BACK TO THE STALEMATE
By a nearly 4-1 margin, the national board of the Screen Actors Guild on Saturday rejected the "last, best and final offer" from the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers. The union accused the AMPTP of making a "last-minute, surprise demand" that the deal end three years from the time it is signed rather than three years from the expiration of the old contract. The union called the demand "regressive and damaging and clearly signals the employers' unwillingness to agree to the deal they established with other entertainment unions." It said that the demand was intended "to separate Screen Actors Guild from other industry unions ... to de-leverage our bargaining position." The AMPTP responded: "The producers have always sought a full three-year deal with SAG, just as we negotiated with all the other unions and guilds." It then added that it had "offered SAG a way to achieve an earlier expiration date without contributing to further labor uncertainty." It did not offer further details about this additional offer. But attorney Jonathan Handel observed that the AMPTP's final offer contains a provision that would allow the SAG deal to expire on June 30, 2011, the same date that the AFTRA deal expires, if the two actors unions jointly bargain and reach a deal before that date. Meanwhile, SAG and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists are due to begin bargaining with the advertising industry in New York today (Monday) over a new commercials contract.
LIONSGATE GETS BIG BOOST FROM MADEA
Lionsgate had its biggest breakout hit ever with Tyler Perry's Madea Goes to Jail, which absconded with $41.1 million in ticket sales -- far more than any analyst had predicted. The success of the movie kept the industry's hot streak blazing, with total sales for all movies up 30 percent over the comparable weekend a year ago. However, last week's top film, Warner Bros./New Line's Friday the 13th plummeted to sixth place. Horror films generally have big drops in their second week, but Friday's drop of 81 percent is far higher than usual. The only other movie to open wide over the weekend, the teen cheerleading comedy Fired Up opened to a tepid $6 million.
The top ten films for the weekend, according to studio estimates compiled by Media by Numbers:
1. Tyler Perry's Madea Goes to Jail, $41.1 million; 2. Taken, $11.4 million; 3. Coraline, $11 million; 4. He's Just Not That Into You, $8.5 million; 5. Slumdog Millionaire, $8.1 million; 6. Friday the 13th, $7.8 million; 7. Confessions of a Shopaholic, $7 million; 8. Paul Blart: Mall Cop, $7 million; 9. Fired Up, $6 million; 10. The International, $4.5 million.
CONSERVATIVE HOLLYWOOD SITE LAUNCHED
A new website targeting perceived left-wing bias in Hollywood, launched by Washington Times columnist Andrew Breitbart, put up a live blog Sunday night where readers were invited to offer counter opinions to expected liberal remarks from Oscar presenters and winners. Most of the vitriol on bighollywood.breitbart.com was directed at Sean Penn. (Sample: "Sean Penn makes me puke in my mouth. ... The Academy punished Mickey [Rourke] for his gratitude towards President Bush for keeping our country safe from Islamo-facist terrorism. Instead, it chose to award its biggest donkey, Sean Penn.") In an interview appearing in Saturday's London Financial Times, Breitbart said that his site is already attracting conservatives in Hollywood who have been "ignored" by the film industry. "The mainstream media -- and Hollywood is complicit in this -- has created an intellectual status quo." Separately, Breitbart wrote in his Washington Times column: "The Oscars communicate post-modern, post-American liberal values more effectively than elected Democratic officials themselves."