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The Newsdesk 1.05.09 – Travolta and Preston’s Tragedy; Hollywood’s Prosperous ’08

• John Travolta and Kelly Preston thanked fans for their support after the tragic death of their teenage son Jett, who passed away on Friday while the family was vacationing in the Bahamas.

• Hollywood had a prosperous 2008 (despite the cratering economy), scoring an estimated $9.63 billion in revenue, up $1 billion from ’07. Not surprisingly, Warner Bros. was the past year’s studio champ thanks to The Dark Knight… and in spite of Speed Racer.

• Speaking of the Caped Crusader, Pat Hingle, who played Commissioner Gordon in the Tim Burton and Joel Schumacher Batman films, has sadly passed away at the age of 84. Hingle’s career spanned six decades, covering everything from Gunsmoke to Talladega Nights.

Marley & Me took the top spot at the box office again this weekend with $24 million. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button came in under Bedtime Stories in third place, giving Jennifer Aniston bragging rights over her ex Brad Pitt for at least another week.   

• The trailer for the upcoming animated movie Monsters Vs. Aliens will be the first 3D ad to air during the Super Bowl, and perhaps the first of its kind on broadcast television. Just be sure to remove your 3D glasses after the spot airs to prevent any piping hot nacho cheese-related injuries.

• Awards season is officially in full swing, with the National Society of Film Critics choosing the animated documentary Waltz with Bashir as their best film of 2008. Wall-E tied for second place with Mike Leigh’s Happy-Go-Lucky, while Sean Penn was selected best actor for Milk. In a surprising move, the Society selected Happy-Go-Lucky‘s Eddie Marsan over the late Heath Ledger in the supporting actor category. Could this be the beginning of an Oscar groundswell for Happy-Go-Lucky?  

• Relativity Media has purchased Rogue Pictures from Universal, nabbing a slate of mostly horror films. First up is David S. Goyer’s The Unborn, that new movie with the creepy backwards-walking demon kid.


ENTERTAINMENT NEWS 01/05/09


BIZ

Universal Pictures Sells Rogue Pictures for $150 Million

from NYT > Movies

The sale of Rogue Pictures, a maker and distributor of
lower-cost films, to Relativity Media signifies further reordering in Hollywood‘s specialty
movie business.



Another Financial Setback For Weinstein

from Nikki Finke’s Deadline Hollywood Daily by Nikki Finke

Back in 2007, Harvey Weinstein was
boasting about Genius Products, the Santa Monica-based DVD distributor 70% owned by The Weinstein Co. That was then, and this is now. On December
24th, its shares were de-listed from the “over-the-counter”
board (OCTBB) to the pink sheets.



Box office resists recession

from Variety.com – Film News

Film News: Ticket sales for year hit $9.63 billion — The
record-breaking 2008 domestic box office proves Hollywood isn’t as dependent on by-the-book
franchises as everyone feared.


SAG STRIKE?

SAG official defends call for strike

from Entertainment News – UPI.com

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 4 (UPI) — Doug Allen, national executive
director of the Screen Actors Guild, says a call for a strike authorization
from members of the U.S.
union is justifiable.

SUNDANCE

Sales for Sundance Film Festival under way

from Entertainment News – UPI.com

SALT LAKE CITY, Jan.
4 (UPI) — Fans of the Sundance Film Festival say they have taken advantage of
the Utah
event’s new sales method to buy some of the first tickets offered.


AWARDS

Best Picture Race Gets Animated; Sean Penn Milks Another Win

from E! Online – Movie News

An animated film won the latest pre-Oscar prize. But it
wasn’t WALL-E. Waltz with Bashir, filmmaker Ari Folman’s stylish documentary
about the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon, was named Best Picture
Saturday by the National Society of Film Critics. WALL-E tied for second
with the British comedy Happy-Go-Lucky.



For Your Consideration, Academy

from NYT > Movies

The New York Times’s film critics offer their own
nominations for the year’s best.

MOVIES

Weekend Box Office: January 2-4, 2009

from Box Office Mojo – Current Box Office Results

Marley and Me tops the box office with an estimated $24.1
million

 

‘Monsters vs. Aliens’ gets 3D Super Bowl promo

from USATODAY.com Life – Top Stories

Talk about a monster of a promotion. Some 150 million 3D
glasses will be given away for Super Bowl viewers to watch a 90-second …


TELEVISION

Mesnick in love with his ‘Bachelor’ pick

from Entertainment News – UPI.com

KIRKLAND, Wash.,
Jan. 4 (UPI) — Jason Mesnick of Kirkland,
Wash.
, says he is in love with
the woman he chose while appearing in this season’s episodes of the hit U.S. TV
series “The Bachelor.”



Tracking the timeslot tussles

from Hollywood Reporter by By James Hibberd

Some of the most intriguing new time-period face-offs on the
midseason schedule, along with predictions on which show will emerge as more
popular with viewers.



‘Grey’s Anatomy,’ ‘Private Practice’ are adrift

from L.A. Times – TV News

The once-formidable show struggles with implausible plots
and diminishing characters.



Television: She’s Really Shy, but That’s a Secret

from NYT > Television

Kristen Wiig has emerged as a comic standout on
“Saturday Night Live,” using oversize, wacky-yet-true characters to
build an audience.



‘SNL’ Newbies Ride the Learning Curve

from NYT > Television

Inevitably there’s an adjustment for any newcomer to the
late-night television institution.



Regis and Kelly to Debut Updated Look Monday

from People.com Latest News by Lauren Charlip

The popular chat show will unveil a new set, opening and
theme music



CBS holds strong in year-end ratings

from Variety.com

TV News: Cable gains ground from broadcast networks — When
it comes to momentum heading into the new year, the Eye has it — and it’s
pretty much alone.


MUSIC

Bon Jovi to sing at NYC Hillary Clinton fundraiser

from AP Top Entertainment News At 11:05 …

NEW YORK
(AP) — The final note of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential campaign may
very well be sung by Jon Bon Jovi….



Country museum to keep key artifacts

from Entertainment News – UPI.com

NASHVILLE, Jan. 4 (UPI) — An
official with the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum says the Nashville site will get
to keep several key artifacts despite a bankruptcy claim against it.



Prince to release three albums in 2009

from Entertainment News – UPI.com

NEW YORK, Jan. 4 (UPI) —
Pop star Prince says he is working on three new musical albums he intends to
release without the aid of a U.S.
record label.



Twin sister duo among Eurovision hopefuls

from Entertainment News – UPI.com

LONDON,
Jan. 4 (UPI) — British composer Andrew Lloyd Webber says he has chosen six
musical acts, including a twin sister duo, to fight for a Eurovision Song
Contest spot.



Grateful Dead plans tour

from Variety.com

Music News: Band to hit the road for first time in five
years — It looks like the old Dead are gettin’ on.


ETC…

Travolta, Preston heartbroken over son

from CNN.com – Entertainment

Actors John Travolta and Kelly Preston said Sunday they are
“heartbroken” over last week’s death of their teenage son.



Tara Reid Ready for a ‘New Beginning’

from People.com Latest News by Jennifer Garcia

The actress’s family is doing “everything they can to
help Tara keep on the right track,” says
a source

 

Rutherford of ‘Gossip’ splits from husband

from Entertainment News – UPI.com

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 4 (UPI) — Pregnant actress Kelly
Rutherford, who appears on the hit U.S. TV series “Gossip Girl,” is
divorcing her husband, Daniel Giersch, documents show.



Many Broadway shows facing final curtain

from Entertainment News – UPI.com

NEW YORK, Jan. 4 (UPI) —
More than a dozen of New York‘s
Broadway plays and musicals have announced they will stop all showings by the
end of January.



Future Of Hollywood’s Fave Book Store?

from Nikki Finke’s Deadline Hollywood Daily by Nikki Finke

In 1975, Glenn Goldman opened the Sunset Strip’s famed Book
Soup. On Friday, he put it up for sale.

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