Tags: Streisand | Blog

Barbra Streisand's Backfiring Blog

Tuesday, 21 Oct 2008 02:33 PM

By James Hirsen

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Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Barbra Streisand’s Backfiring Blog
2. Media Mixed on ‘W.’ Box-Office Expectations
3. NBC Universal’s Half-Billion Budget Slash
4. Will Ferrell to Play Bush on Broadway
5. Sarah Palin Boosts SNL’s Ratings

 

1. Barbra Streisand’s Backfiring Blog

Barbra Streisand is blogging again.

The relentlessly retiring diva recently posted her analysis of the Republican vice presidential candidate.

In a Huffington Post blog, Streisand posed the question, “Who is Sarah Palin?”

After introducing the Alaska governor as a “mean-spirited campaigner,” she unwittingly made a case in support of the GOP.

She cited Palin’s pro-life position, noting, “I know that she's a woman who doesn't believe in allowing women the right to choose their own reproductive health decisions…”

Sorry, Babs, zillions of Sarah watchers already know it and see it as one more great reason to vote McCain-Palin.

Streisand pointed out that McCain’s running mate is a “beauty pageant runner-up who is a gun totin’ extremist in her views on the environment, religion, women's choice and the separation of church and state.”

Not exactly mind-altering for SUV-driving, baby-loving moms and God-blessing, duck-hunting dads.

Next Streisand tried regurgitation, something that routinely gets a “pinch the nose and run” response.

“I know that she's been found guilty of abusing her power as governor by pressuring a state official to fire her former brother-in-law and then firing the official when he refused... an investigation that began prior to her selection as vice president,” she wrote.

She saved the best for last, though. For the big finish, Streisand groused, “After eight years of Republican control that has left this country in deep distress... they should lose.”

A negative nod from Babs?

Now that’s a ringing endorsement for the GOP if there ever was one.


2. Media Mixed on ‘W.’ Box-Office Expectations

Even with a big budget, name director and well-known cast, in its opening weekend Oliver Stone’s “W.” Bush bash only placed fourth at the box-office.

Giving Stone a bit of a dig, the Associated Press ribbed that “movie-goers elected a ‘W,’ but it was Mark Wahlberg, (star of “Max Payne.”) not George W. Bush.” The action movie “Max Payne” opened with $18 million to take the first place spot.

Stone’s flick took in $10.6 million from 2,030 cinemas, resulting in $5,197 a theater, a figure the A.P. called “unremarkable.” With a reported $25 million dollar production budget and another $25 million spent on promotion and advertising, “W.” still has a long way to go to be in the black.

In a previous review of the film, I explained that this was a movie made by Bush-haters for Bush-haters. (http://www.newsmax.com/hirsen/oliver_stone_bush_movie/2008/10/17/141491.html)

Since Stone’s last movie, “World Trade Center,” opened with $18.7 million and “W.” was released during a presidential election, box-office expectations were high.

Evidently, media reports were conflicted.

Variety claimed the $10.6 in revenue for Stone’s movie “performed on the upper end of expectations.”

The USA Today dubbed the same amount as having “met expectations.”

Entertainment Weekly semi-apologetically opined that the Stone flick “did well given all that it had going against it…”

The magazine claimed that the $10.6 million number was “not bad for a movie opening during tough economic times about a man whom many Americans blame for said financial strains.”


3. NBC Universal’s Half-Billion Budget Slash

Who would have thought that a huge Hollywood honcho would be talking about spending cuts?

Well, it’s happened. Jeff Zucker, the head of NBC Universal, is talking about some big slashes that may amount to $500 million in the coming year. The total reduction of expenditures equals 3% of the company's budget.

Zucker cited the volatile nature of the economy as the reason for such a draconian measure.

“We are living in a time of unprecedented economic challenges, and it is increasingly clear that the worldwide economic slowdown will continue into next year,” Zucker wrote.

The entertainment exec described the steps as ones that must be taken “to prepare for these new economic realities.”

It’s a pretty good bet that the suits at the NBC Universal division are scratching their heads as they try to come up with some sensible budget snipping ideas.

Here’s a thought: To save some of that sorely needed cash, the company might consider giving the ax to a couple of its recently demoted MSNBC hosts.


4. Will Ferrell to Play Bush on Broadway

Before Tina Fey created the Sarah Palin knockoff, Will Ferrell gained fame for his “Saturday Night Live” impersonation of President Bush.

Now the comedic film star has plans to bring his presidential mimicking to the Broadway stage.

“You're Welcome America - A Final Night With George W. Bush” will enable Ferrell to make his stage debut in a one-man show.

The actor will collaborate with “Anchorman” and “Talladega Nights” writer Adam McKay for a performance that’s scheduled to open in 2009.

Ferrell generally approached his SNL Bush in a lighthearted way.

A quote attributed to Ferrell may fuel some optimism for the Broadway Bush character: “I'm no tortured, anger-stoked, deeply neurotic comic. Just a pretty low-key normal guy - a, ‘Hey, the glass is half-full’ kind of a guy. But please keep it quiet, or I may never work again.”


5. Sarah Palin Boosts SNL’s Ratings

When the real Sarah Palin appeared on “Saturday Night Live,” the show drew the largest TV audience in 14 years and ended up being the third highest-rated show of the week, including primetime.

Palin’s SNL debut was only beaten in the ratings by ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” and CBS’s “CSI.”

Palin is continuing a pattern of revitalized ratings numbers for SNL, which began their ascent with Tina Fey's impersonations of the Republican vice-presidential candidate.

Ratings for Saturday’s Palin show shot SNL’s figures up 50 percent; this despite the occurrence of an opposite trend in network television.

SNL is also benefiting from a huge number of viewers who watched the Palin bits on the Web and are continuing to do so.

According to Integrated Media Measurement Inc., of those who watched at least one of the three SNL Palin sketches, 33 percent saw the original TV broadcast and 67 percent saw it either online or with a Tivo or DVR device.

“I think the gods smiled on us with the Palin thing. Like if he [John McCain] had chosen Romney, I think it would be completely different,” SNL’s executive producer Lorne Michaels told the New York Times.

Could it be that Michaels will think about pulling the lever for the GOP ticket just to keep the Palin parodies going?

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