Archives: November 2005
Nikki Finke reports that Steven Spielberg has decreed there will be almost no marketing campaign for his soon-to-open film about the Munich Olympics hostage-taking, even though (or perhaps because) the movie is already seen as an Oscar favorite:
This dicey decision to have no traditional publicity for the film before and after it opens December 23 is the director’s alone. He will not even be giving press or broadcast interviews. “The official strategy is for the movie to speak for itself,” an insider told me this week. “All they’re going to do is just show the movie to people. You have to be Steven Spielberg to get away with that.”
But competitors think that may also be because Spielberg may have snagged the cover of Time magazine, which no one will confirm.
Of course, given the subject matter as well as Spielberg’s (and Tony Kushner’s) involvement, ‘Munich ‘ will obviously generate an awful lot of media attention on its own. And given the buzz around ‘Brokeback Mountain,’ I suspect we will see a historic Gays vs. Jews Oscar struggle. Swing vote in the Academy will, of course, be the gay Jews.
Did Variety‘s monthly glossy V Life fold because of disappointing ad sales? Or did Anna Wintour kill it in a moment of blood-thirsty pique? I still think it’s the former, but the latter makes a better anecdote, and RadarOnline reports she’s taking credit for the demise of the magazine, which made the fatal mistake of putting a movie star on its cover that Wintour wanted on her cover:
Sources say the fledgling monthly became the target of Wintour’s wrath when it put Gwyneth Paltrow on its October cover, even though the editor had made an arrangement with the actress’s rep, Stephen Huvane, that she believed gave Vogue an exclusive Paltrow cover for that month. In an attempt to calm Wintour down, we hear Huvane explained to the couture capo that V Life didn’t figure into their agreement because, despite looking like your average celebrity obsessed lifestyle rag, it considers itself a trade publication.
Wintour wasn’t satisfied, we’re told, and called a number of her influential Tinsletown pals to gripe that the mag had used its ambiguous status to steal her Paltrow thunder. Later, when Variety editor Peter Bart announced that the mag would shut down after its February issue, sources say Wintour-whose tele-tantrums are legendary-told friends that even she had underestimated her awesome pull on the West Coast.
Wow, that Anna Wintour sure does underestimate her imaginary power!
Take for example, a tidbit that RADAR magazine reports today, that the U.S. Attorney’s office may offer up indictments of certain attorneys who used the services of the now incarcerated Private Dick to the stars, Anthony Pellicano.
If true, the Katzenberg vs. Disney fight will be reopened, as well as Tom Cruise’s messy divorce from Nicole Kidman. Quelle horrible!
But here’s one Pellicano rumor that doesn’t check out: Paramount chairman Brad Grey has not – repeat NOT - hired crisis PR specialist Sitrick and Company. Sitrick entertainment PR chief Allan Mayer tells me that it’s a rumor going around amongst reporters, some of whom have, like me, inquired of him to see if Grey was so worried that he’ll be swept up in U.S. Attorney Dan Saunders’ net that he’d hired Mike Sitrick.
Nevertheless, all Hollywood is waiting to see what might befall super lawyer and occassional Pellicano employer, Bert Fields should indictments come down.
- The week in LAT-bashing: Mickey Kaus finds liberal bias and LAT-watchers complain about TheEnvelope.com. For the record, I think that if I cared about the subject matter, I would like TheEnvelope.com.
- Pajamas Media launches! Or did it? I can’t find any actual content on the site, other than hugely oversized photographs of contributors and a notice about how they’ve changed their name about a zillion times. Where’s the Nikki Finke this-is-a-disaster piece?
- Edward Jay Epstein, the only journalist in the country who can make German tax shelters interesting.
What a difference three-and-a-half months make! In the July LAT profile of Defamer’s Mark Lisanti he was described unambiguously as a Hollywood outsider:
Lisanti does not feel he’s been co-opted by the industry. Although studio heads and producers say they read him, he’s been invited to only a handful of lunches. He has attended only a few premieres — as a guest of friends (and blogged snarkily about it) — and even pays for his movie tickets.
Now, according to a glowing profile in this month’s issue of Los Angeles, he’s, well, if not an insider, not quite an outsider either. Call him liminal, simultaneously an innie and an outie, like many of the belly buttons one sees in the mens’ locker room at Crunch. He’s signed with UTA, and would like to write and produce a Defamer-esque TV show. (Think ‘The Showbiz Show’, except actually funny and insightful.) He’s also “been in preliminary talks with the Los Angeles Times about writing a gossip column for the daily’s online edition” which would be excerpted in the Calendar section.
Other noteworthy moments in the article: Bert Fields hints that he may be laying the groundwork for a libel suit against Defamer on behalf of his frequently-mocked client Tom Cruise, and various Hollywood types are quoted anonymously about how they read Defamer. Weirdly, they all call it ‘the Defamer’, not ‘Defamer.’
Anyway, kudos to Lisanti and Defamer, even if they did post a photo of me from the Huffington party with what looks like crudite in my mouth. Maybe I’ll hire Bert Fields and sue.
But the real yuks in this story come from Variety, which reports with a straight face:
As for leading the company’s troops, Westheimer didn’t go the usual route when looking for a production topper — he tapped his 32-year-old daughter. [ex-publicist, ex-costume designer] Erica Westheimer was Laura Linney’s personal assistant when she got the call from her dad…
Now, I love Fred Westheimer. And I love Variety, God bless ‘em. But you gotta be kidding me. Nepotism? In Hollywood?
News came today that Movielink - the online venture that offers tediously-long downloads of films more easily seen via Netflix – had landed Fox – a longtime hold out. The news went everywhere, but not reported is why we should necessarily care. I am here to tell you, we probably shouldn’t. At least, not until tomorrow morning.
Let’s leave aside the dispiriting fact that Lucasfilm isn’t going to release the latest “Star Wars” online for anyone.
The real question here is whether the movie business can avail itself of the same opportunities that the TV business can. Sure, a TV show like “Lost” on an iPod? Why not? You missed it last night; why not watch it on the bus on the way to the office?
But watching a movie on the family’s home computer is about as practical for most homes as using Mom’s curling iron to heat up a Hot Pocket. (Kids: Please, don’t try this at home; have some crudite instead. What’s a crudite? Oh, nevermind.)
And yet: Tonight isn’t just the night that Twentieth Century Fox hopped into bed with Movielink – it’s also the night that kicks off the explosive growth of Internet-connected television.
That is, Microsoft , at midnight tonight, is releasing the Xbox 360. In the morning, there won’t just be a lot of exhausted, carpal tunnel victims playing “Halo” online – there will have begun a new era of “Swiss Army Knife” consoles that connect the TV to the internet, and the movies to your TV.
So, go ahead and yawn about Movielink for now. But don’t say I didn’t warn you. Around 18 months from now, Netflix will be remembered as the Pet Rock of this decade.
Good news for teens of the 80′s: Billboard got the scoop that “Cars” founders Elliot Easton and Greg Hawkes are getting into bed with Todd Rundgren to revive their seminal New Wave rock band the Cars.
They’ll tour and probably record an album next year.
The bad news: Ric Ocasek would rather get syphillis than participate. Then again, if I were married to Paulina Porizkova, I probably wouldn’t want to leave the house, either.