Week in Review: Them's the facts, and figures


It'll cost how much? In 1998, Nancy Myers directed a remake of Disney's "The Parent Trap." The budget was widely believed to have been in the $80 million range. At the time, it seemed like a lot of money for a film without an A-list star. As of Tuesday, it seemed like the good old days. Delivering its annual report, the MPAA took the wraps off a domestic boxoffice record ($9.63 billion), an international boxoffice record ($26.7 billion) and this number: $106.6 million. That's the average negative and marketing cost on a major studio production these days. It's also $5 million more than the average a year ago. News at the studios' specialty divisions was no better, with the cost of a specialty unit title jumping 54% to $74.8 million.

Two for one: Columbia Pictures hasn't had a president since 1999 -- now it has two. The studio this week bumped up co-heads of production Doug Belgrad and Matt Tolmach to share the post last held by Amy Pascal. The move locks in a team that helped put Sony atop the studio heap in 2004 and '06 with such hits as "Casino Royale," "The Da Vinci Code," "Superbad" and the "Spider-Man" franchise.

Pellicano watch: Bombshells. That's what we're all hoping for, right? That, and the prospect of Anthony Pellicano cross-examining Farrah Fawcett (she is on the witness list, y'know). Whatever emerges from the former P.I.'s trial on wiretapping charges that began this week, you can be sure that someone's going through the mud. "It's what is making people out there nervous," Loyola Law School professor Laurie Levenson says. "If there is one person who knows all the dirty secrets, it's Anthony Pellicano."

And now, a word from Simon Pegg: Simon Pegg doesn't own "Spaced." In fact, the series' co-creator freely admits to signing away his rights years ago. Still, it would've been nice to have been told about the upcoming Fox remake, which might explain his blog this week. "My main problem with the notion of a 'Spaced' remake is the sheer lack of respect that Granada/Wonderland/Warner Bros. have displayed in respectively selling out and appropriating our ideas without even letting us know," the "Hot Fuzz" star vented via his Web site. "If they don't care about the original, why call it 'Spaced'?" he continued. "Why not just lift the premise? ... Take it, have it, call it 'Perfect Strangers' and hope Balkie doesn't sue. Just don't call it 'Spaced.' " Ain't the Internet grand? (Read more at Peggster.net.)

Cable rising: In a world of upfront retrenchment -- see Uni, NBC -- Turner has decided it's time to play with the big boys, plopping its upfront presentation right in the middle of the week traditionally dominated by the broadcast nets. Among the major initiatives the network plans to unveil in New York on May 14 is a move toward an all-original Monday-Wednesday primetime sked on TNT.

Laugh free: Speaking of retrenchment, the CW dropped its comedy division this week, pink-slipping 25-30 employees Monday as it brought its drama and current programming departments under one roof. Comedy boss Kim Fleary is out in the shake-up. and it's not yet clear who will lead the combined scripted department.

Primary coloring: "We know something happened in the last three days of the campaign to put her over the top," CNN analyst Bill Schneider said in explaining Hillary Clinton's primary victories Tuesday. But was it really a "Saturday Night Live" sketch? Schneider thinks it's plausible. Last Saturday's "SNL" featured a sketch in which Barack Obama was portrayed as the recipient of kid gloves treatment from the press. The sketch was followed by a live appearance by Clinton. If nothing else, "It really helped the press look at itself and recognize they might have been too easy on Obama," former John Edwards campaign manager Joe Trippi said.

Totally relatable: The "very down-to-earth" and "relatable" Lohan clan has been tapped for a new E! reality series that will center on mom/manager Dina Lohan and Lindsay's younger sister Ali, who hopes to follow in big sister's footsteps ... well, some of them.

'Life' and times: Martin Scorsese's planned Bob Marley docu might be beaten to theaters by a scripted version. Bob's widow, Rita Marley, is teaming with the Weinstein Co. on an adaptation of her autobiography "No Woman No Cry: My Life With Bob Marley." She's eyeing R&B star and Marley daughter-in-law Lauryn Hill as her stand-in.

End credits: He's a viking! He's a vampire! Alexander Skarsgard is a viking and a vampire in HBO's new drama series "True Blood." ... Alison Lohman will take Ellen Page's place in Sam Raimi's "Drag Me to Hell" after scheduling conflicts knocked the "Juno" star out of the picture. ... Seth Rogen will "Observe and Report" in Warners' mall cop comedy.