Those looking to get a head-start on Friday Buzzkills should consider these recent news items:
-General Motors, which has sponsored the documentaries of Ken Burns since The Civil War, confirmed this week that because of their recent financial woes, Burns' current project (a history of national parks) will be the last they'll be underwriting. Burns takes a lot of knocks for his rigid style (among other things), but his films about American wars, American politics, American music and American sport have been valuable for the stories they've preserved and the conversations they've started. Here's hoping he finds another sponsor.
-The March 27th opening of DreamWorks' animated action-comedy Monsters Vs. Aliens won't be going exactly as the studio hoped, since only 2,000 of MvA's 7,000 screens will be presenting the movie in 3D—a major step down from the 5,000 3D screens DreamWorks was counting on. Apparently the big theater chains have been having difficulty coming up with the money to convert their screening rooms to 3D-ready, even though the 3D gimmick has proven so popular that movies have begun to compete for those valuable screens. (Coraline got bumped off the 3D screens two weeks ago when the Jonas Brothers movie opened, though after the Brothers proved less-than-sensational, some chains moved Coraline back.) The big studios keep announcing more and more 3D projects. Will they have to scale back their plans?
-In a fascinating article in the showbiz news site The Wrap, reporter Amy Kaufman digs into the strange goings-on surrounding Fade In magazine's long-running screenwriting competitions. Reportedly, some contestants have been paying their $45 entry fees, and receiving notices that they've won the top prize of $750, advice from a pro screenwriter and access to producers and agents—only to wait around for months and months with no check and no contact. Moreover, many of the big-name screenwriters listed on the competition's "advisory board" were completely unaware that they were in any way associated with Fade In (though according to the article, it seems that some of their publicists signed them up without really explaining what was going on). The unpaid winners in The Wrap's piece don't mind so much about the missing money; it's the introduction to Hollywood pros they were most hoping for. If it turns out those pros were never really involved in the first place, that'll be an even more crushing blow than any delinquent payments.