Thursday Reading: 'Wolverine' piracy, Hulu, Star Salaries, ShoWest, and More
Eric Garland, the chief executive of the file-sharing monitoring firm BigChampagne, called the widespread downloading of “Wolverine” a “one-of-a-kind case.” “We’ve never seen a high-profile film — a film of this budget, a tentpole movie with this box office potential — leak in any form this early,” he said.
The studio, a unit of the News Corporation, spent the day demanding that copies of the film be removed from the largely anonymous swath of Web sites that swap movie files. But the copies propagated at such a swift rate that the digital cops could not keep up. BigChampagne estimated the digital film copy had been downloaded in the low hundreds of thousands of times in its first 24 hours on the Internet.
The studio said the F.B.I. and the Motion Picture Association of America were both investigating the film’s premature distribution.
- Interesting piece in BusinessWeek about Hulu's success at attracting viewers... but its problems selling advertising.
- In the recession, Hollywood studios are changing the way they pay big stars, according to The Wall Street Journal. Lauren Schuker writes:
For years, top movie stars often landed deals paying them a percentage -- sometimes as much as 20% -- of a studio's take of box-office revenues from the first dollar the movie makes, even if it turned out to be a flop that cost the studio millions. As a result, the biggest celebrities broke the $20 million mark. Eddie Murphy got that kind of payday for the flop "Meet Dave," which cost Twentieth Century Fox about $70 million and took in only $11.8 million at the domestic box office.
These "first-dollar gross" deals are hitting the cutting-room floor as studios slash the number of movies they're making. For two new projects, Viacom Inc.'s Paramount Pictures has done away with such deals, even though it has landed top talent. In "Dinner for Schmucks," with Steve Carell, and "Morning Glory," starring Harrison Ford, the actors accepted "back-end" deals, in which they get a portion of the gross, but only after the studio and its financing partners have recouped their costs. The studio also cut a back-end deal with "Dinner" director Jay Roach.
- The NY Times reports that the annual ShoWest convention in Vegas, where studios present their forthcoming product to theater-owners, is smaller and lower-key than usual this year.
Variety has its ShoWest coverage here.