Brown, Boxer Hustle for Hollywood Bucks

Wednesday, 20 Oct 2010 04:53 PM

By James Hirsen

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The Left Coast Report: A Political Look at Hollywood

Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Brown and Boxer Hustle for Hollywood Bucks
2. Judge Faces Discipline in Quest for TV Stardom
3. Whitman Showcases Flick on Brown-Clinton Feud
4. Celebrities Celebrate Botox Breakthrough
5. Sign of the Apocalypse: ‘Jackass 3D’ Tops Box Office
 

1. Brown and Boxer Hustle for Hollywood Bucks

Tinseltown reportedly raised more than $1.25 million for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown at a recent fundraiser.

DreamWorks threesome Steven Spielberg, David Geffen, and Jeffrey Katzenberg chaired the event at the Soho House, an exclusive private club in West Hollywood.

The reception raked in $5,000 per attendee, while the private party hauled in $25,000 a pop.

Additional co-chairs of the Brown bash included Warren Beatty and Annette Bening, Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, J.J. Abrams, George Lucas, and Rob Reiner. The DreamWorks execs also hosted a November 2009 fundraiser that yielded about $1 million for Brown’s coffers.

Brown pitched his experience and characterized himself as an “unpredictable person” who could work well with other “unpredictable people.”

Just what California needs — more unpredictability at a time when it has to try to dig its way out of a $20 billion hole.

Meanwhile, some Left Coast abortion-rights proponents appeared with Barbara Boxer at the Roosevelt Hotel. Amy Brenneman, Maria Bello, and Alfre Woodard were among those listening to Boxer proclaim, “Make no mistake about it, a woman’s right to choose is on the ballot in California.”

It sure smells like desperation when the economy is the primary issue on voters’ minds and Boxer is out attacking Carly Fiorina for her love of babies.


2. Judge Faces Discipline in Quest for TV Stardom

A new kind of judicial activism is threatening our legal system.

When word got out that Judge Judy makes $45 million a year, scads of jurists suddenly became dazzled with the prospects of a plum position on a syndicated judge show.

Unfortunately for San Diego Superior Court Judge DeAnn Salcido, the California Commission on Judicial Performance is investigating her bid for the bright lights.

The case points out the problems that can arise when everyday judges seek to become television personalities. The judge testified that she arranged for the husband of her bailiff to videotape her in her courtroom, according to the commission.

A tape allegedly was sent to an entertainment lawyer en route to a TV producer. After the producer requested more footage, Judge Salcido convened another taping session in her courtroom.

None of the parties involved in actual cases was informed about being filmed.

While being videotaped, the judge appeared to be enhancing her performance by adding Judge Judy-like lines to statements in which she addressed litigants.

In one case, which dealt with a defendant who had spent more than two months in jail for urinating in public, the judge quipped that the case gave “new meaning to the term ‘zip it.’ ”


3. Whitman Showcases Flick on Brown-Clinton Feud

Jerry Brown and Bill Clinton recently shared a stage at a UCLA campaign rally. They claimed to have buried the hatchet, and it appeared to be the start of a new bromance.

In the meantime, Meg Whitman’s campaign recently debuted “The Way We Were: Starring Jerry and Bill,” at the Regal Cinemas in Los Angeles. The movie’s logo has a poignant picture of Jerry and Bill inside a broken heart.

Clint Howard, the actor brother of liberal director Ron Howard, and State Sen. Tony Strickland hosted the event.

The smartly produced little flick underscores the fact that there is no love lost between Clinton and Brown, and what’s really behind their new camaraderie is nothing but pure cynical politics.

The Whitman campaign describes the movie as a “guaranteed blockbuster that explores the timeless themes of jealousy, revenge, retribution and redemption for political expediency.”

The campaign says that the short puts “Bill and Jerry in their rightful place in the history of famous tortured couples, from Liz and Dick to Jen and Brad.”


4. Celebrities Celebrate Botox Breakthrough

With younger stars lining up for Botox injections, a new Food and Drug Administration approval of the drug’s use for chronic migraines should provide additional justification.

The agency conducted two studies with 1,384 adults. After six months, patients treated with Botox experienced significantly fewer headache hours than those on a placebo.

The FDA suggests an injection every three months into the head and neck, which means there may be an additional benefit to those who inject the substance to iron out some wrinkles.

Guess that means Nancy Pelosi won’t have to worry about the inevitable migraine she’s headed for come Nov. 3.


5. Sign of the Apocalypse: ‘Jackass 3D’ Tops Box Office

Experts predicted that neither of last weekend’s two wide release debuts, “Jackass 3D” and “Red,” would do so well at the box office.

“Jackass 3D” was causing jitters because of its dim-bulb reality-show mentality. “Red” was making execs nervous because of the older demographic of the cast and potential audience.

A lot of folks thought the promos for the “Jackass 3D” movie were some kind of satirical video footage that renegade YouTube filmmakers had created. Then came the shock when it turned up as the No. 1 film in America.

Optimists at Paramount had thought that lead stuntman Johnny Knoxville’s celebration of inane thrill-seeking would bring in $30 million to $35 million during the weekend.

But the third “Jackass” film, based on the MTV reality show of the same name, ended up exceeding $50 million. That is quite a stunt for Paramount, because the studio reportedly spent a mere $20 million in production costs.

Part of the movie’s success may have to do with the fact that it actually was shot in 3-D, unlike other recent releases marketed as 3-D flicks.

Despite the Oscar season, “Jackass 3D” shows that the public still craves escapist fare even at inflated 3-D prices. Sadly, in two weeks another darker extra-dimensional version will arrive in the form of “Saw 3D.”

Another non-Oscar flick that has been released during trophy hunting season is Summit’s Bruce Willis action comedy, “Red.” The movie met expectations with $22.5 million, finishing second for the weekend.

Summit used tax credits to get the cost of “Red” down to around $60 million. The film was geared toward adults, as opposed to “Jackass 3D,” which aimed its sights at a younger demographic.

“Red” is based on a DC comic book. Willis plays a retired spy trying to figure out who’s trying to kill him. He asks other former agents (played by Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman, and John Malkovich) to help. Mary-Louise Parker portrays Willis’ romantic interest smoothly.

Two Oscar-seeking flicks opened in limited release: Fox Searchlight’s “Conviction” (at 11 locations) and Clint Eastwood and Warner’s “Hereafter” (at six theaters).

“Hereafter” took in a tidy $231,000, which averages to $38,500 per screen, while “Conviction” took in $110,000, a respectable $10,000 per screen.

Both studios are counting on critical acclaim and word of mouth to lead to award nominations and additional revenue. “Hereafter” will be shown in more than 2,200 locations next weekend.

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