Fate of Publishing Industry Depends on Dan Brown's Next Book

Sheila · 01/28/08 11:33AM

It's a sad state of affairs when the entire book industry, plus major retailers like Barnes & Noble, can see only one ray of hope for the future: the next novel from Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown. Apparently, they don't have anything else going on (no one else writes books, obviously), because they are slavering like dogs in heat for the next sure-to-(possibly)-be bestseller. Just one big title can jolt the entire industry, the WSJ reports, "as customers pour into the stores and walk out with a bagful of titles." Since the fate of the world is clearly resting on Mr. Brown, he's receded into New Hampshire and refused to comment. His agent isn't speaking, either. Good for them!

seth · 11/30/07 03:45PM

The guy who unsuccessfully sued Dan Brown for ripping off the basic premise of his own non-fiction book for The Da Vinci Code has died, suggesting a deadly curse is afoot, striking anyone who dares get in the unstoppable bestseller's way. (We fear the delaying of the movie version of its sequel Angels & Demons puts many at Sony in danger. Watch out for falling pianos, Amy Pascal!) [AP]

mark · 11/27/07 03:50PM

Now that Imagine's Brian Grazer and Ron Howard have had blockbuster Da Vinci Code prequel Angels & Demons put off indefinitely by the strike, we think we've identified a perfect fill-in project that could hit on many of the controversial religious themes that made Da Vinci such a huge success: The 13th Disciple, a planned "fantasy-adventure" film about Jesus Christ's reincarnated evil twin. We've already cast longtime Grazer muse Russell Crowe in the heretical leading role. [Reuters]

mark · 11/16/07 07:42PM

As it turns out, the script for Da Vinci Code prequel Angels & Demons that screenwriter Akiva Goldsman rushed in to beat the pre-strike deadline wasn't as shoot-ready as Sony had hoped, forcing the studio to indefinitely postpone production of Ron Howard's next crowd-narcotizing blockbuster:
"'While the filmmakers and the studio feel the screenplay is very strong, we do not believe it is the fully realized production draft required of this ambitious project,' a Sony spokesperson said. 'At this time, there is no new start date for Angels & Demons, but we are setting a release date of May 15, 2009, and are hopeful to deliver the movie worldwide to theaters on that date. We do not expect any other film on our 2008 slate to be affected.'" But take heart: as we've recently learned, the production setbacks that don't kill Imagine's Brian Grazer only make him stronger, so we have every confidence he'll make sure this latest passion project eventually gets made—even if that means he has to circumvent the too-cautious studio by buying his own copy of the book at the Grove's Barnes and Noble, taking it over to Tom Hanks' house, then forcing the star to act out the story at gunpoint while the dogged superproducer captures every precious word on a camcorder. [Variety]

Possible Strike Quietly Rushing Ron Howard's Middlebrow Genius

mark · 10/25/07 02:04PM

· Ron Howard and Akiva Goldsman are frantically finalizing the shooting script of Da Vinci Code sequel Angels & Demons before the Oct. 31st deadline, hoping that the mad rush towards production won't jeopardize the duo's ability to produce the kind of easily digestible, crowd-pleasing entertainment that always results from their lucrative collaborations. Meanwhile, star Tom Hanks has been presented with a hair-growing schedule that will barely provide the actor with enough time to reproduce his character's signature demi-mullet. Truly, no one is immune from the pressures of the looming™ strike. [Variety]
· In what is always a good sign for a floundering series, The Bionic Woman gets another new showrunner, not even two months after "creative differences" ended NBC's short-lived love affair with Glen Morgan. [THR]

Screenwriter Goldsman Given $4 Million To Not Fuck Up 'Da Vinci' Sequel Too Badly

mark · 11/22/06 06:10PM

The LA Weekly's Nikki Finke reports that Sony is making Da Vinci Code adapter Akiva Goldsman, a man whose career highlights include depicting schizophrenics as people who spend their days scribbling on dirty windows while playing with imaginary friends and assisting in the destruction of the Batman franchise, the best-paid writer in town by forking over $4 million for him to churn out a script for Da Vinci sequel Angels & Demons:

Trade Round-Up: 'Da Vinci' Still Cashing In

mark · 06/20/06 03:16PM

· The Da Vinci Code is about to pass Forrest Gump as the second-biggest drama of all time after Titanic, though we should mention that the term "drama" seems to mean "any non-comedy not starring a Hobbit, comic book superhero, Darth Vader, Harry Potter, dinosaurs, Will Smith, Reese's Pieces-eating extra-terrestrials, or Keanu Reeves." [Variety]
· As noted earlier, Owen "The Butterscotch Stallion" Wilson will star in the Paramount comedy Drillbit Taylor, about a "low budget solider of fortune" hired to protect some nerds from a high school bully. [THR]
· Reality TV production juggernaut Endemol gets started on its plan to destroy Hispanic culture by launching Endemol USA Latino, whose first order of business is making sure that Spanish-speakers have their own opportunity to shout at briefcases containing various dollar amounts. [Variety]
· Dan Rather is leaving CBS News after 44 years. We know that this probably doesn't mean anything to you, so for some perspective, imagine how you'd feel if Mary Hart suddenly stepped down from the Entertainment Tonight desk. [THR]
· Josh Lucas takes a second-banana role as an FBI investigator in Smart, based on the life of quirkly, germ-phobic GQ and Esquire magazine founder David Smart. [Variety]

Trade Round-Up: Tom Cruise Gets A Chance To Turn Off The Chinese

mark · 06/12/06 02:55PM

· In mid-July, M:i:III will finally get a non-black-market release in China, though in an edited, more censor-friendly form. The expected changes reportedly involve the removal of some scenes of violence, as well as all mentions of Tom Cruise's character being married to a woman, which Chinese officials have deemed "too far-fetched to be believed by even the most thoroughly brainwashed populace." [THR]
· We're willing to bet that you don't care enough about the Tonys to follow this link and find out who won. [Variety]
· Director Peter Weir exits Johnny Depp's Shantaram project over the obligatory "creative differences," which may or may not involve Weir's uneasiness with Depp's insistence that the only artistically pure way to make a movie about a heroin addict is for all involved to develop debilitating smack habits for the duration of the shoot. [Variety]
· The Da Vinci Code continues its dominance at the foreign box office with another $22 million, performing exceptionally well in territories where translators' interpretations help reduce the feeling that Ron Howard is insulting their intelligence. [THR]
· NBC's new programming continues to flourish against token rerun competition. [Variety]

China Attempts To Contain, Eradicate 'Da Vinci' Fever

Seth Abramovitch · 06/08/06 12:42PM

The mysterious government agency that assesses the suitability of Hollywood movies for screening in mainland China has made the unprecedented decision to pull an already authorized movie from theaters, depriving over a billion people from delighting in the summer's most Messiah-debunkingest adventure, The Da Vinci Code:

Trade Round-Up: Will Smith To Make Suicidal Ideation Seem Totally Charming

mark · 06/05/06 02:40PM

· Da Vinci Code continues to kick ass and take the names of blasphemy fans overseas (we know we harp on this, but what else are we gonna talk about, the two and a half hours of deadly, expository dialogue explaining how they wound up in the wrong church again?), takes in $52 million in its third week. [Variety]
· Touchstone TV throws bags of money to keep Grey's Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes around through the 2008-9 season, ensuring that the studio will corner the market on platitude-filled, bookending voiceovers for years to come. [THR]
· Will Smith finds some time in his busy schedule to sign up to produce and star in Seven Pounds, about "a man intent on killing himself who falls in love before he can do the deed." Unfortunately, that's not the set-up for a romantic comedy about a guy with an adorably quirky death wish. [Variety]
· Horror superfan Rob Zombie will reimagine the Halloween franchise, with an eye on de-pussifying once-scary masked maniac Michael Myers. [THR]
· HBO and producer David Milch make a deal to end Deadwood with two two-hour specials, a four-hour series-closing event that will contractually feature no less than six hundred utterances of the word "cocksucker." [Variety]

Trade Round-Up: Heathen Foreigners Continue To Mock Christians

mark · 05/30/06 02:38PM

· International audiences love boringly presented blasphemy, Brett Ratner: Da Vinci Code wins the foreign box office for the second week in a row with $90.9 million, while new release X-Men: The Last Stand rakes in $76.1 million. [Variety]
· CBS settles its lawsuit with Howard Stern and Sirius, with Stern's new satellite home paying CBS $2 million for rights to his radio archives, dashing our hopes that the affair would be settled by a winner-take-all match of anal ring toss between Les Moonves and Beetlejuice. [THR]
· The Palm d'Or goes to director Ken Loach for The Wind that Shakes the Barley, reminding us that films besides Da Vinci and X-Men screened at Cannes. [Variety]
· Studios looking past traditional promotional campaigns with fast food and soft drinks tie-ins this summer are joining up with less conventional marketing partners, like Superman Returns' risky, co-branded line of feminine hygiene products featuring Lois Lane's likeness. [THR]
· ABC and CBS make it easy for viewers to ignore their American Idol clones The One and Rock Star by scheduling them to face off in the same summer timeslot. [Variety]

Borat Stumbles Into Shadowy Conspiracy To Assassinate Christ's Heir

mark · 05/24/06 05:44PM

No one knows better than we do that regrettable editorial oversights like this one will happen from time to time (we'll never live down the one where we recently misidentified Dakota Fanning as "Bruce Willis' favorite dominatrix"—whoops!), but even knowing ahead of time that something was wrong, it still took us a moment to realize that this photograph's neon-junk-slinged subject was Sacha Baron Cohen alter ego Borat and not, in fact, respected actor Jean Reno proudly displaying his French homeland's most fashion-forward beachwear during a break in Da Vinci Code promotion.

Trade Round-Up: Sony Preparing For Round Two With The Vatican

mark · 05/23/06 02:25PM

· Sony shocks! the! world! by signing Da Vinci Code screenwriter Akiva Goldsman to adapt Dan Brown's Angels and Demons, and hopes to reunite the rest of the Blasphemy Dream Team of star Tom Hanks, director Ron Howard, and producer Brian Grazer for the project. [Variety]
· Teri Hatcher will provide the voice of star Dakota Fanning's mother in the animated feature Coraline. We predict a hair-yanking catfight that would put any Desperate Housewives shenanigans to shame should the two actresses' paths ever cross at the studio. [THR]
· Maybe Sony really did send someone to count up all the 60-cent pirate Da Vinci Code DVDs sold on the black market, as overseas grosses came in $8 million higher than originally reported. [Variety]
· Brokeback Mountain director Ang Lee now has "Fuck you, English" money, will make the Chinese-language espionage thriller Lust, Caution his next project. [THR]
· The season finale of 24, in which superagent Jack Bauer (SPOILER ALERT) rushed from place to place to kick people's asses and save the world, averaged about 13.5 million viewers, while Alias's series finale went out with the proverbial whimper. That Jennifer Garner really needs to get drunk and tackle a Christmas tree. [Variety]

Trade Round-Up: More About How Much Money 'Da Vinci' Made This Weekend

mark · 05/22/06 03:32PM

· Sony's worldwide day-and-date release strategy for The Da Vinci Code proves incredibly effective, especially in Catholic-heavy countries like Spain and Italy, which set box office records this weekend. As a reward for their patronage, Sony's Amy Pascal has promised those markets special premieres of any future film that blasphemes their savior. [Variety]
· We'd somewhat naively assumed that deleting a show from our TiVo season pass made it disappear from the airwaves, but the huge Nielsens of the Desperate Housewives finale prove otherwise. [THR]
· Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette has already generated buzz in the fashion world. We don't even know what "flouncy pink footwear" is, but apparently it's "in" because of the movie. [Variety]
· A development executive at MTV wakes up from a two-year coma and greenlights a Jennifer Lopez-produced reality series about dancers trying to make it, tragically unaware that no one cares about what Lopez does anymore. [THR]
· After five days at Cannes, no film has emerged as frontrunner for the Palm D'or. Jury members, however, are considering awarding it to the out-of-competition X-Men: The Last Stand if Brett Ratner promises to leave their country a few days early. [Variety]

Some International Heretics Denied Opportunity To Mock Christianity

mark · 05/18/06 06:50PM

Who can we invade to ensure that everyone, no matter their country of residence, has the freedom to gather together in their local house of cinematic worship and laugh inappropriately at the most anticipated work of Ron Howard-helmed blasphemy since A Beautiful Mind? It seems clear to us that no civilized society should be denied that most basic of human rights.