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Julia Roberts Too Pretty for Britain; Matt Damon Needs a Lesson

James Hirsen By Tuesday, 02 August 2011 05:39 PM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

The Left Coast Report: A Political Look at Hollywood

Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Matt Damon Demagogues for Pedagogues
2. 'Cowboys & Aliens' Smacked by 'The Smurfs'
3. Studios Look Oversees for Marketing Prospects
4. Julia Roberts Ad Banned in Britain
5. Hollywood Bucks Pour Into Liberal Campaign Groups

1. Matt Damon Demagogues for Pedagogues

Matt Damon appeared this past weekend at a protest event called "Save Our Schools," which really should have been called "Save the Public School Teachers' Salaries."

"This has been a horrible decade for teachers. I can't imagine how demoralized you must feel," Damon emoted.

"But I came here today to deliver an important message to you: As I get older, I appreciate more and more the teachers that I had growing up. And I'm not alone. There are millions of people just like me," the actor said.

Damon added rhetoric about teachers who are "feeling down, or exhausted, or unappreciated." He also sympathized with teachers hearing themselves referred to as "overpaid" on TV news. He additionally got in a dig at the "corporate reformer who has literally never taught anyone anything."

The actor told Think Progress, the liberal blog of the Center for American Progress Action Fund, that he wants to see Gov. Scott Walker recalled.

When asked if he supported the gubernatorial recall effort in Wisconsin, Damon, replied, "Among other things, yeah."

Damon might take a look at the fact that the governor he's attempting to get rid of is merely trying to limit the ability of public employees to gnaw off the arms that feed them.

2. 'Cowboys & Aliens' Smacked by 'The Smurfs'

A funny thing happened to "Cowboys & Aliens" on the way to its triumphant premiere weekend.

The cowpokes and extraterrestrials ran into some formidable Smurfs. "The Smurfs" essentially tied "Cowboys & Aliens" at the weekend box office, with an estimated $36.2 million take.

Blasted by critics, "The Smurfs" shocked execs with a box-office cache that was far greater than anticipated, while "Cowboys & Aliens" performed so far below expectations that any talk about a sequel has been muzzled.

How could "The Smurfs" have prevailed when pitted against "Cowboys & Aliens" as well as the previous week's blockbusters "Captain America" and "Harry Potter?"

The cute little smiling blue blobs appeal to family filmgoers, that's how. In fact, more than half of those who went to see the flick were kids with their parents in tow.

"Cowboys & Aliens" sported a bigger budget than "The Smurfs" ($163 million vs. $110 million), plus major star power both onscreen and off in the form of Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, director Jon Favreau, and legendary producers Steven Spielberg, Ron Howard and Brian Grazer.

Yet despite all that, plus being displayed on 355 fewer North American screens, "The Smurfs" still stole the thunder from "Cowboys & Aliens."

3. Studios Look Oversees for Marketing Prospects

Hollywood may be experiencing ups and downs here at home, but the overseas box office is on a roll.

According to the Motion Picture Association of America, while North American revenue in 2010 remained level (approximately $10.6 billion), the international film take broke records (around $21.2 billion).

Overseas box office represented 67 percent of all movie dollars and is rising.

With more theaters being built around the globe and new marketing territories for Hollywood opening up, prospects for the foreign market appear better than on the home front.

The major studios are noticing a pattern for big budget movies, one in which a less than thrilling box office in North America is offset by a stellar performance abroad.

Disney's "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" may have failed to please the critics and meet sales expectations on the home turf, but it broke the record for a foreign movie premiere ( $260.4 million), and about 77 percent of its $1 billion worldwide gross came from foreign theaters. The average hit movie would see 45 to 60 percent of its worldwide box office come from international sources.

Incidentally, the record for a foreign debut was just beaten again by "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2" ($314 million).

4. Julia Roberts Ad Banned in Britain

In a recent magazine ad for cosmetics, Julia Roberts looked so good that her appearance was apparently too good for an agency of the British government to accept.

U.K. advertising authorities ordered L'Oreal to pull two advertisements because the cosmetics giant had allegedly engaged in a bit of excessive touchup on the faces of Roberts and model Christy Turlington.

The cosmetic firm admitted that the pictures had been tweaked but maintained the resultant product pitch was accurate. Citing contractual obligations, L'Oreal refused to give pre-production photos to the British Advertising Standards Authority to determine whether the degree of airbrushing was "likely to mislead."

"So we were left with no choice but to uphold the complaint," ASA chief executive Guy Parker told the BBC.

Liberal Democrat MP Jo Swinson said that the L'Oreal ads were "not representative of the results the products could achieve." She characterized the ads as "particularly bad examples of misleading advertising."

Swinson spoke of the potential body image problems such ads could create.

"There's a big picture here which is half of young women between 16 and 21 say they would consider cosmetic surgery and we've seen eating disorders more than double in the last 15 years," Swinson said.

5. Hollywood Bucks Pour Into Liberal Campaign Groups

New campaign productions are coming soon to media outlets near you.

Groups known simply as independent committees, which have the ability to raise untold amounts of campaign cash, are already buying media time in advance of the election in 2012.

As a result of the U.S. Supreme Court Citizens United decision, the groups can run ads minus many of the previous constraints imposed by campaign finance laws.

GOP strategist Karl Rove heads up American Crossroads, which already raised dollars and doled them out during the 2010 midterm elections. Rove's group is poised to effectively channel resources into the upcoming campaigns.

The left has taken note. Democrat groups are sprouting like ragweed with four of the organizations having announced a $10 million take for the first six months of 2011.

American Bridge 21st Century was founded by David Brock, head of the George Soros-supported Media Matters for America, which is a so-called media watchdog group that has basically been on a mission to destroy Fox News and other perceived enemies of its liberal agenda.

American Bridge has hired professional trackers who will apparently employ technology to capture GOP gaffes and potentially embarrassing situations. A well-equipped war room staffed with opposition researchers will also purportedly dish political dirt to the benefit of liberal candidates.

Priorities USA Action is a group formed by former presidential adviser Paul Begala, former White House deputy press secretary Bill Burton, and former Rahm Emanuel top aide Sean Sweeney. The founders have also created an affiliated organization, Priorities USA, to round up money from donors who wish to stay anonymous.

The two Priorities groups brought in more than $5 million in the first half of 2011. Ads produced by Priorities USA have already hit the airwaves with an assault on GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney.

Another group, Majority PAC, is a "super PAC" formed by Sen. Harry Reid staffer Rebecca Lambe and Reid's former chief of staff, Susan McCue.

According to Federal Election Commission filings, Hollywood is a key source of cash for these groups. DreamWorks' Jeffrey Katzenberg provided a whopping $2 million to Priorities USA Action; filmmaker J.J. Abrams and his wife gave $37,500 each to American Bridge and $50,000 each to Priorities USA Action; and movie producer Steve Bing, who often donates to left-leaning groups and candidates, wrote checks for $150,000 to American Bridge 21st Century and $250,000 to Majority PAC.

Seems Hollywood's campaign finance factory is the one segment of the economy that's actually booming.

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The Left Coast Report: A Political Look at HollywoodHeadlines (Scroll down for complete stories):1. Matt Damon Demagogues for Pedagogues 2. 'Cowboys Aliens' Smacked by 'The Smurfs' 3. Studios Look Oversees for Marketing Prospects 4. Julia Roberts Ad Banned in Britain...
Julia,Roberts,Too,Pretty,Matt Damon,Cowboys & Aliens,Smurfs,American Crossroads,Karl Rove,American Bridge 21st Century,David Brock,Priorities USA Action,Paul Begala,Majority PAC
Tuesday, 02 August 2011 05:39 PM
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