B'BUSTER BLUE IT, INVESTORS SAY OF CIRCUIT CITY OFFER
Investors apparently don't believe that Blockbuster's deal to buy Circuit City is going to materialize. Not only are Blockbuster's shares down to a 52-week low but Circuit City's shares fell on Tuesday as well, closing at $4.86 -- well of the $6.00 that Blockbuster said it would offer. Several analysts suggested that the real winner out of the brouhaha over the big blue stores' pursuit of Circuit City will be Netflix, the online video renter. In a note to clients, Doug Anmuth of Lehman brothers wrote, "Netflix remains largely a by-mail DVD delivery service that is making the slow but ultimately critical transition toward digital delivery. The potential BBI-Circuit City deal emphasizes Blockbuster's focus on traditional retail and could move Blockbuster further away from the DVD-by-mail business." Barton Crockett of J.P. Morgan commented that Blockbuster would have to reduce Circuit City's costs $430 million a year to break even on the deal and that it would also have to contend with "merger distractions, tough competition and a possible recession."
TINKER BELL TO STAR IN FOUR MOVIES
The Walt Disney company believes in fairies. Tinker Bell, who was represented as merely a beam of light in the original J.M. Barrie play Peter Pan and later became a full-fledged character (whose life is saved when the audience shouts "I believe in fairies") is about to star in four direct-to-DVD movies. The studio on Tuesday announced plans to issue a Tinker Bell movie each year through 2011, beginning with Tinker Bell in October of this year, followed by Tinker Bell: North of Never Land in 2009; Tinker Bell: A Midsummer Storm in 2010; and Tinker Bell: A Winter Story in 2011. Disney said in a statement that the movies will be released in Blu-ray and DVD but gave few other details.
TECHNICOLOR TO HELP ONLINE STORES SELL MOVIES
Online retailers will soon be able to sell copies of movies to customers not only on DVD and Blu-ray but also via downloading as the result of a partnership announced Tuesday between CinemaNow and Technicolor. Until now, the only way a consumer could download any of the thousands of titles offered by CinemaNow was to visit its website. Now Technicolor will install a system, dubbed Prisma, on any retailer's website that will allow the site to sell the same titles. Technicolor said it will not charge retailers an upfront fee for using the Prisma system. Instead, it will receive a fee for each film that is downloaded. In an interview with Video Business magazine, Scott Dougall, general manager of Technicolor Electronic Delivery Services, said the goal of the partnership, "is to build a nice, subtle transition from DVDs to digital delivery. ... We're one of the largest DVD replicators in the world, but ultimately, that business is going to sunset. We want to be in a position to provide the next generation of supply chains when that happens."
UNFORGETTABLE NUDES SCENES IN FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL
In the latest exhibition of taboo busting, Jason Segal, the star of Forgetting Sarah Marshall, will be seen totally naked in one scene in which his character is rejected by his girlfriend, played by Kristin Bell. Reporting on the scene, today's (Wednesday) Los Angeles Times commented that the amount of full-frontal male nudity in the scene is "unprecedented" and that when the movie was screened at the South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin, TX last month, "every time Segel was shown au naturel, the totality of his package nearly brought the house down with laughter." The movie is due to open on Friday.
LAST SURVIVOR OF DISNEY'S "NINE OLD MEN" DIES AT 95
Ollie Johnston, the last surviving member of Walt Disney's "nine old men" who created such classic animated films as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Pinocchio, Cinderella, Fantasia, Sleeping Beauty, and Alice in Wonderland, died in Sequim, Washington Tuesday at age 95. In a statement, Roy Disney, Walt's nephew and the third-largest shareholder in the company (after Steve Jobs and Michael Eisner), said, "Ollie was part of an amazing generation of artists, one of the real pioneers of our art, one of the major participants in the blossoming of animation into the art form we know today." Disney Chief Creative Officer John Lasseter said that Johnson "taught me to always be aware of what a character is thinking, and we continue to make sure that every character we create at Pixar and Disney has a thought process and emotion that makes them come alive."