Week in review: Strike may end, 'Hannah' rules
After three months, you can be forgiven for expecting it to end a little more dramatically. Maybe with a bedraggled Robert Iger emerging from a marathon bargaining session, waving a contract over his head with a hoarse "We did it!" Instead, a quiet week of "informal negotiations" has somehow segued into the crafting of actual contract language, and the nightmare known as the WGA strike suddenly appears set to just fade away. While the guild is quick to point out that nothing's been decided, the WGA West and East are both holding membership meetings Saturday to update the troops, and agents, producers and execs all over town are already prepping for a barrage of dealmaking.
The show must ...
"We're going to do (the show)," Sid Ganis assured his Oscar nominees this week. It was a statement of resolve that could prove blessedly unecessary, but it still earned the AMPAS president a burst of applause at Monday's Oscar luncheon. While the annual event gave contenders the opportunity to talk WGA, George Clooney was more interested in weighing in on the upcoming SAG talks. "(SAG negotiators) seem to think they can get the best deal by waiting until the last minute to negotiate. But that's a mistake because people are strike-weary now," Clooney said. "I've been in a place where people are killing each other," he added, referring to a recent trip to Darfur. "I don't want to hear about people who can't all get in a room and get along."
Oddly enough, despite the general sense of optimism, Vanity Fair is pulling the plug on its annual Oscar bash, traditionally the hottest ticket in town. The magazine cited its support for the writers, saying it would not be "an appropriate year" for the party. Agent Ed Limato also has decided to forgo his annual Friday-night pre-Oscar party this year, but other major fetes are holding firm, including the Elton John AIDS Foundation, which will host its 16th annual viewing party.
Two for the road?
Time Warner boss Jeff Bewkes told Wall Street this week that his team is "evaluating whether it still makes sense to operate two separate (studio structures)." If you're thinking that doesn't sound particularly promising for New Line's continued existence as a full-fledged distributor, you're not alone. The comments were the first formal sign that the studio's parent is rethinking its approach to film operations. While a shift from distributor to indepen-dent label/brand under Warner Bros. would seem to spell an exit for NL founders Michael Lynne and Bob Shaye, TW sources insist the duo is working with Bewkes to address the future.
It was a busy week for Michael Camacho. The top reality agent was shown the door at CAA on Monday after conflict-of-interest issues emerged around agency client Oprah Winfrey and the recently brokered deal that created her OWN network. By Wed-nesday, he was setting up shop at UTA, with most of his client list expected to follow. The move is seen as a major shot in the arm for the agency's reality unit.
He did it. A decade after seemingly rocketing toward straight-to-DVD oblivion, 61-year-old Sylvester Stallone is back in the game thanks to old friends Rocky and Rambo. The comeback kid has inked a deal to direct and star in a pair of action films for "Rambo" producer Nu Image/Millenium. Several scripts are being considered and the first pic is expected to be locked and loaded by the fall.
Michael Douglas will try to put Jesse Metcalfe behind bars in RKO's remake of "Beyond a Reasonable Doubt." ... Emilio Estevez has tabbed library-set drama "Public" as his follow-up to "Bobby." ... Heather Locklear, star of Lifetime's most-watched telefilm ever, is "Flirting With 40" for the network. ... Brittany Murphy is shooting indie thriller "Across the Hall" and is under consideration to replace Lindsay Lohan in the dark comedy "Poor Things."
How big is big?
Super Bowl XLII wasn't big ... it was huge. Huge as in the most-watched telecast in the history of the game (second only to the "M*A*S*H" series finale in TV history). Huge as in big enough to make Rupert Murdoch crow "(It's) the biggest day in our company's history." Makes sense as Fox parent News Corp. cleared more than $250 million Sunday when a record 97.5 million tuned in to watch the New York Giants upset the Patriots.
Lock up your daughters
It's that ridiculous per-screen average that gives you pause. Tween girls, apparently immune to the excitement of the Super Bowl, drove Disney's 3-D "Hannah Montana" concert film to an average take of $45,561 per screen and a weekend gross of $31.1 million.