Tags: Cameron | Avatar | Reissue | Bombs

James Cameron's 'Avatar' Reissue Bombs at Box Office

Tuesday, 31 Aug 2010 09:48 PM

By James Hirsen

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The Left Coast Report: A Political Look at Hollywood

A Newsmax Report

Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. James Cameron’s ‘Avatar’ Reissue Bombs at Box Office
2. ‘Idol’ Producer Still Yearns for Elton John as a Judge
3. Bristol Palin Waltzes to ‘Dancing With the Stars’
4. William Hurt to Play Treasury’s Paulson in HBO Movie
5. Blockbuster Headed for Bankruptcy?
 

1. James Cameron’s ‘Avatar’ Reissue Bombs at Box Office

“Avatar” filmmaker James Cameron was pretty cocky issuing his challenge to global-warming skeptics – or “swine,” to use his term – to a debate on climate change.

“I want to call those deniers out into the street at high noon and shoot it out with those boneheads,” Cameron said.

He proceeded to downgrade the get-tough debate into a roundtable discussion, then sought to shut out the opposition’s cameras and the media from the proposed glare of high noon. And whaddaya know, opponents of climate change agreed to everything the cowboy wannabe wanted.

But then one day prior to the debate, scheduled for the recent American Renewable Energy Day environmental conference in Aspen, Colo., he cancelled. No explanation given.

Bringing his inflated sense of self-worth to bear on something more in line with his professional expertise, the director opined that “Avatar: Special Edition” would have fans racing back to the theaters.

He was wrong, though. The re-release took in a meager $4 million and wasn’t even in the weekend’s top 10.

Instead “The Last Exorcism” virtually tied with “Takers,” creating a studio box-office PR battle.

Estimates had shown Lionsgate’s “Exorcism” taking the number one spot with $21.3 million.

But when the actual numbers came in, Sony/Screen Gems’ “Takers” won the weekend with $20.5 million, while “Exorcism” took in only $20.4 million.

No word out yet on whether Lionsgate is going to demand a recount.

The profit margin on “Takers” is probably less than “Exorcism” due to the high profile (and consequently higher priced) cast that includes Hayden Christensen, Matt Dillon and hip-hoppers Chris Brown and TI.

Although “The Expendables” fell to third place, it has shown remarkable staying power and has taken in $82 million in less than three weeks.


2. ‘Idol’ Producer Still Yearns for Elton John as a Judge

The “American Idol” PR campaign continues to pique the public’s interest about the new cast of judges for the upcoming season.

The press is full of rumors and conflicting reports.

The latest buzz is that Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler and incumbent judge Randy Jackson will sit in two of the judge’s chairs.

Returning executive producer Nigel Lythgoe is apparently still pining for rocker Elton John to assist in evaluating prospective idols.

When Deadline Hollywood asked Lythgoe whether Tyler and Jennifer Lopez would become Idol judges, instead of commenting on the two mentioned Lythgoe answered, “I must say, I really do love Elton John.”

It’s understandable.

So many of us have a soft spot for the Rocket Man ever since he used his talent to provide the soundtrack for Rush Limbaugh’s wedding.


3. Bristol Palin Waltzes to ‘Dancing With the Stars’

A brief recap of the latest in the Bristol Palin saga: Levi Johnston apologizes; Bristol and Levi get engaged; the two break up; then Levi apologizes for his original apology.

It now transpires that Bristol, who indicated she was going to focus her attention on assisting pregnant teens, will be a participant on ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars.”

This season’s female dancers will include Palin, Audrina Patridge from “The Hills,” pop singer Brandy, Florence Henderson of “The Brady Bunch,” Jennifer Grey from the “Dirty Dancing” film and comedian Margaret Cho.

Male hoofers include singer Michael Bolton, Mike Sorrentino, a.k.a. The Situation from “Jersey Shore,” David Hasselhoff of “Baywatch,” former NFL quarterback Kurt Warner, Kyle Massey of “That’s So Raven” and former Los Angeles Lakers basketball star Rick Fox.

Would it be a help or a hindrance if Sarah Palin should decide to make a run for the White House and was previously seen enthusiastically rooting for her daughter on a hit TV show?

When “DWTS” co-host Brooke Burke asked Palin whether her mother might pay a visit to the set, Bristol replied, “Hopefully.”

Bristol’s on-again off-again beau may be harboring some jealousy about his ex-fiancee’s newfound reality show career.

“I don’t think I’m any more obsessed with making a career out of this than she is,” Levi sniffed on CBS’s “The Early Show.”

Of course, Levi is trying to get all the publicity he can for his own reality show, that being his real-life run for mayor of Wasilla.

Taking a cue from our current president, the daddy of Bristol’s baby explained to CBS, “I don't think being mayor is about qualifications, I think it’s about people liking you and believing in you.”


4. William Hurt to Play Treasury’s Paulson in HBO Movie

Oscar winner Curtis Hanson (“L.A. Confidential”) is set to direct and executive produce a new made-for-cable TV film dealing with events that led to the infamous financial bailout of 2008.

A second Oscar winner, William Hurt, will star in the upcoming HBO movie, “Too Big to Fail.” Hurt will portray former U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson. Roles still to be cast include Timothy Geithner, Richard Fuld, and Ben Bernanke.

The HBO production is based on a book about the 2008 financial crisis that was penned by business writer Andrew Ross Sorkin, who is also serving as a consultant on the project.

Sorkin is a financial columnist for the New York Times and is also founder and editor of DealBook, a financial news service published by the Times.

Although Sorkin appears to fit in quite well with Hollywood liberalism, he once argued for a government-sponsored bankruptcy for General Motors. In a Nov. 17, 2008, Times column, Sorkin wrote: “At General Motors, as of 2007, the average worker was paid about $70 an hour, including health care and pension costs.”

This caused ever-irritated Keith Olbermann to place Sorkin in his MSNBC “Countdown” show’s “World’s Worst Person” segment.

I wonder if this means there’s a smidgen of hope for objectivity in the flick.


5. Blockbuster Headed for Bankruptcy?

The terrain of the entertainment media landscape is transforming before our very eyes.

Blockbuster Inc. is looking as if it may soon become another casualty of changing technology and the Obama economy.

The formerly pre-eminent video firm is reportedly going to seek Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

The Los Angeles Times reported that Blockbuster told Hollywood studio executives that it is considering such a filing. The company has also warned shareholders in recent quarterly filings that bankruptcy is a real possibility.

Earlier in 2010, the company missed a $42 million payment to bondholders. An extension was granted until Sept. 30.

Like so many individuals and businesses in the country, Blockbuster is overloaded with debt. Shockingly, the video concern has amassed a whopping $1 billion that it owes to creditors.

Bankruptcy for Blockbuster could arrive in September, paving the way for a lowering of the company’s debt and the shuttering of many of its thousands of leased outlets in shopping centers across the nation.

With the advent of streaming films and TV shows, a new business model has been created, exemplified by the success of Netflix, Hulu, Apple TV and Coinstar’s Redbox kiosks.

The Financial Times reports that Google’s YouTube is negotiating with Hollywood studios to partner in a pay-per-view site, which is set to be online by year’s end.

Google intends to charge in the neighborhood of $5 each for video streams of movies and television programs.

No doubt Hollywood studios are feeling the pinch of lower DVD sales. But you can bet they’re loving the typical 80 cents from every dollar that video streams are producing.

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