Friday, December 25, 2009

The 12 Trailers of Christmas: White Christmas

My Dad can recite lines from 3 movies and they all star Bing Crosby, Going My Way, The Bells of St. Mary's and White Christmas.
It's not too much of a coincidence that they're all Christmas movies; Christmas movies are the only movies my Dad watches more than once. It may be a bit unlikely that his son should wind up with such a love for movies, but for me, watching my Dad watch Bing in any of those movies reminds me exactly why I love movies both old and new.

The trailer we saved at Moviedozer Dailies for the #1 spot in our countdown of The 12 Trailers of Christmas is White Christmas because of my Dad.

When I see Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye on that makeshift stage, on the front during WWII, watching their technicolor song and dance number is fun but the anticipation is for the General's arrival in his jeep. It's then that the outgoing General Waverly instructs his driver to take the new General out to headquarters by a short cut that doesn't exist. As the jeep drives off and his adjutant points out the error, I can hear my Dad deliver the line a few seconds ahead of the television - "Joe, you know it and I know it, but the General doesn't, at least he won't for about an hour and a half". The Captain responds, "That sergeant will be a private in the morning." The General, "Yes, isn't he lucky?" It never fails to make my Dad laugh.

Dad loves when Bing and Danny help the singing Haines sisters out of a jam at Novello's. He cracks up as Danny constantly grabs an old arm injury to win some sympathy. He wishes, just once the receptionist at the Pine Tree Inn wouldn't eavesdrop on the phone call to New York and he always beats the General to his line when he discovers his suits (just two) are at the cleaners and he'll have to go down to dinner in uniform. "Well you think you would have sent just one at a time in that case." I love White Christmas because I love hearing my Dad laugh. Even when he's not there watching with me, I can hear him laughing next to me. There's no better reason to watch a movie.

I hope you've enjoyed watching these trailers on each day of our countdown, along with us and all of our readers. As the writer and founder of, I wish you a deeply peaceful and joyous holiday. I hope the day finds you with family and friends and that you can extend the wishes of the season throughout the coming new year.

Peace and Merry Christmas,

Jeff Rabouin
President, SparxLab Projects

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The 12 Trailers of Christmas: Joyeaux Noel

The story takes place on a battlefield in France. The date is December 24th, 1914, Christmas Eve. We are on the front-line, between troops from France, Scotland and Germany. It is the dramatization of a true story.
For a remarkable moment, the commonality of man touched the hearts and minds of World War I soldiers, on multiple battlefields of the Western European front, and a peculiar kind of history wrote itself into legend.

Joyeaux Noel tells the story of one such battlefield and the officers and soldiers of the armies ordered there, to fight a bloody and savage battle across a no-man's land of scarred and frozen ground between enemy trenches.

As the story goes, with Christmas Eve upon them, officers of the opposing forces met on the battlefield and agreed amongst themselves to a temporary and unauthorized truce. Laying their rifles aside, this tentative meeting of combatants would, through the night and into Christmas Day, reveal shared brotherhood and spontaneous camaraderie.

As we face this Christmas Eve in a world still wracked by war, terrorism and oppression, this story of an evening exactly 95 years ago, can perhaps still inform our actions and beliefs today. It stands as historical record of our deep and undeniable humanity, held in common and innate in our most basic aspirations.

We hope you will enjoy this trailer, #2 in our series of The 12 Trailers of Christmas. Joyeaux Noel is available for download and on DVD and is well worth seeking out as a part of your own holiday movie collection.

We wish all in the world today and tonight, who stand in harm's way, a calm and peaceful Christmas, and that those of you who shoulder the guns of war find your way safely back to home and family.

And to our leaders, and all leaders, who send men and women into battle, may you find the wisdom and courage sought so very long, that one day ends conflict and reveals a lasting peace. Happy Christmas Eve.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The 12 Trailers of Christmas: A Christmas Story

It would be hard to pick a contemporary Christmas movie that deserves the word "classic" attached more than A Christmas Story.
Released by ABC in 1983 and based on the popular novel In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash, that book's author, Jean Shepherd, was also the film's nostalgically voiced narrator. The movie was directed by Bob Clark.

There are so many wonderfully memorable elements to the story, you have to work hard to pick your own favorites. Is it the Parker family, Ralphie (Peter Billingsley), his kid brother Randy (Ian Petrella), Mom (Melinda Dillon) and Dad (Darren McGavin)? Maybe it's Ralphie's school buddies Flick and Schwartz, his teacher, the neighborhood bullies, the department store Santa, or the Bumpuses' dogs?

Maybe it's the leg lamp that still delights each time "the ole' man" reads off "fra-gil-e" and figures it must be Italian? Or is it the Chinese restaurant staff doing their best with a Christmas Day rendition of "Deck The Halls"? For me, it's the great snowy 1940's neighborhood setting all around Ralphie's house.

The list above could take up pages and we hope you won't be able to stop thinking of more of your own favorites all day long. A Christmas Story was a charming surprise hit in movie theaters 26 years ago and it's now one of the most watched and beloved holiday films each year on television. Even as the years pass, every fan of this movie will be able to forever recall the name of the Lone Ranger's nephew's horse and the number one danger in buying a kid a Red Ryder BB gun.

How can you not love this movie? We're very happy to present as #3 in our series, The 12 Trailers of Christmas, the original trailer for A Christmas Story.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The 12 Trailers of Christmas: Four Christmases

Who would have ever guessed that Vince Vaughn would have made any list of Christmas movies twice?
Four Christmases is the most recent of our featured holiday trailers (having been released in November of last year), and like many of the others, it has an impressive cast list. Joining Vince Vaughn is Reese Witherspoon, Robert Duvall, Mary Steenburgen, Sissy Spacek, Jon Voight, Jon Favreau and country singers/part time actors Dwight Yoakam and Tim McGraw.

Also, for those paying attention, the star of tomorrow's featured trailer, Peter Billingsley (Ralphie in A Christmas Story) has a bit part as a ticket agent. And, just in case you were wondering, Vince Vaughn appeared in our #12 trailer, Fred Claus, when we started our countdown back on December 14th.

A big holiday hit both in the U.S. and abroad, Four Christmases earned over 160 million worldwide. We're happy to present the trailer as #4 in our 12 Trailers of Christmas countdown. We start the dash to Christmas morning tomorrow with the final three countdown trailers, so time to finish up the holiday shopping, tree trimming and decorating and get settled in for a warm celebration with family and friends. Here's the trailer for Four Christmases.

Monday, December 21, 2009

The 12 Trailers of Christmas: Christmas Vacation

Of all of our favorite holiday movies, the next trailer on our list gets the prize for the most quotable, best closing credits song and the one that reminds us most of people we actually know.
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation was the third of four Vacation movies that Chevy Chase (as Clark Griswold) made with the always understanding Beverly D'Angelo (Ellen Griswold) and ever changing actors in the roles of son and daughter (Audrey and Rusty, this time played by Juliette Lewis and Johnny Galecki ). Along for the holiday were the usual great supporting roles - this time with E.G. Marshall, Doris Roberts, John Randolf, Mae Questel, William Hickey, Nicholas Guest and Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

Some of the most notable quotes though, can be attributed to scenes with Randy Quaid, who returns here after having missed a trip to Europe on Vacation's second outing. As Cousin Eddie, Quaid works together with Chase with the skill of a long time vaudeville partner, mastering a sense of timing and physical humor that helps make the film a classic to own on DVD. And for a bonus, there's also a terrific performance by Brian Doyle-Murray (who played the clerk at Kamp Komfort in the first film) as Clark's boss Frank Shirley.

Definitely a favorite at Moviedozer, we're happy to present the trailer for Christmas Vacation, #5 in our series The 12 Trailers of Christmas.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Brittany Murphy 1977-2009

A light, having left, will leave darkness only in the path ahead. The path left behind will glow always brightly.

Our respects, prayers and condolences to family, friends and fans.

The 12 Trailers of Christmas: The Bishops Wife

Though life in the world in 1947 was anything but easy, there's a wonderful innocence that shines through every frame of The Bishop's Wife.
An annual Christmas favorite that boasts a spectacular cast with David Niven, Loretta Young (as the bishop and his wife) and Cary Grant as the quintessential helpful angel Dudley. There are also terrific performances by some of the finest character actors of the period, particularly Monty Woolley as a long time friend and history professor, and James Gleason as the often distracted but charming cab driver Sylvester.

Like many of the era's holiday films, there's a charming performance by a child actor. This time the role is the Bishop's daughter, Debby, played here by Karolyn Grimes, the same young actress who is so very memorable in her performance as Donna Reed and James Stewart's daughter Zuzu in It's A Wonderful Life, made one year earlier. (Any fan of both films will recognize one of the captains in the snowball fight sequence of The Bishops Wife as Bobby Anderson, who also played Young George Bailey in It's A Wonderful Life.)

A film, like so many other holiday classics, that has been remade and re-worked to accommodate the latest celebrity actor cast, no one has ever produced a remake to rival the gentle humor and sweetness of the original. Much like our # 10 trailer in this countdown, Miracle on 34th Street, the trailer for The Bishops Wife is more of a mini film shot backstage at the Samuel Goldwyn Studios to promote the film to movie audiences. We know you'll enjoy watching #6 in our 12 Trailers of Christmas countdown, The Bishops Wife.

As throughout our 12 Trailers of Christmas countdown, you're invited to visit to watch a larger version of the trailer on our front page.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The 12 Trailers of Christmas: Home Alone 2: Lost in New York

Two years after Chris Columbus and John Hughes introduced us to Kevin McCallister, they were back at it again with Home Alone 2: Lost in New York.
Both director and writer re-teamed with their child star Macaulay Culkin and launched into another Holiday adventure, this time on the streets of Manhattan. The city made for a great escape for Kevin and some great holiday backgrounds that included central park, the fictitious Duncan's Toy Chest toy store, a brownstone under massive renovation, the Park Plaza hotel and even the ceiling lighting loft of Carnegie Hall. The "wet bandits" take a stab at being the "sticky bandits" and Kevin once again gets to mix his defend-the-fortress hi-jinx with some truly heartwarming sentiment.

Perhaps, as much as these are classically very funny films, they are so tremendously re-watchable for their heart and soul. Kevin isn't just a smart-alecky pint size wrecking crew, he's also a sweet impressionable kid who cares about the people, particularly the older people, he meets. And by the end of each film, his family, including his wise guy siblings, are all included. And it's on Christmas morning in both films, that they also make him smile.

It's that heart that is the signature of director Chris Columbus and writer/producer John Hughes that make these films work so wonderfully time and time again. Here's just a little taste in the trailer for Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, # 7 in our special holiday series The 12 Trailers of Christmas.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Avatar Happens Today.

Over at, we recently posted our trailer review for James Cameron's Avatar. For the first time in some 200 trailer reviews, we were at a loss for what to say, or that is, for what hasn't already been said. So rather than just nod our keyboard in agreement, we decided we should simply declare a statement of fact - Avatar will change cinema today - For All Time.

Here's the copy from our published trailer review:

The trailer to end all trailers, the effects movie to end all effects movies, the beginning of a new era in cinema, the third, fourth, or whatever time it is, for James Cameron to come down to Earth and walk on celluloid. It’s all been said. It’s all been poured over by press and fan geek-dom, ad infinitum. So we shall add our voice, not to reviewing the trailer or the film, but to the discussions that will ensue on Monday, December 21st, 3 days post Avatar - It was. It will.

It’s all true. James Cameron will have surpassed Spielberg and Lucas, Emmerich and Jackson; throw whatever names you have, none of them will stick. Cameron will have changed forever what you will expect to see in the movies as of Monday December 21. The end of this decade heralds a new dawn.

You will see Avatar, if not now, soon. If not soon, inevitably one day. And you will, like it or not, be affected by this film. You will remember the end of the first decade of the millennium as being the moment when live action 3D filming became as essential a tool to telling a story on film as motorized projectors, sound and color prints. Chortling about 3D glasses? Forget 3D glasses, we all will in just a few years. 3D will evolve beyond them.

This is the moment when technology takes a giant leap in the way we see movies. At movie theaters and at home. Embrace it. Mr. Cameron is about to show you the very bright and inescapable light. For this time at least, you’ll be glad you’ve got those glasses. You will never forget what is about to happen. Go see it, you know you want to.

Avatar will indeed impact you as a movie fan. It will change what movies studios make, what theaters you see them in, how much you'll pay for tickets and how and when you'll bring them home. And so very much more. If you think any of this is overstated, I urge you to jot down the date. At the end of the next decade you will remember the movie Avatar and what it meant to the movie industry and to movie fans all over the world. As for what it means this weekend - all that really matters is, if you're going, have a great time. From this day forward, everything that happens at the movies is post Avatar.

The 12 Trailers of Christmas: Home Alone

In 1990 writer/producer John Hughes introduced us to Kevin McCallister and holiday movies would never be quite the same.
Through the eyes of director Chris Columbus, Home Alone would become both a box-office hit and a holiday tradition. An unforgettable cast introduced child star sensation Macaulay Culkin and surrounded him with great actors playing characters who easily might have stepped from the frames of a Warner Brothers cartoon. That cast, which included John Heard, Catherine O'Hara and John Candy, also featured a talented selection of young actors as the McCallister family (including Macauley's younger brother Kieran) and of course, Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern as the infamous "wet bandits".

Earning more than a half billion dollars at worldwide box-offices, Twentieth Century-Fox's biggest challenge would be holding the cast together for a sequel while still being able to capitalize on Culkin's young age. They succeeded two years later with Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. You can look forward to seeing that trailer when you stop back tomorrow.

For now, kick back and enjoy #8 in our 12 Trailers of Christmas countdown, Home Alone.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The 12 Trailers of Christmas: The Santa Clause 2

The middle of 3 movies featuring Tim Allen as the jolly guy in the big red suit, The Santa Clause 2 was released in 2002, a surprising 8 years after the original film. (It would be another 4 years later for Allen to appear as Scott Calvin, aka Santa Claus one last (?) time in The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause.)

This second movie of the series segued beautifully off the characters and situations of the first and finds Santa faced with a dilemma at the outset - without the benefit of getting married before Christmas morning the Santa suit is up for grabs again. The film introduced Elizabeth Mitchell as the prospective love interest who would go on to appear with the rest of the mostly intact cast of the original, in the third film.

So dubbed, "the Mrs. Clause", the premise made for another comedy that plays both funny and heart warming, qualities that have made all three films in the series holiday favorites.

As #9 in our countdown of The 12 Trailers of Christmas, Moviedozer is happy to present The Santa Clause 2.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Roy Disney 1930-2009

It is with tremendous sadness that news came today of Roy Disney's passing at the age of 79, the result of a prolonged battle with stomach cancer.

Roy would become a guardian of the Disney legacy left behind by his celebrated Uncle, who died on December 15th in 1966. It was Roy who many credit having rescued the company from a hostile takeover attempt in the 80's and who later worked tirelessly to reinvigorate Disney's Animation traditions. Having begun his Disney career as a writer on the True Life Adventure films that became a staple of Disney's Wonderful World of Color television show, Roy was also key in developing the Disneynature studio label that was tasked last year with providing nature oriented programming as a documentary film banner. (See Disney's 2nd Nature here.)

It seems a fitting tribute that Disney's return to hand drawn animation, The Princess and the Frog, debuted as the number one box-office film just last weekend. A film Time magazine called the number one movie of the year.

The loss of Roy's influence and guidance at the Disney Company is impossible to measure but we can only hope that his spirit will live on in the Disney brand as bold and brightly as that of his Uncle.

To the family and friends and most especially the cast members of the Walt Disney Company all over the globe, we extend our most heartfelt condolences and prayers. And to all who love and have loved Disney entertainment through the decades, we join with you in all of your fondest Disney memories, now and throughout the Holiday season.

The 12 Trailers of Christmas: Miracle on 34th Street

Here's a Christmas tradition that dates back to 1947 and the days of the great department stores of New York City.

That was the year when the original Miracle on 34th Street was released by Twentieth Century-Fox, but not quite during the holiday season. Fox actually released the film in May of that year because the studio was anxious to capture summer movie crowds (the fact that this was a Christmas film was never mentioned in the film's original marketing).

Starring Maureen O'Hara and John Payne, the cast also featured actors that would become classic movie fan favorites, including Edmund Gwenn (as Kris Kringle), Gene Lockhart (as Judge Harper), William Frawley and Jack Albertson (as the postal worker who comes up with the answer for proving Mr. Kringle is the real deal). But most memorable perhaps is a very young Natalie Wood as Susan Walker.

A classic whose ending just wouldn't be the same in the age of emails, texting and Twitter accounts, Moviedozer is happy to present trailer #10 in our 12 Trailers of Christmas countdown. (Incidentally, don't let the picture on the trailer clip throw you, this is the original trailer, the picture happens to be clipped from the 1994 remake.)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The 12 Trailers of Christmas: Christmas with the Kranks

Tim Allen has somehow become Mr. Christmas movie, but if an actor's gotta find a niche, making Holiday movies doesn't seem like a bad gig. Here he's playing Luther Krank, a neighbor with a decidedly un-Christmas like idea for spending the holidays. He's got Jamie Lee Curtis, as his wife, convinced but just as it looks like Christmas in the sunshine... a movie happens.

This one's from 2004 and was directed by Joe Roth for his own Revolution Studios. Christmas with the Kranks was released through Columbia Pictures and is #11 in our 12 Trailers of Christmas countdown. Enjoy.

You can find each days trailer in a larger format right on the front page of by clicking the link.

Monday, December 14, 2009

DreamWorks animated dragon building 101

When Monsters vs Aliens came out this past Spring, we could go along with the not-so-original characters as part of the spoof of 1950's sci-fi classics like The Blob (renamed "Bob") and Attack of the 50ft Woman. We get the joke, not so much the laughs.

But next in the pipeline for DreamWorks' CGI is How to Train Your Dragon, and this time we think there may be evidence of a trend. The dragon in the title role seems awfully familiar. With just a little memory searching, we think we may have stumbled onto DreamWork's formula for creating adorably mean and aggressive (but quick to befriend) CGI creatures. See for yourself, we think the formula looks like this.

But just to keep things in perspective, we were onto this one as well...

What's that they say about imitation?

Keep watching Moviedozer & Moviedozer dailies as we continue our countdown of The 12 Trailers of Christmas each day through Christmas morning.

The 12 Trailers of Christmas: Fred Claus

Happy Holidays from! Today begins our countdown of the Twelve Trailers of Christmas. We hope you'll enjoy a new Holiday trailer every day, right through Christmas morning. Each day, the large versions of the trailer can be seen on the front page of while the smaller versions will be here at Moviedozer Dailies.

We hope your holiday season brings laughs, warmth, joy and peace. All the very best from Moviedozer.

Trailer #12 is from 2007. Fred Claus starred Vince Vaughn and Paul Giamatti and was directed by David Dobkin. From Warner Bros. Pictures, here's the original trailer for Fred Claus...

Friday, December 11, 2009

Randy Newman is the Magic in Disney's return to animated musicals.

Disney released their last hand drawn animated feature, Home on the Range in April of 2004. With an estimated budget of 110 million, the film's run took in just a touch over 50 million in the U.S. and could only manage a dismal 26.5 million in foreign box-office. On the other end of the scale is Pixar's computer animated Finding Nemo (2003), with a box-office first run worldwide take of 865 million. Easy to see why hand drawn animation found its light extinguished at the Disney Animation Studios.

That is, until Disney acquired Pixar and got off its creatively spent tush.

Today Disney will release its proverbially long awaited and dramatically over-hyped return to hand drawn animation, in the tradition of its best rather than its last. That tradition, started with Snow White and cemented with classics from Cinderella to 101 Dalmatians, was once before reignited with the nearly perfect trio of Beauty and the Beast (in 1991), Aladdin (1992) and The Lion King (1994). It only charmed again briefly but recently in the Oscar nominated short The Matchgirl in 2006. Today the torch is passed to The Princess and the Frog.

As for the hype about return to traditions and the (mostly pointless) hoopla about the introduction of Disney's first "black" princess (who for most of the story is green), forget it. Here's what is most worthy of celebration - a return to the grand tradition of gorgeously animated Disney musicals. The best part? Disney has also returned to a tremendous musical talent to provide songs and score - Randy Newman.

In all of the variations of trailers that have preceded its release, and beautifully evident in a sampling of selections from its soundtrack, Mr. Newman, who spent childhood summers in New Orleans (the movie's setting), elegantly slips here into a custom fit. Having seeped his musical tastes in a good helping of jazz and zydeco, Randy Newman's melodies and arranging talent, used often by Pixar animation, finds a kind of perfect summit in this story set in deep blue, firefly studded bayous, dreamily tinted nostalgic New Orleans streets and fanciful, voodoo spiced swamp shacks. It's all a pleasure to look at and irresistible to the ear.

There's a taste of everything in the score. Jazz, dixieland, blues, zydeco and gospel, all get a spotlight and the songs are as fun and energetic as they are unforgettable. I challenge anyone with a touch of a ten year old in their heart to be able to shake off humming "Dig a Little Deeper" on the way out of the theater. Don't worry about where it comes in the movie, you'll smile to yourself the moment you hear the first refrain. Just let it wash over you and enjoy.

Congratulations to Disney on reasserting a strength that has so long laid forgotten. Congratulations to Mr. Lassiter on recognizing an art form that can be reenergized by simply nurturing great ideas and talents. And most of all, thanks to all of those involved for affording Mr. Newman yet another window for framing his spectacular talent. It is so happily preserved, along with so much before, as another piece of his growing legacy.

And just a note to Bob Iger - leave the talented guys alone and don't exploit this rediscovered treasure by mucking it up with heavy exploitation and mediocrity. We sincerely hope this will be only a once-every-few-years pleasure.

For those of you with a little bit of bandwith, we've included this production video courtesy of Disney Animation. Enjoy.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

2013? Count on it.

Mayan schmyan, I'll ride any bet in Vegas that the planet Earth will most definitely see 2013. And it's a safe bet we'll see the calendar year too.
What is absolutely assured is that with last weekend's blockbuster release, Roland Emmerich's 2012 will live past the Mayan Long Count calendar to see a sequel, though rumors are being thrown around faster than falling buildings in front of escaping limos and airplanes, that the big sequel may come in the form of a television series rather than on the silver screen.

Makes lots of sense when you consider that the hype for 2012 just might be true. This indeed may be the end-all-be-all of disaster flicks and after leaving the theater (on the 27th day of the new world) the most disastrous thing anyone can imagine AFTER the end of the world is Adam Lambert's attempt at a power ballad (A Time for Miracles) over closing credits. So the producers have that one covered too.

Roland Emmerich has succeeded in doing with 2012 what all other catastrophe movies have seemed to miss since the 70s, making far fetched spectacle work with ernest performances and mostly intelligent dialogue. The requisites for success and failure in this genre have only a very thin dividing line but the actors here make you feel like they're showing up on a project they believe in and are proud of - and the result are characters that pull back from caricature and become real people you care about and, more importantly, like. (With perhaps, the one exception of Woody Harrelson's broad comic turn as a nut-job conspiracy spouting independent radio broadcaster. Funny, but very cliché.)

It's a small group of actors that have nailed this balancing act but a proud group to be associated with. John Cusack, Amanda Peet, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Oliver Platt and (terrific performances in challenging kid roles) Liam James and Morgan Lily, now join the company of the classic performances the likes of Paul Newman, Steve McQueen, William Holden, Faye Dunaway (The Towering Inferno), Gene Hackman, Shelly Winters, Red Buttons (The Poseidon Adventure), and Burt Lancaster, George Kennedy and Jack Lemmon (the Airport franchise). Not bad company.

Because of lousy movies and lousy moviemakers, disaster films have gotten stuck with a "B" movie status. 2012 is class "A" moviemaking from the opening shot. We applaud Roland Emmerich for taking big chances with big budgets and for seeming to have such unabashed fun with it all. 2012 would have been an enormous hit whenever it was released but it's not a bad way to end the decade and 2009's blockbuster, and perhaps record breaking, box-office run at the movies.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Does this mouse look pissed? - He should be.

Here's a November headline from the New York Times - "After Mickey's Makeover, Less Mr. Nice Guy" (Brooks Barnes, 11.5.09). And you thought the New York Times couldn't shill their articles with the best of them.
Really guys? No more happy mouse?

First, in the interest of disclosure - that picture in the corner is a video game screen grab, and let's face it, video games can make Santa Claus look like a bastard. (Though nothing quite tops the "zombie elves" that populate the North Pole in Robert Zemeckis' The Polar Express - but as that topic always brings on a rant, we'll move on.) Just don't expect to be seeing a scowling Mickey beating up on Goofy in the theme parks or abandoning Pluto at the Toon Town pound.

If you've been paying attention, we've seen Mickey progress through the ages and much of it done under the watchful eyes of Walt and his "9 old men" master animators. Barnes tries to say that Disney may be concerned that their leading animated property is becoming more corporate logo than endearing comical pal. But isn't it true that Mickey's image on an annual report does for corporate Disney exactly what Mickey's face on juice container does for kids? It's not a corporate misstep that Mickey's very presence in everything to do with Disney business helps to remind Disney's investors and business partners that, as Walt is famously quoted to have said, "I only hope that we don't lose sight of one thing - that it was all started by a mouse".

Barnes goes on... "The effort to re-engineer Mickey is still in its early stages but it involves the top creative and marketing minds in the company, all the way up to Robert Iger, Disney's chief executive." And that "the project was given given new impetus this week with the announcement that... the company has received the blessing of the Chinese government to open a theme park in Shanghai...". Is Ms. Barnes suggesting that the look and feel of Mickey will be altered to make him more "marketable" to kids in China? The racist and politically incorrect jokes here could start an avalanche.

The idea that a Shanghai theme park should factor into a "re-engineering" of any cartoon character, let alone Mickey Mouse, is flat out silly. First of all, Disneyland Hong Kong's been around for years. Second, Ms. Barnes and anyone else who seriously thinks an evolving Mickey is anything more than keeping up with technology and the times, is ignoring the fact that Mickey is Mickey, an iconic image that is as much personality as yellow shoes and white gloves.

Barnes even suggests that "Disney executives are treading carefully, and trying to keep a low profile...". It's as if there's subterfuge afoot. Updating Mickey for video gaming, CGI animation and an expanding world audience where he needs to be both understood and unoffensive, seems more like obviously smart thinking and unavoidable growth. Even Mickey's youngest fans have grown more sophisticated, more connected and, somewhat amazingly, more technologically savvy. Staying relevant is good corporate governance.

Perhaps Ms. Barnes should relax and The New York Times should consider pumping up the fiber in their article ingredient list. How about this as a potential headline - "On the verge of a dying newspaper pandemic, the New York Times re-engineers its reporting to mimic 24 hour news TV and tabloids"?

Saturday, October 31, 2009

The art of show: Michael Jackson's This Is It

It would have been a shame not to release the footage. Captured by multiple cameras during live show rehearsals and background production sequences, the many hours of HD video edited down to This Is It's 2 hours and 1 minute runtime is a fitting tribute and a rare keepsake of an extraordinary talent. It is also an exceptional film that will influence live show production standards for decades.

Yes, every superlative you've heard about Michael Jackson's performance and all that fans have come to expect, is brilliantly evident. While his singing is restrained (an often referred to effort to preserve his voice for the pending 50 concert stint at Great Britian's O2 arena) it is beautifully on pitch and confident. His dancing is precise - so clean and exact as to appear second nature to his every movement. Michael Jackson's stage presence looks to be easily twenty years younger than his 50 years. This Is It's public glimpse into the planning for Michael Jackson's "comeback" is in every way worthy of his tremendous talent. It both adds to his formidable legacy and to our appreciation of his dedication and tremendous professionalism.

What This Is It is too, is a somewhat unanticipated surprise. For the many talents that are required to stage a modern concert spectacle, This Is It will become a production documentary, a kind of primer on executing an art form at its very highest levels. For all disciplines, there are a wealth of fascinating glimpses into the creativity of the artist. But it isn't the big set piece or the high tech tools brought to the production that impart insight, it is Michael Jackson's soul as an artist and his sensitivity to his fellow performers, his audience and to his art itself.

Given an unusually personal point of view through the cameras that roamed the Staples Center during the rehearsal process, every moment becomes an all access pass to witness first hand, and often close up, artist and director working out what would be, as Michael describes for his cast, an experience that his audiences had never seen before. Using his tremendous catalog of hit material as a jumping off point, it is his personal vision that is clearly the focus of every effort contributed by supporting cast and crew.

When the camera captures one on one conversations between Michael and his director Kenny Ortega (a man with too many exceptional choreography and movie directing credits to list), the exchanges fascinate. Even in a sequence where Ortega prods Michael to stay safe by not letting go of the rail of a rising stage lift, the scope of production concerns highlight the complex atmosphere that blends creativity, artistry and practicality into one seamless show. Testing of pyro stage effects (effects that carry extra weight when put into the context of Michael's 1984 stage accident), lighting discussions, audio monitoring discussions - all of the technical work that is fundamental and crucial to live performance, offer rare insight to the depth and scope of Michael Jackson's and Kenny Ortega's talents and their mutual trust and respect.

Particularly for young people considering careers in live show production, aspiring dancers, musicians and singers, This Is It is an absolute must-see. For those, it is a true glimpse into the dedication and commitment required of talent to succeed at the very highest levels of their art form. Two hours of rehearsal footage under the direction of Kenny Ortega, while sharing the stage with Michael's performance legend, bring clearly to light what it takes to be a performer relied upon to offer his or her best at every stage of production - from tryouts to opening night.

For the dancers, the singers, musicians and technical crew, there is simply never a moment of letting up, of holding back or of not remaining fully aware. As Michael Jackson himself starts and stops numbers, asks for changes or expresses his personal vision, he is so completely in command of his art as to inspire nothing less than awe AND absolute attention. For aspiring talent schooled on television competitions like "American Idol" and "So You Think You Can Dance", This Is It unveils what it takes to stand with the best. It should become an enduring example of pushing toward personal excellence.

Those very personal moments of seeing Michael Jackson's artistic sensibilities so unashamedly captured are alone worth watching and re-watching This Is It. His decades of performances, deep personal relationship with his material and his passionate love for his art are touchingly complimented by his loving and caring for the artists who surround him. Those who shared his rehearsal stage were indeed witness to greatness. Happily, through the release of the film, we can join them and share at least a tiny piece of that experience.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Iger's kids signal movie biz doom!

How's the senior exec of one of the 6 major Hollywood movie studios decide the future direction of his industry? Apparently by watching his 11 and 7 year old children play video games.
Don't take it from me, take it from the man himself (who, according to Forbes magazine, earned a cool 30 million in compensation last year). Speaking at an entertainment conference last weekend, Disney CEO Robert Iger forecast "profound" changes in the movie industry.

Emphasizing his point, Iger stated that those running the movie business will have to make changes, "or you will no longer have a business". As reported by, Iger, in referring to the decline of DVD sales, consumer resistance to Blu-ray and the advent of hi-def & home theater proliferation, noted that his 11 and 7 year old sons preferred playing video games (as opposed, we assume, to watching movies), he added, "They are the best laboratory I know".

Really? Just for starters, wouldn't you love to see how much money Disney Studios has spent on focus groups over the last couple of years? Who knew all of that cash could have been saved just by locking the Iger kids in a glass room? And as for Bob, this guy has every conceivable resource to access the state of his industry at the tip of each fingertip, yet he finds watching 11 and 7 year old boys his best gauge of what's working in entertainment.

A few points need to be made here. First, these aren't exactly your typical kids. Well, maybe in Beverly Hills, but the movie industry, thankfully, doesn't live and die on what sells in Beverly Hills. They're kids who have exposure to practically any kind of entertainment they bat their eyes at and it's a good bet, with Dad running a movie studio and the world's biggest theme parks, they may just be a little jaded.

As for that video game playing thing, how many movies in the last ten years have been BASED on video games? Pay attention Bob, this is important. How many movies get made INTO video games? (That movie Tron, that you just green lit for a sequel jumps immediately to mind.) Seems like playing video games is a pretty strong qualifier for a potential movie audience. Do you ever catch the kids reading comic books? Ditto.

Next issue. People just aren't adapting to Blu-ray. Let's follow the logic - DVD's replaced VHS and are now being replaced by digital download - Blu-ray is an HD format exclusively for DVD - so, DVD's are declining in sales because of a new medium emergence while that new medium also offers an HD format - except that while Blu-ray can cost upwards of 50% more than standard DVDs, HD downloads cost about the same. Why in the hell should it be surprising to anyone that Blu-ray isn't going to save DVD?

I'd suspect Bob, that you have your very own home theater. Go cozy up in one of your theater lounges and get comfortable. Nice huh? Just for a lark, go out to the mall one night and take in a flick with the common folk. No, the El Capitan doesn't qualify. Go pay for a coke and a pop corn, or at least watch the expression on a guy who's doing that for his whole family. Makes watching movies at home seem like a pretty good idea. Especially if it's in HD. And if the ordinary guy skipped a vacation or two and dropped in a huge flat screen, even better. Ever increasing internet speeds and leaps in cheap data storage, are all ADVANCES in state-of-the-art. Not to be a dick Bob, but that's how we got DVDs after tape. As I recall, that revolutionized home video. And where's all that home video coming from?

From you Bob. And from your movie vaults. Take a look at the balance sheets and you'll remember that home video is where you make a butt load of money re-issuing all of those Disney classics! It's also the only place where you can recover the money your studio blows on theatrically released duds like Surrogates, Race to Witch Mountain and Confessions of a Shopaholic. Don't bite the hand that feeds you Bob - or buys your kids video games.

"Or you will no longer have a business", your words Bob. Just what business is that? Any delivery format needs content. Doesn't matter if it's a VHS tape or a ruby crystal that projects holograms - content is king. You my friend are in the content business.

If the format doesn't sell - any format, try looking at the message, not the messenger. That is, if you made good movies that people want to watch and watch again, maybe they'd be willing to buy them. And if you would embrace and fairly price the best possible formats that technology allows, maybe it wouldn't matter what technology that was. Your a movie studio Bob, so what do you care whether your profit comes from movie theater tickets or from home theater downloads, so long as it comes? But I guess you can't really discern all that by watching your kids jump to another level in Bioshock.

While we're letting the casually opinionated Mr. Iger think that over, we'll mention that he didn't actually offer much in the way of suggestions. Bob's idea was to shorten the span between theatrical and home video release. We don't have an argument with that, in fact we've been supporting Mark Cuban who's fought that battle for years, but we do question the point. Does Disney want to make a business out of direct-to-DVD? Last we checked, their head creative guru, John "Pixar" Lasseter, agreed that cranking out cheap made-for-video sequels is a really bad idea. Telling, that that would be an opinion educated by watching content rather than trying to scope out trends and second guess formats.

We think it's simple. If you want to save movies, simply make movies worth saving. If you want to insure the future of home movie sales, embrace every possible way to make movies look better and sell with value, then let the customer choose if they'd like it stored on a closet shelf or a hard drive, or on some ethereal virtual "cloud".

So Bob, we'd like to suggest you educate yourself with a little experiment. Go grab up all of those exciting, action packed video games you've been watching your kids play and replace them with the worst selling games on the list. Then watch the activity in your living room next weekend.

We're betting on the 11 year old blowing off the game console and heading straight to the computer to download the new release of Star Trek or maybe the 7 year old fires up Iron Man on the flat screen. With the new data in, just one weekend could change the fortunes of the movie business and completely destroy the future of video gaming. Ah, to be an Iger heir and hold the balance of world wide entertainment in your young, easily bored and trend-setting hands.

In the interest of disclosure and fair play, we'll own up to the fact that we think Mr. Iger is actually doing a decent job for Disney. Sorry, Bob, it was just fun to pick on you as you seemed miss the forest for the trees.

Any industry suffers when its products become poorly conceived, cheaply made or overpriced. Look no further than Detroit for confirmation. Rule 2 - don't tell you're customer how it's going to be, that's what the customer's telling you. You should be listening. Problem is, their voices seem to get through best when they put away their wallets.

To the CEOs out there - you should be making your products undeniably great instead of denying you're too often making less than great products. Movie studios need to produce engrossing and entertaining content. Let consumers decide how they want to see it and in what format they'd like to own it. The consumer. No one else.

They are your audience - play to them. They'll thank you for it.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Paranormal Marketing Activity

When does a marketing campaign cost more than its movie? Well let's just put it this way - you can barely buy the poster for Paranormal Activity for what it cost to make the film. That is, a studio marketing department can't. Paramount almost certainly paid BLT & Associates more than the $15,000 or so it reportedly cost to make the film, to come up with the current poster - and the poster is just the room going cold before the paranormal events race in to chill your blood.

A little back story is in order. On July 30th, 1999, everything about making and marketing movies bumped and stumbled into a scary patch of woods and suddenly shaky camera mock-documentaries were popular and profitable, insanely so, because of The Blair Witch Project. Made for $60,000, Blair Witch went on to make a touch under a quarter of a billion worldwide. For those keeping score, the take was 4,008 times its original production budget.

Enter Paranormal Activity and its writer/director Oren Peli, a video game designer with no previous experience in film. In one week in 2006 he shot a movie. In 2008, that movie grabbed screen time at the Slamdance Film Festival in Utah. From there the history starts blurring into urban legend status. Steven Spielberg is reported to have screened the film in his home where he becomes convinced his bathroom is haunted. Dreamworks buys the movie and shelves it with the intent of remaking it studio style with big stars and big budgets. Paramount then gets hold of a true brainstorm and steps in with the decision to release the film as is. They decide to back the release with clever marketing and a lean budget, emphasizing an inexpensive viral internet campaign, then stoke the hype with ultra-limited (read - aren't you lucky to be here) midnight screenings. The master stroke - a "Demand It!" campaign that may become more legendary than the movie itself.

The marketing idea was simplicity itself. The online campaign promised agitated scare freaks that with 1 million registered "demands", the studio would cave in and go wide release! Wow, they would do all that just because we demanded it? Cool!

And Demand It! audiences did. That's at least the hype - and the success of that hype is only starting to crank up the money counters over at Paramount. The advertising is going heavy on audience reaction; apparently there are people who actually believe those crowds screaming in theater lines would still behave that way even if there wasn't a cameraman filming them for a promo. Advertising using the movie's actual footage doesn't conjure up nearly as much excitement without cutting to people jumping and cringing in their theater seats. For all of the ordinariness of what's actually on the screen, it becomes clear that this is a film made in the marketing.

So far, so good, for all involved. Weekend box-office results watched Paranormal Activity jump into the top ten at number 4! Without much competition, it only needed a weekend take of $2.4 million to achieve that result, but on a budget of under twenty grand and a 15 day take of nearly $4 million in very limited release, expect the real paranormal activity to be this film moving up the charts rather than down.

And as for the truly chilled to the bone, frightened beyond belief, scared souls sneaking out of the back of the theater? Those would be movie and marketing executives from every other studio in Hollywood. But be careful you enthusiastic ticket buyers who love to scream on camera for a chance to be in a Paranormal Activity promo clip... you reap what you sow - so while you're helping to stack Paramount's profits, you're also asking for every studio on the planet to make dirt cheap video quality movies and charge you full price to see them.

How long before you see this on a poster? - "From the same team that marketed Paranormal Activity comes...". Now that's damned scary. We warned you here first.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Disney's latest release - not Up but Out!

Disney has been making lots of news lately but at least one announcement didn't come with the fanfare and hoopla that was present at their first ever "D23" fan convention in Anaheim ten days ago. Rather, just a couple of days after the close of the convention, Disney Chairman Robert Iger summoned Disney Studio chief Dick Cook, a 38 year Disney employee (he started as Monorail operator at Disneyland) into his office and dropped the biggest news of all - you're out!

Showbiz Data reports that the meeting lasted only ten minutes and that Iger held true to corporate traditions, cowering behind empty rhetoric and after-the-fact complaints. (If you've been in Mr. Cook's position the technique is all too familiar - "after lots of consideration"...blah, blah... "decided to go in a different direction..." blah, blah, blah... "oh yeah, and there were complaints..." blah, blah, blah. Complaints, of course, that don't get discussed until they can be sprung as justification for an agenda, but we could easily digress into a rant on the pitiful lack of integrity in corporate America.

More to the point, aside from what sounds like Dick Cook getting royally screwed in the Happiest Place on Earth, here's why these things matter to movie lovers and Disney shareholders alike. All of those very same announcements Disney was showcasing just a few days earlier to the pixie-dusted faithful may now be in jeopardy.

All the oohing and ah-ing at the duck & mouse show of costumed celebrities, elaborate props and high profile name dropping, may just have done a Cinderella's coach and poof-ed back into a pumpkin. While Disney was using their new fan convention to showcase their two strongest skills - marketing and trading on their fabled history, back at the castle the King of the Kingdom seems to have been plotting something nefarious in his chambers. Now, since many of the D23 announcements are built on creative commitments that themselves are built on loyalty and the genuine affection felt for Dick Cook, it's anybody's guess what the King has wrought.

Take a look at the top three news headlines that came out of D23.

1. Johnny Depp, already attached to Disney's big screen debut of The Lone Ranger as "faithful Indian sidekick" Tonto, came out in full Jack Sparrow regalia to let Disney fans know that there would indeed be Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, the fourth adventure of the series. A day after Dick Cook's ouster, Depp said he was shocked and saddened by Cook's departure. The Los Angeles Times reported Depp as saying "there's a fissure, a crack in my enthusiasm at the moment", "He's instantly trustworthy. And you don't generally meet people at the studios you trust."

2. Filmmaker Guillermo del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth, Hellboy & Hellboy II: The Golden Army), had agreed to collaborate with Disney on introducing a brand new film production label called Disney Double Dare You. The idea is to create animated films with lots of fun scares and thrills set for a younger (think Harry Potter-ish) audience. That announcement came from Dick Cook himself at the convention. Working from a concept conceived by the director, the idea seems to perfectly team studio, marketing and creative. You have to believe that this is another project that now goes into the "will it happen" category.

3. Also at D23, Dick Cook seemed to take great pride in announcing a new partnership between Disney, Robert Zemeckis and the Beatles' Apple Corps, to create a motion capture remake of the Beatles only animated feature film, Yellow Submarine. Not only is this a high profile and prestigious project for Disney but it is the second outing for Disney with Zemeckis' ImageMovers Digital, a pioneering and evolving creative animation company that, much like Pixar, could be a pathway to a library of future properties. Robert Zemeckis is another film producer heaping praise on Cook's working style and ethics. Zemeckis is currently at work putting final touches on his 3D animated A Christmas Carol, starring a motion-capture Jim Carey as Scrooge, to be released by Disney this November, a project conceived and completed under Dick Cook's leadership.

Then there's Steven Spielberg... Disney's commitment this past Spring to distribute Spielberg's DreamWorks output in the coming years was, according to Spielberg himself, an agreement largely entered into on the goodwill and friendship shared between he and Cook. Yet another valuable relationship that, at least for the moment, seems up for grabs.

In the last years one would be hard pressed to look past Pixar and see any genius coming from Disney's film studios. The blockbuster hit realized from Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl was quickly scuttled with over saturation in Disney's theme parks and dismally declining quality in scripts on the following two installments. Though Depp re-inhabiting the persona of Jack Sparrow is welcome, it realistically can't be considered an instant hit. High School Musical 3, Hannah Montana and the Jonas Brothers should be credited over to Disney Channel programming. After that, there are a string of mediocre to bad family films (and even worse Disney classic remakes) that have driven talents like John Travolta and Tim Allen to "family forgettable" status. The studio has been garnering as much attention for its hits as its flops, while limited in-house production has become Robert Iger's M.O. It would seem that the Disney Studios is soon to be merely a clearing house for outside creative talent and production companies.

There is a last thought we find ourselves considering. John Lasseter, the wunderkind of Pixar and the man now entrusted with guiding the creative in everything Disney, may be the man the mantle falls to when the dust clears. But when that dust clears, the view looking up will be the looming shadow of Robert Iger running a gigantic corporate behemoth more and more reliant on the ideas and talents of people that only work for (and tolerate) the company on contract, a situation hard to influence, a business model hard to bend and a profit structure that's hard to live up to. If there's anything ever designed to inhibit and eventually crush the life out of creativity, Robert Iger may be creating it.

What will happen if John Lasseter won't have it? What will Disney look like to fans and movie lovers at next year's D23?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Larry Gelbart's passing on Friday followed today by the death of actor Patrick Swayze.

On this past Friday, as Moviedozer Dailies was being updated with a new post, late word came that screenwriter and television show creator Larry Gelbart had passed away at the age of 81. Well known for his landmark work in developing the long running break-through TV comedy M.A.S.H., Mr. Gelbart also had a unique history in creating enduring screen comedies that would be defined by both magnificent casts and legendary directors.

To give just a sense of Mr. Gelbart's contribution to cinematic history, consider the names attached to some of our favorite movies of all time, just a sampling of an extraordinary resumé.

The Thrill it All from 1963 is a classic in the series of movies starring James Garner and Doris Day. The film was directed by Norman Jewison and Mr. Gelbart shares his story credit with none other than Carl Reiner, who also wrote the screenplay.

In 1966, Mr. Gelbart's writing credits include Not with My Wife You Don't which starred Tony Curtis, Carroll O'Connor and George C. Scott with direction by legendary writer/director Norman Panama, and the film adaptation of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, a writing collaboration that included Mr. Gelbart's work on the book from the Broadway show. That film was also directed by a legendary talent, Richard Lester (who's many credits include both Beatles films, A Hard Day's Night and Help) and included the all star comedy cast of Zero Mostel, Phil Silvers, Buster Keaton and Jack Gifford along with the singing talents of a very young Michael Crawford.

The tradition of great actors under the direction of legendary directors highlighted an extraordinary amount of Larry Gelbart's subsequent writing projects. Oh God from 1977 cast George Burns and John Denver under the direction of Carl Reiner. 1980's Rough Cut teamed actors Burt Reynolds, Leslie-Anne Down and David Niven with director Don Siegel (who earlier had directed a large part of Clint Eastwood's best work including Dirty Harry and Play Misty for Me). In 1981, there was Neighbors, casting John Belushi and Dan Akroyd with director John G. Alvidsen and in '84, Blame It On Rio with Michael Caine and Joseph Bologna (and a very young Demi Moore), directed by Stanley Donen. Most memorable, from 1982, an unforgettable cast lead by Dustin Hoffman in one of director Sydney Pollack's gems, Tootsie.

Larry Gelbart was a writer's writer in every sense. The caliber of talent who brought his words to life on movie screens and televisions over five decades is a fitting testimony to his accomplishments and to his legacy.

Unfortunately, more sad news broke in the movie business today with the announced passing of actor Patrick Swayze. Mr. Swayze succumbed to a long and well publicized struggle with pancreatic cancer. He was 57.

Mr. Swayze has also left an enduring list of memorable screen performances. Among our very favorites are 1984's Red Dawn with Jennifer Grey, Charlie Sheen, Lea Thompson and C. Thomas Howell, Point Break, with Keanu Reeves and Gary Busey (1991) and two of his most beloved films and bona fide blockbusters, 1987's Dirty Dancing where he ignited screens with Red Dawn co-star Jennifer Grey, and Ghost, the brilliantly conceived supernatural love story co-starring Demi Moore and Whoopi Goldberg, released in the summer of 1990 and earning more than a half billion dollars worldwide.

Our warmest wishes to the friends and families of both Mr. Gelbart and Mr. Swayze and to movie fans who, like us, will find some time over the coming weeks to watch and relive a little of the legacy each has left behind.

Photo of Larry Gelbart courtesy of

Friday, September 11, 2009

Hey! Wanna go to the Oscars?

I know, the Oscars? Already? Well, if you're a big movie fan and have always wished for your very own space on the red carpet, you need to be thinking about where you want to be on Oscar night right now.

Yesterday, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), the Oscar folks, have announced that they will be conducting a random drawing for seats in the bleacher sections that line the 500-foot-long red carpeted walkway that leads into the Kodak Theater for the Academy Awards® ceremony. There are only 700 seats available and applications for the drawing are open to Oscar fans all over the world.

Here's the deal... the application process will begin next Monday, Sept. 14th at noon ET and continue for one week, closing on Sunday, Sept. 20th at midnight, ET. To register an application, fans must log into the Academy's website by clicking or entering this link into your browser, There you'll find an application form that must be filled out in its entirety and submitted online. You can register up to four persons on a single form but only one form may be registered per person or per group.

If you're lucky enough to be selected in the drawing, you'll be notified in early October and required to submit additional security information before your attendance can be approved by the Academy. After final approvals, winners will receive confirmation letters in early December with additional event information. Sorry, travel and hotels isn't included. Neither, we assume are cameras, autograph books or any additional message units for all of the texts and tweets you'll be busy sending all of your friends.

Should you get the invitation, you can be grateful that there won't be anyone sitting next to you who got around the online process by simply showing up in the middle of the night. The Academy has warned that anyone waiting overnight will not be granted entry. After watching the movie stars and celebrities make their entrance, everyone seated in the bleachers will be invited to watch the Oscar telecast "from a nearby location", so you won't miss out on any part of the big show.

According to the Academy, in past years, as many as 20,000 fans have applied online for the special seating. So, should you find yourself selected and approved, it would seem bragging rights are certainly attached.

This will be the 82nd Academy Awards presentation. The event will be held on Sunday, March 7th, 2010 at the Kodak Theater at Hollywood & Highland Center®, Hollywood CA. For those not able, willing or interested in grabbing bleacher seats at the theater, the show is being televised by ABC in more than 200 countries worldwide. If you decide to go through the online process and get selected, we'd love to hear from you so we can follow your adventure right through Oscar night. Good luck.

The information above was provided by AMPAS' publicity department and may be subject to change. Moviedozer Dailies and SparxLab Projects assume no responsibility for the accuracy of the information provided. Further information is available at the Academy's site link in the article.