Cannes film festival abuzz as dark tales shine

By Mike Collett-White
CANNES, France | Mon May 21, 2012 5:55pm EDT

(Reuters) - The Cannes film festival is buzzing this year with a string of hit movies in the official lineup, a procession of stars on the red carpet and plenty of eagerly awaited titles still to come.

The unseasonably cold, wet weather has done little to dampen spirits among the famously picky critics and journalists on the French Riviera to interview, photograph and film everyone from A-list celebrities to obscure auteur directors.

While the distractions for the 4,000-strong media presence seem endless amid stunts, parties and big movie deals, the backbone of the festival remains the main competition, this year comprising 22 movies with a strong U.S. presence.

But it is two European film makers, both previous winners of the coveted Palme d'Or for best picture, who have set the pace as Cannes hit its halfway point on Monday.

Austrian Michael Haneke, who won in 2009 with "The White Ribbon" and wowed audiences four years earlier with "Hidden", has done it again this year with "Love" ("Amour"), a somber, French-language drama about an elderly couple facing death.

While Cannes thrives on Hollywood hype and celebrity, it also has a reputation for showcasing serious, hard-hitting dramas made by respected directors for little money.

Once they wiped away the tears, critics gave Love a five-star reception for its unflinching portrayal of a woman's illness and death, and how she and her devoted husband cope with the final weeks.


Jonathan Romney of Screen International called it a "masterpiece" and many Cannes veterans have made it the movie to beat at this year's festival.

"Amour is surely now early favorite for the Palme d'Or," wrote Donald Clarke of the Irish Times. "If we were previously in any doubt, Haneke is confirmed as the premiere European director of his generation."

Its two stars, both in their 80s, have also basked in glory for moving portrayals of old age, the ravages of illness and facing one's mortality.

Romanian director Cristian Mungiu's "Beyond the Hills", another popular entry this year, is a disturbing tale based on a true story of a young woman staying at a remote monastery whose violent fits are interpreted as signs of the devil.

An exorcism is performed, but the well-meaning priest is in danger of doing more harm than good in Mungiu's examination of the clash between the religious and secular and between earthly and spiritual love.

His "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days" scooped the Palme d'Or in 2007, and an informal poll of critics published at the festival puts him neck-and-neck with Haneke at the head of the field.

French director Jacques Audiard's "Rust and Bone", starring Marion Cotillard as a Marineland worker who loses her legs in an accident, packed an emotional punch that resonated with many, though not all, viewers.

Danish child abuse drama "The Hunt", from Thomas Vinterberg and starring the impressive Mads Mikkelsen as a man wrongly accused and ostracized, is also seen as a contender.

Wes Anderson's opening comedy "Moonrise Kingdom" starring Bruce Willis, Bill Murray and two young stars, was an upbeat start to this year's festival, although it may be too light-hearted to win over the Cannes jury.

The violent prohibition-era movie "Lawless", featuring Shia LaBeouf, Tom Hardy and Jessica Chastain, fell slightly flat in the eyes of many critics.

Willis, Murray, Hardy, Chastain and Sean Penn have all walked the red carpet so far, and still expected in Cannes are Brad Pitt, Nicole Kidman, Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart and Kanye West.

(Editing by Mike Collett-White)

The Academy Officially Opens 'Oscars Outdoors' Venue

by Kimmy Ratican
Hollywood's open-air theater is now open for weekend screenings of classic and family-friendly films.

The Academy of Motion Pictures opened its new, outdoor, open-air theater in Hollywood on May 19 with a screening of Field of Dreams, starring Kevin Costner. The new facility is located in the heart of Hollywood at 1341 Vine Street, just north of the Academy's Pickford Center. The site now consists of a public-accessed park, where they Academy will hold a 10-week screening series throughout the summer, dubbed “Oscars Outdoors." Academy president Tom Sherak was on hand,  along with CEO Dawn Hudson, for the inaugural screening. “It took us almost two and a half years to all agree this was a good idea. Sometimes you have to wait for good things,” Sherak told THR.  “We hope Academy members will come, but it was built for the community, it was built for the City of L.A., and it was built for tourists around the world.”

The modern park includes picnic benches and state-of-the-art screen and sound system. Classic PG-13 films will be shown on Friday nights, while family-oriented affair (think Goonies) will be screened on Saturday nights. Both evenings will be catered by Los Angeles’ food trucks, and popcorn will be served at what Sherak calls, “reasonable prices.” Admission, ranging from $3-$5, will also be reasonable, with Sherak saying  that he does not intend to compete with the neighboring ArcLight Theatre.  “This is our commitment to Hollywood,” he said to the crowd gathered on the lawn at the ribbon cutting ceremony.

L.A. City Councilman, Eric Garcetti, was also on hand for the ceremony and admitted to THR that he is very much looking forward to the Sound of Music Sing-a-long.  On a more serious note, he was very supportive of placing more parks in the city’s most densely populated district.  The 2013 Los Angeles Mayoral candidate envisions the same fate for Oscars Outdoors as the newly-made hipster hangout, Hollywood Forever Cemetery. “We don’t have enough spaces where we can all come together in the city," he said. "That’s why we helped them assemble the land and support them in this.”

Echoing Garcetti, Field of Dreams writer and Academy board member Phil Alden Robinson exclaimed, “L.A. has less outdoor spaces than New York City!” and actress Alfre Woodard shared his sentiment. "When we pulled around that corner on our way into this new venue, we really were acting out Field of Dreams. We were like,  ‘Oh my god, look, there’s a park! There’s a screen! We’re outdoors! In L.A.,’” she said. 

As the sun set, and Sherak personally handed out popcorn to nearly every attendee (who were stuffed from a Wolfgang Puck dinner of fried chicken and corn salad). The film then started, and the voice of James Earl Jones filled the open air. Indisputable movie magic.

'Avengers' Torpedoes 'Battleship' at the box office!

SUNDAY AM, 7TH UPDATE: These official Friday, Saturday, and weekend numbers for North America are way worse than anyone expected. Every film tanked except Marvel’s The Avengers which keeps sucking
all the air out of the box office for the 3rd straight weekend. Demonstrating just how disastrous the new movies opened, audiences gave Universal’s Battleship only a ‘B’ CinemaScore, Lionsgate’s What To Expect When You’re Expecting a ‘B-’, and Paramount’s The Dictator a ‘C’. And yet none of the affected studio moguls expect to lose their jobs. At Universal, Peter Berg’s military vs aliens actioner did only John Carter-low grosses for high cost (which is why the star of both pics, Taylor Kitsch, will be asking “You want fries with that?” very shortly). But Battleship already made $230M internationally, thus mitigating its $209+ budget and advance bad buzz in North America. At Paramount, Sacha Baron Cohen’s Middle East spoof also is showing modest strength overseas to mitigate its much smaller $65M-$70M cost. And at Lionsgate, a financial partner put its production exposure under $30M which was cut almost in half by international presales for the high-profile cast including J-Lo and Cameron Diaz. ”Our risk on the film is therefore very low,” the studio boasted to me. Which just goes to show that creating crap rejected by domestic audiences comes with few consequences for those in charge — unless you’re at Disney where John Carter made one head roll. Meanwhile, Marvel’s The Avengers will become the highest grossing domestic release in Disney’s history. Joss Whedon’s superhero assembly is already the studio’s highest grossing film of all time globally, and will pass the $450M mark this weekend. It is currently the #6 film of all time globally, the #10 film of all time domestically, and the #9 film of all time internationally (not adjusted for higher ticket prices, premium 3D sales, or inflation). The latest foreign gross is $682.6M and domestic $460M for a global cume of $1.142.6M. Overall moviegoing this weekend is looking like $140M, which is -12% from last year.

Here’s the Top Ten (ranked by Friday grosses):
1. Marvel’s The Avengers (Disney) Week 3 [4,349 Runs] PG13
Friday $15.3M, Saturday $24M, Weekend $55.0M, Cume $450.0M
2. Battleship (Universal) NEW [3,690 Runs] PG13
Friday $9.0M, Saturday $10.0M, Weekend $25.3M
3. The Dictator (Paramount) NEW-Wed [3,008 Runs] R
Friday $5.7M, Saturda $6.7M, Weekend $17.0M, Cume $24.0M
4. Dark Shadows (Warner Bros) Week 2 [3,755 Runs] PG13
Friday $3.7M, Saturday $5.1M, Weekend $12.5M (-58%), Cume $50.7M
5. What To Expect When You’re Expecting (Lionsg) NEW [3,021 Runs] PG13
Friday $3.8M, Saturday $4.1M, Weekend $10.3M
6. Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (Fox Searchlight) Week 3 [354 Runs] PG13
Friday $872K, Saturday $1.4M, Weekend $3.5M, Cume $8.5M
7. The Hunger Games (Lionsgate) Week 9 [2,064 Runs]
Friday $820K, Saturday $1.3M, Weekend $2.8M, Cume $391.4M
8. Think Like A Man (Screen Gems/Sony) Week 5 [1,722 Runs] PG13
Friday $800K, Saturday $1.2M, Weekend $2.7M, Cume $85.9M
9. The Lucky One (Warner Bros) Week 5 [2,055 Runs] PG13
Friday $585K, Saturday $750K, Weekend $1.7M, Cume $56.9M
10. Pirates! Band Of Misfits (Aardman/Sony) Week 4 [1,840 Runs] PG
Friday $340K, Saturday $700K, Weekend $1.6M, Cume $25.5M

FRIDAY 6:15 PM, 3RD UPDATE: Paramount claims that The Dictator will finish the domestic weekend with $15M and Lionsgate’s What To Expect When You’re Expecting with $12M. That’s still incredibly disappointing for both films. But at least Sacha Baron Cohen’s Middle East spoof is showing modest strength overseas: the international cume for Wednesday and Thursday is $10.1M from 17 territories. ”We are either a confirmed or projected #1 in all territories, with the exception of Denmark,” the studio emails me. Paramount is projecting a $30M hail from 29 territories this weekend for a global cume of $45M. And the pic cost between $65M and $70M depending on whom I believe.

FRIDAY 4:30 PM, 2ND UPDATE: My sources don’t see any dramatic upticks in early numbers – yet. What a disaster at the North American box office this early summer weekend with everything from today and a week ago tanking except for Marvel’s The Avengers which should make another $55M. Universal’s Battleship is stuck at $9M-$11M today and $30M (which is around the same meager amount where Warner Bros’ Dark Shadows debuted last weekend and is on life support now). Paramount’s The Dictator which opened weakly Wednesday is completely falling apart even for an ‘R’ rated movie with just $12M. And Lionsgate’s What To Expect When You’re Expecting is beating it with $15M. Hollywood is in a very dark mood today — and I’m finding that the movie moguls are not appreciating my humor when I ask, “Are your bags packed?”

FRIDAY 7:45 AM: Universal’s Battleship is “certain to be soft,” according to my studio sources. ‘There’s no indication it’s going to break out and do huge numbers.” It opened with only $420K midnights from 1,074 theaters: that’s weaker than Warner Bros’ underperforming Dark Shadows last weekend and even Disney’s notorious 2012 bomb John Carter. Universal cautions that “both of those films have a bigger ‘geek base’” whereas the strength of Peter Berg’s military vs aliens actioner is “that it’s the anti-geek, anti-midnight movie of all time”. What does this mean? That the studio is hoping the patriotic pic does well in flyover country. It already has made $220M internationally, thus mitigating its $209+ budget and advance bad buzz in North America where Marvel’s mega-juggernaut The Avengers from Disney is still sucking all the air out of the box office. Meanwhile, Paramount’s The Dictator from Sacha Baron Cohen continues not to rule box office: it made only $2.8M Thursday after opening weak on Wednesday for a 2-day total of $7M. Now Baron Cohen’s Middle East spoof may not even be the #1 comedy in the marketplace this weekend: the latest news is that Lionsgate says it’s What To Expect When You’re Expecting romantic comedy which wasn’t tracking suddenly ticked up Thursday. “We got a nice bump which could put us ahead of The Dictator for the three-day weekend and hopefully put our weekend into the high teens,” an exec tells me. ”Our P&A spend and production costs are even less than The Dictator – and our cast made it to the Oscars without offending AMPAS. Ha.”

Disney's Musical 'Newsies' Run is Now Open-Ended

With strong ticket sales, eight Tony Award nominations and good reviews and word of mouth among theater-goers, the new Disney musical “Newsies” will plunge ahead with an open-ended run on Broadway rather than close Aug. 19 as previously announced, the producers of the show said on Wednesday.
The August closing date had been something of a spurious notion ever since “Newsies” – about a group of New York City newspaper hawkers on strike against a media baron at the turn of the 20th century – started setting box-office records in April at the Nederlander Theater. Yet Disney Theatrical Productions has tried to manage expectations about the musical from the get-go since it was not developed to be a big Broadway show. It was intended to be a licensable title for regional theaters and schools until several critics raved about its debut last fall at Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, N.J.; that production transferred largely intact to Broadway.
Since performances began about nine weeks ago the $5 million production has grossed about $7.9 million – one of the best financial track records of any show that opened this season. Starting Monday single tickets will be on sale through Nov. 18 and group sales will be made through Jan. 6 – the sort of parameters for open-ended runs for many Broadway musicals. The current cast is scheduled to stay with the production.
The show received Tony nominations this month for best musical, score (music by the Academy Award winner Alan Menken and lyrics by Jack Feldman), book (by the Tony winner Harvey Fierstein), and lead actor (Jeremy Jordan as the scrappy newsboy Jack Kelly, who leads the strike), among other categories. The announcement comes as many of the 851 Tony voters are seeing “Newsies” and other nominated shows to prepare their ballots before the June 10 awards ceremony.

'Avengers' Soars past $1 Billion Globally!


LOS ANGELES -- "The Avengers" knocked out its competition and joined an elite box office group -- the $1 billion club.

The superhero smorgasbord featuring Captain America, Iron Man, Thor and The Hulk raked in a whopping $103. million in it's second week of release in the United States, raising its domestic tally to $373.2 million.

Add international ticket sales since opening April 25 -- over 50 countries including Russia, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Malaysia, New Zealand and the Philippines -- and " The Avengers" has already amassed $628.9 million.

Combined, the film has now made over $1 billion in just 19 days in worldwide release.

While "The Avengers" was predicted to be a hit, the performance outpaced expectations. Box Office Mojo, for instance, had projected the film would pull in $172.5 million on its opening weekend.

Its ultimate domestic haul is well ahead of the $168 million "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2" conjured up in its opening weekend domestically in July.

The stateside fun for Disney and the comic book-inspired cast began on May 4 when the movie took in $80.5 million in its opening day, a figure that the studio described as the second-highest one-day domestic total. Second day receipts added up to $69.7 million, which Disney said was a record for a Saturday.

Its success is another boon for the movie industry, which racked up about $2.3 billion at the U.S. box office for the first three months of 2012 -- up almost 46% from a year earlier, according to Box Office Mojo. Still, in some ways Hollywood had nowhere to go but up after posting its worst year for ticket sales in 2011 in 16 years.

"It's already started out to be a strong year," James Gross, analyst with Buckingham Research, said of 2012.

Before "The Avengers" burst on the scene, "The Hunger Games" from Lionsgate had been this year's box-office champ, taking in an estimated $155 million domestically in its first weekend.

Other might-be blockbusters on the horizon include "Men in Black III" hitting theaters Memorial Day weekend, and "Brave," the latest animated feature from Pixar due in June. And two other comic-inspired vehicles, "The Amazing Spider-Man" and "The Dark Knight Rises," are also on the summer movie calendar.

The success of "The Avengers" comes on the heels of Disney's epic flop "John Carter," which lost an estimated $200 million and cost the head of the company's studio unit his job.

"This is happening at the right time for them to erase that ugly memory," said Box Office Mojo analyst Reagen Sulewski.

Disney gained the rights to the characters from "The Avengers" with its $4 billion purchase of comic book publisher Marvel three years ago. 

American Women Media Launches in Time For Mother's Day

Startup, multimedia company American Women Media, LLC (AWM), co-founded and run by media veterans Tamara Colbert and Deborah Flora, today unveiled its website, which coincides with the official launch of the company.

Created as a principled, non-partisan platform for the voices of American women, AWM is dedicated to providing a forum through which women can elevate the dialogue about real issues and real solutions and encourage one another to make a difference for themselves, their families, communities and country by championing their positive values and classic ideals.

Said Colbert, "There is a huge void in today's media market for a majority of American women who do not want to be defined or dismissed by polarizing labels. Our goal is to unite, invigorate and equip American women with the tools they need to make a difference, and to let them know that their voices matter and there is a place for them to be heard."

Added Flora, "Today's American woman is energized and galvanized as never before, and yet she is underserved by the offerings of television, radio and online, where content is either purely political or solely social. AWM invites women to the conversation, informing them with truth and the facts in order to help enrich their lives, inspire and ignite them to action."

The foundational platform for AWM is its online presence
where women can gather and share information that impacts the future for all facets of their lives. Specifically, AWM's website includes pages related to health, career, family, inspiration, hot topics and blogs by both the co-founders and guest bloggers. Critical to the site is the 'Your Voice' section that gives women the opportunity to submit ideas, personal stories, ask questions, start a dialogue and connect with other American women. The 'Your Voice' section also contains a unique values survey to capture a true reflection of today's American woman and what matters to her most.


Tamara Colbert has more than 18 years in public relations and 7 years of production experience, including a Master's degree in Business Management from the University of Redlands. Tamara's corporate work specialized in consulting with Fortune 500, Internet start-ups and non-profit companies, including Hewlett-Packard, Cisco, NASA, European Space Agency and the Ronald McDonald House among others. One of the unique aspects of Tamara's experience is that she's worked in 70 countries around the world as a public relations executive, freelance news and documentary producer. This international experience has provided her with a wider, global perspective in business, news, political and community relations.

Deborah Flora is a Summa Cum Laude graduate from SMU who has over 20 years of experience in the entertainment and broadcast industries as an award-winning actress, host and producer. Most recently, she produced the award- winning full-length documentary, "Lt. Dan Band: For The Common Good" featuring Academy Award® Nominee Gary Sinise, and Academy Award® winners Jon Voight and Robert Duvall. She has worked in Development for production companies that have won Emmy® and Golden Globe Awards®. Deborah also has extensive hosting experience in multiple broadcast formats on both network and cable shows, and as an actress appeared in numerous films, television shows, and theatre productions. As a President's Scholar, she attended Salzburg College while studying music privately at the Mozarteum Conservatory, and as Miss Colorado and 2nd Runner-Up to Miss America, Deborah spoke and performed extensively around the world.

For more information visit:

Bruce Willis & Emma Heming Introduce Baby Mabel

Meet Bruce Willis and Emma Heming’s new baby!
“A beautiful day in Budapest with the loves of my life. Daddy and Mabel cracking each other up,” Emma Tweeted, sharing a photo of Bruce, 57, with their newborn daughter.
The new parents have been married for three years.
Bruce has three daughters — Rumer, 23; Scout, 20; and Tallulah, 18 — with ex-wife Demi Moore.

10 Greatest Movies of All Time According to The Internet

by Germain Lussier 
We’re reached a point in the evolution of film criticism where a shift is occurring. Critics who’ve been in the game for decades and decades are slowly beginning to give way to a younger, more vocal audience, many of whom are online. The beautiful thing about that is, though they all share a love of cinema, everyone has their own opinions of how and why we got there. And the best way to show that is with a top ten list.

The online contingent prides themselves upon being the new guard and, to that end, our friends at Film School Rejects polled 37 online critics and four young filmmakers for their lists of the ten greatest films of all time. They then gave those lists a point value and came up with a top ten that’s simultaneously familiar and controversial as it certainly caters to a younger demographic. Check it out and leave your thoughts below.

Here’s the list from Film School Rejects. We’ll discuss its inception and much more below. The number to the right is how many points each got.

    Citizen Kane (73 points)
    Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (61)
    The Godfather (57)
    Raiders of the Lost Ark (53)
    Casablanca (48)
    8 1/2 (44)
    Back to the Future (44)
    2001: A Space Odyssey (43)
    Bicycle Thieves (41)
    Vertigo (40)

Before we jump into any specifics, if you head to FSR there’s a detailed description of how the term “greatest” was purposely left vague in order for each critic to give a more personal list, notes on the point system, as well as a full list of each person polled, their individual top tens and the descriptions behind it. Those are on a separate page, which you can see here.

As for the list itself, a few things stand out immediately. Only two films aren’t from the United States: 8 1/2 and Bicycle Thieves, two inarguably influential and amazing films. That shows a devotion to domestic fare. Then there are several movies on the list – Citizen Kane, Godfather, Vertigo, Casablanca – which are deservedly predictable choices that show up on many similar lists for a reason. (Whether that reason is that they belong, or that they have been established as list essentials is open to argument.)

But the real meat is in the other four films: The Empire Strikes Back, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Back to the Future and 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Kubrick’s film kind of tows the line between obvious and not-so-much, so we’ll call it a wash. Empire, Raiders and Back to the Future, however, show a clear, generational, almost obvious love of the new blockbuster era of cinema. It’s something many older filmgoers enjoy, but don’t feel holds much weight. It also questions the meaning of “greatest.” Does it mean “personal favorite,”  ”technically competent,” “most influential” or something more? I love those three films more than almost every other movie of all time, but does that mean they’re the “greatest?” It depends.

Personally, I think the term “greatest” is different from “best.” If this list was of the “ten best” those three films probably couldn’t be on there. But, for a generation who grew up on those films, calling them the “greatest” is different from “best.” “Greatest” implies a personal adoration. Maybe you disagree.

Over in the Film School Rejects article, too, they also give the next 12 runner ups and that’s a whole different can of worms: Aliens and Fight Club are listed with Lawrence of Arabia and The Passion of Joan of Arc, among others. Let the battles begin.

So, now it’s your turn. What do you think of this list? Do you think its validity is equally as important as the one its based on, the Sight and Sound Top Ten? Do you find yourself agreeing these films are the greatest ever, or just your favorites?

Oprah's OWN: Losses approach $330m, industry insiders predict it will be axed by end of year

By Rachel Quigley
The losses at Oprah Winfrey’s troubled cable channel are approaching a staggering $330 million, according to a report over the weekend.

Industry insiders believe the channel - the Oprah Winfrey network (OWN) - will not last another year unless they come up with a hit show and make a dramatic turnaround.

Though ratings have seen a slight insurgence thanks to interview program Oprah's Next Chapter, it has stumbled since the get go with ratings of just 308,000 daily.

It is believed shows which do not feature the chat show queen herself are not popular with viewers.

Discovery, which partnered with Winfrey to launch the network and has been underwriting its costs, has invested nearly $600 million in it since 2008, according to an extensive report in Businessweek magazine.

Axed: Rosie O'Donnell and Oprah allegedly fell out when her shows was axed after just six months

Since it started on the air in January 2011, it may have lost as much as $330million, according to the magazine.

David Zaslav, the chief executive officer of Discovery Communications who talked Oprah into the idea of OWN, is famously impatient with money-losing operations within his company and insiders say he will not put up with the aiing network's losses for much longer.

Winfrey appeared before advertisers two weeks ago to ask for more time, telling them: 'I am in the climb of my life. I am climbing Kilimanjaro.'

Although she doesn't risk losing a lot of money from the channel's failings, Oprah's reputation is at stake.

Over her 39-year career, The Oprah Winfrey Show had as many as 12.5 million viewers. O, The Oprah Magazine had more than two million subscribers. And her Internet site,, draws more than three million unique visitors a month.

Her image as the most successful TV star of her generation is on the line.

E-mails to OWN and Oprah’s production company, Harpo, were not returned yesterday.

In March i was announced that Rosie O' Donnell's talk show The Rosie Show had been axed by the network after only six months.

It debuted with 500,000 viewers but within days fell to half of that.


    Warren Buffett shows he's winning cancer battle as 81-year-old billionaire enjoys sing-a-long with stunning cheerleaders ahead of key company meeting
    Maybe you should talk about it... Billionaire Oprah Winfrey steps out looking rough around the edges

The TV stars both released statements, with Rosie saying she 'wished the show was able to attract more viewers.'
OPRAH WINFREY'S FAILURES attracted 5.1million unique users in January 2011 when her daytime chat show was still being aired. But by July it was half that number at 2.4million, according to figures from comScore.
    At the end of last year, O Magazine's circulation was 2.4million, but it has steadily fallen since then and is expected to be around 1.9million by the summer.
    OWN premiered on January 1, 2011, to an average of 505,000 viewers. One month later ratings plummeted to an average of just 135,000 with only 30 per cent of those viewers in the targeted demographic of women ages 25 to 54.
    The Rosie Show debuted on OWN with 497,000 viewers.Within a week the ratings plummeted to 200,000 per episode.

She added in a statement: 'I loved working with Oprah in the amazing city of Chicago. I was welcomed with open arms and will never forget the kindness of all I encountered.'

In a statement, Oprah Winfrey said: 'I thank Rosie from the bottom of my heart for joining me on this journey. She has been an incredible partner, working to deliver the best possible show every single day.

'As I have learned in the last 15 months, a new network launch is always a challenge and ratings grow over time as you continue to gather an audience.'

However, just a week after they released these statements, it was reported the pair were not even on speaking terms because Rosie was unhappy with the way the press release was worded announcing her show was being unceremoniously dumped.

In February, the media mogul came under fire after she made a controversial bid to resuscitate ratings on Twitter.

Competing for viewers on the same night as this year's Grammy Awards, she took to the micro-blogging site to ask her 9.2million followers: 'Every 1 who can please turn to OWN especially if u have a Nielsen box.
Ratings fail: The Rosie Show started off with 500,000 viewers but within days this had dropped by 50 per cent

The tweet was deleted, Ms Winfrey said, 'at the request of Nielsen', which prohibits clients from attempting to influence ratings.

A backlash of comments followed, with several Twitter users accusing the mogul of 'being desperate'.

'The Avengers" Now Biggest Opener!

 By NIKKI FINKE | Sunday May 6, 2012
It’s now official — Marvel’s The Avengers is a monster worldwide hit for Disney in 2D, Digital 3D, RealD, and IMAX 3D theaters. The studio says 52% saw it in 3D, 40% in traditional 3D, 8% in IMAX, and 4% on premium large format. Exit polls showed the actioner attracted a four-quadrant audience with 50% over age 25 and 50% under 25, while 60% were male and 40% female. Also 55% were couples, 24% families, and 21% teens. Hollywood couldn’t be happier because it kicks off the all-important Summer 2012 movie season with sensational numbers. Avengers lived up to its billing as the ‘Superhero Team-Up Of A Lifetime’ by featuring all-in-one pic the iconic Marvel figures Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Hawkeye, Black Widow, and Nick Fury. Disney says it’s looking Avengers Box Office Predictionsat a record $69.7M grosses for Saturday after making $80.5M Friday (including $18.7M midnights) from 4,349 U.S. and Canadian locations, including 3,364 plays in 3D. Studio confirms it’s on track to shatter the domestic weekend opening record with $200.3M. (Warner Bros’ 3D Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2 finale used to hold that record with $169M.) I believe Disney is being overly conservative and the final figure will exceed that since Avengers should make over $50M on Sunday. (And I thought SNL Kagan’s reportpredicting that $200M domestic debut before the weekend was nuts. Not now…) Disney reports international gross is now $441.5M.

The worldwide total is already $641.8M after playing almost everywhere around the globe for the past 12 days including Friday in Russia ($17.9M) and Saturday in China ($17.4M). Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye) went to the Beijing Film Festival to help open the film Saturday. One more thing to keep in mind: Avengers accumulated a massive foreign number without opening yet in the major market of Japan. Globally, IMAX Avengers grossed $21.1+M this weekend and the global IMAX cume will be approx $31.2M as of Sunday night. IMAX Avengers brought in $6.1 mil internationally (which includes an amazing first day gross in China of $1.1M) on 174 digital-only locations. In North America IMAX had one big issue: it ran out of seats to sell. Avengers grossed $15+M domestically on 275 digital-only IMAX screens, which looks to be a virtual tie with the Harry Potter finale for the highest grossing opening weekend in IMAX’s history. It reports 17 of the top 20 engagements in North America playing the film were IMAX runs, and 110 domestic IMAX locations established a new opening Saturday record.

 The global pressure was on because Avengers is the first Marvel Studios film from The Walt Disney Studios which took over marketing and distribution duties from Paramount. Disney CEO/President Bob Iger bought the comics entertainment company for $4 billion in 2009. Paramount still gets marquee credit and a portion of the fees. (I’m told that when Disney bought the distribution of Avengers and Iron Man 3, Paramount was paid a minimum of $115M. It gets the higher of the $115M or the combination of its 8% fee on Avengers, plus 9% on next years Iron Man 3. “Looks like there will be overages!” a Paramount exec told me excitedly Sunday. Paramount also kept the pay rights as part of the deal so Avengers will debut on Epix.) Why did this superhero actioner do so well at the box office? As one of my commenters succinctly summarizes: “Note to Hollywood: This is what happens when you let comic fans do comic book movies. Joss Whedon knocked it out of the park. The right mix of humor without camp, special effects without overusage, and action with good script. Having actors who like and/or know the characters doesn’t hurt either. Props to the casting folks.” More details below.

No other major pic dared go up against this juggernaut. Holdovers only total $45M this weekend which is looking like $230M – or +38% over last year. Here’s the Top 10 (based on weekend estimates):

1. Marvel’s The Avengers (Disney) NEW [4,349 Theaters] PG13
Friday $80.5M, Saturday $69.7M, Weekend $200M, Global $640M

2. Think Like A Man (Screen Gems/Sony) Week 3 [2,010 Theaters] PG13
Friday $2.6M, Saturday $3.3M, Weekend $8.0M, Cume $73.0M

3. The Hunger Games (Lionsgate) Week 7 [2,794 Theaters] PG13
Friday $1.6M, Saturday $2.6M, Weekend $5.7M, Cume $380.7M

4. Pirates! Band of Misfits 3D (Aardman/Sony) Week 2 [3,358 Theaters] PG
Friday $1.3M, Saturday $2.4M, Weekend $5.4M (-51%), Cume $18.3M

5. The Lucky One (Warner Bros) Week 3 [3,005 Theaters] PG13
Friday $1.9M, Saturday $2.3M, Weekend $5.4M, Cume $47.8M

6. The Five-Year Engagement (Universal) Week 2 [2,941 Theaters] R
Friday $1.7M, Saturday $2.2M, Weekend $5.2M, Cume $19.3M

7. The Raven (Relativity) Week 2 [2,209 Theaters] R
Friday $844K (-62%), Saturday $1.1M, Weekend $2.6M, Cume $12.1M

8. Safe (Lionsgate) Week 2 [2,271 Theaters] R
Friday $825K (-66%), Saturday $1.0M, Weekend $2.5M, Cume $12.9M

9. Chimpanzee (Disneynature) Week 3 [1,531 Theaters] PG
Friday $707K, Saturday $975K, Weekend $2.3M, Cume $22.9M

10. The Three Stooges (Fox) Week 4 [2,174 Theaters] PG
Friday $480K, Saturday $850K, Weekend $1.8M, Cume $39.6M

Geooroge Lindsey, Andy Griffith Costar, Dies

By Stephen M. Silverman
George Lindsey, best remembered for his role of Goober Pyle – cousin of Gomer Pyle – on CBS's rural sitcom The Andy Griffith Show, died Sunday morning in Nashville, where he lived, after a lengthy hospitalization, reports The Tennessean. He was 83.

Andy Griffith, 85, said in a statement that accompanied the Lindsay family's announcement of the death, "George Lindsey was my friend. I had great respect for his talent and his human spirit."

Griffith also said the two often spoke by phone. "Our last conversation was a few days ago. We would talk about our health, how much we missed our friends who passed before us and usually about something funny. I am happy to say that as we found ourselves in our 80s, we were not afraid to say, 'I love you.' That was the last thing George and I had to say to each other. 'I love you.' "

 An Alabama native who was raised by his grandparents, Lindsey got the acting bug at 14 when he saw a performance of the musical Oklahoma!. He was a school athlete who also displayed a sharp sense of humor, and he went to college to become a teacher, according to the Tennessean.

While in the Air Force stationed in Orlando, Fla., he met and, in 1955, married Joyanne Herbert, and they had two children. The marriage lasted until 1991.

Before his long TV career, which also included another comic stint on CBS's Hee Haw, Lindsey studied acting in New York and played in stage productions there.

His survivors, the newspaper reports, include son George Lindsey, Jr., daughter Camden Jo Lindsey Gardner, two grandsons and his companion of many years, Anne Wilson.

NBC Will Stream The London Olympics Live, Only To Subscribers

by Bill Chappell 
 Many track fans watched online four years ago, as sprinter Usain Bolt set a world record at the Beijing Olympics. This year, NBC will stream video of all 302 events online. And Bolt, seen here showing his appreciation for video in 2010, will try to repeat his feat.

Many track fans watched online four years ago, as sprinter Usain Bolt set a world record at the Beijing Olympics. This year, NBC will stream video of all 302 events online. And Bolt, seen here showing his appreciation for video in 2010, will try to repeat his feat.

For decades, Olympics fans have loathed two words: "tape" and "delay." But this summer, things will be different: For the first time, NBC will stream live video of the London Games, online and via mobile.

If you think that decision is overdue, you're not alone. Sports Business Daily media reporter John Ourand says he is shocked it has taken this long for the network to put live video of all Olympic events online.

"I'm surprised it didn't happen four years ago, or even eight years ago," Ourand tells Morning Edition co-host Steve Inskeep.

"People are watching video online," he says. "And people also are rejecting tape-delayed broadcasts — which is what NBC had done" in previous years.

For the 2012 London Games, NBC plans to stream video of all 302 Olympic events, allowing online viewers to choose what they want to watch. Fans will have options for watching broad highlights, or following one discipline's events.

The network will also release apps to allow live video and other features on tablets and smartphones. It's a far cry from the years the network spent cloistering the most popular events into a prime-time package that aired hours later.

But that doesn't mean NBC will be giving open access to just anyone who wants to watch the Olympics online. To get full access, you must be a cable or satellite subscriber. And you'll need a user ID and password from your TV provider to log in, according to a guide posted last week on NBC's video site.

That could be bad news for anyone who's gone "off the grid" by rejecting cable and satellite subscriber plans, who may be forced to find other options to watch favorite events live. And the network still plans to save most of its interviews and features for prime time.

Ourand says that for NBC, the lure of advertising revenue is only one reason to try to control access to its online Olympic content. He points to the network's widely available cable channels — USA, CNBC and MSNBC.

"One of the reasons that they're widely distributed is because they carry that Olympic programming," he says. "And cable operators didn't want to do without that programming."

As Ourand tells Inskeep, "TV is still driving the bus here. There's a cliche in the media business: 'Digital dimes for TV dollars.' And that's still in effect here."

Even so, Ourand says that NBC's online coverage, which will be hosted at the network's newly relaunched Olympics site, signals a new approach at the network — and in the sports media.

"What ESPN and other networks have found is that, when you broadcast things live online, it doesn't erode the broadcast at all," he says. "In fact, it draws a lot of people to want to see it on their hi-def TVs in their living rooms."

Ourand says that NBC received a vivid demonstration of how hard it is to keep sports fans from watching an event live online during the 2008 Beijing Olympics, when sprinter Usain Bolt turned in an electrifying world-record performance in the 100-meter dash.

"People watched it online, via foreign websites, via pirated websites — and NBC didn't get any of that," says Ourand, who recalls watching the race on the BBC's website.

Despite that burst of online interest during the event, the network's programming didn't suffer. Ourand says that "the rating for Usain Bolt for NBC on prime time was still very good" — something he attributes to buzz about Bolt's record, as well as fans' desire to watch the race on large high-definition televisions, even if they'd seen it earlier on a computer.

The Bolt race seems to have been a big moment for NBC, which had previously been unwilling to put many high-profile events online as they happened.

"They were so worried," Ourand says. "They wanted to protect their TV rights, and they wanted to protect advertisers who were advertising on TV, and they didn't want to dilute the viewers."

Another thing that'll be different about this year's Olympics is the timing of the men's 100-meter sprint final. If Bolt repeats his gold-medal performance of four years ago, he would do so on Aug. 5, a Sunday. That means that here in the U.S., the race would start around 4:50 p.m. EDT.