Tag Archives | Hollywood

The Freakonomics Of Hollywood’s Piracy Claims

MPAA2The Freakonomics dudes have called BS on Hollywood’s piracy claims. Adrianne Jeffries reports for BetaBeat:

Anti-piracy rhetoric holds that online piracy is a devastating force on the U.S. economy, responsible for the theft of between $200 billion and $250 billion per year and the loss of 750,000 good American jobs. “These numbers seem truly dire: a $250 billion per year loss would be almost $800 for every man, woman, and child in America. And 750,000 jobs – that’s twice the number of those employed in the entire motion picture industry in 2010,” write the economists over at Freakonomics.

But those numbers are wrong, the authors say, citing a breakdown by the Cato Institute’s Julian Sanchez.

In 2010, the Government Accountability Office released a report noting that these figures “cannot be substantiated or traced back to an underlying data source or methodology,” which is polite government-speak for “these figures were made up out of thin air.”

More recently, the Institute for Policy Innovation (IPI) placed the number at $58 billion; but that reporter is methodologically flawed, Mr.

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Motion Picture Industry Threatens Politicians

Former Sentator Chris Dodd

From the sickening department at Techdirt:

Reinforcing the fact that Chris Dodd really does not get what’s happening, and showing just how disgustingly corrupt the MPAA relationship is with politicians, Chris Dodd went on Fox News to explicitly threaten politicians who accept MPAA campaign donations that they’d better pass Hollywood’s favorite legislation … or else:

“Those who count on quote ‘Hollywood’ for support need to understand that this industry is watching very carefully who’s going to stand up for them when their job is at stake. Don’t ask me to write a check for you when you think your job is at risk and then don’t pay any attention to me when my job is at stake,”

This certainly follows what many people assumed was happening, and fits with the anonymous comments from studio execs that they will stop contributing to Obama, but to be so blatant about this kind of corruption and money-for-laws politics in the face of an extremely angry public is a really, really, really tone deaf response from Dodd.

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‘Non-Visible’ Art Sells For $10,000

fracsGenius or madness? Surly acting hunk James Franco sold an intangible, undetectable work of conceptual art, created in collaboration with the design duo Praxis, to a Montreal collector for $10,000. Paste reports that the masterpiece is titled "Fresh Air" and is described as thus:
A unique piece, only this one is for sale. The air you are purchasing is like buying an endless tank of oxygen. No matter where you are, you always have the ability to take a breath of the most delicious, clean-smelling air that the earth can produce. Every breath you take gives you endless peace and health. This artwork is something to carry with you if you own it. Because wherever you are, you can imagine yourself getting the most beautiful taste of air that is from the mountain tops or fields or from the ocean side; it is an endless supply.
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Are You Ready For ‘Blade Runner’ Prequels And Sequels?

blade runnerIf you enjoyed the Star Wars prequels then I suppose you might be more well disposed towards the idea of doing the same with the sci-fi masterpiece Blade Runner, but I can’t say I have high hopes for any prequel or sequel. Like it or not, Deadline Hollywood reports that they’re coming:

Warner Bros-based financing and production company Alcon Entertainment (“The Blind Side,” “The Book of Eli”) co-founders and co-Chief Executive Officers Broderick Johnson and Andrew Kosove, in the most significant property acquisition negotiations in the Company’s 13-year history, are in final discussions to secure film, television and ancillary franchise rights to produce prequels and sequels to the iconic 1982 science-fiction thriller “Blade Runner.”…

Alcon is negotiating to secure the rights from producer-director Bud Yorkin, who will serve as producer on “Blade Runner” along with Kosove and Johnson. Cynthia Sikes Yorkin will co-produce. Frank Giustra and Tim Gamble, CEO’s of Thunderbird Films, will serve as executive producers.

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Inside Scientology: Brainwashing, Violence, And Slave Labor

scientologycommonsNo, the above isn’t hyperbole. The New Yorker has a fascinating and authoritative exposé on Scientology. The experiences of Hollywood director and ex-Scientologist Paul Haggis are the starting point, but the piece hits upon everything from the cult’s origins to its use of violence and child labor to John Travolta magically healing Marlon Brando’s leg via touch:

In December, 2009, Tricia Whitehill, a special agent from the Los Angeles office, flew to Florida to interview former members of the church in the F.B.I.’s office in downtown Clearwater, which happens to be directly across the street from Scientology’s spiritual headquarters.

Whitehill and Valerie Venegas, the lead agent on the case, also interviewed former Sea Org members in California. One of them was Gary Morehead, who had been the head of security at the Gold Base; he left the church in 1996. In February, 2010, he spoke to Whitehill and told her that he had developed a “blow drill” to track down Sea Org members who left Gold Base.

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Lawrence Wright’s Amazing ‘New Yorker’ Feature On Scientology

Paul Haggis. Photo: David Shankbone (CC)

Paul Haggis. Photo: David Shankbone (CC)

Lawrence Wright’s forthcoming tell-all book about the Hollywood uber-cult Scientology (The Heretic of Hollywood: Paul Haggis vs.The Church of Scientology) has been in the news often the past few weeks, mostly concerning speculation about whether or not award-winning scribe Paul Haggis “officially” collaborated with Wright.

The book still hasn’t been scheduled for publication and considering the cult’s propensity for litigation it might face considerable delays. For those who can’t wait, Wright has contributed a fascinating and lengthy essay on the topic to the current issue of the New Yorker.

It’s a must-read for anyone interested in the cult of Scientology. Here’s the beginning:

On August 19, 2009, Tommy Davis, the chief spokesperson for the Church of Scientology International, received a letter from the film director and screenwriter Paul Haggis. “For ten months now I have been writing to ask you to make a public statement denouncing the actions of the Church of Scientology of San Diego,” Haggis wrote.

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Mark Wahlberg Smells Of Skunk

MarkwahlbergshprAccording to his kids, anyway, Marky Mark smells of skunk. US Magazine reports that he’s given up smoking weed to save his kids from his skunky odor. The cynic in me says it might have more to do with his becoming a big shot in Hollywood, not only as an actor but also as executive producer of HBO shows like Entourage and Boardwalk Empire (note the part of his quote below where he says he goes to church instead of partying – yeah right, Mark!):

“I stopped smoking weed for my kids,” explained the star, who added that he’s replaced weekend partying with church-going.

“One day, we were driving and you could smell it from somewhere. My daughter asked what the smell was so I told her it was a skunk. Then she said, ‘Sometimes Daddy smells like that!’ to me and my wife. So I knew I had to quit.”

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The Forgotten Stars of 1970s Terrorism

In their never-ending quest to tweak the sensibilities of anyone dumb enough to take them too seriously, the “hipsters” at VICE profile ’70s terrorists, from the Tupamaros to the Red Brigade:

In Hollywood they’re making yet another film about Carlos The Jackal, and Bernhard Schlink’s writing books about the Baader-Meinhof gang again. From Spielberg’s Munich to Soderbergh’s Che, the last decade’s been happy to fete the terrorists who were at large in the 1970s. In contrast to the amorphous and utterly unquenchable threat currently hanging over our Western heads, everyone knew what figures like Guevara and The Black September group wanted: suitcases crammed full of cash and choppers to Cuba. They had a negotiable quality to them that’s largely missing from today’s suicide fanatics. Here are some lesser known terrorists from the 1970s that pop culture’s yet to turn into stocking-clad, cemtex-strapped, hostage-garotting rock stars.

FRONT DE LIBERATION DU QUEBEC

The FLQ’s Mario Bachand.

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Why Aren’t There More Republicans in Hollywood?

olivia wildeLeslie Gornstein a/k/a The Answer Bitch, E! Online’s resident question-and-answer columnist, asks disinformation author Ed Rampell for help with this question:

Just saw a new video with Olivia Wilde urging people to vote progressive, and it got me to thinking: Why is Hollywood so darned liberal?
Brenda, San Antonio

You speak of the MoveOn.org video featuring Wilde as a hard-bitten activist from the future who berates you—you specifically, thanks to some Facebook-aided personalization—for not voting in the upcoming election.

It’s certainly not the kind of message you’d see from, say, Elisabeth Hasselbeck. Here’s why:

Indeed, Wilde and Romany Malco, he of The 40-Year-Old-Virgin, jokingly warn that without your vote, President Palin will, among other things, declare an “ultrawar” against the Pacific Ocean and “whatever country Björk is from.”

Now, I talked to Ed Rampell, author of Progressive Hollywood, about this. Rampell offers three very interesting reasons why the entertainment business is so full of non-Republicans.

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