SAG CIVIL WAR RAGES ON
David White, who was named interim replacement for Doug Allen as executive director of the Screen Actors Guild on Monday, has called upon union members to "turn the page on the most destructive aspects of the guild's internal politics." But SAG President Alan Rosenberg is hearing nothing of it, lashing out at the union's board of directors for its decision to fire Allen. "Many of us believe that Doug Allen was fired because he was simply too good, too strong, and too much a unionist," Rosenberg said in a message to members on Tuesday, following White's plea for reconciliation. "I have no doubt that, if our Board had demonstrated any solidarity whatsoever, Doug and our committee would have arrived at an acceptable deal some time ago. Instead, members of that Board engaged in a systematic effort to sabotage these negotiations," Rosenberg angrily went on. He predicted that if bargaining with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers resumes, the new SAG negotiating team will be offered "some 'plum' ... as a demonstration of the fact that 'reasonableness' will be rewarded while 'militancy' will be punished." As if the continuing civil war weren't disheartening enough, SAG members got additional discouraging news Tuesday when it was reported that Sunday night's Screen Actors Guild Awards show, simulcast on TBS and TNT, drew a total audience of 5.4 million, down 12 percent from last year.
NETFLIX BUCKS TREND, SOARING 18 PERCENT
Shares of online movie-rental company Netflix jumped more than 15 percent Tuesday after the company reported that its quarterly net income rose 45 percent to $22.7 million versus $15.7 million during the comparable quarter a year ago. In his message to clients, Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Derek Brown wrote, "This is one of the most impressive quarters we've seen Netflix deliver in years, if not ever." He indicated that the results show that Netflix's business appears to be "recession proof." Needham & Co.'s Charlie Wolf suggested that Netflix's improved situation "might have been driven in part by consumers substituting the far cheaper Netflix service for theater viewing." Unlike what has occurred in the aftermath of other recent stock surges, Netflix shares continued rising in early trading today (Wednesday), hitting $35.97, up more than 3 percent.
BROADBAND WON'T REPLACE HD DISCS SOON, SAYS REPORT
Although many experts are predicting that the ability to "rent" or buy movies via the Internet will result in the demise of DVDs and Blu-ray discs, new research by Media Central GFK International indicates that Blu-ray sales alone are expected to increase 150 percent this year to $2.9 billion. At the same time, cable video-on-demand and broadband will generate only $1.5 billion in revenue, the study indicated. The problem, experts agreed, is inherent in broadband services -- the virtual impossibility of delivering 1080p high-definition content to customers given the limitations of the Internet. "The bandwidth required to stream any type of HD video is way beyond what most households have," Michael Paxton, an analyst with In-State Scottsdale, AZ told Home Media magazine.
IN REVERSAL, ACADEMY ALLOWS 4 PRODUCER NODS FOR READER
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has backed off from its insistence that no more than three producers can be nominated for an Oscar for a single film in the best picture category, allowing Anthony Minghella, Sydney Pollack, Donna Gigliotti and Redmond Morris to qualify as nominees for The Reader. The Academy indicated that Minghella's and Pollack's deaths during the production of the film (they were the original producers) produced "a rare and extraordinary circumstance" that the rules reference. Another producer, Scott Rudin, had his name removed from the credits after losing a battle with Harvey Weinstein over the release date.
INDIAN SLUM DWELLERS ATTACK SLUMDOG THEATER
Police in areas of Eastern India were called in to guard theaters showing Slumdog Landlord Tuesday after residents of a poor area ransacked one theater to protest the movie's title. Social activist Tateshwar Vishwakarma was regarded as the instigator of the protest. The Associated Press quoted him as saying, "Referring to people living in slums as dogs is a violation of human rights. ... We will burn [director] Danny Boyle effigies in 56 slums here."