AD "CLUTTER" ON THE RISE
Throughout the world, the average adult watched 80 commercials a day in 2003, according to a report, "Seeing Through the Clutter," released today (Tuesday) by the media agency Initiative, which surveyed 45 countries. The most "cluttered" market was Indonesia where TV watchers saw an average of 852 ads per week in 2003. The U.S. was second on the list with 817 commercials, or 117 per day. The rise was attributed to the viewing public's increasing interest in cable- and satellite-delivered programs, which generally contain more commercials than over-the-air network telecasts.
TIVO MAY SPUR REAPPRAISAL OF REPEATING ADS
Owners of digital video recorders like TiVo are more likely to skip a commercial if they've already seen it than if they have not, according to a study conduced by InsightExpress and reported in MediaPost's online MediaDailyNews. In reporting on results of the research, the trade publication observed that "it suggests that the economics of a business based on serving redundant commercial impressions to a mass audience in order to reach an impressionable few will no longer work in the future."
ARENA BOWL IS LESS THAN SUPER
ABC's telecast of Arena Bowl XVIII on Sunday drew a dismal 1.3 rating, 24 percent below last year's rating. In his New York Times column today (Monday), Richard Sandomir chastised Arena Football announcers Tom Hammond and Pat Haden for hyping the game and the sport, commenting: "A sportscast can't be fully credible if the lead analyst is a salesman unwilling to contain an excitement not fully backed by reality."
ON THE WEB, FOX NEWS CHANNEL TRAILS CNN
Although Fox News Channel consistently beats CNN in the ratings, its website trails not only CNN but also MSNBC.com, NYTimes.com and Washingtonpost.com, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. In May, CNN.com attracted 22.3 million users versus just 5.7 million for FoxNews.com. Gordon Borrell, who heads online media consulting firm Borrell Associates, told the newspaper: ""Those who were early to the game captured a lot of competitors' traffic. Consumers are trained to go to CNN.com and MSNBC.com." But Bert Solivan, general manager of FoxNews.com, observed that the same sort of thing was said when Fox News Channel initially challenged CNN on cable. "It is not going to happen overnight," Solivan said about his goal to beat CNN.com. "There is no reason we shouldn't shoot for that."
WINWOOD SAYS FILE SHARING IS AN OPPORTUNITY FOR MUSICIANS
File sharing networks may be anathema to record companies, but veteran rocker Stevie Winwood is teaming up with NBC Universal's Access Hollywood in a project that would use such networks to promote his latest independently released CD, About Time. Winwood has made an eight-minute video version of "Dear Mr. Fantasy" from the album available to file swappers. It includes a blurb directing downloaders to visit the Access Hollywood website, where they can buy the album.
ADELPHIA FOUNDERS' FATE IN HANDS OF JURY
Jurors on Monday began deliberating the fate of Adelphia Communications founder John Rigas, his sons Timothy and Michael, and former assistant treasurer Michael Mulcahey, following three months of testimony in which they were accused of looting the cable company of hundreds of millions of dollars and spending it lavishly on personal items and services. If convicted they could each be sentenced to 30 years in prison. Lawyers on both sides predicted that deliberations could take several days.
MOVIE REVIEWS: SPIDER-MAN 2
Critics seem to agree: Spider-Man 2 (which opens at midnight tonight in most cities)is a marvel. Most of their reviews are packed with apparently shameless hyperbole. For example, Roger Ebert writes in the Chicago Sun-Times: "Spider-Man 2 is the best superhero movie since the modern genre was launched with Superman (1978). It succeeds by being true to the insight that allowed Marvel Comics to upturn decades of comic-book tradition: Readers could identify more completely with heroes like themselves than with remote godlike paragons." Lou Lumenick writes similarly in the New York Post: "Sequels don't get much better -- or smarter -- than the action-, drama-, romance- and comedy-packed Spider-Man 2, which miraculously improves on the webslinger's hugely popular first screen adventure in every imaginable department." Glenn Whipp's judgment in the Los Angeles Daily News: "Best comic book movie -- ever. Really nothing comes close, which is both a commentary on the empty-headed manner with which the genre is generally approached and on the amazing achievement of [director] Sam Raimi's sequel." A.O. Scott in the New York Times observes that the film provides a striking example "of what vibrant, intelligent and sincere popular filmmaking looks like." Mark Caro in the Chicago Tribune even admits to being wrong when he remarked in his review of the original Spider-Man that a sequel was a dubious proposition since by the end of the first movie, "the tank seems nearly empty." Says Caro: "Spider-Man 2 gives comic book movies, sequels and summer popcorn flicks a good name." Mike Clark in USA Today calls it simply, "an uncommonly entertaining movie"
MOVIE ACADEMY RELEASES MEMBERS' NAMES
Breaking with a tradition of silence when it comes to revealing the names of its members, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on Monday released the names of those it had invited to become members in 2004. Academy President Frank Pierson told Daily Variety that the academy felt that by releasing the names, it could help dispel the notion that the organization is made up mostly of veteran and retired entertainment artists and executives who were out of touch with today's audiences. "That's a very mistaken impression," he told the trade paper. "Most members are active [in the industry] and continue to be active for years and years." Variety observed that the list "is filled with young people" and recent Oscar nominees. It includes Sean Penn, this year's best actor winner (for Mystic River), who once remarked that Oscar members wouldn't "even know how to find their butt with their hands. So, what does their opinion mean? It don't mean anything."
FAHRENHEIT HOTTER THAN EXPECTED
Fahrenheit 9/11 turned out to be 9 percent hotter at the box office than what the distributors had anticipated on Sunday. The film actually grossed $23.9 million, some $2.6 million more than had been projected, according to final figures released Monday by Exhibitor Relations. It was the first documentary ever to open at No. 1 at the box office and the first film since Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994) to open at No. 1 despite playing in fewer than 900 theaters. The film earned $7.3 million on Sunday, clearly benefiting from weekend publicity for it. By contrast, White Chicks, the No. 2 film on Sunday, earned $5.4 million. The top ten films over the weekend, according to final figures compiled by Exhibitor Relations (figures in parentheses represent total gross to date):
1. Fahrenheit 9/11, Lions Gate, $23,920,637, 1 Wk. ($24,078,959 -- From Wednesday); 2. White Chicks, Sony, $19,676,748, (New); 3. DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story, 20th Century Fox, $18,787,419, 2 Wks. ($67,458,145); 4. The Notebook, New Line, $13,464,745, (New); 5. The Terminal, DreamWorks, $13,135,148, 2 Wks. ($41,040,124); 6. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Warner Bros., $11,247,412, 4 Wks. ($211,537,548); 7. Shrek 2, DreamWorks, $10,216,452, 6 Wks. ($396,782,535); 8. Garfield: The Movie, 20th Century Fox, $7,526,987, 3 Wks. ($56,297,265); 9. Two Brothers, Universal, $6,144,160, (New); 10. The Stepford Wives, Paramount, $5056343, 3 Wks. ($48,861,783).
DISNEY SCREENS NEW MOVIE FOR FAHRENHEIT FOES
The Walt Disney Co. has screened its patriotic documentary America's Heart and Soul in Sacramento for MoveAmericaForward.org, an Internet-based organization that was set up earlier this month by a politically conservative public relations firm to battle Michael Moore's film, Fahrenheit 9/11, which Disney rejected. Following the screening, Howard Kaloogian, chairman of MoveAmericaForward.org, called the film "inspirational." His colleague, Sal Russo, added: "At this point in time, we ought to be focusing on movies that bring us together rather than divide us." Moore questioned the timing of the release and denounced the studio's decision to screen it for MAF. "First, Disney tried to stop the movie from being released, and now it is aligning itself with the very people who are trying to intimidate the movie theaters from showing the movie," he said. Disney issued a statement maintaining that the new movie, which it is releasing nationwide on Friday, "had nothing to do with Fahrenheit 9/11 and there is no link at all between the two movies."
SOUL PLANE TO LAND IN VIDEO STORES IN SEPTEMBER
Soul Plane , whose box-office failure was blamed in part on a plethora of bootleg DVDs of the film hitting the streets before its release, will be released by MGM Home Entertainment on Sept. 7 in what is being referred to as an unrated "Mile High" version. Video Store magazine said that it will be a racier extended version (by seven-and-a-half minutes) of the theatrical version. The studio also plans to release the original R-rated rendition with extras including deleted scenes, outtakes, and a making-of documentary.
CANADIAN THEATER ATTENDANCE RISES
Attendance at Canadian movie theaters last year (2002-03) set a record of 125.7 million, Statistics Canada said in a report on Monday. The figure was up 5.4 percent over 2000-01, the last time a survey of Canadian movie-going habits was conducted. The government agency observed that the rise in attendance occurred at the same time the number of screens fell by 284 as a result of theater closings. It also noted that the rise in attendance appears to be tapering off. It apparently reached its height in 1998-1999 when it rose 14 percent.
HIGH COURT WON'T HEAR DISABLED MOVIEGOERS' COMPLAINTS
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear an appeal of two lower-court rulings requiring owners of "stadium seating" theaters to provide better seats for wheelchair-bound patrons. Attorneys for the disabled had argued that by making those in wheelchairs sit in areas close to the screen they were being relegated to "essentially the worst seats in the house." Exhibitors had argued that retrofitting the theaters would cost them millions of dollars.