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January 27, 2009 |

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | January 27, 2009 |

I know. I know, you hate change! But, I’ll at least explain the new layout tweaks this time, won’t that make it better? See: The economy is in recession. Did you hear? When that happens, you cling to every goddamn penny you can cling to. We’re a mid-sized site, and we therefore depend on a variety of ad networks to keep us in business. Compared to other websites, fortunately, we have fairly low overhead — thanks to the many writers here who perform their services either for free or less than the going rate (whatever the going rate is in 2009). That means we probably won’t shutter, like many blogs who have full-time staffers. Unfortunately, there are still expenses involved, and to keep the various ad networks we work with happy, we need to provide prime positions for their ad blocks. Otherwise, they’ll tell us to go screw, and take what’s left of their little inventory and give it to Harry Knowles or something. Hence, the redesign: There’s not actually more ads (there’s actually one less than before), they’re just placed more “strategically,” and the page is wider (although, the content area is the same size as before). And remember a few months back, when I moved the content from the center to the left? And remember how many people wanted to cause me unspeakable pain because they were drifting off of their chairs while reading the site? Well, I suspect most of you got used to it. Alas, I’m moving it back. Please don’t hate.

But, there is a shiny new banner, which will hopefully distract you until you get used to the tweaks. In the meantime, our next new project, which will hopefully come about in the next few weeks or so, is trying to speed up the commenting ability. It sucks to have to wait 60 seconds every time you post a comment, and hopefully, we’ll have the problem solved soon. After that, we’re going to work on our Pookie automated commenter — we’re going to try to tighten the screws a little, and increase the level of coherence (I kid).

But, we’re not the only ones affected by the economy. Did you hear that there have been a few layoffs recently? Indeed, even our friend Anne Thompson at Variety got the heave-ho yesterday. It’s a very unpleasant climate out there, and until Steve Jobs gets back to health and heals the economy (with Obama’s help, of course), these cutbacks will unfortunately continue. I didn’t even realize, of course, that an economic downturn could affect Hollywood, but boy was I wrong.

For instance, did you hear that Seth Rogen’s pet project, a big-screen version of The Green Hornet, starring himself in the title role, looks like it’s probably not going to happen. I’m not even sure if this one is recession related — Stephen Chow had been set to star and direct, but a few weeks ago, bowed out of the director’s chair, and now he apparently wants out completely, which leaves The Green Hornet in limbo and probably a non-starter. (Updated reports suggest that Chow has not left, but who knows?) All I’m saying is: I hope Seth Rogen’s rapid weight loss was not for naught.

But that’s not all: Astroby, which is scheduled for release this October, and which already has a trailer (which I believe we’ve featured, perhaps in V’s Weekly Geek), is also experiencing money troubles. The production company, Imagi (which is also making Gatchaman), has run out of money. And no money means no movie. That could push Astroboy deep into the distant future.

And one last movie-related recession note, while we’re on the topic: Although the first two Narnia movies grossed around $1.2 billion, Disney is nevertheless pulling the plug on the franchise, citing both the economy and Prince Caspian’s relatively weak worldwide earnings ($420 million, compared to the first film’s $700 million). Although this decision was not made based on purely money factors: Apparently, Disney had a huge blow-out with Phil Anschutz’s and his Walden Media, who were displeased with the way that Disney marketed Prince Caspian. The third movie, Voyage of the Dawn Treader, nevertheless is moving ahead with a new director, Michael Apted, who directed The World is Not Enough. Walden Media may do its own distribution.

Sorry About the New Layout, Folks / Dustin Rowles

Industry | January 27, 2009 |

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here or follow him on Twitter.

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