BLOCKBUSTER TO MAKE STORES OUT OF TIVOS
Blockbuster, which has been reeling from intense competition from online video renters in general and Netflix in particular, is expected to announce today (Wednesday) that it will begin delivering movies to the 800,000 owners of TiVo digital video recorders that are able to connect to the Internet, the New York Times reported today. The newspaper said that no money will exchange hands as part of the deal but that Blockbuster will begin selling TiVo DVRs at many of its 4,000 U.S. stores and will create a joint marketing campaign with TiVo. In a statement, Blockbuster CEO Jim Keyes said, "Ultimately, our vision is to work with TiVo so that their subscribers can access movies not only through our On Demand service but also from our stores and through our by-mail service as well."
MONSTERS EXPECTED TO HAVE A MONSTER WEEKEND
Even though Monsters vs. Aliens is opening in fewer than 2,000 theaters capable of showing it in 3D, the movie is still likely to rake in more than $50 million this weekend, the Hollywood Reporter observed today (Wednesday). It noted that there will be little shortage of 3D theaters showing it in major markets -- and they represent the lions' share of any movie's take. Regal theaters told the Reporter that it is moving some of its 3-D projectors in smaller markets to key ones. The trade paper further noted that 3D theaters are charging a premium of about $3.50-4.00, which should significantly boost overall revenue. Some IMAX theaters are charging a whopping $17.00 per ticket. Finally, the movie is opening against rather weak competition that has produced two "down" weeks at the box office, and two new films, The Haunting in Connecticut and 12 Rounds, that are likely to do only modest business.
SAG GROUP DEMANDS ANTITRUST PROBE OF STUDIOS
A dissident group of members of the Screen Actors Guild is asking the Department of Justice to investigate what it maintains are antitrust practices by the major studios. Daily Variety reported today (Wednesday) that while the group is composed mostly of members of the hardline Membership First faction of SAG, it does not claim any official status. SAG member Scott Wilson told the trade paper that its purpose is to draw "attention to the fact that the handful of vertically integrated corporations who finance, distribute and exhibit motion picture and video productions have gained unchecked control over the entertainment industry." He said that supporters of his group plan to hold a rally outside the Department of Justice in Los Angeles on Friday and that he'll be sending letters asking for an investigation to the U.S. attorney general; the two U.S. senators from California; Henry Waxman, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee; and John Conyers, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.
RETURN OF THE FOCKERS
The entire starring cast of Meet the Fockers will regroup for a sequel, Little Fockers, set to begin production in July, according to FoxNews.com entertainment columnist Roger Friedman. Friedman, who cited no sources, said that Blythe Danner, Robert DeNiro, Dustin Hoffman, Teri Polo, Ben Stiller, Barbra Streisand, and Owen Wilson had all been lined up to play their original roles. However, Peter Segal is expected to replace Jay Roach, who is working on another film, as director. Friedman observed: "The title suggests more than one baby for Stiller and Polo's characters. So get ready possibly for twins, which also means DeNiro and Hoffman may have extra screen time as warring grandfathers."