personal camp. I hope it was for all of you too.
May the writer’s strike soon end… may movies be surprising in the best ways… and may we all indulge our passions and our empathy for the passions of others in the year to come.

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No Hi-Def Discs, Thanks

I adore having my Blu-ray and HD players. I have a 1080 set and the image is beautiful, more so than any other delivery, including high-def satellite.
But this NYT story on the ongoing failure of the formats is pretty much on target, with one exception… upscaling DVD players, which has become one of the top threats to the new formats. No one wants to replace their collection of DVDs. And while some discs don’t upscale so well – I really don’t know what makes the difference, but it is noticeable – once you see how most of your discs can, the need to own a Blu-ray or HD player is diminished.
Another interesting point is that Blu-ray owners are buying more discs than HD buyers. I have had the good fortune of two of the Blu-ray driven companies putting me on their publicity lists. And I haven’t really bothered the others about it. But I bought the HD player and have been buying discs in both formats, trying to figure this all out for myself. And it seems, as a consumer, that there are a lot more titles that are exclusively Blu-ray than exclusively HD. This is changing with Paramount content. But there was a 3-for-2 HD deal at a retailer recently and I had a hard time picking three films in the format that I really wanted. (I went ahead and bought Boorman’s Excalibur by itself on Amazon for almost the same price after accounting for no sales tax and free shipping.)
Also, there is the problem that if you are into Blu-ray or HD, you need to have players on all your HD TVs if you are buying only those formats. (Nor can you bring it to a friend’s home, even if they have an HDTV but no player.) I am still a one-HDTV household, so watching a DVD in the bedroom or guestroom in hi-def is not an option at all. I’ll buy a second screen eventually… and when I do, the additional costs of a HD DVR, an additional hard drive to make it capable of holding hundreds of hours of hi-def programming and not just 30, the added program fees to DirecTV, and at least one hi-def player will probably cost more than the 42″ LCD or plasma TV… and that is assuming that I won’t want to bother with surround sound.
I love the formats and especially some of the stuff that artists have done, pushing the technoology. But it is harder and harder to foresee a future that will not be driven by hi-def coming into homes by cable, satellite and, for a bit, internet. As most of you might have noticed, WalMart quietly got out of the download business this last week.
The key to the entertainment is not quality… it is, as it always was, delivery.

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The Writers Strike Back

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Sunday Estimates by Klady – Dec 30

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Friday Estimates by Klady – 12/29

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Holiday & Award Film Spoiler Thread

A couple of funky little things occured to me in recent days… neither is spoiler material, but it made me think that we should have a place to discuss all these films.
First, I finally saw Hellboy 2 trailer on DVD instead of Quicktime and the difference is of note, considering how visually dark the footage is. Much better on a bigger screen. Also, Del Toro offers an homage to John Landis in the trailer footage. Have you noticed?
Second, watching Sweeney Todd, which finally arrived on DVD (it’s been landing all over town and beyond since last Friday), I was reminded that one of Depp’s last beats in the film the film – which I will not mention in any detail here – but which you can in comments, where SPOILERS will be the order of the day – shares an idea with a Daniel Day Lewis moment in Gangs of New York… more so in the earlier cut. And now, they are duking it out for awards.
If you haven’t caught it – THE FOLLOWING COMMENTS SECTION IS FOR SPOILERS!!!
Since it’s not just one movie, please NAME THE FILM at the top of your comment, skip a line, and then start commenting. I know it’s a hassle, but others will appreciate it.
So…
“HAIRSPRAY
When Edna Turnblad has sex with Velma Van Tussle…”
And so on…

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Top Ten List at 155 – Pre-Publication Preview

(This entry was corrected at 2:40p on Saturday… more explanation below.)
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The Top 20, and particularly the Top 10, is getting pretty well cemented in.
Sweeney Todd and Michael Clayton keep going back and forth in the 9 and 10 spots. Juno keeps moving up. The Lives of Others could be knocked out of the 20 by The Savages, which is just a half-point behind. (Lives had 74 points last year. If added, the total would put the film in the current Top 15.)
No Country For Old Men no longer has a twice-the-next-highest-point-and-list-total status

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The WGA On The Letterman Deal

To Our Fellow Members,
We are writing to let you know that have reached a contract with David Letterman’s Worldwide Pants production company that puts his show and The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson back on the air with Guild writers. This agreement is a positive step forward in our effort to reach an industry-wide contract. While we know that these deals put only a small number of writers back to work, three strategic imperatives have led us to conclude that this deal, and similar potential deals, are beneficial to our overall negotiating efforts.
First, the AMPTP has not yet been a productive avenue for an agreement. As a result, we are seeking deals with individual signatories. The Worldwide Pants deal is the first. We hope it will encourage other companies, especially large employers, to seek and reach agreements with us. Companies who have a WGA deal and Guild writers will have a clear advantage. Companies that do not will increasingly find themselves at a competitive disadvantage. Indeed, such a disadvantage could cost competing networks tens of millions in refunds to advertisers.
Second, this is a full and binding agreement. Worldwide Pants is agreeing to the full MBA, including the new media proposals we have been unable to make progress on at the big bargaining table. This demonstrates the integrity and affordability of our proposals. There are no shortcuts in this deal. Worldwide Pants has accepted the very same proposals that the Guild was prepared to present to the media conglomerates when they walked out of negotiations on December 7.
Finally, while our preference is an industry-wide deal, we will take partial steps if those will lead to the complete deal. We regret that all of us cannot yet return to work. We especially regret that other late night writers cannot return to work along with the Worldwide Pants employees. But the conclusion of your leadership is that getting some writers back to work under the Guild

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BYOB Weekend

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Writers On A Plane

Bill Carter breaks the news… WGA will give a waiver to Worldwide Pants – and whether they like it or not – Viacom/CBS to employ WGA writers.
If this was a response to the growing crowd of people arguing that the strike will go well into the summer or the float of same on Nikki Finke’s gossip blog, it may go down as one of the worst moves ever by a union.
We are now beginning to see a theme from union leadership of picking favorites in every fight. Yes to Time-Warner

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Box Office Hell – Pre-New Years

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Holiday BYOB

Wed 12 noon – This thread has, apparently, turned into a discussion of what movie-related stuff people got for the holiday… some electronics… some DVDs… some with High School Musical stuck in the sleeve…

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The Night After Christmas

‘Twas the night after Christmas’, when all through the town,
Not a writer was writing, not even scabs

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Strike!

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Odd Promo For TWBB National Sneak


Looks viral… comes from our friends at Par Vantage… interesting…

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The Hot Blog

Quote Unquotesee all »

“Let me try and be as direct as I possibly can with you on this. There was no relationship to repair. I didn’t intend for Harvey to buy and release The Immigrant – I thought it was a terrible idea. And I didn’t think he would want the film, and I didn’t think he would like the film. He bought the film without me knowing! He bought it from the equity people who raised the money for me in the States. And I told them it was a terrible idea, but I had no say over the matter. So they sold it to him without my say-so, and with me thinking it was a terrible idea. I was completely correct, but I couldn’t do anything about it. It was not my preference, it was not my choice, I did not want that to happen, I have no relationship with Harvey. So, it’s not like I repaired some relationship, then he screwed me again, and I’m an idiot for trusting him twice! Like I say, you try to distance yourself as much as possible from the immediate response to a movie. With The Immigrant I had final cut. So he knew he couldn’t make me change it. But he applied all the pressure he could, including shelving the film.”
James Gray

“I’m an unusual producer because I control the destiny of a lot of the films I’ve done. Most of them are in perfect states of restoration and preservation and distribution, and I aim to keep them in distribution. HanWay Films, which is my sales company, has a 500-film catalogue, which is looked after and tended like a garden. I’m still looking after my films in the catalogue and trying to get other people to look after their films, which we represent intellectually, to try to keep them alive. A film has to be run through a projector to be alive, unfortunately, and those electric shadows are few and far between now. It’s very hard to go and see films in a movie house. I was always involved with the sales and marketing of my films, right up from The Shout onwards. I’ve had good periods, but I also had a best period because the film business was in its best period then. You couldn’t make The Last Emperor today. You couldn’t make The Sheltering Sky today. You couldn’t make those films anymore as independent films. There are neither the resources nor the vision within the studios to go to them and say, “I want to make a film about China with no stars in it.”Then, twenty years ago, I thought, “OK, I’m going to sell my own films but I don’t want to make it my own sales company.” I wanted it to be for me but I wanted to make it open for every other producer, so they don’t feel that they make a film but I get the focus. So, it’s a company that is my business and I’m involved with running it in a certain way, but I’m not seen as a competitor with other people that use it. It’s used by lots of different producers apart from me. When I want to use it, however, it’s there for me and I suppose I’m planning to continue making all my films to be sold by HanWay. I don’t have to, but I do because it’s in my building and the marketing’s here, and I can do it like that. Often, it sounds like I’m being easy about things, but it’s much more difficult than it sounds. It’s just that I’ve been at it for a long time and there’s lots of fat and security around my business. I know how to make films, but it’s not easy—it’s become a very exacting life.”
~ Producer Jeremy Thomas