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How ‘Get On Up’ Gets James Brown’s Manager Wrong

9:00 AM PST 08/03/2014 by Hilary Lewis



The son of Brown’s manager and the head of his former agency say what really happened.

[Warning: Spoilers ahead for Get On Up.]

In a poignant scene in Get On UpJames Brown is shown shoveling dirt on his manager Ben Bart’s coffin. It’s a touching, rare moment in which Brown is shown caring for someone other than himself. Unfortunately, according to Bart’s son Jack, it’s not true — and the Godfather of Soul wasn’t even at the funeral in question.

That’s just one of many alleged inaccuracies in the film, Jack Bart and Jeff Allen — who now runs the elder Bart’s old agency Universal Attractions — tell The Hollywood Reporter.

Allen says that the film inaccurately suggests that Brown took the lead in making business decisions, including changing the way his concerts were promoted.

“The truth is … that was Ben’s idea and Ben’s expertise because he started as a club owner and a concert promoter,” Allen says. “So where they portray Ben as kind of following James Brown’s lead, it was the other way around. Everything that Brown knew or learned or accomplished was through Ben Bart’s tutelage.” Bart’s support for his talented client isn’t accurately portrayed, making it seem “as if Brown gave Ben a free ride,” Allen adds.

Get On Up also diminishes the elder Bart’s role in Brown’s discovery, Bart’s son says. The film suggests that producer/talent scout Ralph Bass discovered Brown, something the younger Bart calls “totally inaccurate.”

In reality, Jack Bart says his father got a call from a club owner in Atlanta who told him, “There’s a young fellow down here by the name of James Brown that is a great dancer and … he’s got a lot of potential. You should come down and take a look at him.”

Ben Bart then flew to Atlanta, saw Brown and signed him. “That’s how James Brown was discovered,” Jack Bart says. By way of comparison, the movie doesn’t even introduce the character of Ben Bart until he meets with James Brown later in his career and urges him to go solo.

To be fair, Bass has been credited by many for discovering Brown, with even the late musician noting inhis autobiography that Bass signed him and his then band the Famous Flames before Bart came on board.

Bart’s son and Allen claim they were never contacted by anyone affiliated with the production, meaningDan Aykroyd‘s portrayal of the elder Bart may be due to a lack of information.

There are some parts of the film that ring true, Jack Bart says, claiming he’s fine with ChadwickBoseman’s portrayal of Brown and the scene in which Brown is arrested following a police chase. He also suggests that the film effectively conveys Brown’s ego, recalling that Brown would talk about himself until the younger Bart couldn’t take it.

Still Bart’s son notes that he and Brown were so close that he was one of the few people who was on a first-name basis with the man who insisted others refer to him as “Mr. Brown.”

Allen later explained that he asked Deanna Brown Thomas, one of Brown’s daughters, why he and Jack Bart weren’t called, and she indicated it was about money.

“That’s the James Brown organization MO. If there was no money in it for them, then they weren’t doing anything,” Allen says. “So rather than trying to be historically correct or have a better knowledge of how it was back then, the call was never made.”

Get On Up’s studio, Universal Pictures, declined to comment about Bart’s portrayal in the film while Aykroyd’s rep has not yet responded to THR’s inquiry, but the manager’s son and Allen insist they aren’t holding a grudge despite their concerns about the film.

“We love [Brown’s] kids, have nothing against them at all,” Allen says. “We have no hard feelings for them, just great disappointment that [Brown’s family] didn’t call Jack once and try to get better information on Ben Bart to paint Ben Bart the way they did.”

Jack Bart adds: “I have no ill feelings about it. It’s only a movie.”




‘Glee’ Star Becca Tobin Mourns Late Boyfriend: ‘He Will Live In My Heart Forever

5:30 PM PST 08/02/2014 by THR staff



Matt Bendik, who ran several nightclubs, was found dead July 10.

Glee star Becca Tobin is remembering her late boyfriend Matt Bendik.

“Thank you all for the love and support,” the Glee star wrote on Instagram Saturday. “Matt was the most extraordinary man I knew and he will live in my heart forever.”

Bendik’s body was discovered July 10 in a Philadelphia hotel room. He was 35.

PHOTOS Hollywood’s Notable Deaths of 2014

An autopsy was conducted but it did not immediately establish a cause of death.

“There was no evidence of trauma,” Philadelphia Department of Health spokesperson Jeff Moran told The Hollywood Reporter in July. “As is the usual procedure in evaluating a sudden, unexpected death, the Philadelphia Medical Examiner we will be conducting additional studies.”

Bendik ran several nightclubs, and served as managing partner of AV and Voyeur/DBA nightclubs in Los Angeles, as well as director of nightlife at Addiction nightclub at The Modern Honolulu hotel in Hawaii.

Tobin has played Kitty Wilde on Fox’s Glee since season four.

Stan Lee Media Files Billion-Dollar Disney Lawsuit Over Marvel Characters

The company formerly affiliated with Lee has tried for years to win back lucrative rights to iconic characters.

STILL SPINNING: "Ultimate Spider-Man"


10:10 PM PDT 10/9/2012 by Eriq Gardner

Despite years of court losses, the resilient company that was founded by Stan Lee in the late 1990s is still attempting to convince the world that a decade ago, it was robbed of many of valuable franchises, including Fantastic Four, X-Men and Spider-Man.

The latest move involves a multi-billion dollar lawsuit against Disney for alleged copyright infringement. In a lawsuit filed on Tuesday, SLMI alleges that it has been assigned the rights to these characters, that Lee didn’t properly assign the works to Marvel and that Disney has never recorded its agreement with Marvel with the U.S. Copyright Office. Essentially, SLMI says that the Disney-Marvel merger was a fantasy as large as one of Lee’s creations.

PHOTOS:  New Generation of Superheroes 

Just one problem — res judicata.

Yes, we’ve seen this argument before. In SLMI’s latest complaint in Colorado federal court, the company admits a “tortured history of litigation” and goes through the many legal proceedings in Colorado, in New York and in California.

The full details of what happened are terribly complicated, but essentially, when SLMI went into bankruptcy a decade ago, its assets were raided, and SLMI shareholders have been attacking the perceived vultures ever since.

These efforts eventually culminated in a decision on August 23 by California federal judgeStephen Wilson.

In the ruling, Judge Wilson addressed why he wouldn’t allow SLMI to go forward with a lawsuit against Stan Lee —  res judicata, which the judge defined as barring lawsuits based on “any claims that were raised or could have been raised in a prior action.”

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Judge Wilson found that the lawsuit against Lee entailed an issue  — whether Lee transferred to Marvel the same IP rights previously assigned to SLMI — that was previously addressed in a prior case. And so, the judge dismissed it.

The ruling is now on appeal at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal.

Meanwhile, SLMI is now attacking Disney and will likely face that very same res judicataissue.

So why does SLMI believe this case has a shot?

PHOTOS:  Top 10 Legal Disclaimers in Hollywood 

According to the lawsuit, “SLMI is entitled to proceed with this copyright infringement lawsuit against Disney, based upon Disney’s independently actionable conduct which occurred after April 2009, regardless of the outcome of SLMI’s appeal to the Ninth Circuit in the 2007 Case.”

We’ll see if a judge buys that, but SLMI’s track record with judges isn’t so mighty.

E-mail: eriq.gardner@thr.com; Twitter: @eriqgardner

Venator Elite (V-Elite)~A New Action/Drama Series (Teaser Trailer) Is Here!!

If you’re into the action and just plan old cool stuff in games like ‘Call Of Duty’ and ‘Ghost Recon’, then you just might enjoy this new series created by D.Jus Riley.

In 1989 the scientific warfare department of the CIA secretly adopted three newborn babies in order to train them for Special Operations. They’re all grown up now, and one doesn’t want what happened to him to happen to another child.

Venator Elite Stars:

Bob Walz
Shannon Wallace
D.Jus Riley
Donna Wilson-Mariscal
Shuhei Kinoshita

Directed By: Michael Simmons
Created & Written By: D.Jus Riley

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Trailer Music:
Nirvana~Smells Like Teen Spirit (Dubstep.net Remix)

‘Sons of Anarchy’ Inks New Licensing Deal With Harley-Davidson (Exclusive)

Sons of Anarchy Motorcycles - H 2012

5:00 AM PDT 6/13/2012 by Alex Ben Block

Product sales related to FX’s top-rated show grow from online-only to stores, starting with custom motorcycles and lines of apparel, games and stationary in the U.S. and around the world.

Fans of FX’s Sons of Anarchy will soon be able to ride like outlaws, thanks to a deal with Bartels’ Harley Davidson. The bike maker will produce 100 limited edition motorcycles that will retail for about $25,000 each at Harley dealers this fall.

The new deal for custom motorcycles made by 20th Century Fox Consumer Products is part of a flurry of licensing deals for SOAthat includes hats, games, stationary and more.

After growing online merchandise sales for FX’s top-rated show about 70 percent year-to-year since 2010, Fox is shifting to brick and mortar retailers like Spencer Gifts, Transworld/FYE and Hastings.

PHOTOS: Emmys 2012: Kurt Sutter, Katey Sagal on the Set of ‘Sons of Anarchy’

“There are different audiences buying the products,” notesJeffrey Godsick, president of 20th Century Fox Consumer Products. “They range from the show’s fan base to people who just like the counter-culture biker attitude to people who are weekend bikers.”

About to enter its fifth season, SOA is now the most-watched show in its history among total viewers 18-49. The most recent season the show averaged 5.5 million viewers per episode. It was also the number three DVD release among TV shows in 2011.

FX has already committed to the show through the seventh season, and Godsick expects the audience and the merchandise sales to continue to grow.

“It was a unique strategy,” says Godsick. “We started the entire consumer products program as a way to reach the fan based audience and as it grew we saw an opportunity to create products that related to the biker culture and the essence of the story … As the audience has grown, so it has continued the evolution.”

VIDEO: ‘Sons of Anarchy’ Creator Kurt Sutter Talks Season 5

The SOA licensing is part of an expanded presence 20th Century Fox Consumer Products has at Licensing Expo 2012, now going on in Las Vegas. Part of that expansion involves products from the Ultimate Fighting Championship, National Geographic and Fox Sports. Among the sports deals newly signed are agreements with Jerry Leigh Apparel and Todd McFarlane.

The new SOA bikes will first go on sale in August in conjunction with the world’s largest motorcycle rally in Sturgis, South Dakota, just before the show’s fifth season premiere.

For those who don’t want a full-size motorcycle, 20th Century Fox Consumer Products has also made a deal with Maisto for die-cast motorcycles in association with Jax, Clay, Opie and JT. They will be available in stores for the holidays.

Other products include calendars, posters and stickers from Pyramid, a trivia game from Imagination Games (with over 200 questions about the show), as well as wall graphics, standees and stickers from Advanced Graphics.

The licensing blitz is also international. SOA is a hit in the U.K., Australia, New Zealand, Germany, The Netherlands and elsewhere with products hitting  stores later this year. Groovy International is doing a line of apparel and accessories, Piston Clothing will offer high-end shirts and leather jackets, while Hybris Production will have t-shirts and apparel in parts of Scandinavia.

NBC Entertainment Names Robert Hayes to Lead Digital Media Push

2:06 AM PDT 6/7/2012 by Georg Szalai

The hire reunites NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt with another former Showtime colleague to “more closely align” the company’s digital and programming strategies.

NBCUniversal’s NBC Entertainment arm has named former Showtime executive Robert Hayes to the new position of executive vp digital media “to more closely align its digital and programming strategies.”

The company said the executive shuffle, which reteams NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt with a former Showtime colleague, shows its “commitment to maximize its programming value in the digital marketplace and its reach through emerging technologies.”

Vivi Zigler, who has been serving as NBCUniversal’s digital president, agreed to leave the company in a mutual decision. In a statement, the company didn’t mention her or her next career step.

Hayes will report to Len Fogge, president of NBC Entertainment marketing & digital.

Greenblatt and Ted Harbert, chairman of NBC Broadcasting, to whom Zigler had reported, emphasized the strategic importance of digital media in a competitive TV landscape.

“It’s critical that we do everything possible to light up digital media in order to help rebuild the primetime schedule. And there’s no one better to lead this effort than Rob Hayes,” said Greenblatt. “I saw the effect he had at Showtime firsthand, and it’s no accident that the pay network’s explosion coincided with its digital innovations.”

Added Harbert: “As NBC expands its digital media reach, we want to take full advantage of the synergy between programming, marketing and digital media, which the interface between Rob, Len and Bob represents.”

Hayes will oversee the network’s day-to-day digital strategy and operations, including NBC.com, social media, online, mobile/apps, connected devices and multiplatform programming, as well as digital media business development and digital marketing. Enhancing digital marketing opportunities for NBC shows including Smash, The Voice, Grimm, Up All Night and 30 Rock will be one of his jobs.

“Digital media is an essential component of NBC’s programming, marketing and monetization strategies,” said Fogge.

Hayes most recently served as COO at Iconic Entertainment, where he created premium VOD channels for YouTube.

Before that, he oversaw digital at Showtime Networks, where he developed a business strategy that included the first deals for premium TV with iTunes, Amazon and Netflix, among others.

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com
Twitter: @georgszalai

Charlie Sheen to Discuss Personal Branding at Promo Conference

Charlie Sheen FX Ad Sales - P 2012

12:08 PM PDT 6/5/2012 by Alex Ben Block

Shortly before the launch of his new series “Anger Management,” the controversial actor will be interviewed live by “Access Hollywood’s” Billy Bush.

He may or may not bring along one of his goddesses when Charlie Sheen does a live interview at a conference about marketing, promotion and publicity, being held in Los Angeles.

Less than two weeks before he will be seen in his new series Anger Management on the FX network,  Sheen will appear live at the PromaxBDA conference, which is being held from June 12 through 14.

PHOTOS: Charlie Sheen’s Colorful Career

Sheen will be interviewed by Access Hollywood anchor Billy Bush. According to an announcement Tuesday, Bush will talk to the actor about his personal brand, “how he keeps ahead of the entertainment curve, and his use of social media.”

“There is no doubt Charlie Sheen has created a uniquely personal brand that ignited a cultural conversation about entertainers and social media practices,” said Jonathan Block-Verk, president and CEO of PromaxBDA International.

The announcement did not specify the time or day Sheen will appear.

PHOTOS: Charlie Sheen Wildest TV Interviews

Sheen certainly has created a unique brand, although sometimes drawing as much critical attention as favorable publicity. After his highly publicized battle with Chuck Lorre, which led to him leaving the show Two and a Half Men, Sheen did a live event tour called “My Violent Torpedo of Truth/Defeat Is Not An Option.” Sheen was also roasted on Comedy Central in September 2011, drawing  6.4 million viewers, making it among the most highly rated programs ever on the cable network.

Beginning on June 28, FX will air 10 episodes of Sheen’s new comedy series Anger Management. If it draws a large enough audience, FX is then contractually committed to air another 90 episodes of the series, which is also being sold overseas. Beginning in 2014, if it goes forward, Anger Managementwill also be licensed to cable TV and for broadcast syndication by Debmar Mercury, a unit of Lionsgate.