NAMES ON NO STRIKE PETITION SOAR
Wednesday's announcement by the leaders of the Screen Actors Guild that they will conduct a strike authorization vote next month -- raising the possibility of a strike as early as January -- has had the unintended effect of swelling the signature count on the "No SAG Strike" petition being circulated online. Six days after the petition was posted at http://www.petitiononline.com/mod_perl/signed.cgi?DealNow, it contained 14,790 signatures as of 10:00 this morning. (It could not be determined how many of those signing the petition were actually SAG members.) Meanwhile, the British trade publication Screen Daily, has published an editorial in which it observes that a strike would affect the movie business internationally. "It is not unreasonable for Screen Actors Guild President Alan Rosenberg to point out that 'You can't use hard economic times as an excuse to sell out the future,'" the editorial says. "Well no. But the studios are also right to point out the foundations for that future have not yet been built and this is the wrong time to fight over the spoils." The editorial concludes, "It is interesting that any strike will be timed to disrupt the annual awards ceremonies. They seem like a high-profile but easy target. But it says a lot that anyone takes as the soft option the opportunity to obstruct a showcase of the brilliance of cinema across the whole planet."
BLACK FRIDAY HELPS MOVIE BIZ
With many shopping malls across the country planning to open at 5:00 a.m. or earlier for Black Friday sales, multiplexes anchoring those malls were reportedly selling out late-night screenings Thursday, Thanksgiving Day. The late-night crowd was expected to cap off what some box-office office analysts predicted would be a record day of ticket sales in virtually ever area of the country. Like many TV news outlets, Amarillo, TX station KAMR reported Thursday night: "Thanksgiving's always one of the biggest days at movie theaters across the country, and here in Amarillo was no exception." The Thanksgiving record was set in 2000 with $232.17 million, when three kids-oriented features led the box office (How the Grinch Stole Christmas, 102 Dalmatians, and Rugrats in Paris). Last year's take, $215.43 million, is the second-highest weekend on the all-time list prepared by box-office trackers Media By Numbers.
Studio Briefing is somewhat abbreviated today because of the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday.