Friday night news dump (updated)

Time for our usual week-ending grab bag of left over and end-of-week movie stories…

* Two executive deaths today. First was 76 year-old nearly lifelong Paramount executive Gino Campagnola. That was followed by Nick Counter of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. As Nikki Finke recounts, he was the guy whose job it was to negotiate with unions in the recent negotiations and strikes with the guilds. Not surprisingly, there are some hard feelings, as evidenced by some of her commenters who really crossed the line in terms of simply being mean about the man’s death.

As a liberal, I’m always going to tend to side with unions, but the man is dead and making the best deal for the bosses was kind of his job. You don’t have to like him, but calling him a “scum bag” or talking about karma on the day of his death is not cool. I wonder if Finke, who is known for zealously controlling her comments and once removed an entirely innocuous, on topic, comment about “Mad Men” by me after an unrelated exchange with me here, will leave those comments up. She has also posted official reactions from SAG which are, of course, much nicer.

* As “This Is It” passed the $100 million mark domestically and is at $144 million worldwide, the Jacksons as a whole make a mark at AFM (American Film Market) with some intriguing sounding seventies footage. [Update: I obviously got confused a bit by the headlines on this piece. As of Sunday 11/8/09, the music doc is estimated to have made “only” $57, 855 in the U.S. market.]

This-is-it-Film-Michael-Jackson-small

* Also via Finke, Business Week reporter Ron Grover writes that Dreamworks is abandoning its deal with Starz in favor of Showtime. Basically, Starz didn’t want to pay for all those blockbusters and Showtime wanted them.

* Anne Thompson has a post on “My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done?” the very intriguing other movie from director Werner Herzog which is being produced by David Lynch. Now, there’s a combination — and the trailer has a definite Lynch vibe to it as well. Still, movies with titles that are complete sentences have a dicey history at the box office. Raise your hand if you’ve seen “Who is Harry Kellerman and Why is He Saying Those Terrible Things About Me?”

* Online DVD price war! Personally, I could never understand why anyone would pay more than $10.00 for a movie they haven’t already seen and wanted to watch many times over, especially in a world with NetFlix. In any case, this will be cool for online Xmas shoppers.

* Another example of how Hollywood really brings out the stupid (and borderline racism and xenophobia) in today’s ever further out of control right wing.

* Via David Hudson, director Stephen Frears — a favorite of mine — and D.V. DeVincentis who was one of the writers on the 2000 movie version of “High Fidelity” as well as another great John Cusack vehicle, 1997’s “Grosse Pointe Blanke,” are taking on a different group of geeks. This time, it’s mathematically gifted sports betters in an adaptation of an upcoming memoir, “Lay the Favorite.”

* Another tip from Mr. Hudson: Yesterday, I wrote about a review that was both bad and badly done by Richard Schickel. Today, we have a much better review — in every sense — by Mark Harris (author of the cinematic nonfiction best seller, Pictures at a Revolution).

* The Spiderman Broadway musical with music by Bono and the Edge, which has the budget of a major motion picture and will need to be a spectacular success to merely break even, has a lead and a new producer.  Also, John Horn of the L.A. Times has a good article on the show that won’t die. I wonder if anyone will ever dare to consider a film version if it is successful? Never say never.

  

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