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.
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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.
The company formerly affiliated with Lee has tried for years to win back lucrative rights to iconic characters.
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.
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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?
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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: firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @eriqgardner
9:37 PM PDT 5/29/2012 by Kim Masters
Brutal competition, fears of a “Battleship” sinking and 3D reshoots (with a resurrected Channing Tatum?) leave a studio’s cupboard bare.
This story first appeared in the June 8 issue of The Hollywood Reporter.
When Paramount announced May 23 that it was moving G.I. Joe: Retaliation from its June 29 release date to March 2013, nostrils started to quiver throughout the industry.
The explanation the studio was selling — that it needed time to turn the sequel into a 3D spectacle — didn’t seem to pass the smell test. Why bump a $125 million-budgeted tentpole starringDwayne Johnson and Bruce Willis five weeks before its scheduled release after launching a multimillion-dollar marketing campaign that included a pricey Super Bowl spot?
“They eat all of that money,” notes one prominent producer. “And when you yank a movie at the last minute, it does not send an encouraging signal.”
Paramount sources say studio chair Brad Grey and vice chairRob Moore felt the expense was preferable to a duel with Sony’s Spider-Man reboot, out July 3.
“They looked at the landscape and realized they couldn’t compete,” agrees the producer in an appraisal shared by many executives and agents. Add to that the sinking of Universal’s $200 million-plusBattleship — another film based on a Hasbro property — and the potential downside looked especially distressing. So Paramount is adding 3D in hope of bolstering overseas box office and taking the opportunity to expand the role of Channing Tatum, whose stardom has grown thanks to The Vowand 21 Jump Street. In fact, Tatum’s character originally died in Retaliation, but it’s now possible he will be resurrected.
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More broadly, Paramount has decided to sit out the season after a brutal few months in which potential franchises — Disney’s John Carter, Universal’s Battleship, Warner Bros.’ Dark Shadows — turned into losses. Many suspect Sony’s Men in Black 3 also will lose money due to its soaring cost associated with atroubled production. (Some think Paramount’s top executives might also have an eye on their bonuses, deferring costs to polish up results for the current fiscal year. Paramount declined comment.)
Whatever the reason, Paramount’s decision to move G.I. Joe signals a big shift for the studio: It also bumped the Brad Pitt zombie tentpole World War Z — a film with a budget of $150 million or more that is said to be facing several weeks of costly reshoots — from December to June 2013. The studio also moved the action-adventure Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters from March 2012 to January 2013, ostensibly to allow star Jeremy Renner to bolster his name value with The Avengers and The Bourne Legacy.
At this point, the studio’s summer slate has only a Katy Perry concert movie (July 5) and distribution fees from Madagascar 3 (June 8). And the latter might be one of the last films from DreamWorks Animation to be released by Paramount as the two have been at an impasse over distribution fees. (Of course, any troubles at Paramount might well strengthen the hand of DWA’s Jeffrey Katzenberg in a negotiation. Insiders are speculating that DWA will strike a deal with Sony Pictures or self-distribute domestically and make a deal with Fox for overseas distribution.)
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Toward year’s end, the picture appears to brighten for Paramount. The studio has the fourthParanormal Activity in October and the November thriller Flight with Denzel Washington, directorRobert Zemeckis‘ first live-action film in more than a decade. At Christmas, it has a Tom Cruisethriller, Jack Reacher, and then The Guilt Trip, a comedy with Seth Rogen and Barbra Streisand.
But overall, the studio is looking at a sparse year. In March, it dumped Eddie Murphy’s A Thousand Words in theaters, and in May it stumbled with The Dictator, which sources say cost about $100 million, though the studio pegs it at $65 million. The Sacha Baron Cohen film has grossed an underwhelming $93 million worldwide so far.
The idea that Paramount might be hitting turbulence after several years of flying high actually cheers some who feel the studio has relied on hits provided by outsiders — notably Marvel and DWA — while showing less interest in nurturing its own product.
“They are impossible to do business with,” says a prominent player. “They spend less money on movies than anybody; they develop fewer movies than anybody.”
The haters don’t even credit the current regime for its hits: They point out that the Transformersfranchise was hatched by live-action DreamWorks and Mission: Impossible predated the current bosses. Still, the Mission and Star Trek franchises have been re-ignited, and if Paramount’s G.I. Joe strategy works, 3D could boost its overseas haul by as much as 30 percent. But for now, Paramount’s recent boasts about market share — a dubious measure of success yet one that studios like to brag about — are over. So far, analysts are largely unfazed, with Stifel Nicolaus saying that moving G. I. Joe “adds to a much stronger slate in full-year 2013 for Viacom [with] limited impact on full-year 2012 results.”
One industry veteran agrees the real impact of a weak 2012 won’t be apparent in the current fiscal year’s results. Paramount will receive a hefty 8 percent fee from Disney on The Avengers (part of the deal when Disney bought out Paramount’s interest), and the studio is still benefiting from its 2011 hits. He predicts, “The bad news will come next year.”
12:26 PM PDT 5/23/2012 by Seth Abramovitch
Could the casual reference to his 10-year relationship mark a new era in how same-sex-loving celebrities acknowledge their personal lives?
Jim Parsons, the lanky, Texas-born actor who has won two Emmys and a Golden Globe award for playing persnickety genius Sheldon Cooper on CBS’s The Big Bang Theory, acknowledges that he is gay and in a 10-year relationship, the New York Times reveals.
But blink and you may have missed it: The information is buried towards the end of the 1,800 word profile — which focuses mostly on Parsons’ lauded stage work in Broadway revivals of The Normal Heart and, now, Harvey — and doesn’t even contain a direct quote from Parsons himself.
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“The Normal Heart resonated with him on a few levels,” theTimes‘ Patrick Healy writes. “Mr. Parsons is gay and in a 10-year relationship, and working with an ensemble again onstage was like nourishment, he said.”
Whether or not this constitutes a “coming out” for the popular TV star seems to be a topic for debate. Some industry and online chatter today has argued that Parsons was never really “in,” openly and matter-of-factly addressing his relationship whenever it came up in his daily life and work. And it’s not the first time a reference to his sexuality has been made in a print publication. (That honor would go to Antenna magazine, which folded shop earlier this year, Parsons gracing the final cover.)
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But compared to other primetime stars who identify as gay — take Modern Family‘s Jesse Tyler Ferguson, for example, who has been tireless in his vocal support for same-sex marriage rights — there’s no denying that Parsons has been extremely quiet on the topic.
If anything, the news marks what could be a new chapter in the evolution of the celebrity “coming out” story. Unlike the old-school approach — the magazine-cover-route followed by a string of “revealing” TV interviews, a method trailblazed by the likes of Ellen DeGeneres and later mimicked by everyone from Lance Bass to Neil Patrick Harris — the new method stealthily embeds the personal information in a larger piece on the “work.”
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Credit Zachary Quinto, another in-demand gay actor straddling both Broadway and Hollywood, with having forged the template: In late-2011, the Star Trek and American Horror Story star gave an interview to New York magazine, ostensibly about his performance in another New York theater revival with gay themes — Tony Kushner‘s Angels in America. Four paragraphs into the piece, the crucial clause found its way into a sentence:
“And at the same time, as a gay man, it made me feel like there’s still so much work to be done, and there’s still so many things that need to be looked at and addressed.”
6:59 PM PDT 5/12/2012 by Jane Kellogg
The Aussie actor, who plays Thor in the summer’s box office smash, is now a dad to baby India Rose.
He melts the hearts of fans everywhere, but now Chris Hemsworth‘s heart melts for one. The Aussie actor, 28, welcomed a baby girl Friday with his wife, Elsa Pataky, 35, also an actor. The couple, who have been married since late 2010, settled on a simple name for their daughter: India Rose.
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“We love the country and love the name,” Hemsworth said in a phone interview with USA Today. This is the first child for both Hemsworth and Pataky.
Following the January announcement of the pregnancy, Spanish actress Pataky shared how blessed they feel to begin growing their family. “Having the person that you love by your side, and starting a family with them, is the best thing that can happen to you in this life,” Pataky told ¡Hola!. “You can’t ask for more.”
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So will the star of box office smash The Avengers, which is expected to gross $1 billion worldwide this weekend, be on diaper duty? Possibly–if he can find time between promotingAvengers and Snow White and the Huntsman, which is set to be released June 1. And after years on the shelf, the actor is gearing up for the release of Red Dawn, set to hit theaters this November, where he plays the lead character alongside Friday Night Lights‘ Adrianne Palicki and The Hunger Games‘ Josh Hutcherson.
5:25 PM PDT 5/11/2012 by Eriq Gardner
A roundup of entertainment and media law news including a win for Leslie Moonves and a setback for Beyoncé.
Brendan Fraser is suing producers of William Tell…The Legend, alleging they violated a written agreement to star in a proposed film about the Swiss folk hero known for his expert bow-and-arrow marksmanship.
In a complaint filed in Los Angeles Superior Court last Friday, Fraser says he was approached in early 2011 by Arclight Studios to star in the film. The project was acquired by producer Todd Moyer, who allegedly ran into trouble financing the project.
Fraser says he forgoed other jobs, incurred out-of-pocket travel expenses to market the film to prospective investors and in November 2011, got Moyer to agree in writing to pay him for his acting services. According to the complaint, he was to receive $2.25 million in fixed compensation, 10 percent of which was to be paid as a “hold fee.” The rest was to be deposited into an escrow account.
Fraser now alleges in his lawsuit against Moyer that the terms of his “pay or play” deal have been violated and that Moyer has delayed commencement of production on the film. Asserting breach of contract, fraud, and promissory estoppel, he’s seeking $3 million in compensatory damages. Fraser is repped byMarty Singer.
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In other entertainment law news:
- Kelsey Grammer has successfully defended a copyright infringement lawsuit that alleged that he along with other producers of the BET television series The Game lifted an author’s script for an episode of the show. The plaintiff had alleged that she had given the script to her agent, who implied that it would be sent to producers. The episode in question aired in 2007, and the judge said her claims were barred by statute of limitations.
- The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals has absolved CBS and its chief executive,Leslie Moonves, from liability for not quickly disclosing a $14 billion write-off in 2008. The appellate circuit notes that the “red flags” such as an economic slowdown at the time were public knowledge and that suing shareholders hadn’t shown that the company committed securities fraud by ignoring accounting standards for valuing goodwill.
- In an ongoing multi-million lawsuit by video game company Gate Five that alleges that Beyoncé walked away from an agreement to develop a game, a judge has rejected the singer’s motion to dismiss, saying at a hearing last month, “They were in the drafting process of a substantial and serious deal and someone pulled the plug. This motion is denied. I am not going to go further with this. I’m surprised this is so meritless.” Beyoncé is expected to testify in the case.
- Is suing entertainment companies some sort of performance art for some individuals. In the funniest case of the year so far, a Maryland man is suingMark Burnett, saying he came up with the idea behind The Voice, suing Comcast and its chairman Brian Roberts, saying he came up with the idea behind cable television, and suing Barbara Eden, saying that if she had told others that he created I Dream of Jeannie, his life would be different. And somehow, a mysterious person named Xuxa is involved. Here’s the funny complaint.
6:04 PM PDT 5/11/2012 by Gregg Kilday
The superheroes of The Avengers are predictably dominating the box office, while the vampires of Dark Shadows aren’t proving quite as bloodthirsty as some had predicted as this weekend’s box-office chase got underway Friday.
Early indications from matinees is that Disney and Marvel’sAvengers, which smashed its way to a record-shattering $207.4 million last weekend, will pull in another $85 million to $90 million in its second frame.
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While Warner Bros.’ Dark Shadows earned $550,000 as it rolled out in more than 1,600 midnight runs, an OK number for a female-driven pic, it appeared to be pulling in about $10 million Friday as it kicked off a weekend that could end up in the $32 million to $35 million range. That’s on the low end of expectations for the studio, which was hoping for $35 million to $40 million.
Tim Burton’s campy adaptation of the 1966-71 daytime soap also is making a major push overseas this weekend, where the movie — headlining Johnny Depp as the vampire Barnabas Collins — opens in virtually every major market except Japan.
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Of course, Dark Shadows had been expected to open well behind Avengers, which jumped the $800 million mark at the worldwide box office on Thursday, and could hit $1 billion by Sunday.
Overseas, Dark Shadows could beat Avengers in certain territories but might not be able to match Avengers’ overall weekend international gross. Burton’s film got off to a strong start Wednesday in France, grossing roughly $770,000 to beat Avengers on its third Wednesday.
Produced for $100 million, Dark Shadows is tracking best among women, though interest has picked up among men in recent days. The film also stars Michelle Pfeiffer, Helena Bonham Carter, Eva Green and Chloe Grace Moretz.
Warners believes the film will have strong legs, since the other May tentpoles are more male-driven, including Universal’s Battleship, which opens May 18.