Monthly Archives: January 2011
On Friday evening, MSNBC “Countdown” host Keith Olbermann abruptly announced the prime-time broadcast would be his last, ending a four-year contract extension he signed in 2008 early.
“I was supposed to fill in for the late Jerry Nachman for exactly three days. Forty-nine days later there was a four-year contract for me to return to this nightly 8 PM time slot which I had fled four years earlier,” Olbermann said Friday. “The program grew thanks entirely to your support with great rewards for me and I hope for you,” he told viewers.
“There were many occasions particularly in the last two and a half years where all that surrounded the show — but never the show itself — was just too much for me. But your support and loyalty and if I may use the word insistence ultimately required that I keep going.”
The network issued a brief statement Friday that it had ended its contract with the controversial host, offering no further explanation.
“MSNBC and Keith Olbermann have ended their contract. The last broadcast of ‘Countdown with Keith Olbermann’ will be this evening. MSNBC thanks Keith for his integral role in MSNBC’s success and we wish him well in his future endeavors,” the statement said.
NBC spokesman Jeremy Gaines insisted that the newly approved acquisition of NBC Universal by Comcast had nothing to do with Olbermann’s exit.
Olbermann‘s program has boasted the network’s highest ratings, but his controversial — and often combative — liberal opinions made him a target for critics. In the past, he and network executives have clashed, including a two-day suspension last fall after it was revealed he broke corporate ethics policies banning political donations.
I simply cannot imagine a day when I didn’t watch Countdown. I was with you from the beginning and will continue to support you in future endeavors no matter where you are.
One of your biggest fans, Moe
“No Strings Attached,” the sole new movie to open nationwide this weekend, found the audience it was looking for at the box office.
The Ashton Kutcher-Natalie Portman romantic comedy opened to a solid $20.3 million, according to studio estimates, making it the most popular film in the country on a slow moviegoing weekend.
It was a good start given that the R-rated movie cost distributor Paramount Pictures and its partner Spyglass Entertainment and Cold Spring Pictures only about $25 million to make.
As expected, given its stars and subject matter — the picture is about about a young couple attempting to have a physical relationship without an emotional one — the audience was overwhelmingly female. Responses were mixed by age, as those younger than 25 gave the movie an A-, and those over 25 gave it a B, according to market-research firm CinemaScore.
Last weekend’s two new movies both saw typical drops, indicating that word-of-mouth is neither good enough to make the surprise hits nor bad enough to make them sink quickly. Receipts for the Seth Rogen action-comedy “The Green Hornet” declined 46% to $18.1 million, bringing its box-office total to a pretty good $63.4 million. The Kevin James-Vince Vaughn adult comedy “The Dilemma” dropped 45% to $9.7 million for a soft but not terrible $33.4-million total.
“The King’s Speech” demonstrated that it continued to be the hot indie drama of the moment as ticket sales didn’t decline at all from the previous weekend, remaining at $9.2 million, a sign of extraordinary word-of-mouth. Even accounting for the 137 new theaters the Weinstein Co. added to the run of the historical drama, ticket sales at existing locations were down only 9%. Its domestic box-office total is now a strong $58.6 million.
Ticket sales for “Black Swan,” the other popular indie movie of the last couple of months, declined a modest 26% to $6.2 million. The Natalie Portman psychological drama has racked up a box-office total of $83.6 million.
Warner Bros. Pictures announced today that Anne Hathaway has been cast as Selina Kyle in Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight Rises.” She will be starring alongside Christian Bale, who returns in the title role of Bruce Wayne/Batman.
Christopher Nolan stated, “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Anne Hathaway, who will be a fantastic addition to our ensemble as we complete our story.”
In addition, Tom Hardy has been set to play Bane. Nolan said, “I am delighted to be working with Tom again and excited to watch him bring to life our new interpretation of one of Batman’s most formidable enemies.”
Nolan will direct the film from a screenplay he wrote with Jonathan Nolan, from a story by Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer. Nolan will also produce the film with his longtime producing partner, Emma Thomas, and Charles Roven.
“The Dark Knight Rises” is slated for release on July 20, 2012. The film will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.
“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”
— Martin Luther King Jr.
The Green Hornet easily topped the weekend box office.
The superhero comedy, starring Seth Rogen, drew an estimated $34 million in its first weekend. Those estimates were boosted by more expensive 3-D showings, which accounted for 69 percent of the film’s gross.
The Martin Luther King weekend’s other new release, the Vince Vaughn-Kevin James buddy comedy The Dilemma, pulled in roughly $17.4 million.
A trio of awards-season contenders showed strength with audiences as well. Last week’s No. 1 film, True Grit, came in at No. 3 with an estimated $11.2 million — for a four-week total of $126.4 million. Coming in fourth, The King’s Speech attracted $9.1 million. Black Swan followed at No. 5 with $8.1 million.
Little Fockers dropped to sixth place, bringing in $7.1 million for a four-week take of $134.2 million. Tron: Legacy ranked seventh with $5.6 million, which makes its five-week gross $156.9 million.
Rounding out the top 10: Yogi Bear (No. 8, $5.3 million); The Fighter (No. 9, $5.1 million); and Season of the Witch (No. 10, $4.5 million).
Columbia Pictures releases the first image of Andrew Garfield as Spider-Man. In addition to Andrew Garfield, Spider-Man (being shot in 3D) also stars Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy, Rhys Ifans as Dr. Curt Connors, Martin Sheen as Uncle Ben Parker, Sally Field as Aunt May and Denis Leary as George Stacy.
It arrives in theaters until July 3rd, 2012.