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Renita Jablonski: It’s an important weekend for Hollywood executives — the start of summer movie season. The first big release is “Iron Man.” Going to the movies is not a cheap date, but it is cheaper than a lot of other entertainment options. Of course, with the slowing economy, that’s something that’s being talked about a lot in La-La Land. And no one knows that better than Mike Spier, executive editor at Variety.
Mike Spier: Yeah, it’s a very popular topic that people complain that the cost of movies is going up. But if you look at it what there is zero other choice in terms of entertainment that is as cheap as going to the movies. Now, what everyone is talking about pretty much is that they’re wondering how this summer will compare to last summer, when we had these huge sequels. You had “Pirates of the Caribbean,” you had “Shrek,” all these amazing franchises that always do well instantly. We don’t have those, but at the same time, there are more choices and we’ll see what happens to the other movies.
Jablonski: And for new movies, you need actors. What’s up with the SAG negotiations?
Spier: It’s getting pretty ugly, actually. It’s not going the way that you’d think having seen a writer’s strike kind of debilitate the city. When the writers went on strike, they’re writers. They like to put pen to paper and they like to explain their issues and explain what’s going on and that’s what they did. So, the writers leaders chose to battle this is the press. And so, SAG could start to do that; studios could start to do that now. But right now they have not. ‘Cuz they said let’s be civil and let’s talk for the first week.
Jablonski: And speaking of PR campaigns, you can’t get away from this Miley Cyrus thing that just blew up this week. A billion dollar money maker for Disney. How do you think this is gonna play out?
Spier: Well, it is kind of hacky to say this, but the old adage that there is no bad publicity is perfectly suited for this. I mean, what is it that she did, exactly? I mean, maybe you can argue that the magazine, Vanity Fair, should have, you know, “Let’s keep an eye on them, young man.” I mean, maybe rap their knuckles for treating a 15-year-old like an adult. But as for what this will quote-unquote do for her career? She posed for a magazine and it brought attention to her show. Her. Her name is out among that many more millions of people know who she is now. And, I can’t imagine that hurting her life as she gets older in her career. She’s trying to transition from the Hannah Montana brand to other features. So, this probably wasn’t a direct cause and effect of that, but what’s the worst that can happen is that everyone in the world knows who she is.
Jablonski: Mike Spier, is executive editor at Variety. Thanks so much for stopping by.