In Theatres Dec. 12, 2007
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THE GREAT HEIST...Trouble may be brewing for the much-hyped Denzel Washington-Ridley Scott collab, American Gangster. According to the Wall Street Journal, Universal Pictures is worried about a possible poor theater turnout because a high-qua lity bootleg version has just popped up on the Web. While the studio is busy figuring out just who leaked the flick, this incident just might indicate prime time to revisit the discussion on new techniques to protect intellectual property. But while everyone is at it, a good addition to the talks might include new tactics to lure people into movie theatres by various new pricing methodology as The A-List noted in Issue #14 ("Box Office, Schmox-Office: The Ticket Numbers Game," thealistmagzine.blogspot.com/2006/04/issue-14-box-office-schmox-office.html) Let's see what develops.
ORDER IN THE COURT...He's been laying low for awhile, but now Mr. Matrix Laurence Fishburne is heading back to Broadway; this time to play Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court. And the spotlight will be purely on Fishburne, as the performance will be a one-man act. Opening next spring, Thurgood was written by industry veteran George Stevens Jr. (Separate But Equal) and will be directed by Leonard Foglia (On Golden Pond, The Heidi Chronicles) Fishburne actually inherits the role from James Earl Jones, who starred in Thurgood in its off-Broadway run last year. Previews will begin at the Booth Theatre on March 30, 2008 and open officially on April 20. The production is scheduled to run through July 20. Timing seems ripe for a Broadway play about the former civil rights attorney. Given such things as the Jena 6 craziness and now A&E's Dog the Bounty Hunter's racial epithets, we need all the champions we can get.
REALITY ROUNDUP...There's just way too many Black celebs heading to reality TV to do separate items on each, so here's a quick rundown. Brace yourselves. Bobby Brown and "Thong Song" man Sisqo (pictured) will join a group of singers who have fallen off the charts in "Gone Country" on The Country Music Network in a bid to turn themselves into country singing stars. Meanwhile supermodel Tyson Beckford will bring a version of the successful UK series "Make Me A Supermodel" to these shores with co-host and fellow supermodel Niki Taylor
on Bravo. And, rapper Coolio has just signed on to star in "Coolio & The Gang" on--get this--the women's network The Oxygen Channel. The show will follow him as he juggles re-inventing his career while being a single dad raising six teenage children. The network is billing the show as the real-life version of "My Three Sons," well add three. Whew. We're reality'd out.GREY GOOSE GOT YOUR GIRLS FEELIN' LOOSE...As the convergence of brands and entertainment becomes more and more blurred, Grey Goose Vodka has trumped competitors by creating Grey Goose Entertainment (GGE). As many know, the spirits company jumped head first into co-producing season 3 of the Sundance Channel's "Iconoclasts," which began airing just a few weeks ago. Unfortunately though, their spokesperson tells us that there are no plans to create any additional GGE projects for 2008 other than expanding its Artist Den and Next Garde areas on its site. "As we enter the third year...we are exploring options to bring the Artists Den to life even more through more concerts and video of some sort," Grey Goose spokesperson Amanda Schilt told us. But given the fact that the vodka brand is enjoying such success in due in large part to the Urban market's blessing, it seems odd that we are not seeing any direct links via this production venture. GGE says it is always open to new opportunities, however. Production companies are able to present GGE with ideas that it will evaluate on a case by case basis with its media and television partners so get your agents on the phone and see what's up!
DIGITAL HUDDLE...If you didn't make it to this year's Digital Hollywood conference, which just wrapped up Nov. 1, we can tell you one surprising person was in the mix. Get ready. The event, self-billed as the premier entertainment and technology conference in the country, tapped Reverend Jesse Jackson, Sr. to be the event's keynote speaker. Among other items, he alluded to multicultural inclusion in this all-too-protected digital and wireless world at the moment. A much-needed discussion for sure, but ideally this will trickle down to conference inclusion of Urban "digerati" mavericks on panels and round tables. Let's see is Jackson was able to stir up enough interest beyond the increase of his own ever-growing spotlight.
TUNED IN...Black and White viewers tuned in to make ESPN’s Monday Night Football the week’s most watched cable show. African-American households were 16% of the total audience, which boosted the network to the top spot. Second place on the top 25 for Black households was VH1’s "I Love New York,” which 1.8 million total Black viewers watched (about 3.3 million White viewers tuned in), according to Nielsen Media Research. TBS’s "House of Payne” returned to the top-end of the top 25 in Black households by taking the third through sixth spots. TBS and VH1 both had four shows in the top 25, and ESPN, Disney and MTV each had one program on the list. BET placed seven shows on the chart. In addition, the debut episode of the return of the BET reality show "Keyshia Cole: The Way It Is" made history this week at the network. With a 1.41 rating (1.24 million households, 1.49 million total viewers), it became the network's highest premiere ever. According to Nielsen, 18.5 million Black households watched the top 25 during the fourth week of October, a 5% decrease compared to the previous week.
HIP HOP HOLLYWOOD
MATCH POINT...According to the UK's Daily Mirror Snoop Dogg says he and soccer darling David Beckham may be teaming up to finance a film--and a fashion line. Seems the pair have gotten chummy since Becks gave the rapper's children soccer lessons. An unlikely duo, maybe; but it all just proves the undeniable attraction Hip Hop has across the board.
STRONG TECH NUMBERS
According to industry analysts, the IT sector remains strong, despite the flucuating U.S. economy. With Google and Microsoft reporting a strong earnings season, the Nasdaq gained 5.8% in October to close the month at its highest point since January 2001. Google shares broke $700 Oct. 31, and to date has stayed above that mark due to speculation that the company will announce, with a carrier, a plan to bundle Web application services with mobile devices.
Ana Ortiz and Michael Urie arrivin' stylishly on an eco-friendly Vespa at the 17th Annual Environmental Media Awards held at the Ebell Club in Los Angeles. The EMA Awards recognizes writers, producers, directors, actors, and others in the entertainment industry who actively expresses their concern for the environment through their work. The EMAs air Nov. 7th on E! When former Jacksonville Jaguar football pro Marcellus Wiley and his sister Tikki Harrell opened La 'Tik Boutique in Santa Monica, the stars went shoppin'. Actor Kel Mitchell (pictured right) checked out the racks. While ex-baller Curtis Conway with his wife, pro boxer Laila Ali, Wiley, and Harrell celebrated the store's launch.