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Showbiz Sandbox

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Showbiz Sandbox

J. Sperling Reich & Michael Giltz

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Industry pros J. Sperling Reich and Michael Giltz provide insightful analysis, humorous viewpoints and insider opinions on the latest entertainment news headlines. The weekly podcast features panel discussions with renowned industry guests, as well as phone calls and emails from listeners who voice their own opinions on the child’s play of the entertainment business.
 
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At the eleventh hour the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), the union representing film and television production workers, negotiated a new contract with studios and networks. What is still unclear is whether workers are grateful about averting a strike or upset they didn’t gain more. Besides gaining wage increases, the u…
 
In yet another sign that the entertainment industry is consolidating, Creative Artists Agency, one of Hollywood’s most powerful talent agencies, announced it would acquire ICM Partners, the fourth largest player in the space. Is the move meant to help CAA gain leverage when negotiating with streaming giants like Netflix, or is it all about ensuring…
 
When “The Crown” took home the prize for best drama at the 73rd Emmy Awards on Sunday it capped a years-long campaign mounted by Netflix to win one of television’s top awards. The streamer picked up a record-tying 44 Emmys including best limited series for “The Queen’s Gambit.” With the Apple+ series “Ted Lasso” winning […] The post Showbiz Sandbox…
 
Keeping track of television ratings, streaming viewership and music revenue has become a hopeless task in the digital age. Everyone is mad at Nielsen though how can they realistically capture all the eyeballs content on TVs, phones, laptops and tablets? Meanwhile, Billboard keeps changing the formula they use to count album sales by working in […] …
 
For years analysts have breathlessly insisted China would become the largest movie market in the very near future. Well, last year after North American movie theatres spent most of 2020 shuttered, China did manage to become the top earner and did so primarily with local content. However, after COVID gave it a win with an […] The post Showbiz Sandbo…
 
After more than a year in which most blockbuster releases headed to streaming services, movie theater operators gathered in Las Vegas last week for CinemaCon, their annual convention. Ryan Faughnder of the Los Angeles Times moderated a panel discussion at the event featuring the heads of major movie chains, distribution executives and director Patt…
 
First Disney tried to shame Scarlett Johansson for daring to sue them over the studios distribution strategy on “Black Widow.” Then during an earnings call the company’s CEO described the upcoming Marvel “Shang-Chi and the Legend Of The Ten Rings” as an “interesting experiment.” Simu Liu, the star of “Shang-Chi,” was quick to push back […] The post…
 
Scarlett Johansson is suing Disney for breach of contract after the studio released “Black Widow” both in movie theaters and its own streaming service at the same time. The actress believes Disney’s distribution strategy is preventing her from earning millions in box office bonuses but instead enriches the company’s top executives. The outcome of t…
 
Like music, movies and television, the Olympics have put streaming front and center during the summer games. It’s easier than ever to watch the hundreds of events taking place in Tokyo over the next two weeks. However, it can be torture figuring out what sport is playing on what channel or streaming service and when. […] The post Showbiz Sandbox 55…
 
In its second weekend the latest Marvel movie “Black Widow” dropped over 67% at the box office; the largest decline for any film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Could it be that the movie’s availability via premium video on demand cannibalized its theatrical returns? The ongoing pandemic makes it difficult to draw any conclusions, though […] The …
 
After COVID canceled the festival in 2020, the Cannes Film Festival is going ahead this year, albeit two months later than usual. Still, it’s remarkable that organizers were able to pull off the world’s largest film festival amid these uncertain times. We’ll tell you about all the COVID protocols at this year’s festival, not to […] The post Showbiz…
 
With exclusive theatrical release windows having disintegrated during the COVID pandemic, new movies are being released through so many methods and on so many platforms that it has inevitably confused audiences how and where they can watch a film. Initially, most movie watchers turn to Netflix, assuming most or all titles will be available on […] T…
 
Musician Sal Maida and music writer Mitchell Cohen have been thumbing through record store bins for decades looking for great albums. Now they’ve teamed up to write “The White Label Promo Preservation Society: 100 Flop Albums You Oughta Know,” a book that dives deep into great music which doesn’t make the usual “best of” lists […] The post Showbiz …
 
When multi-hyphenate Paul Rudnick isn’t writing hit movies or award winning plays he is working on Broadway musicals with the likes of Elton John or busy writing novels. Rudnick joins us for a detailed and humorous conversation about his work and his latest novel, “Playing the Palace.” We’ll also take a look at the final […] The post Showbiz Sandbo…
 
Anne Thompson, the editor at large at IndieWire, believes “a lot of things have to go right for the two-hour movie theatrical release to endure.” Thompson said as much in an opinion column she recently wrote for the New York Times. In a detailed opinion column for the New York Times. In a detailed conversation […] The post Showbiz Sandbox 544: The …
 
In a move that had been rumored for weeks, Amazon became the first tech company to purchase a Hollywood movie studio in an $8.45 million deal. The acquisition will arm Amazon with over 4,000 movies like the Bond Franchise, “The Pink Panther” and “Robocop,” not to mention upwards of 17,000 television episodes. The real question […] The post Showbiz …
 
Last week all the big television networks in the United States went through the old fashioned ritual of inviting advertisers to big presentations of their fall programming. Besides being virtual a lot has changed for the networks, including primetime scheduling, which is now an afterthought. Instead they emphasized streaming and the range of conten…
 
Not even three years after AT&T spent $85 billion to purchase Time Warner and form WarnerMedia, the telecom giant is calling it quits, agreeing to merge the content side of its business with Discovery. The deal would create a new media company positioned well to compete in the streaming market and a management team that […] The post Showbiz Sandbox…
 
It’s hard to believe we are still talking about the Golden Globes in May, when an argument could be made that they hardly matter in January. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the group behind the Globes, said they would be adding 45 new members over an unspecified period of time with a focus on people […] The post Showbiz Sandbox 540: Time’s…
 
Roku and YouTube TV are locked in a very public dispute over a distribution agreement. Roku claims YouTube is playing games with its user data, while YouTube says it won’t share its user data with Roku. Now the YouTube TV app has been removed from the Roku channel store and if the fight escalates Roku […] The post Showbiz Sandbox 539: What the Roku…
 
Delayed by two months due to the COVID pandemic and with almost no blockbuster studio films to nominate, it’s a small miracle this year’s Oscars ceremony took place at all. This year the Academy honored the most diverse slate of nominees in its 93 year history. Anne Thompson, Indiewire’s editor-at-large, joins us to discuss the […] The post Showbiz…
 
With a string of hit, award winning movies like “Parasite” and global pop-phenoms like BTS, Asian culture is having a moment in the spotlight. Thus it may be an opportune time for the publication of “The Good Asian,” a new comic book series about a detective in San Francisco’s Chinatown in 1936. We talk to […] The post Showbiz Sandbox 537: The Posi…
 
After remaining dormant for most of the past year “Godzilla vs. Kong” revived the box office with the best opening weekend since the COVID-19 pandemic bega. The monster movie has taken in over $350 million globally despite being available on HBO Max. in $38 million despite being available on HBO Max. Does this mean big […] The post Showbiz Sandbox …
 
With North American movie theaters starting to reopen with limited capacity and European cinemas set to follow in the months ahead what new theatrical releases will be available to them, and for how long, is becoming more apparent. Studios are not only deciding when they are going to release their blockbusters, but more importantly whether […] The …
 
With world-wide subscriptions surpassing 1 billion last year, every movie studio and every television network is pouring money into streaming video services. They’re hoping to make more money with subscribers than the untold billions they’ve been raking in for decades at the box office, through advertising, in syndication or sales of Blu-Rays. And …
 
Working within strict health and safety guidelines the producers of the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards telecast were uncertain how the show would come together or even when it would take place. David Wild knows this first hand. He was the lead writer and one of the producers on this year’s show. Wild joins us to […] The post Showbiz Sandbox 533: Behind …
 
Email newsletters are the new black. Much like podcasts, every mainstream media outlet seems to be launching one. Ryan Faughnder, an entertainment business reporter with the Los Angeles Times, joins us to discuss the launch of The Wide Shot. Each week Faughnder takes an in-depth dive into a major Hollywood news story along with highlights […] The p…
 
A week before the Golden Globes, Stacy Perman and Josh Rottenberg of the Los Angeles Times wrote investigative pieces detailing conflicts of interest and a lack of diversity within the Hollywood Foreign Press Association; the tight knit and tight-lipped group of 87 international journalists who nominate and choose the winners each year. Perman join…
 
Spotify continues to be the most popular music streaming service in the world growing 24% over the past year to 155 million paid subscribers. However as the subscriber count rises, so too does the amount Spotify must pay in royalties. This might be why the company has been focusing on exclusive original content such as […] The post Showbiz Sandbox …
 
Whether it’s sexual misconduct, misogynistic behavior or social media missteps, the careers of numerous entertainment industry figures have recently been upended after allegations of their moral misbehavior surfaced. The repercussions are impacting every part of the industry, from the upper echelons of the French film industry to the rose ceremony …
 
With media reports constantly declaring that cinema admissions have been steadily declining for the past two decades, we set out to determine if such proclamations are actually true. Has moviegoing kept pace with population growth or fallen off? With some help from our listeners we do the math to answer the question once and for […] The post Showbi…
 
How do you hold a film in the midst of an infectious health crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic? Just ask the Sundance Film Festival who managed to pull off a virtual film festival that felt quite similar to the real deal right down to the blockbuster acquisition deals for this year’s most popular titles. […] The post Showbiz Sandbox 527: Sundance…
 
The coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak havoc throughout the film industry. With most movie theatres around the world currently closed due to COVID, Hollywood studios have delayed almost all of their major releases into the latter half of this year. There is even talk that the Cannes Film Festival will move from May to sometime […] The post Sho…
 
For the first time in history, or at least since Nielsen started its U.S. weekly streaming chart, a non-Netflix show claimed the top spot. For the week ending December 20th “The Mandalorian” was the number one steamed show in the nation, with over 1.33 billion total minutes viewed by Disney+ subscribers. As more streaming services […] The post Show…
 
Thanks to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and amped up political unrest, viewership of cable news networks has reached record levels. Now that the presidential election is over in the United States, some are making changes to both their anchor and programming lineups. Maybe the biggest move is Fox News, which is moving an opinion show […] The post…
 
The Pixar film “Ratatouille” is enjoying new life. The tale of a rat who becomes a gourmet Parisian chef has gone from one of Pixar’s animated blockbusters, to a TikTok meme taken on by a collaborative community to an actual honest to goodness online musical, complete with Broadway stars. But with so many people from […] The post Showbiz Sandbox 52…
 
Just in time for the holidays, the United States Congress finally passed a COVID relief bill which will help independent concert halls, live theatres and movie theaters with some $15 billion in grants and loans. Shuttered since the beginning of the pandemic, many of these venues would probably close for good without financial assistance. Meanwhile,…
 
Everyone in the entertainment industry has suffered the disruption caused by the COVID pandemic, including those who create and publish independent comic books. Kyle Higgins knows a thing or two about that. He’s known for his work on the Batman franchise for DC and the Power Rangers franchise for Boom Studios, not to mention his […] The post Showbi…
 
The film industry is facing an existential crisis due to the COVID pandemic; film productions are struggling to continue, cinema chains have become burdened with debt and studios are sending their blockbuster releases directly to streaming services. In fact, last week Warner Bros. announced that its entire 2021 slate of movies would be released bot…
 
Though 2020 saw DC Films launch a Harley Quinn vehicle and Marvel finally released an X-Men spin-off “The New Mutants,” neither film set the world on fire. As “Wonder Woman 1984” heads to a hybrid streaming and theatrical release, it’s the final gasp of almost an entire year without any big comic book movies. We […] The post Showbiz Sandbox 519: A …
 
This year, consumers have continued to migrate from pay television providers to over-the-top services at an increasing rate. In the United States alone, the number of cable and satellite subscribers has dropped 25% to 73 million in just five years. Many industry watchers are expecting that number to bottom out at 50 million by 2025. […] The post Sh…
 
With a second wave of COVID sweeping through Europe, cinemas in England, France and Germany have begun to shut down. Can movie theaters in North America and elsewhere soon follow their lead as infection rates rise? Even if cinemas remain open, they won’t have many new movies to show with studios moving major releases into […] The post Showbiz Sandb…
 
Quibi, the bite-sized content platform founded by media mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg and business leader Meg Whitman, has been mocked since it was first announced. Now after six months and $2 billion, Quibi is kaput. Unable to find an audience, and despite a fruitless attempt to find a buyer, Quibi is officially shutting down. The company […] The post …
 
One week after the Walt Disney Company announced that it would be premiering its latest Pixar film on Disney+ rather than in movie theaters, the media giant says it will reorganize its corporate structure to focus the company’s content creation on streaming. Is this a hasty pivot, long in the works, or just making official […] The post Showbiz Sand…
 
As the COVID-19 pandemic wears on, things are not getting any easier for the Walt Disney Company. The company, long a cheerleader for the theatrical moviegoing experience, has just moved the latest Pixar film to its streaming platform, Disney+. Meanwhile, Disneyland still hasn’t been allowed to open and now a well known activist investor is […] The…
 
Studios are pushing movie releases into 2021, with the latest James Bond thriller abandoning it’s scheduled November date in cinemas. Now major theater chains are shutting their doors once again. We’re joined by Patrick von Sychowski, the editor of Celluloid Junkie, to help us break down the present and predict the future of the cinema […] The post…
 
Over the last twenty years the annual fall film festival circuit has become the unofficial launching pad for movies looking to be seriously considered during awards season. Nobody was certain, however, how such festivals could be held amidst a global pandemic. Especially those whose jobs it is to produce and program such major events. As […] The po…
 
When COVID-19 shut down the worldwide entertainment industry many wondered how it would affect annual events such as awards shows as well as film and music festivals. While the pandemic led to the cancelation of the Cannes Film Festival, the Emmy Awards honoring excellence in television and the Toronto International Film Festival both managed to [……
 
Now that new movies are once again playing in reopened cinemas, studios are reluctant to report their pandemic crippled grosses lest their films be deemed publicly as financial flops. At least two studios are delaying box office reports of their latest releases in what many industry insiders fear is a new trend. Is it appropriate […] The post Showb…
 
After zeroing out for six months, the worldwide box office is roaring back to life, led by China and films like “The Eight Hundred” and “Tenet.” We’re joined by Robert Mitchell of Gower Street Analytics who helped develop a staged approach of measuring how the box office in various markets is rebounding and what to […] The post Showbiz Sandbox 509:…
 
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