CREW MEMBERS PROTEST SAG STRIKE PLANS
About a dozen film industry workers braved cold, rainy weather in front of the Kodak Theater in Hollywood Wednesday night to demonstrate against fellow workers, members of the Screen Actors Guild, who were holding an "educational" meeting regarding a strike authorization vote scheduled to take place on January 2. The demonstrators held signs reading, "Please No Strike Now -- The Crew." Members of the group said that they have already been hurt as production has slowed down as the stalemate between SAG and the studios has dragged on. "Since the last contract expired in June, it's basically killed the feature film business," Rob Frank, a location manager, told the Associated Press. "People are losing their homes. I just think the timing is off for a strike." Inside the theater, about 400 SAG members heard from some 40 speakers who supported the strike authorization and a handful who did not or had not made up their minds. Meanwhile, the Hollywood Reporter observed that the major studios are likely to produce "many or all" future TV pilots with electronic cameras under AFTRA contracts.
DARK KNIGHT SETS BLU-RAY RECORD
For the first time a movie has sold over one million high-definition discs in its first week on the shelves, Warner Bros.' Home Video said Monday as it reported that it had sold 1.7 million copies of The Dark Knight since its worldwide release last week. The movie also sold 11.8 million standard-definition DVDs representing a total of about $175 million in revenue, the company indicated. Meanwhile, in an interview with Collider.com, Warner Bros. President Alan Horn indicated that a Dark Knight sequel is not yet in the works. "We've been talking to [co-writer/director] Chris Nolan and what we have to do is get him in the right place and have him tell us what he thinks the notion might be for a great story, but Chris did a great job and we'd love to have him come back and do another one."
DISNEY BACKER SUES STUDIO
A dispute between the Walt Disney Co. and its principal financing partner, Kingdom Films, could resolve the question, when is a sequel a sequel? According to today's (Thursday) Los Angeles Times, Kingdom claims that Disney's High School Musical 3 was not a sequel at all, because it was the only one of the HSM movies to be released theatrically, and that it should therefore share in its profits. Disney, however, says that it is a sequel to the Disney Channel HSM movies and therefore exempt from profit-sharing payments to Kingdom under terms of its contract, which excludes theatrical sequels. Likewise, Kingdom also claims it should receive a share of Hanna Montana: The Movie, when it is released next year, while Disney insists it should be excluded. Both the HSM and Hanna Montana franchises are among Disney's most profitable properties. Disney's attempt to exclude them from the deal, Kingdom said, was "part of a concerted effort to eliminate from the slate those films that defendants believe may be profitable as a result of their association with the Disney Channel."
DELGO -- BIGGEST FLOP OF THE YEAR
The animated Delgo has turned out to be the biggest flop of the year, earning just $511,920 in its opening weekend, or $237 per screen, according to box-office trackers Media by Numbers. The film had cost about $40 million to make. Saying that he was "befuddled" about the poor showing, writer/director/producer Marc Adler told today's (Thursday) Wall Street Journal blamed the light marketing that was focused on cable outlets aimed at kids. "We thought we were doing everything right, focusing on kids," Adler told the newspaper, "but we missed the moms." The film also performed poorly with critics. "Too leaden for adults and too baffling for kids," Jeannette Catsoulis wrote in the New York Times. "Tedious, noisy and banal," said Claudia Puig in USA Today. And Mark Olsen in the Los Angeles Times wrote, "The end credits are probably the best thing in the film."
YOUTUBE PIRATING FILMS, SAYS MALAYSIAN DIRECTOR
A Malaysian producer has accused YouTube of pirating his films. In an interview with the Malaysian edition of the Straits Times, producer David Teo said, "YouTube is eating into our profits." While the video website generally refuses to allow uploads of full-length American films, his movies, released under his MIG Film banner, have been uploaded on YouTube in 10-minute segments. (The newspaper confirmed Teo's claim.) Teo said that he expected the illegal uploading "will affect the sales of VCD and DVD releases." He added pointedly, "The funny thing is that no Hollywood movies are uploaded on YouTube."