mark · 01/22/08 04:35PM

Nikki Finke reports that New Line's Michael Lynne and Bob Shaye will soon be having a heart-to-heart with Time Warner boss Jeff Bewkes about their expiring contracts, which her sources are "virtually certain" will end with the men leaving the building with cardboard boxes brimming with their favorite Lord of the Rings memorabilia. Though their tenure has recently been marred by disasters like The Last Mimzy and that little feud with Peter Jackson, we prefer to remember what is inarguably their greatest accomplishment at the studio: empowering a certain visionary to make his oft-controversial Art, no matter how many many Rush Hour installments it took to reach the limits of his hacky powers. [DHD]

Reese Witherspoon Dumped, Quickly Scooped Up On The Rebound

mark · 01/10/08 03:35PM

· With plenty of time on their hands these days to evaluate their relationships, studios have start dropping (and/or not renewing) first-look deals with partners with whom they've fallen out of love. Not even America's Sweetheart Reese Witherspoon (and her Type A shingle) has been immune from this recent caprice, though New Line was more than happy to climb into bed with her after a recent dumping. [Variety]
· A belt-tightening ICM is suspending several agents, who still will receive strike pay and benefits until the end of the labor war, and temporarily cutting some salaries. The silver lining: they're not laying off any assistants. (Yet.) [THR]

mark · 12/19/07 12:35PM

Yesterday, there was much rejoicing in Fanboy Middle Earth following the announcement that director Peter Jackson would return to produce two The Hobbit movies for New Line after settling his dispute over the Lord of the Rings profits the filmmaker said the studio owed him. But how much money did it take for Jackson to rescind his onetime pledge to "feed the greedy [NL co-chairman] Bob Shaye's lifeless body to a hungry Gollum and toss what's left of his well-gnawed remains into the hottest volcano in Mordor before I begin to even think about doing another hairy-midget flick"? About $40 million, according to two people involved. [NY Times]

mark · 12/18/07 01:50PM

In a Christmas miracle sure to have Lord of the Rings fans putting on their official Bilbo Baggins Furry Feet™ and dancing in unselfconscious joy around the replica Shires they've lovingly constructed in their basements, the once-feuding Peter Jackson and New Line have announced they've buried the hatchet (read: a big bag of LOTR settlment money is quietly being delivered to the director's New Zealand compound) and will move forward (with MGM) on two The Hobbit live-action films. Huzzah! Says Jackson about the dentente that will allow everyone to grow wealthier together without involving the courts: "I'm very pleased that we've been able to put our differences behind us, so that we may begin a new chapter with our old friends at New Line. 'The Lord of the Rings' is a legacy we proudly share with Bob and Michael, and together, we share that legacy with millions of loyal fans all over the world. We are delighted to continue our journey through Middle Earth." [Var]

'Golden Compass' A Guaranteed Better Time At The Movies Than Last Kidman-Craig Adventure

seth · 12/07/07 03:00PM

At long last, The Golden Compass, New Line's high-stakes attempt at launching yet another massively profitable fantasy franchise, opens today, though the buzz on the Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig movie is lukewarm at best (currently a 44% Tomatometer score). Will director Chris Weitz prove he can effectively trade in pastry-penetration for shiny magical trinkets and talking CGI polar bears, or would the overstuffed and overlong epic, as frigid as Kidman after a cosmetic emotion-removal procedure, not even manage to inspire Andy Samberg to roll out of bed this Sunday with a box of freshly baked cupcakes for a matinée showing? A sampling of what the critics are saying:

'Sex And City' Teaser Trailer Fiercely Protects Movie's Incredible Secrets

mark · 12/07/07 12:50PM

Nearly having had the Sex and the City movie ruined for us by the spoiler-riddled publicity photo New Line issued at the conclusion of the first day's shoot, we pledged to pay absolutely no attention to any coverage of the project until it reaches theaters next spring, hoping to preserve the many shoe-shopping, cougar-humping, and everyone-dies-old-and-alone surprises the SATC gang has in store for us.

Writers Strike May Soon Deprive TV Reporters Of Winter Press Tour Parties

mark · 11/14/07 03:12PM

· NBC drops out of the Television Critics Association winter press tour due to the writers strike, a move that will rob reporters of the chance to witness a retaliatory beatdown of Peacock perfect storm Ben Silverman by the network-running rivals he recently disparaged as "D-girls". [Variety]
· Entourage's Kevin Dillon joins Emma Roberts, Don Cheadle and Lisa Kudrow in hotly anticipated canine-housing drama Hotel for Dogs. [THR]
· Wistfully envisioning a time when writers and studios can once again skip down Hollywood Blvd hand-in-hand, New Line signs Neil LaBute to script a remake of The Woman Next Door once the strike is over. Helen Mirren's husband [Ed. note—HAAACKFORD!] to direct. [Variety]

Forest Whitaker Sells Out To Mountain Dew To Prove Someone Is Willing To Pay For Online Content

mark · 11/07/07 03:03PM

·The future of online entertainment is now, and Forest Whitaker is stepping boldly into the brave, new world of selling out interactively: the Oscar winner is teaming with Pepsi for a web-based fantasy game called Dewmocracy, in which players will ultimately help create a new, totally extreme flavor of The Dew . [Variety]
· In belt-tightening measures meant to help them survive the strike, agencies are cutting back on overtime, travel, expenses, and baby consumption. With the vast majority of their revenue tied to TV and film, a prolonged work stoppage could mean that chop-shops like CAA would no longer be able to afford the freshest, straight-from-the-nursery infants they're accustomed to gobbling, and may have to temporarily switch to cheaper, lower-quality frozen toddlers until business returns to normal levels. [Variety]

Warner Bros. Wants To Get Even Deeper Into The Tyra Banks Business

mark · 10/30/07 02:19PM

· Universal and New Line join the list of those who strenuously object to the WGA's strike rules, warning writers in their employ that complying with their union's demands to validate the scripts they're trying to turn in before tomorrow's deadline will put them in breach of contract. [Variety]
· Writers and studio executives alike have caught Script-Flipping Fever! Unfortunately, any camaraderie the two sides may now feel as they rush to finish shootable screenplays together could be slightly undermined if they're forced to start trying to kill each other on Thursday morning. [THR]
· Warner Bros. wants to deepen its already very fulfilling relationship with model/host/producer/investigative reporter Tyra Banks, signing her to a multiyear deal in which Banks' production company will do everything for the Warner corporate family short of emptying their trash cans at the end of the day. [Variety]

What Really Went Down With New Line's Severed-Finger Special Delivery

seth · 10/12/07 06:04PM

And Hollywood Rumor of the Week honors go to the one currently catapulting around town and into our inbox, concerning a suspicious package sent to New Line president of production Toby Emmerich that reportedly contained a severed finger, resulting in their offices shutting down for a police investigation. What actually happened, as best as we can piece together, is described in the following e-mail from an operative:

Rat-Pack-Worshipping Brett Ratner Takes On Sinatra Project

mark · 09/20/07 01:50PM

· What showbiz name evokes Rat Pack-era Hollywood cool more than any other? That's right: Brett Ratner. The singularly hacky Rush Hour 3 director, continuing his ongoing mission to diminish the legacies of legends whose lifestyles he desperately wishes to emulate, will reteam with screechy muse Chris Tucker for an adaptation of Mr. S: My Life With Frank Sinatra, a tell-all bio about Sinatra's relationship with his valet. "I think [Ratner's] channeling Frank sometimes," says one the book's authors, rolling around in a pile of New Line's option cash. [Variety]
· Dan Rather opens a can containing $70 million worth of legal whoop-ass on CBS, claiming that the network scapegoated him for the Memogate scandal. [THR]
· DreamWorks Animation runs screaming from a May 2009 box office confrontation with James Cameron's Avatar, moving their Monsters Vs. Aliens to a safer Easter '09 release date. [Variety]
· Fox picks up Raffik, a police procedural about a Borat-like Albanian detective dispatched to the US Americas to amuse the LAPD with his observations about the differences in their law enforcement techniques. [THR]
· The premiere numbers for Kelsey Grammer's Back to You, Gordon "Scorched Bollocks" Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares, and the New Mexico Child Welfare Department's Kid Nation are uniformly "solid" but "unspectacular." Also, as expected, plenty of female teenagers watched Gossip Girl. [Variety]

Sex And The City: The First Photo Of The First Day Of Production

mark · 09/19/07 11:21AM

Truth be told, we were never big fans of the Sex and the City TV show, as the dramatization of high-end shoe-shopping and the sex lives of aging cougar nymphomaniacs didn't hold much interest for us. Today, however, we're inexplicably excited about the forthcoming feature adaptation of the beloved HBO series, as New Line has issued a press release celebrating the movie's first day of production, one that includes this first-ever photo from the set to further commemorate this special occasion.

The LA Times Is Doing Exciting Things In The Cake-Scented Movie Promotion Space

mark · 09/04/07 03:39PM

With the family-friendly nature of Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium probably precluding the possibility of a cutting-edge web campaign featuring clips of Dustin Hoffman trying to blow away the child patrons of his magical toy store with a gun made of enchanted Tinker Toys, the marketers at Fox Walden have decided to instead gently push the envelope of the print medium, bringing the first! ever! ad that uses scented ink to simulate the smell of cake for understimulated LAT readers. Adorable!

New Line Would Like To Help You Bullet Proof Your Baby

mark · 08/24/07 01:32PM

In an inspired online promotion guaranteed to be warmly embraced by both new parents and gun-control enthusiasts alike, the always-innovative, viral-happy New Line marketing team has has produced the tie-in site Bullet Proof Baby for their upcoming Shoot 'Em Up, where potential moviegoers can dream about purchasing a wide array of consumer goods (toddler-tazers, armored cribs, My First Gas Mask) that might protect their newborn children against the kind of comically hyperbolic violence they'll soon enjoy at their local multiplex. While the site lacks the immersive interactivity of New Line's infamous "Go Down On Paul Walker's Virtual Wife" game, watching a proud mom fire a machine gun at a crib does provide a higher entertainment level overall; and, unlike its misguided Number 23 campaign, at least the baby survives this time.

Balls Are So Huge Right Now

mark · 08/24/07 11:52AM

As pointed out to us by a reader, the movie posters for this weekend's release Balls of Fury and mid-September's Mr. Woodcock demonstrate that there's no hotter trend in one-sheet design than testicular imagery that subtly reinforces the "ballsiness" of either a movie's concept or its characters. In the case of Mr. Woodcock, however, we assume that this was the studio's fallback version; while the MPAA let the Balls marketers go forward with their nonthreatening wooden phallus, they probably were never going to allow the public to see Billy Bob Thorton dangling a more conceptually appropriate, 34-inch Louisville Slugger between his legs.

America Might Finally Be Tiring Of Chris Tucker Shouting At Jackie Chan

mark · 08/13/07 10:42AM

There are perhaps no harder Monday mornings than the ones of mid-to-late August, when we all know we're showing up for work weeks where nothing interesting can possibly happen. Distract yourself from the drudgery with the weekend box office numbers, then put your head down and nap until Friday afternoon:

Facing A 'Midlife Crisis,' New Line Publicly Dedicated To Getting Its Shit Together

mark · 08/10/07 11:43AM

Having signalled the beginning of a difficult revitalization process through the ceremonial sacrifice of their longtime marketing chief to the Hollywood gods earlier this week (in fairness, you try and sell something called The Last Mimzy), embattled New Line executives Bob Shaye and Tobey Emmerich sat down with the LAT's Patrick Goldstein to discuss What Went Wrong during their recent, flop-riddled run—Hairspray notwithstanding—and to share their vision for the studio's future. In a refreshing change of course, Emmerich reveals that they're ready to recognize that a screenplay is only as good as the one-sheet that condenses its ideas into a single, multiplex-lobby-friendly image and the test marketing audience that will recognize its third act problems at a fraction of the cost of a roomful of clueless development execs. Reports Goldstein:

Zellweger To Be Sassy, Tough In Western

mark · 08/07/07 01:48PM

· Renee Zellweger will star with Viggo Mortensen and Ed Harris in the western Appaloosa, which we hope will provide ample opportunity for a spunky, bonnet-rocking Zellweger to fire a shotgun and exclaim, "You git outta my town, ya hear?" in the direction of the movie's "renegade rancher" antagonist. We love it when she does period gritty. [Variety]
· Fox's apocalypse-quickening reality TV guru Mike Darnell consolidates his power within the network by signing a new multiyear deal, officially giving him more autonomy to launch unscripted programming without the interference of other executives who believe that shows like Are You Smarter Than This Recent Massive Head Trauma Victim? might push the envelope a little too far. [THR]
· New Line's Russell Schwartz is ankling as the studio's head of marketing. We just hope that his replacement demonstrates a similar level of vision that will allow future, groundbreaking online promotions involving the performance of virtual cunnilingus on their movie heroes' wives. [Variety]
· Local news icon Hal Fishman, KTLA's anchor of more than 30 years, dies at 75. [THR]
· AMPAS is banning the mailing of For Your Consideration film score and song CDs, decreeing that the music needs to be evaluated in the context of the movie. Composers and studio music execs have begun the process of formally expressing their outrage, possibly by the mass burning of FYC screenplays in protest of the "out of context" principle that might limit voter access to their work. [Variety]

Open-Minded Brett Ratner Amused By Prankster Tranny Who Blew Him

mark · 08/03/07 12:54PM

The near-constant attention that's accompanying the imminent opening of Rush Hour 3 seems to have turned the already unedited Brett Ratner into something of a chronic oversharer. A couple of days ago, Ratner offhandedly informed the audience at Chinese Theatre know that he lost his virginity at a precocious 13, and in an interview posted on The Advocate's website today, the director deflects accusations that his new movie features some cheap, homophobic jokes by falling back on the time-worn defense [along the lines of—see clarification immediately following!], "Some of the best blowjobs I've ever gotten were by dudes pretending to be chicks." [Ed.note—Allow us to clarify that we are not saying that Mr. Ratner ever spoke these words. They are an apparently confusing attempt to parody the "Some of my best friends "are of x race/sexual persuasion/religion" defense used when an open-minded individual is accused of bias. Also, we in no way mean to imply that the act described to the Advocate below was among the best he's received. Thanks for staying with us during this joke-killing Defamer Clarification.] Wait, what? Ratner explains:

Johnny Depp To Live Out Childhood Dreams Of Kitschy Vampirism

mark · 07/27/07 01:46PM

· Johnny Depp may get to fulfill his childhood fantasy of becoming the "vampire patriarch" of the 60s bloodsucker soap opera Dark Shadows, as he's developing a feature based on the series for Warner Bros. [Variety]
· Hollywood tries to make the filthy little whores of YouTube jealous by openly flirting with DailyMotion, the French video sharing site that's now setting up shop here and starting to cut deals with content producers. [THR]
· Fred Claus star Vince Vaughn continues to work the holiday-themed direction of his recent career, signing on alongside Reese Witherspoon for New Line's comedy Four Christmases, the story of a couple who tries to visit all four of their divorced parents on Christmas day. Yuletide hilarity to ensue. [Variety]
· Rob Estes joins the cast of the upcoming ABC drama Women's Murder Club, giving the show the shot of Melrose Place credibility it so desperately needed. [THR]
· And in this round-up's last bit of casting news, Susan Sarandon has joined Peter Jackson's The Lovely Bones adaptation, which promises to be the most visually arresting story of a raped and murdered teenager ever made. [Variety]