paulblart§ That story about how magazine/book distributor Anderson Media was trying to charge magazine publishers 7 cents an issue to distribute magazines is now playing out. Over the last few seeks, Anderson has closed its door and laid off employees. Now, several book publishers are trying to force it into bankruptcy:

In court papers filed in U.S. bankruptcy court in Manhattan, publishing companies Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins Publishers, Random House Inc and Simon & Schuster Inc said they are owed a combined $37.5 million.

Under U.S. law, creditors may begin an involuntary bankruptcy proceeding to force a debtor to confront the debts they are owed. The alleged debtor has about 20 days to object to the filing.

A phone number for the Knoxville, Tennessee-based company has been disconnected.

§ On a more positive note, the old adage that cheap entertainment thrives in a recession is holding up as box office is up 16 percent over last year:

While much of the economy is teetering between bust and bailout, the movie industry has been startled by a box-office surge that has little precedent in the modern era. Suddenly it seems as if everyone is going to the movies, with ticket sales this year up 17.5 percent, to $1.7 billion, according to Media by Numbers, a box-office tracking company.

And it is not just because ticket prices are higher. Attendance has also jumped, by nearly 16 percent. If that pace continues through the year, it would amount to the biggest box-office surge in at least two decades.

Box office analyst David Poland suggests that the surge is due more to the great appeal of PAUL BLART, a premise whose implications we’re not entirely comfortable with but, okay.


  1. The “this year” referred to in the article is January and February of 2009. I suggest that there are a number of good movies out there for people to see this year. I looked for good movies last Jan. and Feb., and ran out after 2 or 3 movies. I even went to see 10,000 BC, hoping for a good movie. Ouchies.

  2. Just saw Paul Blart last night. As my friend said, I want my two hours back. I found it horribly cliche. Also, the villains seemed like EXTREME BMX ninjas. What? No one was making Suf Ninjas 2? The only appeal to me was that they filmed it at a local mall.

  3. I find James on King of Queens very funny, but he is the also thrives in cheap humor. I have not seen the movie, but I imagine there’s not much to it, though it may be low-brow funny.

    btw, this is a The Beat, Double Post. O.o

  4. It’s actually very strange. There are very few good movies out right now. Most of the increase is due to movies coming out in December which have had excellent word of mouth–Grand Torino, Slumdog Millionaire, and some people actually liked Benjamin Button. Combine that with hits coming out of nowhere like Mall Cop and Taken, and you have yourself an unusually busy year. This past weekend was the worst of the bunch with Street Fighter and the Jonas Brothers as the only releases and neither of them did particularly well.

    I sure hope people haven’t spent all their money on these crap movies because March has most of the potentially good ones.

    “cheap entertainment”… there’s no way I would pay the prices movie theatres are charging these days. I find my cheap entertainment at the public library, thank you.

  5. Movies currently available at the local multiplex:

    Gran Torino
    The Reader
    Slumdog Millionaire

    And that’s just the ones that I know are good. Yes, most of them are somewhat old at this point, but there are choices for those who don’t go to the movies every week.

  6. Movies are still inexpensive if you go during the day. Evening prices are kind of stiff at $11.00. That’s what I pay to see an IMAX movie and that is worth $11.00. Prices are less in smaller towns, more in big cities like New York & L.A. In 1993 I was up in Willows, CA (a nice small town) and saw Jurassic Park at night for $3.00 during its first run. It was in a nice, old theater.