blog advertising is good for you

Monday, June 27, 2011

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"Germany is sitting on top of the world. But the rest of the world thinks it's getting too comfortable up there. The country has come roaring out of the global financial crisis, boasting one of the strongest economies in the West and seemingly poised for years of rising exports ahead. What's more, the better it does, the more the world expects it to do. Europe and the U.S. want Germany to take charge on cleaning up Europe's debt crisis and do more for big causes—like supporting the Arab revolutions and the sputtering global economic recovery. Germany's answer? Business as usual suits us fine. Unlike many other Western countries, Germany has spent years living within its means and building up a deep trade surplus. Now it's reluctant to bail out nations that weren't as prudent. And it doesn't want to get involved in foreign entanglements like Libya. All of which leads to a question with big implications for the global economy and political order: What is Germany's place in the world? German leaders argue that they don't want to tinker with a winning formula, and they're already making significant contributions to the EU and NATO. But critics see it differently. They attack the country for wanting to be a big Switzerland: a trading nation that profits from the business opportunities of a globalized economy but shirks the dirty work of globalization, including international involvement in armed conflicts. Germany's traditional allies even fret that the country is losing interest in Europe and the West." (WSJ)


"After last weekend's disappointing outcome for Green Lantern, Summer 2011 returns with big-time North American grosses. But both Disney's Cars 2 and Sony's Bad Teacher cooled off Saturday after a hot Friday. Expect an overall moviegoing total of $176M, up +6% from last year ... Wow, even Pixar's clunker exceeded expectations, becoming Pixar's 12th straight No. 1 toon. Strange that the special studio parent/kids' tracking was only showing a $50M weekend for Cars 2 even with 3D's higher ticket prices and a very wide U.S. and Canadian release. (Its 4,115 theaters comprise 2,508 3D locations, including 120 IMAX venues.) Other studios at first thought the toon could zoom between $71.5M-$75M for the weekend, but Disney was right to stay conservative with projections of 'just' $68M ... But the real platinum lining here is all that Cars-branded merchandise parents are going to buy for their kids. Disney has put 300 or so products on the market -- Cars Kleenex, anyone? -- and Wall Street expects those licensed retail sales to total $10 billion, making it the biggest movie merchandising ever. (Toy Story 3 made about $2.8 billion.) It's a supremely cynical move -- lousy movie, great crap -- that includes a video game releasing Tuesday, ice and stage shows, and a 12-acre Cars Land expected to rejuvenate California Adventure next year. On the other hand, the Pixar brand may wind up hurt by its first bout of bad PR for a company whose first 11 feature-length animated films have earned $6.5 billion at the global box office and 29 Academy Awards. 'Families (flyover or not) are deciding for themselves and disregarding reviews,' an unconcerned Disney exec replies to me.' 'Critics not liking a movie doesn't seem like it will hurt the Pixar brand in my opinion. It will be their 12th #1 film in a row and will rank near the top for opening weekends. Should I send you a Larry the Cable Guy DVD?'" (Deadline)



"Newspapers and journalists are cashing in on WikiLeaks’ war on secrecy as Hollywood studios scramble to buy the 'life rights' to key characters involved in 2010’s publication of thousands of classified documents. At least five film versions of the WikiLeaks story are in development from groups including DreamWorks, HBO, the BBC and Universal Pictures. This has set off a fight for exclusive adaptation rights to the books and articles published about the saga. DreamWorks has taken the unusual step of buying rights to two books on WikiLeaks, including WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War on Secrecy, by David Leigh and Luke Harding, two reporters at the UK’s Guardian newspaper.  The company has also struck rights deals with other journalists from the Guardian, one of several newspapers to have worked closely with WikiLeaks and Julian Assange, its founder. DreamWorks declined to comment on its WikiLeaks project, but a person familiar with the situation said: 'DreamWorks wanted to secure as many rights as possible so it can tell the best possible story.' The deals prohibit reporters and editors from talking about their experiences to producers of rival films. 'The contracts are incredibly restrictive in terms of the details that can be revealed,' said one person who has sold rights to DreamWorks. Both Alan Rusbridger, editor of the Guardian, and Ian Katz, deputy editor, have agreed deals with DreamWorks. A person familiar with the deals said they represented a 'nice chunk' of money. Mr Rusbridger denied he had been paid separately for his rights and declined to comment on deals struck by colleagues. 'I’m not earning anything out of it … All [the money] is going to the Guardian,' he said." (FT via MediareDEFined)


"The most fervent discussions of the European leaders gathered in Brussels on Friday, June 24, focused on riots in Athens, unruly parliamentarians in Berlin, disaffected youth in Madrid, and, perhaps, sexual crimes and misdemeanors in Rome. But they also found some time to ratify their choice for the next tenant of a modest office space in downtown Frankfurt, Germany. As expected, Mario Draghi, an Italian economist with a number of nicely tailored suits, but little evident charisma, received unanimous support to follow Jean-Claude Trichet in becoming the next president of the European Central Bank (ECB). It's a less-than-pressing issue for most Europeans, to say the least. As long as countries are considering selling off their airports to make ends meet, the obscure, technical art of monetary policy is likely to escape popular notice.But austerity and riots and bunga-bunga parties notwithstanding, Draghi's appointment may be more important than anything else that's likely to happen in Europe this year. Not that Draghi would give you any way of knowing. In typical fashion, Draghi not only failed to hold a news conference on Friday, he wasn't even in attendance in Brussels as the announcement of his appointment was made. Even when people try to praise him effusively, they end up underscoring this essential boringness. 'Mario was never uncombed; he was always tidy,' one former classmate from the rigorous Jesuit schools where Draghi was educated told Bloomberg. 'Mario has always been very serious.' As one German newspaper put it, the no-nonsense Draghi is the 'anti-Berlusconi,' the polar opposite of the spotlight-seeking Italian prime minister." (ForeignPolicy)


"On the eve of her presidential announcement, Michele Bachmann returned home to the city of her childhood on Sunday to reconnect with her Iowa roots, which she hopes to parlay into an advantage in her quest to win the Republican presidential nomination. 'I need you!' Ms. Bachmann said. 'I came here because it’s all about Iowa. You will be the ones who will determine who will lead this great nation in the future. That’s your choice.' A few hundred people gathered inside the Electric Park Ballroom on the grounds of the National Cattle Congress to welcome Ms. Bachmann, who is set to formally open her candidacy here on Monday morning. She lived in Waterloo until age 12, when her family moved to Minnesota. Ms. Bachmann introduced her Iowa family – many of whom, she confessed, are Democrats – and said that her connections in the state that opens the Republican presidential nominating contest early next year would elevate her above the field of candidates. She said her ascent would begin at the Iowa Straw Poll on Aug. 13. 'It’s a big deal,' Ms. Bachmann said, urging people in the audience to descend on Ames for the Republican event that serves as a test of a campaign’s organization that can make – or break – presidential aspirations." (NYTimes)


"The Real Estate section of Sunday’s New York Times ran an article about one of the few remaining private mansions on Fifth Avenue, Number 973, which has just been put up for sale. The asking price on the house, which was completed in 1907, is $49 million. It was acquired by its owner, the late Victor Shafferman, in the late 70s when New York real estate was at its nadir, for $600,000. Architecturally the two houses – 972 and 973 – appear to be almost a pair of limestone mansions. Although they were built by two different parties, they were, coincidentally under construction at the same time, between 1903 and 1906. At approximately the same time, just one block south on the northeast corner of 77th Street, Senator William Clark was constructing his massive mansion. (Clark’s last child Huguette died last month. See NYSD 6.23.11)" (NYSocialDiary)



"As the clock ticks down to August 2 — the date by which Congress must raise the national debt limit in order to keep borrowing money to fund the government — don’t be fooled into thinking this is another fight pitting Democrats against Republicans. This battle is Republican versus Republican. It features John Boehner (R-Ohio), the Speaker of the House on one side, and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) on the other. And right now Cantor is winning big. Cantor outflanked the Speaker last week when he quit Vice President Joe Biden’s bipartisan negotiations to raise the debt ceiling. Cantor, who had previously praised the Democrats in the talks for laying out $2 trillion in cuts over 10 years, decided he did not want the adult responsibility of agreeing to anything that far-right critics might view as a tax increase. So he took a walk on the negotiations without telling Boehner. Incredibly, Cantor first announced he was out of any dealmaking with a call to the Wall Street Journal. Now there is a new and profoundly rude way to announce a political divorce. The bottom line is that Cantor’s decision to abdicate any pretense of being a political leader set a trap for Boehner. The Speaker is now politically exposed to fire from every direction as he goes into the final phase of negotiations with President Obama and the Democrats." (Juan Williams)


"British heiress Jemima Khan has split with hot New York literary agent Luke Janklow, and she's already been linked to  'Restrepo' and 'The Tillman Story' producer John Battsek. Sources say that Janklow, dubbed 'the hottest straight man in book publishing,'  is 'devastated.' One said: "He is upset, but it has been in the cards for a while. Jemima just bought a country estate in England and hates flying, so he would always have to travel to the UK to see her.' Janklow's family is said to be bitterly disappointed, as they hoped he would eventually marry Khan, the beautiful daughter of billionaire Sir James Goldsmith and his wife, Lady Annabel. She once dated Hugh Grant. But Khan appears ready to go public with UK documentary filmmaker Battsek, who produced 1999's Oscar-winning 'One Day in September.' They were spotted together at a gala at Kensington Palace this month. Khan, an editor at The Independent, couldn't be reached. Janklow and Battsek didn't get back to us." (PageSix)


"The invitation to Thursday’s Day of Brotherhood at The Bowery Hotel promised honor, chivalry, and awards given to great men. Manly things! the invitation proclaimed. It delivered amply — taxidermy tigers, platters of lobster in butter sauce, bear-skin pelts, spit-roasted pig, bloody flank steak, floating waitresses offering Chivas neat and Chivas rocks, a fencing match, and the presence of Mr. Big. 'My charity isn’t gonna be happy with me standing next to a stuffed wolf, but they’ll get over it,' Chris Noth said. His charity is called the Rainforest Action Network. There was indeed a stuffed wolf, but also a stuffed fox, as well as a trio of unsmiling Russian woman wearing small tops and small top hats balancing a tray of whiskeys on their palms. The theme, it was explained, was the Scottish tradition of manliness.'Instead of wearing kilts you sit down with the skin of a bear,' Mr. Noth said. He noted that both kilts and pelts were equally manly. Somewhere amid all the carousing Paz de la Huerta walked up to the stage filled with dead animals, stuffed and skinned, and pulled in a crowd as she posed for pictures on an old leather couch." (Observer)

No comments: