(image via opticianonline)
In: The 3D Experience. Will Monsters vs. Aliens surpass expectations or fail to impress? The future of the 3D film revolution hangs in the balance. This will be a big weekend for DreamWorks Animation, the very idea of a 3D tentpole and, of course, the prognosticative powers of Steven Spielberg and James Cameron. From Variety:
"Par is taking 'Monsters (versus Aliens)' out in 4,104 locations, including 1,550 3-D sites, marking the widest bow yet for a 3-D title. (The remaining runs are conventional.) In terms of actual prints, film will play on 7,000 screens, 2,000 of them 3-D.
Elsewhere at the B.O., Lionsgate's horror/suspenser 'The Haunting in Connecticut' could prove strong counterprogramming. It opens in 2,732 runs.
"...Monsters' is sure to be analyzed from all sides considering how much Hollywood has riding on 3-D plus the fact that there still aren't enough 3-D-capable screens. Toon is the first of a handful of big-budget 3-D pics set to open this year, culminating at Christmas with 20th Century Fox's 'Avatar,' from James Cameron.
"The allure of 3-D is that theater owners charge $3-$4 more per ticket. Imax 3-D tickets are roughly $5 more. Until now, studios have only dipped a toe in the 3-D sea (Disney is the exception). The results have been impressive, with 3-D screens doing three and four times the business of a conventional screen.
"The biggest worry facing Jeffrey Katzenberg's shop and other studios is the question of how many 3-D screens are enough."
Will more than just geeks shell out the extra money for a 3-D ticket? More here.
Out: DL Hughley. Controversial comedian DL Hughley -- who, we cannot fail to note, draws strong opinions from African-American women that we admire -- is out. His CNN show is off the air, and much of his final segment on marijuana legalization has been edited out by management. TVNewser has the story:
"The final 'D.L. Hughley Breaks the News' was taped at CNN's New York studios this afternoon. And it appears CNN higher-ups forced an edit on producers. A TVNewser tipster tells us, 'a large section of a segment about marijuana legalization' was edited out of the final broadcast.
"Hughley recently visited a marijuana dispensary in Oakland, California after his doctor had written him a prescription for medicinal marijuana. Hughley apparently has chronic back pain.
"But that portion will not be shown during the segment on the final show."
Chronic back pain. Earlier this week Hughley jokes with Don Imus about his "medical condition" -- wink, wink.
In: Reforming The Rockefeller Drug Laws. Here in New York, the draconian Rockefeller Drug laws with manditory minimum sprison sentences have ruined countless lives. Many of those lives, unfortunately, involve people of color. It has gotten so bad that there are actual bus businesses -- growing -- in poor neighborhoods in New York whre the wives and children of "drug dealers" can visit on prison visiting days. No longer. Governor Patterson, thankfully, has delivered on a campaign promise that was ultimately just a problem of political will. From The VillageVoice:
"In a rare moment of cooperation in Albany, Governor Paterson and the state legislature effectively ended the harshest provisions of the much-criticized Rockefeller Drug Laws today. The agreement ends mandatory jail time for first-time and non-violent felony offenders, something that advocates have fought for over three decades. Now judges have total authority to send non-violent addicts to treatment instead of jail.
"Changing the laws has been on Paterson's agenda for years (and something that people expected the Democrats to do once they obtained a majority in Albany). Today the governor said, "As a resident and representative of Harlem, I saw first-hand the devastating effect that drugs have on our communities, and the devastating effect that ill-considered drug laws and drug policies have had on individuals, families and neighborhoods... I have seen too many lives destroyed by outrageously harsh and ineffective mandatory sentencing laws."
"The changes also provide more funding for drug rehab programs, though so far no one has said how much."
Big ups to Russell Simmons, Anthony Pappa and all the other who were out in front of this issue over the years and brought it to our attention.