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The Newsdesk 08.17.09 – District 9 Is a Surprise Hit; Downey Could Play Lestat

• James Woods and Dominic Purcell have signed on to the Straw Dogs remake.

• Peter Jackson’s low-budget District 9 surprisingly took the top spot at the box office this weekend with an estimated $37 million in receipts. Meanwhile, no one was surprised that The Goods: Live Fast, Sell Hard came in sixth. 

Robert Downey Jr. could be taking over the role of the Vampire Lestat in a reboot of Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles. Come on, did you really think Rice wasn’t going to take a bite out of the current vampire pie?

• The first production photo of Sam Worthington in Avatar has been release. Ooh! Wow! Actually, it’s not that exciting.

• The Wayans Bros. are developing a sequel to their comedy White Chicks. Doesn’t this qualify as torture? Can we get the Geneva Convention to rule in on this? 

• James Vanderbilt has signed on to pen the fifth and sixth installments of Spider-Man. As  Raimi has yet to sign on beyond the fourth film, look for Brett Ratner or McG to finally worm their way in.

• Mike Nichols will direct an adaptation of Deep Water, based on the book by Patricia Highsmith (The Talented Mr. Ripley).


BIZ

Industry Mobilizes to Create Measurement System Across All
Screens

from Advertising Age – MediaWorks by bsteinberg@adage.com(Brian Steinberg)

NEW YORK (AdAge.com) — In the latest and clearest sign that
TV audiences have begun to turn to other venues to enjoy their favorite
programs, a large group of advertisers, media conglomerates and ad-buying firms
have joined together to create a system to measure viewers across TV, the web
and mobile screens.


Weinsteins Struggle to Regain Their Touch

from NYT > Movies by By DAVID SEGAL

Four years after Disney bought the Weinsteins out of
Miramax, the brothers are under serious stress.


Sources: Weinsteins get $75M bridge loan

from Entertainment News – UPI.com

NEW YORK, Aug. 16 (UPI) — U.S. producers
Bob and Harvey Weinstein have received a $75 million bridge loan to help deal
with their finances, sources familiar with the loan say.


Universal execs under fire for a flop-filled season

from L.A. Times – Movie News

Chairmen Marc Shmuger’s and David Linde’s summer slate —
three comedies and a period gangster picture — didn’t bring the box-office
heat. The failed strategy could cost them their jobs.


The best is yet to come: 3D technology continues to evolve and
win audience approval

from Film Journal by Bill Mead

3D just keeps getting bigger and better in spite of the
early skepticism that the trend wouldn’t last.


How to (Maybe) Save Network Television

from The Wrap RSS by Michael Speier

Five ways to make the production process more efficient.


FILM

Weekend Box Office: August 14-16, 2009

from Box Office Mojo – Current Box Office Results

District 9 tops the box office with an estimated $37.0
million


Secrets of Grungy Alien Realism in ‘District 9’

from Wired: Entertainment by Lewis Wallace

Real-world backdrops and creative camerawork help turn the
sci-fi flick into a convincing cinematic experience. Director Neill Blomkamp
and a WETA effects wizard talk about bringing the story of stranded
extraterrestrials to the screen.


‘G.I. Joe’ continues overseas domination

from Hollywood Reporter by By Frank Segers

Expanding its No. 1 foreign run by 14 new markets on the
weekend, Paramount’s “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra’s” overseas
boxoffice tally nonetheless dropped nearly 40% from its opening round,
registering $26.2 million overall from 7,039 screens in 49 territories.


Box Office: “It Might” Opens Loud

from indieWIRE News

Davis Guggenheim’s “It Might Get Loud” topped all specialty
openers this weekend, according to estimates provided by Rentrak earlier this
afternoon. The doc – which features rare on-the-road discussions with Jimmy
Page, The Edge and Jack White – grossed $101,078 from its 7 initial screens.


Sony sets writer to spin ‘Spider-Man’

from Variety.com

Front Page: James Vanderbilt to pen upcoming sequels — As
Sony Pictures Entertainment preps a fourth installment of
“Spider-Man” to begin production early next year, the studio has
quietly engaged screenwriter James Vanderbilt to pen “Spider-Man 5”
and “Spider-Man 6.”


Cameron’s ‘Avatar’ goes BIG with 16-minute sneak peek

from USATODAY.com Life – Top Stories

Leave it to James Cameron to super-size the movie trailer.


‘Avatar’ is ‘Dances with Wolves’ in space

from L.A. Times – Movie News

James Cameron also shares his opinion of recent
special-effects blockbusters.


The First ‘Avatar’ Still Hits The Internet, Features Sam
Worthington And A ThunderCat

from MTV Movies Blog by Adam Rosenberg

It was only a matter of time before hard evidence emerged
that “Avatar” actually exists outside of convention halls and
James Cameron’s crazy mind.

 

Jennifer Aniston To Sing In Upcoming Movie

from Entertainment on HuffingtonPost.com by The Huffington Post
News Team
Jennifer Aniston is getting ready to show off her vocal chops.

 

‘Wall Street 2’ welcomes actress Mulligan

from Entertainment News – UPI.com

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 15 (UPI) — British actress Carey Mulligan
reportedly has been hired for a role in the new U.S. movie “Wall Street 2:
Money Never Sleeps.”


James Woods and Dominic Purcell Join Rod Lurie’s Straw Dogs
Remake

from /Film by orfilms@gmail.com
(slashfilm.com)
We’ve known the main names in Rod Lurie’s remake of Sam
Peckinpah’s shattering film Straw Dogs. James Marsden, Kate
Bosworth and Alexander Skarsgard are toplining the film, which is in production
in Louisiana right now. But yesterday Lurie mentioned two more names on Facebook: James Woods and Dominic Purcell.


Robert Downey Jr. Is In Talks To Be The Next Vampire Lestat

from /Film by orfilms@gmail.com
(slashfilm.com)

After Neil Jordan’s intense and vivid Interview With the
Vampire
and Michael Rymer’s deathly dull Queen of the Damned, and in
step with the current Twilight-fuelled vampmania, it looks that
Universal is looking to reboot the cinematic incarnation of Anne Rice’s The
Vampire Chronicles
.


Time-travel romances abound onscreen

from L.A. Times – Movie News

‘The Time Traveler’s Wife’ is the latest film featuring a
romance between characters from different eras.


Brett Ratner Wants Pattinson for ‘Youngblood’

from News in Film by Jeff Leins
When Brett Ratner says anything it’s usually met with a groan, but this time
he’s testing the limits of eye rolling. When MTV (the T stands for Twilight
now) talked to Ratner about possible stars for his adaptation of the
Youngblood
comic book, the director had a popular name in mind.


Chris McQuarrie to Write Wolverine Sequel

from News in Film by Jeff Leins
Christopher
McQuarrie
has signed to write a Wolverine sequel for Hugh Jackman and 20th
Century Fox


‘Imaginarium’ Finds a Buyer

from News in Film by Jeff Leins
The film that will forever be billed as Heath Ledger’s last performance, The Imaginarium of
Doctor Parnassus
, has found U.S. distribution. Sony Picture Classics
already picked up the Terry Gilliam film for a release in Brazil, but the
pending deal could expand their rights to North America.


Film faux draws a double take

from Variety.com – Film News

Film News: Tarantino relied on Eli Roth for short in
‘Basterds’ — The film-within-a-film technique is nothing new, but Quentin Tarantino
may have come up with a new way of drumming up interest: Have a Jewish director
make a pro-Nazi propaganda short.

 

TELEVISION

TV channels the big screen

from L.A. Times – TV News

Whether we’re watching ‘Mad Men’ or ‘American Idol,’ it’s
clear that television has moved into film territory, offering variety and depth
that’s more likely to entertain than rot your brain.


Broadcasters stack Thursday lineups

from Variety.com – TV Ratings

TV Ratings: Heavy ratings showdown set for fall season —
Cable has broken through with another record primetime perf this summer, but
soon the broadcasters will get their chance to shine.

 

Seinfeld to be first guest on Leno show

from Entertainment News – UPI.com

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 14 (UPI) — Jerry Seinfeld is to be the
first guest on the premiere of Jay Leno’s new prime-time show, NBC announced.


‘Saving Grace’ ending after 3 seasons

from Entertainment News – UPI.com

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 14 (UPI) — TNT says its U.S. police drama
“Saving Grace,” starring Holly Hunter, will end next year after three
seasons.


On ‘Hoarders’ and ‘Clean House,’ experts help families clear
unless things from their homes

from L.A. Times – TV News

The subjects have compulsions to collect, and it often puts
them at risk.


Producers evict Chima from ‘Big Brother 11’

from MSNBC.com: Reality TV

CBS said producers removed the 33-year-old freelance
journalist from the voyeuristic reality series for breaking the show’s rules.

 

MUSIC

Top Online Song and Video Downloads

from Advertising Age – Madison+Vine

NEW YORK — Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the U.S.A.” led
the iTunes top downloaded songs last week.


Scarlett Johansson Ready To ‘Break Up’

from Access Hollywood – Movies

Scarlett Johansson is gearing up for the release of her
second studio album — a collaboration with singer-songwriter Pete Yorn – due
out this fall.


Madonna has birthday in Poland amid protests

from AP Top Entertainment News At 11:05 … by By VANESSA GERA

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Polish fans joined together in song
to wish Madonna a happy birthday at a concert in Warsaw Saturday evening – just
hours before she turned 51.


George Michael says he was sober during car crash

from AP Top Entertainment News At 11:05 …

LONDON (AP) — George Michael has been questioned by police
after his car was involved in a late-night crash near London….


You’re Bob Dylan? NJ police want to see some ID

from AP Top Entertainment News At 11:05 … by By WAYNE PARRY

Rock legend Bob Dylan was treated like a complete unknown by
police in a New Jersey shore community when a resident called to report someone
wandering around the neighborhood.


Carey publicist downplays cancellations

from Entertainment News – UPI.com

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 16 (UPI) — A publicist for Mariah Carey
says there is no need for concern regarding the U.S. singer’s decision to skip
several upcoming appearances.


Nitrous oxide tanks seized at Phish show

from Entertainment News – UPI.com

HARTFORD, Conn., Aug. 16 (UPI) — Police in Hartford, Conn.,
say they seized 18 nitrous oxide tanks and dozens of balloons during a show by
the band Phish.


Elvis Week ends with candlelight vigil

from Entertainment News – UPI.com

MEMPHIS, Aug. 16 (UPI) — Police say 8,500 people took part
in a candlelight vigil to mark the end of Elvis Week in Memphis and to remember
singer Elvis Presley.


Thousands gather to remember Woodstock

from Entertainment News – UPI.com

BETHEL, N.Y., Aug. 16 (UPI) — Thousands of people flocked
to Bethel, N.Y., to honor the 40th anniversary of the original Woodstock
Festival, observers said.


U2 guitarist defends huge stage

from Entertainment News – UPI.com

LONDON, Aug. 15 (UPI) — The Edge, a guitarist with the
Irish rock group U2, said the huge stage the band plays on during its world
tour is for the fans.


Singer Sparks joining Spears’s Circus tour

from Entertainment News – UPI.com

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 15 (UPI) — Jordin Sparks will be part of
the second leg of fellow U.S. pop star Britney Spears’s Circus tour, a post on
Spears’s blog confirmed.


Allen Shellenberger dies at 39; drummer for Orange County band
Lit

from L.A. Times – Music News

The musician, who set the beat for several top-10 Lit hits,
succumbs to brain cancer 15 months after being diagnosed.


Christina Aguilera Experiments With M.I.A., Santigold On Next
Album

from MTV News

‘I worked with so many amazing and incredibly talented
people,’ she says.


ETC…

Celebs At The White House: Hollywood Meets DC (PHOTOS)

from Entertainment on HuffingtonPost.com by The Huffington Post
News Team
Over time, many celebs have traveled from the red carpet to the White House,
including Elvis, Audrey Hepburn and Barbra Streisand.


Economy pushes game show contestants to play for keeps

from USATODAY.com Life – Top Stories

Who wants to be a millionaire?

Read More