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EmptyWe're all doomed
Hollywood is broke! OK, maybe that's overstating things a wee bit, but a new report from media analyst Screen Digest's new U.S. unit paints a bleak picture. According to the study, 2006's slate of mid- to big-budget pictures will finish a collective $1.9 billion in the red after accounting for five years of revenue streams. That compares with 2004's releases, which have registered a profit of $2.2 billion. Rising costs, particularly gross points, and shrinking DVD sales take much of the blame. We give it about three days before a producer references this report in strike talks.
Speaking of the elephant in the room ... picket lines were hopping this week with kids (bring-your-kid-to-picket-duty day) and celebs (bring-your-star-to-picket-duty day). Meanwhile, away from the studio gates, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was working behind the scenes with writers and producers; U.K. scribes were officially pledging not to scab; and class act David Letterman was paying his writing staff out of his own pocket.
No writers? No problem. At least not for Endemol USA. The reality format producer gobbled up producer Original Media this week in a reported $50 million move that will allow the U.S.-based Endemol unit to expand into films and digital programming.
IATSE president Tommy Short doesn't think much of the WGA strike action and said so publicly this week, releasing a letter in which he accuses WGA West president Patric Verrone of planning a strike "no matter what you were offered" and slams WGAW exec director's David Young's "incompetence and inexperience."
Judy, Judy, Judy
Remember that O.J. Simpson book that never quite got published? Remember how that led to Judith Regan's ouster at HarperCollins? Turns out that wasn't really the reason, at least according to a new $100 million defamation suit Regan has lobbed at the publisher and parent News Corp. Regan claims her dismissal was the result of her one-time relationship with former New York Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik and how that might embarrass his former boss, current presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani, whom Rupert Murdoch is ostensibly backing.
And it feels so good
Jason Reitman is reuniting with "Juno" scribe Diablo Cody, coming aboard Cody's horror-comedy "Jennifer's Body" as a producer. The Fox Atomic film stars "Transformers" babe Megan Fox as a cheerleader who begins killing the town's boys after being possessed by a demon.
Marcus Nispel, the video-turned-feature helmer behind the 2003 remake of "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre," is reuniting with the slasher genre, signing on to direct an updated version of the slightly less hallowed "Friday the 13th" franchise for New Line and Paramount/MTV.
Lionsgate knows a good thing when it sees it. The company has locked up indie darling Tyler Perry — still raking in the dough with "Why Did I Get Married?" — acquiring rights to his next two projects: "The Family That Preys Together" and "Madea Goes to Jail."
On a final note, we can all breathe easier knowing that E! has picked up a second season of "Keeping Up With the Kardashians." Oh, Kim Kardashian, what scrape will you get into next? Now we get to find out!
John C. Reilly is getting his freak on with Paul Weitz's "Cirque du Freak." ... Michael Rispoli and Romy Rosemont head a family of four in Fox drama pilot "The Oaks." ... Michael Trucco is "The Man of Your Dreams" in Conan O'Brien's new multicamera comedy project.
Edited by Chad Williams