— Peter Kaufman (@Dealfatigue) February 16, 2013
What happens in Vegas, may spread to the rest of the country.
As with the Internet, cyber-squatters are hording the names of celebrities and other well-known people on Twitter. Some are even going so far as to pose as fictional characters like Don Draper from Mad Men.
If you’re an actor, be sure to register your name on Twitter while it’s still available (if it’s not too late already).
In this age of self-branding and the rising reliance on the Internet by the public at large, the famous and the famous to be need to maintain control of their names especially on social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and MySpace.
Twitter’s policy is to shut down fake Twitterers, most notably an ersatz Christoper Walken. However, there are exceptions to Twitter’s practices.
Do not pass Go. Get your Twitter name now for free or pay later! [Thanks to Stephen Strauss for the heads-up on this one!]
The “One Laptop per Child” Foundation released a television commercial on Christmas Day of John Lennon – almost 30 years after his assassination – pitching viewers to buy laptops for poor children.
The Foundation produced the spot using digital technology; creating an ersatz version of Lennon saying “I tried to do it through my music, but now you can do it in a very different way. You can give a child a laptop and more than imagine, you can change the world.”
Variations on the technology have been around for years. Michael Crichton predicted the advent of the technology in “Looker” in 1981. In 1995, I cited Crichton’s work when I wrote about the use of digital technology to reanimate deceased celebrities in new works – and the possible legal complications – here.
Although the ethical and business dilemmas of using digital automatons instead of real actors are still in flux, the legal issues remain the same. The commercial exploitation of dead celebrities requires the consent of the celebrity’s estate. In this case, Yoko Ono, Lennon’s widow approved the spot.
When I wrote my article in 1995, the infinite possibility of the internet was largely unknown to the public. Our understanding of its potential now combined with advances in digital reanimation technology will only bring these issues to the forefront.
You can find out more about One Laptop Per Child’s donation program here.
The Coen Brother’s Burn After Reading starring George Clooney and Brad Pitt is an awful movie that, despite being awful has been critically acclaimed (for the most part; my opinion notwithstanding). The budget for the picture was $37 million and as of this writing, has already grossed over $57 million during its theatrical release. The picture stands to make substantially more when (and if) it goes into wider theatrical release internationally and through ancillary exploitation on video and pay/free TV.
This disconnect of a mediocre film doing well at the box office got me thinking of my UK client Fred Hogge’s post on his blog cinelogic about how box office success builds audience interest regardless of the merits of a particular motion picture. With respect to the interest in the latest Batman sequel, Fred said:
The Dark Knight, just won big. Sure, it helps that they opened on over 4000 screens, but people are excited to see it. The reports coming back from those that have are overwhelmingly positive. So more people will go. And this is regardless of all the side-bar hype, largely focused on the late Heath Ledger, his death having, sadly, been turned into a marketing tool.
I responded that:
The general public follows weekend B.O. performance like a Wall Street stock index for one simple reason. People like horse races and the weekend box office is just that. This isn’t about quality pictures; it’s about “who’s winning now.” B.O. stats used to be restricted to Variety and other trade publications. Now they’re found in virtually every major news source around the world (at least those in countries that distribute motion pictures from the West).
To be sure, more people will buy tickets to a movie based on a horse race mentality because they “heard” the movie was good (just based on the initial B.O.). The fact that the horse race might be a fiction or, to be more charitable, of limited use as a barometer of [sic] quality picture is largely irrelevant to most of them.
There really is no accounting for taste. Which is why bad movies with “bankable” stars are easier to finance and distribute than high quality, material-driven pictures with little or no recognized talent attached. Indeed, that why Beverly Hills Chihuahua was – as Variety put it – “top dog at the box office” this weekend.
Then again, it might be really, really good despite the bad reviews. I’ll have to see it and get back to ya on that.