AMA JUST NOT THAT INTO ONSCREEN SMOKES
The American Medical Association Alliance, a unit of the AMA, has told the New York Times that it plans to dispatch a complaint to Warner Brothers and corporate parent Time Warner, over the display of cigarette packages showing specific brand names in the movie He's Just Not That Into You, the New York Times reported today (Thursday). "There is absolutely zero artistic justification for this," Melissa Walters, head of the AMAA's effort to reduce teenage smoking, told the newspaper. The Times article pointed out, however, that the movie itself does not show anyone smoking and that one of the characters leaves her husband because he lied about smoking. And although one of the products shown is Natural American Spirit Lights, the brand's producer, Santa Fe Tobacco, insisted that it did not pay to have it featured in several scenes of the movie. A spokesman told the Times: "We have to agree that our cigarettes should not be shown in films," said Mark Smith, a spokesman for Santa Fe Tobacco. "It is something we absolutely do not condone. ... We were never contacted about using our brand in this film, and we sent no product."
NEW DISPUTE WRACKS SAG
The Screen Actors Guild has found itself embroiled in yet another brouhaha following a report that its new national executive director David White recently shut down his consulting company, Entertainment Strategies Group, after it was identified as a company controlled by Marc Dreier, a New York lawyer accused in a $380-million fraud scheme. The report, which appeared on Sharon Waxman's industry blog The Wrap, said that members of the SAG board are angry over not being given sufficient time to vet White at their board meeting last Saturday. "We were denied the opportunity to do a full vetting of White's business and his link to Dreier," one unidentified board member told The Wrap. "We saw [ESG's client list] as a huge conflict of interest." According to the website the client list included the Motion Picture Association of America, which represents the major studios. White has not been accused of complicity in Dreier's alleged fraud, and another board member said that the board did not have a problem with White's association with Dreier.
RAZZIES SELL DVD'S, TOO
Winners of the annual Razzies awards often see DVD rentals and sales climb following the presentations, Britain's Guardian newspaper reported today (Thursday). Helen Cowley of LOVEFILM, a British online DVD rental service, told the newspaper, The Razzies make people aware of films they wouldn't have gone to the cinema to see. ... Gigli (nine nominations, six wins) was absolutely huge for us -- if subscribers hadn't wasted 10 to see it at the cinema, they rented it from us. The Razzies get people talking about films." Stuart Kemp, who heads the Hollywood Reporter's U.K. news bureau, agreed. "People will want to see just how bad it was to merit a Razzie," he said. But actors who win a Razzie aren't likely to appreciate the honor. John Wilson, who created the awards in 1980, told the Guardian, "I like to think we can take credit for some performers who've won a Razzie and then never graced the screen again," he said.
HOT TICKET FOR WEEKEND: JONAS BROTHERS 3-D
Online ticket sellers Fandango indicated Wednesday that sales for Disney's Jonas Brothers: The 3-D Concert Experience, set to open in many locations at midnight tonight, have gone through the roof. "Jonas 3D has the potential to be one of the season's hottest ticket-sellers," Fandango COO Rick Butler said in a statement. It reportedly accounted for 63 percent of all sales on Wednesday, despite the fact that it is opening against another hotly anticipated film, Watchmen. According to a Fandango survey, ticket buyers are especially attracted by the fact that the concert film is being released in 3-D, despite a $3-dollar-a-ticket surcharge at most theaters.
BLOCKBUSTER CUTTING RENTAL RATES
Blockbuster is now testing a new pricing plan aimed at challenging the $1.00 rental fee charged by kiosk operators like Redbox, Home Media Magazine reported Wednesday. Although Blockbuster's prices have not hit $1.00, one pricing plan currently being tested offers rentals for $2.49 for the first day and $1.00 per day thereafter. The magazine quoted a Blockbuster analyst as calling the move "brilliant" and "about time."