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1985 to 1995[]

  • (Jun.1985): Kurt Cobain, an up and coming musician from Seattle, Washington, graduates from High School. His grades are poor, so he can't go to art school like he was considering. He intends to save up money by working odd jobs until then.
  • (01/05/1986): Tempted to start using heroin due to chronic stomach issues, Cobain is stopped by his good friend Krist Novoselic, who recommends a new type of marijuana for him to use instead. Cobain becomes hooked on the new form of pot and begins using it every day.
  • (1987 to 1993): Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic form a grunge rock band named Nirvana. A year after the release of their 1989 album Bleach, the two are joined by Dave Ghrol who becomes Nirvana's official drummer, the band also signs a record deal with DGC Records the same year. Nirvana gains international attention after the release of Nevermind in 1991 which becomes one of the biggest and most influential music albums of all time.
  • (05/05/1990): Musician Frank Zappa is successfully treated for prostate cancer and goes into remission. "I'm happy to have this burden off my shoulders now, it was a real pain in the ass", Zappa tells Rolling Stone.
  • (08/07/1993): During the final days of production on Nirvana's third album In Utero, Dave Grohl shows Cobain a song he has penned known as "Marigold". Cobain likes the song, but asks Grohl to save it for the next album, not wanting to "waste written art on a B-side." "Gallons of Rubbing Alcohol Flow Through the Strip" is chosen as the B-side for "Heart Shaped Box" instead.
  • (Feb.1994 to Apr.1994): Nirvana goes on a European tour for In Utero which is briefly delayed after Cobain had to receive emergency medical attention in Rome, Italy. Thankfully Cobain rejoined Nirvana and managed to finish up the European tour by the end of April.
  • (07/07/1994 to 09/09/1994): Following the successful In Utero European tour, Nirvana headlines Lollapalooza. The 1994 tour is considered to be a smash hit due to their involvement and the group is said to be "on top of the world at this point". With the live album Nirvana: Live and Loud at Lollapalooza becoming a big seller for DGC Records upon its release in October.
  • (09/09/1994): Cobain begins writing material for Nirvana's fourth album, which is to be entitled Tuc Eht Parc. "I just wanna do something not involving only three chords", he allegedly tells band-mate Dave Grohl. Grohl allegedly plans to write several tracks of his own for the next album.
  • (09/17/1994): Frank Zappa offhandedly mentions yearning to perform with Nirvana at some point. "I think that kid has some legitimate talent and putting our heads together to make other heads roll might be a blast", Zappa quips to one reporter.
  • (09/30/1994): Cobain announces he will become a father for the second time after his wife Courtney Love is confirmed to be pregnant with a second child on the way.
  • (10/02/1994): Cobain is interviewed by Michael Azerrod, author of the authorized band biography Come As You Are: The Story of Nirvana, for a December 1994 cover story in Rolling Stone and two new chapters to be added to a second edition of the book. He plays demos of Tuc Eht Parc material for Azerrod, and states in the interview that "Well, I'm having to really learn how to balance my life and get everything in order. I learned the hard way that albums need tours to ensure success and to set up one's bank account, but I also still don't want to out on the road too long and neglect my kids." When asked about Hole's recent album Live Through This and Courtney Love's alleged hookup with Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor while performing in New Orleans, Cobain seems nonplussed. "I thought Courtney made a hell of an album, and I'm glad it's done so well. I don't have any insight into whether Courtney did sleep with Trent, but at the moment, things are going great for us."
  • (10/05/1994): The MTV music video for the 4th In Utero single "Pennyroyal Tea" is released. It takes place in a Victorian era mansion, with Cobain, Grohl and Novoselic dressed as aristocrats. They throw tea all over one another as the song is played.
  • (10/25/1994): Dave Grohl has an interview of his own with Michael Azerrod and alludes to his desire to pursue a side project of his known as the Foo Fighters. "I know Kurt's letting me use some of my songs on the next album and that's great, but I really want to find my own voice at least some of the time." This leads to rumors that Grohl and Cobain are having a falling out.
  • (11/06/1994): Nirvana heads out for a tour across America. During this time, a tabloid article entitled "Love Loves Nails?" is released, detailing Courtney Love's alleged affair with Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Renzor.
  • (12/05/1994): The music video for ”Rape Me" is released. It takes place inside a prison as various shots of a seahorse are shown, while the prisoners are being processed.
  • (02/06/1995): Nirvana returns from its American tour and begins production on Tuc Eht Parc in Bad Animals Studio, Seattle, with a set release date for sometime in September.
  • (02/09/1995): MTV News does a segment on Nirvana working in Bad Animals, interviewing them and producer Adam Kasper, who worked on material the band did last year in Robert Lang Studios, including the agreed-upon lead single, "You Know You're Right." Cobain addresses the rumors of infighting between him and Grohl. "I'm very aware of Dave's wanting to contribute to what we do. In fact, we've considered doing a bonus EP with songs he's done, for him to sing, and even play guitar on. But things between us are very healthy right now, and our working relationship has never been better." When asked whether touring guitarist Pat Smear will become a full-fledged member of Nirvana, Cobain shrugs. "Well, Pat's definitely going to keep playing with us onstage. But as to whether that morphs into something else, none of us know."
  • (02/12/1995): Guitar World publishes an interview with Nine Inch Nails touring guitarist Robin Finck, talking about the challenge of touring behind The Downward Spiral and Trent Reznor's state of mind. When asked about the Courtney Love rumors, Finck states "I can only state what I know for sure, and I what I do know for sure is that when Hole played at UNO, we were there to greet them backstage. Courtney went to a private room with Trent and we didn't see either of them for the rest of the night."
  • (02/14/1995): Hole's management issues a press release flatly denying the allegations of Love and Reznor's tryst. In the press release, Hole guitarist Eric Erlandson is quoted as saying, "Why would Courtney leave Kurt, especially when she has another child on the way, for someone as unstable and overly brooding as Trent? Lest we forget, Courtney ended up leaving Billy Corgan, someone who's very much the same. She's not going to go back to that."
  • (02/21/1995): During an interview with an NBC affiliate, media mogul David Geffen is asked about the music producer side of his career and how he directs the musicians he works with, he responds with, "Well if I'm being honest I would consider myself to be the music producer equivalent of Harvey Weinstein, as in I'm a guy who knows talent when he sees it in action. Like Harv I've saved many careers and brought many new, young, and talented souls into the public consciousness. Though I'm a persuasive man always trying to help others I must sadly live with the fact that I can't help or save everyone and that some people are doomed to self destruct without "proper guidance" in their career."
  • (02/27/1995): Production for Tuc Eht Parc wraps up.
  • (03/10/1995): Nirvana flies out to Canada to film a small scene in the Chris Farley movie Black Sheep, in which Tuc Eht Parc's lead single "You Know You're Right" is featured during the Rock the Vote sequence.
  • (03/27/1995): While Nirvana embarks on a month long tour across 10 major U.S cities, Courtney Love is once again spotted by the paparazzi with Trent Renzor. The rumors of her alleged infidelity begin to grow even more potent.
  • (04/13/1995): During a tour stop in Chicago, several hecklers hold up: "LOVE X RENZOR" signs, disrupting the show.
  • (04/19/1995): Nirvana quickly cancels a planned performance at the Myriad Convention Center after the Oklahoma City bombing and releases a statement. "We are truly saddened and outraged by this heinous act of violence. No act of fear or despicable cowardice should be rewarded in the way that the perpetrator intends. Whether that person is male, female, transsexual, black, Asian, native, Arab, white, Christian, Jewish or Buddhist. People are only people, and killers are killers."
  • (04/24/1995): At the federal prison that Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh is being held in, he is murdered by one of the guards, Eric Robinson, a die-hard Nirvana fan. "Kurt would have wanted me to do this", Robinson was heard saying.
  • (04/28/1995): Nirvana distances themselves from Eric Robinson and condemn his actions in a statement. "This unwanted action is probably what Timothy wanted in the first place, by killing him without fair trial you have only damned yourself and many others who thanks to your actions will never see proper justice for his crimes." Meanwhile Layne Staley of Alice in Chains is forced to go into rehab for one month as his heroin addiction worsens.
  • (05/03/1995): Cobain is photographed visiting Nothing Studios in New Orleans to visit Trent Reznor and give an appearance of solidarity. Speculation unfolds as to what Cobain and Reznor talked about inside the studio or whether they worked on any music together. Also present in the studio is Phil Anselmo, lead singer of Pantera, apparently scouting the studio as a place to do vocal tracks for Pantera's next album, rather than recording with the other members in Texas at the same time.
  • (05/09/1995): Krist Novoselic gets into a feud with a journalist who claims Courtney Love is having an affair with him.
  • (05/15/1995): Nirvana does a benefit show specifically for Oklahoma City victims at the newly-opened Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center in Florida. During the show, snippets of which are documented by MTV News, they give the audience and early peek at material from Tuc Eht Parc, notably renditions of "You Know You're Right" and "Do Re Mi." Cobain also makes light of the rumors of Love's affairs. "Raise your hands if Courtney has slept with you."
  • (05/30/1995): The pre-release tour for Tuc Eht Parc comes to an end at the Key Arena in Seattle, which is filmed and recorded for future release.
  • (06/04/1995): Courtney Love gives birth to a son, Patrick James Cobain. Tabloids immediately flood the newsstands claiming that Trent Reznor is actually the father.
  • (06/07/1995): To settle the paternity issue, a DNA test is performed. The tests confirm that Cobain is the father. Eric Erlandson uses the tests as proof that Love hasn't slept with Reznor, stating, "This should put the issue to rest once and for all."
  • (06/10/1995): While preparing for a co-headlining tour with David Bowie, Reznor and the live members of Nine Inch Nails are swamped by reporters asking about the Love rumors. The encounter turns heated, as screams and insults are hurled by both sides.
  • (06/15/1995): The summer tour for The Grateful Dead begins at the Franklin County Field in Highgate, Vermont. The show doesn't bode well, as tens of thousands of ticketless gate crashers are let in once they threaten to tear down the fence. Meanwhile, it becomes clear that the health of Jerry Garcia is visibly poor, his performances slothful and addled. Faithful Deadheads begin to pour in messages of concern about the gate crashers and Garcia to the band's management and to the press, forcing the Dead to take notice.
  • (07/02/1995): Jerry Garcia is hospitalized after suffering from a massive heart attack. He spends 5 days in the ICU and must re-learn how to walk before being able to return to The Grateful Dead.
  • (07/05/1995): Audio of Trent Reznor speaking to Robin Finck backstage at a show is leaked to The Howard Stern Show and broadcast live. In the tape, Reznor is heard saying that "Courtney really ran me ragged. She's fucking insatiable, and I don't see how any man can please her. I fear for Kurt and the kids." This tape is immediately hailed as proof of Love's dalliance with Reznor.
  • (07/07/1995): Love files a lawsuit against Howard Stern for airing the tape, and denounces the reports. "Let's make it absolutely fucking clear. I have never fucked Trent. I wouldn't even give that mopey bastard the time of day. All of this is bullshit, plain and simple."
  • (07/10/1995): Alice in Chains finishes recording its third self-titled album, with rumors of a tour popping up. Jerry Cantrell confirms that AiC will be embarking on their first tour in a year and a half in August to promote the Alice in Chains album, which is due out for December.
  • (07/23/1995): Reznor breaks his silence on the reports and states that he did indeed sleep with Love only once. "She came there with the intent to screw, and I was happy to oblige. She was upset because she didn't think I was any good at it, and kept on mocking the band name with comments like 'a more accurate name would be Three Inch Nails.' I wish to offer my apologies to everyone that was caught up in this shitstorm because of a night we both regret deeply." When asked about the Howard Stern broadcast, Reznor's mood turns. "I don't appreciate what Howard did in the slightest. I think he plays with fire and he doesn't realize the implications of what he's doing."
  • (07/31/1995): On the same day that The Walt Disney Company acquires ABC for $19 billion, it is also announced that Bob Iger (the president of ABC) will also become the new president and COO of The Walt Disney Company, taking over the duties that Michael Eisner had been handling all by himself since the death of Frank Wells in 1994.
  • (08/01/1995): Alice in Chains embarks on its North American tour.
  • (08/09/1995): Jerry Garcia dies in his San Francisco home at the age of 53. Millions of fans and fellow musicians grieve the loss of The Grateful Dead's frontman and the group announces it will be disbanding.
  • (08/13/1995): During a show at the Gorge Amphitheatre, Alice in Chains frontman Layne Staley does a brief snippet of the song "Ripple" to honor Jerry Garcia, and remarks about his past trouble with heroin use that infused the band's lyrics. "I want to make it clear that I am committed to a sober life, and that Jerry reminds us that we should. I regret ever using smack in the first place, and I hope that I can make up for it." Press reviews state that Staley appears to have put on much-needed weight, and that some dental implants stop him from slurring his lyrics, a problem that began to manifest during the brief tour with his side project, Mad Season. Performance-wise, critics note that "Staley's soulful, anguished screams remain in top form as ever."
  • (08/30/1995): When asked about his wife's one-night stand, Cobain gives the appearance of indifference. "Courtney sometimes tells me I should sow my wild oats and really enjoy the life of a rock star. I know Michael Stipe has given me a few looks here and there." When asked about the planned tour for the new album, Cobain states that it will start in Australia and Japan, marking Nirvana's first appearances there since 1992. "I think we're looking forward to doing the Budokan."
  • (09/19/1995): Tuc Eht Parc is released nationwide. Spawning the singles "You Know You're Right", "Do Re Mi", "Alone + Easy Target", and "Marigold" (the latter of which features Dave Grohl on the lead vocals). The album receives generally favorable reviews and is a commercial success, outselling In Utero and bordering the sales of Nevermind.
  • (09/26/1995): The music video for "You Know You're Right" is released onto MTV. In the video, Cobain promises to a crazed fan of his that he will give her the space she deserves, as she follows him across the United States, with various backdrops being shown.
  • (10/05/1995): Nirvana begins a tour across America to promote Tuc Eht Parc.
  • (10/11/1995): Pat Smear, who had a role on several of Tuc Eht Parc's songs, is officially inducted into Nirvana as their fourth member. "We definitely could use Pat's help on tours and in the studio. It takes a lot of weight off of our shoulders and makes music a lot more fun for all of us." Cobain says to a reporter.
  • (10/13/1995): During a performance at the Riverport Amphitheatre near St. Louis, infamous for a riot at a Guns N' Roses concert several years earlier, groups of fans hold various signs and chant slogans against Love. Cobain seems to take it in stride. "You'd be surprised how often I've gotten this from my family."
  • (10/15/1995): Courtney Love is once again caught in a media frenzy when it's alleged that she slept with SNL member Chris Farley, so that the latter could get his hands on illicit drugs such as heroin and coke.
  • (10/16/1995): Cobain's mother, Wendy O'Connor, is interviewed by ABC News about Love's infidelity. "Well, Courtney has always been a very polarizing figure, ever since she started out in music. Definitely, there are lots of people in my family that can't stand her, think she's the worst possible person for Kurt, and that she won't be a good mother to her children. I want it known that I will do my best to support her, for the sake of Frances and Patrick."
  • (10/17/1995): Gwen Stefani, the lead singer of the Ska-punk band No Doubt was resting comfortably in a hotel room in Los Angeles, the third album of her band No Doubt had debuted on the tenth and was getting good reviews, granted it wasn't selling well at the moment but she and the rest of the band were going to promote the HELL out of it among the skaters, teenagers, and other outcasts of society. It was hard going up against the popularity of 'Grunge' Rock, but she didn't like getting hung up on labels, she was going to make it.
  • (10/20/1995): Several friends and members of Chris Farley's family stage an intervention for him, while Chris has had issues with drugs, alcohol, and his weight for years and tried over and over to get effective treatment for it, it hasn't work and with the latest rumors connecting him with Courtney Love proved too much. His brother John manages to convince him to check into rehab, even though SNL's latest episode was to role the next day.
  • (10/21/1995): It was announced by Norm Macdonald on the SNL broadcast alongside the host actor David Schwimmer, that Chris Farley had been convinced by his friends and family to check himself into a rehabilitation center due to 'concerns' about his various problems. The episode was also notable for the performance given by singer Alanis Morissette of her songs, "You Oughta Know" and "Hand in My Pocket", the former of which is considered one of her best renditions of her debut single.
  • (10/31/1995): During a stop at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto, Nirvana's concert includes a humorous introduction video by Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas, in character as Bob and Doug McKenzie. Cobain and the band, in costume as Star Wars characters, frequently riffs on the video in between songs.
  • (11/03/1995): Nirvana and Alice in Chains' tour itinerary meet for one performance at the Universal Amphitheatre. The meeting between Cobain and Staley is quite pleasant, and they are joined backstage by Danny Elfman, lead singer of Oingo Boingo, which just gave its farewell performance, and now a famous film composer. For the encore, both bands perform a few songs together, with Elfman joining in on guitar and vocals. Such set list is "Scentless Apprentice," "Rooster", "Drain You" and "Only A Lad."
  • (11/25/1995): When asked about the situation regarding Love and Chris Farley by New York Times reporter Jon Pareles, Cobain stresses only about Farley's health. "I think it's really sad the way that he ended up before all of this. He's quite an amazing comedian, and a lovely human being. Hopefully, he'll be able to stay the course and be here to entertain us for a long time to come." When Pareles keeps asking about Love's dalliance with him, Cobain turns away and doesn't face him.
  • (11/28/1995): Nirvana moves on to a tour of Japan. The day prior to the tour's start at the Budokan, Cobain reunites with his favorite group, Shonen Knife, who will open for them, and also expresses interest in branching out into the world of manga.
  • (11/29/1995): Nirvana performs at the Budokan before a rapturous crowd. During the show, Cobain states "I must say, that you're one of the best crowds we've ever had."
  • (11/30/1995): The music video for "Do Re Mi" is released on MTV. In the video, the band is dressed as classical composers who teach the "music illiterate masses" (played by band members of Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden), that writing "masterpieces" is as simple as "do re mi". The video is set in a fake European village constructed in Cobain's backyard.
  • (12/04/1995): Alice in Chains' self-titled third album is released nationwide. Spawning the singles "Grind", "Heaven Beside You" and "Again", the album is a modest critical and commercial hit. A tour in support of the album will begin next month.
  • (12/05/1995): Farley is released from rehab after successfully completing the prescribed treatment. He's lost 20 lbs and seems to have a renewed sense of purpose to his life. "I'm definitely going to do my part not to get hooked back on drugs again, not to make the same mistakes I made years earlier and to stay true to myself.", Farley says in an interview with the press. It's also been confirmed that Farley's next starring role will be in the horror-comedy The Cable Guy, a role which he won out over Jim Carrey. Filming is to start in January and the film will be released in October of 1996.
  • (12/08/1995): Kevin Lyman, the founder and organizer of the Warped Tour inked a deal with Vans to serve as the main sponsor of next year's Warped Tour, in fact the 96 tour would be officially named the Vans Warped Tour, '96.
  • (12/12/1995): Chris Farley sat down for an interview with Barbara Walters for 20/20, during which he talked about his on-going struggle to lose weight, staying sober, and his preparation for acting in The Cable Guy. When asked about his future on SNL due to Adam Sandler leaving that year to pursue an acting career, Farley stated that he had 'no plans' to leave SNL for Hollywood 'at this time'. When asked about his relapse and rumors about sleeping with Courtney Love, Farley stated that he bumped into Courtney at an industry party and they both did cocaine and 'drank bottle after bottle of Vodka', but stated that he honestly couldn't remember if he slept with her or not.
  • (12/17/1995): Nirvana performs at the Sydney Opera House as the final stop of their Australian tour.
  • (12/31/1995): At a New Years Eve party at the Cobain residence, Kurt catches Courtney trying to sleep with his sister. Furious and completely fed up with her infidelity, Kurt declares this is the last straw and demands a divorce from Love.

1996[]

  • (01/03/1996): The music video for "Alone + Easy Target" is released onto MTV. In the video, Grohl laments being alone and easily targeted, which is depicted via him avoiding being hit with an arrow as a moving bullseye follows him and the rest of Nirvana portrays the archers, with Cobain leading the charge. Meanwhile after being cast out of her house and with few other places to go, Courtney tries to head to Los Angeles to crash at Trent Reznor's again. He rejects her pleading.
  • (01/05/1996): Entertainment Tonight reports that Courtney Love is living in hotel rooms while trying to find a house to rent in Los Angeles, rumors of a divorce with Kurt Cobain swirl in the media. Trent Reznor's camp leaks that Courtney Love tried to weasel her way back into Trent's life a mere hour after ET's report.
  • (01/06/1996): Meg Ryan received a phone call from her agent who told her that she landed the part of Althea Leasure in The People vs. Larry Flynt, in which she would co-star with Woody Harrelson as the wife of Larry Flynt. It was rumored that while Courtney Love had been favored by Woody and director Miloš Forman, Columbia Pictures had refused to hire Love due to her reputation for erratic behavior. Meg Ryan would begin preparing to play 'against type' through research and video of Althea Leasure from Larry Flynt's personal collection.
  • (01/09/1996): Kurt Cobain confirms the truth of the rumors by filing divorce papers citing 'Irreconcilable differences' and demands for sole custody of his children with Courtney with supervised visitation once a month.
  • (01/16/1996): Shannen Doherty got the good news from her agent, she had landed the part of 'Rhonda' in the crime-drama/comedy film Feeling Minnesota, it wasn't the largest role in the film. But she would co-star with the likes of Keanu Reeves and Cameron Diaz and it would be a shot at revitalizing her career after the downward slide she had experienced since leaving Beverly Hills: 90210 in 94.
  • (01/17/1996): Alice in Chains kicks off their world tour in support of their latest album.
  • (01/19/1996): When Kurt is asked his thoughts on Interscope being sold to MCA, he expresses concern saying "It's baffling that Warner would make such a irresponsible decision especially considering the side effects this could have creative wise on the industry."
  • (01/20/1996): Kurt Cobain was spotted at The Ivy in Los Angeles eating lunch with up and coming starlet Charlize Theron, both denied that it was a date.
  • (01/24/1996): It is announced in a press release that The Walt Disney Company will be acquiring the computer animation company Pixar Animation Studios for $2.4 billion, the deal came as a result of now Disney president Bob Iger seeing the massive success of the Pixar film Toy Story and wanting to keep the studio around for future projects.
  • (01/26/1996): Cobain meets up with R.E.M frontman Michael Stipe for a planned collaboration. When asked details regarding the meet-up, all Cobain says is: "I'm not doing a remake of Shiny Happy People, that's all I know at the moment."
  • (02/02/1996): The music video for "Marigold" is released onto MTV. In the video, the band is in a field of Marigold flowers while Grohl and Cobain jokingly fight with each other over the possession of a shining marigold ontop of a hill. Novoselic watches the affair in the background.
  • (02/06/1996): To help cover mounting legal bills from her impending divorce and the ongoing lawsuit with Howard Stern, Courtney Love announces plans for a small club tour with Hole. Reports however emerge of disputes with Hole members, bass player Melissa Auf der Maur and drummer Patty Schemel.
  • (02/09/1996): Charlize Theron was photographed by a paparazzi exiting a hotel early in the morning that Kurt Cobain and other members of Nirvana were staying at in Los Angeles while coincidentally filming wrapped up for Charlize Theron's major acting debut in 2 Days in the Valley in Los Angeles.
  • (02/10/1996): Theron is approached to star alongside Keanu Reeves and Al Pacino in Taylor Hackford's film, The Devil's Advocate. Cobain and the members of Nirvana are also approached to consider collaborating with James Newton Howard on the soundtrack. Nirvana is also approached to consider collaborating with The Fountains Of Wayne as they work on the soundtrack to Tom Hanks' directorial debut, That Thing You Do!, in which Theron has a small role alongside the likes of Liv Tyler, the daughter of Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler.
  • (02/15/1996): Eric Erlandson is reported to have engaged in a knockdown dragout fight with Love over her infidelities. He reportedly shouts "You made me a liar, Courtney! I stood up for you, said that there was no way that you'd even sleep with Trent, and you didn't stop me! How could you fucking do this to us?!" Regardless of the reports, Erlandson is still officially the lead guitarist of Hole, and Love still the lead vocalist.
  • (02/20/1996): Billy Corgan of The Smashing Pumpkins is interviewed concerning his past with Love and what he thinks of what has occurred with Cobain. "Well, Kurt still can't stand me, and I doubt that's going to change. We're both very much competitive. That's why I did a double album, after all. I do think that Courtney is really talented, and that she's quite lovely when she wants to be. I did consider wanting to write with her and see what we could come up with, but I doubt that's going to happen."
  • (02/24/1996): Nirvana turns down the offer work on The Devil's Advocate, so Alice in Chains accepts in their place. However, the rumors of Cobain and Theron's romance continue to bloom when she heads to Gainesville, Florida for research for her character, Mary Ann Lomax, and Cobain, with Frances and Patrick in tow, accompanies Theron and Keanu Reeves for a few days.
  • (03/01/1996): Revitalized by his trip to Gainesville, Cobain settles into Michael Stipe's home in Athens, Georgia to begin writing for their planned acoustic album. The two consider doing reworking a known Nirvana song and a known REM song with new arrangements as either B-sides or bonus tracks. However, Cobain has to work out paperwork with Geffen Records over proprietary matters.
  • (03/08/1996): Filming for The Cable Guy wraps up after 2 months, with an expected release date of October 25th, 1996. Farley invites Cobain, his kids and the rest of Nirvana to the premiere to bury the hatchet over the Love incident.
  • (03/17/1996): Cobain and Stipe finish their collaboration. Details remain sparse otherwise, in an intentional attempt to increase hype for the collaboration's release.
  • (03/25/1996): Dave Grohl heads to Bad Animals Studio in Seattle to record several tracks he wants to use on Nirvana's next album, which is due out in late 1997.
  • (04/02/1996): Farley is approached to do a film provisionally entitled Edwards & Hunt, an ensemble piece about a group of explorers trying to beat Lewis and Clark to the Pacific Ocean. Farley agrees to play the film's buffoonish trapper-navigator Bartholomew Hunt, alongside Blackadder mainstay Hugh Laurie as the foppish Leslie Edwards, and a coterie of other characters including Spanish conquistadors.
  • (04/05/1996): Nirvana heads off for its Afro-Eurasian Tuc Eht Parc tour, with rumored new stops in Moscow, Russia, Beijing, China and Cairo, Egypt. The tour is scheduled to last until September 5th, a record for the band.
  • (04/07/1996): Nirvana's Afro-Eurasian tour kicks off in Johannesburg, South Africa at the Three Arts Theatre. During the show, Cobain states, "I bet you all must be proud of your hometown girl Charlize Theron. She's on her way up in the world right now."
  • (04/10/1996): Alice in Chains performs a set at the Brooklyn Academy of Music for an episode of MTV Unplugged. The haunting performance will end up as the third-highest watched episode in the series, behind Nirvana and Kiss.
  • (04/13/1996): During a Hole performance at the House of Blues Sunset Strip, Eric Erlandson's guitar frequently goes out of tune. He smashes his guitar and amp, nearly hitting Love with the debris, and storms offstage, cutting the show short. Rumors of Hole's imminent demise or Love and/or Erlandson leaving or being fired begin to swirl instantly.
  • (04/17/1996): Prior to a performance in Cairo, Cobain receives a phone call from Edward Van Halen. This is their first contact since the virtuoso guitarist turned up drunk at a Nirvana show at the L.A. Forum and hurled racial epithets at Pat Smear when he was denied a chance to jam with the band. Van Halen apologizes for his behavior, and talks with Cobain about the difficulties his band has been having with long-time lead singer Sammy Hagar, who is frequently preoccupied with extracurricular activities and fighting the current management's plans for the band tooth and nail. The current problem between them is recording two songs for the soundtrack of the upcoming Jan de Bont film Twister, which Hagar had agreed to, but then suddenly balked at every step of the process. Cobain states that a break is likely imminent, and that the fans of VH will likely want a classic lineup reunion with David Lee Roth.
  • (04/21/1996): Charlize Theron flies to Tel Aviv, Israel, where Nirvana's latest stop on their Afroeurasian tour is. She allegedly spends much time with Cobain backstage and some witnesses claim the two were having sex.
  • (04/29/1996): Farley receives the first draft for the script of Edwards and Hunt and is displeased with the product. He requests re-writes that downplay the fat humor centered around his character Bartholomew Hunt and more subtle, intelligent verbal based humor.
  • (05/05/1996): After getting arrested after drunkenly ranting on the streets of Seattle, Courtney Love is ordered to spend 2 months at an involuntary psychiatric facility. Hole announces a hiatus in response to this news, with many believing the band will soon break up.
  • (05/07/1996): After proper retooling following requests by both Farley and Hugh Laurie, the Edwards & Hunt script is locked down. All the planned "fatty falls down" jokes and a plot involving Hunt being a drunkard are dropped and replaced with character development and Mel Brooks-style verbal jabs. Filming soon begins within a week at various places along the Lewis and Clark Trail.
  • (05/09/1996): Nirvana headlines two nights at Wembley Arena. During the shows, they bump into Davy Jones of the Monkees, who are prepping for a new album with all four members, entitled Justus. Cobain gleefully tells the press "I've always been a fan of the Monkees. They're as real a band as the Beatles or the Stones."
  • (05/11/1996): Filming on The Devil's Advocate begins on location in New York City, where the movie predominantly takes place.
  • (05/13/1996): Alice in Chains record a blistering song for the film soundtrack, entitled "Devil By His Side", written by Jerry Cantrell with initial thoughts of using it for a solo recording. During the same sessions, AiC also record a song called "Leave Me Alone" for The Cable Guy, which continues in the practice of Cantrell and Staley swapping lead vocals.
  • (05/15/1996): During an interview with an internet news site, George Lucas let's it slip that Lucasfilm's upcoming projects will no longer be distributed by 20th Century Fox.
  • (05/17/1996): Stone Temple Pilots and Skid Row are announced as swapping opening act status for Kiss' upcoming Alive/Worldwide Tour, a reunion of the original lineup in full makeup. STP singer Scott Weiland, who recently underwent a grueling rehab under the care of Dr. Steven Chatoff, talks ebulliently of their fandom, and the plans to fully support their current album Tiny Music.
  • (05/18/1996): Kevin Lyman, the organizer of the Warped Tour publishes a list of bands slated to perform during the 96 tour which officially starts on June 21st as part of the promotional material. While subject to change the list reveals a large group of 'new' bands trying to get their big break such as No Doubt and Sublime along with a few more established acts such as L7, Pennywise, and NOFX. What was especially notable was, with a few exceptions, a lack of rock bands directly associated with Grunge.
  • (05/19/1996): Disney head Michael Eisner is seen with George Lucas at Skywalker Ranch leading to rumors that Disney could be purchasing Lucasfilm especially after what George said recently regarding 20th Century Fox.
  • (05/20/1996): An article is published in People magazine about Kurt Cobain and his relationship with Charlize Theron, it proves to be the first mainstream printing of allegations and rumors that Cobain's relationship with Theron began before he left Courtney Love. The article cites an anonymous source who stated that their first meeting wasn't in Los Angeles but at an after party for the 1995 MTV Video Music Awards show and that an affair began soon after.
  • (05/25/1996): Cobain denies the allegations, stating: "I was loyal to Courtney until she continuously went behind my back. While me and Charlize did know each other before me and Courtney filed for divorce, we never were in a relationship until after that."
  • (05/27/1996): Alice in Chains is announced to be the headliner for the 96' Warped Tour.
  • (05/28/1996): When asked by a reporter during an interview to promote the debut of 2 Days in the Valley about the allegations in People Magazine, Charlize Theron denied it, stating. "I didn't even meet Kurt [Cobain] until this year when we bumped into each other in Los Angeles. I haven't even been to the MTV Music Videos Awards show. No... I think this is all coming from someone with an ax to grind, and I assure you that my lawyers are looking into this article to see what can be done about it."
  • (05/29/1996): Inside Edition has a filler piece about the allegations of an affair between Cobain and Theron before his breakup with Courtney Love. They bring in a 'psychologist' to analyze the pair and the psychologist, Dr. Marsen notes that Theron and Cobain have more similarities than meets the eye. Both had troubled childhoods, both struggled to be taken seriously in their fields (music for and originally dancing for Theron before she became an actress) before rising to fame. Marsen demurred when asked to go in-depth into the mind of Courtney Love, noting that she was not his patient and currently in a psychiatric hospital.
  • (05/30/1996): Charlize Theron and Kurt Cobain attend the premier of 2 Days in the Valley, a black comedy thriller in which Charlize plays the girlfriend of a hitman. While the film would get mostly negative reviews and barely break even at the box office, Theron's performance would be the only thing to receive consistent praise from the critics. At the premier Cobain and Theron were also praised for their style, Cobain for cutting a very good figure in a black tuxedo, Charlize for wearing a white Christian Dior gown. While a handful of Nirvana fans begin to call Cobain a sellout, others expressed support for seeing Kurt being visibly happy, plenty of Nirvana fans seeing Charlize Theron as preferable to Courtney Love. On the same day, The Walt Disney Company announces that it has acquired Lucasfilm for $2.05 billion. In order to avoid potential anti-trust concerns Disney also announces that it'll sell of 80% of its stake in the independent studio Miramax.
  • (05/31/1996): Kurt Cobain is contacted by the International Olympic Committee who asks if they can do a performance for the 1996 Summer Olympics after Jack Mack and the Heart Attack pulled out over a pay dispute. Kurt more than happily agrees to the offer.
  • (06/02/1996): Cobain calls Axl Rose, in a desire to make peace with the mercurial Guns N' Roses frontman. Rose agrees that it is time to bury the hatchet, and potentially talk of a future co-headlining tour at some point. As a result of this, Rose also works to officially mend fences with his current and former bandmates as well. Lead guitarist Slash, who was on the verge of quitting the group, is thus creatively inspired by the new camaraderie in the group, and work on the next album is soon underway, with an emphasis on raw spontaneity. Paul Tobias, a childhood friend of Rose who had been brought in to fill the spot vacated by Izzy Stradlin and Gilby Clarke, is sacked from the group, with Stradlin and Clarke dividing the rhythm guitarist spot, as dictated by Stradlin's schedule.
  • (06/04/1996): Alice in Chains shoot a video for "Leave Me Alone", directed by Wayne Isham, who was expected to work with Metallica on the videos for their upcoming album Load, but was edged out of that. The video is starkly lit and done in black and white.
  • (06/06/1996): "Humans Being", the Van Halen single from Twister, is released to radio stations and MTV prior to a single release. The song becomes their 12th Number One on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Charts, and their 10th with Sammy Hagar. Not too long after, it is announced that Hagar is out of the band, and that new tracks are being recorded for an upcoming greatest hits compilation with David Lee Roth, leading to speculation that a full-fledged reunion is in the works.
  • (06/08/1996): Howard Stern devotes an episode of his show to talking about the situation regarding Cobain, Love and Charlize Theron. "I find it quite ludicrous that Courtney is suing us," Stern demurs. "After all, we know that she did it, that she went and screwed Trent, and she's been going to town with everyone in her sight. What reason could she possibly have to keep this up?" Robin Quivers pointedly remarks, "She really is just a nasty piece of work. I don't think anyone can make her happy. It won't be long until even her bandmantes can't stand her any longer."
  • (06/11/1996): Alice in Chains lead singer Layne Staley speaks out in support of Cobain. "Me and Kurt are pretty good friends and I know he ain't the cheating type. That would go to Courtney. I'm 100% certain him and Charlize got together after Kurt and Courtney filed for divorce, I'm tellin' ya."
  • (06/15/1996): Alice in Chains heads off across America for a two week tour across 10 major cities before the Warped tour commences on July 4th.
  • (06/19/1996): While in Moscow, Russia, several Love supporters hijack Nirvana's concert there and must be removed by security.
  • (06/20/1996): Cobain meets with Russian President Boris Yeltsin. During the conversation, the two talk about folk music and compare Russian folk songs to Delta bluesmen. Cobain makes sure not to rub anything in concerning Yeltsin's drinking problem.
  • (06/22/1996): The Nirvana tour comes to an end in Warsaw, Poland at their national stadium.
  • (06/28/1996): The Kiss Alive/Worldwide Tour begins with a sold-out concert at Tiger Stadium in Detroit, with Stone Temple Pilots opening.
  • (07/01/1996): Cobain is seen on the set of The Devil's Advocate, and mugs for pictures with Al Pacino. This of course only fuels the speculation of the state of his relationship with Theron.
  • (07/02/1996): It was announced by Courtney Love's legal team that the lawsuit against Howard Stern was to be 'settled out of court'. Rumors swirled in the tabloids that to get out of the, by now obvious, humiliating defeat that she faced in a trial, Love agreed to drop the suit in exchange for paying Stern's legal fees.
  • (07/03/1996): MTV News reports on rumors that Eric Erlandson of Hole was planning to start his own band with Patty Schmel and Melissa Auf der Mar. All three members of Hole refuse to comment.
  • (07/04/1996): The Vans Warped Tour 96 began it's two month tour of the United States in Detroit, while Alice in Chains was seen as the main draw, quite a few other bands were on the roster for the traveling rock festival, and for a lot of them this would be a career defining time.
  • (07/05/1996): Courtney Love was released from psychiatric care, having spent two months receiving psychiatric assistance along with a strict regiment of weaning off of her various addictions and intense drug counseling. Courtney retreated to a friend's house in Seattle, still facing the divorce from her husband which had been delayed due to her involuntary admission into the psych ward. Courtney attempted to call her bandmates but none of them would take her calls, she tried to call her husband but the number had been disconnected.
  • (07/06/1996): Courtney Love issues a statement to press, "Yesterday I was released from psychiatric care after a two month involuntary hold. I spent two months healing and confronting the many bad decisions that I have made in the last few years under the influence of heroin, alcohol, and other drugs. I apologize to anyone and everyone that I have hurt and disappointed because of my behavior. I am healing though and I promise that I will try to be better."
  • (07/07/1996): MTV teases a few bands that had agreed to play at this years MTV Music Videos Awards in late August, among the acts (subject to change) are Alanis Morrisette, Beck, LL Cool J, Metallica, Hootie and the Blowfish, and Nirvana.
  • (07/08/1996): As the Warped Tour continued to play to sold out crowds, the music industry took notice of the crowds of young adults and teenagers and their reactions to the various bands. A pattern was starting to emerge, that while Alice in Chains was doing very for itself, the growing audience was very excited about the very NOT grunge bands such as Sublime, No Doubt, NOFX, and several others. A few executives began to wonder if 'Grunge' was nearing its sell-by-date, noting that even the biggest acts such as Nirvana were getting more experimental in their sound, whereas bands like Soundgarden and Hole were falling apart due to in-fighting, and Pearl Jam wasn't PLAYING in North America this year due to a dispute with Ticketmaster.
  • (07/09/1996): The tabloids began publishing rumors that Layne Staley was seen getting 'cozy' with Gwen Stefani, lead singer of No Doubt, during the Warped Tour. Both Staley and Stefani refuse to comment.
  • (07/20/1996): "Weird Al" Yankovic releases a video for the single "Callin' In Sick", as a double video with "Amish Paradise". The former song is a general parody of grunge, including the opening of "Come As You Are."
  • (07/24/1996): The MTV Video Music Awards are moved back to September 4th in order to allow time for Kiss to set up their finale set, which will be held under the Brooklyn Bridge. Rumors as to whether Van Halen will appear in some form, with or without David Lee Roth, begin swirling.
  • (07/25/1996): During a visit to Vancouver, Cobain meets Australian group INXS, recording a new album with Bruce Fairbairn producing. Cobain becomes especially friendly with frontman Michael Hutchence, especially in terms of dealing with media frenzy. Hutchence was currently under scrutiny for his relationship with Paula Yates, former wife of Bob Geldof.
  • (07/27/1996): Nirvana gives a late night performance in Atlanta as part of the Summer Olympics. The concert, broadcast by MTV, is held at Centennial Olympic Park, in the area referred to as the AT&T Global Olympic Village. However, at about 1:20 AM, during a break in between songs and setting up the next one, an explosion rocks the site. A backpack filled with pipe bombs explodes under a bench near a sound recording tower. Dave Grohl goes to the microphone, saying "get away from the towers, they could fall down!" and also works to calm the crowds down to file out in an orderly fashion from the park. It is later revealed that a bomb threat was called in minutes before explosion, and a bomb squad had gone in, with security forces moving to evacuate the park. Security guard Richard Jewell, who discovered the backpack and helped the evacuation, temporarily comes under suspicion as a main suspect before being cleared. The actual perpetrator is a white supremacist and Christian fundamentalist named Eric Robert Rudolph, who later says that he tried to stop the Games for its promoting a "New World Order/global socialist agenda" and claiming they "implicitly" support abortion. Rudolph is identified as the suspect and put on the FBI Most Wanted list after firebombing two abortion clinics and a lesbian bar in Georgia and Alabama, but is not captured until 2003.
  • (07/31/1996): On the same day that a single from the Cobain/Michael Stipe album entitled "Looking Glass" is released to radio, Cobain is interviewed by live-link by CNN, to give his thoughts about the Centennial Olympic Park bombing. "Well, speaking on behalf of the band, we're all in shock that such a horrific incident could occur, during a moment when everyone was just gathering in an area to enjoy music and to take part in the excitement of the Olympics. I don't think there are words to express how disgusted we are that someone could plan to cause such harm to innocent people like this." He also states that Nirvana has pledged a substantial donation to the American Red Cross as well as having gone to see the victims in the hospital to cheer them up. When asked whether this will affect Nirvana's live performances in the future, Cobain is unrepentant. "You can't keep the music down. More than ever, in a crazy world like this, we need music to get us through such horrible events. We're going to keep on rocking everyone and making their lives better, and nothing will take that away."
  • (08/06/1996): The Cobain/Stipe collaboration album; Stained Ceiling, is released nationwide. Several critics notice a significant departure in Cobain's songwriting, with less "three-chord" grunge and more "ethereal, acoustic type songs." While sales are mediocre, the reception is highly positive for the collaboration.
  • (08/09/1996): Edwards and Hunt begins filming in Northern California, with an expected release date of sometime in July 1997.
  • (08/14/1996): Eric Erlandson announces that Hole will be dissolved, with Patty Schmel and Melissa Auf der Mar, departing with him to create their new band; "Splemain".
  • (08/19/1996): Cobain and Love's divorce is finalized. Cobain is awarded full custody of both of the couple's children, while Love will get supervised visitation rights once a week.
  • (08/24/1996): Splemain begins to write and record material for their first album together without Love.
  • (08/29/1996): Van Halen are confirmed to appear at the MTV VMAs, with David Lee Roth joining the other three members.
  • (08/31/1996): Nirvana meet the members of Metallica, also confirmed to be at the VMAs to promote their album Load and its lead single, "Until It Sleeps." Cobain teases them for their new short hair style.
  • (09/01/1996): Nirvana rehearses at SIR Studios in New York City to prepare for the VMAs.
  • (09/03/1996): Filming for The People vs. Larry Flint wraps with a tentative limited release date set for late November
  • (09/04/1996): The 1996 MTV Video Music Awards are held at Radio City Hall in New York, the Preshow is handled by No Doubt, a 'new' band that generated good buzz on the Warped Tour. No Doubt's performance of their singles "Just a Girl" and "Spiderwebs" were well received and would help launch the band's career in the mainstream. Kurt Cobain and Charlize Theron arrived at the awards ceremony, Kurt dressed down as usual for these things in a pair of ratty jeans, an Alice in Chains t-shirt, and wearing a brown bomber jacket over it. Charlize wore a dark blue mini-dress and said to the press that this was her first time at the Awards show so she dressed up for it, a reference to the rumors claiming that she met Kurt here last year. When asked why he didn't wear a suit like he did at the premiere of Theron's movie, Kurt said, "This time I won the coin toss." The ceremony itself, infamous for surprises and shocks, did not disappoint. The Smashing Pumpkins had nine nominations for "Tonight Tonight" which they would perform during the show and won in six of the nine categories, Effects, Direction, Art Direction, Breakthrough, Cinematography, and Video of the Year. The biggest surprise was the appearance of the entire original line up of Van Halen, including David Lee Roth and the announcement that the group was back together and going to hit the studio for a reunion album. While Alice in Chains didn't perform that year, they did get nominations for "Again" in the Hard Rock, Group Video, and Viewers Choice but didn't win any of them. Layne Staley with Kevin Bacon at his side presented the Best New Artist award on stage (won by Alannis Morrisette). Metallica performed "Until it Sleeps" and snagged the Moonman for 'Best Hard Rock' video (presented to them by Tupac Shakur), and also presented the 'Best Rap Video' award (which went to Coolio). One of the most memorable performances came during Nirvana's performance of "You Know You're Right", with Weird Al Yankovic dressed as Kurt Cobain with Kris Novoselic and David Grohel performing "Callin' in Sick" seemingly as an unannounced bait and switch... Until Kurt Cobain begins singing along with Weird Al from behind the stage on a mic and joins them, Kurt finishes out the song with Weird Al who bows and leaves the stage, letting Nirvana do their set. Nirvana was nominated in several categories for "You Know You're Right" and won three Moonmen, 'Best Alternative' video, 'Best Group' video and 'Viewers Choice'. The show's biggest performance was done by KISS, which did "Rock and Roll All Nite" via a live broadcast from underneath the Brooklyn Bridge and also closed out the ceremony.
  • (09/05/1996): Bradley Nowell, the lead singer of Sublime was found by his wife Tory Dendekker face down on the bathroom floor, suffering from a heroin overdose. He had already had a near-fatal overdose in May and once again was discovered in time to save his life with a trip to the hospital. In the aftermath she was able to convince him to enter rehab.
  • (09/07/1996): Tupac Shakur is fatally shot after the Mike Tyson/Bruce Seldon match in Las Vegas. He clings to life in a coma for several days until passing on.
  • (09/08/1996): While in the Virgin Megastore in Times Square, Cobain bumps into The Notorious B.I.G.. Cobain, who has precious little knowledge about hip hop, is recommended some of the best of its early beginnings to learn. While there, Cobain asks Biggie about Tupac, and the 24-year-old rapper expresses deep regret about not doing more to quash the brewing feud in between them both.
  • (09/10/1996): The lead single from Van Halen's Best Of Volume I, "Me Wise Magic", is premiered on Howard Stern's show weeks before its release.
  • (09/13/1996): Filming on The Devil's Advocate moves to the soundstages in Hollywood, with some brief location shoots in Gainesville and Micanopy, Florida.
  • (09/17/1996): Courtney Love is photographed at a golf party hosted by OJ Simpson for various friends. The media rake Love over the coals for conversing with the acquitted former football star.
  • (09/19/1996): Filming for Feeling Minnesota wrapped, the production proved to be quite troubled when Keanu Reeves bowed out to do The Devil's Advocate and was replaced by unknown actor Freddie Prinze Jr. The film's release date was set for mid March 1997.
  • (09/20/1996): Reports of continue in-fighting amongst the members of Soundgarden continue to swirl in the music press, the rumors gain more credence when during a performance in Boulder where bassist Ben Shepherd throws his guitar into the air in frustration due to equipment malfunction and begins yelling at Chris Cornell before storming off stage.
  • (09/27/1996): Love is spotted with Simpson once more in Los Angeles, with rumors immediately forming that she's sleeping with him.
  • (09/30/1996): Cobain offers to do a collaboration with Notorious BIG, feeling bad that he lost his friend.
  • (10/01/1996): People magazine's front cover is plastered with a picture of Love and Simpson, with the headline "Oh No-J! Courtney Loves Simpson?"
  • (10/03/1996): Cobain contributes some guitar to a track entitled "Going Back To Cali," in which Biggie seems to contemplate visiting Los Angeles personally to quash the coastal feud. They also work on a track entitled "You're Nobody (Till Somebody Kills You)".
  • (10/07/1996): Cobain arrives at a pre-release party for The Cable Guy and is shown commiserating with Chris Farley. During the party, Farley lets it be known that after Edwards & Hunt is wrapped, he's looking for something dramatic to sink his teeth in. A script about Fatty Arbuckle by David Mamet is soon offered to him.
  • (10/10/1996): The Cable Guy comes out to above-average reviews, and a modest profit at the box office. Farley's interactions with Matthew Broderick are praised, stating that there is genuine chemistry and heat between them. The song "Leave Me Alone" becomes a Top 5 hit on active rock radio, kept down by the likes of "Me Wise Magic."
  • (10/22/1996): Journey's album Trial by Fire is released. Buoyed by its melodic lead single "When You Love A Woman", the first album by Journey in a decade, featuring the Escape/Frontiers lineup, debuts at #3 on the Billboard charts and sells well past platinum status, despite mixed reviews by critics.
  • (10/31/1996): Nirvana plays a special Halloween concert in Seattle, Washington, where the members are dressed up as Batman characters. Kurt as Batman, Dave as Robin, Krist as Batgirl and Pat as the Joker.
  • (11/06/1996): Courtney Love is once again caught with O.J Simpson at a bar in Los Angeles.
  • (11/11/1996): Alice in Chains embarks on a European tour, with an end date scheduled for March of 1997.
  • (11/15/1996): Cobain meets Frank Zappa at a bar in Seattle. They converse about issues pertaining to women's care, censorship, artists' rights, and the state of music journalism.
  • (11/18/1996): Frank Zappa plans a new album with the Mothers of Invention entitled Grudge, which satirizes grunge music.
  • (11/20/1996): Principal photography of Edwards & Hunt is finished, with a planned April 1997 release date looming. In the meantime, Farley works providing voiceover for an animated film entitled Shrek, and to get himself in reasonable enough shape to be insurable for the Fatty Arbuckle script.
  • (11/22/1996): Courtney Love posts a rambling, poorly-written message on America Online about the stories concerning her and OJ Simpson, that essentially attacks all the critics that have ever been negative about her, and also lobs explosive comments at Dave Grohl.
  • (11/23/1996): During a visitation period when Frances visits her mother, Courtney is visibly drunk and does not put her to bed until 3 AM. Cobain is informed and furious.
  • (11/26/1996): Nirvana begins tracking songs for their next album. Notable as a planned lead single is a Dave Grohl-penned and sung piece called "Walking After You," in which Cobain plays drums and Grohl on guitar.
  • (11/28/1996): Nirvana is invited to contribute a song to the soundtrack for a planned tie-in motion picture for The X-Files.
  • (12/01/1996): Christy Marx, creator of the show Jem, begins going around asking people in the music and film industries for assistance in a campaign to buy back the rights of her show from Sunbow/Hasbro, so that she can launch a revival series continuing where season 3 left off. She follows it up with an online petition campaign, similar to the one that failed to convince ABC to renew My So-Called Life.
  • (12/07/1996): Batman and Robin is delayed to a 1998 release in order to re-shoot principle scenes and change flaws in the script. Also on this day, after a series of discussions regarding their noon-1 PM timeslot, ABC Daytime makes a several decisions. First, they announce that their Loving spinoff The City will remain on air, despite its low ratings, saying that the problem with the ratings has nothing to do with quality, but the position of its timeslot of noon-1 PM, head to head with CBS' The Young & the Restless. As a result, the programming lineup is now being reshuffled. One Life to Live will be placed in the noon slot, followed by All My Children at 1 PM, The City afterwards. Starting on June 1, ABC Daytime will also premiere a new series to air between The City and General Hospital, a spinoff of GH entitled Port Charles, which after its premiere will be a 30-minute series, intended as a "multigenerational story, expanding on everything you love and enjoy about GH."
  • (12/15/1996): At a tour stop in London, England, Alice in Chains singer Layne Staley is accosted by an eager fan who stalks him outside of his hotel for hours. The stalker is eventually arrested and Staley is unharmed.
  • (12/25/1996): Nirvana plays a special Christmas-New Years concert at Rockerfeller Center in NYC that will last for one week.
  • (12/31/1996): Nirvana plays its final show at Rockerfeller Center.

1997[]

  • (01/01/1997): The New Year is rung in with the release of the (slightly delayed) film The People vs. Larry Flynt, while critically praised for Woody Harrelson and Meg Ryan's performances, it would only be a modest hit financially, but was destined to become a cult classic. Larry Flynt himself however was critical of how he was portrayed, but stated that Meg Ryan, "Melted into the role of my wife beautifully."
  • (01/02/1997): As filming for The Devil's Advocate was drawing to a close, needing only a few additional shots that would be done in New York in March, Charlize Theron began considering what film projects to take on next. Kurt suggested that she pass on the Woody Allen script Celebrity, it seemed a bit forced, even for Woody Allen.
  • (01/05/1997): O.J Simpson and Courtney Love were involved in a car accident while driving back to Courtney's new home in Los Angeles after leaving a party. A drunk driver in a Ford truck ignored a red light and slammed right into O.J.'s Lincoln Navigator. Courtney Love suffered only a slight concussion, O.J. Simpson however suffered critical injury and was admitted to UCLA Medical Center.
  • (01/07/1997): It's revealed by an anonymous doctor at the UCLA Medical Center that Simpson has been paralyzed below the waist in the accident and likely will never walk again.
  • (01/10/1997): Simpson is discharged from UCLA after having a titanium rod placed into his spinal cord.
  • (01/14/1997): Love suffers another medical disaster after being admitted to UCLA for severe kidney stones. She requires surgery to be able to pass them.
  • (01/17/1997): Cobain visits Love in the hospital out of sympathy. Despite the history between them, Cobain makes sure that he wants to try and have a civil relationship for the sake of Frances and Patrick.
  • (01/21/1997): The 20th anniversary of Star Wars is celebrated with a special edition release of the original trilogy, to prep audiences for the upcoming prequel trilogy. It is the first such release under Lucasfilm's new deal of ownership by the Walt Disney Company, made the previous year, along with their purchase of ABC. Some fans grumble about the alterations George Lucas has made to the films. Cobain is quite receptive. "I think most of these changes made the films better. Clearly the intent was to create the same level of excitement as there was back in 1977, and on that, he's succeeded. True, some of these changes were unnecessary and were just there to be there, but I'm not bothered so much." Meanwhile, it is announced by Disney's Lucasfilm Creative Group that Lawrence Kasdan will be hired to take a pass to polish the scripts for prequels.
  • (02/04/1997): INXS performs at the Wheeler Opera House in Aspen, Colorado for a VH1 special to help prep the release of their upcoming 10th album. The title track, "Elegantly Wasted", is released to radio and MTV/VH1. Cobain meets with the Aussie band again, and signs of friendship with Michael Hutchence are growing in visibility to the press.
  • (02/07/1997): 20th Century Fox announces that a planned new film in the Alien franchise, entitled Alien: Resurrection and scheduled for a fall release, has been scrapped, even though principal photography was already completed. The studio puts out a statement that "Our losing the distribution of Star Wars has been a humbling experience. We came to the realization that better care must be taken with what we have left, and we want to do right by the fans of Alien this time around. This film simply would not have been accepted by the fans." The cancellation means that Fox will lose about $60 million for the budget, and another $15 million in planned advertising funds.
  • (02/08/1997): Due to the delay of Batman and Robin, Arnold Schwarzenegger who was set to play the recently revitalized villain Mr. Freeze quits. Warner Bros. later recasts the role with actor Alan Rickman. Jennifer Aniston is later cast as Nora (the wife of Mr. Freeze) in a break out film role.
  • (02/09/1997): After a slight delay owing to Mr. Simpson's injuries, the jury in the wrongful death suit of Nichole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman were allowed to rendered the verdict. They found the defendant liable for the wrongful deaths of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman, and liable for the battery of Nicole Brown Simpson and ordered to pay up to 30 million dollars in damages to the families of Nichole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman, an additional 12.6 Million was to be paid to Nicole's children by O.J. Simpson, Justin and Sydney.
  • (02/11/1997): Courtney Love announces that she intends to begin work on a solo album, tentatively titled 'The Honeypot'.
  • (02/13/1997): The driver of the vehicle that struck O.J. Simpson, a Kenneth 'Kenny' Mason, a 42 construction worker with a history of alcoholism and clinical depression, was found dead in his prison cell from suicide by hanging after failing to make bail by a thousand dollars.
  • (02/17/1997): The National Inquirer publishes an article titled The Juice is Vamoose, revealing that O.J. Simpson quietly purchased a small house in Florida and moved there with his children and legally changed his residency a mere two days after being found liable in the civil suit. Florida, as the article noted is one of the few states that won't seize assets from a person due to judgment in a out-of-state civil suit.
  • (02/19/1997): Courtney Love was spotted by paparazzi at Whisky a Go Go, minus O.J. Simpson, dancing with several club goers, drinking, and commenting on the bands playing that night, even taking the stage at one point and dancing for the cameras. When asked if she was still dating O.J., Courtney answered with, "No comment."
  • (02/20/1997): Nirvana sets up shop to take second passes at some of the songs for the upcoming album at the sound studio located at Skywalker Ranch, where the Grateful Dead's final released album, Built to Last, was recorded in 1989. The re-recording, done with producer Nick Raskulinecz, takes a week. The four members of Nirvana also are invited to get a look at the concept art and videomatics for the first planned Star Wars prequel fully titled, Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace.
  • (02/22/1997): Warner Bros. changes the title of Edwards & Hunt to Almost Heroes, believing it to be punchier.
  • (02/25/1997): Sigourney Weaver is interviewed about the cancelled Alien film, where she admits that the plot would've involved Ellen Ripley being cloned and being infused with xenomorph DNA. "At the time we were making it, I was buckling down and doing what I could to make it work. The payday was certainly quite enticing. Actually, I wasn't going to be in this movie, because Ellen Ripley wasn't in the original script, but the people at Fox really wanted me back, much like the previous film, which I know quite a few people blame me for." When asked about whether the series will be revived at some point down the line, "I'm sure it will be, but I think it's going to be a long time coming, that an idea will need quite a few years to gestate, and the technology needs to evolve to be able to do it justice." Meanwhile production for Nirvana's next album; From the Muddy Banks of the Wishkah-hah, begins.
  • (03/01/1997): Controversy erupts when O.J Simpson is offered a guest role on the latest episode of The Simpsons.
  • (03/02/1997): Al Jean takes a moment to respond. "Shows have to challenge people, challenge safety zones. After all, there's a chance we could be considered stagnating, and we want to stay relevant. Rest assured that hiring O.J. Simpson is not meant to be an affirmation of his character, or intervening into his legal affairs." Meanwhile Charlize Theron was back in New York as part of wrapping up the final shots for The Devil's Advocate. During her down time she was flipping through various scripts that her agent sent, most of which weren't very good. However there was a kid's movie script Mighty Joe Young that was better than the dreck littering her bedroom floor, there was also talk of making the John Irving novel The Cider House Rules into a film, that seemed interesting. As a distraction from all that, Theron turned back to the manga series that Kurt had introduced her too, Ghost in the Shell. "Now this would make for an awesome movie," Charlize thought to herself for the thousandth time.
  • (03/04/1997): Nirvana and Gold Mountain Management select "Walking After You" as the lead single. When the album is released, it will fulfill their contract with Geffen Records, leaving the question of whether they will re-sign or go to a new label.
  • (03/05/1997): Music executives begin to gather together to discuss the future of CD sales, and the possibilities in using the newly-created MP3 digital files to release albums and songs. In the movie world Feeling Minnesota is released after significant delays and a troubled production, despite having Cameron Diaz in a staring role the film received nothing but negative reviews from the critics and would only make 3 million at the box office, barely breaking even. One critic noted the irony that while named after a Soundgarden song, neither Soundgarden nor any 'Grunge' bands featured on the soundtrack or in the movie. Despite all of this, Shannon Doherty found herself getting more movie offers and Feeling Minnesota would become a piece of movie trivia due to having a number of actors (such as Freddie Prinze Jr.) that would go on to greater things.
  • (03/07/1997): Linda Tripp was talking to her friend Monica on the phone, the girl was working in the White House for President Clinton and had just said something that made her do a double take and say weakly, "Can you repeat that?" As Monica Lewinsky confided in her to having an affair with the President of the United States, Linda Tripp felt a sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach. Her friend had no idea what she had gotten herself into, and now due to the confession she was involved as well. Linda kept the conversation going while trying to come up with something that could cover her own ass when the shit inevitably hit the fan.
  • (03/08/1997): Van Halen's reunion album, Zero Day, is released. Including reworkings of some songs from their original Warner Bros. demo tape, the album, produced by Glen Ballard (who abandoned work on Aerosmith's forthcoming album to do this project), is a full-throated return to the classic sound. The title track burns up active rock radio, and deluxe versions of the album include the Best Of Volume I tracks, "Can't Get This Stuff No More" and "Me Wise Magic." Videos for both of those tracks have already been in heavy rotation on MTV by this point. In other music news the band Splemain have put the finishing touches on their debut, self-titled album, their label, Sympathy for the Record Industry begins touting a release date of May 1997.
  • (03/12/1997): Several senators and congressmen are informed of President Clinton's affair with Lewinsky and deliberate over whether to take action against the President or not.
  • (03/15/1997): As Nirvana finishes recording From the Muddy Banks of the Wishkah-hah, a Grohl penned track entitled "Everlong" is leaked out to the public. Featuring Grohl on vocals, it receives an enthusiastic response.
  • (03/23/1997): A New York Times article entitled: "A Presidential Affair" is released, shedding light onto President Clinton's alleged affair with Lewinsky.
  • (03/24/1997): During a liquor run, Cobain is met a group of reporters asking about his reaction to the Lewinsky affair. "Well, politicians have done worse things. If this was, say, someone notorious for cracking down on prostitution then hiring hookers, that would be inexcusable and awful."
  • (03/25/1997): President Clinton, still newly into his second term, works and rehearses a statement that he plans to deliver the following morning before the press. There are reports of Hillary Clinton leaving the Oval Office after a conversation with her husband with an anguished expression, and Vice President Al Gore looking downcast at the floor. On the same day, Charlize Theron calls Disney and commits to Mighty Joe Young, especially with he news of her starring opposite Bill Paxton, newly established as a credible leading man after the polarizing release of Twister.
  • (03/26/1997): The morning saw President Bill Clinton address the press in the White House briefing room and publicly admitted to having had an affair with Ms. Lewinsky and publicly apologized for his conduct. The Republicans in the Senate and House of Representatives had a field day in issuing condemnations. Kenneth Starr, the Special Prosecutor investigating the Whitewater scandal (but had expanded his purview into investigating anything about Bill Clinton that he didn't agree with) was privately pissed at the confession since he had planned to trick Clinton into committing perjury by asking him about the affair during a deposition, assuming incorrectly that Clinton would lie about it.
  • (03/27/1997): Out of disgust over the media's moralizing over Bill Clinton's affair with White House intern, Monica Lewinsky, Larry Flynt, the owner of Hustler publicly offers cash rewards of up to a million dollars a piece for information leading to revelations of extramarital affairs of any and all Congressmen and Senators currently condemning the President.
  • (03/28/1997): Courtney Love bumps into Marilyn Manson at an after party from one of his latest tour dates, he's a rising star in the rock music scene but due to being BFF with Trent Reznor she hadn't thought much of him. But after talking to him for a bit managed to get a couple of numbers of Interscope Record execs since she was shopping for a new record deal to begin recording her new solo album.
  • (03/30/1997): "Everlong" is released as a full-fledged single, and is announced that it will be included on the album proper. Cobain states, "I think Dave is definitely bursting with talent, and he needs to really express it. He's quite good at guitar, and I wouldn't mind switching with him during a spot at the shows. In fact, maybe we get get another touring drummer as well, who isn't technically a member, to help out if me, Dave and Pat wanted to ever do some 3-guitar attacks."
  • (04/05/1997): Almost Heroes is released to theaters. The film receives a mostly positive reception, with praise for Chris Farley's more nuanced grasp of humor, Christopher Guest's direction, and the give and take between the ensemble. Much praise also goes to Hugh Laurie's portrayal of Leslie Edwards, with Roger Ebert declaring "Arriving as a virtual unknown in Hollywood, the razor-edged Brit has got a promising career ahead of him. Between this and his brief part in last year's remake of Disney's 101 Dalmatians, he brings an acerbic wit that is very badly needed." Indeed, as a result of this film, Laurie soon receives film script offers, most notably being attached as the human father in a Sony-helmed adaptation of E.B. White's Stuart Little.
  • (04/09/1997): As a result of the rewrites and reshoots to Batman and Robin, Akiva Goldsman's other main script, an adaptation of Lost in Space, is officially scrapped. The film was set to be rushed into production due to the buzz around the Luc Besson film, The Fifth Element.
  • (04/11/1997): While finishing the 11-month tour to promote Tiny Music, Stone Temple Pilots frontman Scott Weiland announces that he has told the other band members that he wishes to cut a solo album before working on the band's fourth album. He also takes the moment to announce "I've been a year sober now, and I haven't felt better. I'm just bursting with creativity."
  • (04/17/1997): Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich ends up in hot water when an informant receives information that Gingrich had been involved in several extramarital affairs, while publicly condemning President Clinton for the same actions. This information is published into a New York Times article entitled: "Gingrich Goes Hypocritical? The Extramarital Affairs of The Anti-Cheating Proponent".
  • (04/25/1997): Cobain is asked his opinions regarding Gingrich's affairs. "I knew the bastard was a hypocrite all along. Those Republicans always preach about morals while fucking the population of this country."
  • (04/29/1997): Courtney Love is contacted by DGC records. They agree to sign her on as long as she avoids confrontation with Cobain.
  • (05/01/1997): An anonymous member of Representative Dennis Hastert's office sends Larry Flynt information regarding an illegal 'structuring' of financial statements to hide huge cash payouts to a number of individuals who had accused Hastert of sexually molesting them as teenagers when he worked as Yorkville High School's wrestling coach in the 1970's, and had been covering it up ever since. Larry Flynt contacts the FBI with this information. The FBI begins investigating shortly thereafter.
  • (05/02/1997): Nirvana is broached by Geffen personnel about their opinions about digital music. Cobain looks at the issue. "Well, I see it this way. You either adapt early, or you get left behind. Prince, or whatever he calls himself now, is going on about the Internet being a way to promote music. I think this is something the labels got to corner before they get cut off." Meanwhile with The Devil's Advocate in editing and with a release date set for September, Keanu Reeves was contacted by the Wachowski Brothers about a project that they called The Matrix but they wanted him to do some homework first before they felt comfortable with revealing the script. Thus Reeves found himself reading a number of philosophy books.
  • (05/03/1997): Cobain meets with Frank Zappa again, and they both talk about digital music delivery. Zappa agrees that if artists and labels start to focus on this fledgling medium, it will mark a turning point in the business.
  • (05/04/1997): Spelmain and their record label agree to push back the release of their self-titled album to June to do more promotional work, the first single, "Poison Kiss" is released along with a music video for MTV. Critics note the harsh punk rock sounds as a very different sound from their Hole days with Eric doing back up vocals and playing lead guitar, Melissa doing the actual singing and playing bass guitar, and Patty on drums. Some speculate that "Poison Kiss" is about Courtney Love. In the video for "Poison Kiss" the band is performing in a club that is slowly decaying around them while following 'the Girl' played by model Jaime King during her night, arriving at the club, dancing to the band, injecting heroin, hallucinating, and having to be resuscitated via adrenaline injection to the heart (a shoutout to Pulp Fiction), the video ending with Jaime King and the patrons in an empty field where the club stood, the band missing.
  • (05/07/1997): Love bumps into Patty Schemel near the studio Love's solo album is being tracked in. The meeting is terse and frosty. On that same day Washington D.C. is rocked by the arrest of one of the highest ranking Republicans in the Senate, Senator Larry Craig for soliciting prostitution from a cocaine dealing MALE prostitute in his early 20's near a bar that was popular with D.C.'s gay community. Larry Craig was noted for being one of the most homophobic members of Congress, having a long history of voting against LGBT rights.
  • (05/10/1997): Journey begins the tour to promote Trial by Fire, barnstorming across arenas and amphitheaters all over North America.
  • (05/20/1997): From the Muddy Banks of the Wishkah-kah is released to great acclaim. Much praise is given to Grohl's emergence into the spotlight, and his own considerable talents.
  • (05/28/1997): Chris Farley is deemed insurable for the Fatty Arbuckle script. During an interview, he also announces plans to make a movie focusing on his SNL character Matt Foley. "I've gotta figure out how to translate that into a script, but I think it can be done."
  • (05/30/1997): Company of Angels, a biopic of Joan of Arc, is put into production, with Katheryn Bigelow directing, a script by Jay Cocks, and production and funding by Luc Besson. Besson nearly pulled out to do his own film because of Bigelow's refusal to cast his wife Milla Jovovich in the role of Joan, but Besson was pressured by Gaumont and Sony to contain his ego and keep the agreement.
  • (06/02/1997): Frank Zappa launches a new website through which all his future albums will be available for paid download, at half-price compared to CDs.
  • (06/06/1997): Spelmain's self-titled debut album is released, a surprise hit that starts at #7 on the billboard charts and (eventually) peaks at #3. The album is noted for being a much grittier punk-rock sound than when they played in Hole. While Melissa is the lead vocalist, several tracks have her giving equal time singing with Eric, a couple tracks he takes the lead on.
  • (06/08/1997): Courtney Love deflects questions from a reporter on what she thinks of her bandmate's new music, saying that she's been too busy with recording her debut solo album to listen to it yet.
  • (06/09/1997): The media's has fun with reports from a local Fox affiliate in Tampa Bay that O.J. Simpson was spotted at a bar that night with an unidentified blond model, confirming rumors that Love and O.J.'s relationship had ended a few weeks prior after a couple months of being on life-support.
  • (06/15/1997): While promoting his new solo album, Marching To Mars, Sammy Hagar lashes out at Eddie and Alex Van Halen, accusing them of dishonesty in stating why he ended up out of the group. He also heavily promotes the lead single, "Little White Lie", which is a not-so-veiled shot across the bow. He also accuses the brothers of planning to remove Michael Anthony from his spot.
  • (06/20/1997): The video for "Everlong" is released to MTV. The video shows Grohl singing and playing guitar, and Cobain drumming, as per the recording. The video is a partial spoof of the classic horror film The Evil Dead, also featuring references to Teddy Boy subculture and the relationship of Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen.
  • (06/24/1997): Motley Crue releases Generation Swine, the first album to feature the original lineup in eight years. The album is negatively received by the critics and by the band's fanbase for an apparent desire to pander to alternative music fans.
  • (06/28/1997): The title track from Guns N' Roses' next album, Chinese Democracy, is released to radio with the full album officially being released the same day. The production of the album was nearly derailed due to growing creative conflict, but thanks to Rose's efforts to change, the album comes together relatively smoothly, and is universally praised by the critics and fans. It is also announced that Nirvana will open for Guns N' Roses when they embark on their fall North American stadium tour, beginning in three weeks. Guns' management had to outbid an offer to open up for the Rolling Stones on their tour to promote their upcoming album, Bridges to Babylon.
  • (07/07/1997): Cobain is among the people who get to see a first test screening of the final cut of The Devil's Advocate, and is largely impressed. By the time the film is released in October, the film is quite successful, with praise given to Pacino and Theron's performances and the atmosphere of the film. Keanu Reeves is noted for his believable portrayal of a lawyer and the undeniable chemistry he has with the other actors, but faulted for his cringe-inducing, inconsistent Southern accent. In addition, some critics feel that the film is schizophrenic in moving between what Roger Ebert refers to as "the Exorcism stuff clashing with the John Grisham stuff."
  • (07/10/1997): Cobain bumps into John Lydon at the House of Blues Sunset Strip. Lydon, true to form, accuses Cobain of ripping him off, and also states that Nirvana, Mudhoney and other similar acts have ruined the legacy of "real punk."
  • (07/12/1997): Bradley Nowell, the lead singer of Sublime who, after his two near fatal overdoses last year, had spent the greater part of this year in rehab and therapy announces that Sublime is heading back into the studio to work on a remix album. Some in the industry speculate that Sublime is doing this to cut corners a bit so they can release a new album more quickly.
  • (07/14/1997): D.C., which was still settling down from the 'events' of March was rocked to it's core when, after a mere three month investigation the FBI arrest House Representative Dennis Hastert for 'Illegal Structuring' of banking statements to hide cash payments to a number of 'individuals' link to accusations against Hastert of child molestation when he served as a high school football coach in the 70's. Hastert, having been making waves as a possible replacement for Newt Gingrich as Speaker of the House had his lawyer deny the charges.
  • (07/16/1997): Walt Disney Pictures begins filming of Mighty Joe Young, which will star Bill Paxton and Charlize Theron, the planned filming is expected to take six months with principal photography to begin in Los Angeles for the parts set in America before moving to Africa.
  • (07/18/1997): During a Q&A session with a reporter, Courtney Love brags about how well the recording sessions are going. When asked if she's seeing anyone new she answers, "No, I'm single and I've been too busy to meet anyone. I think it helps my sobriety to just stay busy, you know?"
  • (07/20/1997): The joint Nirvana/Guns N' Roses tour kicks off at the Georgia Dome. Much praise is given to both bands' performances, especially the three-song encore jam by both bands, consisting of "Mr. Brownstone", "Drain You", and a cover of "Dead Flowers."
  • (07/24/1997): Christy Marx announces that the rights to Jem have reverted to her, and work on Season 4, and a 90-minute film as a series finale, to resolve all the loose ends.
  • (07/28/1997): Scott Weiland begins recording his first solo album. Cobain is invited to play and add backing vocals to the songs "Barbarella" and "Mockingbird Girl".
  • (07/30/1997): Filming of the Fatty Arbuckle movie begins in Brentwood.
  • (08/01/1997): E! News reports on rumors of marital problems between Sublime singer Bradley Nowell and his wife Troy Dendekker, both refused to comment on the allegations.
  • (08/03/1997): A performance in New Orleans during the Nirvana/Guns N' Roses tour was marred by a number of technical problems that caused some of the members of the audience to boo, a few others to begin rioting. While Kurt and Axel successfully kept the majority of the audience from escalating things further, a number of injuries were reported after security got the rioters out of the venue.
  • (08/05/1997): Rumors swirl in political world of Washington D.C. about Newt Gingrich planning on stepping down as Speaker of the House later in the month, along with rumors that Dennis Hastert was going to accept a plea deal with prosecutors regarding his illegal structuring case. Speculation on whom would replace both men was running rampant both in D.C. and in the press.
  • (08/06/1997): House Representative Dennis Hastert announces that he is resigning from the House as part of accepting a plea deal with prosecutors in which he would plead guilty to the 'structuring' of bank statements to hide cash payouts to alleged molestation victims. Allegations of which Hastert now admitted were true as part of the deal. He would serve two years in federal prison along with five years of supervised probation and a quarter of a million dollars in fines. The Governor of Illinois, Jim Edgar stated he would announce former Representative Hastert's replacement later in the month.
  • (08/07/1997): Hereditary Prince Albert of Monaco, the heir to the Monégasque throne has a car accident when the Aston Martin Vantage he was driving suffered an unexpected blowout while driving back to Monaco from Roc Agel, causing the Prince to lose control of the vehicle and sent it flying off the road and over the cliff edge of Mont Agel, eerily like his own mother had suffered before him. The accident scene was discovered by a passing motorist ten minutes later, and despite paramedics arriving on the scene the Prince was reported dead a few hours later by the Monégasque government, plunging the nation into official mourning. The Prince having never been married or had any legitimate children (but with rumors of at least one illegitimate daughter) made the threat of Monaco losing it's independence to France much more real, however with Prince Rainer III still alive, his daughters Caroline and Stéphanie could still legally inherit due to Monaco's unique succession laws that stated while Rainer III was alive, his daughters would have right of succession, but if he had died they would have automatically lost them due to being women. Monaco was already in the beginning stages of talks with France to revise the old treaties and laws that existed between them to 'modernize' the succession, the death of the only male claimant to the throne would only intensify such discussions.
  • (08/10/1997): A surprise acoustic show in the Nirvana/GNR tour is performed on the campus of the University of South Carolina, and filmed for an MTV Unplugged special, though the Nirvana segment will not be released for several years.
  • (08/13/1997): A live album/video release of the Nirvana/GNR tour is announced to be released in February 1998 by Geffen Records. This will be GNR's first proper live release, and fulfill Nirvana's contract, leaving them officially free agents.
  • (08/14/1997): Cobain sprains his ankle during a show at Virginia Tech, but insists on finishing the performance while sitting in a chair.
  • (08/15/1997): Theron sees an article from the August 1997 issue of Box Office Magazine, which catches her eye. It is an article focusing on Mel Gibson and his production company, Icon Productions, and how it has expanded over time. Theron decides to keep the article and show to Cobain later, this would end up sparking a major interest for Charlize and Kurt to expand into the cinema landscape.
  • (08/18/1997): The Supreme Court rules in the Clinton v. Jones case. They decide, in a 9-0 vote, that there is no overriding need for Paula Jones' civil suit to be heard while President Clinton is still in office, particularly since it is not a criminal case. The official opinion include the phrase "while the President is certainly not above the law, he is also not below it." This decision effectively throttles the Starr investigation, forcing the final report to focus only on Whitewater-related matters. Many pundits point out that soon President Clinton will be free from investigative concerns and be free to focus entirely on matters of policy. "But does this mean that it will all be wine and roses for the Clintons? Absolutely not, because those with the bit in their teeth will simply move to a likely unparalleled degree of attacking his policy proposals, even should he manage to convince Republicans to pass them. This opposition comes not only from Republicans, but the more progressive wing of his own party, who charge that President Clinton has sold out the New Deal, and betrayed liberalism with actions such as NAFTA, his crime bill and welfare reform."
  • (08/22/1997): The Nirvana/GNR tour heads for a Latin American jaunt, starting in Mexico City. During the three nights of shows at the Palacio des Deportes, demonstrators belonging to the Zapatista Front harass the crowds heading to watch the shows of "symbols of American imperialism."
  • (08/31/1997 to 09/01/1997): The global media has fun reporting on an incident in Paris where Diana, Princess of Wales and her boyfriend Dodi Fayed discovered their limo driver passed out in the driver's seat from excess drink. The pair were forced to go back into their hotel and call a cab.
  • (09/05/1997): While still in official mourning for his son, Prince Rainer III of Monaco is reported to have begun talks with French President Jacques Chirac to reform Monaco's succession laws to strengthen the claims of his daughters to the Montagues' throne. The French government is noted to be supportive of the project but it is expected to take four years to complete due to a number of treaties that need renegotiating. Talks between Princess Caroline, Monaco, and the Catholic Church involving having her first marriage annulled and her second marriage recognized so her children with her second husband can one day inherit Monaco are already under way.
  • (09/10/1997): News of the World reports that Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Fayed have had a quarrel, an anonymous source states that Dodi proposed to Diana who refused, not seeing their relationship as anywhere near that serious. Both of them refused to comment.
  • (09/13/1997): The Nirvana/GNR tour starts at Wembley Stadium, for a show broadcast live on satellite pay-per-view, Radio 1, and for delayed transmission on the BBC and MTV.
  • (09/14/1997): The Starr Report is formally sent to Congress, despite nearly five years of investigations and millions of dollars spent, Ken Starr admitted that he could find no evidence of wrongdoing on the part of either Bill or Hillary Clinton in their Whitewater investment, or any of the other issues that he investigated them for. Attempts to include lurid and invasive materials from the Lewinsky matter in the report were removed at the last minute for unclear reasons. The failure of the independent council to find anything on the Clintons effectively sealed the political fates of several key players in the Washington political scene.
  • (09/18/1997): Despite holding onto his job for longer than many thought, Newt Gingrich formally tendered his resignation as Speaker of the House and as a Representative in the House, the Beltway already buzzing about who his replacement will be along with news that Gingrich has already signed onto to serve as a contributor to fledgling cable news station Fox News.
  • (09/19/1997): The press secretary of Diana, Princess of Wales released a brief statement that she and Dodi Fayed have 'parted ways' and asked that the media respect both his and her right to privacy. Dodi Fayed's representatives refused any public comment from the media's inquiries.
  • (09/20/1997): Cobain and Axl Rose meet with U2 frontman Bono at a pub in Dublin, and converse for several hours. The outing is photographed and splashed on all major publications.
  • (09/23/1997): After a few days of political horse-trading in the Republican caucus, Bob Livingston, a representative from Louisiana and a staunch but low-key conservative became Speaker of the House.
  • (10/02/1997): Filming for Mighty Joe Young wraps in Africa, allowing Charlize Theron to being prepping for the role of Candy Kendall in an adaptation of the novel, The Cider House Rules, filming set to begin in February of next year, allowing Charlize a chance to both prepare, and to rest in-between films. A release date for Mighty Joe Young is set for June 7th to allow for post-production work.
  • (10/05/1997): Courtney Love's album, nearing completion in recording runs into a snag when Courtney develops chest pain and is rushed to the hospital and receives a quick diagnosis of Pneumonia, putting her out of commission for at least a month while she recovers.
  • (10/08/1997): Larry Flynt publishes an unflattering story about Speaker of the House Bob Livingston in what he called 'The Flynt Report' (an obvious jab at the Starr Report) alleging that he had several affairs on his wife Bonnie.
  • (10/10/1997): In a press conference the Speaker of the House admits that the allegations made against him by Larry Flynt were true, he did have an affair on his wife while criticizing Bill Clinton for doing the same and calling on him to resign. Saying that this was extremely hypocritical of him, Livingston stated that he had offered his resignation but that the Republican Leadership had refused it and convinced him to stay on, instead he publicly apologized to the Clinton's for his hypocrisy and stated he had already apologized to his wife in private.
  • (10/14/1997): The tour moves to Russia for several dates in Moscow and St. Petersburg, including an acoustic set, all of which are filmed and recorded for eventual release. Charlize Theron is also spotted in Russia with Kurt Cobain, photographers captured moments of the pair visiting several landmarks in St. Petersburg, smiling and clearly happy despite the press attention before Kurt's show that night.
  • (10/18/1997): Spelmain suffers a minor crisis when Patty Schemel breaks her arm while falling down a flight of stairs.
  • (10/20/1997): Eric Erlandson and Melissa Auf der Maur announce that while Patty recovers, the role of drummer in Spelmain will be filled in with Samantha Maloney during the last leg of their tour.
  • (11/02/1997): Eric Wilson, the bassist for Sublime states to an MTV reporter his desire to do a 'proper' Sublime album as the band promotes the self-titled remix album released that September.
  • (11/03/1997): The last major leg of the co-headlining tour, covering Australasia, begins in in Beijing.
  • (11/04/1997): Diana, Princess of Wales was spotted dancing with actor George Clooney at Club Liquid in Miami, pictures are published in US Weekly but both refuse to comment.
  • (11/07/1997): After covering China, the tour moves to cover Japan. The up-and-coming band Puffy AmiYumi opens all the dates.
  • (11/12/1997 to 11/15/1997): British pop star Gary Glitter is arrested for downloading child pornography after 4000 different such images are found on a laptop he brought in to repair. An investigation is immediately launched by the British police, over the course of the initial investigation, several women come out stating that Glitter had sexually assaulted them in the 1970s. After convincing the women to speak on record, the news comes out, forcing the cancellations of Glitter's planned holiday arena tour along with the deletion of a scene of him appearing in the movie Spiceworld, and the cancellation of recording sessions to finish an upcoming album.
  • (11/16/1997): Memos from the Republican National Committee are leaked to the public, the memos outline predictions of the 1998 Congressional Midterm elections from both Newt Gingrich and Bob Livingston, earlier memos from Newt Gingrich predict a huge GOP victory due to the Clinton's being bogged down in scandal, but later memos from current Speaker Bob Livingston paint a much bleaker picture, with several GOP Congressmen and Senators having their careers end in massive scandal and with the Clinton's (more or less) vindicated, he predicts that the Democrats will run on a platform of being the 'grown-ups' in Washington and win back control of at least the Senate, perhaps even the House.
  • (11/18/1997): Monica Lewinsky, having moved to New York in the wake of the scandal with Bill Clinton spoke to a reporter about her brief brush with fame. She said that while it was exhilarating at first, she quickly got sick of it and was thankful that her name faded from the media quickly, and that the full details were not included in the Starr Report. She stated that she planned to go back to college and study economics and was dating "a nice businessman" that she refused to name.
  • (11/19/1997): The tour arrives in Australia, scheduled to begin on the 23rd. During the off-time, Cobain runs into INXS again, rehearsing for their "Lose Your Head Tour", commemorating their 20th anniversary and finishing the promotion for Elegantly Wasted. Cobain talks to Michael Hutchence over the latter's recent hassles with the press, and the troubling relationship with Paula Yates and Bob Geldof.
  • (11/22/1997): At his hotel room in Sydney, Australia, Michael Hutchence makes several phone calls. First, he calls, Paula Yates, and confronts her with concerns Cobain helped raise over the extent to which the media circus is being deliberately planted by Yates' actions, including possibly tipping off paparazzi to barge into certain moments. He also confronts her about threats she has made to harm herself and their daughter, Heavenly Hiranni Tiger Lily Hutchence, in order to coerce him into marrying her. At one point, Hutchence exclaims that "this was never about love, was it? It was just to get back at Bob." With that, he announces that he is breaking off the relationship, taking Tiger with him, filing a restraining order, and moving back to Australia. He then calls Geldof to state that there is no reason feud anymore, and he is not making any more passes at trying be a father figure to Tiger's half-sisters. By the time he reports to ABC Gore Hill Studios for the last day of rehearsal, Hutchence clearly seems to be relishing the moment, like a weight has been lifted off of his shoulders.
  • (11/23/1997): The Nirvana/GNR tour begins at the Sydney Football Stadium to a packed crowd of 40,000.
  • (11/28/1997): During an off-day in the tour, Cobain and Slash appear during INXS's performance at the Palais Theatre in Melbourne. They jam together for six songs, including renditions of "Heart-Shaped Box", "Patience" and "Smoke On The Water."
  • (11/30/1997): U2 is interviewed about their album and their tour. Bono reveals that they had originally considered launching the tour back in late spring. "But we realized that we would've had to make the album fit the tour, rather than have the tour be a logical extension of the album. We also wanted to ensure that the songs sound finished and fleshed out, rather than something basically tossed off quite quickly. I think we made the right decision to wait it out."
  • (12/05/1997): After the tour's official end, Nirvana ends the year with one last performance at the 40 Watt Club in Athens, Georgia alongside REM, performing after the departure of drummer Bill Berry.
  • (12/12/1997): Walt Disney Imagineering begins planning of a new thrill ride at Disney-MGM Studios called the "Rock n' Roller Coaster", with plans to export it to be an anchor tenant in additional theme parks being made as expansions of Disneyland and Disneyland Paris. At this moment, they are split between two options for the band who is to be the face of the attraction: Aerosmith and Nirvana. The split is because Nirvana has become the most popular band at the moment, but at the same time, Aerosmith have sustained the comeback that started with Permanent Vacation for a decade, with Nine Lives selling exceptionally well, and the band slated to record a ballad penned by Diane Warren for the upcoming Michael Bay film Armageddon. The option is considered whether or not to have different bands be featured on different versions of the ride, so as to have both choices, and any more that are considered for future versions.
  • (12/15/1997): People magazine splashes a cover story concerning a complicated series of love triangles regarding Layne Staley, Gwen Stefani and Bradley Nowell. The story states that Stefani has been seen in the company of Gavin Rossdale, lead singer of Bush, and that "she likes more than his music." However, Stefani has also increasingly spent more time with Nowell, especially as relations between him and Troy Deddaker have continued to sour, and Stefani duetted with Nowell on the recently-released single "Saw Red." Staley, for his part, has also rekindled a relationship with ex-girlfriend Demri Lara Parrott.
  • (12/17/1997): Several more women come forward with their stories about Glitter. Glitter, for his part, is fiercely unrepentant and plans to plead guilty to the child pornography charge while fighting the assault claims.
  • (12/19/1997): James Cameron's film Titanic, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, opens in theaters. After an initial slow reaction, moviegoers turn out in droves to see the film, which eventually grosses over $2 billion, becoming the highest-grossing film of all-time. The movie also ties the record with 1959's Ben-Hur for 11 Academy Awards. Cobain is amongst the thrilled viewers. "It's a beautiful story, and I honestly can't think of anything better out in theaters now. The romance is lovely, the effects are spectacularly done, and it really says a lot about arrogance and hubris."
  • (12/26/1997): Cobain meets Michael Jackson at the Record Plant in Hollywood, where the King of Pop is working on a followup album to HIStory. Jackson enthusiastically states that he is a fan of Cobain's work, and that he would be honored if Cobain contributed to certain tracks. Cobain states that he will consider it.

1998[]

  • (01/09/1998): Tobey Maguire is chosen as the lead in Lasse Hallstrom's upcoming film The Cider House Rules, soon after finishing filming on the upcoming movie Pleasantville. Angered by reports of Maguire's ascendance and his close friend Leonardo DiCaprio's own rise to becoming a teen idol, RD Robb, director of a shelved film called Don's Plum, an improvisational film in which DiCaprio and Maguire starred in, feeds a blistering volley to the Los Angeles Times, alleging that the duo have "ruined careers and lives in order to further their own." Dale Wheatley, a producer of the project, concurs, and blatantly accuses Maguire, in particular, of sabotaging the film by co-opting DiCaprio. The other producer, David Stutman, says nothing substantial, but gives tacit agreement with Robb and Wheatley's account.
  • (01/16/1998): The 4-disc live album compiled from the Nirvana/GNR tour is released to the public, entitled Get In The Ring. The album fulfills Nirvana's contract with DGC/Geffen Records, which is in the process of being sold to Interscope Records, which in and of itself is being amalgamated by Seagram, current owner of MCA and Universal Pictures, in a merger with PolyGram. Interscope founder Jimmy Iovine tries to woo Nirvana to re-sign with Geffen, while they are also fielding offers from Atlantic Records, Virgin/EMI and Sony Music.
  • (01/20/1998): Canadian animator and creator of The Ren and Stimpy Show John Kricfalusi, is given the opportunity to revive his program on the fledgling Cartoon Network, with the promise of full creative control on his part. Kricfalusi is ecstatic. "Those cunts at Nickelodeon won't be forcing me to go along with their anti-cartoon ideas anymore AND Spumco and I will be able to tell all the stories we want!" The revival is due for a 2000 premiere on the network.
  • (01/23/1998): Spumco purchases the rights to The Ren and Stimpy Show and regains control of the characters. (In case you're wondering Adult Party Cartoon doesn't happen in this timeline.)
  • (01/27/1998): Real estate mogul Donald Trump is killed in a head-on-collision with a 1997 Ford Powerstroke while departing from his Manhattan residence at the age of 51.
  • (01/30/1998): Trump's son Donald Trump Jr. is named the successor of the Trump Organization.
  • (01/31/1998): Courtney Love announces that her debut solo album 'The Honeypot' is complete with a tentative release date of March 31st.
  • (02/02/1998): The New York Post reports on allegations of an altercation between Marla Maples, the widow of Donald Trump and Trump's first wife, Ivana Trump during the will-reading. All members of the Trump family issue swift denials.
  • (02/04/1998): After years of lobbying by the recording industry, and a few years of work on the part of lobbyists and legislators, Representative Howard Coble of North Carolina introduces the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to the 105th Congress, the first serious attempt at copyright extension in decades, the act is designed to extend the reach of copyright into the rising medium of the Internet while limiting liability of online service providers of copyright infringement to their users. The act is noted by commentators to stand a good chance of passing through Congress, even in an election year, despite facing fierce criticism of it's possible effects on innovation, research, and abuse of it's takedown provisions. The actual legislative process is expected to take several months.
  • (02/06/1998): Three guys at Northeastern University, Shawn Fanning, his brother John Fanning, and their friend Sean Parker are hard at work on their peer-to-peer file sharing website, the intent is to create a means for people to share their MP3 music files in an easy and convenient manner. They hope to launch the website, 'Napster' in late spring.
  • (02/07/1998): Production of The Cider House Rules begins, despite controversy over the casting of Tobey Maguire, who is also going to have a brief role as 'The Hitchhiker' in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, though that film role will occur later in the year and only take a few days to shoot on Maguire's part.
  • (02/08/1998): MTV News does a 'special report' on the DMCA in Congress and the responses of several music artists are intercut throughout, while some like Whitney Houston express hope that the bill will be a positive step for the industry, others have a more negative view, as expressed by Kurt Cobain when asked about it, "The whole thing is a corporate money-grab dressed up as fixing copyright laws. It's just more political bulls#!%." MTV would face criticism for trying to portray a division of opinion among music artists when most experts noted that the majority of music artists were against the bill, it's popularity in the music industry was with producers and executives who ran the record labels.
  • (02/13/1998): Nirvana sets out on a tour of North and South America for From the Muddy Banks of the Wishkah-Hah. Meanwhile MTV begins airing all three prior seasons of Jem in preparation for the launch of season 4 a month later.
  • (02/15/1998): A track from The Honeypot entitled "Hold On To Me" is leaked to active rock radio stations.
  • (02/17/1998): Rumors surface that the late Donald Trump had sexually assaulted Ivana Trump in 1989.
  • (02/22/1998): Gold Mountain Management releases a statement that Nirvana will not re-sign with Geffen, and will instead sign with Atlantic Records for a five-album deal, most particularly for Atlantic's decision to launch the allowance of sales of MP3 downloads of their artists' work through the website store. In addition, wanting to avoid a publicity battle like the one between Warner Bros. and Prince, Geffen gives Nirvana the masters of their recordings to be used however they please, allowing Atlantic or any other label to release remasters.
  • (02/26/1998): While performing at the Polaris Amphitheater in Columbus, Ohio, Cobain announces the intentions to start a vanity label through Atlantic, which will be the springboard to a fully-independent label after the contract is fulfilled.
  • (Mar.1998): March of 1998 was mostly dominated by new music releases, with most of these albums being solo acts from otherwise band leaders. The first was INXS frontman Michael Hutchence's self-titled solo album which was released on March 11th. The album, in the works for three years, is a reflection of his life during his torrid affair with Paula Yates. Hutchence did little to promote the album, as he is currently with his family and friends in Australia and restoring his creative energy. The others being Courtney Love's The Honeypot and Scott Weiland's solo album 12 Bar Blues both of which were released on March 31st. The Honeypot mostly received mixed to positive reviews upon it's release, considering Love's work to "very interesting" and "retaining the signature sound that Hole made famous", but that it "ultimately is hampered due to sloppy lyricism and somewhat lacking musicianship." Meanwhile, Scott Weiland's solo album 12 Bar Blues, recieved heavy praise upon release with the album also featuring Cobain's guitar and vocals on "Barbarella" and "Mockingbird Girl," though the album failed to sell as well as Stone Temple Pilots' material.
  • (04/07/1998): At a tour stop in Rio De Janiero, Cobain proposes to Charlize Theron, who flew out to Rio to spend several nights with him.
  • (04/15/1998): Kricfalusi begins production with Spumco on the first 5 episodes of the revived Ren and Stimpy Show.
  • (04/20/1998): Several anonymous women come forward accusing Trump of sexual assault incidents that took place between 1986 and 1997. Trump's son Donald Trump Jr. vehemently denies these allegations. "My father loved his women, but not in that type of way."
  • (04/23/1998): Nirvana announces the name of their new label, Exploitation Records, and is trademarked on the same day. The reiterate plans to turn it from vanity label to fully independent after the Atlantic contract is fulfilled.
  • (04/29/1998): Nirvana performs in Anchorage, Alaska, having agreed to open for Aerosmith on this date in their Nine Lives Tour. Walt Disney Imagineering staff are among the crowd at the Sullivan Sports Arena, in order to determine the strategy over the Rock n' Roller Coaster. Both bands turn out stellar performances. During Aerosmith's set, Steven Tyler nearly injures his leg while playing around with the microphone during "Mama Kin," but misses by mere inches. It is later determined that if he had made contact, he would've likely torn his ACL tendon, and sparked off a debilitating condition in his feet that surely would've triggered a need for heavy-duty painkillers. Tyler comments in AA meetings that "It's like God was looking out for me that night."
  • (05/01/1998): The Gelfin premieres in theaters to generally favorable reviews, with praise directed towards Chris Farley's darkly humorous titular role and the special effects. The film is also a commercial success, grossing $23 million in its opening weekend. Showings of The Gelfin show previews for DreamWorks Pictures other 1998 release Shrek giving audiences an idea of what to expect in Chris Farley's first animated role. Meanwhile, the Fatty Arbuckle movie is tentatively planned to open in November 1999.
  • (05/03/1998): Courtney Love announces she signed on to Korn's new annual tour, 'The Family Values Tour' (to start in mid-June and run through September) along with a number of other bands such as Rammstein, Godsmack, Limp Bizkit, Ice T, and Robb Zombie.
  • (05/04/1998): The band No Doubt announces that they are back in the studio to record their next album, having spent the last two years on various tours promoting Tragic Kingdom. Gwen Stefani is seen with Sublime singer Bradley Nowell at Whisky a Go Go, when asked by a reporter if they are dating both refused to comment.
  • (05/06/1998): Bud Gaugh, the drummer of Sublime is quoted by Rolling Stone saying that, "Yeah [Bradley] and Stefani are datin', she practically lives with him." When asked if there would be a collaboration between Sublime and No Doubt, "We're talkin' about it, but we're also startin' to work on our next album too, so that might get in the way."
  • (05/08/1998): Dave Grohl and his wife of four years Jennifer Youngblood, announce that they are separating, rumors of imminent divorce swirl in the tabloids.
  • (05/09/1998): The late Donald Trump's ex-wife and two daughters, Ivana, Ivanka, and six year old Tiffany Trump are swarmed by paparazzi and reporters while entering The Russian Tea Room, being asked questions about the growing allegations against their deceased father. Tiffany is seen crying as Ivanka holds onto her tightly, Ivana Trump snarls, "Get away from us!" while entering the restaurant.
  • (05/11/1998): The production of The Cider House Rules suffers another bout of trouble when Michael Caine breaks his wrist in a bicycling accident during his downtime, causing more delays while a work around is sought out.
  • (05/13/1998): Director Luc Besson has a chance encounter with college students Thomas Romain and Tania Palumbo. The students share their idea for a potential animated series clearly influenced by Disney's Tron, in which a group of teenage students travel inside a supercomputer to defeat an evil artificial intelligence. Besson is intrigued by the idea, and promises to support it, especially as he is looking for a kids' project for his new production company EuropaCorp, founded after his split from Gaumont over Katheryn Bigelow's Joan of Arc film. Besson shares the idea with his wife, Milla Jovovich, and is also convinced in its potential.
  • (05/31/1998): The Nirvana From the Muddy Banks of the Wishkah-Hah tour concludes. Purportedly, the band plans to take a year or so off from recording new material to allow Dave Grohl to work on a side project of his known as the Foo Fighters, while Cobain plans on painting. Novoselic's plans are unknown.
  • (06/05/1998): The Truman Show, starring Jim Carrey, Ed Harris and Laura Linney, opens in theaters. The film revolves around Truman Burbank, who is unaware that his entire life has been artificially constructed as the purpose of a 24/7 TV show for the world's pleasure. It is a massive hit with critics and audiences, raking in $260 million at the box office, and earning Carrey considerable praise for his decidedly more mature and restrained performance. As a result, Carrey is in talks with Universal Pictures and director Milos Forman, who is to direct a biopic of Andy Kaufman, with a script by Ed Wood scribes Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski.
  • (06/08/1998): Ivana Trump confirms that Donald Trump raped her during their marriage. Stock investors start to pull out of the Trump Organization quickly. In happier marriage related news Kurt Cobain marries Charlize Theron in a private ceremony in Tunisia. During their wedding and honeymoon, the visit the set of of the upcoming Star Wars film Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Cobain makes paintings based on the landscape, and the Lucasfilm team's works with the miniatures, sets, matte paintings and chroma key shoots. One notable painting shows Frances and Patrick standing outside Anakin Skywalker's hovel alongside actors Jake Lloyd, Liam Neeson and Natalie Portman. Also on set is Bryan Singer, director of Apt Pupil and The Usual Suspects, who is learning as much about visual effects as possible for a planned X-Men film.
  • (06/11/1998): The revamped Batman & Robin opens in theaters. Alan Rickman's portrayal of Dr. Freeze receives considerable praise, while the rest of the elements earn a decidedly mixed reception. Peter Travers, in his review in Rolling Stone, states "It's not particularly better or worse than Batman Forever, and maybe this is the best result that could be achieved under the circumstances. Who knows what would've happened if the original version of the film, with Schwarzenegger and (Akiva) Goldsman's script, had been released as planned last summer?" However, the film faces stiff competition from Sony/TriStar's The Mask of Zorro, which is a rare blockbuster that critics also enjoy.
  • (06/12/1998): The Wall Street Journal reports that The Trump Organization plans to quietly sell off a number of assets overseas to make up for the losses due to several investors jumping ship. The CEO, Donald Trump Jr. is planning to shift the company's branding away from his father and focus on being a luxury brand in general with his sister Ivanka as the unofficial spokeswoman.
  • (06/13/1998): Mighty Joe Young opens in theaters, while facing competition from both Batman & Robin and The Mask of Zorro, Mighty Joe Young netted mostly positive reviews and would be #4 at the box office in it's first week. Charlize Theron attended the premier with Kurt and her stepdaughter at her side.
  • (06/14/1998): The Washington Post reports that long serving Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New York (D) plans to retire at the end of this year and has suggested that the First Lady, Hillary Clinton run for his seat in the 2000 Senate race. The White House refuses to comment.
  • (06/16/1998): An article appears in the magazine published for Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR), predicting the outcome by January 20, 2001. "At this point, the Democrats' coalition of centrists and progressives is in danger of fracturing badly when it will be needed the most. More and more, liberals will move to cut off their nose to spite their face, because President Clinton and his heir apparent, Vice President Gore, are not moving quickly enough to remake the world into the paradise they've envisioned. A media, voraciously hungry for Clinton scandals and now without anything to eat, will now turn their sights on Gore without mercy. Third parties will seem more attractive at a time when it is dangerous to do so. And the Republicans, with their decades of dirty tricks and shifting media balance in their favor, will ensure that their candidate is fawned over. All these ingredients will come together so that come Inauguration Day 2001, a Republican will be sitting in the Oval Office." The report is virtually ignored.
  • (06/20/1998): During a meeting over continued lobbyist efforts to repeal Glass-Steagall and replace it with something else, as well as hammering out the details of the DMCA, Democratic Senator Bill Bradley harshly rebukes any fellow Democrats considering the option, calling them "sellouts to corporate interests," and President Clinton as "enabling this hopeless addiction through his so-called Third Way." This impassioned speech makes all the rounds in Washington, and rumors him challenging Vice President Gore for the nomination in 2000 begin to swirl.
  • (06/21/1998): Cobain moves to live with Theron during the remaining shoot for The Cider House Rules. Meanwhile, work on the Wachowskis' film The Matrix in full swing, with Keanu Reeves fully committing after attempts to woo Will Smith for the role of Neo failed.
  • (06/22/1998): Initial affidavits in Stutman v. DiCaprio, the lawsuit over Don's Plum, are filed. At the moment, Leonardo DiCaprio is unavailable to participate fully in the suit, working on press for The Man in the Iron Mask and having committed to the film The Beach. Tobey Maguire, however, leads the charge, alleging that the film was not meant to be feature-length, that Stutman and the others made it so without their consent, and having threatened to blackball DiCaprio for backing out of the film, charges Stutman and the others vehemently deny.
  • (06/30/1998): Cobain announces that Theron is pregnant with the couple's first child, who is expected to be born in March of next year.
  • (07/03/1998): Rumors begin to swirl of renewed discord with Motley Crue, especially after drummer Tommy Lee's arrest and prison sentence for domestic violence with now ex-wife Pamela Anderson, the band's warfare with Elektra Records over promotion of Generation Swine, and various relapses by the band members, particularly frontman Vince Neil. In addition, during their current tour to promote an upcoming greatest hits album, bassist Nikki Sixx instigated controversy with stating racial epithets onstage.
  • (07/06/1998): Cobain is asked his opinion of the DMCA. "Well, all of us want to make money and protect our works, there's no doubt about that. But is this really the best way? There's so many things, so many possibilities that the Internet will provide for entertainment. Why jump on something if you don't fully understand it yet?"
  • (07/07/1998): During The Family Values Tour's performance in Cleveland, Billie Joe Armstrong, lead singer of Green Day was obviously intoxicated and struggled to finish the set. Despite the setback the show was otherwise well-received, with Courtney Love singing a couple Hole songs along with her new material like 'Hold On To Me' and 'Thorazine Girl' (the later being her next single and speculated to be about her stint in the psych-ward), but the big crowd pleasers were Korn and Limp Bizkit with their 'new sound' of mixing heavy metal with hip-hop.
  • (07/08/1998): The Los Angeles Times publishes a report about the lawsuit between the producer of Don Plum and it's two main stars DiCaprio and Maguire, quoting an anonymous source that both sides were quietly discussing settling out of court to prevent the airing of "dirty laundry".
  • (07/10/1998): Dave Grohl officially files for divorce, citing irreconcilable differences with his wife, Jennifer Youngblood. The only statement Grohl gave the media was a request for privacy 'at this difficult time in my life'.
  • (07/14/1998): Cobain and Theron are photographed at the Virgin Megastore in Hollywood. Here, Cobain gives an impromptu four-song solo acoustic performance, which ends up becoming a popular bootleg.
  • (07/15/1998): Alice in Chains finishes its North American tour.
  • (07/17/1998): Frank Zappa releases his latest album exclusively through his personal website, with a "pay what you want" offer.
  • (07/18/1998): After several months of hard work, and an unexpected delay from their original June debut date, Napster.com officially went online as an easy peer-to-peer MP3 sharing network, the first MP3 shared was "Come As You Are (Virgin Acoustic version)".
  • (07/19/1998): During a phone call with Kurt to set up a visit with Frances and Patrick, Courtney Love stated that while she was enjoying performing, she was worried that she'd break her year-long sobriety due to Billie Joe Armstrong constantly trying to get her to join him and Jonathan Davis in their massive drinking bouts. Despite their problems Kurt advised that if it got worse she should pull out of the tour.
  • (07/23/1998): Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder is found dead in his Los Angeles home of an apparent drug overdose at the age of 33. The remaining members of Pearl Jam announce the dissolution of the band later that day, with a joint statement being released. "It is impossible for us to continue onward at this time without the presence of our departed friend and band member. We hope him and Hendrix are jamming together and keeping it real." A funeral is planned for the following week.
  • (07/30/1998): The funeral of Eddie Vedder is held, with approximately 10,000 in attendance. Famous guests include the members of Nirvana, Alice in Chains and Soundgarden and their relatives, as well as Chris Farley, Adam Sandler, Chris Rock and David Spade. Cobain reads a eulogy at the funeral which is all but applauded for its memorability and poignancy. "We weren't in the same group and some say that we didn't even play the same genre of rock, but either way Eddie, me and all of you were connected via music and sometimes that's a more powerful connection than all.
  • (08/02/1998): Alice in Chains announces a temporary hiatus, by not going on further tours to promote their upcoming album, in order to properly grieve Vedder's death and ensure that their own sobriety is safe. Jerry Cantrell ends up holing himself up in his house. He will later state that during this period, he lets his personal hygiene go and simply refused to go outside, partly because he was pouring out songs and committing them to demo tapes.
  • (08/07/1998): Cobain, the surviving members of Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains minus Cantrell, Eddie Van Halen, Bradley Nowell and Scott Weiland attend a MusiCares event focusing on addiction and share their experiences of addiction, and their memories of Vedder. Van Halen, for his part stresses the life he has lived since getting sober, and how he is happier than ever. When the event is over, the press asks him about Sammy Hagar and his continued potshots at him. "Look, I love Sammy and always will. He's a very lovely guy. But he has some issues to work out. If anything, I think he resents not being in control, and he's a bit insecure about Dave."
  • (08/08/1998): After a performance in Denver, Billie Joe Armstrong is pulled over by a police officer due to erratic driving and fails a field sobriety test and is arrested for DUI, two passengers in the vehicle, Jonathan Davis and Courtney Love are taken to the station for public intoxication.
  • (08/09/1998): While reaching the end of principal filming for The Cider House Rules, Charlize Theron considers what her next film project will be, due to being three month's pregnant and only going to get bigger since the initial ultrasound hinted she might be carrying twins, she has her agent shop around for something quick and easy, or maybe an animated film to lend her voice too. During her down time she finishes reading the manga Akira and admits to Kurt that she'd love to see a live-action film be made of it and Ghost in the Shell. "You want to act in it?" he asks her. "Hmm... I thought about it and it would be awesome but I'm worried it would look terrible to have a white girl playing Japanese characters... What I would like to do would be to produce it, maybe even direct." she responds "That would be cool." he exclaims.
  • (08/10/1998): A documentary is planned regarding the demise of Eddie Vedder. It is also announced that Green Day would be pulling out of The Family Values Tour due to Billie Joe Armstrong entering rehab for alcoholism after his arrest for DUI. The band the Deftones were announced as a replacement to help finish out the tour.
  • (08/12/1998): Cobain and Theron begin making rounds to investigate the film rights to Akira and Ghost in the Shell, as well considering distribution deals with Sony/Columbia Pictures for such a potential release. In addition, both also come into contact with new American manga distributor Tokyopop and its founder, Stuart Levy, over the possibility of creating an original project for the company at some point. This move also puts both Cobain and Theron in contact with several of Japan's top manga and anime creators such Sailor Moon creator Naoko Takaeuchi and Ranma 1/2 creator Rumiko Takahashi, who is currently working on a new series, Inuyasha.
  • (08/15/1998): EuropaCorp officially signs an exclusive deal with Thomas Romain and Tania Palumbo for their AI concept. Luc Besson personally funds the idea for both to come up with a "proof of concept" animated pilot by 2001, to help determine the viability as a franchise. Should EuropaCorp approve of the pilot, they will sign it up as a series of films and a potential TV series, in either animator, live action, or a hybrid. In the meantime, Besson works with constant collaborator Robert Mark Kamen to begin outlining a plot and characters to serve the concept, with input by Milla Jovovich, who is also interested in creating songs for it, as a synergistic way to resume her music career.
  • (08/16/1998): Courtney Love chats with a reporter from Spin about her time on tour and her relapse, stating that she had always felt like the odd-duck out due to her grunge/punk roots when compared to the 'Nu Metal/Hip-Hop' vibe of the other bands. She called Fred Durst 'a creeper' due to his preference for 'younger the better' groupies and stated things had been tense between her and Jonathan Davis until Denver which she claimed served as a wakeup call for Davis and that he was going 'cold turkey' on drugs and alcohol. Courtney stated she had hired a minder to keep her on the straight and narrow until the tour was over.
  • (08/22/1998): The first trailers for Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace are released to the public. Expectation reaches a fever pitch. The trailers are released to serve screenings of Shrek. The film stars Chris Farley, Janeane Garofalo and Eddie Murphy, and is meant to be a send-up of fairy tales, especially Disney's versions of them, and contains very clear and blatant barbs at Disney CEO Michael Eisner, who is reportedly enraged, especially given having negotiated with his former nemesis Jeffrey Katzenberg to allow promotion of The Phantom Menace for a rival company.
  • (08/24/1998): Various Hollywood insiders buzz to the press about rumors that Charlize Theron and Kurt Cobain were beginning talks with Universal Studios about creating their own 'vanity production company' tied to Universal that will let them produce and distribute films either financed by them, invested in the making of, and possibly filmed by Charlize herself in the future. A blind-piece published in Entertainment Weekly talks about this and mentions an anonymous source stating that Steven Spielberg had suggested to them that instead of producing films directly they serve as investors while learning the ropes.
  • (08/25/1998): David Grohl finalizes his amicable divorce with Jennifer Youngblood, even while the tabloids have published stories claiming that Krist Novoselic's marriage to his high school sweetheart, Shelli Hyrkas was on the rocks.
  • (08/27/1998): The Walt Disney Company makes several important announcements concerning a shakeup of operations. First it is announced that the Rock n' Roller Coaster will be a 'different band for different versions' idea that will be instituted at Disney-MGM Studios, Disneyland's expansion park WESTCOT (which is tentatively scheduled to open in 2002 or 2003 and have it as the anchor tenant attraction), Disneyland Paris' expansion park Walt Disney Studios Paris (to open in 2002), and in Tokyo, as well as proposed theme parks in Shanghai and Hong Kong. The Rock n' Roller Coaster was chosen to be an anchor tenant to replicated in every major resort complex over the very popular Twilight Zone Tower Of Terror, deciding that keeping that as the only one of its kind will ensure that the crowds are always massive, knowing they want to experience it. The Florida version will feature Aerosmith, California will feature Nirvana, Paris INXS, and the others have yet to be determined. Furthermore, ABC Entertainment head and Disney President and COO Bob Iger announces that the spinoff of a majority stake in Miramax Films, begun after the purchases of Pixar and Lucasfilm in 1996, is now complete, with Disney maintaining only a 20 percent stake in the division and only holding the home video rights of Miramax's movies.
  • (08/31/1998): Cobain and Theron become investors in Planet Hollywood, giving it a much needed infusion of capital, and helping sway the board to adopt strategies conceived by Arnold Schwarzenegger to ensure success. Plans for rapid expansion of locations are reversed, with second and third-tier North American locations such as Columbus, Indianapolis and so on shuttered, with a focus on prime markets where one could conceivably bump into celebrities. The menu is greatly expanded, with not only more and exciting items beyond the basic, but also including organic, vegetarian and vegan meals as well. Great emphasis is given to variant merchandise, to turn them into complete collectors sets. Plans for a stand-alone gourmet ice cream branch are scuppered, at least for the time being. A joint venture with AMC Theatres is still allowed to proceed, and becomes the one source of expansion for the company, with a move to turn Planet Hollywood into the location for movie premieres and afterparties. Lastly, MPAA head Jack Valenti is encouraged to step down and join the company as point man by doubling his salary, knowing that he can schmooze movie studios for sweetheart deals. This also encourages a liberalizing of the standards for MPAA ratings, making it easier for movies to avoid being branded with an NC-17 rating. Cobain and Theron plan to use Planet Hollywood's increased income to help their movie projects.
  • (09/01/1998): The band Soundgarden, which had been on an unofficial hiatus since 96 and their feuding over the band's creative direction had become very public announces that they have gone back to the studio to record a new album. Friends of Chris Cornell state that the time off and death of Eddie Vedder and bringing the group back together for the memorial service gave everyone a 'fresh perspective' and 'cut through the BS'.
  • (09/04/1998): An unfinished version of the No Doubt song "New" is leaked onto Napster by an unknown party and peer-shared heavily in a matter of hours, bringing mainstream media attention to the website and reportedly enraging Gwen Stefani.
  • (09/05/1998): Meg Ryan officially turns down working with Milos Forman on Man On The Moon, moving instead to reteam with Tom Hanks in You've Got Mail. Milla Jovovich ends up taking on the role of Andy Kaufman's girlfriend. Meanwhile, Jim Carrey is creating quite the scene on set with his decision to stay in character throughout the set, deliberately antagonizing the cast and crew with his antics.
  • (09/08/1998): Stefani and the rest of No Doubt give a public statement condemning Napster and giving their support for the DMCA. The next day, Frank Zappa lampoons the statement by making a parody on his website. When asked about his own feelings, Zappa states, "Don't get me wrong, I don't wanna be ripped off. I don't others making money off of my lyrics when I don't give permission. But this bill is simply not the answer. I think co-opting bootleggers and pirates and beating them at their game and officially releasing the types of items they'd want to share is a much better option."
  • (09/14/1998): Van Halen begins tracking songs for their next album, with production handled by old producer Ted Templeman and Kevin "Caveman" Shirley. However, signs of discord between Michael Anthony and the other members is starting to become clear. Anthony is still on friendly terms with Sammy Hagar, and has been completely against working with David Lee Roth again, calling him "an egotistical, narcissistic fame monster." However, the Van Halen brothers and Roth refuse to fire Anthony and want him to stay. To help smooth over tension, the band hires a second bassist, Tommy Stinson of The Replacements, who is renowned for his cool temper, great backup vocals, and his blend of styles. However, Stinson will not be credited as an official member of the band, which remains constrained to the original four.
  • (09/16/1998): Cobain and Theron try their hand at shoring up funds for their own film plans by investing in Robert Zemeckis' planned next two films, Cast Away and What Lies Beneath. In addition, two important Nirvana-related plans are announced. Cobain officially signs a deal with Hyperion Books to write his autobiography, to be delivered in the summer of 2000. In addition, he and the rest of the band agree to a big, multi-part documentary about their history, in the style of The Beatles Anthology, due to be broadcast on ABC in spring 2001. Like The Fab Four, the documentary will also be accompanied by home video/DVD release, a coffee table book, and a box set of demos, rough mixes and outtakes.
  • (09/20/1998): Bradley Nowell's divorce from Troy Deddaker is finalized. He is soon photographed in the company of Gwen Stefani every time he is in public. Meanwhile, Sublime begins working on a full album of Bob Marley covers to tide the public until they create their next original album.
  • (09/23/1998): The newly-regrouped Soundgarden begins tracking their new album at Studio X/Bad Animals Studios in Seattle with Michael Beinhorn. The first song tackled is an old song entitled "Flutter Girl."
  • (09/27/1998): More accounts from victims of Gary Glitter flood the Metropolitan Police, delaying his trial for historical sexual assault yet again. Negotiations begin for the possibility of a plea bargain and whether Glitter knows the identities of any other pedophiles in UK show business.
  • (09/30/1998): Bob Smeaton, director of The Beatles Anthology, is officially hired as director of the Nirvana documentary. As with the earlier documentary, Jools Holland is chosen as interviewer for the project, to help encourage familiarity, comfort and frankness.
  • (10/02/1998): ABC begins re-airing The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles in preparation for the premiere of new episodes, finishing all 70 planned scripts that George Lucas and the writers' room had cooked up years earlier. With Disney's purchase of both Lucasfilm and ABC, ABC decided against selling off the airing rights for the show as originally planned. In addition, it is announced that home video sets will be released in June, with the episodes re-edited in chronological order, with a bonus tape, and later bonus DVD, featuring the excised "Old Indy" bookends, which will still be in the broadcast versions. Despite the show not having been a commercial success in its 1992-93 run, Lucas and Rick McCallum were quite insistent on Disney reviving the show, particularly since only episodes featuring Sean Patrick Flannery needed to be shot from here on. When asked about this development, Lucas states that "with Star Wars taking up my time, I don't quite have the time to devote to this series that you'd expect. But I made sure that the best people are involved so that things progress quite well. I've always believed in this series, and I think that a second chance is what it needs." He also asserts that when the Star Wars prequels are finished, a fourth Indiana Jones film will be made, but that a lot of various product will come out to tide fans over in the meantime.
  • (10/06/1998): Voting for the DMCA is officially postponed until the next Congress is sworn in.
  • (10/07/1998): Cobain's artwork is displayed in an exhibition at the Museum Of Metropolitan Art for a month.
  • (10/09/1998): The Allman Brothers Band announces that they will be touring without Dickey Betts "until he decides to get himself under control." Butch Trucks' nephew Derek will join the lineup, which currently includes Jack Pearson and Oteil Burbridge. The statement also makes clear "we are not firing Dickey, and he is welcome to return once he's well." Betts, for his part, fires back and asserts that he was "fired by fax."
  • (10/12/1998): Gary Glitter officially changes his plea to guilty on all counts of historical sexual assault, and will receive a ten year prison sentence in exchange for his testimony against various other defendants that he has named as complicit. Within several days, several shocking arrests among British entertainment stalwarts occur, among them Max Clifford, Rolf Harris, and most astonishingly, Jimmy Savile. All defendants emphatically deny the charges and vow to fight in court.
  • (10/15/1998): Dickey Betts files for arbitration against the other members of the Allman Brothers Band. Gregg Allman responds by saying, "I'm astonished that Dickey has decided to go this route. All we want is for him to get well and return. By filing against us, he is effectively deciding to quit and refuse to work on his problems." Allman states that the reason they decided to tour without him was because of Betts' recent drinking issues, which the newly-sober Allman especially finds disturbing. In addition, he states that Betts has compounded issues by playing far too loudly for the other members to handle.
  • (10/17/1998): Nirvana officially hires an additional drummer to play on songs where Dave Grohl wishes to sing and play guitar, freeing Cobain from the duty. Session drummer Taylor Hawkins is a good friend of Grohl's, and has impressed the other members considerably with his abilities. To show their new camaraderie, they begin tracking a covers album, with three original songs, to tide the fans over until the next proper album is released in 2000.
  • (10/19/1998): Stutman v. DiCaprio is officially settled out of court, with an allowing of Don's Plum to be released in Europe and Japan only. The filmmakers proceed to edit the film together for an eventual release.
  • (10/22/1998): The new Soundgarden album, entitled Euphoria Morning, moves to the mixing stage after the tracks come together relatively quickly.
  • (10/24/1998): Cobain appears in a jam session at the Viper Room with Steve Jones, Flea, Billy Gibbons and Steve Crago.
  • (10/26/1998): Michael Hutchence makes his first live appearance in almost a year, joining an INXS tribute band's performance at the Brisbane River Stage.
  • (10/28/1998): Courtney Love receives an offer to open for her idols, the full Rumours lineup of Fleetwood Mac, on their planned 1999 tour. She accepts and promptly enters rehab to sort herself together.
  • (10/30/1998): Christine McVie denies rumors that she is planning to leave Fleetwood Mac due to an apparent fear of flying that allegedly developed during the recent reunion tour. "I don't know where anyone gets these ideas. There was one bad flight during the tour, but that doesn't constitute a fear. My life is dedicated to this band, and I've been in it almost as long as Mick (Fleetwood) and John (McVie, her former husband). I may have at one point wanted to sit back and enjoy the fruits of my labors, but it makes no sense to do it now, with the full reunion having occurred. I'm in this for the long haul."
  • (11/02/1998): Election day in the United States for it's mid-term elections, and for both parties the results were wildly outside of what they had anticipated, the Republican Party split between high expectations and fears, and the Democrats expecting to fight an effective holding action with little gains in either house of Congress. The results were the Democrats winning back control of the Senate by a single seat, having saved all their vulnerable seats and picking up five seats off of the Republicans unexpectedly, making Tom Daschle of South Dakota the new Senate Majority leader. The House remained in Republican control, leaving Bob Livingston as it's Speaker. The other big news came from Texas where George W. Bush, son of former President George H. W. Bush won the Governorship of the Lone Star State by a landslide. Meanwhile filming officially begins on the Fatty Arbuckle film. Early photos of Chris Farley on set appear in magazines around the world.
  • (11/04/1998): Gary Glitter begins his ten year prison sentence. Max Clifford, Rolf Harris, Jimmy Savile and others are indicted in short order within the following days.
  • (11/07/1998): The BBC airs a hastily-assembled documentary in which a dozen of Savile's accusers come forward. The BBC insists that they had no idea of the alleged crimes prior to this airing, a statement that many pundits find to be utterly false and self-protective in nature. Nevertheless, the BBC also begins the process of scrubbing Savile from rebroadcasts of Top of the Pops as well as destroying master copies of all episodes of Jim'll Fix It.
  • (11/10/1998): Rose McGowan, girlfriend of shock rocker Marilyn Manson, is interviewed by Vogue about her career prospects and her relationship with Manson. During an off-the-record portion, McGowan gripes about Miramax Films co-founder Harvey Weinstein and his moves to gin up Oscar support for Shakespeare in Love. She states, "if the world knew him as well as I do, things would be different." The interviewer presses for more, but McGowan says nothing further. This, however, doesn't stop the vague comment from being spread around Hollywood circles.
  • (11/13/1998): Nirvana accepts an offer to co-headline a spring 1999 arena tour with Marilyn Manson to promote Manson's latest album Mechanical Animals. Monster Magnet, Jack Off Jill and Nashville Pussy will alternate as support acts.
  • (11/14/1998): Gwen Stefani is interviewed by Rolling Stone as part of a profile, she talks about her marriage to Bradley Nowell saying that she had never been as happy in her life, hinted that they were trying to have a baby, and admitted to suffering from clinical depression and being on medication for it. When asked about her issues with Napster, Gwen said the following, "It isn't just that they pirated the song, it was the fact that someone I knew and trusted stole the unfinished track and leaked it. We had to bust our butts to do a new version of the song, we're going to be finished with the new album by February, but I feel like it's a bit rushed but there isn't much choice." She further stated that there had been preliminary talks to offer the song "New" as part of a movie soundtrack but after the leak the talks fell through. When asked about how the album, titled 'Saturn Returns' would sound Gwen stated that she played around with new sounds and said, "It's more edgy than Tragic Kingdom, but I think our fans will love it!"
  • (11/15/1998): After wrapping in August and two months of editing, The Cider House Rules is released, despite the troubled production the film quickly receives rave reviews, and in the start of 'Oscar Season' for the release of 'artsy movies' by studios it would ultimately make 88 million on it's 24 million dollar budget. Charlize Theron's performance was singled out for praise and talk of Oscar nominations for Best Actress were banded about in the Hollywood press. Charlize Theron attended the premier with her husband and her mother at her side. Kurt joked about trying to wear the same suit he wore for the 2 Days in the Valley premier but was made to get a new one.
  • (11/18/1998): Van Halen's newest single, entitled "You And Your Blues", is released to rave reception in preparation for the new album, A Different Kind of Truth, to be released in early December. However, because of the continuing strain between David Lee Roth and Michael Anthony, Anthony will not play on all of the shows of the following tour, choosing instead to appear with Sammy Hagar's solo group The Waboritas for their spring 1999 tour. When asked about filling in for much of the upcoming Van Halen tour, Tommy Stinson states, "Well, it is in many ways a dream come true. I grew up with Van Halen, especially in awe of Mike's talents. I'm glad to hold things down for him until his return."
  • (11/22/1998): The Hollywood Reporter publishes an anonymous account from someone in Miramax's Italian division, stating that they know that Harvey Weinstein is a serial philanderer and constantly advances on women without their consent. "Almost every time Harvey came over, there was another horror story. He is ruthless with NDAs and will not hesitate to blacklist anyone he feels has crossed him."

1999[]

  • (01/03/1999): The 106th Congress of the United States was officially sworn in and began it's service, with the Democrats in control of the Senate and the Republican's in control of the House and with Bill Clinton serving out the last two years of his second-term, expectations were quite low as to how much would actually get done until after the 2000 Elections. One of the first items on the agenda was the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which was reintroduced by it's author Howard Coble (R) in the House of Representatives, however in the Senate, Senator Barbara Boxer (D) introduced her own version of the bill which she claimed addressed many of the issues brought up by the Coble version of the DMCA. The Boxer version of the DMCA was more loose, allowing for greater flexibility for both copyright holders and those wanting to use copyright material in reaching agreements, and reaffirmed that the length of copyright to be 56 years, in direct challenge to Coble's bill that would extend copyright by several more decades at the request of several media companies, most notably Disney. Due to the divisions in Congress, while both bills were expected to pass, reconciling them to send a final bill to Clinton's desk was expected to be impossible in this Congress.
  • (01/04/1999): The Nirvana covers album is released digitally through the Exploitation Records/Atlantic website before its physical release the following Tuesday. It is considered a worthy stopgap before the next proper album. Taylor Hawkins' drumming on songs where Dave Grohl sings lead and plays guitar is also highly praised.
  • (01/07-01/25/1999): After a couple months of initial silence, Rose McGowan decides to clarify her cryptic comments about Harvey Weinstein, confirming that he had raped her and pressured her into signing an NDA. McGowan's comments proceed to spark other actresses to speak out about their experiences, including Gwyneth Paltrow, Asia Argento, Ashley Judd and Angelina Jolie. Initially Harvey Weinstein denied the allegations even going as far as to claim that the allegations were a "smear campaign" orchestrated by Steven Spielberg to sabotage the Oscar campaign of Shakespeare in Love in favor of the Spielberg directed Saving Private Ryan. Sadly for Harvey it seemed the public didn't buy his story in fact public opinion and public perception turned against him quite quickly. Ultimately with his reputation tarnished and not wanting their own reputation to go down with him, the board of directors at Miramax ultimately voted to remove Harvey Weinstein effective immediately on January 25th with a board member saying to Variety "We are certainly sad and disappointed that it has had to come to this, but we cannot in good conscience continue with Harvey Weinstein at the head of Miramax. Knowing that he helped establish us to being what we are today makes it all the more difficult. Our hopes are that Harvey can take this moment to look at himself and come to grips with what he has become, and that he can get better. We certainly hope that for him." As for Bob Weinstein (Harvey's brother) he would end up eventually leaving Miramax in April citing "personal reasons", control of Miramax would fall into the hands of Daniel Battsek, a long-time producer for Walt Disney Productions.
  • (02/28/1999): The Rock Is Dead Tour launches to an ecstatic response by critics and audiences, praising both Nirvana and Marilyn Manson's sets. However, concerned parents and pundits question the pairing, and whether or not Cobain and the members of Nirvana are "corrupted" by Manson's performances.
  • (03/07/1999): Layne Staley marries Demri Lara Parrott in a quiet, private ceremony.
  • (03/21/1999): Saving Private Ryan earns Best Picture, and Tom Hanks wins Best Actor for his performance in said film, at the 71st Academy Awards.
  • (03/31/1999): The Matrix opens to rave reviews and rakes an enormous profit. Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne and Hugo Weaving are praised for their performances, the premise is considered quite inventive, and the visuals admired. Carrie-Anne Moss's portrayal as Trinity is considered somewhat stiff and lacking in emotion, while various family values groups attack the film for its violent combat scenes and usage of Marilyn Manson's song "Rock Is Dead" as its de facto theme song.
  • (04/20/1999): Two high school seniors, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, open fire on their fellow students at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. Twelve students and a teacher are killed, and two dozen more wounded before the assailants commit suicide. Onstage at the Rosemont Horizon near Chicago, Cobain dedicates the performance that night to the victims. This does little to stem the growing controversy and attempts to blame Cobain, Manson and their peers for being a negative influence on the youth.
  • (04/21/1999): The day after the Columbine mass shooting saw the story continue to dominate the news and would do so for days afterward, the names of the victims were reported, their stories and the stories of the survivors were on all media outlets. It didn't take long for the shock and the horror to wear off on the media's part to begin asking, "Who's to blame?" (besides the actual shooters). Immediate focus fell on pop culture, specifically the reported music, clothes, movies, and video games that they played. Their loose group of friends, 'the Trench Coat Mafia' were targeted by harassers, and their trench coats caused some on the young 'Fox News' to blame the new hit movie 'The Matrix'. Other crusaders for the 'moral majority' began pouring bile on 'Satanic Music' promoted by bands like Marilyn Manson, Rammstein, and Nirvana (that the shooters were reportedly fans of), and the computer game 'Doom' also got flack due to being a favorite of Harris and Klebold's. More liberal voices quickly focused on how easily the two teens had gotten their hands on all their weapons, bombs, and ammo, fixing blame on America's gun culture and began pushing lawmakers to tighten restrictions on gun rights, while conservative commentators quickly doubled-down on blaming popular culture and began pushing for Congress to investigate, and possibly pass legislation about it. Though the 'it' was left up in the air. It was quietly announced by the Pentagon, so quietly it wasn't noticed by many, that a couple of hours after the President was informed of the shooting and had addressed the nation that Bill Clinton had authorized further air strikes on Bosnia as part of the 'peace-keeping' forces sent to that war-torn nation, as part of the on-going Yugoslav Wars in Eastern Europe.
  • (04/22/1999): Kurt Cobain, along with Marilyn Manson announce that the remaining dates on the 'Rock is Dead' tour are to be canceled due to the shooting, Manson and Kurt giving a joint statement saying that, "That while music and pop culture are not to blame for this terrible tragedy, never the less we have both agreed that it is not appropriate to be preforming at this time." Meanwhile Charlize Theron, in Los Angeles is in talks with investors trying to set up a production company issues her own statement expressing horror and shock at the events in Columbine, and also states that "Ultimately the people at fault are the shooters themselves."
  • (04/24/1999): Jessicka Adams, lead singer of Jack Off Jill, who supported the Rock Is Dead Tour on several dates, accuses Manson's bassist Twiggy Ramirez of raping her during the tour. Ramirez denies the allegations, but Manson announces his termination, and that for the upcoming summer European tour, he will be replaced by Tim Skold, lead singer of Shotgun Messiah and short-lived co-frontman of KMFDM, which is currently broken up, as well as facing outraged barbs for being the favorite band of Harris and Klebold.
  • (04/26/1999): Cobain makes a public statement about the events in Littleton. "It sickens all of us to our core that such a senseless loss of life could occur anywhere, especially at a school. Our hearts go out to everyone affected by the shooters' actions." When asked about reports that Nirvana and their contemporaries like Alice in Chains may have had a role in the tragedy, Cobain looks quite earnestly. "I've always said that entertainment doesn't directly inspire acts of violence. I've also said that anyone who listens to our music and does engage in acts of hate is not a real fan." He mentions an infamous incident back in 1992 when two young men raped a woman and mockingly recited the lyrics to "Polly" as they did so. Furthermore, when asked about German industrial metal groups KMFDM and Rammstein and whether they are Nazi apologists and inspired Harris and Klebold, Cobain sneers at the suggestion. "The Scorpions are German. Are they Nazis?"
  • (04/29/1999): Charlize Theron checks into Cedars-Sinai Hospital to prep for the birth of her and Cobain's twins. Frances, Patrick, Wendy O'Connor and Cobain's sister Kim also appear for support. A note and flowers are sent by Keanu Reeves for additional cheering up.
  • (05/02/1999): President Clinton urges Congress to close the "gun show loophole", addressing how Harris and Klebold got their hands on the weaponry to carry out the shooting. Along with Vice President Gore, he also calls for all weapons to have trigger locks and for limits on magazine sizes. The action is hotly contested by the Republican Party and the NRA, but Senator Barbara Boxer introduces such a motion in the Senate. She also indicates a desire to hammer out the DMCA details once and for all, if her new measure is also debated.
  • (05/03/1999): Despite having suffered a false labor in late April, on advisement from her doctors, Charlize Theron had her labor induced at Cedars-Sinai, after that difficulty the birthing went relatively smoothly, and on 1:45 PM she delivered a set of twins, a boy and girl. Their names would be revealed to the press in court documents filed for the birth certificates as 'Edward Daniel Cobain' and 'Olivia Gerda Cobain'.
  • (05/04/1999): Tom Petty, the lead singer of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers was found dead in a room at the Waldorf Astoria in New York where his band was slated to perform that night. His dead was quickly rumored to be of a heroin overdose due to a large amount of drugs found in the room by a hotel maid who had discovered it while on her cleaning route. Friends noted that the growing commercial failure of his latest album Echo (released in April) had severely depressed Tom, causing him to withdrawal socially and become isolated when not performing. His death sent his fans into immediate mourning with a candlelight vigil outside of the hotel where he died.
  • (05/14/1999): Star Wars: Episode I-The Phantom Menace premieres to ecstatic reactions by the general public and largely positive reviews by the critics. The visuals are considered nothing short of thrilling, and the performances credible, with much praise going to Lawrence Kasdan's polishing of the dialogue. However, certain Star Wars fans have vitriolic disgust for the film, for the increased usage of CGI, and for the performances of Jake Lloyd as Anakin Skywalker and Ahmed Best as Jar Jar Binks. Cobain and Theron viewed the film privately at Skywalker Ranch just prior to Theron's labor, and were quite impressed with the results. Along with the financial success of the animated film Tarzan and the later performance of Toy Story 2, 1999 becomes a massively profitable year for Disney, and these profits also are reinvested towards ends such as coming up with better programming on ABC to replace the TGIF lineup after those shows ended their run.
  • (05/20/1999): Rolf Harris' trial begins, as he was among the defendants most eager to get the matter resolved as quickly as possible, while Max Clifford and Jimmy Savile purposefully stall for time.
  • (05/22/1999): Courtney Love's joint tour with Fleetwood Mac begins at Mile High Stadium in Denver, Colorado.
  • (05/23/1999): Access Hollywood reports on rumors that Miramax, the production company for the upcoming film Reindeer Games is pushing director John Frankenheimer to 'part ways' with Charlize Theron and replace her with another actress due to being 'unsatisfied' with the rate in which she is losing her baby weight.
  • (05/24/1999): Chris Farley, on the set of When the Laughter Stopped, a biopic of Fatty Arbuckle, commented on the Access Hollywood story, calling it, "Pure Weinstein culture bullshit!" on Miramax's part and hinted that he was investing in 'a business project' of Cobain and Theron's.
  • (05/26/1999): Stuart Levy officially reaches out and approves a manga series conceived by Cobain, with also some input from Courtney Love. Entitled Princess Ai, the series centers on two characters representing alter egos of the two, referred by Cobain as "some weird parallel universe where both of ended up eternally happy, at least after some big interspecies struggle." The story revolves around a young woman named Ai, who awakes in Tokyo with no memory of her past and only a heart-shaped box as a clue to her identity, and meets a young musician named Kent. Through a series of events, Ai becomes a massively successful musician herself, and discovers her true lineage as princess of the world of Ai-Land, which is in the middle of a conflict between humans and angel-like creatures named dougen. Thus Ai must learn to manage her career, her love life, and run away from enemies hired to kill her, and bring peace back to her world. Levy announces that he will personally flesh out the story and write it himself, but needs time to find a proper illustrator, and that it will run in Japan first as individual chapters before gathering them together in volumes internationally.
  • (05/29/1999): Nirvana books time at Southern Tracks Studios in Atlanta to record their next album with mega producer Brendan O'Brien. Cobain states, "Gotta take this opening and get our shit done before STP comes back." Stone Temple Pilots, whose material is exclusively produced by O'Brien, is currently on the road promoting their new album No. 4.
  • (05/30/1999): It was announced by Charlize Theron that she had 'by mutual agreement' with director John Frankenheimer 'parted ways' before the filming of Reindeer Games was set to begin, the replacement to play 'Ashley Mercer' a subject of speculation but names like Shannon Doherty and Patricia Arquette were being touted. Several entertainment shows like Inside Edition and E! News also speculated as to why Charlize Theron left production, noting the rumors that the producers didn't feel like she was losing her baby weight fast enough, despite having gone on a vegan diet and reported exercising for hours on end as soon as she recovered from the delivery. Several 'sources' reportedly connected with Nirvana stated that Kurt Cobain had gone on a vicious tirade against Miramax after he found out, and had to be stopped from calling new Miramax head Daniel Battsek and giving him a piece of his mind.
  • (06/02/1999): Nirvana officially begins recording at Southern Tracks Studios, with Theron and the children joining Cobain in Atlanta in an apartment complex on Peachtree Road.
  • (06/04/1999): Congress officially votes on a reconciled version of the DMCA, largely using Barbara Boxer's version, with a promise to deliberate on Boxer's gun control measure afterwards. Despite the fierce entertainment industry lobbying, especially from Disney, this version passes relatively easily in both houses of Congress. Of course, even with a more liberalized version, sites like Napster are still prone to being targeted by the RIAA and record labels as committing copyright infringement, especially in light of an increasing number of labels putting their artists' works up for sale digitally.
  • (06/07/1999): Blockbuster Video announces their own new strategy to embrace the growing digital demand and likely decrease in bandwidth prices. By around 2004, Blockbuster will have a mail-order delivery service for movies, especially as DVDs are expected to overtake VHS tapes in release. They will also invest in plans for a video on demand service, planning to reach critical mass within a decade from now. To further branch out, Blockbuster will begin setting up vending machines to rent or even purchase movies from in grocery and convenience stores that don't want a brick and mortar store attached to it. This part of the strategy is the one that will start being put into motion quickest. In the meantime, a more liberalized rental period and late fee policy will be implemented in stores.
  • (06/08/1999): Senator Bill Bradley officially announces that he will challenge Vice President Gore for the Democratic Party nomination, much to the cheer of the progressive wing of the party. Meanwhile, Texas Governor George W. Bush is emerging as a likely challenger to Senator John McCain for the Republican nomination.
  • (06/09/1999): Since the release of Batman and Robin, the next movie in the Batman saga had fallen into production hell, while Alan Rickman's performance as Mr. Freeze was praised, the rest of the film was viewed more negatively despite being a box-office draw. Two scripts had been developed, one involving Scarecrow and Harley Quinn, the other just Scarecrow, but neither one had gotten off the ground floor. As a result, Warner Bros. began looking for a new writer and director for a fresh take.
  • (06/10/1999): Kurt and Charlize, having invested in the film project Cast Away the year before were sent a rough cut of footage from the film that was already made, having gone on hiatus for a few months so Tom Hanks could lose weight to realistically look like someone who had spent years on a deserted island. Both were pleased with the results thus far, and filming was expected to wrap sometime in early 2000. On the same day Inside Edition reports on production of Reindeer Games, citing several sources that indicate that there are problems on set between the director John Frankenheimer and the production company Miramax, Frankenheimer is reportedly still furious at how he was strong-armed into letting Charlize Theron go. Several of the films stars, including newly brought in Shannon Doherty are 'severely demoralized' by the fighting.
  • (06/12/1999): Charlize Theron is photographed sunbathing at a hotel pool in Atlanta, clearly having lost all of the baby weight and looking amazing.
  • (06/14/1999): Negotiations begin over Barbara Boxer's proposed gun control bill. Many Republican Senators vociferously denounce the bill as "a blatant infringement on what the Founding Fathers intended, and only being used to score political points." Democrats push back and state that it is the Republicans that are actually doing the posturing. Many pundits predict the bill's demise.
  • (06/17/1999): The Washington Post runs an article by Michael Kelly, referring to Vice President Gore as "incredibly stiff and robotic" and "not likely to appeal to the progressives." The comment begins to circulate in all major news organizations.
  • (06/19/1999): Keanu Reeves officially states that he will sign away his guaranteed payout for appearing in two planned Matrix sequels and give every penny to the special effects crew.
  • (06/21/1999): Early animatics of Thomas Romain and Tania Palumbo's project, tentatively titled Garage Kids are given to Luc Besson and Europacorp to review. It is not fully animated, and consists of previsualization footage. Nevertheless, Besson is thoroughly impressed and continues to fund the project.
  • (06/23/1999): Katheryn Bigelow's Joan of Arc film, Company of Angels, is released to critical acclaim. Roger Ebert gives a glowing review, stating "it is a sweeping, massive three and half hour epic that more than manages to give Braveheart a run for its money. Note to Mel Gibson, you better heat things up when you decide to make your followup." The film is praised for its attention to historical accuracy, its sweeping cinematography, fluid combat choreography, and the committed and ferocious performance of English actress Keira Knightley, who had a small part as Padme Amidala's decoy in The Phantom Menace.
  • (06/24/1999): After a year and a half of work, Sublime announces that their next album is complete. Originally conceived as just a remix album, and then supposed to be a cover album of Reggae songs, the group created several original tracks in addition to several cover songs and remixes of the songs off their first two albums. As a result the fourth Sublime album would be a double-album dubbed The Great Smoke In, with a release date of August 1st. The debut single was announced to be a cover of the Bob Marley song "War".
  • (06/25/1999): Buzz in the Hollywood press grows about Charlize Theron and Kurt Cobain's production company as they have reportedly gathered several prominent names as investors such as long-time friends Chris Farley and Layne Staley, and a business partner, producer Jennifer Todd, who along with her sister Suzanne, have been attached to forthcoming films like Idle Hands, Memento and Boiler Room. Many expect an official announcement in July.
  • (06/26/1999): After several months of delays, No Doubt announces that their next album, Saturn Returns will be dropping in mid-July, with the lead single to be the song 'New'.
  • (06/27/1999): Sublime's music video for "War" debuts on MTV in their new mini-doc series Making the Video, which showcases how music videos' get made over a two to three day period. The video for War was filmed in Venice Beach in which the band plays on the beach in the sunrise while large video monitors behind them show images of violence and injustice, but also shows more uplifting imagery of people coming together and working together to serve as contrast.
  • (06/29/1999): Both the House and the Senate pass the revised Digital Millennium Copyright Act, basing it more on the Boxer Bill than the Cobel Bill. This is seen as an unexpected victory for many advocates of copyright reform, a blow to the ambitions of several corporations, and a minor miracle considering the division between the Republican House and the Democratic Senate. The bill is expected to reach Bill Clinton's desk by early July. Upon the passage of the DMCA, Napster's stock price suffered a huge hit, even while CNN reports on 'rumors' that the CEO of Napster is in talks with 'a major media company' about buying Napster and altering how the company functions.
  • (06/30/1999): No Doubt's music video for New debuts on MTV, dramatically different from the unfinished New Wave sound of the Napster leak, the new New features a less synthetic sound, showing a shift from their Ska roots and more emphasis on the Punk. The video features the band in various cars from the 50's and 60's cruising around Los Angeles at different times of day, Gwen in particular searching for 'New' amidst a sea of 'old things', people in dated clothing of different eras, outdated technology, outdated references, etc. Then towards the end of the song she finds 'New' in the form of her husband, Sublime singer Bradley Nowell in modern dress who smiles and vanishes into vapor as Gwen sings "Don't let it go away" to end the video.
  • (07/05/1999): Nirvana agrees to perform in Times Square on New Year's Eve for the Millennium Celebration. They will also debut songs from the upcoming album during this performance.
  • (07/06/1999): 3 Days after DreamWorks announced the abandonment of a long planned and troubled studio complex in Playa Vista, reports get out that a "mystery production company" has purchased the property and will be setting up shop there. Speculation quickly runs abound as to what this "mystery production company" is and who is running it.
  • (07/07/1999): President Clinton signs the DMCA into law. Barbara Boxer moves to try to restart negotiations for her gun control bill, which has even more long odds.
  • (07/08/1999): First Lady Hillary Clinton purchases a house in Chappaqua, New York to establish residency in the state to run for the Senate seat of Democrat Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan who had quietly announced his retirement from politics a few weeks prior, intending to serve out his remaining year in Congress but allowing another to run in his place. She also announces a "listening-tour" of all 62 of New York State's counties to "get to know the people". Pundits were already speculating about the upcoming race for Moynihan's seat, currently the most likely candidate to run the Republican ticket is Republican Mayor of New York, Rudy Giuliani.
  • (07/09/1999): Spelmain, having been on various promotional tours for their self-titled debut album since 97 had taken the last couple of months off to rest and recuperate. The group issues a joint statement announcing their return to the studio to begin work on their sophomore album.
  • (07/11/1999): Kurt Cobain and Charlize Theron formally announce the formation of their new production company, Springbok Productions (named after the famous antelope species of South Africa, and serving as it's logo). The entertainment and business media both report on Springbok taking over DreamWorks Playa Vista studio lot, the various investors involved in the project, and the announcement about the studio getting the film rights to Ghost in the Shell as part of a development deal. Some in the entertainment industry also comment on rumors that Charlize Theron might leave acting and become a producer, though one of her former co-stars Tobey Maguire was quoted saying, "Charlize [Theron] is not quitting acting, she's just had a rough time of it this year thanks to Miramax. She'll be getting offers for film projects soon, she's too good at her job for talented and ambitious directors to resist."
  • (07/13/1999): MTV airs the full-length Jem movie to wrap the series. By the end, Jerrica Benton and Rio Pacheco (who she revealed herself to earlier) have married, Eric Raymond has been driven out of Starlight Music and arrested for the various crimes he has encouraged, the Misfits have become friends with the Holograms, who in turn have switched to a more hard rock sound, courtesy of several songs penned by Joan Jett for the movie, and who does an end credits version of the biggest one, "Right in the Middle", which is later re-recorded and released on 2004's Naked.
  • (07/14/1999): Tony Gilroy, main screenwriter of The Devil's Advocate, is announced to be the primary writer for the planned film version of Ghost in the Shell, with additional polishing by John August and Robin Swicord.
  • (07/15/1999): Rolf Harris is convicted on all counts and sentenced to 35 years in prison. Max Clifford, who is still awaiting trial, chooses to plead guilty. Jimmy Savile, whose trial has been moved several times due to new allegations, is still smugly assured of his chances of acquittal. Around Britain and Australia, Harris' presence is scrubbed, as his artworks and many copies of his music are recalled, torn down and destroyed.
  • (07/18/1999): Courtney Love begins recording a new solo album produced by Rob Cavallo, with a largely female backing band behind her. Rumors that Stevie Nicks will contribute something to the album take off. Steve Jones is confirmed to have recorded a solo for a track.
  • (07/20/1999): Styx announces that its planned tour and release of its latest album, Brave New World, has been delayed until frontman Dennis DeYoung recovers from a chronic fatigue syndrome-like reaction to stage lighting. Guitarists and co-lead vocalists Tommy Shaw and James "J.Y." Young had strongly agitated for moving forward with him, but producer Gary Loizzo and their management told them that the action would not be received well by the fans, especially in light of so many classic acts reuniting and making a splash in albums and touring, as well as stating that the album as it stands would not be considered up to par with what has been released under their name, because the Shaw and Young-helmed songs do not feature DeYoung's keyboards and vocals, a clear stab of vengeance over Kilroy Was Here. The specific quote that makes them change course is "as long as Journey still has Steve Perry, this band must have Dennis." Journey, for their part, are in the process of recording a followup album to Trial by Fire.
  • (07/23/1999): During a break in recording the new Nirvana album, Cobain is approached with several offers to record dialogue for several video games in production. Rockstar Games wants him to play the frontman of a fictitious band in their upcoming game Grand Theft Auto III. Eidos Interactive/Ion Storm approaches him to add miscellaneous dialogue for Deus Ex as well the much-hyped and still-awaited FPS title Daikatana. Cobain and Theron are also approached for a making a guest appearance for an episode of Baywatch, which is in the process of relocating to Hawaii for its tenth season, as well as a shoot in New Zealand for either of Renaissance Pictures'/Universal Television's upcoming new shows, Jack of All Trades and Cleopatra 2525.
  • (07/25/1999): Senator Bill Bradley makes a speech denouncing Vice President Gore for being "too comfortable and in bed with big business and plutocrats." He also also ties this in with increased controversy and disgust with the World Trade Organization and the United Nations.
  • (08/05/1999): Cobain and Theron flatly reject the Baywatch offer, but are at this point strongly considering going to New Zealand to do the Sam Raimi/Robert Tapert projects, especially with a hope of leapfrogging to do an episode of Xena: Warrior Princess. They schedule a flight to Auckland by the end of the month, by which time the recording of the album will be finished. Cobain will take a Pro Tools-equipped laptop to Auckland with him to be able to check on mixes that the other band members and Brendan O'Brien email him.
  • (08/08/1999): Tracking of the Nirvana album is deemed complete. Before leaving Atlanta for Auckland, Cobain schedules time at Doppler Studios, another Atlanta recording studio, to do recording for the video game offers.
  • (08/13/1999): INXS begins recording the followup to Elegantly Wasted in a portable studio setup in Auckland, similar to the setup on Capri for Full Moon, Dirty Hearts, for a change in scenery. In addition, Auckland is chosen because Michael Hutchence hears about research for restoring one's sense of smell, a secret ailment he has been dealing with for the past seven years.
  • (08/18/1999): Cobain, Theron and the children arrive in Auckland to get a good view of the situation and kill time with the planned shoots.
  • (08/21/1999): Cobain and Theron officially report for shooting. Theron chooses to appear in a two-part episode ("Home"/"Rescue") of Cleopatra 2525 as Lily, the sister of the character Sarge, while Cobain plays Meriwether Lewis in the Jack of All Trades episode "Up the Creek". Xena star Lucy Lawless is said to be impressed with the results, and begins discussions on getting either or both of them to do an appearance on the show with Robert Tapert, whom she recently married.
  • (08/24/1999): Cobain runs into INXS again during their recording sessions. Michael Hutchence expresses gratitude for Cobain's advice nearly two years prior.
  • (08/27/1999): Theron is officially chosen to portray the Utma, a woman from the future summoned by the Amazons to lead them to victory in the Xena episode "Lifeblood".
  • (09/07/1999): Finished with the Auckland shoot, Cobain and Theron return to the States to focus on the Ghost in the Shell script and mixing the Nirvana album.
  • (10/03/1999): Mixing on the album, entitled Questions Answered by the Unanswerables, is finished, and moves on to be mastered by Bob Ludwig.
  • (10/12/1999): At a rally for his campaign, Senator Bradley attacks President Clinton and Vice President Gore, claiming them to be impediments in the passing of commonsense gun control.
  • (11/02/1999): When The Laughter Stopped is released to critical acclaim, but is a slow burn at the box office. Nevertheless, Farley is quite proud of his work in the film, especially when many compare him to the rising dramatic potential of Jim Carrey as well as the potential John Belushi showed in Continental Divide.
  • (11/15/1999): In a move many consider as Theron extracting karmic justice over Miramax, Springbok Productions announces that they will produce the future film projects of Quentin Tarantino and Kevin Smith, and both directors announce that they will give all future royalties over their Miramax films, including Smith's latest movie Dogma.
  • (12/30/1999): A man is caught by police trying to scale the fence of Friar Park, the garden home of former Beatle George Harrison and his family. The man, Michael Abram, is a paranoid schizophrenic who is obsessed with The Beatles and says he has a message from God that Harrison is the Devil and is possessing his mind and body through the songs. When asked about the incident and what Abram wanted, Harrison quips, "He wasn't a burglar and he wasn't auditioning for The Traveling Wilburys." (OCC: This ends up butterflying away his death ITTL as it has been said by many that George Harrison's cancer would have stayed in remission if the stabbing had never occurred.)

2000[]

  • (01/01/2000): The world discovered that the start of the Third Millennium in the Christian Calendar didn't bring about the Y2K apocalypse like many conspiracy and fearmongers had been predicting since the late 90's.
  • (01/03/2000): The Notorious B.I.G. previously having gone into semi-retirement due to health problems while promoting his second album Life After Death, announces his return to music in a statement to MTV News, with plans to work with his friend Sean Combs (aka. 'Puff Daddy') label Bad Boy Records on his third album.
  • (01/04/2000): Soundgarden announces that their sixth album, Euphoria Morning, which they have been working on since mid-98 is complete. Despite all the rumors in the press of creative differences between band members and periods of hiatus on the recording. A release date of March 10th is set.
  • (01/05/2000): Krist Novoselic of Nirvana and his wife announce their intent to divorce, having met in high school and been married since 1989. Rumors swirl in the media of infidelity on Novoselic's part, both he and his soon to be ex-wife refuse to comment.
  • (01/07/2000): Courtney Love chats with a reporter for the LA Times, she brags about how well her second solo album is coming along in the recording studio and hints that she's been working with a 'talented lyricist' to help her better compose her songs, having taken that particular critique of her debut solo album to heart, but refused to name who she was working with, saying "It's a surprise!" She also dishes on her thoughts on where music is heading, noting that while 'Grunge Rock' still dominates the Rock music scene, the growing number of new rock sub-genres and their rising popularity with the youth are signs that people want to hear something new, something different. Courtney also praises her ex-husband, Kurt Cobain for being willing to take risks musically and try new things, "People that try to copy the early Nirvana, or the early Alice in Chains don't seem to last. No one likes poseurs or fakes, they want authenticity, they want the artist to express themselves honestly and uniquely." When asked about her former bandmates band, Spelmain and their upcoming sophomore album, Courtney simply said, "I am SO over those three. Next question."
  • (01/09/2000): Springbok Studios begins considering actors for the various roles in Ghost in the Shell, having developed a solid first draft for the film, though additional changes were expected. Hollywood insiders noted with surprise that the studio seemed to be aiming at having an all Asian cast, rather than seek out more 'established' faces in Hollywood. Actress Lucy Liu publicly expressed interest in playing the role of Major Motoko Kusanagi.
  • (01/10/2000): While most of America was only vaguely paying attention, the primary races in the Democratic and Republican Parties were going into full gear, the Iowa Caucuses were to be held on the 24th of January, for the Democrats they had two main candidates to consider, Vice President Al Gore, running as the defacto heir of Bill Clinton and his Clintonite brand, opposing him was Senator Bill Bradley, running a more left-wing platform. Gore's camp were doing their best to paint Senator Bradley as aloof and indifferent to Iowa's farming community, and just out of touch with America in general. Bradley's camp was tearing into Gore's record as Vice President, his seemingly lock-step agreement with much of the Republican Party's platform, and general stiffness. The Republican's have a much larger collection of candidates, but the main four were Elizabeth Dole, the wife of former GOP Presidential candidate Bob Dole and a former Secretary of Labor and had made a good early impression on the party base. Senator Orrin Hatch, who was having funding problems and was hinting at pulling out of the race if he did poorly in Iowa. Then the other Senator in the race, John McCain who was polling very well but was rubbing the more conservative members of the party leadership the wrong-way with his 'maverick' style of campaigning. The last but most significant of the four is Governor of Texas, George W. Bush who's big name recognition, family connections, deep campaign pockets, and very conservative governorship of Texas made him the man to beat for the other three, his biggest weakness at the moment however was his tendency to trip over his words in his public speeches, this and his tendency to make up words on the spot were already being called 'Bushism' in political circles. The other 'major' race, the Congressional elections for a third of the Senate and entire House of Representatives were a growing source of speculation in the press due to Congress's current divide between the two major parties. Most notable was the Senate race in New York that saw First Lady Hillary Clinton already establish herself as the Democratic candidate, while the Republicans were expected to run Mayor of New York, Rudy Giuliani.
  • (01/12/2000): The first single of Soundgarden's upcoming album, "Flutter Girl", is released to radio stations and garners considerable airplay.
  • (01/18/2000): Questions Answered by the Unanswerables is released to great sales and critical acclaim.
  • (01/20/2000): Lucy Liu officially signs on to Ghost in the Shell, with production scheduled after putting finishing touches on the film version of Charlie's Angels, a production fraught with tension between her and Bill Murray, who portrays Bosley.
  • (01/22/2000): Rumors that Nirvana's tour will be a co-headlining tour with Soundgarden and Alice in Chains reach critical mass, especially with Euphoria Morning's March release, and Alice in Chains releasing a double album around that same time.
  • (01/23/2000): The voices and musicians behind Jem announce that they will be launching a tour to perform the songs live. They will launch a co-headlining tour with The Monkees, who, despite the reports of strife around the time touring the Justus album, will be touring with all four members, along with a crack team of additional musicians augmenting their sound.
  • (01/24/2000): The Iowa Caucuses is held, the first major contest of the 2000 US Presidential Elections and the true start of Primary season, the end results for both parties were wins for the 'establishment' candidates Al Gore (D) and George W. Bush (R), the second place winners were Bill Bradley (D) and John McCain (R). For Elizabeth Dole and Orrin Hatch it marked the end of their Presidential ambitions and both were expected to announce their withdrawals from the race in a matter of days. For the Democrats, Al Gore's campaign was seemingly successful in making Senator Bradley seem like a big city liberal who didn't care about the rural communities of America, however Bradley's vote count was much higher than the Gore campaign had expected it to be, thus denying the Gore camp the knock-out blow they had planned on dishing out, Senator Bradley announced he would continue to campaign in New Hampshire and the other 'early' primaries before Super Tuesday. For the Republicans the race was effectively narrowed to two candidates, George W. Bush and John McCain, the later of whom intended to continue to campaign with his usual 'maverick style', George W. Bush was the frontrunner and his campaign HQ was being swamped with calls from major conservative donors and organizations pledging their support. However there was a phone call that George W. Bush DID make that would be the start of a lasting partnership, though it would only come to light years after. He contacted Elizabeth Dole who was prepping her concession speech and asked her if she was interested in joining his campaign as his Vice President pick once he secured the nomination. Dole agreed without hesitation, glad that the call was on a landline that recorded all official calls, it would make it impossible for Bush to renege without significant blowback.
  • (01/27/2000): Cobain's autobiography, The Kurdt Kobain Book, is announced to be released on March 29. Cobain had worked on the book with Seattle-based writer Charles R. Cross whenever he could find the time. In the meantime, production on the With The Lights Out project is ramping up towards the end of the interview period in preparation for next year's release.
  • (01/29/2000): Cobain and Theron view an early cut of What Lies Beneath, Robert Zemeckis' second consecutive project, filmed while waiting for Tom Hanks to be in perfect shape to resume work on Cast Away. The film isn't quite what either had expected, but state that Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer's performances anchor the movie considerably, and that it should at least bring more than enough horror fans to make considerable profit.
  • (01/31/2000): The Notorious B.I.G. is interviewed by VIBE about his pending return. When asked whether or not there is a title for the album, he states "well, Puffy really likes the idea of calling it Born Again, and in some ways, I am. The past three years have been good for me and mine." About the whole East Coast-West Coast feud of the past and the murder of Tupac Shakur: "I want nothing more than for us to find out who killed Pac. I know his mom has had to go through so much, and mine would be if it had been me. I feel that if I'd been able to talk to Pac, all of this could've been avoided. And I also think Suge Knight really played with all of us like we were nothing more than toys."
  • (02/01/2000): In an impressive turnaround for the McCain camp, John McCain was announced as the winner of the New Hampshire Primary, beating out George W. Bush, though Bush announced his intent to continue campaigning, expecting big wins in Delaware on Feb. 9th, and is polling well in South Carolina and Florida. On the Democrats side of things, Al Gore continues his winning streak, however he only won 51% of the vote to Bradley's 49%, ensuring that their primary fight will continue.
  • (02/02/2000): The local Charleston newspaper, The Post and Courier releases a special report claiming that the Bush Campaign is currently conducting a cold-call campaign falsely claiming that McCain's adopted Bangladeshi daughter was an illegitimate half-African American love child as part of a race-baiting scheme. The Bush campaign issues denials about being the source of the calls, though several major media outlets picked up on the story and confirm that the calls are continuing to happen to South Carolina residents and that Bush campaign Chief Strategist, Karl Rove is linked to the calls.
  • (02/03/2000): Tom Hanks sends Entertainment Weekly a series of on-set photos from Cast Away as part of a promo for the upcoming movie, filming had resumed in Fiji in early February and would move to the states in late-spring/early summer before wrapping in August and with a tentative release date of December 22 of that year.
  • (02/06/2000): Alice in Chains announces that the double album, entitled Degradation Trip, will be released in March. The first single from the album, "Get Born Again," is released at this time.
  • (02/08/2000): Alex Proyas, director of The Crow, is announced as the director of Ghost in the Shell, which will start production in Japan in May, for a planned August 2001 release date.
  • (02/09/2000): The Primaries in Delaware continued the trend of wins for George W. Bush, but also continued the trend of his main opponent, John McCain coming within a couple percentage points of victory. Exit polling suggests that the accusations of race-baiting in South Carolina hurt Bush's support in Delaware, leading to speculation that his candidacy was beginning to buckle.
  • (02/11/2000): Spelmain announces that they have put the finishing touches on their sophomore album, Lotus, the title being inspired by the Lotus flower, sacred to the Buddhist faith which Eric Erlandson practices. A release date is set for May and first single announced is "Followed The Waves", and the press release hinted that the second album would go in a more "alt-rock" direction.
  • (02/12/2000): The South Carolina and Florida Primaries for the Republican Party are conducted and what previously was expected to be a massive victory for George W. Bush was nearly turned into a humiliating defeat as the vote count revealed that John McCain had come to within a couple thousand votes of victory in South Carolina, in Florida he won 48% to Bush's 52%. Ensuring that the race would continue on to March 7 and Super Tuesday, where previously many in Bush's camp had expected to completely crush McCain and his candidacy. Rumors swirl that Chief Strategist, Karl Rove is on the outs with his benefactor due to this turn of events.
  • (02/13/2000): The Democrats Washington Primary, the last Democrat primary before Super Tuesday is held and Al Gore wins with 56% of the vote to Bill Bradley's 44%, despite the loss Senator Bradley pledged to continue on to Super Tuesday, several media figures talked about the growing rancor between Bradley's liberal supporters and the Clintonites that had surrounded Al Gore, noting that several prominent Green Party members such as Ralph Nader were already trying to court Bradley's voting block.
  • (02/15/2000): The nominees for the 72nd Academy Awards are announced and several surprises are in store for this Oscar season, the DreamWorks film American Beauty, once considered a shoe-end for multiple awards only saw a single nomination, Best Actor for Keven Spacey's portrayal of Lester Burnham. Meanwhile The Cider House Rules received eight nominations including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor for Michael Caine's portrayal of Dr. Wilbur Larch, and Best Actress for Charlize Theron's portrayal of Candy Kendall. The other surprise of the award season was the Chris Farley film When the Laughter Stopped receive three nominations for Best Picture, Best Director, and a Best Actor nomination for Chris Farley for his portrayal of Fatty Arbuckle.
  • (02/17/2000): Final casting for Ghost in the Shell is locked down, with Michelle Yeoh, Chow Yun-Fat, as well as several actors from the recent film Battle Royale signed on alongside Lucy Liu.
  • (02/19/2000): Actress Susan Sarandon is interviewed and expresses her support for Bradley's campaign. "He's the only politician worthy of a vote these days. The only one who could change things. It's enough of more of the same. Simply put, if Al Gore wins, don't expect me to vote for him whatsoever."
  • (02/20/2000): Micky Dolenz of The Monkees is interviewed about the upcoming tour with the voices of Jem. "Mike, Peter, Davy and I are quite excited about this. I certainly have utmost respect for Britta (Phillips, the voice of Jerrica Benton), as she really has the chops. In fact, we're thinking of making her an honorary member and having her join us during our set." Dolenz also confirms that the group is working on a planned followup to Justus, which could potentially be a double album. "We've come up with quite a few songs ourselves, musicians influenced by us have submitted some great songs, and there actually some old songs from back in the day we'd like to finish off."
  • (02/22/2000): Sam Mendes, director of American Beauty, is asked about the film's Oscar campaign paying so little dividends. "I'm not at all upset. Would it have been great to be in the running for Best Director and Best Picture? Of course. But as a result of Harvey's exposure, I don't blame the Academy for being leery. All that matters is that we made a terrific film, and it clearly resonates with the audience. Thus, we did all that we really needed to do."
  • (02/23/2000): Spelmain releases a music video for 'Followed the Waves' in which they perform the song on a 19th century ship in the middle of a violent storm, the crew fight to save themselves against the waves and the storm. The video ends with the storm miraculously ending, revealing a beautiful sunrise and a tropical island paradise in the distance.
  • (02/25/2000): Reindeer Games is released in theaters and quickly becomes a cinematic bomb, the reviews are scathing, commenting on how the troubled production clearly seeped into the script and performances of the actors. One (slightly) sympathetic reviewer stated that it was "Obvious that how Charlize Theron was treated clearly ate at the entire movie like cancer... Even watching [the film] reminds one of the far more interesting story behind the scenes." Reindeer Games would only make 10 million on it's 47 million dollar budget, five million of the budget reportedly being the penalty they had to pay Theron for 'letting her go'. Reindeer Games would be destined to be considered one of the worst films of all time and cause both Ben Affleck and Shannen Doherty to take a break from Hollywood, Affleck announcing his intent to focus on his production company Pearl Street Films and becoming a director, Shannen Doherty was in talks with the Sci-Fi channel on an unspecified TV show.
  • (02/28/2000): Theron is given a script called Sweet November, a remake of a 1968 romantic comedy, which has Keanu Reeves signed on, and is clearly intended to recapture the chemistry they had on The Devil's Advocate. Cobain states flatly that the script is cliche-ridden and lifeless, and doesn't do her collaboration with Reeves any justice. Theron comes to agree and passes on the project.
  • (03/01/2000): Singer Meat Loaf and lyricist/producer Jim Steinman confirm in a joint interview that they are working on a brand new Bat Out Of Hell album together, and give a statment that is taken to mean that all of his albums from now on will be cemented by this partnership. The following is taken from said interview, memorialized on a fan website:

Q: So, is this the last Bat album, or is this going to become, like, a franchise?

ML: It's the last one in the series, but it's not the last album Jimmy and I are doing together. But there's an incredible, high standard that a Bat album has, and thus, you can only do so many of them. They really are like nothing else.

JS: I've had ideas floating around for decades that haven't been done right. It's about time to nail them down, once and for all.

Q: How long will it take until the album is released?

JS: Well, when I feel that it's perfect, then it's ready.

ML: Jim loves to fuss over every little detail, and he works on his own time. Recording Bat II took two years, on and off, which made the record executives mad as hell at first. And given that he's working on that musical of his (a planned Broadway version of the hit musical Tanz der Vampire), he's only got so much time to spare, after all.

Q: What songs should we expect to hear on this album?

ML: I'd really like to do "It's All Coming Back To Me Now." That song was supposed to be on Bat II until Jim wrote "I'd Do Anything For Love", which we both knew was going to be a hit. But I feel a bit jealous that I didn't do it first, and because Jim doesn't agree with that idea yet.

JS: That song, I conceived it as a female song, and I honestly can't imagine it any other way. I think because of doing things like "Total Eclipse Of The Heart", I've gotten used to certain songs being done by female singers like Bonnie Tyler and Celine Dion. I was going to have a version of "Is Nothing Sacred" on Celine's album (Let's Talk About Love), but Meat really wanted that one for the compilation. I'm not fully convinced that it was a good idea.

Q: But is there anything else that we can imagine being reworked?

ML: "Bad For Good" is one the fans definitely want. I'm open to taking a second pass at material of Jim's I recorded with other producers, like "Nowhere Fast." I'm also wanting to take a shot at some of the Tanz der Vampire material, or to do a version of things like "Loving You's A Dirty Job." I thought the production on that sucked.

JS: (to Meat) You know I produced that, right?

ML: (to Steinman) That's what I said, it sucked.

Q: If Tanz der Vampire, which was massively successful in Europe, becomes big in America, do you plan to do other stage projects, Jim?

JS: I was born to do stage musicals. Bat Out of Hell was meant to originally be a musical before it was an album. I think it still could be.

  • (03/02/2000): New polling on the Senate Race in New York between Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani reveals that Ms. Clinton is in the lead by five points, which the Giuliani campaign attributes to the Mayor lacking time at the moment to campaign aggressively due to his mayoral duties. Many in the political press noted that Giuliani had stopped wearing his wedding ring, a new low in his second marriage.
  • (03/04/2000): Warner Bros. quietly decides that the Batman film series is in need of a serious reboot, rejecting the latest proposed script as 'unworkable and unrealistic'. They begin to shop around for a new director, a new writer, and a new vision. A proposed Catwoman film is also up for consideration, the first draft of the script was being written with Darren Aronofsky being considered as a possible director.
  • (03/07/2000): Super Tuesday, the day in which the majority of states hold their primaries and caucuses for both major parties plays out and the final results of all them are known by midnight. For the Democrats, leading candidate Al Gore made a clean sweep, winning every single primary and caucus in the nation, in some of the primaries (such as California) Senator Bradley came within a few percentage points of victory, in others (like New Jersey) Al Gore won with over 90% of the vote. While a few irregularities were reported, and many in Bradley's camp were enraged, never the less Bill Bradley did not feel that it was enough to demand recounts, or to continue his campaign. He would concede to Al Gore by 1 AM. For the Republican's, Governor George W. Bush managed to win enough states and delegates to secure his candidacy, though his opponent John McCain won most of the states in New England, his home state of Arizona, and California by 2% of the vote. Exit polling indicated that those who voted for McCain were worried about Bush's ability to actually handle a general election campaign, noting the number of missteps that the Bush campaign had suffered in recent months, calling his competency into question. The media began gearing up for the general election, already joking that without a major issue to rally around, both candidates would run 'A Seinfeld Election', as in an election about nothing.
  • (03/08/2000): Spelmain announces that the release date of Lotus is to be bumped up to April 3rd. While seemingly not to be outdone, Courtney Love announces that her album is nearly complete.
  • (03/09/2000): A full-scale launch party for Questions Answered by the Unanswerables is held at the Crocodile Club in Seattle, complete with a full-length concert. The album is universally praised and sells considerably well both physically and digitally. The lead single, "Friends Of Pain" starts playing in heavy rotation on MTV2 and VH1, since MTV proper has shifted its video orientation to promoting more hip-hop and pop acts. All the while, the network has also been pushed to expand into more programming following the lead of its successful "reality television" series The Real World, but elected not to, saying "just the one will do." It hasn't stopped them from doing certain other live-action series not considered technically reality TV, such as Jackass and The Tom Green Show.
  • (03/10/2000): Frank Zappa releases his latest album, Horseshoe Theory, via his website and officially endorses Ralph Nader's candidacy.
  • (03/11/2000): Nirvana announces that to promote the album, they will launch a triple-headliner tour with Soundgarden and Alice in Chains to also promote the releases of Euphoria Morning and Degradation Trip. The same day, supporters of Senator Bradley's campaign start flooding the Internet stating that the DNC "rigged the primaries" and "the oligarchs shut out the people", stating that Vice President Gore's victories are illegitimate. They also castigate Bradley as spineless for conceding the race and not holding out until the Democratic National Convention to "flip the delegates."
  • (03/12/2000): Soundgarden's sixth album, Euphoria Morning is released to critical acclaim and high sales, debuting at number #4, destined to peak at #2 in the coming weeks. The sound of the album is noted to be a bit of a shift from Soundgarden's grunge origins, critics noted that it went further into psychedelic rock than the band's fourth album Superunknown.
  • (03/13/2000): Alex Proyas is interviewed by Variety magazine as part of a profile, while he remains tight-lipped about the story for his upcoming film Ghost in the Shell, he promises that it will adhere to the 'overall spirit of the Manga. He also mentions toying with a script about a punk band in the 70's as a future project, though after meeting Kurt Cobain he admitted that it needed much more work before trying to make it a film.
  • (03/14/2000): Nirvana begins tracking as session ringers for the debut album of the comedy rock duo Tenacious D, consisting of Jack Black and Kyle Gass, with the album produced by the Dust Brothers. Cobain and Grohl in particular have quite a rapport with them.
  • (03/16/2000): Patrick Dorismond, a New York security guard, father of two, brother of rapper Bigga Haitian, was shot and killed by two undercover police officers under very controversial circumstances. The officers claimed that he attacked them after they attempted to solicit drugs from him in a failed sting, the only non-police eyewitness claimed that the officers attacked him and then shot him after he calmly told them that he was not a drug dealer. This death caused immediate protest in New York within hours of reporting. The situation became even more racially and politically charged when Rudy Giuliani released Dorismond's juvenile record in an attempt to defend the officers who killed him by 'revealing that [Dorismond] was no angel'.
  • (03/26/2000): At the 72nd Academy Awards, no one is quite sure of what to expect, given American Beauty's lack of presence. In the end, Chris Farley wins Best Actor for his portrayal of Fatty Arbuckle. The Cider House Rules lands Best Adapted Screenplay and Michael Caine winning Best Supporting Actor. Company of Angels lands Keira Knightley Best Actress, Katheryn Bigelow the Best Director Award and Jay Cocks Best Original Screenplay. Phil Collins' "You'll Be In My Heart", the theme from Disney's Tarzan, wins Best Original Song. The Matrix wins for Best Editing and Sound Design, but loses Best Special Effects to The Phantom Menace. Best Picture ends up going to When the Laughter Stopped, though there is an initial mishap in which Company of Angels is read from the wrong envelope at first.
  • (03/29/2000): Courtney Love announces that her sophomore album, now titled America's Sweetheart is complete with a release date of May 7th.
  • (03/30/2000): Polling released by CNN reveals that Hillary Clinton has made significant gains with various minority groups in New York state due to Rudy Giuliani's handling of the shooting of Patrick Dorismond. Giuliani is also dealing with more reports of an affair on his wife with a staffer, and a number of doctor visits that have rumors of cancer nipping at his heels.
  • (04/03/2000): Spelmain's second album Lotus is released, while critically praised by critics for being 'more polished and sleekly produced', fan reaction was a bit more mixed due to the band going deeper into alternative rock territory. Never the less sales were strong with the album debuting at number 8 on the Billboard charts and destined to peak at number 6 within another week.
  • (04/04/2000): At Planet Hollywood LA, Kurt Cobain is with his family when they bump into Bradley Nowell and his girlfriend Gwen Stefani, both Nowell and Stefani have reached new peaks in their musical careers last year with their successful albums and tours. A photographer captures the moment for the press, the photos of the Cobain clan and Nowell and Stefani would also be notable for Stefani having a visible baby bump, confirming rumors that she was pregnant with Nowell's child.
  • (04/06/2000): In a joint announcement, the French and Monégasque government's reveal that they are nearing the completion of renegotiation of the treaties that handle Franco-Monacan relations and the succession of the tiny Principality. While it was expected to take at least until 2003, the negotiations were accelerated due to Prince Rainier III suffering growing ill health due to the stresses related to the succession crisis that blossomed due to the death of his son, Hereditary Prince Albert and recent confirmation that his son had fathered a bastard out of wedlock, a girl who was doubly ineligible to inherit the throne. The succession of Rainier's eldest daughter, Princess Caroline of Monaco to her father's throne was secure.
  • (04/08/2000): Pictures of Rudy Giuliani and Judith Nathan (a long-time friend and a campaign volunteer) kissing and hugging in a private room in the Russian Tea Room are published by the New York Post under the headline Mayor Gettin' Friendly With His Staff...er. The Giuliani campaign issues an apology statement on the Mayor's behalf, though the media believes a much bigger mea culpa is in the works. Giuliani's current wife Donna Giuliani is spotted checking into the Waldorf Astoria.
  • (05/07/2000): Courtney Love's sophomore album, America's Sweetheart is released to positive reviews. Viewed by critics as a more mature work than The Honeypot, it would debut at number 8 on the Billboard charts and peak at number 3.
  • (06/04/2000): To help promote the music video, Kricfalusi is interviewed about his work on it, as well as questions about a potential Ren & Stimpy revival. "The rights issue has basically been resolved, I imagine it will happen. The question is where to air it."
  • (06/06/2000): Forums and sites supported to Ralph Nader's campaign are highlighted on various news outlets as being filled with various conspiracy theories by disgruntled Bradley supporters. Some go so far as to state that the DNC deliberately rigged the votes in the primaries to go to Gore, and even accuse organizers of town halls and primary debates, even figures like CNN's Bernard Shaw of feeding Gore questions in advance. Gore campaign spokepeople such as Mark Fabiani vehemently deny the allegations, as does Shaw and the various event organizers. "Those questions are vetted, locked away, and kept so until the debates begin. At best, the candidates might have a general idea what topics are going to be featured, but that would be done for both candidates, not one over another," Shaw states.
  • (06/08/2000): The Nirvana/Soundgarden/Alice in Chains tour launches with a warm-up show at the Universal Amphitheatre to benefit MusiCares. Meanwhile, on the same day, Diana, Princess of Wales chats with Jeremy Paxman in a one-on-one interview at her home in Kensington Palace. During the interview the former wife of Prince Charles speaks about her private life more openly than she had since the divorce. She admitted to not dating much since rejecting Dodi Fayed's marriage proposal in Paris in 1997, but said that rumors that she and Charles were getting back together were unfounded, they had become more cordial for the sake of the children but he was happy with Camilla Parker Bowles. When asked about her fling with George Clooney, Diana stated that she had hoped it would have become more, "But we were just two ships passing in the night. Nothing more."
  • (06/10/2000): During a routine checkup, Meat Loaf is diagnosed as having the early warning signs of Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, as well as the beginning of cysts on his vocal cords, and has surgery to have both conditions corrected. The doctors advise him to stay off the road for at least six months, and to ease back into performances by initially having shows no longer than an hour and forty-five minutes. The singer plans to use this advice for a negotiated series of dates in Atlantic City in the summer of 2001.
  • (06/13/2000): Governor George W. Bush announces that Elizabeth Dole will be his vice presidential pick, fulfilling his pledge to her in the early primaries. In addition, the rumors that Karl Rove is no longer part of the campaign are officially confirmed as well. Bush decides against campaigning specifically against Vice President Gore and his own VP pick, Senator John Kerry, stating that Ralph Nader and his followers will do the work in that area for them. This is especially in light of a flap where someone mailed the Gore campaign a series of debate materials used by Governor Bush, including videotapes of mock debate sessions, which would constitute an unfair advantage. Gore had the materials turned over to the FBI without a glance, but the Nader campaign states that Gore personally arranged for the package, and is in fact using them to rig the election in his favor. For his part, Gore arranges a press conference where he forcefully denies the allegations, and even upbraids Nader for saying so in his campaign speeches.
  • (06/15/2000): A commercial for Miami Subs Grill featuring "Learn To Fly" is aired. The expanding Florida-based chain beat out McDonald's and Burger King for sponsoring and even catering the Nirvana/Soundgarden/Alice in Chains tour (along with Coca-Cola in certain markets), in the hopes of attracting Cobain and Theron to purchase an equity stake and ensure its continued viability.
  • (06/17/2000): Gore attempts to arrange a personal meeting with Nader to discuss the campaign and discourage him from using attacks aimed directly at Bradley supporters and run a more general and policy-based stump. Initial negotiations for such a meeting go nowhere.
  • (06/19/2000): The first of several planned concert video and album recording sessions for the tour is held at the concert at the Coral Sky Amphitheatre in West Palm Beach, Florida.
  • (06/21/2000): Springbok Productions begins moves to snap up the remnants of the shuttered Fox Animation Studios, forced to close after the disastrous performance of Titan AE. Cobain and Theron found the movie promising, but underdeveloped and rushed in terms of its narrative. This move, besides giving Springbok entry into animation, is also done to own the Titan AE IP to relaunch at a later date, and enlist the services of Don Bluth to do projects for them, including a film adaptation of Dragon's Lair.
  • (06/24/2000): Theron has a conversation with Jim Steinman concerning his long-planned Broadway version of Tanz der Vampire, and directions that he and manager David Sonenberg had been taking concerning the material. Theron states that while Americanization is very necessary for the production to work, the current direction of turning the story into a Mel Brooks-style parody is the wrong idea, especially if combined with Steinman's bombastic, Wagnerian rock score. Theron pledges that Springbok will invest in the project and help bring it to fruition in a manner befitting Steinman's vision.
  • (06/28/2000): Governor Bush appears at a rally in Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta, where the press lap up his "sunny disposition" and his building on the saying of "compassionate conservatism." This is followed with the appearance of a folksy, good-mannered approach to individual journalists, slapping backs and telling jokes. On the same day, Elizabeth Dole gives a speech in Raleigh, North Carolina, in which she thanks Ralph Nader "for making Governor Bush and myself look like the best choice this November."
  • (07/01/2000): Unbeknownst to the public, Governor Bush's brother, Jeb, the governor of Florida, begins discussing with his Secretary of State Katherine Harris over "updating" the voter rolls in the state.
  • (07/10/2000): Richard A. Clarke, National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection, and Counter-terrorism for President Bill Clinton was frustrated. Despite the ending of the investigations into Watergate and whatnot, he couldn't get the Clinton Administration to focus on the threat of terrorism due to their attention being absorbed by the failing Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts and America's interests in wrapping up the Yugoslav Wars and ending Slobodan Milošević's rule of Serbia. There were reports that Al-Qaida was planning some sort of attack later in the year, they had already bombed American embassies in Africa earlier in the decade but America's foreign policy focus treated the issue as secondary at best. Clarke hoped that the next administration would take the problem more seriously before there was a higher body count.
  • (07/12/2000): During a somewhat tense meeting, Jim Steinman has a lengthy talk with his manager, David Sonenberg, about the conversation he had with Theron. Steinman had eagerly followed Sonenberg's idea for a comedic transformation of Tanz der Vampire, and had even helped hire a librettist, David Ives, that would help ensure the book would be brought up to snuff. Sonenberg accuses Steinman of throwing him under the bus, especially given that he'd helped secure Sonenberg the position of lead producer. Under continued pressure, Steinman admits that he did have a hand in shaping the musical to this point, but that he has the right to change course again if he so desires. "I sold myself out once, and I'm not making that mistake again." As a result, there is a snap in communication between the two, which Steinman takes advantage of, terminating David Ives from the project, while keeping some of his ideas and credit for co-authoring the book, while giving more leeway to John Caird, who was hired as co-director, and authorizing him to reshape the book further. He also states that Michael Kunze, author of the original Vienna script, will be brought onto the team to help further tune the production, prior to their planned investors' script reading the following May.
  • (07/25/2000): Springbok Productions officially announce the purchase of the remains of Fox Animation Studios, done at a dirt-cheap price due to its spectacular implosion and massive losses for Titan AE. Springbok also announces an equity stake purchase of Lucasfilm's THX, with a plan to revamp it and make it a massive player in movie and home theater systems once more, moving from mere quality assurance to being a sound system in and of itself. "THX always stood for the best," Jennifer Todd explains. "Now, with the theaters converted to SDDS or DTS or Dolby Surround, THX doesn't mean so much. We plan to change that, and make THX become the industry standard once more."
  • (08/02/2000): Planet Hollywood officially enters a bidding war with Hard Rock Cafe over the ownership of the former Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, which, along with its sister properties as well as most of the real estate ownings across the nation, is being pawned off in an attempt to shore up the ailing Trump Organization's finances amidst crippling debt. Arnold Schwarzenegger, in particular, has grand designs for the Taj to transform it into "a property where the Planet Hollywood vision is brought to life in physical form." Meanwhile, Courtney Love tears a tendon in her ankle during a performance in Dallas during her summer tour, the doctor on site recommends she takes a few days off to rest and gives her a prescription for the painkiller OxyContin.
  • (08/18/2000): While back in California to prep for concerts in San Diego, the Hollywood Bowl and San Francisco, Cobain joins Theron at Springbok's headquarters to view the final cut of Cast Away. Both come away impressed with the film, and especially remark on how the presence of Wilson the Volleyball will be the linchpin of the narrative. By the time the film is released in December, it is universally praised by the critics and rakes in a whopping $430 million in the box office.
  • (08/23/2000): After several delays and processing new information, Jimmy Savile's trial finally begins. Savile is extremely confident that he will be acquitted, and a press conference held to address reporters continues this belief. Savile comes across as arrogant and condescending, especially in making veiled attacks on the prosecution.
  • (09/04/2000): Planet Hollywood officially wins the bidding war over the Trump Taj Mahal. The renovated facility is expected to open in the spring of 2002. In addition, Planet Hollywood takes on an equity stake of Miami Subs Pizza & Grill, with a plan to help expand it nationwide and internationally, especially in markets too small for Planet Hollywood proper.
  • (10/02/2000): Springbok buys the rights to the Carmen Sandiego franchise from The Learning Company, which will take effect after the next game, a reworking of Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? set to be released by the end of 2001. Springbok also gets the game and television rights, and announces plans to keep the world's greatest master thief relevant to children for generations, including a relaunch of both PBS game shows in 2001.
  • (10/03/2000): Green Day's fourth major label album, Warning, is released to a mixed reception. Billie Joe Armstrong's songwriting is praised for its maturity and evolution, but people are somewhat unsure about the band's new stylistic direction, particularly with a greater emphasis on acoustic numbers. Many also consider certain songs like "Minority" to be an attempt to ride Nirvana's coattails. Armstrong becomes very defensive and uneasy when asked about comparisons to Questions Answered by the Unanswerables, and begins to leave interviews early. Also, The night of Oct. 3rd would see the first official Presidential Debate of the 2000 Race, it was notable for like the debates of 1992 having invited a third party candidate to the debate due to public interest and poll numbers, that man being Ralph Nader of the Green Party, along with major party candidates Al Gore of the Democratic Party and George W. Bush of the Republican Party. The actual debate was hosted at the University of Massachusetts in Boston, and would last for two hours. The debate was notable for consisting of Ralph Nader taking a very condescending (but cool) tone and aimed squarely at Al Gore, the attacks focused on persistent rumors in left-wing circles that the Democratic primaries were rigged in Gore's favor, the debate materials controversy (which saw Bush publicly snicker), and attacks on Gore's support of Environmental policy being too mild and 'corporate gloss on a pig's face'. Al Gore kept hammering on the facts, accusing Nader of having no actual policies to promote, 'Just a bunch of hot air.' as Gore called it. Other than his snicker, Bush mostly kept out of the Nader/Gore fighting and tried to paint himself as the 'moral candidate', mispronounced a couple words (most infamously saying "Strategery' instead of "Strategy") and kept repeating a number of social conservative policy and talking points, which Gore took several swipes at, along with a jab at Bush's drunk driving incident in the 1970's that had leaked to the press just two days prior. During all of this, the crowd was mostly quiet and respectful... Except for a number of Nader supporters who had to be reminded more than once not to make comments or noise or respond verbally to anything said on stage. The results of the debate in initial polling was that Gore was seen as bullish towards both Nader and Bush, who were seen as victims of attack by Gore and deemed the real winners of the debate in the press and most polling date.
  • (10/05/2000): The much less publicly noticed Vice Presidential Debate was held at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky between Senator John Kerry (D), former Secretary of Labour Elizabeth Dole (R), Green Party VP nominee Winona LaDuke. The debate between the trio was a lot less electric than in Boston, with each candidate focusing on the facts in each question and trying to avoid personal attacks of any sort. This was noted for being unusual for Winona LaDuke since she was more of a firebrand in her speeches by inclination and came off a bit robotic and uncomfortable, only truly coming to life during questions about environmental policy. Kerry focused on health care reform, one of the platforms of the Gore/Kerry ticket, while Dole focused on bringing "A Christian sensibility to Washington." The end results was that Kerry was seen as the winner of the factual side of the debate, but that Dole was more memorable for her charm and personality, and that Winona LaDuke was seen as "not ready for Primetime."
  • (10/07/2000): Saturday Night Live, hosted by Rob Lowe that night, had a field day with the Presidential Debate in Boston, going after all three candidates with gusto, along with Nader's fans in the crowd who are portrayed as rowdy sports fans who cheer everything Nader says (regardless of actual content) and hiss at anything proposed by Gore or Bush, even when Bush jokingly proposed legalizing pot and the Naderites still booed, then Nader said it and they cheered. Musical guest Eminem played one of the Nader supporters and was given a 'red card' by the debate moderator and ejected by security in the parody. A parody of the Vice Presidential debate was also made, in which Senator Kerry was seen as even more robotic than Gore, having to have his joints oiled like the Tin Man, while Elizabeth Dole was portrayed as exaggerating her folksy charm to woo voters, her outfit becoming more stereotypical Southern Texan with each camera pan, while Winona LaDuke kept reading off of cheat cards, read the wrong ones twice, and then had Ralph Nader call in via speaker phone for support during the debate, causing the Nader supporters to start chanting his name like at a sports game, ruining the debate.
  • (10/09/2000): During a Green Day performance at Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre, Billie Joe Armstrong stops playing about 40 minutes into the show, and begins to rant for several minutes about the Nirvana comparisons. He spits at the crowd in Johnny Rotten style and storms off the stage. A half hour later, the band manage to return to fill out their contracted set, but leaves the crowd very dispirited. The next five shows of the tour are postponed immediately.
  • (10/10/2000): Cobain calls into MTV News when they are discussing Armstrong's breakdown. "Look, we love Billie, and we love Green Day and their music. I don't know him well, but he always struck me as a very passionate guy. I hope that he's gonna be all right."
  • (10/11/2000): The second Presidential Debate is held at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem in the State of North Carolina. The debate moderator, Jim Lehrer of PBS's TheNewsHour got things started for the three candidates on stage by first asking Al Gore about what principles actually guide his political philosophy. As the two-hour debate, held in a Q/A style like the first one, continued on to the other candidates, George W. Bush and Ralph Nader, it was obvious that Nader was continuing to focus on Al Gore, taking every opportunity to turn the questions asked by Lehrer into attacks on Gore and his platform, or as Nader called it "Diet Republican", even despite Jim Lehrer censuring him for it three times when the not-so subtle digs went too far in Lehrer's eyes. Unlike the first debate, Gore did not emotionally react to the verbal barbs from Nader, and to a very lesser extent George W. Bush (who many commentators noted was clearly trying to position himself as the 'adult in the room' even ignoring Gore's digs at his latest verbal gaffs), instead Al Gore kept to the facts, continuing to focus on Nader's lack of a coherent platform, and stayed very stoic, giving Nader less to work with... Until towards the end of the debate when Nader turned a question on Alternative Energy policy into yet another dig at Gore and the Vice President audibly sighed in irritation. This caused a few of the Nader supporters in the crowd, who had been better behaved in this debate to begin hissing and booing, order was only restored when Jim Lehrer threated to have security throw people out. What commentators would take away from the debate is that Al Gore almost managed to win, but that sigh knocked some of the wind out of his sails, and erased any chance of winning over Nader's supporters for himself. For George W. Bush he saw a small gain in the polls, which many commentators noted was a severe disappointment for his campaign, having expected to win over more support with their 'silent majority' platform. It was viewed by over 50 million viewers, twice as many as the previous debate due to the fireworks at a previous one.
  • (10/14/2000): The Notorious B.I.G.'s comeback album, Born Again, is announced to be released in January, and that he will embark on a 20-stop spring tour to promote it, consisting of a mixture of street dates and performances at indoor theaters. In the meantime, the lead single, an updated version of the song "Who Shot Ya?", now a lamentation about the death of Tupac Shakur and the unresolved bad blood between them, is released to radio and MTV. Meanwhile Saturday Night Live continued to focus on the 2000 Presidential races, with the latest debate ripe for fodder. George W. Bush is depicted as being in the background, sitting on a wooden barrel (that he accidentally reveals his campaign manager brought in to make him look more "folksy") and reading a magazine, saying that he'll just let Nader do all the work of attacking Gore for him. The real parody is focused on Nader and Gore, the later of whom is depicted with Vulcan ears and giving the "live on and prosper" quote (but giving the Boy Scout salute instead of the Vulcan salute), while Nader comes in like a boxer complete with trunks over his suit and theme music blasting and the cheers of his supporters. The host of SNL, Tom Green plays Jim Lehrer and quickly treats the debate like it's a WWF event, even though Nader's the only one with any energy, while Gore speaks in a completely dead voice, when "Jim Lehrer" asks what's wrong he admits that Bill Clinton advised that he take some ADD meds before coming on stage to "mellow him out." Then when "Nader" is answering a question with a rap 'Gore' begins yawning under the effects of the medication, causing the Nader supporters to riot and mosh, Tom Green gets hit by a beach ball and is knocked out of his chair.
  • (10/15/2000): Principal photography for Ghost in the Shell wraps in Tokyo. The postproduction process is then set up in Vancouver, especially for certain insert and chroma key shots.
  • (10/17/2000): Springbok's new animation division, Denver & Delilah Animation (named after Cobain and Theron's two dogs), officially announces their first project will be the planned film version of Dragon's Lair, planned for a tentative release in November 2002. Screenwriter Tab Murphy, who recently did a script called Atlantis: The Lost Empire for Disney, will pen the script, while Don Bluth and longtime partner Gary Goldman get to work on the storyboards. The final debate of the 2000 US Presidential Election was held at Washington University, it would prove to be both the most watched of the debates, and also more of the same. The same being Ralph Nader continuing to focus most of his energy at Al Gore, focusing on how much of Gore's career had been 'Diet Republican' (this being a major catch-phrase that was taking off in pop culture), while George W. Bush continued with his 'quiet, but mature' act while Gore was put purely on the defensive, taking swipes at 'Nader's Cult', a catch-phrase he had quietly come up with and would prove to be something of a bomb, and ironically taken up by Nader's supporters as a descriptive. The end results was that polling for the elections had become very narrow, with Nader having eaten into Gore's lead in several key states, but Bush was having issues with his messaging, continued word fumbles and lingering questions about his 'youthful indiscretions' ate away at what many commentators claimed should be a 'slam-dunk election for the Republicans'.
  • (10/18/2000): While doing a press junket for Springbok Productions with CNN, promoting the company, Ghost in the Shell, and other potential projects, Charlize Theron was asked what her thoughts on the American Presidential Elections were by a staffer, not realizing that there was a camera still rolling. "It looks like a train wreck, at first Kurt and I were interested in Ralph Nader but he's clearly gone off the deep end. Bush is way too conservative for my tastes, so either we'll vote for Gore or just stay home."
  • (10/19/2000): Theron makes an informal inquiry with Walt Disney Imagineering about an idea she and Cobain had been kicking around to help ensure the future of and possibly rehabilitate a controversial attraction, The ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter. Tying the thought to idea both she and Cobain had for rehabilitating the Alien franchise, Theron states that it might be a good idea to change the attraction into an Alien tie-in, which was the original plan for the attraction that Michael Eisner had wanted, increase the intensity and length of the experience rather than relying on a schizophrenic approach of dark humor and family-friendly moments to blunt the fear, and making an attraction equivalent of an R-rated film, where no one under 17 is allowed and must present photo ID. She also suggests having a professional film crew document and "reconstruct" the Alien Encounter experience in home video packages. Disney promises to take it under consideration and broach the concept with 20th Century Fox and any and all related paries. The following day, Theron gives an inquiry to Universal Creative for suggesting increasing the intensity of the attraction Twister-Ride It Out. "Sometimes, more is more."
  • (10/21/2000): Theron's comments about the election officially go viral after they are replayed on Access Hollywood. Suddenly, Nirvana fans begin deluging the band and Springbok email forms with hate mail for refusing to back Nader. At the moment, this doesn't impact either Nirvana or Springbok in any manner.
  • (10/24/2000): During a performance of the Nirvana/AIC/Soundgarden tour at Mile High Stadium in Denver, a crowd of Nader fans picket the show, and pelt the limos of all three bands. During the show itself, some crowds get excessively rowdy. Layne Staley is pelted by a water bottle, Kim Thayil loses his footing on the stage and sprains his ankle, fans let Chris Cornell fall when he attempts to crowd surf, and Dave Grohl breaks his leg while dodging some trash. However, despite these mishaps, the bands pledge to finish the tour through the planned end date in January, to cover Canada, Mexico and Latin America. Grohl orders a special chair for himself to sit in to play the rest of the shows while Taylor Hawkins takes over drumming duties completely for this period.
  • (10/27/2000): The first show since the Denver incident occurs at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. During the show, much is noted about Kim Thayil's cast on his foot, and Dave Grohl's "throne" in which he sits and plays guitar for the duration of the show. The show goes off without a hitch, and all three bands play impressively. The final two U.S. dates on the tour are at the Shoreline Amphitheatre on the 29th, and at ARCO Arena on Halloween night, then allowing a rest until the tour picks up in Toronto on November 10. During the remaining two shows, the surviving members of Pearl Jam join in, and the entire encore consists of going through a series of songs by Pearl Jam, Mother Love Bone, Temple Of The Dog and Mad Season.
  • (10/29/2000): Meanwhile, during the day of the Mountain View performance, Disney comes in with their decision regarding Alien Encounter. Fox is willing to allow a license for the attraction. In addition, both Ridley Scott and James Cameron are willing to consult on the project to offer insight, and Lucasfilm, who was behind building Alien Encounter in the first place, will receive a license to do the new version, with Jerry Rees, the director of Alien Encounter, willing to return to do a script and new ride film, George Lucas becoming executive producer (along with Scott, Cameron and Alien series mainstay executive producers David Giler and Walter Hill), and Rick McCallum handling the day to day supervision of the project. In return, McCallum lets Theron know that a character in the upcoming Episode II of Star Wars is being created expressly for her, the assassin Zam Wessell, and if she accepts, she will report for a few days of shooting in the spring of 2001. Theron signs the paperwork, and also commits to the brief part. Cobain is said to be thrilled when he hears the news.
  • (11/02/2000): Walt Disney Imagineering announces that Alien Encounter will close on New Year's Eve to make way for the Alien tie-in attraction, which they stress will be "exclusively for teens and adults" and potentially becoming an anchor tenant in the parks worldwide. (In fact, an attraction idea entitled Superstar Limo has been expressly scrapped to let this Alien attraction become the main tenant in the Hollywood Backlot area in Disneyland's upcoming second park, though it won't come online until after the Magic Kingdom variant does.) The attraction is tentatively scheduled to soft open by the end of 2001, stating that since it will use much of the existing tech, it shouldn't take as long to transform. For Alien Encounter fans who are sad to see it go, much of the remaining days have been slotted to allow a professional film crew in to help document the experience as a souvenir, though said home video release will be more than just a straightforward capturing, and include additional elements.
  • (11/04/2000): Variety reports that casting for Dragon's Lair is underway, with a focus on seasoned veteran voiceover actors as opposed to being a predominantly celebrity-driven affair. At the moment, the leads are strongly hinted to be Billy West for Dirk the Daring and Tara Strong for Princess Daphne. SNL announces that Charlize Theron is set to host Saturday Night Live on the 11th, the first SNL after the election.
  • (11/07/2000): Tuesday was election day in America, after months of vicious campaigning (despite the real lack of an actual issue to rally behind) it was time for the American people to make their decision, who would be the 43rd President of the United States. The voting in most states was sedate and went on without any major incidents, despite the vehemence of support received by candidate Ralph Nader who was on the ballot in 43 states. However as the polls closed and the votes were being counted, problems began to emerge, in all but a handful of diehard strongholds for the Republican and Democratic parties the popular vote was proving to be VERY close. Ralph Nader was emerging as a major spoiler, in several critical win-states his support ate in Al Gore's voter base, giving George W. Bush a better shot at the narrow victory. The media at first began to call the election for Bush... Until reports began to come in from Wisconsin, then Hawaii, New Hampshire, then New Mexico, and then Iowa of voting issues and the actual result being deemed too close to call. Then critical key-swing state Ohio reported that they too were deeming the vote too close to call that night, then Florida did the same thing at midnight. When Ohio had deemed their state race for the President too close to call, Al Gore called George W. Bush, whom he had initially given a concession call too a mere 20 minutes prior that he was resending the concession since the election was officially too close to call. By 3 AM the graveyard shift of the American media was reporting that the race for the Presidency was not yet over, the elections in at least seven states was too close too call and state-wide recounts were expected to begin immediately.
  • (11/08/2000): Cobain is asked by MTV News in their report about the uncertainty of the election and what he hopes will be the result. "Well, I can't really speak too much about the results. Obviously, we do hope it goes a certain way, I think you know which way I'm talking about. But, I'm not so invested right now. I'm about to go to the airport to set up for the next leg of the tour, and we'll be out of the country until January. Besides, the film projects are still our overriding, nonmusical concern at this point."
  • (11/09/2000): State chapters of the Democratic Party begin demanding calls for a nationwide revote. Allegations of voter suppression in heavily Democratic counties and cities, particularly minority populations, are broadcast. Irregularities in voting methods and voter rolls are brought to attention in an article in USA Today. In Palm Beach County, Florida, Democrats call attention to the so-called "butterfly ballot", which is designed in a way so that Governor Bush and his marks are on top, Reform Party candidate Pat Buchanan is second, and Vice President Gore third, and that many voters would assume when they punched the second hole that it was a vote for Gore.
  • (11/10/2000): Jimmy Savile is convicted on all counts of historical sexual abuse. Savile, true to form, announces he will write a tell-all book that will vindicate him.
  • (11/11/2000): Protest marches in downtown West Palm Beach jam traffic considerably and consist of larger than expected crowds. Naderites and Bush supporters try to make the sheriff force the crowds to disperse. Charlize Theron hosts SNL, the first since election day and the on-going voter recount crisis in several states. The SNL sketch covering the political crisis involves George W. Bush (played by Will Farrell) playing with action figures on the floor in pajamas, complaining about nothing being on TV but election coverage when his father, George H.W. Bush enters (played by surprise guest Dana Carvey) and lambasts him for behaving like a child when he has to get out there and fight to win. Farrell's response "Nader's doing all that for me!" Then cut to Charlize playing Senator-Elect Hillary Clinton trying to give advice to 'Al Gore' (played by Darrell Hammond) who is overseeing a team counting ballots and complaining about "Blind old people who can't tell a person's name from a car crash." But they have to deal with Ralph Nader (played by the OTHER surprise guest Larry David) crashing the recount, flanked by an entourage of supporters decked out like football fans and disrupt the recount even while putting all the blame on Al Gore, culminating in 'Hillary' and 'Gore' getting doused in beer by Nader's fans as they set the ballots on fire. The musical guest that night was Ricky Martin who performed "She Bangs" and "Loaded", however Chris Kattan impersonated Ricky Martin performing She Bangs before the actual Ricky Martin appeared on stage and took over.
  • (11/12/2000): CNN's long running show Crossfire has the panel continue to discuss the on-going mess of the 2000 Presidential election, Robert Novak represented the Conservative side, Donna Brazile represented the Liberal side and they discuss the on-going recounts, the growing protests in Ohio and Florida, and they do their best to stay civil. Then the topic reaches Ralph Nader and they both show their disgust with his growing circus of antics, despite having handedly lost his bid to become President of the United States, though Brazile noted that he reached a little over a million votes, a first for a third-party candidate in an US election. They then talked about scenarios about how the situation would be resolved, both expected the recounts in Ohio and Florida to be challenged in the courts, but the real problems would begin if one candidate won Ohio but the other won Florida, anything else than winning those two states would mean that neither candidate would have enough Electoral College votes to secure the presidency, which meant that the election would be decided by the lame-duck session of the current House of Representatives, which was Republican controlled and was assured to vote for George W. Bush, which Novak admitted was not desirable from a Republican perspective, "It would dangerously damage Bush Jr.'s credibility at the beginnings of his Presidency, but Constitutionally he would be the President of the United States." Brazile noted that the congressional elections for the next session of Congress had the Democrats in control of the House of Representatives by three seats, the Senate divided in a 50/50 split with control going to the party of the next Vice President, due to the Vice President's role as President of the Senate and being the tie-breaker vote in 50/50 votes in the Senate. "If this fiasco drags out beyond December then we could see the 107th session of Congress make the decision, not the current one." One of their guests asked if either candidate could concede the race and end the crisis in that situation, "Doubtful," Novak answered, "Even if, let's say Bush conceded, Gore would still lack the needed Electoral College votes required to become President. At this point it's either up to the Electors or the House of Representatives."
  • (11/15/2000): During a performance of the tour at BC Place Stadium in Vancouver, Cobain adds a performance of "Rockin' In The Free World", clearly to show frustration at the recount situation.
  • (11/17/2000): Florida's Secretary of State, Katherine Harris, states that the recount will end, and Bush will be declared the winner. Gore and his campaign take this fight to the Florida Supreme Court to continue the statewide recount, insisting on a uniform standard for so-called undervotes.
  • (11/18/2000): As documents later revealed under a FOIA request will reveal, longtime Republican "dirty trickster" Roger Stone begins laying out plans to disrupt the recount through astroturfed means. The particular focus is in heavily Democratic counties in Florida, notably Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade and Volusia.
  • (11/19/2000): Susan Sarandon joins a group of Naderite counter-protesters marching in Columbus, Ohio to square off against Gore protesters, especially those with signs like "Honk for Revote." On the same day, After the NAPA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Dale Earnhardt wins his record-breaking 8th Winston Cup championship. At the winner's circle, he is asked if he plans to retire now that he has achieved all that he sought to achieve in his career. "As long as I can keep winning, I'm gonna keep racing." Meanwhile, NASCAR begins to implement a rule to install so-called "soft walls" at their racetracks after the tragic deaths of Adam Petty and Kenny Irwin, Jr. during the season.
  • (11/21/2000): Congressman John E. Sweeney, with the tactile support of George W. Bush led an astroturfed protest at several recount locations in Florida and Ohio, the majority of the protesters were paid and/or members of the Republican Party. Their protests at the recount in Columbus inspirited a number of college students and supporters of Ralph Nader and Al Gore to host an impromptu counter protest along with a local TV news crew. This clash of protests would see several insistence of violence, including a now-famous image of 54 year old Republican lobbyist named Richard Eells punching 19 year old college student Melissa Dern during the protests outside of the Columbus City Hall where the recount for Franklin County was taking place. This would turn the protests into a bloody brawl that would cause both the Ohio and Florida protests to be dubbed 'the Brooks Brothers Riots', especially when the images were broadcast on CNN and inspired several other incidents of violence in both states.
  • (11/22/2000): Al Gore, George W. Bush, and Ralph Nader issued a single joint statement condemning the violence at the Brooks Brothers Riots, but reaffirmed American citizens rights to peaceful protest. Despite this highly unusual sign of unity among the three men, several other flareups of violence sprouted up at the ongoing protests regarding the results of the 2000 Elections.
  • (11/23/2000): Gwen Stefani is being interviewed by MTV News just before a charity concert in Hawaii and is asked about the 2000 Election. "It's crazy, I mean there are protests here in Honolulu. I'm just glad my son Louie is at home with his father [Bradley Nowell]." When asked about rumors of a breakup of No Doubt and Stefani pursuing a solo career she denied it, when asked about marriage plans she said, "We're working on getting around to that. But there's no rush."
  • (11/27/2000): Word comes out that Vice President Gore will eke out a narrow win for Ohio's electoral votes, though the result won't be formally announced for another two days. Even still, pundits officially call Ohio for Gore, and state quite ominously that "now the eyes of the nation fall entirely on Florida. If Vice President Gore wins, he will have won a narrow electoral vote margin and be President. If Governor Bush wins, the election goes to the House of Representatives, where he will assuredly win the Presidency, though under cloudy circumstances."
  • (11/29/2000): The Nirvana/Alice In Chains/Soundgarden show plays an MTV Unplugged "super set" at the Hummingbird Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto. The show is scheduled to be the second of two live releases documenting the tour, alongside a standard live album and video compiled from the tour proper, as well as future releases of individual shows.
  • (12/02/2000): Katherine Harris' correspondence with Jeb Bush over "updating" the Florida voter rolls is leaked to the press by an anonymous whistleblower.
  • (12/07/2000): Jerry Rees turns in the first draft of the script for the planned Alien-tie in attraction. The narrative used is that it will be similar to Universal Studios Florida's attraction Terminator 2: 3-D Battle Across Time, in having an alternate climax for the second film, in which Carter Burke successfully manages smuggle a xenomorph specimen to Weyland-Yutani. Company head Michael Bishop Weyland (Lance Henriksen), who is also the model for Bishop, then takes over the Tomorrowland Interplanetary Convention Center for an angel investors pitch meeting to show off the benefits of weaponizing the xenomorphs. However, the event goes haywire when the xenomorph breaks captivity, leading to mass destruction and death until Ellen Ripley takes command of the situation to lure it into a "dematerialization" device. WDI, Fox, Lucasfilm and Springbok officially approve this conceit and the script goes in to be sharpened, as well as begin planning the effects and the shoot for the new ride film in late January and early February.
  • (12/12/2000): The Supreme Court, in a 5-4 ruling, decides in the case of Bush v. Gore that the recount in Florida cannot continue, stating that Gore and his lawyer, David Boies, have not successfully met the standard for the equal protection clause, and cites the electors' votes on December 15 as a reason to halt the proceeding. The Court also rules that this decision cannot be used as precedent. With the recount halted, Bush's victory in Florida stands, meaning the decision goes to the House of Representatives. Seeing the writing on the wall, Gore concedes the race.
  • (12/15/2000): Rolling Stone reports that as a bonus disc of Led Zeppelin covers will be included in the With The Lights Out box set. Atlantic plans to release the album as a separate release. Together, the box set, covers album, and two live albums from the Nirvana/AIC/Soundgarden tour, all released throughout 2001, will fulfill Nirvana's Atlantic deal, leaving Exploitation Records independent. The covers album is being recorded at this moment at Metalworks Studios in Ontario, during a break in the tour before heading to Mexico and into Latin America.
  • (12/17/2000): With the new script for the Alien attraction, decisions are made about the ride film, preshow, and effects. The roles equivalent to Spinlock and Femus in Alien Encounter shall be played by Theron and Anthony Michael Hall, portraying W-Y scientists officially running the exhibition, and prodded into more dangerous and aggressive stunts by Michael Weyland. The preshow from Alien Encounter with Tim Curry as the robot S.I.R. shall be kept, but with somewhat rewritten dialogue and changing the role of Skippy. Sigourney Weaver agrees to reprise the role of Ripley for the attraction. As for the main show itself, it is extended from eight to fifteen minutes, ten in the dark, including such occurrences as violent vibrations for the seats with the xenomorph's footsteps, neck sensors to represent the dreaded second mouth brushing against guests, lots of dry ice and steam and fake wall panels to represent acid blood damage, sparking electrical wires being the only source of intermittent light in the main show (even appearing like they'll fall and electrocute guests), transferring the cast member with flashlight and pre-recorded dialogue from Alien Encounter (but with deeply serious reading), and amping up the nightvision camera sequence to be more like a combination of Dallas' death in Alien and the Marines being taken out in the atmosphere processor in Aliens. The shoot for the ride film is set for late January.
  • (12/19/2000): The 106th Congress of the United States was forced to hold an "emergency" lame-duck session on a Tuesday to formally elect a President of the United States since none of the candidates who ran in the 2000 Presidential Race secured the legally required number of Electoral College votes. It was viewed by the vast majority of political observers to be a formality due to the Republican Party being in control of the House of Representatives, which would be conducting the 'election' of the President, while the Senate would conduct the election of the Vice President, which was under the control of the Democrats. Despite Al Gore formally conceding the race, the Democrats in the House voted purely along party lines for him, each member giving statements while casting their vote revealing their view that, as Al Gore had secured the popular vote he was more deserving. The Republicans, led by House Speaker Bob Livingston voted for George W. Bush, their statements falling back on the Constitution allowing them 'free choice' in who to pick and saying they considered him 'better suited'. Thus George W. Bush became the third US President to be elected by the House of Representatives, being preceded by Thomas Jefferson in his first term, and John Quincy Adams in 1824. In the Senate things were more complicated, the Democrats controlled the Senate in the 106th session, however it was already obvious that George W. Bush would be President and making John Kerry the Vice President would be... Problematic. But making Elizabeth Dole the Vice President would hand over control of the Senate to the Republicans in the next session of Congress due to the upcoming 50/50 Split with the Vice President and the tie-breaking vote determining which party would be considered 'majority controller'. Ultimately the leadership of the Democratic Party decided that since the public already viewed 'President' Bush as something of a usurper, using legal shenanigans to 'usurp' the Senate would risk being painted with the same brush. A tactile agreement emerged between the two parties before the vote, a small number of Senate Blue Dog Democrats would vote for Elizabeth Dole, in exchange neither party would complain publicly too much about this specific issue, and the Blue Dogs in the senate wouldn't be punished by the DNC for 'breaking ranks'. The Democrats had already secured the House for the 107th session of Congress so the political gridlock of the end of the Clinton years would be carried over to the beginnings of the George W. Bush Presidency. One political talking head on CNN, Michael Moore voiced the view that this entire thing would guarantee that George W. Bush would be a one-term President with little hope of accomplishing much.
  • (12/22/2000): Post-production on Ghost in the Shell is officially complete, with a trailer unveiled and a release date set for May 13. In addition, the post-production work on the With The Lights Out documentary is also wrapped. A critics' screening of the documentary is set for the Pantages Theater in February, while test screenings for Ghost in the Shell will last until then, with a premiere held in New York in late April. This means that late April and early May will be a busy period for Cobain and Theron, and Springbok in general, as they will do press for the film and documentary, hold a meeting regarding Dragon's Lair, attend a planned reading of Dance of the Vampires at Chelsea Studios and set up Exploitation Records' new headquarters, all in New York. They will then move on to view the conversion of the Trump Taj Mahal by Planet Hollywood before Theron reports for her Star Wars role.
  • (12/24/2000): A Christmas Eve concert for the tour is held at the Plaza de la Revolucion in Mexico City, and it is considered the highlight of the Latin American leg.
  • (12/27/2000): Former Deep Purple/Rainbow lead guitarist Ritchie Blackmore dies in a car accident in Scotland. The present and former members of Deep Purple, Rainbow, Whitesnake and Dio all pay tribute to the mercurial virtuoso. Ian Gillan, David Coverdale, Ronnie James Dio and Joe Lynn Turner all state they are considering creating some kind of EP of new material in his memory.

2001[]

  • (01/05/2001): The tour ends after two sold-out performances at Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, both of which are filmed and recorded for posterity and some future release.
  • (01/09/2001): At home, Cobain is interviewed about what kind of plans are in store for Exploitation Records once it is officially independent and part of the Springbok empire. "It's not just Nirvana's label, it'll be the label of artists in all genres: not just our peers, but people in country, pop, techno, and a lot of legacy, classic artists who still have plenty in them but aren't getting industry support. For example, we've been talking with Tom Scholz, and there's a very real chance that the next Boston album be released through us."
  • (01/15/2001): David Ives is brought back in to further polish the script for Dance of the Vampires prior to the April investors' script reading. Jim Steinman has remained on good terms with Ives, since both of them have been also working on a proposed Batman musical, and there were no hard feelings when Ives was made to leave the project months earlier. Ives goes in to further sharpen the narrative, following the leads of Steinman, John Caird and Michael Kunze, which set a very firm direction of how to take the script, especially after jettisoning the parody aspect.
  • (01/17/2001): Metallica bassist Jason Newsted quits the band, right as the band is to begin recording their new album.
  • (01/20/2001): George W. Bush is formally inaugurated as the 43rd President of the United States. There are scattered protests decrying the result and stressing the feeling that Gore was cheated out of his rightful victory. A more organized protest occurs in the National Mall the following day.
  • (01/22/2001): The Monkees' new 35th anniversary album, Good Times!, is announced for release the next month. The album, produced by Andrew Sandoval and Adam Schlessinger of the Fountains of Wayne, includes various songs written by the likes of Andy Partridge, Rivers Cuomo and Noel Gallagher, along with some new songs by the "Pre-Fab Four" and some old material dusted off from the vaults. Deluxe editions will include a bonus disc of several Monkees hits re-recorded by them, the current touring band, and guest vocals by Britta Phillips. [This is the same album as the one we got IOTL in 2016, except that "Love To Love" is a full re-recording, and several more songs by Davy Jones are included, as well as having all the bonus songs as part of the album proper.]
  • (01/24/2001): Theron reports to the set of the Alien attraction's ride film. A photo of her with Anthony Michael Hall and Sigourney Weaver is posted on the Springbok website.
  • (01/26/2001): Casting is finalized for Dragon's Lair. Besides the previously announced hiring of Billy West and Tara Strong, the film will have the voice talents of Jim Cummings, Cree Summer, Tim Curry and Tom Kenny. Celebrity cameos include David Hasselhoff as Dirk the Daring's rival amongst the knights, Glenn Close as Princess Daphne's mother, and Patrick Stewart as the narrator.
  • (01/27/2001): The Hollywood Reporter publishes an article entitled: "Is Miramax A Sinking Ship?", detailing the repercussions of Harvey Weinstein's exposure and the many defections in terms of projects and personnel. "It seems undeniable that Miramax, once one of the biggest emerging powerhouses in the film industry, is now flailing about miserably, its various 'post-Harvey' projects failing to gain any traction...Rumors are spreading that the newcomers that everyone can't stop thinking about, Springbok Productions, will snap up Miramax in a merger, or that Disney will reclaim the library of Miramax films and now have them under the Touchstone banner."
  • (02/01/2001): Cobain lets it slip in a phone interview with KROQ that he and his family are considering buying additional properties to divide their time in, besides the ones they have in L.A. and Seattle. "We're looking into possibly buying something in New York, since a lot of our business will end up conducted there. I mean, this spring, when the movie comes out, we'll be there doing press, holding meetings that have been booked at the World Trade Center, which is also in the bidding among other places to be where Exploitation Records will be based, and looking over the Atlantic City plans. It would be quite convenient to own something to live in there. We're also considering a place in Atlanta, because Elton John came to us after we told him, and he recommends it."
  • (02/06/2001): Both live album box sets from the tour are released simultaneously, the "regular" set called Verse Chorus Verse, and the unplugged one entitled MTV Unplugged in the Great White North. On the same day, the Monkees release their lead single from the new album, "She Makes Me Laugh", written by Rivers Cuomo. The album is released the following week to ecstatic sales and reviews, including in the likes of Rolling Stone. Peter Tork states at this development: "Well, it's about time they finally respect us."
  • (02/10/2001): Springbok signs an exclusivity deal with Blockbuster Video to release their films for rentals only through their stores, vending machines and Internet/video on demand services.
  • (02/14/2001): Rumors emerge that Nirvana's 2001 concert dates will be a co-headlining tour with Stone Temple Pilots, who will be out promoting their latest album, Shangri-La Dee Da. Thanks to Cobain's influence at Atlantic, their labelmates were disabused of notions to change management (to Metallica's management, Q-Prime, over their longtime manager Steve Stewart) allowed to promote the album as they wished, overriding the label's wishes. The band's fifth album will be a double album, as wanted, and on New Year's Day, they released the blistering rocker "Coma" as the lead single, which helps the album gain significant traction.
  • (02/18/2001): During the 2001 Daytona 500, it is the first race with the so-called "soft walls" and the entry of Dodge in NASCAR. It is notable for a nasty 18-car pileup that sends Tony Stewart flipping violently, Michael Waltrip winning in his first race for Dale Earnhardt, Inc., and Earnhardt himself being caught in a head-on collision with the wall at Turn 4 with Ken Schraeder after being tapped by Sterling Marlin. Thankfully, the soft wall does its job.
  • (02/25/2001): With The Lights Out premieres at the Pantages Theatre. The audience gives a rapturous reception. ABC will broadcast the documentary in three parts over the period of April 16-19. The box set will be released on Tuesday, April 17, along with the Zeppelin covers disc separately on the same day, and a VHS/DVD set of the complete documentary is set to be released by October.
  • (03/01/2001): Best Buy announces that pre-orders for the box set and the home video release of the documentary are already very promising. Wal-Mart and Target also announce similar results.
  • (03/03/2001): Due to massive loses and its negative reputation following the Harvey Weinstein scandal, Miramax officially announces that it is shutting down its operations and that the Miramax name will be folded into the Disney owned Touchstone Pictures banner.
  • (03/04/2001): Theron views the approved master of the Alien attraction ride film, and signs off. With this, Imagineers and a teams from Lucasfilm and THX set off to begin the process of converting Alien Encounter for the proposed soft opening in November.
  • (03/05/2001): Aerosmith releases Just Push Play, which receives mixed reviews due to the nature of its production. However, its lead single, "Jaded", becomes a massive hit on radio and on rotation on MTV and VH1.
  • (03/09/2001): A trailer for the long-proposed adaptation of A Confederacy of Dunces is released, featuring Chris Farley in the lead. The film is set for release in August. At the same time, Springbok enters a handshake deal with Farley and Don Novello to produce Noble Rot.
  • (03/14/2001): Theron has a conference call with Jim Steinman, David Ives, John Caird, Michael Kunze and Andrew Braunsberg, the producer of the original Tanz der Vampire in Vienna and Stuttgart, who is also raising a share of the investment for the English adaptation. Despite having been thrown off the project as lead producer, David Sonenberg still raised in his share of the capital, and will still be listed as a producer for courtesy's sake. Theron is let aware that two new producers, Elizabeth Williams and Anita Waxman, who headed a recent revival of The Music Man, are now committed to the project, and also helped capitalize the coming investors' script reading and workshop production in New York. Theron pledges again of Springbok's commitment, and that she will also bring in as many additional investors as possible. She and Jennifer Todd convince Jerry Weintraub to go to the reading, as well putting out feelers to Leonard Soloway, Barry and Fran Weissler, Barry Diller's group USA Ostar Theatricals, Tom Hulett, Concerts West, Irving Azoff, and Michael Cohl, the concert promoter known for his bankrolling and leading the Rolling Stones' recent mega-tours.
  • (03/21/2001): Cobain and Theron are officially invited to the class of 2001 induction ceremony for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, where the likes of Queen, Aerosmith, and Michael Jackson will be inducted. They head to New York a month earlier than expected to begin their plans earlier after attending the ceremony at the Waldorf-Astoria.
  • (03/25/2001): Cobain runs into Michael Jackson again. Jackson gives the latest update about his upcoming album, Invincible, as well as talk about the potential of jumping to Exploitation Records after fulfilling obligations with Sony. Jackson is particularly attracted to the potential of film projects. Cobain is somewhat worried hearing that Jackson had to get a loan to help continue with the album and use the Beatles catalog as collateral. Sensing that Sony head Tommy Mottola is planning to spring a trap to sabotage the album to force Jackson to default on the loan, Cobain says that he will do what he can about the matter.
  • (03/29/2001): Nirvana announces that they will not renew their management contract with Gold Mountain, though they will keep John Silva on as part of the management team. Nirvana will now be officially managed by Irving Azoff, who Cobain also encourages to help with signing artists to Exploitation Records, and to deal with the Jackson situation by putting pressure on Tommy Mottola and David Glew concerning promotion of Invincible.
  • (04/03/2001): Cobain and Theron officially turn down the bid to place Exploitation Records' offices on floors 67-72 at 2 World Trade Center, where much of their business and meetings for the next two months will take place, choosing instead to take out a lease for the label at the former Trump Tower, which is now under new management.
  • (04/05/2001 to 04/08/2001): Cobain and Theron make an appearance during the filming of Ben Stiller's upcoming film, Zoolander. They appear in the opening sequence outside the VH1 Music Fashion Awards, and during a "walk-off" segment between Derek Zoolander and Hansel, judged by David Bowie.
  • (04/09/2001): Nirvana plays a surprise free concert at Irving Plaza, which is filmed and recorded as an episode of VH1 Storytellers. The next day, it is announced that Nirvana will be on the road covering areas not seen during the last tour, from mid-May to early September, with another U.S. leg co-headlining with Stone Temple Pilots in October and November.
  • (04/12/2001): During a dinner meeting at the Windows On The World restaurant, Cobain, Theron, Don Bluth, Gary Goldman and Tab Murphy officially talk over the status of Dragon's Lair. The script is officially locked down, with an emphasis on Princess Daphne saving Dirk as much as he later saves her. Daphne has been drastically redesigned to veer away from the "Playboy Pinup" image of the game, and is shown to be quite strong and capable in her own right, who even does many valiant attempts to escape on her own. The animation staff has already begun the work, and recording sessions about to begin. Everyone leaves with a quite strong feeling of satisfaction.
  • (04/16/2001 to 04/19/2001): With The Lights Out premieres to incredibly strong ratings and critical acclaim. Much attention in the reviews is given to a scene, shown during the recording of Questions Answered by the Unanswerables, in which Frances demonstrates an emerging talent and interest in music with some simple guitar and drum passages while Cobain, Theron and Courtney Love watch. The box set is similarly successful, with the Zeppelin covers disc considered a worthy highlight.
  • (04/23/2001): Ghost in the Shell premieres at the Ziegfield Theatre to a rapturous reception. All signs are looking promising for its release in a few weeks.
  • (04/27/2001): The investors' script reading for Dance of the Vampires is held at Chelsea Studios, with a cast led by Steve Barton, the original Count von Krolock, and best known as the original Raoul in Phantom of the Opera. The script used plays very much like the Vienna/Stuttgart version, with some noted changes for Americanization, and a reliance on subtle comic relief and deconstructing vampire hunting tropes, all against Jim Steinman's luscious score. Investors are quite impressed with the production. Once Springbok officially pledges their support, all the various hopeful investors Theron brought to the reading, especially Jerry Weintraub, Irving Azoff and Michael Cohl, sign on as well, bringing a budget of about $17 million, somewhat more than the show needs. Plans proceed for a workshop production at the same location a week later for theater owners.
  • (04/30/2001): Cobain and Theron head to Atlantic City to view the site of the Trump Taj Mahal, in the middle of its conversion under the Planet Hollywood banner. The process is occurring on schedule for the opening next March, and expansion of Miami Subs is also performing well.
  • (05/03/2001): On the DOTV front, there is a bit of a snag. The original plan to move the show immediately to New York in March or April 2002 is overridden, with a preference to hold an out-of-town tryout at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta beforehand. Steinman and the other creatives come to agree, but a bigger problem comes. With the exception of Cobain and Theron, the investors will not sign on to Steinman's plan to have Steve Barton reprise the role of Krolock, and they will only allow alternate candidate Drew Sarich, known for his portrayal of Frollo in a German-language version of Disney's adaptation of The Hunchback of Notre Dame in Berlin, as an alternate. The investors, especially Weintraub and Cohl, stress the need for a star to attract audiences and help sell out the theatre. Frustrated, Steinman heads to Caesars Atlantic City, where Meat Loaf has been scheduled to begin a summer engagement there, his first concerts since his surgery, and after having received extensive vocal coaching under Eric Vetro to help manage his voice. The meeting, ostensibly to talk about plans for Bat Out of Hell III, soon focuses on the musical. Meat Loaf instinctively offers himself for the role of Krolock to help his friend and partner's dream come true. Without David Sonenberg around (whom Meat Loaf has a checkered history with), the two hammer out a plan in which Meat Loaf will commit to the role for one year on Broadway in exchange for working on Bat III concurrently, when possible.
  • (05/07/2001): Cobain officially leaves for Europe to prep for the beginning of Nirvana's tour. Theron, meanwhile, with children in tow, flies to report to her Star Wars shoot. On the same day, Variety reports that the long-promised (and assumed to be abandoned) Ghostbusters 3 is finally taking shape. The film, with its script once again by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis and Ivan Reitman directing, is announced that it will be a "passing of the torch" between the original cast and a new team of Ghostbusters, led by Chris Farley, Chris Rock, David Spade and a yet-to-be announced fourth slot. Rumors strongly hint it to be either Molly Shannon, Adam Sandler or Rob Schneider.
  • (05/13/2001): Ghost in the Shell opens to incredibly brisk box office results, already making $150 million in its first four days.
  • (05/15/2001): Theron, with the children in tow, flies to report to the Star Wars set for her brief role as hired assassin Zam Wessell. During the shoot, she strikes up a friendship with Carrie Fisher, who is also an uncredited script doctor for the film, along with the second pass Lawrence Kasdan gave to the original script by George Lucas and Jonathan Hales.
  • (05/16/2001): Nirvana's tour begins with two sold-out nights at Wembley Arena. During the second show, Cobain and Krist Novoselic have a bit of an exchange in which they comment about the election results and baldly refer to it as "stolen." This exchange is captured on a fan's video recording of the show, and is also immediately reported in the media. News outlets also are able to get their hands on a copy of the recording, and broadcast the specific moment.
  • (05/18/2001): During a show in Manchester, England, Cobain changes the lyrics of "Dumb" to ridicule President Bush, especially changing "I think I'm dumb" to "I think he's dumb." This event is referenced the following day during a press briefing by White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer. Fleischer is asked his opinion about the events in England and about Springbok's various projects, and he responds, "Well, I can't speak for President Bush for the administration on this, but I will say this: In my opinion, they are contributing greatly to the same problems of youth violence and rebellion we have seen over the last decade. And it is an undeniable fact that many liberals look up to Nirvana as one of their biggest influences."
  • (05/20/2001): On the DOTV front, Jim Steinman begins putting out feelers for who will take on the role of Professor Abronsius, the main comic relief and who completes the main cast along with Count Von Krolock, and the romantic leads Sarah and Alfred. Remembering that Michael Crawford had been circling around with interest with the musical, and that David Sonenberg had originally been pushing hard for Crawford to take on the role of Krolock, Steinman decides to talk with him at the Dorchester Hotel in London. It becomes clear that Crawford, when he was interested in Krolock, wanted to play a more comic role, preferably with a funny accent, and have lots of laughs, fearful of doing anything compared to the Phantom. Steinman offers Abronsius, and also tells him how he gets a comic patter song in the vein of Gilbert & Sullivan. Crawford is intrigued, and ends up committing to the part a few days later. This gives freedom to for the crew to shape up before announcing the results in August.
  • (05/22/2001): After finishing her scenes, Theron returns to the States, and is contacted by Rob Tapert, saying he's been talking with Luc Besson recently and heard about the Tron-inspired project that has been in development for some time. Tapert says that this is something she should look into, and also states that he will also broach the matter with Sam Raimi (currently filming Spider-Man with Theron's Cider House Rules co-star Tobey Maguire in the lead role) very soon.
  • (05/23/2001): Don's Plum, the troubled project involving Tobey Maguire and Leonardo DiCaprio, is set to run in theaters in Denmark starting in August. The film already premiered back in February at the Berlin International Film Festival, where it was roundly panned and considered utterly pointless and incompetent.
  • (05/26/2001): Ministerial couple Michael and Debi Pearl are found dead, the victims of a murder-suicide by their daughter Shoshanna Easling, who had recently been undergoing therapy to deal with the consequences of her and her siblings' upbringing. It is uncovered that in 1995, the couple had written and published a book called To Train Up a Child, which is soon declared openly in the press to be "a guideline to abuse children in sickening and horrifying ways, all under the guise of parental discipline."
  • (05/29/2001): At a videoconference between Theron, Jennifer Todd, Sam Raimi, Rob Tapert, Luc Besson and Milla Jovovich, it becomes clear that everyone sees the project as very promising, and are fully committed to the idea. The production will be a joint venture of Europacorp, Renaissance Pictures and Springbok's Denver and Delilah Animation. The idea shall be developed as a TV series, as well as several motion pictures, with likely distribution by Sony, due both to the success of Ghost in the Shell and Besson's previous filmography with them. The decision is set to have the show ready to air on a yet to be determined network by 2004. In the meantime, the work by Thomas Romain, Tania Palumbo, Besson and Robert Mark Kamen shall now be given over to Tapert, Sam and Ivan Raimi, and other potential writers to lay out the story bible and whip it all into shape; as well as begin looking at potential stars to attract for roles ranging from small to significant.
  • (06/02/2001): Exploitation Records puts out its first press release, announcing who has been officially signed to the label so far, from a mix of free agents and paying to cancel out pre-existing contracts. Stone Temple Pilots and Alice in Chains have been confirmed as labelmates, as have Rush, who are at work making their first album since Test for Echo. Other rock artists signed are Hootie and the Blowfish, Boston, Kansas, Skid Row, Blue Oyster Cult, Jackson Browne and Meat Loaf. In other genres, the first artists signed include Billy Ray Cyrus, Dolly Parton, Richard Marx, Nas, Method Man and Ice-T. In addition, an old daydream of Cobain's will also be brought to life as local chapters of the label will be set up for novelty records by street bums and freaks like a "Singing Flipper Boy."
  • (06/07/2001): The date of the Jem/Monkees tour at the Greek Theatre is filmed and recorded for pending release. As a result, all the stops are pulled out to impress the crowd. Joan Jett joins during the Jem set do a mixture of several songs from the show, and several of her own, most notably "I Hate Myself For Loving You." The Monkees' set includes multimedia elements, dancing and repartee, and a massive songlist incorporating hits, deep cuts, and covers, such as Davy Jones doing a medley of songs from Oliver! to pay homage to his past. Adam Schlessinger and Rivers Cuomo join in several songs, including those from Good Times!, and Tim Curry and Richard O'Brien appear during an encore to perform "Sweet Transvestite" and "Let's Do The Time Warp Again." The press raves about the performance, with Robert Hilburn in particular saying, "at long last, last night truly made me a believer in The Monkees."
  • (06/10/2001): Exploitation Records officially signs a deal to release two albums related to Dance of the Vampires, the original cast recording album, and a star-studded "concept album" spearheaded by Jim Steinman. Both are expected to be released some time after the show transfers to New York in September 2002. In addition, it is announced that Walter Yetnikoff and Jason Flom have been hired to be point men/A&R representatives for the label.
  • (06/14/2001): Alien: Terror Incarnate, as the new Disney attraction will be named, is announced to officially begin soft openings on November 15, 2001, with the planned official opening on February 8.
  • (06/18/2001): The creative team for DOTV begins to take shape. Besides John Caird directing, the plan is to attract as many of the creative personnel from the Vienna/Stuttgart version as possible. They put out feelers to costume designer Sue Blane, set designer William Dudley, and choreographer Dennis Callahan, though in the latter case, he is expected to share the duty along with Daniel Ezralow, known for his collaborations with Julie Taymor. Steinman personally attempts to bring Aris Sas, the original Alfred, to the States to reprise the role. Negotiations to lock everyone into ironclad contracts begin in earnest.
  • (06/20/2001): From an in-depth interview of Walt Disney Company CEO Michael Eisner in Newsweek:

Q: All elements of the company are doing so well, even elements that were initially struggling, like Disneyland Paris, ABC, and whatnot. Why has that been?

A: Well, after Frank Wells died, I admit that was I was lost for a bit. I did try to take on far too much to compensate. Thank God for Bob Iger and John Lasseter, they really helped pull us out of a rut. And me...I didn't think I'd really recover after losing the chance for Disney's America, but I've come back, better than ever. They also made me realize that a lot of the ideas I had wouldn't have worked. I'd been gung-ho for a second gate at Disneyland Paris to open by 1999, a replica of MGM Studios, but they made it clear that it would've jeopardized Disneyland Paris' newfound profits thanks to Discoveryland's Space Mountain. We will still build it, of course, but when we can actually afford to do it. Our original Anaheim second gate was to have been called California Adventure, but then they helped me realize that would've been redundant and opened up more Euro Disney mockery. So, I guess I have been humbled somewhat. But not to where I don't have ideas. In fact, we plan in the next decade to expand into Shanghai, Hong Kong, and our original Euro Disney site, Spain. We truly will now launch Mickey's Millennium!

Q: Disney just announced that Miramax will be repurchased and folded into Touchstone. How aware was Disney about the stories concerning Harvey Weinstein?

A: I never had a close relationship with Bob or Harvey, so I wouldn't be in any position to judge if I heard rumors about him, or think anything of him being other than a great eye for talent. But you do have to admit, detestable as Harvey is, Miramax made many classic films. That's a body of work that can't simply be ignored and shunted off.

Q: What are your thoughts about Kurt Cobain, Charlize Theron and Springbok Productions?

A: We are honored to have a chance to work with them. In fact, Touchstone will be the distributor of the next projects of Quentin Tarantino and Kevin Smith, which Springbok is producing. And there's bound to be room for Springbok TV projects on ABC. Maybe, if we'd known what they were going to do, we would've asked for more money regarding the Nirvana documentary's broadcast. (chuckles)

Q: What's gonna happen when Mickey enters the public domain, which will happen quite a bit sooner since the DMCA did not end up the way you wanted, and was enacted without the Copyright Term Protection Act?

A: (long pause) I just hope that people will at least recognize what Mickey is meant to be and react accordingly.

  • (06/23/2001): Cobain receives a surprise invitation by George Harrison to visit his Friar Park estate at Henley-on-Thames. Apparently, turned onto what Nirvana has been doing lately by thanks to his son Dhani, Harrison is considering a potential collaboration for tracks for both his long-gestating next solo album, as well as a surprise plan to record a third Traveling Wilburys album, in spite of the loss of Tom Petty two years prior and Bob Dylan currently preparing the release of a followup to Time Out of Mind. Three tracks are recorded, one called "Portrait of a Leg End," meant to be a bonus track or B-side for the solo album, some additional overdubs for a definite album track "P2 Vatican Blues", and a not yet complete track, still untitled, for the potential Wilburys album.
  • (06/25/2001): In a stunning move announced to mark Springbok's expansion, it is revealed that their book publishing division, Autumn Deer Press, will release as their first product the upcoming autobiography of actress Anne Heche, recently under intense press scrutiny after the end of her highly publicized relationship with Ellen DeGeneres and being hospitalized for an apparent mental breakdown under the influence of drugs. Behind the scenes, Springbok moves to convince Heche to change title of her book, stating that naming the tome Call Me Crazy will do lasting damage to her reputation and invite an LGBT backlash. The book is set to be published on September 4.
  • (06/28/2001): Filming for the revivals of both Carmen Sandiego PBS game shows begins, with Where In Time is Carmen Sandiego? filming at Kaufman Astoria Studios, and Where In the World is Carmen Sandiego? at Chelsea Studios. Kevin Shinick, Lynne Thigpen and Rockapella return to their respective roles.
  • (06/30/2001): Production of Noble Rot is scheduled to begin in California's wine country in December. In addition, actor Richard Harris, having recently lost the chance to play the role of Albus Dumbledore in the film version of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (which went instead to Michael Gambon), is given billing behind Chris Farley and Don Novello. Filming on Ghostbusters 3 is currently in full swing, with Molly Shannon having taken the fourth role in the new team. Principal photography is expected to last through September, and then have it edited for a summer 2002 release.
  • (07/06/2001): Anne Heche's memoir is now officially titled as End of My Rope: Stories of a Hollywood Life.
  • (07/09/2001): The Nirvana tour moves from Europe to Africa and the Middle East, including two shows at Hayarkon Park in Tel Aviv.
  • (07/13/2001): During a phone conversation between Cobain and Theron, she lets him know that she recently rented Nick Broomfield's documentary on convicted serial killer Aileen Wuornos, and found something about her that attracted her attention. The potential of using this story as a followup project after Noble Rot and Dragon's Lair becomes quite obvious to both.
  • (07/18/2001): Springbok officially comes onboard as co-producers of the long-gestating film version of Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera by Warner Bros., set to be directed by Joel Schumacher.
  • (07/23/2001): On the same day that Disney acquires Fox Family Worldwide from News Corp and Saban Entertainment, The company also begins scouting locations for possible Disney parks in the UK, Spain, and Canada.
  • (07/24/2001): Billie Joe Armstrong announces that following the release of their forthcoming compilation album International Superhits!, Green Day will disband. "We have come to the conclusion that we are creatively burned out, and there is simply no recharging those batteries. Better to go out with a sense of dignity instead of trying to force something that isn't there."
  • (07/30/2001): Cobain is interviewed by the Australian Broadcasting Company during their stopover Down Under. In the interview, Cobain makes quite clear where his political sentiments lie. "I have a sensation that Bush will the beginnings of quite a disaster in the making. Anyone can tell that he did not win that election. That said, there's a chance he can do some things right. After all, the Democrats in Congress are really holding the feet to the fire regarding stem cell research, the Kyoto Protocol, and urging for NASA to have a decent budget again so they can upgrade the Shuttle."
  • (08/13/2001): Nirvana's tour ends earlier than expected due to Cobain contracting pneumonia after finishing the leg in Japan. The band scatters their separate ways while Cobain decides to recuperate in New York, where Theron and the children have lingered after purchasing a loft property.
  • (08/18/2001): Theron has discussions with Quentin Tarantino about his next planned project. Said project, conceived by him and Uma Thurman, will be a two-part film focusing on a young trained mercenary betrayed and left for dead by her boss, seeking vengeance. Theron and the Springbok board are immediately convinced in the viability of this project.
  • (08/23/2001): The following is taken from an article in Variety:

"Phantom Out of Hell: Meat Loaf and Michael Crawford to 'Dance' on Broadway" by Robert Hofler

Meat Loaf, the bombastic "Wagnerian rock" star known for the record-setting Bat Out of Hell albums written by Jim Steinman, is officially set to walk the footlights of Broadway in the new musical Dance of the Vampires. Fourteen years after his bloodletting turn in Phantom of the Opera, Michael Crawford will join him in second billing in this new musical of the macabre. Based on Roman Polanski's 1967 movie spoof The Fearless Vampire Killers, the show will begin an out-of-town tryout in Atlanta at the Alliance Theatre on March 17, and then will move the following September 2 to the Minskoff Theatre, where it will open October 24 after a long preview schedule of six weeks. It will go into rehearsals in January to prep for the Atlanta tryout.

Mr. Loaf will take on the role of Count von Krolock, a distinguished vampire who battles with a grad student from Heidelberg University over the body and soul of a young woman. Crawford will play the mentor of said grad student, Professor Abronsius, a "rather intensely wacky vampire hunter" who wants to capture Krolock. No other principals for the show have been announced, but David Sonenberg, one of the lead producers of the show, stated that casting on the show would be complete in about six weeks after further casting sessions this September.

The musical had its world premiere four years ago as Tanz der Vampire in Vienna. Polanski directed that stage version, as well as a later incarnation, which is still running in Stuttgart, Germany. Over the years, main producer Andrew Braunsberg, who is also producing the New York version along with Sonenberg, attempted but failed to bring the director back to the United States to stage the musical on Broadway. Polanski fled the United States in 1977 when faced with charges of statutory rape. Sonenberg said that those efforts to return Polanski to the States contributed greatly to the delay of the show's U.S. premiere. Braunsberg also produced Polanski's 1971 film version of Macbeth. The show first made a U.S. appearance as a script reading for investors and a workshop production for theater owners last spring at Chelsea Studios.

John Caird (Jane Eyre) and Steinman, who is the composer-lyricist for Dance of the Vampires, will co-direct the New York production, marking the first time Mr. Loaf has worked with his longtime collaborator on stage since the early 1970s. The book is by original German librettist Michael Kunze, along with Steinman, Caird and David Ives (All In the Timing). Ives is also currently at work with Steinman for Warner Bros. on a musical version of Batman. Original costume designer Sue Blane will join the production, and Dennis Callahan and Daniel Ezralow will share choreography duties for the show. Original set designer William Dudley is also expected to sign on. "It will play very much like the original in several respects," Sonenberg states, "but in other areas, it's a new version of the show, significantly changed with a view toward a New York audience."

Braunsberg and Sonenberg, who is Steinman's manager, are making their Broadway debuts as producers with Dance of the Vampires. They are joined by quite a worthy group of fellow producers. Anita Waxman and Elizabeth Williams (The Music Man, The Real Thing), Kurt Cobain and Charlize Theron's production company Springbok Productions, Broadway house manager Leonard Soloway, legendary film and music promoter Jerry Weintraub (who is informally connected with Springbok), Barry and Fran Weissler of Chicago fame, Bob Boyett (Sweet Smell of Success, Topdog/Underdog), Lawrence Horowitz (Electra, It Ain't Nothing But the Blues), Barry Diller and Bill Haber's USA Ostar Theatricals (forthcoming revival of Noises Off and Nora Ephron's planned first stage play), Tom Hulett and his promotion company Concerts West, Roy Furman, Michael Gardner, Irving Azoff (manager of artists like the Eagles, REO Speedwagon, Journey, Christina Aguilera, Sammy Hagar, and most recently Nirvana), Meat Loaf's manager Allen Kovac, and concert promoter Michael Cohl. The show has been capitalized at about $17.5 million.

Representatives of Meat Loaf's management group, Left Bank Management, headed by Kovac, stated that the singer is committed to the show for one year in New York, along with plans to work concurrently with Steinman on a promised Bat Out of Hell III. In addition, Mr. Loaf will donate a portion of his salary to go to a trust for the family of the late Steve Barton, who played Count von Krolock in Vienna, and who died suddenly last month. "Meat Loaf is doing this on behalf of Steve's son, Edward, who has to grow up without his father." Mr. Loaf is not alone in donations. Springbok's proceeds of the show are being donated by two new charities created by its founders. Nevermind...We're Here To Help! was announced by Cobain in Europe earlier this summer, and has been created to help with survivors of tragedy, personal and well-known, especially in the aftermath of the controvery surrounding Michael and Debi Pearl. Theron, for her part, has formed the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project, to pay homage to her roots.

Mort Viner, Crawford's longtime manager, dismissed any criticism that the actor was looking to repeat his Phantom success with another macabre performance on Broadway. "Vampires will be a totally difference performance because of the comedy,'' said Viner, who has represented Crawford since the actor's appearance in the movie version of Hello, Dolly! in 1969. Crawford won a Tony Award for The Phantom of the Opera in 1988. Viner said Crawford had seen Tanz der Vampire in Vienna, and had been in discussions with Braunsberg and Sonenberg on the project for the past 18 months. According to Viner, Crawford has also committed to the show for one year in New York, as well having earned "first refusal" (the right to reprise his role) for any future productions.

Dance of the Vampires is also scheduled for planned productions in London and Los Angeles, North American and European tours, revamped Vienna/Stuttgart productions, and expansion into Europe, Latin America, Australia and Japan. Springbok Productions' record label arm, Exploitation Records, will release the cast recording album and a star-studded "concept album" sometime in early 2003. Steinman initially had a preliminary deal with Interscope Records for these albums, but this was dealt with by having Interscope head Jimmy Iovine named as executive producer of the albums and included in the special thanks. Braunsberg and Sonenberg announce that the albums, the production, and all productions to come will be dedicated to the memory of Steve Barton and include such a postscript in all relevant materials.

  • (08/25/2001): Tarantino officially begins writing the script for the new film. It is hoped that production will start after Thurman gives birth to her child with current husband Ethan Hawke.
  • (08/26/2001): Exploitation Records officially signs Cyndi Lauper to the label. Lauper's current album, Shine, was set to be released September 11 by Edel Records, which just folded, and to represent a breakaway from Epic Records/Sony Music after disappointments regarding the promotion of Sisters of Avalon. Exploitation Records announces that Shine will be released, with appropriate promotion, on October 10.
  • (08/29/2001): Aspiring television writer Ryan Murphy is officially added to the animated Luc Besson/Renaissance Pictures/Springbok project, provisionally entitled Garage Kids. Murphy created a series, POPular, for The WB, and is also currently working on a planned series involving plastic surgeons. Murphy looks at the work done thus far, revises the other writers' work, and begins adding ideas of his own. Under Murphy's influence, the story bible becomes quite intricate and spans about 120 pages. In the meantime, Cobain and Theron plan to leave New York for Los Angeles in the predawn hours of Tuesday the 11th, especially to book time at a studio to rehearse for the fall tour with STP. This will allow them to attend the 2001 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on the 6th, and two concerts marking Michael Jackson's 30th anniversary as a solo artist at Madison Square Garden on the 7th and 10th.
  • (09/06/2001): Cobain, Theron and the children attend the MTV Video Music Awards at the Metropolitan Opera House. Highlights of the night include Limp Bizkit winning Best Rock Video for "Rollin' (Air Raid Vehicle)" (which featured the band performing on top of the World Trade Center), a tribute to recently deceased R&B singer Aaliyah, who died in a plane crash nearly two weeks prior, Britney Spears' controversial performance with a live snake of her latest single "I'm A Slave 4 U", and N*SYNC's performance of "Pop" with a special guest appearance by Michael Jackson. After the show, Cobain is interviewed, where he is asked about the surprise radio hit of late, Nickelback's "How You Remind Me", the lead single off the band's forthcoming major label debut, Silver Side Up. "Well, it certainly plays and sounds a lot like what gets radio play as of late. It is a bit surprising that MTV is playing the video so often to count as their exposure of rock-oriented programming."
  • (09/07/2001 to 09/10/2001): Two concerts to mark Michael Jackson's 30th year as a solo artist are held at Madison Square Garden and filmed for later broadcast by CBS. The concerts are notable for two sets by Jackson, a reunion with his brothers, and several songs solo, notably a rendition of "The Way You Make Me Feel" with Britney Spears, "Billie Jean", and renditions of "Black Or White" and "Beat It" featuring Cobain and Slash joining on guitar. The concert ends with Jackson doing two songs from his forthcoming album Invincible (set for release on October 30), the lead single "Unbreakable" (with a typical high end music video and a guest rap by The Notorious B.I.G.), and "You Rock My World." Also of note is the shocking physical appearance of Whitney Houston, visibly emaciated and clearly under the influence of drugs, where many are worried of her dying. After a pleasant after-concert dinner with Jackson at Tavern on the Green, Cobain, Theron and the children catch a pre-dawn flight to Los Angeles.
  • (09/11/2001): At 8:46 AM Eastern Standard Time, American Airlines Flight 11, bound for Los Angeles out of Boston, slams into the North Tower of the World Trade Center. Seventeen minutes later, United Airlines Flight 175, also en route to L.A. from Boston, crashes into the South Tower, while horrified onlookers view below and live on television news networks. As it becomes clear that this is a deliberate act of terrorism and fear percolates, American Airlines Flight 77, bound for L.A. out of Dulles, indents itself into the western facade of the Pentagon at 9:37 AM. At 10:03 AM, United Airlines Flight 93, bound for San Francisco out of Newark, crashes into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Shortly afterwards, both towers of the World Trade Center collapse in on themselves in a shower of glass, steel and concrete. In all, about 2800 people are confirmed dead in the attacks. In the immediate aftermath, President Bush departs from a planned visit to an elementary school in Sarasota, Florida, to boost literacy awareness, while footage of him being informed of the attacks while children read to him and his sitting in stunned silence later goes viral. All flights in North America are grounded, amusement parks evacuated, and sports events and concerts are cancelled left and right.
  • (09/12/2001 to 09/23/2001): In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks, while news comes in that 19 different hijackers took control of the planes as part of an attack by al-Qaeda and its de facto leader Osama bin laden, Cobain, Theron, the family, and the rest of the band are seen organizing and helping in various recovery efforts, such as donating blood to the Red Cross, sorting food packages with the Salvation Army, and having long conversations with victims and their families.
  • (09/24/2001): Nirvana begins rehearsing to prepare for the planned co-headlining tour with Stone Temple Pilots staring in ten days. Both bands also commit to appearing at a benefit concert at Madison Square Garden on October 20 organized in large part by Paul McCartney. At the same time, Springbok officially returns to business to deal with potential fallout affecting their upcoming projects. Dragon's Lair and Noble Rot are untouched, but there are concerns about whether to stick with the November 15 soft opening for the Alien attraction. At the moment, Disney, while assuring that the attraction will obviously not be scrapped, puts the current schedule under review. Meanwhile, speed bumps are potentially arising for Dance of the Vampires, as quite a bit of the creative team is based in London and the delays of flights to anywhere in America, let alone New York, is going to make progress difficult, not to mention the possibility of the other investors jumping ship. Theron assures everyone that much of the creative team has been locked into contracts and won't leave, the exception being set designer William Dudley, and his departure is very likely. Stating that if Springbok remains committed to the investment, the other producers will follow, that videoconferencing can easily be done to keep everyone in touch, and minimal attrition at work, casting sessions are allowed to proceed and the production is still slated for its Atlanta tryout on March 17. Lastly, Theron introduces a new idea for a project, stating that a film about Aileen Wuornos would be perfect to sink her teeth into, as the next project to begin after wrapping Noble Rot.
  • (09/25/2001): To help prep for the beginnings of justification to a series of raids in Afghanistan, where al-Qaeda and bin Laden are currently sheltered by the Taliban, a so-called Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) is introduced in Congress. Surprisingly, while the vast majority are certainly willing to approve and there is no danger of it failing to pass, there are up to 25 holdouts altogether in both houses of Congress. This group, led by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), fears that this will be "the lead-in to the next Vietnam", and that it will soon unfold into "war without end...rolling bombs like they are dice." When challenged and accused of being a sign of a lack of patriotism and of "Democratic intransigence to block President Bush," Lee calmly states "I can say quite frankly that all my Republican colleagues would have banded together to block a similar authorization if Vice President Gore were the winner last November, and would castigate him merely for being a Democrat." Despite the AUMF passing easily, there is now a sense that whatever unity existed after the attacks has already irrevocably shattered.
  • (09/29/2001): During the final day of rehearsals for the Nirvana/STP tour, Cobain and his family are trailed by press following him from the rehearsal space. When Cobain is asked about the pending war in Afghanistan, Frances interjects. "A lot of people are going to die, and they won't quite know the reason. They won't know if it's justified or not. If we had smarter people, we wouldn't be here." Naturally, these comments are picked up by the press and vilified by conservative commentators. Fox News talent Bill O'Reilly in particular condemns Frances's remarks as "the most absolute, capitulating filth imaginable. What further proof can you conceive that the left is brainwashing our youth and plucking them to be soldiers in their army?"
  • (10/02/2001): After much deliberation, Walt Disney Imagineering decides to continue with the planned schedule for the Alien attraction, gambling that families, especially teens and young adults, will need escapism from the events of the world around them. In addition, the producers of Sony's Ghostbusters 3 state that while a scene inside the World Trade Center will be excised from the film, the Twin Towers themselves will not be, and proceeds for the film will go to benefit survivors and the families of the victims.
  • (10/07/2001): Airstrikes begin in Afghanistan, beginning a campaign to rout the Taliban and much of al-Qaeda from the country.
  • (10/09/2001): The first single from Cyndi Lauper's Shine album, "It's Hard To Be Me," is released to radio as well as premiering on TRL. Many praise the maturity of Lauper's lyrics and arrangement skills. It is expected to give her career new life independent of Sony.
  • (10/20/2001): The benefit concert at Madison Square Garden, referred to as The Concert for New York City, is a resounding success in all respects. During their respective sets, Nirvana does renditions of "Come As You Are", "Lithium", their cover of "Political World" and "All Apologies," while STP performs a cover of The Beatles' "Revolution", "Big Empty", "Interstate Love Song" and "Trippin' On A Hole In A Paper Heart." These become memorable moments in a show absolutely stuffed with them from the likes of Bon Jovi, David Bowie, Billy Joel, Elton John, James Taylor, The Who and the closing set by Paul McCartney.
  • (10/30/2001): Michael Jackson's album Invincible is released to incredibly strong sales and manages to top the charts in dozens of countries. On the strength of the sales and performance of the individual singles and videos, Jackson soon has his fears about concert security alloyed and begins to talk about plotting a tour, including his first full set of North American dates in over a decade. When Cher's followup to Believe, Living Proof, is released the following week to similar results, soon thoughts arise of having a double-headlining stadium tour the following spring by pop's original royalty.
  • (11/04/2001): Shortly after finishing principal photography on a third Austin Powers film, Mike Myers suddenly dies from a viral infection that was misdiagnosed and not treated in time. At the time of his death, he was planning on a third Wayne's World film, and a sequel to his surprise 2000 hit, Sprockets, which he very nearly derailed due to control issues. Many of his fellow SNL alumni, including Dana Carvey, Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, Rob Schneider, David Spade and Chris Farley attend the funeral three days later.
  • (11/09/2001): "Weird Al" Yankovic begins a series of 25 performances across America, spurred on to create a charity event similar to the Concert for New York City, and two events by legacy AOR bands entitled Volunteers For America. The tour is entitled the "One Of Those Days" Tour, after one of his ironically upbeat songs about awful, cataclysmic events. Such songs are the centerpiece of the tour, including "Christmas at Ground Zero", "The Night Santa Went Crazy", and "Cavity Search" among them. All proceeds go to the American Red Cross and a victims' fund.
  • (11/13/2001): Cobain is interviewed by Electronic Gaming Monthly about his role in the recently released Grand Theft Auto III, in which he provided the voice of the frontman of an aging hair metal band called Love Fist. Many consider it the unexpected highlight of the game, which is being praised for its play, focusing on an open world where players can do as they please. Rockstar Games, the developer, is already in talks of doing a followup, and including Love Fist in it once again.
  • (11/15/2001): Soft opening period begins for the Alien attraction at the Magic Kingdom. Buzz during this period seems to be building quite well. With the launch of Adult Swim on Cartoon Network, Springbok is also soon helping bring in and line dubs of popular anime to be shown during this period, as well as assisting in the main flagship show, Aqua Teen Hunger Force.
  • (11/18/2001): David Gallo is hired as the new set designer for Dance of the Vampires, largely because of Steinman's own sense of bonhomie after Gallo admits that he bought Bat Out of Hell purely for the cover artwork.
  • (11/24/2001): Principal photography begins on Noble Rot. Joining Farley, Novello and Harris in the cast are Ana Gasteyer, Rene Auberjonois, Jessica Biel and Harry Shearer.
  • (12/03/2001): Former energy giant Enron officially entered bankruptcy protection, having started the year 2001 boasting that they had "[2001] in the bag." March saw a Fortune article that questioned if the company's stock price, which at it's height traded for $90 a share, was overpriced. Despite denials and blustering from Enron's CEO Kenneth Lay and Company President Jeff Skilling, business media, once treating Enron as a corporate darling became much more critical and began investigating the companies opaque accounting practices. Under the scrutiny the purposefully Darwinian corporate culture of Enron rose to the surface and scandals began to surface, while the events of 9/11 alleviated the pressure temporarily, in August, an Enron VP named Sherron Watkins blew the whistle on fraudulent accounting being done by Enron in the sums of tens of billions of dollars, and assisted by major Wall Street accounting firm Arthur Andersen. By October the Enron scandal was making waves in mainstream media, not just the business wires, both companies were facing SEC investigations, and a proposed buyout of Enron by Dynegy was roundly reject, Dynegy CEO Charles Watson stating to CNN, "You couldn't GIVE me Enron at this point." By November the writing was on the wall, the company's credit rating was now officially junk, the stock was being sold for pennies, nearly 2/3rds of Enron's entire employee base saw their retirements being wiped out since it was tied up almost entirely in Enron stock. However the likes of Mr. Lay had gotten away with millions of dollars in the months leading to the collapse of the company. On December 2 the company officially filed for bankruptcy and fired nearly all of it's employees, giving them only 30 minutes to vacate Enron's main HQ in Houston. This would be the beginning of a long string of corporate scandals in the early 2000's, but Enron would stick out from amongst the crowd. Not just due to the swift speed of it's collapse, and not just from such heights of being worth $80 a share to $0.02, but due to the sheer depths of Enron's fraud, as eventually uncovered to date back to the founding of the company itself. With the company dead, the SEC publicly stated that it's investigations of Enron's former leadership would continue, even as the likes of Kenneth Lay issue denials while enjoying their golden parachutes.
  • (12/06/2001): The teaser trailer for Ghostbusters 3 drops, with a planned release date of July 9. This will be meant to give it time to stand on its own merits after the release of Sam Raimi's Spider-Man on May 2.
  • (12/10/2001): Nirvana commits to a special charity Christmas show at the Moore Theatre in Seattle.
  • (12/12/2001): Springbok officially signs a deal to make two pilots, a sitcom and a drama, for ABC in 2002.
  • (12/14/2001): A Gallup poll shows that President Bush's approval rating is now hovering at 72 percent. While this is certainly the highest it has been up to this point, it is nowhere near what his administration and many Republican talking heads expected would be the case after authorizing the airstrikes and ground operations in Afghanistan that have managed to drive the Taliban out of control of Kabul, the capture of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the horrific attack, and bin Laden escaping from his suspected hiding place in the Tora Bora Mountains. Indeed, throughout all of this, Democrats, even ones nominally in support of the strategy, have been harping on the administration for mismanaging the attack strategy, as well as calling attention to the fact that there were warning signs of an attack prior to 9/11 that went unheeded. The fall of Enron, whose executives are scheduled to testify before Congress in February, is also becoming a potential landmine, as Kenneth Lay was known to be particularly close to the Bush family and supported him during the 2000 election, as well as having been rumored of jumping to a Cabinet position. As a result, Bush and his Cabinet have lately begun to closet off Vice President Dole from discussions and feeling out advice from Dick Cheney, his father's Secretary of Defense and CEO of Halliburton.
  • (12/17/2001): Warner Bros. Records announces that Van Halen will release a career-spanning box set in May entitled The Best of Both Worlds, which is meant to rectify apparent defects with The Best of Vol. I, and give both eras their due respect. It is also announced that the set will include six new songs, three with David Lee Roth, and three with Sammy Hagar, to help lead to a summer tour to please the fans of all eras. No word comes in the press release from any members of the band about this apparent plan.
  • (12/24/2001): Nirvana's special charity concert at the Moore Theatre is a resounding success. During the show, Cobain states that "we're likely gonna start working on a new album in a year's time. First though, I think we all need a chance to take in all the shit that has happened lately and come to grips with it."
  • (12/28/2001): The gestating, Cher/Michael Jackson co-headlining North American stadium tour, dubbed Reign Of Pop, is officially announced to begin in mid-May, launching at the SkyDome in Toronto. Cyndi Lauper is announced as special guest opener for the shows, and tickets sell out very quickly.

2002[]

  • (Jan.2002): The month of January would be somewhat of a busy month for Springbok, as rehearsals for Dance of the Vampires were taking place at CenterStage Atlanta and principal photography was finishing up on Noble Rot. Springbok Productions would also officially greenlight Theron's wish to make a film focused on the crimes of Aileen Wuornos, and would begin searching for suitable candidates for the script and director. Negotiations among the studios begin to search for who will distribute the film. On an unrelated note President Bush would gives his State of the Union Address on January 29th, he would surprise the crowd by pivoting away from the continued search for bin Laden and keeping the situation in Afghanistan under control, to refer to Iraq, Iran and North Korea as an "axis of evil." Vice President Dole seems visibly uncomfortable from her position, and speculation about her being the odd person out in the administration would begin to stir.
  • (02/01/2002): Cher is interviewed by Access Hollywood about the success of Living Proof and the single "Song for the Lonely," as well as the upcoming tour. She is asked why she decided to tour with Michael Jackson, given many people are completely incredulous at the prospect. "I certainly wasn't intending to do something like that. But my camp suddenly was talking with Jerry Weintraub and Irving Azoff, and they mentioned their role in helping Michael's album succeed to the point that he's looking forward to touring again. He does think it might be the last really big tour of this scale he'll do, and he wants it to be memorable. Then they really flattered me, because I want to show today's divas how to really do it, saying that Michael and I represent pop's original royalty. I mean, how would you respond if you were in my situation?"
  • (02/05/2002): Springbok officially begins productions on their two pilots for ABC. The drama, Workshop, is a proposed series about the genesis of a stage musical, from conception to Broadway. Their comedy idea is a proposed TV spinoff of Richard Linkater's Dazed and Confused, suggested in a deal after Springbok began discussions to produce three films for him, notably an idea involving a story taking place showing its protagonist growing over the course of twelve years. In addition, Springbok begins seriously considering providing a cash infusion to prop up Port Charles.
  • (02/06/2002 to 02/18/2002): Key figures in the Enron scandal are paraded to testify before Congress. Of note are Kenneth Lay, CFO Andrew Fastow, Fastow lieutenants Michael Kopper and Ben Glisan and others taking the Fifth, whistleblower Sherron Watkins repeating and explaining her knowledge and motives, and Jeffrey Skilling's vehement denials mixed with a curious string of memory lapses, such as regarding whether he had cashed large amounts of stock prior to the collapse. Meanwhile, given that Arthur Andersen was supposed to have been operating under a cease-and-desist order as part of its settlement with an earlier scandal at Waste Management, and the revelation that the firm had shredded volumes of documents related to Enron, the firm is very much in the crosshairs.
  • (02/13/2002): A press preview of Dance of the Vampires is held at CenterStage Atlanta. Early buzz is starting to build. The following day, Alien: Terror Incarnate, officially opens to the public at the Magic Kingdom, to rave reviews from the press and guests. Work to add the attraction at other parks is already underway.
  • (02/19/2002): Production for Quentin Tarantino's project, entitled Kill Bill, begins to take shape. Besides Uma Thurman, a lengthy and considerable cast including David Carradine, Michael Madsen, Darryl Hannah, Vivica A. Fox, Lucy Liu (having turned down a role in Rob Marshall's film adaptation of Chicago, which ended up filled by veteran voiceover actress Cree Summer), Michael Parks and Sonny Chiba. Touchstone Pictures is somewhat concerned about the length of the script, but thanks to prodding by Springbok, are willing to take a chance by having the story split into two parts shot simultaneously. Meanwhile, Touchstone, along with Newmarket Films (known for their release of Donnie Darko and Memento), officially sign on to take on the distribution rights for Springbok's Aileen Wuornos project.
  • (02/25/2002): Cobain is interviewed via phone by Jim Ladd. When asked about musical plans for the future, Cobain is optimistic. "I certainly expect that I'll be hit with inspiration to write some new material soon. After everything that happened over the past 18 months, I certainly need a moment to recharge."
  • (02/28/2002): The surviving members of The Doors; Ray Manzarek, Robby Krieger and John Densmore; announce plans to regroup and perform under the name The Doors of the 21st Century. Manzarek explains as follows: "We're performers by nature, and Jim (Morrison) would've wanted his music to continue to be heard. Now John was a bit hard to convince at first, but we managed to get him onboard, though he doesn't want to be slaved to it." Besides the surviving members, the band will consist of either Angelo Barbera or Phil Chen, who have played in Krieger's solo bands, on bass, depending on schedule, and Krieger's drummer Ty Dennis on standby as backup. Lead vocals will be handled by Ian Astbury of The Cult, with plans to especially focus on playing tracks from L.A. Woman live at last. "This is the tour that we always wanted to do, but Jim died before we could make it happen. We were going to have a bassist then, to free up my left hand to do what it wants to do. Now, at last, it is happening."
  • (03/02/2002): Noble Rot is officially finished and edited for the final cut, while Dragon's Lair is now officially 80 percent complete. The first trailers for both films are officially released.
  • (03/06/2002): Snapshots of Theron in character as Zam Wessell are released in all press material for the release of Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones. Theron is officially confirmed to join George Lucas, Rick McCallum, the rest of the cast, and Carrie Fisher at Star Wars Celebration in Indianapolis in May. This will also be where Theron officially announces plans for the Aileen Wuornos project.
  • (03/11/2002): Springbok's ABC pilots are slated to air in mid-April. Meanwhile, the animated series Springbok had been working on with Luc Besson, Renaissance Pictures and Ryan Murphy is officially drawn up for the TV episodes to be aired on MTV during the slate in programming that includes continual reruns of its previous animated series, and for distribution for each full-length theatrical film to be handled by Sony.
  • (03/17/2002): Dance of the Vampires has its off-Broadway debut at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta. Reviews from the local critics universally praise the production, but the out-of-town reviews aren't so kind.
  • (03/22/2002): Theron begins a correspondence with Nick Broomfield over the planned Aileen Wuornos film, and formally requests for all the rushes of his 1992 documentary, as well as an exclusive first-look at the footage he is gathering for his planned sequel.
  • (03/26/2002): The final cut of Noble Rot is screened for a select audience of 100, in which Cobain and Theron attend. There is considerable faith that the film will perform well.
  • (04/01/2002): Cobain attends a Nickelback concert with Jerry Cantrell, who is already a devoted fan of Silver Side Up. Ever since 9/11, the band has grown considerably in popularity, especially thanks to radio and MTV exposure of the three singles, notably "How You Remind Me." Cobain comes away not particularly moved. "It's not awful, but I don't find it all that good."
  • (04/04/2002): Cobain is called upon to reprise the lead singer of the metal band Love Fist in the upcoming Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, a prequel spinoff of GTA III.
  • (04/09/2002): Cobain, when reporting to the recording studio to do his dialogue for Vice City, bumps into Ray Liotta, playing the game's protagonist, Tommy Vercetti. During their conversation, Cobain expresses feeling sorry for his having been involved in the underwhelming Hannibal, and states "if you don't get involved in better films, your career will eventually dry up." Liotta is then given a business card for Springbok, hoping they can stay in touch.
  • (04/10/2002): Cobain begins to tentatively start composing material for Nirvana's next album while vacationing in San Francisco. There, he bumps into Metallica, working on their first real studio album since Load/ReLoad, and after frontman James Hetfield returned from a recent stint in rehab for alcoholism. The band, still without a bass player since Jason Newsted's departure, is recording with producer Bob Rock filling in on bass, and is aware that the sessions are being filmed by documentarians Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky, directors of Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills, which brought the case of the West Memphis Three to light. Cobain offers support for the situation, including talks about possibly doing a co-headlining tour at some date in the future.
  • (04/13/2002): Rob Zombie comes in for a meeting at Springbok to discuss the potential of making a deal to release his film House of 1000 Corpses, which was made for Universal with the intent to release last June, but the studio rejected. After viewing the film, Jennifer Todd tells Zombie in no uncertain terms that "this is not a film that Springbok will stand behind."
  • (04/14/2002): Dragon's Lair is officially wrapped, and the master negatives are set to be duplicated.
  • (04/17/2002): The pilots for Workshop and Dazed and Confused air on ABC. Workshop is officially greenlit as a full series, but ABC is noncommittal about Dazed and Confused. Meanwhile, the deal with Richard Linklater is finalized, and Springbok commits to three films. Besides the 12-year-project, Linklater has one full script ready to go for release next year, entitled The School of Rock.
  • (04/22/2002): Cobain drops over at the studio of Rick Rubin, as he is currently overseeing recording of Johnny Cash's latest album for Rubin's label American Recordings. Cobain hits it off with The Man in Black, and they comment drily about President Bush and his actions to date. This plants a seed for what is to follow in the making of the album. At the same time, Nick Broomfield officially agrees to Theron's request and sends his material over. Springbok also then begins to look for someone worthy to write and direct, as well as a suitable costar.
  • (04/24/2002): Cobain phones Grohl, Novoselic and Smear regarding his plans for Nirvana's next album, which is to be a concept album that satirizes the mindset of Bush's voters via bluegrass/country music. Grohl seems interested, while Novoselic is more concerned about the potential album's marketability. Smear seems indifferent, though agrees to try out the format, citing boredom with the group's consistent punk rock leanings. Cobain re-assures Novoselic, emphasizing that: "This is a time when satire is going to be needed to get our message across. And with the folks who voted for Bush, they need it told in their language, if you catch my drift." Novoselic, who has libertarian leanings himself, seems convinced and agrees to the album's concept.
  • (04/26/2002): Donald Trump Jr, the current CEO of Trump Organizations and the son of the late Donald Trump Sr, discusses plans with Mark Burnett to produce his own reality TV series, entitled The Apprentice. Burnett who produced the hit series Survivor, plans to meet with Trump in a week to discuss the show's format and viability. "I legitimately think it'll be a good place for entrepreneurs to get their voice out there and not see the Trump organization in such a negative light anymore", said Trump.
  • (04/30/2002): Chris Farley phones long time friend David Spade in regards to a film idea he proposed to him jokingly while the two were actors on SNL. "We should do that Hardy Boys movie we always joked about, it'd be fun!", Farley gushes. Spade, who's acting career hasn't been particularly active as of yet, agrees to the concept and plans on meeting Farley in a few weeks. Having previously interacted with Cobain and developed a good relationship with him, Farley considers having the project funded through Springbok.
  • (05/02/2002): Nirvana begins talks with potential producers to help them along with preproduction, as well as the actual recording. The idea for the album is have a foot in the door of country and southern rock styles, but without completely leaving their punk aesthetics. For the latter, the band eyes Green Day producer Rob Cavallo, who is certainly in need of new clients with the dissolution of Green Day. For achieving the country/southern rock atmosphere, Irving Azoff recommends that they talk to T Bone Burnett, known for producing the soundtrack to the film O Brother, Where Art Thou? Meanwhile, Sam Raimi's Spider-Man opens to rave reviews and massive box office receipts, with considerable praise for Tobey Maguire's performance in the lead and Willem Defoe's appropriately freewheeling turn as Norman Osborn/The Green Goblin.
  • (05/04/2002): Charlize Theron attends Star Wars Celebration in Indianapolis, alongside the rest of the cast, George Lucas, Rick McCallum and Carrie Fisher. During her time onstage, Theron announces the plan for the Aileen Wuornos film, and herself as the star. "I've a lot of research to go through. I have a feeling that we can pull this off."
  • (05/05/2002): Cobain contacts Cavallo regarding their next album's production, which is tentatively titled Dixie Dope. Cavallo is fascinated by the group's dive into Southern rock and country, as they had been known as the "Seattle Punk Stalwarts" by many. Cobain explains that the album is meant to be a satirical look at the mentalities of Bush voters, not a straightforward country album. Cavallo likes the group's vision and agrees to produce the album for them, with recording work scheduled to begin in November.
  • (05/08/2002): Cobain then contacts Burnett regarding the production of Dixie Dope. Burnett is impressed by the group's concept album approach and agrees to help them with production, promising to help them make: "The best goddamn country satirical concept album ever made...well it's probably the first one, but it'll be the best one regardless."
  • (05/12/2002): Farley contacts Cobain regarding the potential Hardy Boys film. Cobain promises to discuss the matter with Theron, after she finishes promoting Attack of the Clones.
  • (05/14/2002): Rush releases Vapor Trails, their first album since Neil Peart's period of seclusion due to family tragedy, and their first under their new deal with Exploitation Records. The album is considered phenomenal by the fans, especially pleased with David Bottrill's mix of Paul Northfield's production, tempering it from the excesses of the so-called "loudness war." Plans for a tour are soon underway.
  • (05/16/2002): Attack of the Clones opens to phenomenal box office as well as fairly good reception by the critics. Much of the praise goes to Lawrence Kasdan's dialogue for the scenes portraying the growing relationship between Anakin Skywalker and Padme Amidala, and the impressive new visuals, especially given that it is the first mainstream film shot completely on digital cameras. Ewan McGregor and Natalie Portman are once again singled out for their performances, but critics also focus on Anakin Skywalker's portrayal by newcomer Adam Driver, who, in Peter Travers' words, "brings an incredible quiet determination and focus to the role. He lays out all of the complexities and contradictions of Anakin bare for the audience, and makes him thoroughly sympathetic, even when he is at his worst." Driver, in interviews, discusses why he ended up in the role. "I was working out at the gym, and Rick (McCallum) happened to be there. He apparently just had a feeling when he looked in my eyes, and said to George, 'I found Anakin.' It truly is a blessing to be able to work on something as impressive as this." When pressed about the future of the series when Episode III is done, Lucas says little new. "My story will be complete with Episode III. Disney is free to do whatever they please, and I'm sure they'll find lots of ways to continue forward in the future."
  • (05/20/2002): Cobain broaches the idea of the Hardy Boys film to Theron. She is convinced of the idea, and it is strongly considered for a summer 2004 release. In the meantime, the Aileen Wuornos project becomes Springbok's main priority, and Theron begins the process of research and physical transformation for the role. At the same time, feelers are put out for a costar until they come to the attention of Christina Ricci, who is very enthused.
  • (05/23/2002): Alice in Chains regroups to begin working on their sixth studio album, Atrophied Patience, which is due out for release in December.
  • (05/25/2002): The Michael Jackson/Cher co-headlining North American tour, dubbed Pop's Original Royalty, kicks off at the SkyDome in Toronto to a rapturous reception. The 15th date of the tour, at the Astrodome, is slotted for an HBO special.
  • (05/29/2002): Cobain's sister Kimberly and mother, Wendy O'Connor, comment about Theron's planned method of physical transformation by consuming a great deal of empty calories during a visit. "I never thought this could be a job in and of itself," O'Connor quips.
  • (06/02/2002): Nirvana leaves the U.S to tour Europe for 3 months, planning to begin songwriting and recording for Dixie Dope once returning to the United States.
  • (06/05/2002): Noble Rot opens to a glowing reception and similarly enthusiastic results at the box office. Farley, Don Novello, and Jessica Biel are particularly praised for their timing and delivery of the subtle, nuanced humor. Nirvana's European tour begins in London, England. Cobain kicks off the show with "Political World", followed by repertoire of songs mostly from QABU and Wishkah-ha.
  • (06/11/2002): The Van Halen box set The Best of Both Worlds is released and does spectacularly well. The special dual-lineup tour also kicks off this day in Hartford, Connecticut. The performance is quite full of verve and fire, but there certainly are noticeable moments of strain between the Van Halen brothers and Sammy Hagar during the latter's part of the show.
  • (06/14/2002): Springbok identifies a potential director for the Aileen Wuornos project in Patty Jenkins, who also offers to write the screenplay. Christina Ricci accepts a handshake deal to costar in the film.
  • (06/16/2002): Production proper on Kill Bill is underway.
  • (06/20/2002): Fledgling director Christopher Nolan begins planning out the screenplay for his interpretation of superhero Batman's origin story, tentatively entitled; The Rise of Batman. Seeking out funding for his project, he turns to Springbok to co-fund the film, along with Warner Bros.
  • (06/23/2002): Jennifer Todd arranges for Springbok to view Nolan's filmography to date, notably Memento and the rushes of his latest film Insomnia. Springbok is thoroughly impressed by what Nolan brings to the table and start seriously considering branching out to superhero movies.
  • (06/25/2002): Nolan is ecstatic over his acceptance by Springbok and begins penning the script to The Rise of Batman, believing it'll be done by Fall 2003 and ready to be filmed then.
  • (06/30/2002): While performing in Paris, France with Nirvana, Cobain is informed via phonecall by Theron regarding the meeting with Nolan. "He wants to reboot Batman? I guess there's nothing to lose after people lost interest in the Joel Schumacher version. We'll talk about it when I get back to the States", he promises.
  • (Jul.2002 to Nov.2002): Work on Disney's America progresses steadily. Although most of it is the same, a few glaring issues are presented. Number one is that, with the park being adjacent to MK's Liberty Square's Hall of Presidents and Epcot's The American Adventure, something had to be done to make the park more unique and replace what would've been the park's HoP when it was in VA. The idea was proposed for an attraction along the same lines, but based on the Constitutional Convention, with the major figures standing up and presenting their arguments for how the new republic should be governed. The other was the park's entrance. While "Crossroads America" was a cool name, its era was better suited for a land on the interior. Plans were made to place Native America at the gates (the first land chronologically), a tranquil woodsy area with its E-ticket, a rapids ride based on the escapades of Lewis and Clark, nestled off in a corner to keep the first few steps not overwhelming to oncoming guests.
  • (07/02/2002): The details of the Aileen Wuornos project, now entitled Monster, are released to Variety, including the hiring of Patty Jenkins to write and direct, and Christina Ricci starring as Wuornos' lover Tyria Moore, changed in the script to Selby Wall.
  • (07/04/2002): During the Van Halen tour's stop at Mile High Stadium in Denver, the tension boils over, when David Lee Roth stops "Hot For Teacher" to complain about the stage fans, Sammy Hagar goes on a lengthy extended speech when introducing one of the songs, and Eddie Van Halen has clearly fallen off the wagon, as he continually makes mistake after mistake during the show. Meanwhile In honor of the Fourth of July, Disney begins to work once more inhouse on the previously cancelled "Disney's America" project, its destination no longer Haymarket, VA but WDW in Orlando, FL. No word is to be mentioned to the press yet, but rumors arise of its resurrection and a subtle reworking of its design.
  • (07/05/2002): Alice in Chains begins recording their sixth album; Atrophied Patience. The group decides to delay its release until February 2003, not wanting to rush it and have it come out subpar.
  • (07/08/2002): When Cobain sees Theron through a videoconference, he starts joking about her weight gain to prep for the role. "Maybe we should include a sketch of you to put in the album art, watching Maury on the TV." They then speak more about the various projects, especially about Spingbok's assistance with Adult Swim. "I'm surprised it's going this well.
  • (07/11/2002): Dance of the Vampires bows out in Atlanta and preps for its New York transfer. Time is booked at Avatar Studios to work on the two DOTV albums and Bat III. Of note, John Caird officially bows out from continuing to direct the Broadway version, citing other commitments (though this was suspected for a while, as far back as April), though he will still be kept credited as a librettist. As a replacement for the director's slot, Urinetown helmer John Rando steps up to the plate, also following months of talks and keeping an eye on the show.
  • (07/14/2002): The Walt Disney company announces a slight restructuring to the Disney Channel network, with the main announcement being that the Playhouse Disney block will be split off into it's own separate channel in order to make room for a new action and anime block titled Jetix. The block will feature not only feature live action and anime content from the library of the now Disney owned Saban Entertainment, but will also have feature content from Viz Media and Ocean Productions with reports indicating that Disney will start up it's own dubbing company at some point in the near future. The block is set to debut on August 25th.
  • (07/15/2002): While recording Atrophied Patience, Layne Staley learns he will become a father as his wife is pregnant with their first child. Staley is ecstatic about the occurrence and pens a song related to the occasion entitled; "The Push Makes You Tall", a song related to the idea that having children forces a person to grow up.
  • (07/16/2002): Hot off the heels of the minor success that was Atlantis: The Lost Empire, a more traditional Disney film, Lilo and Stitch, releases. Having been advertised heavily for almost a year and a half side-by-side with other classics of the Disney Renaissance (the most iconic of these being Stitch sneaking into the ballroom Belle and the Beast are dancing in and dropping the chandelier) and in a massive McDonald's campaign, every kid and their mother knew who the mischievous blue furball was. It certainly seemed everyone and their mother came out to watch the movie. Lilo and Stitch is Disney's biggest movie since Tarzan. It makes $39 million in its opening weekend, almost hitting The Lion King's elusive $41 million opening. From there, it single-handedly ends the slump Disney animation has been in since the previously mentioned Tarzan. Total domestic box office produces $195.3 million, $377.9 million worldwide. Lilo and Stitch's success accomplishes two things: greater faith is restored within Disney in their 2D animated films, and all eyes are immediately placed on the next Disney movie: Treasure Planet.
  • (07/17/2002): Jerry Cantrell is interviewed on Rockline. "Well, we're working with this really good producer, Nick Raskulinecz, and I think our ideas are really coming out well. Layne's really happy since Demri is going to bear his child. He's never been this happy before. Not that we're going to just write things about sunshine and rainbows now, we're still very much ourselves."
  • (07/20/2002): Brian Wilson communicates with Cobain, having heard from Burnett about the plans for the album. He offers his studio knowledge and editorial pen to help build the atmosphere that they will need. He also invites Cobain to drop in on his own sessions, where he plans to finish off The Beach Boys' lost masterpiece SMiLE. Staley comments publicly on the pregnancy of his wife, once again ecstatic. "I've gone through a lot of shit in life and I've been happy in the recent years, but this is definitely the best moment for me of all! But yeah, we're not going to start becoming a shiny happy band, we're still going to have hardcore, dreary stuff, cause' that's who we are."
  • (07/23/2002): Staley pens several more songs for the album, including "Strung Along", which details the feeling of being forcibly guided in life, "Shaky Likes", which involves being forced to like something only because it's popular and "When Will the Moment Come?", which concerns the feeling of non-conformists waiting to make an impact.
  • (07/25/2002): Being a long time video game fan, Staley becomes ecstatic when he's offered the chance to record voicework for GTA: Vice City as a radio announcer. While not nearly as big a role as Nirvana's parts as metal band Love Fist, he's still overjoyed to get to live out one of his passions. "Goddamnit, I'm getting showered with great stuff!", he exclaims. This exclamation leads to another song for the album, entitled; "Showered in Shit".
  • (07/26/2002): The Walt Disney Company announces that their latest animated film Treasure Planet is being delayed until August 2003, feeling that its previously scheduled November release wasn't fitting, especially given it would compete directly against Dragon's Lair. In addition, Springbok has officially provided a necessary cash infusion to keep Port Charles on the air for several more arcs; and the early '90s planned theme park, Disney's America, is officially announced to be on the table once more, as the fifth park in Walt Disney World this time around, and Springbok will assist in the construction.
  • (07/30/2002): During a performance in Stockholm, Sweden, Nirvana encounters several hostile concert-goers who accuse the band of promoting "leftist propaganda." Cobain laughs off the encounter, quipping: "If you want to unleash conservatism like the plague, Sweden is the last country where you'll be able to do it!"
  • (08/04/2002): The tour ends with the second of two shows in Copenhagen. The plan is to focus a little more on the business side and finalize the lyrics before heading in to record, this time at Henson Recording Studios (formerly A&M Studios) in L.A.
  • (08/08/2002): Cobain films a self-deprecating home video of him and Theron lounging about, and capturing a bit of the process for her transformation to play Aileen Wuornos. "You've certainly got that trucker's wife look down."
  • (08/13/2002): Nirvana meets up at Cobain's house in Seattle to begin working on lyrics for their seventh album. Wanting to capture the feeling of the album detailing a redneck's life, they make sure several song titles have intentionally misspelled lyrics.
  • (08/16/2002): Brian Wilson meets with Cobain to discuss orchestral arrangements for the next album. Cobain is not used to Wilson's precise planning, commending him. "No wonder why Pet Sounds was so great!", he exclaims to the other three Nirvana members.
  • (08/18/2002): Frances celebrates her tenth birthday with her friends and family. Notably absent from the celebration is her paternal grandfather Donald Cobain, who has not been in contact with his family for several years. Kurt is angry that his father didn't attend his daughter's birthday and phones him up to complain. "If Courtney can show up for Frances' party, then surely you can Dad!", Cobain exclaims to his father.
  • (08/19/2002): Donald Cobain calls back and lets his bitterness and jealousy at his son's success boil over. He calls his son "an ungrateful slacker who coasted to success without ever paying it back." The elder Cobain particularly focuses on the fact that at no time did he or any other member of his family got a new house "even though you can afford to live all over the damn country!" He also states that he wouldn't attend Frances' birthday, or those of any of his other grandchildren "because you're filling them will sorts of kooky, radical hippie ideas. Remember Courtney's family? How did that kind of upbringing work for her?" He angrily hangs up and refuses any further attempts at contact.
  • (08/21/2002): Wendy O'Connor angrily phones up her ex-husband to berate him for not attending their granddaughter's birthday. "Kurt earned his success and you have no right to be jealous of it!", she remarked in fury. "And he's not forcing any of his kids to believe in the things they do, they have minds of their own! I know we're not married anymore and I know you resent Kurt's success, but try to make a bond with your granddchildren, you ungrateful bastard of a man!" Donald Cobain does not heed the advice and angrily denounces his ex-wife as "enabling" Kurt's views.
  • (08/23/2002): Frances and Patrick both reveal drawings of their grandfather they made while in summer camp that depict him unflatteringly, as if he's a literal devil.
  • (08/24/2002): The script for Monster is officially finalized, with plans to begin production fairly soon. Meanwhile, a track by Fleetwood Mac called "Peacekeeper" leaks to radio, anticipating the buzz for their next album.
  • (08/25/2002): The Bush Administration begins ramping up their attacks calling Iraq a major threat to American security, stating that there is a strong possibility that Saddam Hussein still contains a stockpile of weapons of mass destruction that were not found despite the actions taken by President Clinton during Operation Desert Fox. A growing sense that war is on the horizon is looming, and calls by doves for UN inspectors to do their jobs reach a fever pitch.
  • (08/28/2002): While penning more lyrics for Dixie Dope, Cobain hears of President Bush's intentions to potentially go to war with Iraq and plans on incorporating this in the album, should the United States fully invade Iraq. "He's making this too easy for me, yet at the same time, I hope we don't go to war. It's going to be a huge mistake and the bastard's approval ratings will pay for it."
  • (09/20/2002): Nirvana finishes penning the first few songs on Dixie Dope, while practicing with Brian Wilson on the orchestral arrangements. The current plan is to record all material not pertaining to the Iraq War starting in November and to wait until March to see if the country will be invaded. Regardless of the result, the band will reconvene in March to finish up recording.
  • (09/25/2002): While beginning the woodshedding, Layne Staley and Jerry Cantrell visit the band and pops in. As Atrophied Patience is the first Alice In Chains album for Exploitation Records, they definitely want it be impressive, as well ensure they always have a good relationship with Springbok. Both bands praise each other's new material, and look forward to when it finishes up.
  • (10/07/2002): Preproduction work on the first few songs for Dixie Dope is judged good enough to move to recording.
  • (10/09/2002): Aileen Wuornos is executed by lethal injection at Florida State Penitentiary. Theron receives the rushes of Nick Broomfield's sequel documentary, including a final interview with Wuornos.
  • (10/11/2002): Disney and Springbok's adaptation of Tuck Everlasting is released. The movie is a faithful adaptation of the source material of a family cursed with eternal life from drinking from a magical spring and the young girl that comes in from the outside to learn their secret, though with some fleshing out and expansion, as well as raising the age of Winnie Foster, the main protagonist that learns the secret, to fifteen. The movie stars Alexis Bledel from Gilmore Girls as Winnie; Jonathan Jackson, known as Lucky Spencer on the ABC soap opera General Hospital and who also recently did the role of Randy Stetz in Christopher Nolan's latest film Insomnia, as Jesse Tuck; Scott Bairstow as Jesse's older brother Miles, Amy Irving and Victor Garber as Winnie's parents, Sissy Spacek as Mae Tuck, William Hurt as Angus Tuck, and Ben Kingsley as the antagonist, the Man in the Yellow Suit. Thanks to Springbok taking on much of the marketing duties, the $15 million feature, with $5 million in marketing, soon earns $50 million at the box office and receives mostly positive reviews, earning a 76 on Rotten Tomatoes.
  • (10/14/2002): Cobain hires a secret MTV crew to record Nirvana's pre-production work on Dixie Dope, to be released to the public, should the album be a success.
  • (10/20/2002): Nirvana finishes writing the "pre-war" songs on Dixie Dope, which can remain on the album regardless of the state of the potential Iraq invasion. The group begins rehearsing the material aggressively.
  • (10/26/2002): Time is officially blocked out at Henson Recording Studios to work on the album. That night, Cobain sees a show by comedic psychobilly artist Unknown Hinson, promoting his album Rock N' Roll Is Straight From Hell. Cobain senses that his comedic timing might be an invaluable asset to the album.
  • (10/29/2002): Disney announces to the press and public that Treasure Planet, set to release the twenty-seventh of the next month, would be delayed until summer of next year. When asked why, Michael Eisner responded by stating "It just wouldn't be fair to put it up against Harry Potter. We want to give Treasure Planet as much breathing room as possible to try and get another hit like Stitch."
  • (10/31/2002): Just prior to officially beginning recording, Nirvana plays a surprise Halloween set at the Whisky-a-Go-Go.
  • (11/02/2002): Cobain contacts Hinson, asking him if he would like to participate on the album, as he could see his comedic Southern sensibilities being an asset to Dixie Dope. Hinson agrees, as long as he's given 5 percent of the album's sales. Cobain agrees and Hinson promises to meet with Nirvana in a few days.
  • (11/06/2002): Hinson arrives at Henson Recording studios and is impressed by Cobain's vision for Dixie Dope. The current plan is for Hinson to portray the album's disembodied narrator who introduces each song, known as "The Talky Man". Cobain will be portraying the album's protagonist; Billie Bob Buckler, an illiterate redneck who represents the archetypal Bush voter. Grohl will portray Buckler's father, as well as Georgie W. Bushbelow, the stand-in for George W. Bush. Novoselic will portray Albus Arnoldius Goering III, the stand-in for Al Gore, while Pat Smear will portray Sadman Whosame, the stand-in for Saddam Hussein, should war on Iraq be declared. President Bush and his Cabinet officially agree to additional UN inspections of Iraq, but state that the evidence of WMDs is troublingly convincing, and that the need for military force could be very real. Thus, a resolution to allow military force is introduced for a vote in Congress.
  • (11/07/2002): Nirvana begins recording the "pre-war" songs for Dixie Dope.
  • (11/09/2002): Representative Barbara Lee announces her protest against this authorization, saying that it is as big a mistake as the AUMF. Senator Ted Kennedy similarly attacks the proposal.
  • (11/17/2002): Brian Wilson reconvenes with Nirvana to work on orchestral arrangements for Dixie Dope. "You guys really know how to make a concept album!", Wilson applauded to the group. Cobain, who is a fan of the Beach Boys' album Pet Sounds, converses with Wilson during breaks over the history of concept albums. Wilson believes that Dixie Dope could have the potential to be Nirvana's Pet Sounds. "I really like Wishkah-ha and QABU because you guys had great concepts there as well. Your early stuff was great, but you guys are a lot like me and the Beach Boys in that you started out during a period of peace, then after things got heated, we made really groundbreaking stuff", Wilson comments to Nirvana.
  • (11/21/2002): After heated discussion and speeches, the Iraq resolution passes. However, the Democrats who support the measure make clear "we are deciding to trust President Bush that he will wait for the UN inspectors to do their job and make the right decision when they come back with their report."
  • (11/23/2002): Initial work on Dixie Dope wraps up. Cobain then finds out later that day that the Iraq resolution was passed, much to his fury. He discusses the next plan of attack with Grohl Novoselic, Smear, Hinson, Cavallo and Wilson, with them agreeing to meet up by March to finish up the album, regardless of whether or not the US has invaded Iraq by that point.
  • (11/26/2002): Dragon's Lair is released to universal praise, calling it "a welcome return to form for Don Bluth. This pleasurable romp gives everyone something to enjoy, and also plenty to poke fun of."
  • (12/01/2002): Hans Blix is chosen to head the UN inspection, and is held in high regard for his fair-mindedness and adherence to protocol.
  • (12/05/2002): Cobain begins frantically saving every newspaper article related to the war that he can, so that he can have information to work with when production of Dixie Dope resumes in March. Having just seen One Hour Photo in theaters, Cobain jokes that he's going to portray Robin Williams' character Sy Parrish in the sequel, since they both have blond hair and wear glasses.
  • (12/08/2002): Cobain takes a break to view rushes of Monster at Springbok's offices. He is certainly impressed by what has been achieved so far. "If she doesn't win an Oscar for this, then there is no justice in the world."
  • (12/10/2002): Cobain shows his daughter Frances some of the material Nirvana is working on for Dixie Dope. "Promise not to tell your friends at school or whenever they come over to our house, Frankie. I want this album to be a complete secret until it comes out." The younger Cobain agrees and complies with her father, though is greatly intrigued by what she hears.
  • (12/15/2002): By this point, Dance of the Vampires, having been officially opened for more than two months, has been #1 in Broadway ticket sales, beating out many of the stalwarts and comic shows currently in vogue. Critical reception is still decidedly mixed, by the public seems eager to accept it, especially because of the combination of Meat Loaf and Michael Crawford onstage. Springbok plans to continue in staged musical theater investments, as well as movie adaptations. Besides Monster and the Hardy Boys idea, the primary focus for 2003 is production of the film adaptation of The Phantom of the Opera directed by Joel Schumacher.
  • (12/16/2002): Promotional material begins to circulate for the upcoming summer Disney films Treasure Planet and Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. The summer of '03 is advertised as the "Swashbuckling Summer of Pirates," and internally ideas circulate for piratical festivities for 2003 at the Disney Parks.
  • (12/17/2002): With her father and the band's permission, Frances writes a short poem that will be included in the physical release album of Dixie Dope entitled "Dummy".
  • (12/22/2002): Donald Cobain is arrested for drunk and disorderly conduct by Seattle PD. While in holding, he proceeded with venomous tirades against his famous son and the rest of his family, calling them "puppets under Kurt's control."
  • (12/26/2002): Cobain attempts to talk to his father again, but the latter refuses to pick up his phone.
  • (12/28/2002): Cobain refuses to post bail for his father, citing his "insensitive, deranged behavior" as being a bad influence for his family.
  • (12/31/2002): Cobain and his family celebrate a somewhat somber New Year's, as they are reminded about Donald Cobain's lack of presence, as well as the looming threat of war, and the Wall Street excesses that were exposed over the year. Meanwhile, at the same time, The Walt Disney Company officially formally files a lawsuit, claiming that Mickey Mouse cannot enter public domain, using Ub Iwerks' death in the '70s as the reason. The document cites that since Iwerks was the real creator of Mickey Mouse, Mickey cannot enter public domain until 2021. The reception to this bit of sudden revisionism in the official company history is bewildering and angering to the public.

2003[]

  • (01/01/2003): Michael Eisner plans to take the battle with Mickey Mouse to the courts. "We're not losing our most iconic character, that much is for sure!"
  • (01/03/2003): As a result of the battle over Mickey, Paul McCartney tells his team, prepping a live album over his 2002 tour, that he will not follow through on a plan to have the Beatles songs on the album feature a reversal of "Lennon-McCartney", as he'd been wanting to do over certain songs to reflect "the truth of how those songs were written." If the public is reacting this hostile over Mickey, then they'll go nuclear over the credits reversal, not to mention put an end to detente between him and Yoko Ono. Capitol Records begins revising the liner notes at once.
  • (01/05/2003): Cobain hears of the situation with Disney involving Mickey Mouse and the public domain. With disappointment, he voices frustration that: "Disney is not behaving honestly in its usage of its characters. If it continues to behave this way, Springbok will have to move its business elsewhere." He plans to discuss the situation with Theron, since this could be a major change that affects Springbok's business.
  • (01/07/2003): Cobain begins a correspondence with J.K. Rowling, because Springbok is worried that the Al Gore character in the album, Albrus Arnoldius Goering III, might be taken as copyright infringement on Albus Dumbledore. He waits with bated breath over her response.
  • (01/10/2003): Rowling responds to Cobain's message with utter amusement. "Of course you may use the name!", she exclaims in laughter. "This is actually quite hilarious", she is heard remarking over the choice. As gratitude, Cobain plans to mail her a copy of Dixie Dope once it's released.
  • (01/11/2003): Theron, back in town, calls a meeting over the Mickey situation. She, Cobain, Jennifer Todd and Jerry Weintraub write a strongly worded letter to Eisner, Bob Iger and John Lasseter, threatening to nix Springbok's Disney deals with the TV shows, Monster, Kill Billand the theme parks. "Universal might be interested in our services," it ends ominously. For the next few days, Disney goes on radio silence, debating how to deal with the situation.
  • (01/14/2003): Eisner is furious over the letter from Springbok and sends an equally venomous letter of his own back to the company. "You are going to continue producing with us and you will do it until the contract wears out, or me and my lawyers will be making quite a nice fortune in court from this act of defiance."
  • (01/15/2003): The Hollywood Reporter gets a scoop about the potential looming legal battle between Disney and Springbok. "In this clash of the titans, who would win out? The smart money says Disney has the werewithal to win easily, but Springbok came out of nowhere to become a real and genuine threat in entertainment. Don't count them out yet."
  • (01/17/2003): Cobain and Theron schedule a sit down with 60 Minutes to give their side of the story. Meanwhile, early reports say that Hans Blix and his team have not found any credible signs of WMDs.
  • (01/19/2003): Cobain and Theron have their interview with 60 Minutes. In it, they denounce Disney's "corporate, shameless greed" and their "obvious deception to continue profiting over a man's death." Cobain is especially critical of this, having idolized some of the company's characters when he was young, such as Donald Duck. "I've always been against corporate hacks and they're acting like hacks now."
  • (01/23/2003): Gallup polls reveal that the public is firmly against Disney and their move to keep Mickey protected by a whopping 78 percent, and that number is likely to keep growing, as well as impact Disney's plans for 2003, especially at the box office. The message is overwhelming: for Disney to be profitable this year, they have to regain their good will amid the public, which can't happen if they pursue protecting Mickey. The question is whether Eisner will see the light.
  • (01/24/2003): Eisner schedules time of his own on 60 minutes, demanding that he tell the public the "real story", so that "those greedy punks Springbok don't undermine Disney."
  • (01/26/2003): President Bush asserts that the UN report of the investigation so far is incomplete, charging that the Iraqis are not allowing full access to the inspection sites.
  • (01/28/2003): Eisner's interview is an unmitigated disaster, as Mike Wallace hammers him relentlessly over each point, especially regarding the relationship between Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks found in the many biographies and official records from Disney's archives. Disney's official archivist, Dave Smith has provided many of the materials in question, impugning Eisner's talking points. Sensing the writing on the wall, Eisner begins talking prepping of a press release to stand down, saying it's "Disney's America Version One all over again."
  • (02/04/2003): Eisner, beleaguered over negative press regarding his resistance to giving Mickey to the public domain, as well as the disastrous interview, relents and agrees to drop the matter of Mickey's ownership. He writes back to Springbok and tells them that: "He will behave sensibly and they should feel welcome to work with Disney from this point forwards".
  • (02/07/2003): Eisner decides to take a long vacation, absolutely drained. Bob Iger assumes his duties for the time being. Meanwhile, all attention is focused again on Washington, especially when Secretary of State Colin Powell trots out a slideshow about Iraq's alleged nuclear capabilities, and details regarding aluminum tubes and yellowcake uranium. The image he presents are quite scary to the public at large.
  • (02/08/2003): The following is taken from an article in Newsweek:

The most surprising development, given how many seats in both houses of Congress the Democrats picked up in November, was the decision to agree to President Bush's resolution shortly afterwards. Some protesters, attempting to stop the path to war, have attacked them for not standing up to the President...Georgia Senator Max Cleland, a decorated Vietnam veteran, explained the party's position as such. "We decided to take a risk and trust President Bush that he'll do the right thing when the UN reports come in. Of course, with our votes, he has the right to begin war if he wants to, and we can't stop that. But we will hold him accountable for his actions."...The Democrats also won big by their promises to ratify the Kyoto Protocols (now currently under deliberation), institute sweeping reform on Wall Street in the aftermath of Enron and WorldCom, attempt to fix the No Child Left Behind Act, push healthcare reform, and increase funding for NASA and improve safety regulations there, which sadly comes too late for the crew of Columbia.

  • (02/15/2003): Mass protest against the Iraq War begins in Washington, DC.
  • (02/17/2003): With Eisner out on break and the whole "Mickey Mouse ownership" fiasco ten days in the past, Bob Iger attempts to repair Disney's relationship with the public. He announces formally that the Submarine Voyage attraction at Disneyland will be resurfacing this Christmas, themed around Atlantis: The Lost Empire. New details are released as well concerning Disney's America, and Iger sidesteps disaster when asked how slavery and the Confederacy will be represented by ensuring they will be striving for "as much realism as possible, but kept to a tasteful limit." The company is impressed with his performance, and some draw the conclusion that Eisner's days are numbered at Disney, considering how badly he botched their last attempt to keep Mickey around.
  • (02/18/2003): Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld goes on PBS NewsHour to defend the administration's tactics, and also gives a chilling ultimatum. "Saddam Hussein has until March to allow full, genuine inspections for the UN. If he does not comply, military force is necessary." When prodded if that means an invasion of Iraq, Rumsfeld plays it cagey, saying "well, there are those who feel that President Bush's father didn't go far enough with Operation Desert Storm, saying that the snake can only die if the head is cut off."
  • (02/20/2003): Cobain celebrates his 36th birthday at home with Theron, Frances, Patrick, Olivia and Edward. Frances and Patrick give their father a collage that the kids at their school all worked on together based around Nirvana and their music. Olivia and Edward make similarly positive drawings for him.
  • (02/24/2003): Cobain tells management to book ahead, four years in advance, a 40th birthday concert at the Key Arena, saying that it would make the most sense, and it would be nice to have it on the books and already taken care of.
  • (02/28/2003): The ultimatum is fleshed out, saying that March 10 is the official compliance date. No details of when war would actually erupt are given, for obvious reasons of security, but this also indicates that war would not actually be declared, similar to Afghanistan.
  • (03/02/2003): Cheney advises Bush to move ahead with the invasion of Iraq, emphasizing the need for the US to demonstrate its power in the Middle East.
  • (03/05/2003): The Disney Jetix block which had been criticized by some as being nothing more "Toonami rejects" and "reruns of Power Rangers," gets an unexpected shot in the arm when it premieres the english dub of Lego Bionicle: The Animation. The anime based on the Lego toyline of the same name is produced by anime studio Production I.G. and dubbed by Ocean Productions would prove to be a mainstay on the Disney Channel until the anime ended in 2012 with the show even outlasting the toyline by 2 years.
  • (03/10/2003): With war a foregone conclusion at this point, Nirvana and Unknown Hinson regroup at Henson Recording Studios, and Cobain shows off the new lyrics that he has composed.
  • (03/20/2003): The invasion of Iraq begins, with an initial "shock and awe" campaign.
  • (03/22/2003): With Treasure Planet having been completed and releasing in June (Pirates was pushed back til August) and Lilo and Stitch such a big hit, Disney begins planning a sequel quickly for theaters. They insist it must be made within two years, more preferably just a year-and-a-half. Unfounded rumours in the public circulate that Imagineering is working on an attraction for Tomorrowland at WDW, but they would be wrong; the folks at WDI are much too busy with work on Disney's America for Orlando, Hong Kong Disneyland, and WestCOT in Anaheim.
  • (03/24/2003): Mass protesting continues in Washington, DC, with crowds furious at the President's actions.
  • (03/25/2003): Nirvana finishes writing the remaining songs for Dixie Dope, they are themed after the invasion of Iraq.
  • (03/28/2003): Nirvana resumes recording of Dixie Dope.
  • (04/07/2003): Baghdad is liberated by the American forces along with their "coalition of the willing", which is composed of the British and Australians. Saddam Hussein flees the capitol, and this seems to be spun as a sign that the war is already moving to a speedy conclusion.
  • (04/10/2003): Rough mixes of the songs for Dixie Dope are assembled together, for review and determination of how best to hone the album.
  • (04/11/2003): George W. Bush denounces the anti-war protestors. "In a time as difficult as this, we need unilateral support from all Americans. If you do not support the actions of the US military, then you might as well be against us."
  • (04/13/2003): Wilson returns to the studio to assist Nirvana and Cavallo on how to properly utilize sound for the album. "Make sure you arrange every instrument and item perfectly", he's heard saying.
  • (04/15/2003): Wilson's friend and frequent collaborator, Van Dyke Parks, pops in to help with the arrangements. Parks is impressed by Cobain's lyricism, saying "I don't think there's anything I can add to this." The decision is made to create a Wall of Sound-like texture for each instrument, especially in terms of things like layering Cobain, Grohl and Smear's guitars, and doing so for Grohl and Hawkins' drums. The added studio ringers who help incorporate the country aesthetic also are considered important, particularly the likes of autoharp, fiddle and mandolin. Cobain is so impressed, that the remarks "we might have to take you all out on tour when we perform the songs from the album live."
  • (04/20/2003): The band has an off day to view the finished product of Monster, which is set to premiere at the AFI Film Fest on November 16. Everyone is moved by the film, especially Theron's captivating performance, and her undeniable camaraderie with Christina Ricci. "This is a masterpiece," Cobain remarks. Disney and Newmarket Films are then shown the film as well.
  • (05/01/2003): Main recording is judged nearly complete, with some minor overdubs left over. Helping to manage all of this and the mixing process, the band decided to record using both analog multitrack tapes and Pro Tools rigs, with the intent to blend the sounds together. This ensures that the mixing process will be very painstaking and laborious. During the process, Cobain often is making remarks about how "our sound is Phil Spector writ large on a country and punk canvas. That should cheer him up in the meantime." Cobain is of course alluding to Spector's arrest three months prior for the death of B-movie actress Lana Clarkson at his Alhambra, California mansion. On the same day, aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln, Bush declares “Mission Accomplished” believing that the war in Iran was over. This publicity stunt of a speech would come back to haunt him years later.
  • (05/02/2003 to 11/19/2003): Disney Parks the world over celebrate the Swashbuckling Summer of Pirates in honor of their two latest films, Treasure Planet and breakout hit Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. A special parade is put in place for the season, with all the classic Disney characters decked out head-to-toe in pirate gear and floats shaped like 18th century ships. The last two ships are smaller versions of the Black Pearl and RLS Legacy, those of movie fame, with the characters from their respective movies of origin on deck. At night, a mock pirate ship battle takes place in the Rivers of America, and the fireworks show is one chronicling famed pirates of history and fiction alike. Main Street, Adventureland, Frontierland, Fantasyland, and, depending on the park, either Liberty Square or New Orleans Square are decorated as though pirates have taken over, and many even invade rides as well. The biggest and final day of the festivities is September 19, International Talk Like a Pirate Day. A stage show is held in Adventureland, featuring Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom themselves (it's one-day only), where they duel each other and then Barbossa and his crew. Guests can participate at the end, and can win a prize based on who can do the best pirate voice. The main cast of Pirates also replace their Cast Member counterparts on the Black Pearl float at the end of the day during the parade, and the voice actors for Treasure Planet appear alongside their character's lookalikes. The celebration managed to repair most of the damage done during the "Mickey Mouse debacle" from earlier that year, and reassured those inside Disney as well that even if they lost their most lucrative characters, they could still create new ones just as good.
  • (05/03/2003): Pat Smear begins growing out a mustache to promote the album.
  • (05/10/2003): Mixing is judged complete, and the album is ready to be mastered by Bob Ludwig.
  • (05/15/2003): The next Nirvana album entitled Dixie Dope is officially announced on the Nirvana website.
  • (05/17/2003): Springbok Productions announces that they will be giving a major cash infusion into ABC Daytime to help keep the block and many of its programming alive for years to come.
  • (05/18/2003): Information on the album is kept intentionally limited to generate discussion and interest.
  • (05/22/2003): Employees from Springbok have a listening party to hear the album in full. The album gets a standing ovation, suggesting that it will have quite a welcome reception.
  • (05/27/2003): To try and get the public interested, Springbok releases a special riddle game, releasing the letters of the album title in alphabetical order, asking visitors to the website to put the album name together, like a riddle. Anyone who guesses the title correctly will get the album shipped to their home for free on the day of release. On the first day alone, 20 million web surfers crowd the site, crashing the server.
  • (05/31/2003): The media begins growing increasingly interested in what Nirvana’s next album could contain. However, none of the members are willing to share any information. “You’ll find it relevant when it comes in September.”
  • (06/03/2003): Nirvana embarks on a summer tour of the US before the release of Dixie Dope. While on it, they intend to tease songs from the album.
  • (06/07/2003): During their performance at the Polaris Amphitheater in Columbus, Ohio, a crowd of war supporters picket the show. The crowd is quite small and is roundly ignored. On the same day, Treasure Planet releases to the public, and blows all expectations out of the water. While the trailers had been a little unclear as to what exactly was going on in the film, excitement from the "Swashbuckling Summer of Pirates" had brought on the crowds and the movie made a significantly greater impact at the box office than initially thought. Over $100 million at home, and $170 million more abroad, more than justified the sequel that had already been planned out and storyboarded. It also ensured Disney would be staying in the business of 2D animation for the foreseeable future.
  • (06/10/2003): Local DJs begin attempting to boycott Nirvana records because of remarks Cobain has made onstage regarding the war and President Bush. It is clear that an attempt is being made at a "more popular than Jesus" controversy, and seems quite obviously forced, at least for the time being.
  • (06/15/2003): Bat Out of Hell III is announced for February 2004, with Meat Loaf's final performance in Dance of the Vampires being December 12, 2003.
  • (06/17/2003): The Hardy Boys is officially fast-tracked for an August 2004 release by Universal.
  • (06/19/2003): Several anti-Nirvana protests form in the conservative South, denouncing the band for their anti-war statements.
  • (06/23/2003): Promoters in several southern states cancel planned Nirvana performances due to backlash and fear of reprisal. Foremost among them was a planned gig at the newly opened Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena in Florida and a show at the Grand Casino in Biloxi. However, counterprotesters emerge trying to place pressure on the promoters to reconsider their stance.
  • (06/25/2003): Feeling immense pressure from the crowds, the promoters relent and the cancelled shows are opened back up to be performed.
  • (07/02/2003): After a show at Philips Arena in Atlanta, the band moves to Jacksonville for the planned performance there. The outcome is up in the air. On the same day at the performance in Jacksonville, several pro-war attendees boo Nirvana during their performances of “Political World” and “Live by the Sword.” They try to throw tomatoes at the group but are arrested.
  • (07/03/2003): The incident is soon covered all over the news, with footage sent to every news agency. Debates are held by pundits over whether the rest of the dates should still go through as scheduled, without ever getting information from anyone in the Nirvana camp.
  • (07/04/2003): Nirvana agrees to perform the rest of the concerts, on the condition that they receive heavier security in them to prevent similar incidents to the tomato one.
  • (07/06/2003 to 08/17/2003): The rest of the shows more or less go off without a hitch, though there are war supporters that pop up in a few more spots.
  • (08/01/2003): Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl came out of nowhere as a smash hit for Disney, overshadowing Treasure Planet by a mile. The film, which boasts Orlando Bloom, Kiera Knightly, and Johnny Depp as a trifecta of engaging stars, is unprecedentedly good, a complex story told on many layers that was compelling, hilarious, and mind-bending all at once. It hit home with audiences and critics alike, and raked home over $312.9 million at the box office. It carried Disney through Christmas, and stayed in theaters even longer. A sequel was immediately put into the works, hopefully one of an even higher caliber than the first...
  • (08/18/2003): The tour ends and the group returns to their homes, before the release of Dixie Dope next month.
  • (08/31/2003): Michael Jackson completes his Invincible World Tour, and with the coming release of his greatest hits album Number Ones will fulfill his contract with Sony, leaving him free to move to Exploitation Records. At work at the same time is a forthcoming documentary detailing his day to day life, directed by Brett Morgen, co-director of The Kid Stays in the Picture.
  • (09/04/2003): Anti-war protests continue in DC over the failure to capture Hussein.
  • (09/06/2003): Journalists are finally given a listening session to hear Dixie Dope to be able to write their reviews of the album. On the same day, Rolling Stone creates a list ranking Nirvana's albums so far. The list goes as follows: #1 Questions Answered by the Unanswerables, #2 From the Muddy Banks of the Wishkah-ha, #3 In Utero, #4 Tuc Eht Parc, #5 Nevermind, #6 Bleach.
  • (09/16/2003): Dixie Dope is released to rave reviews and sales. Praise for the layered production and narrative is present. Unknown Hinson's contribution as "the Talky Man" is also referred to as a delightful touch. As David Fricke states in his review in Rolling Stone, "the big question is how George W. Bush's supporters will handle the album, and if any of them will actually understand the intent behind it."
  • (09/19/2003): Cobain begins talks with director Mark Romanek to create a series of videos for the five singles off the album, and condense the entire album's story within the same process, making an entire story together. Romanek is thoroughly impressed by the idea, and agrees at once.
  • (09/21/2003): Reports begin to emerge that Eisner is seriously considering leaving Disney within the next year and a half, in order to preserve his reputation as much as possible. At the moment, the company will not confirm or deny these rumors.
  • (09/25/2003): Shooting begins on the first music video for Dixie Dope, the title track, which is meant to represent a tongue-in-cheek montage of what the lifestyle of the title character represents. It is at the moment, the most detailed and complex video shoot the band has done.
  • (09/26/2003): Alice in Chains announces that the band has hired a fifth member as rhythm guitar and additional lead vocals, William DuVall, the frontman of the group Comes With The Fall. Both Layne Staley and Jerry Cantrell praise the new hire. "William has quite an impressive voice of his own, able to add his own stamp on the songs. In addition, adding backup on the guitars will make the songs even fuller, more like they are on the records."
  • (09/29/2003): Dixie Dope receives conservative backlash over the satirical nature of its songs, as well as for the album's overarching concept of demeaning Bush voters.
  • (10/01/2003): The video for the title track, "Dixie Dope", is released to the public. Bill O'Reilly attacks the video during that night's edition of The O'Reilly Factor, saying "What Mr. Cobain and his band are doing is nothing short of sacrilege, not to mention a leering, in-your-face unpatriotic display at a time when the people must support President Bush. Hope Mr. Cobain receives what he deserves."
  • (10/02/2003): Chad Kroeger, frontman of Nickelback, is among a group of people interviewed in an MTV News segment about reaction to Dixie Dope. Kroeger says, "It's certainly not a direction I'd go in. People want very simple, accessible songs that are familiar and inviting."
  • (10/03/2003): Wonderland is released by Springbok and Lionsgate. The film, directed by James Cox and written by Cox and Captain Mauzner, deals with the 1981 "Wonderland Murders", in which four people were killed in an apartment sitting on L.A.'s Wonderland Avenue, and was soon found to contain the involvement of local crime lord Eddie Nash and legendary porn star John Holmes. The film stars Val Kilmer as Holmes, Kate Bosworth as his girlfriend Dawn Schiller, Lisa Kudrow (Phoebe on Friends) as Holmes' estranged wife Sharon, Eric Bogosian as Nash, Dylan McDermott (The Practice) as David Lind, the main witness against Holmes, Josh Lucas as Ron Launius, and supporting roles by Christina Applegate, Ted Levine and Carrie Fisher. The film receives mixed reviews, with Kilmer's performance praised, but much of the rest of the film ignored and considered pointless. The $5 million film also suffers from relatively little marketing push, and earns only $2.46 million, making it Springbok's first ever flop.
  • (10/05/2003): Bill O'Reilly's statements do nothing to slow down sales of Dixie Dope. In fact, the album begins selling even more quickly due to the controversy it has generated with conservatives.
  • (10/08/2003): Tickets for the Dixie Dope tour go on sale, with venues selling out in mere hours.
  • (10/10/2003): Rolling Stone publishes an article entitled "Dixie Dope..Damn", which details the album's conception, production, release and immediate acclaim upon release. After browsing Springbok's website, Cobain is astonished when he discovers that many conservatives are voicing support of the album. "Dixie Dope is country and perfect!", one person writes from Alabama. He then realizes that they took the album's satirical concept literally, hence why they don't realize it's an album derisive of conservative values.
  • (10/11/2003): When he contacts Unknown Hinson about this sudden disconnect, Hinson is sanguine. "It's expected in my line of work. Roll with it, don't call attention to it, and things will be fine." Cobain understands the point and promises that they will work together in the future, possibly on a television project.
  • (10/14/2003): Work begins on filming the next video for the second single, "He Says It's Done You Yanksungun", in which the "Mission Accomplished" speech is aimed squarely in the song and video's sights.
  • (10/16/2003): Nirvana heads off for a North American tour to promote Dixie Dope. It'll end on Martin Luther King Jr. day, in order to make a point that many will not realize.
  • (10/20/2003): It is announced that Nirvana will perform another MTV Unplugged concert at Sony Music Studios in a few weeks. This will be the band's last show before starting the Dixie Dope tour in February.
  • (10/23/2003): The third video for Dixie Dope, "Gertie" an ode to guns fashioned as a romantic ballad, complete with date montages, is filmed.
  • (10/25/2003): The long-touted second gate at Disneyland, a reborn WestCOT, finally opens on Epcot's 21st anniversary. Originally slated to open in February 2001, it was pushed back after Eisner was talked out of the idea of naming it "Disney's California Adventure", which he then came to see as unmarketable and redundant for a park already located in California, and to ensure that the attractions would be honed to perfection. To some extent, it is a "plussed" version of Epcot, where it comes from the Ventureport hub to three different areas: the Wonders of Living, the Wonders of Earth, and the Wonders of Space, branching out to the Four Corners of the World, which has regions instead of individual countries. There is then a separate area, known as "Mini USA", which is more of a general theme park, where the main anchor tenants include the Nirvana version of the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster, and Alien: Terror Incarnate, being ported over as happened when Eisner originally envisioned the attraction in the '90s.
  • (11/01/2003): Before heading to New York for the MTV Unplugged concert, Nirvana attends the grand opening ceremony for the WestCOT version of Rock 'n' Roller Coaster. Their photos from the ceremony will be hung inside the gift shop (in which Springbok allows the albums, online and tour merchandise, and books to be sold as well) for posterity. Cobain rides the attraction more than the others, finding it surprisingly enjoyable.
  • (11/02/2003): Rock 'n' Rollercoaster at Disneyworld and Disneyland begin selling merchandise based off of the bands that helm both locations. Aerosmith for World and Nirvana for land. Notable is that both locations will sell the albums of each band. Disney asks for Nirvana to change the titles of some of their albums to be sold in the Rock 'n' Rollercoaster store. Cobain relents, not wanting kids who liked their music to be deprived of it.
  • (11/03/2003): From Playbill:

[QUOTE=]

"Elton John and Bernie Taupin's Vampire Lestat Tests Its Wings in Private NYC Reading," by Kenneth Jones and Ernio Hernandez

The Vampire Lestat, the new musical by songwriters Elton John and Bernie Taupin, based on the bloodthirsty and love-hungry characters of Anne Rice, gets a private reading for the producers and creative team beginning on November 4, Playbill On-Line has learned.

The cast for the 29-hour, Equity-approved reading of the early draft of the show includes James Barbour (Jane Eyre) as Lestat, Jack Noseworthy (Sweet Smell of Success), Steve Blanchard (Beauty and the Beast), Max von Essen (Dance of the Vampires) and other performers.

The project, from new producer Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures — and with Manny Azenberg as a partner and Springbok Productions joining in — was announced in May 2003, aiming for a 2005 staging.

John and Taupin are known for their internationally successful songs "Someone Saved My Life Tonight," "Daniel," "Rocket Man," "Candle In The Wind," "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me," "Bennie and the Jets" and more. The score of the dawning show is said to be more legit and traditional than pop and rock. The libretto is by Linda Woolverton (Beauty and the Beast, Aida and the film, The Lion King). Robert Jess Roth (Beauty and the Beast) directs.

When it was announced in spring 2003, the project's working title was The Vampire Lestat. "'Interview With the Vampire' is one of my favorite books and Anne Rice is one of my favorite authors," John said in an earlier statement. "Although this project has taken a while to come together, I firmly believe we have the right team in place. The Vampire Lestat is the first stage musical that I've written with Bernie which makes it even more special for me." Taupin added, "Anne had always loved the idea of seeing her Vampire Chronicles set in some sort of serious and seductive musical setting and for all of the parties involved this is the opportunity of a lifetime. Our intention is make a classically-based show that is stripped of gothic clichés and that shows the vampire dealing with his damnation on a more realistic and human level. Please let me make this clear this is NOT a rock opera. Our hope is that it will be stylish, sexy, intelligent, rich and hypnotically dark."

The title character has been adapted for the screen in such films as Interview With the Vampire and Queen of the Damned. Both movies drew on the original best-selling novels by Anne Rice.

Recording artist Elton John, known internationally for his pop songwriting career of over 30 years, is currently represented on Broadway by the long-running Disney collaborations The Lion King and Aida. Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures marks its debut with the project. The parent company is Warner Brothers Entertainment. The organization, which was founded more than 75 years ago started as a motion picture company, has become a multi-faceted entertainment company branching into television, home video, animation and international theatres.

Springbok Productions, the production company of Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain and his wife, actress Charlize Theron, rocketed out of nowhere with the hit films Ghost in the Shell, Noble Rot and Dragon's Lair. Currently, their latest film, Monster, in which Theron portrays convicted serial killer Aileen Wuornos, is prepping for its premiere at the AFI Film Fest on November 16.

Vampires have inspired a number of musicals in the past year. Jim Steinman's Dance of the Vampires — based on the Roman Polanski film The Fearless Vampire Killers — saw the Broadway stage in October 2002, with help from Springbok as a producer, an original cast boasting the likes of Meat Loaf and Michael Crawford, and is currently running to packed houses a year later. Bram Stoker's classic vampire tale Dracula was adapted into three separate incarnations that have been seen in regional theatres: Dracula: A Chamber Musical (book and lyrics by Richard Ouzounian with music and orchestrations by Marek Norman); Dracula — The Game of Love (book and lyrics by Michael Lazar with music by Richard Oberacker); and Dracula, the Musical (book and lyrics by Christopher Hampton and Don Black with music by Frank Wildhorn). Posters for the Wildhorn version popped up around Manhattan in 2002, but no announcement has been made for the show's future following its La Jolla, California premiere.

[/QUOTE]

  • (11/05/2003): With WESTCOT Center out of the way, WDI can really hunker down on Disney's America. Iger, despite Eisner's return, delivers the news and reveals more about the park at a press conference. It will feature Native America as a pseudo Main Street, still with the Lewis and Clark rapids ride, and lead to a hub based upon the most famous era of American history, that being the Revolution. A ride called Paul Revere's Midnight Flight takes guests alongside the legendary patriot as he attempts to warn Massachusetts that the Redcoats are coming, and an animatronic show in the vein of the Hall of Presidents lies here as well, but on the Constitutional Convention. Surrounding that hub are the following lands: Antebellum America (1820s-1850s), the Civil War (1860s), the Industrial Revolution (1870s-1910s), Ellis Island (expanded with a portion dedicated to 1920s NYC), a family farm during the Dust Bowl (1930s), a state fair (1940s) and the World Wars. Each land (still officially unnamed so far) is to have walkthrough attractions based on the era, some with real artifacts from the time period. The land that has the most attention is Victory Field, the land based on WWI/WWII. There are trenches copied from those in France that guests can explore, simulator attractions giving guests the power to control their own plane during the Battle of London and shoot down some Nazis or man a ship and sink U-boats at Normandy. The biggest draw, however, is the planned "dueling coaster," the first of its kind. The loops of two identical tracks intertwine with each other, based on WWI's dogfights with an American "Devil Dog" fighting the German "Red Baron" (those being the two tracks). This announcement is met with raucous applause, Iger once more sidestepping the potential disaster faced by the topic of slavery by assuring "We here at the Walt Disney Company are attempting to inject as much realism as possible, no sugarcoating things."
  • (11/06/2003 to 11/08/2003): The fourth video, "The Great Alsom County Prison Escape", which depicts the planning and execution of said escape, is filmed over two days prior to the Unplugged show.
  • (11/10/2003): Nirvana returns to Sony Music Studios for their MTV Unplugged performance. Much like their famous set a decade prior, this set is not hits-centric, and much of it involves playing material from the past two albums. In a nod to symmetry from the past, the band once again dusts off Leadbelly's "In The Pines" as the finale, which actually gets a rousing reception when it begins.
  • (11/15/2003): Alice in Chains is interviewed as to their thoughts on Nirvana's recent release Dixie Dope. "It's a real good album, really tight with a story you've never seen before on an album", frontman Layne Staley reports.
  • (11/16/2003): Monster premieres at the AFI Film Fest to rapturous applause and universal praise from the critics. Buoyed by this reception, Disney/Touchstone and Newmarket scale up their plans from a limited North American release to being fully available to the general public in many theaters starting in January.
  • (11/17/2003): "Figured You Out," Nickelback's second single from their fourth album, The Long Road, is previewed on active rock stations prior to its release on December 2. Many listeners complain that the song is shot through with ugly misogyny, as well as complain how the lead single, "Someday", is a blatant retread of "How You Remind Me."
  • (11/19/2003): Cobain listens to The Long Road and gives it a scathing review. "Not only are these lyrics blatantly misogynistic, but the music production on this album is abysmal. And the worst part is they rip off of us and other bands, but they don't even do it WELL!"
  • (11/22/2003): Alice in Chains give similarly negative reviews to Long Road. "Jesus, these guys don't have any respect for themselves or their fans", said Staley. "This album is total shit and I'm NOT buying it". Jerry Cantrell is similarly dismissive. "This is an insult to not only good rock music, but also good music period."
  • (11/26/2003): Production of the first season of Code Lyoko is nearly complete, ready to premiere on MTV in April. The first theatrical film directed by Luc Besson and distributed by Sony is now beginning production, set to premiere by June 2005.
  • (11/30/2003): The Hardy Boys begins production, including using sections of the Universal Studios backlot. At the same time, Michael Eisner officially announces that he is retreating more into the background and Bob Iger will become the public face of Disney. Eisner apparently is planning to stay at the company until at least 2008.
  • (12/03/2003): Michael Jackson announces plans to revive a planned film that was supposed to be in mind for him by Jon Peters when he and Peter Guber ran Sony Pictures, a film entitled MidKnight, a musical superhero film. This film stalled out after the suicide of planned director Anton Furst shortly after he finished his production design work on Tim Burton's Batman. Springbok is eager to help Jackson bring his dream to life.
  • (12/07/2003): Springbok looks over the first draft of Christopher Nolan's script for his Batman movie and shares it with Warner Bros. Both are quite impressed with the quality, and are ready to officially greenlight the project.
  • (12/10/2003): Disneyland's beloved Submarine Voyage attraction opens with a shiny new coat of paint and theming. Based on the 2001 film Atlantis: The Lost Empire, guests hoped aboard smaller versions of the submarine from the movie, the Ulysses, although each being named after a different pre-WW1 president. On the same day Warner Bros. begins scouting out actors for the titular character of The Rise of Batman.
  • (12/16/2003): After looking at major cities that best typify Gotham City, it is decided that the film will be shot in Chicago.
  • (12/17/2003): Several actors try out for the role of Batman, including Christian Bale of American Psycho fame.
  • (12/21/2003): Bale makes the shortlist among the top candidates. Theron and Nolan in particular feel good about what he can bring to the table.
  • (12/27/2003): Jerry Cantrell is interviewed while on tour for Atrophied Patience, and asked why his opinion of Nickelback changed. "Well, I definitely liked Silver Side Up, and I thought it was a sign that they'd improve. But the new album is just more of the same, just utterly formulaic. If Alice weren't still together, and I was still battling smack, I'd probably enjoy this album too. But seeing things with sober eyes, and with Layne's sober eyes really changes perspective."

2004[]

  • (01/02/2004): Christian Bale is formally announced to be the new Batman.
  • (01/05/2004): Casting at Springbok now focuses on who to play Commissioner Gordon in The Rise of Batman.
  • (01/06/2004): It is revealed in a Variety article that Springbok will be financing the fllm adaptation of the hit broadway musical The Producers which in turn is based off the 1967 Mel Brooks film of the same name. This move will also give Springbok the rights for the musical's regional productions in North America.
  • (01/08/2004): The first season of Code Lyoko is officially ready to go. Meanwhile, Monster is officially widely released to theaters across North America.
  • (01/11/2004): The first six chapters of Stuart Levy's manga Princess Ai, having released in Wings in Japan, is ready for its English translation and release as volume 1 of a graphic novel form by Tokyopop. Cobain and Courtney Love, having been the genesis of the idea, are thoroughly impressed by the quality of work.
  • (01/13/2004): The Planet Hollywood Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City announces that it is about have experiences eight straight quarters of financial success. Cobain and Theron's continued investment and involvement in the chain helps ensure a ready revenue source for Springbok.
  • (01/15/2004): Gary Oldman is shortlisted for the role of Comissioner Gordon in The Rise of Batman.
  • (01/18/2004): Alice in Chains' performance at the Gorge Amphitheatre is recorded and filmed for a live release.
  • (01/22/2004): The first single off Bat Out of Hell III, a rendition of "It's All Coming Back To Me Now", hits radio, MTV, VH1, and the Springbok and Meat Loaf websites.
  • (02/08/2004): Nirvana attends the Grammy Awards, at which they've been nominated for 5 awards; Best Album of the year for Dixie Dope, Best Song of the year for "Dixie Dope", Best Rock Album, Best Music Video for "Dixie Dope" and Best Rock Song for "Dixie Dope". To the surprise of many, Nirvana sweeps the Grammys that year, winning all 5 awards. They also perform a medley of songs from the album.
  • (02/11/2004): Gary Oldman officially is signed on to play Commissioner Gordon, and Michael Caine as Alfred Pennyworth.
  • (02/14/2004): Nirvana departs to London to begin their 6 month world tour for Dixie Dope.
  • (02/17/2004): The tour kicks off with two sold-out dates at Wembley Arena, during which Cobain jokes that it's "one of our more intimate shows."
  • (02/20/2004): Cobain celebrates his 37th birthday while on tour, with Theron and their kids sending him presents and cards.
  • (02/21/2004): Theron officially begins doing the usual press junkets in prep for the 76th Academy Awards, as she has been nominated for Best Actress for her portrayal of Aileen Wuornos. "I know Kurt will be watching, even while he's away."
  • (02/23/2004): Springbok, Warners and Cameron Mackintosh's Really Useful Group watch the final cut of The Phantom of the Opera, set for release on December 21. Buoyed by the success of Dance of the Vampires, Springbok and Jerry Weintraub went all in for this long-promised film adaptation. Most notably, Todd and Weintraub helped rein in director Joel Schumacher's laissez-faire attitude regarding the production and the musical sequences. They praised the selection of little-known Scottish actor Gerard Butler to play the title role, but insisted on having him go through extensive vocal coaching to prep for the role, especially by making sure Schumacher wouldn't schedule the shoot too close together to prevent such preparation. They also went to bat with Disney to have Anne Hathaway released from her contract for doing a sequel to The Princess Diaries, with Todd saying bluntly "no one wants the rest of Meg Cabot's books turned into films! All the others are complete shit! Besides, look what happened when Garry Marshall last tried to bring the magic back together in doing a followup movie, no one thinks of Runaway Bride as being in the same league as Pretty Woman." Iger, in moving to be conciliatory to Disney after the Mickey debacle, agreed and let the project drop, freeing Hathaway to take on the role of Christine Daae. Coupled with Patrick Wilson as Raoul, Vicomte de Chagny and Minnie Driver's turn as Carlotta (with dubbed singing), along with bringing on Gillian Lynne, the original stage choreographer, to share the duties for the film with Peter Darling, the film is shaping up to be quite impressive.
  • (02/25/2004): Springbok, continuing to branch out in musical theater, begins conversations with Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures, the stage entertainment arm, regarding their planned launch musical, Lestat. This is a planned production based on Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles series, set to be staged by much of the team that did the Broadway transfer of Disney's Beauty and the Beast (notably director Robert Jess Roth and librettist Linda Woolverton), and scored by Elton John and Bernie Taupin, marking the first stage musical the former has ever done with his legendary partner. Springbok recently lured John out of his preexisting contract with Mercury Records/Universal Music Group to have Exploitation Records handle the followup albums to his recent comeback Songs from the West Coast. WB Theatre head Gregg Maday coolly asks Theron and Weintraub "isn't one vampire musical enough for you?" Theron replies with, "it doesn't matter if this seems like familiar territory. Good productions are all that interest us, regardless of the subject matter." Maday is convinced of Springbok's sincerity and agrees to let them in on the musical, currently scheduled for a pre-Broadway tryout debut in late 2005.
  • (02/29/2004): The 76th Academy Awards are held at the Kodak Theatre. The highlights of the evening are The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King sweeping all of its nominations, tying with Ben-Hur and Titanic for most awards won at eleven, and Theron winning Best Actress for Monster.
  • (03/02/2004): Bat Out of Hell III is released. The album, like many Meat Loaf/Jim Steinman projects, consists of several songs recycled from earlier sources. The album comes in standard and deluxe versions, with the deluxe version consisting of bonus songs, Loaf's tracks from the concept album for Dance of the Vampires (his recording of Act II showstopper "Seize the Night", and a rendition of "Total Eclipse of the Heart", which he did sing as von Krolock in the show, but on the concept album he performed with Bonnie Tyler, the singer of the original hit version from 1983) and some bonus re-recordings of some of his older hits. Loaf announces a massive, multi-pronged "3 Bats Live" tour, hitting all the continents and consisting of three different types of shows: regular performances with his band the Neverland Express, so-called "Steinman Star" shows in which the NLE is augmented by guest appearances by session ringers and other members associated with recordings of Steinman songs, and a series of orchestral dates in Australia with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. All three types of shows will be filmed and recorded for a massive live box set release simply entitled 3 Bats Live.
  • (03/03/2004): Blizzard Entertainment had been on radio silence since its release of Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne in 2003. No press releases, no interviews, no announcements, nothing. Fans of the PC gaming juggernaut were getting worried, and rightfully so. It's never a good sign when a company stops announcing anything. Wild theories circulate the Internet, claiming that the company is going under (unlikely, considering how well Warcraft III was selling) or being bought out by either Springbok or Disney (neither of whom were in the business of video games nor looking to enter it anytime soon.) But no matter how many people claimed to have an uncle working at Blizzard and had the full scoop, no one truly knew what was going on. On March 3, 2004, Blizzard finally returns and announces to the public that their upcoming massively-multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG, for short), World of Warcraft, is going to be retooled into something different. They claim that it's because they were "tired of the fantasy genre," but their changes told a different story. World of Warcraft was being rechristened Legends of the Seven Seas and transformed into a pirate-themed world, separate from Azeroth, called Ladrónia. It will feature various pirate factions and colonial empires battling for gold and treasure across various islands. Fantasy elements creep in from time to time (the main antagonist of the whole game is Blackbeard, who commands a crew of skeletal pirates), and the combat is stressed as revolutionary with intuitive, complex, easy-to-learn-but-difficult-to-master swordfighting duels the focus. The truth Blizzard is hiding is that they were terrified that WoW, a game they were staking most of their future on, would fail. Given the recent spike of pirate-mania, the decision to change it from another installment in Azeroth to a brand new piratical one was a no-brainer made in the wake of The Curse of the Black Pearl. The game, overall, is delayed to late spring of 2005, causing many fans to complain extensively. Up until the game releases, it will be a constant riffing point in many nerd circles. Filming on The Hardy Boys is complete, and intended to be released by Universal on August 16.
  • (03/07/2004): During the latest episode of Port Charles, Fleetwood Mac makes a guest appearance, during which they perform "Silver Springs" and "Gold Dust Woman" during a concert held at Port Charles Park, in which the main characters are gathered to discuss the events of their arc. The episode ends with a hint that in the ABC Daytime universe, Stevie Nicks is actually a witch.
  • (03/10/2004): Continued threatening messages to Cobain, Nirvana and Springbok on the various websites force a temporary shutdown for two days. During this time, renovations and upgrades already scheduled are implemented.
  • (03/15/2004): Disney officially announces just when Disney's America will be open: March 30, 2005. The press are shocked at the company giving themselves just one year to construct an entire park, but Iger treats it like a challenge to be overcome, not a roadblock.
  • (03/18/2004): Springbok is officially brought in on a conference call with Walt Disney Imagineering to discuss plans for Disney's America and what could be done to create a "weenie", to use Walt's old parlance. Much of the attention is on the creation of the roller coaster attraction, shows at Victory Field, and the Civil War battles. There is also talk of building a 5000 seat amphitheater for concerts which could theoretically attract top tier artists, a grander version of the American Gardens Theater at Epcot.
  • (03/20/2004): Springbok is not exclusively bound to Disney in terms of theme parks. By this point, Universal has been implementing their ideas and expertise as well. Notably, the attraction Twister-Ride It Out has been upgraded to include three different set pieces with even bigger scale of destruction and able to operate on a staggered schedule so the entire attraction doesn't have to reset and crowd turnover is speedier. As well as the decision to scrap a Men In Black themed attraction in favor of simply rebuilding Ghostbusters Spooktacular at this proposed site, and extracting a promise that Jaws and Amity Island will never be replaced, and stating that a proposed Fear Factor Live! area is instead left open for potential changes and additions. At the same time, Springbok also moves to add their expertise to Six Flags New Orleans, to help improve the commercial fortunes of the company's least profitable park.
  • (03/25/2004): A Nirvana performance in Hamburg, Germany, is rudely interrupted by American tourists. Several try to rush the stage to tackle Cobain, but security is able to keep them at bay. It takes 20 minutes to calm the situation down before the show resumes.
  • (04/02/2004): The final European date is held at the Tavastia Club in Helsinki, Finland, the band's first concert here.
  • (04/05/2004): Cobain joins in on a set by Kansas, who signed on to Exploitation Records some time back, and sits on during renditions of "All I Wanted", "Hold On" and "Carry On Wayward Son".
  • (04/16/2004): Kill Bill: Volume 2 premieres in North America. Quentin Tarantino's latest film proved to be so large and expansive that Springbok and Disney/Touchstone advised him to split the film into two parts, which he eagerly accepted. As an affectionate love letter to martial arts films, spaghetti westerns, and anime all at once, the story of The Bride's hunt for vengeance is considered his best film yet, and proof that he doesn't need the assistance of Harvey Weinstein to be successful.
  • (04/19/2004): Springbok enters talks to co-produce the long-planned and stalled adaptation of Memoirs of a Geisha, alongside Steven Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment, and to personally oversee the marketing for the film. Springbok also signs off on producers Douglas Wick and Lucy Fisher's bid to have Chicago director Rob Marshall helm the production.
  • (04/23/2004): Springbok officially commits to the development of several different additional projects on the drawing board. First, plans for an anthology series expansion of The Devil's Advocate is officially greenlit for The WB, showing various different characters and their relationship to John Milton. Taylor Hackford, Tony Gilroy, Keanu Reeves and Al Pacino join as executive producers; Gilroy will create the story bible and be showrunner, Hackford (fresh from finishing a highly anticipated Ray Charles biopic premiering October 29) will direct the pilot episode; and Pacino, Reeves and Theron will reprise their roles, with only Pacino appearing in each episode. At the same time, two feature films are also on the drawing board. First, a planned sci-fi infused heist film starring Ray Liotta, and a dramatic comedy with Ellen DeGeneres, both for 20th Century Fox.
  • (04/26/2004): Donald Cobain officially files suit against his son, alleging that he is entitled to a considerable share of Nirvana and Springbok royalties, and also moves to claim custody of the children, claiming Cobain, Theron and Wendy O'Connor are "creating a poisonous atmosphere that is influencing them." Anticipating the worst, Cobain engages the services of Thomas Meserau as his lawyer.
  • (04/28/2004): The critical reaction to the release of The Apprentice is quite underwhelming. As stated in Variety, "one would think that Mark Burnett should have hit this out of the park, given how he struck gold with Survivor. But this doesn't live to the hype...Donald Trump, Jr is completely overwhelmed by the shadow of his late father, and all that it implies...The Trump Organization is barely a fraction of its former self, having lost many of its tony properties in New York and New Jersey, due to Trump, Sr.'s many repeated missteps and piling unwise levels of debt. While the Organization still owns Mar-a-Lago, the Trump family no longer lives there at all and it has been purely converted into a country club...There is simply no spectacular comeback here to witness, or to give any kind of impression to the show's contestants, let alone the viewers...The show might have been better suited dealing with the current lives of either of the former Mrs. Donald J. Trumps, especially Ivana Trump, who has thoroughly evolved into her own person and arguably is the only one who could bring back the luster of the Trump name."
  • (05/01/2004): Forbes magazine runs a fawning cover story on Springbok, naming it the "best new company to emerge in the last decade." It comes complete with lengthy interviews with Theron, Jennifer Todd, Jerry Weintraub and Walter Yetnikoff.
  • (05/03/2004): With the ascendance of Senator John Kerry, the 2000 Democratic Vice Presidential candidate, as the Democrats' nominee to run against President Bush, a coalition of artists, led by Jackson Browne and Don Henley, plans to whip up support for Kerry under a tour package entitled Vote for Change, which will also tie in with MTV's Rock the Vote. Bonnie Raitt, Bruce Springsteen and James Taylor have signed on to participate. Naturally, some wonder whether Nirvana will lend their support to the affair in their US summer tour.
  • (05/05/2004): Van Halen's next album, Slash and Burn, is announced to be released on July 20, along with several other developments. Alex Van Halen explains that Michael Anthony is no longer in the band, and this album was made with Tommy Stinson, who had been on standby for a while, in his stead. "Michael is very much in the Sammy camp, and he has an absolute hatred of Dave. When we did the Best Of Both Worlds Tour, it became much more obvious. I mean, Eddie ended up relapsing on that tour and had to go to rehab to clear himself out. Thankfully, there were plenty of good performances on that tour to be able to choose from for our live album and video, but there were still a lot of really awful ones because of Eddie's condition. There just was nowhere else to go with Michael, much as fans might be upset to hear. Tommy is a great guy, and unless someone better comes along, he's the bassist from now on."
  • (05/07/2004): Nirvana officially commits to the Vote for Change tour, and encourage the reshuffling of the tour to be a full, massive summer tour in arenas, amphitheaters and stadiums. Based on Nirvana's commitment, ticket sales easily reach new levels. The tour will launch at Giants Stadium in three weeks.
  • (05/09/2004): Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young will reunite on the tour, with Neil Young also contributing a solo set on some dates. Also announced as joining are REM, My Morning Jacket, John Fogerty, Peter Frampton, and the Dixie Chicks.
  • (05/10/2004): Kurt Loder of MTV News interviews the artists who will participate in the tour. When he questions Cobain, he asks "How do you feel that the tour will go down to the public?" Cobain shrugs. "Sometimes, there's just moments you can't sit back and do nothing. If we lose some fans because of this, that's fine. We did what we felt was right."
  • (05/14/2004): Cobain begins writing lyrics for a followup album to Dixie Dope, with recording hopefully beginning after the tour. He already has an album title in mind: Americaca. Cobain tells the rest of the band that he envisions the album being more stripped back to basics, being more of a punk rock recording this time around.
  • (05/17/2004): Thomas Meserau files a motion to dismiss Donald Cobain's suit. The motion is expected to be shot down.
  • (05/20/2004): Meserau's motion to dismiss is denied, as expected. When facing the press outside, Donald Cobain is fiercely defiant. "Nothing will make me settle out of court, and I'm going to pursue this to the end."
  • (05/23/2004): The artists connected to Vote for Change begin final rehearsals in New Jersey to prep for the Giants Stadium opening date. Reporters waiting nearby ambush Cobain to get him to comment about the lawsuit, but he brushes them aside.
  • (05/25/2004): The initial date of the Vote for Change Tour is a rousing success. Crowds far and wide come to see this festival-style show, and there already are reports of a surge in voter registration.
  • (05/28/2004): On the same day that the tour heads to Madison Square Garden, the date for the trial is set to June 17, and the judge allows that Cobain can participate and testify via affidavit and video.
  • (06/03/2004): Wendy O'Connor makes a statement about the trial during an interview by CBS News. "I've known Don for a long time, and I never thought that he'd become this petty and vindictive. We've always had our problems with each other, and always will, but the fact that he is targeting the children as part of it? It's just beyond the pale for me. Truly, I have never thought less of him than I do now."
  • (06/04/2004): Steven Spielberg's The Terminal, co-produced by Springbok with Amblin Entertainment and Parkes/MacDonald Productions, is released by DreamWorks Pictures. The film stars Tom Hanks as Victor Navorski, an immigrant from a fictional Eastern European country who is denied entry into the United States, but cannot return because of a military coup, and chooses to live at the terminal at JFK International Airport. The film also stars Catherine Zeta-Jones, Stanley Tucci, Chi McBride, Diego Luna and Zoe Saldana. The film receives mildly positive reviews, saying that Hanks' performance elevates a relatively mindless and insubstantial story, but is a commercial success, making $219.4 million against a $60 million budget and $20 million in advertising.
  • (06/08/2004): A group of Nirvana fans picket outside of Donald Cobain's home, angrily protesting. Most of the signs and chants revolve around the children, saying "don't separate a family." It causes enough unrest that the elder Cobain tries to get law enforcement to scatter them. In the days between here and the trial, fans continue to bombard him with angry letters denouncing his actions, and vowing to keep up the protest outside the court through the entire trial.
  • (06/12/2004): Theron makes her one statement about the trial during an interview for a story about Springbok's upcoming projects. "All I can say is that I know Don has never liked me, and he certainly has a great deal of resentment. All I hope is that the matter is settled as quickly and as fairly as possible."
  • (06/13/2004): In a surprise move, the judge in Donald Cobain's suit announces the allowing of Court TV to televise the trial, an act that is blasted by notorious Manson Family prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi. "Isn't it enough that criminal trials covering celebrities are unfortunately affected in such an unnatural way? Now we have to cover trivial lawsuits as well? Where does it end?" At the same time, a picture emerges of President Bush on the campaign trail, smiling as he goes onstage to "The Great Alton County Prison Escape."
  • (06/17/2004): As counsel for both sides makes their opening arguments, a crowd of protesters remains outside the courthouse, jeering at Donald Cobain as he makes his way out. Pundits throughout cable news debate whether or not the protests are overreaching and a breach of decorum.
  • (06/20/2004): One of Donald's Cobain's lawyers approaches the younger Cobain to do cross-examination along with Meserau's direct for the videotaped statement. Cobain spends four hours testifying.
  • (06/25/2004): During a show at Columbus Crew Stadium in Ohio, the media attempt to corner Cobain into making public comments about the situation while on the way to backstage. Grohl moves to block them.
  • (06/29/2004): Cobain's videotaped testimony is played in court when the defense has its turn. Also notably, Meserau plans to call Cobain's extended family as witnesses to rebut Donald Cobain's case.
  • (07/02/2004): In a surprising turnaround, the defense rests on this day, and closing statements are made. The jury deliberates and returns with a verdict in only three hours. They rule that Donald Cobain's grounds for his suit are baseless and have it officially dismissed with prejudice. Speaking to the press later that evening, Meserau states "This is clearly a victory on behalf of Kurt Cobain and his family. We are thankful that everything was brought to a speedy end, and justice was done."
  • (07/07/2004): During a meeting Springbok has with Walt Disney Imagineering, various notable historians like Doris Kearns Goodwin and Stephen Ambrose, and documentarian Ken Burns, are on standby to contribute. Burns offers to create a special documentary to be incorporated in a ride film. "How about making something that's like an interactive version of my documentaries? Play out like Horizons did at Epcot?" The idea is taken very seriously, with the intent to make it the premiere E-ticket attraction and the linchpin of the entire park.
  • (07/09/2004): Former Enron CEO Kenneth Lay is indicted and enters a not guilty plea. In the years since Enron's collapse, the Justice Department has been working overtime in its pursuit of holding the key figures accountable. Many former executives, after initially vowing to fight in court, ended up pleading guilty, most notably former CFO Andrew Fastow, Fastow's key lieutenants Michael Kopper and Ben Glisan, former Enron North America trader Timothy Belden (for his role in aggravating the 2000 California energy crisis and raking in money over the citizens' pain), and former Enron Broadband head Kenneth Rice (for pushing an image of a business focused on trading bandwidth capacity and rolling out streaming video in a glitch-free and affordable manner that wasn't even close to coming true), With the exception of Glisan, all the above will testify against other defendants in trials, in addition to all of them disgorging ill-gotten financial gains and serving prison sentences no longer than ten years. Lay and former COO (and short-lived replacement CEO) Jeffrey Skilling, who was indicted and entered his own not guilty plea back in February, still intend to seek vindication in trial, and push the blame for the crisis squarely on the shoulders of Fastow and the financial press for "triggering a run on the bank."
  • (07/11/2004): Disney CEO Michael Eisner announces two key developments. Firstly, former key Miramax executive Meryl Poster is now being named the chair of Walt Disney Studios. "Meryl has proven herself quite formidable and talented in her own regard, and she was the only person who could buck trends at Miramax and not suffer for it. Her instincts are very much welcomed, and we expect her to lead the studio for many, many years to come." Interim studio chair Dick Cook, who was named to the post after the resignation of Peter Schneider, will be her right-hand man. The other announcement is confirmation of what had long been rumored. Eisner announces that he will leave The Walt Disney Company in 2008, at which time Bob Iger will succeed him as CEO. "Bob has shown that he has what it takes to get the job done, and he's definitely been proven to be effective in a crisis situation. In my remaining years here at Disney, I will naturally be giving Bob more and more power, little by little, while working to get my creativity on overdrive. I know that the next few years will be important for The Walt Disney Company, and I'm going to ensure it's done right."
  • (07/14/2004): Springbok announces two major TV projects in the works, one as an immediate priority, and another as a more long term goal. Next year, Springbok will officially bring a new original series to Adult Swim, entitled Squidbillies. As a repayment of gratitude to Unknown Hinson for his assistance with Dixie Dope, the show, which will focus on the titular characters and their lifestyle in rural Georgia, is built with him in mind to play the main character, family patriarch Early Cuyler. At the same time, work has also begun on the long-considered reboot of Titan AE, which will premiere as a limited series on HBO sometime in 2007, ten episodes of two hours each.
  • (07/17/2004): The Rock the Vote show at the UMB Bank Pavilion (formerly Riverport Amphitheater) in Maryland Heights, Missouri, is filmed and recorded for a live release, with each artist's set being released as separate installments by their respective labels.
  • (07/18/2004): As the news comes out about torture of prisoners of war in the Abu Ghraib detention facility, President Bush's ratings drop to around 46 percent, and Senator Kerry's chances gain momentum.
  • (07/23/2004): President Bush's campaign releases an ad touting his supposed success in the War on Terror, especially boasting about routing the Taliban and deposing Saddam Hussein. Many compare it to his father's "fight against the wimp factor."
  • (08/03/2004): The Vote for Change tour concludes at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California. Cobain looks exhausted by the end. Theron and the children are there to escort him for the trip back home.
  • (08/06/2004): Production on the TV series rendition of The Devil's Advocate is set to begin in November, with the pilot episode, focusing on Kevin and Mary Ann Lomax after the end of the film and directed by Taylor Hackford, to be filmed in Gainesville and Micanopy, Florida. Other directors for the other episodes will film simultaneously in their other locations at the exact same time.
  • (08/10/2004): Nirvana begins making demos of material for their next album. The plan is to hopefully begin recording the album proper after Thanksgiving.
  • (08/18/2004): Springbok and Walt Disney Imagineering okay the final designs for the interactive Ken Burns documentary attraction at Disney's America, to be entitled "Ken Burns Presents America: The Trail of Progress."
  • (08/20/2004): Springbok sees the final cut of its latest animated project, The Polar Express, directed by Robert Zemeckis and produced in conjunction with ImageMovers and their new division, ImageMovers Digital, dedicated to creating animated films using motion capture. The response at this screening is ecstatic. "I think we have another winner on our hands," Jennifer Todd muses.
  • (08/23/2004): Springbok announces the purchase of several new independent record labels to add considerable assets to them. Among them are Sh-K Boom Records, a pop label started by Sherie Rene Scott, along with its associated musical theater label Ghostlight Records, for a sum of $7 million. Springbok also buys Compendia Media Group, notably its prime label Intersound Records (most known for signing Kansas in the '90s and having no distribution deal with a major label but an in-house system going direct to retailers, much like Exploitation Records has now), for the same sum. When queried about whether these labels will still have albums released under their names or simply be rebranded as Exploitation Records, Walter Yetnikoff is evasive. "There are a lot of angles we are considering with these labels, a lot of things to work out."
  • (08/24/2004): After a day of chewing over the matter, it is decided to rebrand the newly-purchased record labels under the Exploitation Records name, and also promise to reissue all material that was released under the old names for the public, especially doing deluxe editions of Kansas' albums on Intersound or under Compendia's other labels like River North, the 1992 live album and video Live at the Whisky, the 1995 studio album Freaks of Nature, and the 1997 symphonic re-recordings record Always Never the Same.
  • (08/26/2004): Springbok officially heads to Florida to check on the construction progress of Disney's America. Everything seems on track for opening day of July 8, 2005.
  • (08/29/2004): At a party held at Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch to mark his 46th birthday, Disney provides the first look at their upcoming new animated film for December, Brother Bear. The film centers around a young early Inuit man named Kenai, and how a journey to avenge the death of his older brother at the hands of a bear leads to him becoming one himself in a journey of self-discovery along with helping a young cub named Koda be reunited with his mother. Notable performers are Joaquin Phoenix as Kenai, and Chris Farley and David Spade as two of Kenai's most constant companions, a pair of moose that follow him and Koda around despite often barging in unwanted. The film seems to have done its job well at its first viewing, though notably it will have butt in onto any potential market for The Polar Express and its mid-November release. Meanwhile, the script for the Jackson vehicle MidKnight has officially been locked down and film is set to begin in two weeks under the direction of Joe Pytka, notable for directing many music videos (including quite a few of Jackson's) as well as Space Jam. The film is set to release this time next year.
  • (09/04/2004): As of this moment, Senator Kerry seems to have a solid lead in the polls, with 61 percent of the proposed vote. During this period, right-wing media like Rush Limbaugh and Fox News resort to brazen personal attacks on his character and record, notably his service in Vietnam prior to speaking out against the war. At the same time, Nirvana begin having discussions with Rob Cavallo over the planned followup to Dixie Dope.
  • (09/06/2004): Springbok moves to begin talks with Icon Productions, Mel Gibson's production company that is currently hot off the success of the beloved and controversial picture Passion of the Christ, to consider a three-picture deal to collaborate together on. Gibson's partner, Australian producer Bruce Davey, states the offer is promising, especially with Jennifer Todd's promise to not interfere in Gibson's vision for his films.
  • (09/14/2004): Scott Weiland's second solo album, Contraband, is released by Exploitation Records. Notable on the album are a series of songs recorded by Slash, Duff McKagan and Matt Sorum of Guns N' Roses backing Weiland, including his bracing songs "Fall to Pieces", "Slither" and "Set Me Free." This collaboration came about when Weiland joined the three members onstage at a memorial concert for Randy Castillo, the former drummer for Ozzy Osbourne and replacement for Tommy Lee in Motley Crue, who died of stomach cancer in 2002. The four of them made a deal to work together in the future for this album, but schedules first had to be cleared regarding STP and GNR commitments. Critics praise the album. "Whereas Weiland's first album, 12 Bar Blues, was fairly experimental and varied in its approach, this is a raw, down and dirty, grimy rock record," David Fricke states in Rolling Stone. "It connotes both the best of '80s sleaze with '90s abrasiveness, with Slash's bluesy undercurrents coming to the fore."
  • (09/17/2004): As preparations for the 2004 Presidential debates, starting in Coral Gables, Florida, get underway, Democratic Senator Max Cleland is asked about what will happen should President Bush win reelection. "You've seen what has happened since 9/11. There has been an urgency in the Democratic Party that was long missing. We managed to regain Congress in 2002, and were able to hold a considerable amount of President Bush's non-war related policies in check. Under our leadership, America ratified the Kyoto Protocols and is firmly committed to combating global warming in a responsible manner; we overhauled the No Child Left Behind Act to something more palatable for both parties, if not necessarily as far reaching as it should be; we're starting the road to actual reform for Social Security and Medicare; and reversed the road of budget cuts for NASA for the first time in decades. We still have a lot of work to do, of course, because the Bush administration and the Republican Party is determined to obstruct us at every turn, and prevented a lot more from being done. Simply put, if President Bush wins again, it's going to be more of the same for us, and it'll pave the road for a definite White House victory in 2008."
  • (09/20/2004): A listening party for Elton John's first album with Exploitation Records, Peachtree Road, is held at Centerstage Atlanta. Like the album suggests, it was recorded in Atlanta, paying homage to the street by his American home, and is notably the first album which John has produced by himself. Carrying influences of gospel and country, it's a notably sedate and reflective album. In addition, a workshop production for the musical Lestat is announced to take place at the same venue in two weeks.
  • (09/22/2004): Rumors of a protest concert at the University of Miami campus in Coral Gables on the eve of the debate begin to spread, with conflicting reports of different artist lineups in mind. Notably, none of the people named as allegedly organizing the concert either confirm or deny the report.
  • (09/24/2004): Denver and Delilah Animation and Don Bluth unveil a teaser trailer for a film adaptation of Space Ace, pegged for release this time next year by New Line Cinema. New Line founder and head Robert Shaye personally expressed interest in the project as something to help keep the "mini major" studio in the running while waiting for Peter Jackson to buckle down to preparing The Hobbit as well as making them something more than "the house the Freddy Krueger built."
  • (09/26/2004): Exploitation Records announces that Aerosmith has officially been signed to the label for a price of $40 million. Back on March 30, the Bad Boys from Boston released a double album, Honkin' On BoBo (which saw them reunited with Jack Douglas in the producer's chair, along with Marti Frederiksen and assistance from the band), with one disc of blues covers (most notably featuring the likes of "Baby Please Don't Go" and "You Gotta Move"), and a second disc of original material. Especially notable on the second disc are certain songs written in the past that have now been finished off, such as "Sedona Sunrise", "Devil's Got a New Disguise", "Black Cherry" and "Do You Wonder." This album fulfilled Aerosmith's contract with Columbia Records/Sony Music, leaving them free agents. While the band has been on tour to promote the record, negotiations for a new label were held on various calls. Exploitation Records managed to snag them, as well as secure a deal to release a solo project for Steven Tyler somewhere down the line. Joe Perry, while also interested in doing solo releases in the future, has decided against using Exploitation Records to release such material, instead forming his own label, Roman Records (after one of his sons), with a distribution deal via Jimmy Buffett's label Mailboat Records. Likewise, Exploitation Records was also not able to secure a deal for a hypothetical Whitford/St. Holmes reunion record, which is snapped up by Mailboat directly. Walter Yetnikoff crows about the deal in the press release. "Aerosmith have always been among the undisputed greats of American hard rock, and it brings me great joy to be involved in their future, with a deal that will allow them to flourish artistically. Any investment in them is absolutely sound." Longtime A&R representative and friend John Kalodner is likewise pleased. "I've been with the band through thick and thin, during their comeback at Geffen, to their homecoming at Columbia, and now Aerosmith is going to take flight like never before."
  • (09/30/2004): Despite the rumors, the protest concert on the eve of the first presidential debate turns out not to come to fruition. As for the debate itself, Senator Kerry ekes out a considerable lead with an impressive performance, while President Bush seems to flounder and not know what word to say next, constantly repeating himself. Many pundits begin to predict that a Democratic victory in November is forthcoming.
  • (10/02/2004): Writing and demos for the followup to Dixie Dope proceed at a fairly brisk pace. The band decides that this will be more of a straight-ahead punk album than the last one, retaining only Cavallo as producer this time around, though they are open to other influences. At the same time, Cobain suddenly begins discussions regarding framing the videos of both albums together into a coherent story, parts one and two. He broaches this idea with an unlikely figure, Samuel Bayer, who directed the "Smells Like Teen Spirit" video, and who famously fell out with Cobain because of how it was shot. Feeling that there might be a way for both their visions to complement each other this time around, both begin begin to work out a treatment for this idea. Cobain is also aware that Bayer longs to follow other music video directors and branch out into film.
  • (10/04/2004): New Line Cinema founder and head Robert Shaye officially announces a three-picture release deal with Springbok Productions. Talk over what other types of movies can fit the deal begin to surface. During a conversation, Shaye, his partner Michael Lynne, Theron and Jennifer Todd suddenly start talking about the notorious 1981 film Mommie Dearest, and how it utterly failed as drama. This plants a seed of maybe seeing if Christina Crawford can be persuaded to allow another chance to do her account justice.
  • (10/06/2004): While prepping for the second Presidential debate at Washington University in St. Louis, President Bush holds a rally in Kansas City, during which he hurls an attack on Nirvana. "I think it's fair to say that hooligan bands like these are a corrupting influence on the youth of today, an eroding impact on respect for family and authority."
  • (10/08/2004): During the second presidential debate, President Bush is far more prepared this time around, and the media moves to declare him the winner of this round, even despite Senator Kerry scoring massive points regarding policy. At the same time, a PowerPoint showing the planned arc of the two Nirvana albums and the videos is shown as a proof of concept. Samuel Bayer manages to convince Cobain's bandmates to allow him the chance. Around the same time, the DVD release of Shrek 2 is done. When it released back in March, it had marked the end of a frustrating process of actually getting it all together, due to Janeane Garafalo refusing to reprise the role of Fiona, making it the only obstacle. In the end, she was replaced by Mila Kunis, known for her part on That '70s Show and voicing Meg Griffin on Family Guy. As for the film itself, it was judged to be well worth the wait, with particular praise for Chris Farley's performance.
  • (10/13/2004): Danny Boyle, director and co-writer of Trainspotting and 28 Days Later, along with co-writer Simon Beaufoy, begin writing a script for Springbok's proposed new adaptation of Mommie Dearest on spec. Boyle also is angling to direct to the potential film as well. On the same evening, the third debate, held at Arizona State University in Tempe basically goes to a draw, though Senator Kerry retains a slim lead in the polls.
  • (10/16/2004): Springbok reveals their future plans for the next 5 years and beyond, announcing their expansion into video games and the creation of Enima Studios which will help produce and create English dubs of various anime projects.
  • (10/18/2004): Springbok's press release is officially the talk of the entertainment trades. Most notable is their focus on Springbok's deal with Icon Productions, and the language in it not at all alluding to the polarizing reception to Mel Gibson's most recent film, The Passion of the Christ, which was released back in the spring. The film, which depicted the final 24 hours in the life of Jesus, was subject to a firestorm of controversy over its apparent focus on the torture suffered at the hands of the Romans and Jews over his message of forgiveness, as well as being labeled anti-Semitic for seeming to put considerable emphasis over the Jewish involvement in the crucifixion. Much is also made about Gibson's apparent fundamentalist Catholic leanings, particularly the beliefs of his father, Hutton Gibson, who has infamously made publications and statements denying the Holocaust.
  • (10/25/2004): An avalanche of blistering editorials, opinion pieces, and TV news segments dogpile on Springbok for the news of its alliance with Mel Gibson. The Anti-Defamation League, in particular, castigates the development quite viciously. "What Mr. Cobain and Ms. Theron fail to appreciate or understand is that in aligning with Mr. Gibson and his horrific film The Passion of the Christ, Springbok will be on track to normalize a new wave of anti-Semitism in this country and our public discourse. The film's whitewashing of Pilate's role in the crucifixion, its framing and lighting of the Jewish community and their particular appearance in the film, not to mention its excessive violence and focus on torture rather than Jesus' teachings, represents a new low for popular culture and its portrayal of the Jews. It is an abhorrent, appalling scene that makes Laurence Olivier's role in the 1980 version of The Jazz Singer seem tactful by comparison. And for every new attack on the Jewish faith that comes in the next few years, and from Mr. Gibson's mind, Cobain and Theron will share the blame."
  • (10/28/2004): From the November issue of Entertainment Weekly:

"Vampires' Last Dance on Broadway?"

The massively successful rock musical Dance of the Vampires, co-written and fully composed by Jim Steinman and produced by Springbok Productions, may close earlier than anticipated, if rumors are to be believed.

The show, an English-language translation of the successful German musical Tanz der Vampire, which is still running in Austria and Germany (though now revamped to match the U.S. production), premiered to massive ticket sales at the Minskoff Theatre in October 2002, buoyed by the cast, including the likes of Meat Loaf and Michael Crawford, as well as the now incredibly famous young talent Mandy Gonzalez as the female lead. The cast recording and concept albums released by Springbok's Exploitation Records, continue to sell extremely well, and even managed to find a surprisingly large amount of exposure on radio, MTV and VH1. A concert video of the production with the original cast has done likewise, eclipsing even the success of the 1998 video of Cats, and is constantly rerun on the BBC and PBS. And despite plenty of objections by the press, the audience clearly made it a massive hit, as well as nabbing a surprise number of Tony Awards at the 2003 ceremony, for Loaf, Crawford, Gonzalez and Steinman.

However, ticket sales for the New York version have started to wane recently. This trend started to some degree after Loaf and Crawford filled out their year-long contracts and decided not to renew, with Loaf going back to release the hit album Bat Out of Hell III and then out on the road to promote it, and Crawford being free to play the role of the villainous Count Fosco in Andrew Lloyd Webber's most recent production, The Woman in White, on the West End. There were supremely talented replacements for the lead male roles, with Drew Sarich taking over for Loaf, and Rene Auberjonois for Crawford, being the latter's first stage musical since City of Angels. But quite a few audience members lamented the loss of the original cast, and began stating in online reviews that the experience wasn't quite the same anymore. "Meat Loaf and Michael Crawford ARE DOTV," one such review on Playbill.com states. Some people even state betrayal at Springbok's part, for their decision to produce another vampire musical, Lestat, which will have a San Francisco tryout in late 2005 before premiering in New York the following spring. This musical will be based on the popular book series by Anne Rice, and composed by Elton John and Bernie Taupin. "How DARE KC and CT give up on DOTV and move to promote that MOR shlock instead?!", says one posting.

Furthermore, it is a known truism that Broadway productions tend to be fairly expensive ("costing four times more than they do anywhere else", as one source puts it), particularly with Actors' Equity rates in New York and paying full rates to standby orchestra members even when they don't work, a problem that can sink productions even if they are successful and actually making a profit. Such was the case with the Broadway version of Des McAnuff and Pete Townshend's stage musical production of Tommy, with rising operating costs due to its heavy usage of effects and union rates for actors and standby musicians. Supposedly, when Auberjonois came on to the show, his agent, Peter Strain, asked for a considerable salary for his client during negotiations, somewhat more than usual for an actor of his status, which could possibly be draining away at the weekly profits. Some also posit that certain people are refusing to pay tickets to attend the show as an act of protest against Springbok's recent decision to award a three-picture deal to Mel Gibson, given the firestorm of controversy surrounding his recent film, The Passion of the Christ. There is also the fact Steinman has not been seen around outside or near the show lately, apparently due to cardiac health issues requiring physical therapy. (Calls to Steinman's manager David Sonenberg for a comment went unanswered.)

Jerry Weintraub, the film and music mogul who is an individual producer of DOTV as well as a major figure in Springbok, categorically denies the reports. "We have no intention of closing the show. Our plan, Jim's plan, has always been to run for at least four years at the Minskoff, and we have the profits to justify it. There is still a considerable crowd at the performances, and they love the show just as much, even without Meat and Crawford. Rene is a class act, and hasn't been difficult at all, any talk of playing hardball with his salary is simply not true. In addition, all these so called 'fan boycott' theories tend to be pure hogwash. They never have anywhere near enough power to derail films or shows and tank them. The numbers speak for themselves. As regarding Jim's health, to the best of my knowledge, it is excellent and he's doing quite fine. I think I would know if he'd had a heart attack or a stroke."

Regardless of whether or not DOTV bows out on Broadway sooner than expected, the show itself won't be hurt. Besides the revamped German-language version, it has received a rapturous welcome in London, Toronto, Los Angeles, Sydney, Tokyo, Warsaw, Paris, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Copenhagen, St. Gallen, and Mexico City. A massive North American tour has been rolling out to great success, and a U.K. tour is doing likewise.

  • (11/02/2004): On Election Night, many polls are confidently predicting Senator Kerry as the clear winner. However, to everyone's surprise, President Bush is announced as the victor, apparently claiming 51 percent of the popular vote as well. However, Kerry's campaign and several prominent Democrats smell a rat, and posit that there is something fishy with the returns from Ohio, particularly in counties that Kerry was leading in considerably. They demand an audit of voting machines in those counties, particularly those owned by the Diebold corporation.
  • (11/04/2004): While controversy over the Ohio returns continues to swirl, Springbok debates whether or not to issue a public statement to defend their deal with Gibson. Supposedly, Cobain isn't particularly keen to do so, and also isn't particularly enthused about the deal itself at all, given his and Gibson's different social views. Of course, as a figurehead more than anything else regarding Springbok, he has little actual power in terms of controlling and reversing company decisions after they have been made. In the end, it is voted to begin preparing a defense.
  • (11/07/2004): Springbok issues their official defense, with some additional lines about Jim Steinman's health provided by David Sonenberg. "We made our deal with Icon Productions because we are fully aware of Mel Gibson's incredible skill and talent as a director, and he has the accolades and success to prove it. Our deal will allow him to create even more, with plenty of latitude to do as he pleases, no restraints on him whatsoever. Furthermore, in our personal dealings with Mel, we have seen him as a funny, humble, warm man, with a passion for making films the best he can. He has demonstrated quite clearly that he is not an anti-Semite, that he is quite different from his father. We cannot judge the son for the father's failings. We are confident that this deal will pay out rich dividends to everyone...On another note, regarding reports of Jim Steinman's physical condition, we must sadly confirm that it is true. Jim had a heart attack recently, followed by a stroke, and needed to enter therapy to learn how to walk and talk again. As David Sonenberg can attest, Jim has had 'One Rock And Roll Too Many', continuing to indulge in coke, pot and wine well past time he should've stopped. Not even the coke-induced heart attack that killed John Entwistle of The Who made him slow down. Hopefully, this will talk some sense into him, and we wish Jim nothing but the best."
  • (11/10/2004): Despite the controversy of the Ohio returns, President Bush delivers a message effectively asking for the matter to be dropped before the electors meet and for certification in Congress to proceed smoothly. "I've got the will of the people behind my back," taking his apparent popular vote win margin as a mandate.
  • (11/14/2004): Nirvana officially blocks time at Bad Animals Studios in Seattle to begin recording the followup to Dixie Dope, with plans to release the album by this time next year.
  • (11/17/2004): Planet Hollywood adds former Kentucky Governor John Y. Brown, Jr., to its board of directors. Besides his one term as governor, Brown is best known for helping expand KFC to international franchise status, and assisting with the expansion of Miami Subs Pizza & Grill and Texas Roadhouse, as well as founding Kenny Rogers' Roasters and Roadhouse Grill. Cobain and Theron end up having equity stakes in Roadhouse Grill, in addition to their continued stake in Miami Subs.
  • (11/20/2004): Tracking for the new Nirvana album begins in earnest.
  • (11/25/2004): Jennifer Todd is interviewed by Charlie Rose regarding the secret to Springbok's success, particularly with films, as well as to once again defend the Icon Productions deal. "This ties in quite nicely," she states. "Icon fully finances their films, so that the studios are never on the hook in terms of making them financially successful. We don't necessarily go that far, because of how our money is spread, but we provide up to half of our films' budgets, and we also take on a great chunk of the marketing budget as well. The idea is to shrink the studios' burden and thus make it easier for our projects to break even and be profitable. With lower hurdles to clear in terms of the combined budget and marketing costs, this will make it so that nine times out of ten, we will rake in massive profits." Rose prods her about the legendary figures involved in helping run the different divisions. "You have me, Jerry Weintraub, Robert Evans, Al Ruddy, Michael De Luca and Bill Mechanic heading the studio part. There's Irving Azoff, Don Ienner, Walter Yetnikoff and Jason Flom at Exploitation Records. Much of the old Fox Animation Studio staff heads our animation division. Michael Ovitz is there to help us rein in a lot of the best actors for projects. And there are our industry connections that are friends in a personal and financial sense. And we're actually in talks to bring Jon Peters and Peter Guber into the fold." When Rose queries whether or not this is merely a case of too many cooks, Todd shrugs it off. "We know how to balance egos, keep leadership tight at the wheel, and ensure that we're not stepping on each other's toes. You know about Pixar and their 'brain trust' meetings, where everyone in all parts of the company gets to talk frankly about projects? Disney has employed that model to themselves as a whole, and so have we, and believe me, it works. Besides, all that combined leadership experience will pay dividends." When the interview ends, on the way out, Todd overhears a conversation between Rose and a female staffer that raises a red flag.
  • (11/30/2004): Lawrence Kasanoff, co-founder of James Cameron's production company Lightstorm Entertainment and founder and CEO of his own company, Threshold Entertainment (which is responsible for producing the film and television tie-ins for Mortal Kombat), approaches Springbok to ask for assistance and an infusion of cash. The reason is to find funding for Threshold's first animated project, Foodfight!, basically Toy Story set in a supermarket. The film was set to have premiered last year, but the animation work was stolen from the company two years prior, and Kasanoff has decided to try to rebuild the film from scratch. Notably, he states that he wants to combine the "squash and stretch" style of Looney Tunes shorts with the realism allowed by motion capture. Jennifer Todd looks over the proposal and the script, and gives a hard pass. "What you're proposing simply can't be done. You can't get over the top and exaggerated while still using mocap. The script makes no sense at all, and the only thing that would attract people is the sponsorship inclusions, half of which you've lost already. This isn't going to work, Larry."
  • (12/03/2004): A reading for the stage transfer of Tarzan is held in New York. It's a very rough version, expected to be smoothed out with future workshops. David Henry Hwang and David Ives are credited as the librettists for the production.
  • (12/08/2004): Former Marine Nathan Gale is restrained as he rushes with a gun in hand to attack the members of Damageplan, a side project formed by "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott and Vinnie Paul formed after the breakup of Pantera, during their performance at a nightclub in Columbus, Ohio. Apparently, Gale is suffering psychotic PTSD-triggered episodes, apparently also convinced that the members of Pantera are stealing song ideas from his thoughts. The band takes an hour to calm down for deciding to resume the performance.
  • (12/10/2004): During a break in recording, Cobain receives a call from Phil Anselmo, whom he is a vaguely acquainted with, regarding the attempted attack on Damageplan. Cobain is quite matter of fact. "Look, whatever is happening between the four of you, you have to get all this shit dealt with. You may never get another chance, so take advantage of what you have."
  • (12/12/2004): Director Michael Bay reemerges on the scene, having not made a film since Armageddon, while his attempt to make a film about the Pearl Harbor attack, from a script by Braveheart scribe Randall Wallace, fell apart when intended star Ben Affleck decided to take a hiatus from acting at that time and put together his own production company, Pearl Street. Bay did put his energies elsewhere at the time by creating a production company, Platinum Dunes, with Andrew Form and Brad Fuller, with a vision to create "high-budget commercial films on low budgets, and give promising young directors (mostly from music videos, like Bay's own background) a chance in the industry." The first such film under this plan was a remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, filmed with $20 million, directed by music video artist Marcus Nispel, and starring the likes of Jessica Biel and R. Lee Ermey, released back in October 2003. However, while the movie was a financial success, it was not embraced by the critics or the public at large, decrying the glossy "MTV-style" sheen given to the story, and barely made an impact besides making double its budget back, hardly the breakaway success that Bay is used to, especially given his marketing savvy. As a result, Platinum Dunes' slate has been put on hold with the exception of a prequel to Chainsaw, set to be directed by Jonathan Liebesman, a South African director whose first feature film, Sony's 2003 horror film Darkness Falls, made considerable box office but was slammed by critics and horror fans, Meanwhile Bay has been tending to his first film as a director in almost a decade, The Island. Notably, the film is not being released by Disney/Touchstone like his previous two films or produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, like all three of his previous films, choosing instead to have DreamWorks release in North America and Warner Bros. handle overseas distribution, and Walter Parkes and Laurie McDonald produce. The film will release in the late summer or early fall, and is a pastiche of dystopian, clone-based stories such THX 1138 and Logan's Run, with also some blatant lifting from Blade Runner, and stars Ewan McGregor, Scarlett Johansson, Sean Bean, Djimon Hounsou and Steve Buscemi. All eyes are on Bay to see if he can continue his incredible box office success after so long away.
  • (12/15/2004): During a meeting to discuss postproduction of Batman Begins, assess the rushes for Memoirs of a Geisha, and view the completed episodes of Squidbillies and Avatar: The Last Airbender, Jennifer Todd lets out the disturbing conversation she heard between Charlie Rose and one of his staffers. "She seemed really afraid of him, like she didn't want to be in the same room as him. And his condescending attitude didn't help matters at all." This definitely sets off alarm bells to everyone present, but they state that if they are to move on it, it must be done quietly, without giving off their involvement. "Charlie Rose is one of the most respected journalists out there," Bill Mechanic muses. "If word gets out that Springbok is personally involved in checking out whether there is something fishy about him, we are going to be crucified and accused of trying to blackball unfriendly press, or doing controlled spin over the Mel Gibson thing."
  • (12/16/2004): Springbok adds several more notable producers to the fold. Besides the aforementioned Jon Peters and Peter Guber, known for their work with Warner Bros., MGM, and their brief tenure heading Sony Pictures soon after the Japanese conglomerate purchased Columbia Pictures and TriStar Pictures and merged them together, it is announced that Alan Ladd, Jr., Ted Field and Robert W. Cort will also join. Ladd ran 20th Century Fox in the '70s (and personally took on the risk to greenlight Star Wars), was on the board of MGM/UA during 1985-1991, and created The Ladd Company, which produced the likes of Blade Runner, Police Academy and The Right Stuff, and was also a co-producer of Braveheart. Field and Cort formed the old Interscope Communications film production company, and Field also was responsible with founding Interscope Records with Jimmy Iovine back when it was a joint venture with Atlantic Records. Field will thus help with both the film production as well as Exploitation Records. In addition, Leonard Soloway, Elizabeth Williams and Anita Waxman officially join to manage Springbok's stage theater division, especially in helping the plans for Tarzan.
  • (12/19/2004): Disney announces that unlike its previous stage musicals, Tarzan will not have an out-of-town tryout before it premieres in New York, which is expected to be in the summer of 2006, around the time that Lestat also arrives. When queried about this departure from tradition, Walt Disney Theatrical head Thomas Schumacher shrugs. "Very little has tended to change from tryout to initial previews with our musicals, with the exception of Aida, and this is bound to be a smoother process, creatively speaking, than that, so there is not particularly much of a point for a tryout. Besides, as a friend once said, 'I like the preview audiences being the New York audiences. They're right there, telling you what to fix, there's no BS about it.'" Regarding the actual production, Schumacher has plenty to say. "Phil Collins is coming up with great new songs to add to the ones he wrote for the original movie, and we couldn't be more excited. David Henry Hwang, a great writer, came up with an impressive first draft of the book, and we knew he would be a great fit after his rewrite work on Aida. David Ives has come on to do his usual 'cut two-thirds and extract the essence' to help make the production tighter and sharpen things considerably. And we're planning a great physical production with impressive, highly exciting acrobatic stunts in the vein of a Cirque du Soleil show to recreate the full effect of Tarzan's incredible agility as shown in the movie. We're not just having actors swing like a pendulum on a harness, back and forth, we're going for something far more impressive and profound. A lot of theaters that we would have had a tryout in aren't equipped to handle what we have in mind, so we need to start in New York. That said, we're going to have several more readings and a few workshop productions all across the country to help ensure the book is finely-tuned in the meantime. Expect to see as many as six such occurrences throughout 2005."
  • (12/22/2004): On a whim, Jennifer Todd contacts her sister Suzanne about her misgivings regarding Charlie Rose. Suzanne states that she will take action personally and ensure that it doesn't fall back on Springbok. She then hires a private investigator to look into the situation and report back, with a decision to then personally leak anything that comes out to The Hollywood Reporter.
  • (12/25/2004): Cobain and Theron, the children and Wendy O'Connor host a Christmas benefit at the Capitol Records Building, with the proceeds going to both their respective charities. During the benefit, Cobain fields questions about the record Nirvana is working on. "Well, it's more of a straightforward punk album, though there is a song or two with Celtic undertones. James Horner and Simon Franglen will help arrange them. It's also the first album we've done using Pro Tools." As for Theron, she's asked about the films that she has starred in that are non-Springbok in the meantime. "I had a lot of fun doing The Italian Job and Head in the Clouds, though I've always kept a close eye on what is happening here. I have far more involvement in the daily operations than Kurt does, though not as much as Jennifer and the others. But doing these other films helps pay the bills, and I have to stay in the game." Speaking of games, Springbok is confirmed to be producing the console ports of the PC phenomenon Half-Life 2 and to fully produce and assist in the active development of the future projects of developer Valve Software.

2005[]

  • (01/03/2005): During the certification for the 2004 U.S. Presidential election, the Congressional Black Caucus and Senator Barbara Boxer file a challenge to the Ohio electoral results. The result merely delays the process for a few hours, before they are allowed to stand and officially validate President Bush's reelection.
  • (01/07/2005): Actor Brad Renfro is hospitalized after a failed suicide attempt with carbon monoxide poisoning. A note that says "Fuck you, Bryan" is later found at the scene. Speculation abounds as to what the note means.
  • (01/09/2005): Disney announces that the opening date for Disney's America has been moved up to the Fourth of July. In addition, all revenue on that day will go completely to various charities, including Nevermind...We're Here To Help! and the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project.
  • (01/11/2005): While recovering in the hospital, Brad Renfro releases a public statement that also underlies the crux of his troubles with addiction and the law: that while starring in the film Apt Pupil, director Bryan Singer repeatedly violated him, along with several other teenage actors. This also apparently is a habitual pattern of abuse on the director's part. He also states that he is worried about guests at a series of house parties Singer has held with director Roland Emmerich, which much of the gay section of Hollywood has attended frequently. "There's clearly something going on there."
  • (01/13/2005): Bryan Singer emphatically denies the allegations against him. "This is a smear campaign because some homophobic journalists clearly got to a very troubled young man and want to take advantage of him. Many people despise me for my sexuality, and this is just an extension of that."
  • (01/16/2005): Several actors who have been extras in Singer's films come out with their own allegations against him. Also exposed is Singer's involvement with a gay pornography company entitled DEN Entertainment, especially the story of a young man named Michael Egan, who was repeatedly violated by the members of that company, and which Singer, Garth Ancier, head of programming for The WB, as well as Universal Creative head Gary Goddard often dropped in on. At the same time, the private investigator Suzanne Todd hired to look into Charlie Rose returns with some preliminary findings that are disturbing. He is prompted to keep digging.
  • (01/20/2005): On the day President Bush is sworn in for a second term, Springbok announces that it is doing special limited theatrical re-release of Disney's 2002 adaptation of Tuck Everlasting, which it has now gained future ownership rights of. The intention is also to hold a special lecture on the lessons of the story and the questions it poses.
  • (01/25/2005): Basic tracking for the new Nirvana album is considered complete. Additional overdubs, particularly James Horner and Simon Franglen's arrangements, are scheduled to take place shortly at the sound studios at Skywalker Ranch, during a viewing of the final cut of the last chapter in the Star Wars prequel trilogy, Revenge of the Sith.
  • (01/27/2005): Denver and Delilah Animation and New Line Cinema announce that Don Bluth's film adaptation of Space Ace is scheduled to premiere on August 17. With this, 2005 is shaping up to be Springbok's busiest year yet. At the same time, rumblings emerge that 20th Century Fox and The Donners' Company, responsible for the X-Men franchise, are parting ways with Bryan Singer and his production company, Bad Hat Harry Productions, for involvement in any future installments. Likewise, Singer himself is being pummeled with calls to step away from the company and sell it off, which he is currently refusing. This particularly comes as it has been branching off into television production, with its first such show, House, M.D., created by David Shore, has been growing from strength to strength in its debut season, and Singer himself directed the pilot episode.
  • (01/30/2005): With the full findings from the private investigator, the worst fears are confirmed regarding Charlie Rose and his behavior. Now, Springbok mulls over how to act on the information.
  • (02/01/2005): Several female staffers who have worked under Rose come out with allegations of sexual harassment and mistreatment. At the announcement of the news, PBS states that they are suspending Rose while they investigate the claims.
  • (02/02/2005): The following day, Rose goes on the attack. "These claims against me are absolutely unfounded. Never in my life have I treated women with anything other than the utmost respect, especially as those I've interviewed can attest to. I also can't help but suspect that a certain party, upset by the questions I asked them in an interview, simply wants their own back against me."
  • (02/05/2005): The Michael Jackson vehicle, MidKnight is officially set to be released on October 12, while Memoirs of a Geisha is set for December 9. Coupled with the June release of Batman Begins and the release of the sci-fi heist adventure Diamond Dogs starring Ray Liotta on April 13, as well as Code Lyoko: Glitch in the System in June and Space Ace in August, Springbok is set to make over $1 billion at the box office for the first time in its career. On the same day, Courtney Love resurfaces with the announcement that she and her former bandmates in Hole have settled their differences and will reunite, as well as having secured a five-album deal with Interscope Records. "I truly am happy for Kurt, and am glad that he's really made it in the world. But I definitely want to stand on my own two feet here, and I'm going to make it by myself. I've always wanted it that way."
  • (02/09/2005): After years of waiting, the trial of Harvey Weinstein for numerous counts of sexual assault, sexual assault with intoxicating substances, sexual harassment, conspiracy to conceal crimes, blackmail, slander and libel, finally begins. Originally set to begin in early 2001, the trial kept being delayed as more and more victims of Weinstein came forward with their stories, more charges were added to the indictment, and delaying tactics by Weinstein's own lawyers. At the moment, Weinstein is quite confident that he will beat the rap. "I know that the court, and history, will vindicate me."
  • (02/11/2005): Script offers are sent to Springbok in regards to a screenplay based off of the rise and fall of Harvey Weinstein.
  • (02/14/2005): Exploitation Records receives a message from a group calling themselves Thistle, clearly angling for a record deal. No one, not even those who keep their ear on the underground or bar circuits, remotely knows who this band is. The issue is brought to Cobain, but he has no idea either. "Maybe Courtney will know who they are." He pays a visit to Love to ask her. "Thistle? They're great! Especially since JT Leroy writes their lyrics." When Cobain makes it clear he doesn't know who that is, she gives him a series of books. "He's one of the best, and he does a lot of appearances and readings."
  • (02/15/2005): Cobain starts researching the group after being informed about it.
  • (02/20/2005): After reading JT Leroy's novels Sarah and The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things, as well as checking out Asia Argento's adaptation of the latter, Cobain learns there is a reading that Leroy will be holding in Portland, Oregon, in a week, and Thistle will be performing at it. He makes a reservation for the event.
  • (02/27/2005): Cobain proceeds on to the Portland reading. What he sees is a figure, wearing an obviously fake blonde wig and sunglasses, with an unconvincing Southern accent, clearly sounding very feminine. Thistle consists of just a female singer and a male guitarist, while another woman, calling herself Speedie, and speaking in a harsh English accent and often speaking for JT when taking questions, seems to keep JT on a tight leash. Cobain calls back at Springbok. "This JT Leroy is clearly a girl, and probably isn't even the one writing. Someone's controlling everything and pushing this girl out to appear in public. I don't know why, but I'm not gonna blow the whistle on this. I don't need to be involved in this."
  • (03/01/2005): President Bush announces a daring plan to privatize Social Security is coming down the pike for later review. Of course, many point out that such a scheme has no chance of being passed in the Democratic Congress, but clearly the administration remains fixated on it for some odd reason.
  • (03/07/2005): The pilot episode of the anthology series version of The Devil's Advocate premieres on The WB to rave reviews and ratings. As Rex Reed states in a rare review of a TV project, "as a continuation of Kevin and Mary Ann Lomax's story, it truly is impressive. Though Keanu Reeves still can't do a Southern accent to save his life, in every other respect, his performance has improved, as has Theron's. And Pacino once again steals the show in his menacing role. It is a bit sad that the show will only consist of 20 episodes, and this is the last we will see of the Lomaxes, but thankfully, it should be worth it."
  • (03/09/2005): Nirvana is officially booked to appear at the Philadelphia performance of Bob Geldof's latest concert venture, Live 8, to try to convince the G8 nations to cancel debt payments for impoverished African nations and put a dent in poverty, on July 2.
  • (03/10/2005): Dick Cheney is interviewed on PBS NewsHour. Due to Cheney's constant advice and President Bush freezing out Elizabeth Dole, she had a temper tantrum regarding it as the 2004 campaign heated up. "If you're going to use him to give you advice on every little thing, why am I even here?! He may as well take the VP slot!" This was done, and Cheney became Bush's running mate. Jim Lehrer probes Cheney. "What has been different in the administration since you've taken the Vice Presidency?" Cheney shrugs his shoulders. "I would say that things are more or less the same. President Bush and his Cabinet are doing much the same as they always have, and there's been no real chaos over this transition at all. It's been operating quite smoothly."
  • (03/13/2005): Meryl Poster announces that Disney's distribution arm is formally changing names, dropping the Buena Vista name from major use, with the exception of Buena Vista Home Entertainment on a "use it or lose it" basis. The distribution arm is now named Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, and that name shall be used not only in all future films, but used to replace on all films released under the Buena Vista name. "What difference does this make?" Poster asks. "Admittedly, not that much, other than it officially signifies that The Walt Disney Company controls its own films, and its own destiny."
  • (03/17/2005): During the Weinstein trial, a videotaped testimony and cross examination of Rose McGowan is played. During cross, Weinstein's lawyer retorts that McGowan came on to Weinstein and "just regretted it later." She is also castigated for comments spun as refusing to consider caring for pedophilia victims, and laughing at some people's associations with figures like Michael Jackson. McGowan is damaged somewhat, but clearly seems to have won the day.
  • (03/19/2005): Springbok announces that Warren Spector will officially head their video games division. Spector is best known for his work on Deus Ex and Deus Ex: Invisible War, as well as helping with the design of System Shock.
  • (03/22/2005): Theron and Cobain announce that Springbok will be producing their very own game as well, which is an open world action-adventure game entitled Zophre. Details remain sparse at this moment, although it is alleged that the game will focus on the fantasy world of a man with schizophrenia and the enemies it faces that want to destroy it.
  • (03/24/2005): Warren Spector lays a tentative release date for Zophyre for November 2006, though this is admittedly subject to change, especially with plans to study the tech and inner workings of the upcoming seventh generation of video game consoles, the Xbox 360, the PlayStation 3, and Nintendo's yet to be announced console. At the very least, the first look at the game will come at the 2006 Electronic Entertainment Expo, and much progress shall have been made in 15 months. On the same day, PBS announces the conclusion of its investigation of Charlie Rose. "We must sadly conclude that the reports against Mr. Rose are credible. Therefore, we must officially terminate his employment at once. This is a very hard decision for us, as Mr. Rose was considered one of our best journalists."
  • (03/26/2005): During the Weinstein trial, lead prosecutor David Walgren brings on the head of Miramax's Italian division that broke Weinstein's wrongdoings to The Hollywood Reporter back in late 1998, detailing the ins and outs that happened during Weinstein's visits. The executive also states that Weinstein's brother Bob, while not fully aware of what was happening and not directly complicit in his brother's actions, failed in his job to protect those around him, or to take significant action. During cross examination, Weinstein's main lawyer, Robert Shapiro, attacks the executive, using Weinstein's claim repeated since '98 that Steven Spielberg, DreamWorks and Universal Pictures were largely responsible for breaking the allegations and "creating them wholesale" in order to boost Saving Private Ryan's chances at the Oscars. The same basic tactic occurs late in the day, when actress Asia Argento's videotaped testimony and cross examination is played, in which Shapiro attacks Argento's credibility, bringing claims that she seduced her way to get the the chance to adapt The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things and violated actor Jimmy Bennett on the set of that film. This clearly signifies that Bennett will be called during the defense's case, and that there is an obvious move to create one, if not several, trials within a trial to obfuscate the case, similar to how Shapiro and others, when representing O.J. Simpson during his criminal trial, made a large focus regarding the credibility of Mark Fuhrman. During an interview with MSNBC later that evening, famed lawyer Vincent Bugliosi, best known for convicting Charles Manson and the members of his "Family", as well as writing the book Helter Skelter and other notable true crime tomes, expresses outrage at Shapiro's actions. "Bob Shapiro and the other members of the Simpson 'Dream Team' got away with murder, in more than one sense, back in 1995 when they turned a case, that was supposed to be solely on Simpson, into whether Mark Fuhrman, because of his obvious intolerance, could plant evidence against Simpson solely because he was black, even though Simpson had never reached out the African-American community prior to the case. Hopefully, Mr. Walgren knows better than the prosecution in the Simpson case, and will not let this happen again."
  • (03/29/2005): Springbok announces that Dance of the Vampires will bow out from the Minskoff Theatre with a final performance on June 15 to make room for the Disney stage version of The Lion King. "Believe us, this is not the outcome that we wanted," Leonard Soloway, head of Springbok's musical theatre division, replied in a statement. "This show has been so beloved, and we were fully committed to entertaining the audiences for quite some time yet. But, with our other productions of the show elsewhere, including plenty of choices right here in the States (a North American tour and various regional productions in the likes of Atlanta, St. Louis, Denver, Houston and Fort Lauderdale), the fans won't be missing out on chances to see it. And we did have quite a healthy run on the Great White Way, so we can be proud of it."
  • (03/30/2005): Despite fierce protestations affirming his innocence, Bryan Singer is officially thrown out of his production company, Bad Hat Harry Productions, which is now placing itself and its assets on sale. On the same day, Andrea Constand, a former employee of Temple University, files a civil claim against Bill Cosby, claiming that he drugged and fondled her. Constand first made her allegations in January 2004, but this past February, the Montgomery County DA declined to prosecute, claiming that there was insufficient evidence. Thirteen women are named as potential witnesses if the case goes forward to trial. At the same time, California lawyer Tamara Lucier Green makes her own claims that Cosby drugged and assaulted her in the '70s. Through his lawyer, Cosby denies ever even knowing Green. At the moment, curiously, this sudden event is overshadowed by the Weinstein, Singer and Rose developments.
  • (04/03/2005): Bad Hat Harry's television assets, including House, M.D., are purchased by Springbok at a dirt cheap price. The film assets are purchased by The Donners' Company, the group formed by director Richard Donner and his wife, producer Lauren Shuler Donner, and which is heavily involved in the X-Men franchise, and of which production of a third film is underway, with a script by Zak Penn and Simon Kinberg, and to be directed by Brett Ratner. At the same time, Springbok announces plans to enter the market for financing documentaries, especially for the likes of HBO, PBS, the BBC, and so on. Among projects being considered are a massive documentary tracing the life and career of Tina Turner, and another about the Tucker Torpedo and Francis Ford Coppola's underappreciated film Tucker: The Man and His Dream.
  • (04/08/2005): Diamond Dogs premieres at the Ziegfeld Theatre in New York, five days to its opening. As a heist movie with a sci-fi edge, many state that it's comparatively derivative in its execution, while Ray Liotta's performance as the lead is universally praised. As a result, the film makes back the $70 million budget and $35 million in advertising, as well as making a modest profit, but overall the film mostly underperformed at the box office.
  • (04/14/2005): The new Nirvana album, Americaca, has officially finished all tracking, with expected plans to road test some of the tunes at the nighttime performance as part of Disney's America's opening day on the 4th of July. However, there is no expected timeline regarding when mixing and mastering will be done, or for a release date, as of yet.
  • (04/16/2005): Actor Sacha Baron Cohen, known for his series Da Ali G Show, and the characters created for that show, hatches an idea to make a This Is Spinal Tap-style mockumentary involving his character, Borat Sagdiyev, a journalist from Kazakhstan, traveling across America. Discussions are held about how it shall take shape.
  • (04/19/2005): Springbok officially joins in the production of Martin Scorsese's upcoming film, The Departed, a remake of the Hong Kong film Infernal Affairs, scripted by William Monahan and set in Boston, with the main antagonist now modeled on James "Whitey" Bulger, the infamous Irish-American gangster who was protected by the FBI in order to consolidate his control of the city, then fled the city after the arrangement was revealed to the press, and has been on the run and on the FBI's Most Wanted list since. Brad Pitt's Plan B Entertainment bought the rights from Media Asia back in 2003, both of which will be listed as production companies for the film along with Springbok, Graham King, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon's Pearl Street Films, and Vertigo Entertainment. Filming will begin shortly, with cast including the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio, Jack Nicholson, Alec Baldwin, Matt Damon and Mark Wahlberg.
  • (04/25/2005): Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan begins filming. One notable scene involves Cohen in character reciting the fabricated Kazhak national anthem while at a rodeo in Salem, Virginia. The event causes major controversy and is covered on local news networks, with the head of the rodeo, Bobby Rowe, unaware that Cohen was in character.
  • (04/26/2005): During a break in the Weinstein trial, he is spotted eating dinner, with David Geffen at a different table on the different side. There is quiet speculation about what, if anything, this means.
  • (04/29/2005): Fox News, having heard about the Salem rodeo event, officially offers an invitation to "Borat" to be interviewed by Sean Hannity. Cohen eagerly accepts.
  • (05/02/2005): Cohen, in disguise as Borat, partakes in the interview. Hannity is thoroughly humiliated by the end of it, with Cohen mocking conservative ideals and singing a reprise of the fabricated Kazhak anthem, before being pulled out of the studio by Ken Deviathan, in character as Azamat.
  • (05/03/2005): On that night's edition of Hannity & Colmes, token liberal Alan Colmes breaks tradition to throw some punches at Hannity, chuckling that "you certainly weren't prepared for what Borat had to say! I mean you couldn't get a word in edgewise." Hannity visibly fumes, and apparently expresses great displeasure at Colmes' comments to Fox News head Roger Ailes, and even News Corporation head Rupert Murdoch.
  • (05/04/2005): Hannity's awkward interview with the Kazakh journalist becomes a minor news story, with many on the right condemning Hannity for his inability to properly curtail the behavior of the man known as Borat Sagdiyev.
  • (05/05/2005): Elon Musk, a technocrat investor currently involved in bringing an electric car company named Tesla public and cars out to the public, officially pledges to inject another $2 billion into Springbok. By this time, Springbok also has lines of credit and equity infusions from KeyBank, Bank of America, JPMorganChase, Rothschild & Co., and HSBC. Unlike many of the majors and so on, Springbok does not seek loans from these banks, nor has ever drawn down from the credit lines at this point. It does some occasional debt transcations, mainly to roll commercial paper and ensure payroll, but these debts are small and paid within a month. The other sources of capital and Springbok's decision to reinvest 80 to 90 percent of its profits back into the company help keep it afloat and with minimal exposure.
  • (05/06/2005): During a rehearsal as Nirvana preps for their Live 8 and Disney's America sets and checks on the mixing of the new album, Theron lets Cobain know that they've had a message from "that foreign rodeo guy. He somehow has Springbok's number!"
  • (05/07/2005): Cobain does research on the identity of the suspicious foreign rodeo performer, correctly identifying him as Sacha Baron Cohen. Cohen asks to receive funding for his project from Springbok, which will allow the company to receive a cut of the film's profits. Cobain agrees and also promises to keep Cohen's identity a secret.
  • (05/09/2005): Cohen moves to get in touch, out of character, with Pamela Anderson, as the "plot" of the movie is meant to revolve around Borat traveling across America to make her his wife. Anderson, in on the joke, is quite happy and arranges to make sure that Cohen will be in attendance, in character, at a signing for her romans a clef entitled Star. Notably, she does not tell her boyfriend and fiancee, Kid Rock, about this development.
  • (05/17/2005): Borat films the climatic scene with Pamela Anderson. Although Anderson consented to the gag before it was filmed, her bodyguards were not informed of this stunt and as such, tackle Cohen as he attempts to seemingly kidnap Anderson. While this scene occurs toward the end of the film, Cohen intends to spend the next few months filming additional scenes to pad out the story and then logically order it.
  • (05/19/2005): Mixing on Americaca is complete, and it is scheduled for a release date of September 13.
  • (05/22/2005): Reviews for Squidbillies and Avatar: The Last Airbender are quite encouraging, especially as Space Ace inches closer to release. By this point, the Tenacious D feature film, Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny, is also ready to begin filming. It was originally planned to begin last year, but was put on hold because of Jack Black's role in the Peter Jackson-directed remake of King Kong for Universal.
  • (05/24/2005): A notable occurrence in the Weinstein trial happens when a female Miramax staffer, during cross examination by Shapiro, breaks down on the stand because of the intense hostility in the questioning, and threatens to lunge at the lawyer. "It's like that scene in Primal Fear come to life," one observer states.
  • (05/26/2005): Stephen Collins, a cast member of the series 7th Heaven, is revealed to have committed various acts of sexual abuse against young girls from the '70s to the late '90s. Many of his fellow cast members, including Jessica Biel, express absolute shock and dismay at the revelations, stating constantly that they did not sense that side of him.
  • (05/27/2005): While filming Borat in New York, Cohen, while in character, asks several pedestrians their opinion of the Weinstein trial, with the individuals scoffing at the idea that Weinstein is guilty. Cohen plans to include this footage in the film to demonstrate one of many ways in which Americans are just as hostile and ignorant as the people of the cultures that they scoff at.
  • (05/30/2005): George Lucas is interviewed by CBS News to reflect on his career and the state of Star Wars after the release of the final film in the prequel trilogy, Revenge of the Sith, which opened the great box office and glowing reviews, especially for Adam Driver's performance as Anakin Skywalker during the moment he falls to the Dark Side. Lucas then restates what he has for a while. "I've told the story I always wanted to, and, as far as I'm concerned, it's finished. Of course, Disney holds the power, and they'll probably want to continue it down the line. But it's going to be done without me. I'm also done directing major films like this. I'm in the process of wanting to make experimental films, just for myself, ones that may never even be released. Because after all this time, I think I deserve room to fail." He does state that a fourth Indiana Jones film is still in the works. "It's just a matter of finding the story, and getting Steven (Spielberg) at an open spot in his schedule."
  • (06/02/2005): President Bush's plan to privatize Medicare is soundly defeated in Congress, as was expected. Meanwhile, the number of fatalities in Iraq tops 1200 for the first time.
  • (06/05/2005): The record level of Iraq War fatalities receives national coverage, leading to mass protests and rallies in several major cities.
  • (06/06/2005): Some of the protests are included during filming of scenes for Borat, including during a moment where the character is meant to interview politicians in Washington, D.C.
  • (06/08/2005): Springbok's Enima division announces that it has purchased the rights to make a film adaptation of Death Note, which will be made as part of their deal with New Line Cinema. It also announces that Ang Lee, director best known for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and preparing for the release of his latest film, Brokeback Mountain, is circling with interest in the project. At the same time, reviews and box office figures for Batman Begins have been incredibly positive, with it clearly becoming a massive hit at once.
  • (06/10/2005): Lee purchases every volume of the manga that has been released so far and begins to endlessly study the plot, characters and their motivations whenever he has free time. Heath Ledger notices him reading it one day on the set of Brokeback and requests a look at it.
  • (06/14/2005): Robert Shaye and Michael Lynne receive phone calls from both Ledger and Lee, expressing their interest in the announced Death Note project. Notably, Ledger also states that he'll do anything in the film, but he wishes to take some time off as his girlfriend, Michelle Williams, whom he met on the Brokeback set, is pregnant with a child, and he wishes to take some time off from acting. Shaye announces that he can probably talk Springbok into holding the project for a while, but no promises are made. Meanwhile, Brokeback is set to premiere at the Venice Film Festival in September before opening worldwide on December 9.
  • (06/16/2005): The members of Pantera announce that they have settled their differences and will be regrouping.
  • (06/18/2005): The fourth series of the hit animated TV show SpongeBob SquarePants premieres on Nick. Notably, creator Stephen Hillenburg initially considered stepping down from the series, but decided to continue in his current role as he felt he wasn't ready to leave the beloved series yet.
  • (06/22/2005): Hole announces that their reunion album, Celebrity Skin, will be released around Thanksgiving. "I'm very proud of this album," Courtney Love announces. "It feels like we were never gone, and this easily could've come out back in the '90s."
  • (06/24/2005): The prosecution in the Weinstein trial rests their case, and the defense starts by calling a former lover of Rose McGowan to impugn her videotaped testimony. Clearly, Weinstein, if he is going to testify, is being saved for last, but odds are likely that he won't be called.
  • (06/27/2005): Just one week before the opening of Disney's America Park, Michael Eisner announces that Disney's Hollywood Studios will be closed in September 2005 until March 2008 to undergo a major overhaul. "We're going to redesign the park and have it align closer with a vision Walt himself would have been proud of."
  • (06/29/2005): Walt Disney Imagineering announces what will be covered in the overhaul. "Everything but The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror is going to be completely revamped. It will all be changed considerably. So, if you want to experience everything as it is now, before it's gone, better hurry while you can!" At the same time, it is confirmed that the living ex-Presidents and their families, as well as former First Lady Nancy Reagan, will be in attendance at the opening of Disney's America. President Bush and his family was invited to participate, but it was declined, citing "an incredibly busy schedule."
  • (07/02/2005): Live 8 is held at eight different sites around the world, with an impressive lineup, dedicated to Bob Geldof's goal of convincing the G8 nations to cancel the debts of various African nations and put a dent in poverty. Nirvana performs at the Philadelphia concert, but the entire show is stolen by a reunited Pink Floyd performing four songs at Hyde Park. As the first concert in 24 years where Roger Waters and David Gilmour have been onstage together, it goes off surprisingly well, and Waters includes a dedication to original band member Syd Barrett during the set. Speculation about a full-fledged reunion runs rampant, only to not materialize at all prior to keyboardist Richard Wright's own death several years later.
  • (07/03/2005): Borat finishes filming after Cohen gains permission to interview Disney executives regarding the opening of the Disney America Park the following day. Cohen has amassed over 100 hours of filmed footage, which he and his movie crew will tirelessly edit over the next few months into a coherent story.
  • (07/04/2005): Disney's America opens to a great opening day. Regarding that Disney has given up all revenue for this day to go to various charities, the new park breaks all records that the previous Florida parks set on their opening days. In the evening, Nirvana performs a rather intense set, focused primarily on their last two albums and giving a sneak preview of Americaca, complete with massive theatrics that are clearly critical of the Bush administration. The only awkward moment occurs when Steven Tyler suddenly comes up unannounced on the stage to rail against the closure of Disney's Hollywood Studios for the overhaul, mainly the planned rebranding of the Rock n' Roller Coaster.
  • (07/06/2005): After departing from Florida, Cobain contacts Cohen once again and agrees to help look over the footage of Borat with him. "I can't say no to this type of project. Nirvana just sings against the government, while this guy is hoodwinking every right-wing pundit, journalist and redneck without them realizing it!"
  • (07/07/2005): As editing begins to prepare Borat for a spring or summer 2006 release, Nirvana has been continually hit by right-wing media over their performance at the opening day ceremony as unpatriotic and desecrating the memory of the servicemen and women in Iraq. Even with the shocking news of a terrorist attack in London on the same day in which dozens were killed, Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and the like continue to focus obsessively over Nirvana.
  • (07/09/2005): Sean Hannity rails against the Nirvana performance in a memorable tirade. "These anti-american punks are selling music that devalues our brave soldiers who are sacrificing their lives overseas! I've always been against their music, but to me, they've basically declared war on America!"
  • (07/10/2005): After much deliberation, Springbok decides to officially move to push Borat until November 2006, especially to give time to promote their other, higher-profile projects. Among them is Christopher Nolan's immediate followup film, The Prestige, involving a rivalry between magicians.
  • (07/14/2005): The lead single off Americaca, entitled "Rusted Heroes", is released to heavy rotation on all the relevant markets.
  • (07/17/2005): Jimmy Bennett is called to testify by Weinstein's defense. David Walgren comes down hard on Bennett, saying that he's merely bitter against Asia Argento and has an ax to grind. Walgren's performance is quite polarizing to the public.
  • (07/19/2005): Nirvana shows off a sneak peek of some of the songs from Americaca on Springbok's website. The official track list is also leaked.
  • (07/20/2005): Nirvana begins making a series of connected music videos with Samuel Bayer, especially to connect them with the videos shot for Dixie Dope to form a coherent story.
  • (07/23/2005): Early previews for Space Ace for critics are held. Reception is quite warm, especially for the animation.
  • (08/04/2005): Cobain sends Cohen a bootleg copy of Americaca. Cohen enjoys the album thoroughly.
  • (08/07/2005): The defense rests in the Weinstein trial and jury deliberations begin.
  • (08/09/2005): The jury returns and convicts Weinstein of all charges. A mob gathers outside to jeer and insult Weinstein as he is escorted out.
  • (08/23/2005): Springbok announces that it will enter a partnership with the fledgling website YouTube, a site that hosts video content that people upload their own videos to. "There is a goldmine laying in wait here," Jennifer Todd enthuses.
  • (08/29/2005): Hurricane Katrina ravages the Gulf Coast and destroys massive stretches of the area. New Orleans experiences massive flooding when the levees protecting the city fail and the water rushes through, particularly in the Lower Ninth Ward. Emergency services are overwhelmed with extreme shortages, and the Louisiana Superdome becomes a veritable hellscape of refugees' pain.
  • (08/31/2005): Six Flags New Orleans is ravaged by Hurricane Katrina, with the park in utter disrepair.
  • (09/01/2005): Nevermind...We're Here To Help announces that all proceeds from Springbok projects that comes its way will be earmarked especially to help victims of the hurricane. At the same time, Springbok, which holds a stake in Six Flags New Orleans, announces their intent to help rebuild the park as soon as the flood waters recede. "This is a lovely park, that deserves to thrive, and we'll do our best to return it to tip-top shape."
  • (09/03/2005): Disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein reveals previously unknown information about David Geffen in an attempt to receive a less severe sentence.
  • (09/06/2005): The Los Angeles District Attorney's Office announces, to the shock of the public, that an arrest warrant has been made for David Geffen for various crimes, including conspiracy to conceal crimes of sexual assault, blackmail, fraud, slander and libel. They also announce intent to pursue an arrest warrant for Bryan Singer and to bring him in for questioning.
  • (09/08/2005): David Geffen surrenders to authorities.
  • (09/10/2005): Bryan Singer voluntarily turns himself in to authorities and announces that he has information about Geffen and will testify against him in exchange for a plea deal. He also gives information that he is well aware of the sexual activities of actor Kevin Spacey, stating that he has a lengthy history of assaulting young men, and that he was perfectly aware of this history when he hired Spacey to star in The Usual Suspects.
  • (09/11/2005): Stage actor Anthony Rapp comes forward with a chilling story about an encounter he had with Spacey when he was 14 in 1986. Spacey, who was drunk at the time of the incident, came onto Rapp and made the actor rather uncomfortable.
  • (09/12/2005): Geffen and Spacey give separate statements denying the allegations and charges against them. Notable is Spacey's statement, in which he says "from now on, I choose to live life as a gay man." This receives howls of derision from the public.
  • (09/13/2005): Americaca is released to glowing reviews and immediately debuts as #1 on the Billboard charts.
  • (09/14/2005): Cobain receives a call from South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker, in which they ask for permission to use Nirvana songs in an upcoming episode. As Cobain, the other band members and Theron are fans of the show as well as their recent film Team America: World Police, permission is easily granted.
  • (09/15/2005): Disney’s Hollywood Studios experiences its final day of operation in its original format. On the same day, Springbok and 20th Century Fox releases the first trailer for the upcoming romcom The Point, starring Ellen DeGeneres, which will be released on Valentine’s Day. That evening also sees the premiere of The Chris Farley Show, an extended version of the famous Saturday Night Live sketch, on NBC, which is also produced by Springbok. The debut episode is a massive hit.
  • (09/17/2005): Enima’s presence at Anime Weekend Atlanta is quite warmly received, with the fan community quite abuzz with anticipation about their upcoming slate. At the same time, Warren Spector’s games division announces a partnership with Activision-owned developers Infinity Ward and Treyarch to assist in development of the hit Call of Duty series, starting with the planned fourth installment, slated for release in 2007.
  • (09/21/2005): South Park airs a controversial episode entitled “Flannel Heart Blues”, in which Kenny joins a cult of fellow Nirvana fans who have to put the group’s eight studio albums to conquer the music world. Stan, Cartman and Kyle have to stop Kenny before it’s too late.
  • (09/22/2005): After the episode is aired, the reaction is visceral and quite harsh. Critics and much of the public alike despise the perception of Nirvana and its fans creating a "new Fourth Reich", complete with goosestepping in flannel, as well as its incredibly mean-spirited jabs at the fans as mindless sheep, complete with cliched brainwashing scenes. There is also blatant recycling of jabs from the episodes "Die Hippie Die" and "The Passion of the Jew", as well as a clumsy meshing of the "lessons" from those episodes together. The episode even ends with Cartman throwing very, well, Cartman statements about Cobain's children, particularly Frances. "While South Park has always punched down, it used to be known for punching evenly and up in the past as well. This episode was nothing but punching down," Entertainment Weekly observes.
  • (09/24/2005): Cobain is reportedly furious over the plotline of the episode and promises to reveal his thoughts to the media the next day.
  • (09/25/2005): Cobain releases a public statement. "I gave my permission to allow Matt and Trey to use our music in an episode, because I enjoyed their work immensely. I expected the episode was going to insult us, but I was not expecting the extent that they had in mind. To portray us as the heir apparent to the Nazis, wanting nothing but total domination and blind loyalty, is nothing short of appalling. Nirvana's music has always been, and always will be, for the outcasts, the nonconformists, the people who never fit in society, like we were when we were growing up, and music was our only salvation. And the projects of Springbok Productions are in that same vein as well. To say otherwise is an absolute denial of not only reality, but of expressing sheer contempt by those who fail to understand us."
  • (09/26/2005): Stone and Parker attempt to defend themselves amidst the criticism from various angles. "We were only satirizing the amount of influence he has over society with his band! We really didn't mean anything wrong! It's PC over-reactions like this that cause problems in our culture!"
  • (09/28/2005): After receiving numerous complaints and condemnation over the episode, Comedy Central announces that it will be not be rerun. "Clearly, this is the best way to move forward so we can all move on."
  • (10/01/2005): A petition begins on SouthParkStudios to air "Flannel Heart Blues" again. Meanwhile, recordings of the episode pop up on YouTube.
  • (10/02/2005): In addition to the petition and clips of the episode on YouTube, a string of videos is uploaded in which the makers castigate Comedy Central for its decision to pull the episode from future broadcasts. While many videos are quite balanced and respectful in their tone, others go on a blistering offensive and are viciously insulting to the channel and its board, getting more and more unhinged as time goes by.
  • (10/04/2005): Nirvana begins preparing for the world tour in promotion of Americaca, which is set to begin next month. It is set to run until September of 2006, with stops on every continent but Antartica planned.
  • (10/06/2005): Nirvana's tour plans may have to be cut short or have certain dates postponed, as the band is served with a call to appear to testify at Geffen's upcoming trial sometime in the new year. At the same time, similar calls are given to other former and current Geffen Records/Asylum Records artists such as Aerosmith, Guns N' Roses, The Eagles, Jackson Browne, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, and so on. Also called to appear are former Geffen A&R executives John Kalodner and Tom Zutaut; Geffen's creative partners in DreamWorks, Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg; Michael Eisner; former CBS/Sony Music heads Walter Yetnikoff and Tommy Mottola; Jon Peters and Peter Guber; Barry Diller; Jimmy Iovine; Michael Jackson's former managers Frank DiLeo, Freddy Mann, Sandy Gallin and Jim Morey; Jackson's onetime business counsel John Branca; Carrie Fisher; Cher; Barbra Streisand, and the planned testimony of Harvey Weinstein and Bryan Singer.
  • (10/07/2005): By this point, YouTube counts 10,000 videos completely dedicated to the South Park controversy, with more being uploaded by the hour. It also has taken an extremely threatening, even violent turn, with death threats against Comedy Central.
  • (10/09/2005): YouTube decides to clamp down on the hate videos by removing them and banning the users who uploaded them. "This type of behavior cannot be allowed to stand unchallenged. There are rules of courtesy and engagement that must be respected, and hate speech in any kind goes against what this site was founded for."
  • (10/11/2005): Parker and Stone sit down for an interview with CNN about the controversy over "Flannel Heart Blues". "This is getting absurd to levels we didn't predict", said Stone. "We went into the episode wanting to satirize the popularity that Nirvana has and how via being connected to Springbok it's as if they practically will control the entertainment world. The people who are condemning us need to gain senses of humor."
  • (10/13/2005): Metal radio DJ Eddie Trunk invites Cobain for an interview in two days. Cobain reluctantly agrees, mainly because he is aware of Trunk's status as something of a whiner with an ossified view of the metal scene, still living as if it is the '80s, who also attacks those who don't agree with his views. He also senses that Trunk probably liked "Flannel Heart Blues" and will accuse Nirvana of ruling the world in some fashion.
  • (10/14/2005): Grohl, Novoselic and Smear warn Cobain not to tolerate "any conspiracy bullshit" when he appears on Trunk's show. "They made fun of us in unacceptable ways on South Park and he'll probably agree with them", says Grohl.
  • (10/15/2005): The interview is quite prickly, as expected. Trunk makes clear that he holds quite a resentment for Nirvana and their peers for "killing" the metal scene in the '90s, and that "everything about your sound, to me, is not only dismal and depressing, but fake as hell. People DO want to just have fun sometimes, you know?" Cobain retorts with, "yes, and lots of people have fun with our music too. Not just yours." When Trunk begins a rant that sounds awfully like "Flannel Heart Blues", Cobain cuts him off. "If you're going to go there, then I don't have a fucking word to say to you."
  • (10/16/2005): The entire interview is posted onto YouTube.
  • (10/17/2005): A series of videos are uploaded to YouTube, blasting the site for the recent purges, and also attacking Cobain's responses in the interview with Trunk, calling him "an entitled piece of shit, running over the backs of the people that paid for his fucking lifestyle! Doesn't anything we have to say matter, since we're responsible for your fucking success?!"
  • (10/19/2005): The video entitled: "Why Cobain Was Dead Wrong in His Interview" passes 2 million hits. Several videos come out defending Cobain, with one YouTube calling Trunk: "A delusional crybaby who can't accept that music has changed since his glory days."
  • (10/20/2005): More video purges, on both sides of the battle, are committed. At the same time, a rumor goes out that "Flannel Heart Blues" is allegedly destroyed by certain employees of South Park Studios, going against Parker and Stone's wishes.
  • (10/24/2005): It's confirmed that "Flannel Heart Blues" was in fact not destroyed and that Parker and Stone plan on having the episode on future DVD releases.
  • (10/27/2005): MidKnight has performed surprisingly well at the box office, even with mixed to positive reviews by the critics. "Michael Jackson has shown that he surprisingly could indeed be an actor, and has a future in Hollywood. The film may not be as good as it should be, but for a first time out of the gate, it does its job."
  • (11/02/2005): Nirvana begins its tour with a stop in Los Angeles, California.
  • (11/05/2005): Ang Lee officially signs a deal to direct Death Note, intended for a late 2008 release. He also will be given first pass to write the script. Meanwhile, Mel Gibson officially announces that his forthcoming film is Apocalypto, set in the Mayan civilization just before the conquistadors arrive. He wrote the script with Farhad Safinia, who was a post production assistant on The Passion of the Christ. Springbok then brings the idea over to Disney/Touchstone for them to distribute the film when it's released.
  • (11/07/2005): Heath Ledger officially signs on to portray Ryuk in the adaption of Death Note. It is unclear who will portray protagonist Light Yagami at this point.
  • (11/10/2005): During a performance at the Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena, a certain amount of South Park fans rush the crowds, trying to make a point, even grappling with security.
  • (11/20/2005): Due to more recent allegations and having to attend the trial leaves David Geffen unable to attend a meeting with Paramount Pictures about their buyout of DreamWorks Pictures, Despite his absence the deal still ends up going through and both parties walkaway from the deal satisfied.
  • (12/02/2005): Michael Bay announces a fire sale of much of his property, as well as his retirement from directing. To attempt to drive ticket sales for The Island, Bay went all out on a marketing blitz, including raising risky loans and mortgages, which was also being done to keep Platinum Dunes and its staff's payroll operating. As a result, The Island, while easily blowing past the film's budget, could not also beat the marketing costs, leaving Bay in the hole. Thus, Bay also announces his intention to move solely into helping craft visual effects, ironically with a group that he'd helped rescue from going under some time ago, the James Cameron and Stan Winston-founded firm Digital Domain. Meanwhile, Platinum Dunes' followup film, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning, the prequel to the company's 2003 remake, will be released by New Line Cinema next year on October 6. The fate of the film will determine what happens to the company.
  • (12/09/2005): Memoirs of a Geisha performs very well at the box office and with the critics, alongside the likes of Brokeback Mountain and Capote. All three films are emerging as strong Oscar contenders.
  • (12/11/2005): More controversy abounds when it is announced that Mel Gibson will be producing a miniseries based on a little known Holocaust memoir Flory: Survival in the Valley of Death, with Mel's past and his father's past statements being brought up. The series is scheduled for Spring of 2007.
  • (12/31/2005): Nirvana performs its New Years Eve show at Rockefeller Center in New York City.

2006[]

  • (01/02/2006): Disney sets a release date of August 4 for Apocalypto. However, as Gibson films in Mexico, delays begin to occur, due to torrential rains. Also of note, cinematographer Dean Semler has chosen to shoot using Panavision's new digital camera, the Panavision Genesis. This was created due to complaints about Panavision's modified version of Sony's HDF or "CineAlta" series, the first major high-definition digital video camera used for films, most notably by George Lucas and DP David Tattersall on Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith.
  • (01/08/2006): Reviews for the San Francisco tryout of Lestat are decidedly mixed, but it has been quite successful with ticket sales, becoming the highest-grossing major Broadway show to have a tryout in the city. Springbok's theatre division, as well as Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures help the crew of the production brainstorm regarding tweaks to help the New York version, most notably the idea of adding a couple more uptempo, driving numbers to create "showstopper" moments.
  • (01/12/2006): Warren Spector's team looks over the narrative script that Infinity Ward has written for their next Call of Duty installment, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. It is judged to be quite solid and the basis for raising the bar for military-based FPS titles, but Spector insists that it should be further polished to expand on the motivations and plots of the antagonists, Khaled al-Asad, Imran Zakhaev and Zakhaev's son Viktor.
  • (01/14/2006): David S. Goyer is brought on to help with rewrites for both Call of Duty 4 as well as when receiving the first draft of the Death Note script. He also helps Christopher Nolan flesh out a treatment for the future sequel to Batman Begins, while the actual script will be done by Nolan and his brother Jonathan.
  • (01/18/2006 to 01/19/2006): After Soul singer and voice artist Isaac Hayes suffers a severe stroke while on tour. Springbok temporarily reconciles with Trey Parker and Matt Stone to help send well-wishes to Hayes and offer to create a fund to help with his medical costs.
  • (01/21/2006): Springbok announces three-picture production deals with Joel and Ethan Coen and Paul Thomas Anderson. Compared to the Icon Productions deal, these deals offer the Coens and Anderson discretion to choose which films will be part of the deal, though both parties announce that their immediate next projects will definitely be part of it.
  • (01/23/2006): A pre-alpha build of Zophyre is already 65 percent complete, with it looking very close to ready to premiere at E3 in five months. In addition, Springbok has signed production assistance deals with Walt Disney Imagineering to assist with the revamp of Disney's Hollywood Studios, as well as another deal with Universal Creative, as Universal Studios Florida and Universal's Islands of Adventure is also seeking to undergo a similar process.
  • (01/28/2006): Nirvana flies out of the US to begin the European leg of the tour, with the first stop being in London, England.
  • (02/01/2006): Springbok announces it will produce the next film from Todd Haynes, director of Velvet Goldmine and Far From Heaven. Entitled I'm Not There, it is a biopic of Bob Dylan, told in an unconventional format, in which different actors will represent different facets and periods of Dylan's life and career.
  • (02/03/2006): After much deliberation and many arguments, Christina Crawford is finally convinced to allow the rights for a new film version of Mommie Dearest. With Danny Boyle and Simon Beaufoy's script already polished and locked down, it now becomes a matter of casting.
  • (02/06/2006): An early cut of Borat is screened in Los Angeles to rapturous acclaim. Final cuts will occur by July and the film will be released on November 3rd.
  • (02/08/2006): At the 48th Grammy awards, while Nirvana is not present due to their current concert series in Europe, Americaca sweeps the awards, winning 4 including Best Record of the Year. A spokesperson for the band receives their awards and will mail them to the group when possible. Abigail Breslin is signed on to portray young Christina Crawford in Mommie Dearest, while Jessica Lange is circled for the role of Joan Crawford.
  • (02/10/2006): After stumbling upon an interview with High School Musical star Zac Efron, Ang Lee discovers he is a huge fan of the Death Note manga and also notices his close resemblance to Light Yagami. He contacts Effron, asking him if he wants the role.
  • (02/12/2006): Lee's discussions with Efron bear fruit, and he is soon officially signed on to the film.
  • (02/14/2006): The Point opens to moderate reviews and box office, referring to the film as "light, fluffy and forgettable."
  • (02/16/2006): Lestat begins previews at the Palace Theatre. The major changes to this version are the addition of a new ballad, "Right Before My Eyes," in Act I, as well as one more uptempo number each in both acts to create a showstopper. As Leonard Soloway noted, "the show really needs something like that. Les Mis has 'Master of the House', so we need our version of that."
  • (02/18/2006): Nirvana ends up booking a second European leg in June, during which they will co-headline with Metallica over various European festivals, including Rock am Ring/Rock im Park.
  • (02/20/2006): The North American tour of Whistle Down the Wind begins in Houston. Despite critical reservations, the show proves to be a big hit, and a future on Broadway seems quite possible.
  • (02/23/2006): Vice President Dick Cheney lands himself in hot water when he accidentally shoots Harry Whittington, a 78 year old attorney.
  • (02/25/2006): Due to torrential rains plaguing the set of Apocalypto, it is clear that it will not be finished in time for its August release date. Disney sets back the release date to December 8.
  • (02/27/2006): A new script makes its way to Springbok by Zac Stanford, entitled Ferris Wheel. It focuses on a 12-year-old girl's relationship with her 30-year-old uncle after being abandoned by her mother. Theron in particular is interested in the prospect.
  • (03/01/2006): Nirvana heads on to Australasia for the next leg of their tour, starting in Wollongong, Australia.
  • (03/03/2006): At one of Nirvana's shows in Australia, overseas supporters of the Iraq War cause a ruckus in the audience.
  • (03/05/2006): David Geffen responds to one of the main charges in his upcoming trial, that of committing "intrinsic and extrinsic fraud" in his business dealings, particularly the way that Asylum Records was managed in the '70s, his litigation against Don Henley and Neil Young in the '80s, his "fuck and suck" method of how to break into film production, his move to cash out of the music business by selling Geffen Records to MCA, his move behind the Seagram's/PolyGram/Interscope merger in '98 (which resulted in many just-signed acts being orphaned and thousands of executives losing their jobs), and of not pulling his weight in DreamWorks, as well as keeping the real state of the company from his supposed creative partners, Spielberg and Katzenberg. He's also challenged for his move to apparently kick Irving Azoff out of MCA Records in the '80s by dangling a dream offer for Giant Records, which was not as successful, as well as using proxies to commit slander to force the ousters of Walter Yetnikoff, Jon Peters and Peter Guber. In response to all the allegations when a reporter catches him walking down the street to a restaurant, Geffen snaps back, "so basically, the State is making a big case out of the fact that I made money? Oh dear, what a crime."
  • (03/07/2006): Defense in the trial of Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling begins. Since the trial began on January 30, the prosecution has been moving to build its case, using the testimony of some of the Enron executives who ended up pleading guilty. Lay and Skilling's lawyers argue that the testimony is useless, because, with the exception of Andrew Fastow and his circle, the executives that pleaded guilty are actually innocent of committing crimes, but merely caved in to intense pressure from the "thuggish" federal government.
  • (03/08/2006): At the 78th Academy Awards, Brokeback Mountain wins big, taking home Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Director for Ang Lee, and Best Original Score. Philip Seymour Hoffman nabs Best Actor for his portrayal in Capote. Springbok also nabs quite a few awards for Memoirs of a Geisha, landing Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, and Best Art Direction, but loses Best Sound Mixing to Peter Jackson's King Kong. Also of note is the song "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp", from Hustle & Flow, winning Best Original Song, making it only the second rap song to win the award, the first being Eminem's "Lose Yourself."
  • (03/09/2006): Production for the HBO limited series version of Titan AE due for release in a year has proceeded quite smoothly. With voice acting already in the can, the animation is also now proceeding at a sensible clip.
  • (03/11/2006): Springbok lands two important development deals, as part of the long-term strategy to revive the Alien franchise. James Cameron's production company Lightstorm Entertainment and Ridley Scott's own Scott Free Productions have signed on to be partners with Springbok in any and all future films in the franchise, including allowing the option for Scott to direct any film if he so chooses. This seems like a sound investment, as, with the exception of the abysmal critical reception to Hannibal, Scott has been on a hot streak since Gladiator, with all films raking massive box office profits and every other film besides Hannibal doing well with the critics. This especially happened in the case of last year's Kingdom of Heaven, a swirling historical epic, notable in which, despite having thoughts of acquiescing to changes that Warner Bros. wanted for the film, Scott chose instead to hold firm and ensure that his director's cut was the one released, which paid off handsomely. The Lightstorm Entertainment deal is even further reaching, as Springbok also is committing to help produce Cameron's latest projects on the slate, an adaptation of Battle Angel Alita and an original concept entitled James Cameron's Avatar (to differentiate it from the animated series), involving humans on an alien planet controlling artificial bodies made to resemble the native peoples that occupy it.
  • (03/13/2006): Details about Todd Haynes' upcoming film I'm Not There are released to the public by Springbok. The film, written by Haynes and Oren Moverman, is not a standard biopic, and also does not approach the "many lives" of Bob Dylan as such. Instead, these "many lives" will be spread among six different characters, representing the different points of Dylan's career, and switch between them at random. The first is Woody Guthrie, representing Dylan's early fascination with the legendary folk singer and fantastic tall tales of a vagabond upbringing, an 11-year-old boy played by Marcus Carl Franklin. This is followed by Jack Rollins, played by Christian Bale, who represents Dylan as "the voice of a generation" with his "finger-pointing songs", and who later denounces his past to become an ordained minister, referencing Dylan's period as a born-again Christian. Robbie Clark, played by Heath Ledger, is an actor who portrays Rollins in a film entitled Every Grain of Sand, and also represents the marital strife between Dylan and his first wife Sara, as captured on the album Blood on the Tracks. Jude Quinn, portrayed by Cate Blanchett, is a stand in for the "electric Dylan" controversy of 1965/66, the "wild thin mercury sound" that many state represents Dylan's best work, and who spirals into drug use before being killed in a motorcycle accident, referencing a famous bit of Dylan lore. Billy McCarty, played by Richard Gere, references the "outlaw" side of Dylan, his fascination with Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, as well as the third-act renaissance with his recent albums and his Never Ending Tour. And loosely connecting all of it is Arthur Rimbaud, played by Ben Whishaw, who is interrogated in his scenes, represents the poet and the fatalist in Dylan, and serves as a kind of narrator to splice the different facets together. The film is set to go into production in Canada very shortly, with plans to release it next fall. Also of note, a massive soundtrack, featuring Dylan's own recordings as well as reinterpretations of the works by a variety of artists, will be released to coincide with the film. Springbok announces that it is giving up claims to the soundtrack, instead allowing it to be released by Dylan's long-time label, Columbia Records/Sony Music. The film also does not have a distribution deal with a major studio, as it is clearly being marketed as an art house film.
  • (03/16/2006): Ledger begins prepping for his role in I'm Not There, meticulously studying Bob Dylan's music and even learning how to play guitar, even though his character is not scripted as doing so.
  • (03/18/2006): Adam Driver is approached by Christopher Nolan to portray the Joker in the next film in his Batman series, which is tentatively titled; The Dark Knight.
  • (03/19/2006): Christian Bale and Cate Blanchett also undergo guitar and vocal lessons, as well as piano lessons for Blanchett, despite the fact that neither will actually sing or play in the film.
  • (03/21/2006): En route to the Japanese leg of Nirvana's tour, Cobain receives a video message from Christopher Nolan regarding filming of his current project, The Prestige, which stars Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman in the leads. Principal photography in London should easily be completed by April 9, which will allow Bale to prepare for I'm Not There and the shoot in Canada. Springbok and Disney/Touchstone are currently aiming for an October 20 release date, thus allowing ample breathing room for Springbok and 20th Century Fox to release Borat the following month and Springbok and Disney to release Apocalypto in December.
  • (03/24/2006): A new trailer for Borat is released into theaters. It showcases Borat's various misadventures while Don LaFontaine parodies his grandiose trailer announcements, as Born to be Wild plays in the background.
  • (03/27/2006): During an appearance at Anime Mid-Atlantic 2006, Jennifer Todd, also representing Enima, is asked about reports of a film version of Akira in the making. "That's definitely a dream project for us. Unlike the original film, it will also cover all volumes of the manga, rather than stopping at Volume Three. That said, it's not an immediate priority for us, as doing something like this justice will take time to get right. Things like how to render the script, how long the film should be, what types of cameras to use, who should write and/or direct, and how to flesh out Neo-Tokyo, besides the fact that we'd be moving up the year that it takes place in. As technology improves and our footing is better secured, it will come about in due time. In the meantime, Death Note and English dubs of Studio Ghibli films and programs broadcast on Adult Swim are our immediate priority, though we also hope to do film versions of some of those shows in the future as well."
  • (04/02/2006): Zac Efron is officially announced as Light Yagami in Death Note. Meanwhile, Lee considers actress Brie Larson to play Misa.
  • (04/05/2006): Bryan Singer officially pleads guilty to various counts of aggravated sexual assault. His sentencing will be held off until after Geffen's trial, which is stated to begin in three weeks. Meanwhile, Harvey Weinstein is officially sentenced to 75 years in prison, though his sentence won't begin until after he gives his testimony in Geffen's trial. On the same day, various female employees of Fox News come out with allegations of sexual harassment and assault against the network's head, Roger Ailes, as well as its prime anchor talent, Bill O'Reilly. Both Ailes and O'Reilly angrily deny the allegations against them, and pivot to try to focus attention back on Charlie Rose's transgressions, calling him "a prime mover and shaker in the liberal media, who used his power to cloak his wrongdoings, proving their immorality."
  • (04/08/2006): More victims of O'Reilly's come forward. "If he wants to deflect onto Charlie Rose, we'll just scream louder", one of them says to the New York Times. A petition begins online demanding O'Reilly's removal from Fox.
  • (04/09/2006 to 04/12/2006): Over the next few days, advertisers cut ties with The O'Reilly Factor, soon leaving O'Reilly's spot without 75 percent of his sponsors. In the end, Rupert Murdoch's son James takes it upon himself to have O'Reilly's employment terminated, despite having no express authority from his father. He also moves to convince the board to drop Ailes as well, though no decision on that is yet forthcoming.
  • (04/14/2006): Reviews for Lestat, which opened on March 28, are mixed to positive, with the show breaking records at the Palace Theatre. Clearly the public is enchanted with the story just as much as they were when they bought Anne Rice's novels, and this is very encouraging. The cast recording album will soon be made, with intent to release it in July, as well as plans for a concert video documenting the show, to be broadcast in movie theaters, similar to a deal set up with the Metropolitan Opera House, before being broadcast on the BBC and PBS.
  • (04/17/2006): Brie Larson signs a deal to appear as Misa in Death Note. The film is not expected to be released until sometime in 2008. Meanwhile, Nirvana officially make an arrangement with the Los Angeles District Attorney to appear as redirect witnesses in Geffen's trial, towards the end.
  • (04/21/2006): Geffen castigates Nirvana for their intended participation in the trial. "I knew I couldn't trust those no good punks! They left me and started up their own label like a bunch of ingrate punks! Me and my lawyers will mop the floor with them, don't worry!"
  • (04/24/2006): Geffen's trial begins, with opening statements by lead prosecutor David Walgren, and Geffen's main lawyer, Michael Avenatti, who is an incredibly outspoken and theatrical man in his field, especially in attacking many of the witnesses to come, mainly Nirvana, Spielberg and Katzenberg. He attacks intended testimony of Don Henley and Neil Young as "outright double jeopardy, relitigating something that was settled long ago and which Mr. Geffen cannot be touched on again", as well as that of Carrie Fisher, stating "we know junkie alcoholics often have the worst memory on the stand." Many onlookers don't know what to make of Avenatti or his performance.
  • (04/27/2006): Kenneth Lay's testimony in his and Jeffrey Skilling's trial has not been going well. Curiously, both he and Skilling have completely departed from form, with Skilling being very even-keeled, though trying to feign spontaneity with mood shifts, and having a convenient string of memory lapses on cross examination, as well as rashly attempting to respond to every single other witness, even if their testimony bears no importance to what he is actually charged with. Lay, however, has been very haughty and contemptuous throughout, even with his own lawyers, even attacking his main one, George "Mac" Secrest, simply for asking a gentle, obviously leading, question, snapping with, "Where are you going with this, Mr. Secrest?" His attempts to state that he only sold Enron shares when necessary to meet margin calls for various personal loans is also demolished, when lead prosecutor John Hueston shows that Lay drew more than was necessary and could've easily settled his debts by selling off extra properties and possessions.
  • (04/29/2006): While in Japan for Nirvana's tour, Cobain is asked to comment about the ongoing Geffen trial. "The dude was a fucking creep and we should have known when he never met us after Nevermind got attached to his company."
  • (05/02/2006): The final cut of Borat is assembled, clocking in at 105 minutes. This is due to including the Hannity moment, the man on the street interviews regarding Weinstein, a scene at a doctor's office, and incorporating a scene from an episode of Da Ali G Show, in which Borat appears at a cowboy bar to sing a song entitled "In My Country There Is Problem," which includes anti-Semitic lyrics that the crowd goes along with. In addition, it is planned that all DVDs will include the full extent of scenes filmed that didn't make the cut in the deleted scenes, including the likes of a Civil War reenactment, Borat working at a Krystal location, Borat asking a grocery store worker about cheese, and a parody version of Baywatch entitled "Sexydrownwatch."
  • (05/04/2006): Zophyre has finished its pre-alpha build, and is thus ready to premiere at E3 in a month.
  • (05/07/2006): It is revealed that Isaac Hayes, whose departure from South Park, resulting in the episode "The Return of Chef", which killed off of his eponymous character, did not choose to quit the show and that a spokesperson from the Church of Scientology, with which Hayes was affiliated, made the decision for him due to his stroke.
  • (05/10/2006): Tarzan opens at the Richard Rodgers Theatre. Under the supervision, especially David Ives' cuts to David Henry Hwang's original book, what emerges is a fairly taut show that maintains an unimpeded flow. Most notably, after the climax, the ending has been changed to reflect in the novels how Tarzan decided to move to London and learn to take his place among humans, which set up the adventures in the novels that followed. Critics are indifferent about the show, with The New York Times in particular referring to Phil Collins' score as "soda pop-fueled Adult Contemporary numbers" and saying "the story is indeed quite flattened in the transition from two dimensions to three." However, the box office is incredibly strong, and much praise is given to Josh Strickland's portrayal of the title character and Jenn Gambatese's turn as Jane Porter. With Springbok now having two hit shows premiering in the same year, it is clear that the musical theatre arm can only grow from here.
  • (05/12/2006): Jimmy Iovine testifies in Geffen's trial, remarking about how eager he was to sell his label, push for the '98 merger, and even allowing Geffen Records to be folded into Interscope. "I would have thought that David would have been more, shall we say, sentimental about his baby, about something he put his life's work in. But all he wanted was the payout, and he didn't care if the label survived or not. I didn't push him at the time, because I just thought about his reputation, and that he probably knew something I didn't. Clearly I was wrong." Avenatti attempts to damage Iovine in cross examination, but lands not a single blow.
  • (06/03/2006): Nirvana's co-headlining tour with Metallica, the Escape from the Studio '06 Tour, begins at that year's edition of Rock am Ring/Rock im Park. After doing a few dates in Africa after finishing in Japan, this final leg of European festivals will be it for Nirvana. The dates also include performances at the Download Festival, Nova Rock Festival, and Heineken Jammin' Festival. Also of note, despite reservations about the quality, Metallica managed to position themselves admirably after the release of their last album, St. Anger, in 2003, and the documentary Some Kind of Monster has also exponentially increased their fanbase, especially with its brutal, unflinching candor of a band that nearly fell apart. St. Anger was also Metallica's final album with Elektra Records, but rather than sign with Springbok and Exploitation Records, the band decided to follow fellow former label mates Motley Crue and form their own independent label to handle their material, Blackened Recordings, and which has likewise seen a 300 percent increase in sales and revenue. Cobain becomes fairly chummy with James Hetfield, especially given that he and his bandmates are featured as guest voice appearances on Springbok's latest animated show, Metalocalypse on Adult Swim.
  • (06/04/2006): Nirvana announces that every concert on the European leg with Metallica will be recorded and uploaded onto YouTube to be viewed for free. "It's like seeing a concert for people who won't get the chance to come to Europe", says Cobain.
  • (06/07/2006): A live CD covering the European tours entitled Nirvana Does European Americaca is set to be released on October 10th, 2006.
  • (06/10/2006): The first footage of Zophyre premieres to great success at E3. After the presentation, Warren Spector again stresses that this is still only a rough version, and it will probably take another year for the finished product to be released. In the meantime, Springbok's games division will also certainly have a very busy 2007 regardless, with the release of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, the continuing episodic additions to Half-Life 2, a special collection called The Orange Box made by Valve to put all that material together in the same place, especially for PS3 and Xbox 360 gamers, a new spin-off game set in the Half-Life universe entitled Portal; and Springbok has also officially partnered with Ken Levine and Irrational Games for the upcoming, atmospheric shooter BioShock. 'Basically, we're making a splash, in a big way, in 2007, and I guarantee that you'll all be impressed."
  • (06/14/2006): Richard Steven Horvitz of Invader Zim, The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy and Psychonauts is set to voice Zophyres protagonist, Stuart Peterson.
  • (06/19/2006): The new Springbok produced films by the Coen brothers and Paul Thomas Anderson are officially announced. The Coens' film, No Country for Old Men, is an adaptation of the Cormac McCarthy novel, with Tommy Lee Jones and Javier Bardem already committed to starring in. Anderson's film, There Will Be Blood, is adapted from an Upton Sinclair novella entitled Oil! and about one man's stretch to be a massive oil baron. Daniel Day-Lewis and Paul Dano, the latter of whom did a scene stealing turn alongside Abigail Breslin in the upcoming comedy Little Miss Sunshine, have been attached to the project. Both films will release in the tail end of 2007, and distributed by Paramount under their Paramount Vantage banner.
  • (07/10/2006): Filming on Apocalypto finally concludes, months after it was planned to wrap. Meanwhile, Lay and Skilling's trial ends with Lay convicted on all counts, and Skilling on 19 of the 28 counts. Lay is sentenced to 45 years in prison, while Skilling gets a minimum of 18. At this point, Geffen's trial is approaching the end of the prosecution's main case, during which the details of Geffen's activities becomes ever more damning.
  • (07/15/2006): Gibson sends Apocalypto to Springbok to undergo editing before its December release.
  • (07/28/2006): Mel Gibson is arrested for driving under the influence down Pacific Coast Highway, an open bottle of tequila visible on the passenger seat. When Officer James Mee first approaches Gibson, the target initially groans, "My life is over. I'm fucked. Robyn (Moore, his wife) is going to leave me." But as Mee then cuffs Gibson and puts him in the back of his cruiser, he suddenly turns belligerent. First he bellows "I own this neighborhood!", motioning to Malibu. "I will spend all my money to get even with you." He then turns on Mee and asks, "Are you a Jew?" This begins a sudden tangent in which he states, "Fucking Jews. The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world." Gibson also has very harsh words against Nirvana and Springbok. "These fucking rock stars, everybody listens to them, so they get to break down the social order. They're getting away with this shit and no one steps up to stop them! It's a fucking disgrace!" When in holding, Gibson doesn't calm down, snapping at a female officer, "What are you looking at, sugar tits?" News of the arrest, Gibson's mug shot, and his comments immediately hit the wires.
  • (08/01/2006): Cobain is informed about Gibson's arrest and is furious. "Mel better explain himself really well, because this really fucks up our company's plans."
  • (08/02/2006): As the media discusses the development of Gibson's arrest and his comments, many run wild stating that this proves that he is an anti-Semite, especially with comments like, "there is no way that booze can turn a reasonable, tolerant person into a raging bigot." Much is also made about the impact this has on the Springbok/Icon Pictures deal, and Disney's plans for Apocalypto. Michael Avenatti uses this incident to crow. "Can anything Nirvana says in their testimony be trusted? His company went to bat for a raging anti-Semite, lied for him, and are now caught with their pants down." In the interim, Gibson announces that he is checking himself into rehab.
  • (08/05/2006): Toward the end of the joint Nirvana/Metallica tour, protestors attend simply to picket Nirvana's involvement with Gibson. "Kurt and his little coterie of progressive tree huggers can't pretend they really are as left-leaning as they claim to be anymore! Either fire Gibson or lose us!", some are heard shouting.
  • (08/07/2006): After Gibson's agent drops him as a client, Jennifer Todd makes a statement to release to the public. "Over the past few days, we've been struggling to come to grips with what has happened with Mel Gibson, and trying to determine the best course of action. As of this moment, our production deal with Icon Productions is being cancelled, but only regarding the second and third films on the list. Since Apocalypto has finished filming and is nearly finished in editing and post-production, we are still going to honor our commitments regarding it. We talked to Disney, and they are still committed to releasing the film, and so we shall be as well. Hopefully, people will come and be able to enjoy it, as it truly is a work of art."
  • (08/15/2006): The Nirvana and Metallica tour concludes.
  • (08/17/2006): Nirvana's testimony on redirect is set to occur on September 5. Meanwhile, Bill Cosby's legal issues and his upcoming civil suit set to begin in November comes to the forefront, as an issue from the June issue of Philadelphia magazine, entitled, "Dr. Huxtable and Mr. Hyde", initially unnoticed back then, suddenly spreads like kudzu through the media, and his alleged victims suddenly begin making the media rounds and being interviewed over their experiences.
  • (08/25/2006): The Nirvana concert CD begins to be manufactured for release in October.
  • (08/31/2006): Despite the flurry of controversy regarding Mel Gibson, Springbok's numbers continue to hold firm, as CDs, movie tickets and Nielsen ratings for all Springbok-related TV shows have only increased. Industry experts are baffled at this phenomenon, stating, "there should've been some kind of hit after what happened!"
  • (09/05/2006): Cobain takes the lead during the beginning of Nirvana's testimony. During his appearance, Cobain makes clear that Geffen had no personal stake regarding Nirvana, especially when shunting them to the DGC imprint, a small specialty impring within Geffen Records as a whole, clearly feeling they had no leg to compete with Guns N' Roses, never bothered to meet them, and there were never any kind of inducements made to ensure whether Nirvana would re-sign, especially after the Interscope deal was made. In fact, Geffen as a whole was quite willing to release the master recordings and royalties when they left the label, not wanting any kind of legal battle at that moment. Michael Avenatti tries to batter Cobain's testimony, using not only the Gibson controversy, but also Courtney Love's past transgressions during their marriage to try and smear Cobain. However, the barb lands no damage, and Cobain even manages to sneak in a moment of mocking Avenatti on the stand, especially given how Avenatti attacked the members of Guns during their testimony, especially Slash for showing up in his trademark appearance of oversized top hat, dark shades, T-shirt, jeans and cigarette dangling from his mouth. "You seem to have more of a problem with how Slash looks than being able to have anything to rebut what he says."
  • (09/07/2006): After months of hashing out the controversy, the board of directors at Fox News decides to terminate Roger Ailes' employment as head of the network. Moreover, as Rupert Murdoch is convalescing from a bad case of pneumonia, a bitter war between his sons James and Lachlan over the future of the News Corporation empire is beginning. James is surprisingly more liberal in his beliefs than his father, including regarding the family's long-held ownerships back in Australia and England, wanting the company to be better prepared for the modern age. Lachlan, by contrast, is an unreconstructed conservative firebrand, even more outspoken than his father, and wants to double down on the strategy that has made them successful so far. In the meantime, certain Fox News talents like Sean Hannity lambast the board for removing Ailes, and the removal of O'Reilly months ago. That evening, Hannity goes into an incredibly unskewed tangent combining the Springbok drama, the YouTube purges of hate content, and the Ailes/O'Reilly ouster into one, declaring how "the left is continuing on their crusade to outlaw conservative thought in this country."
  • (09/11/2006): On the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, President Bush makes a speech in which he encourages all Americans to continue rebuilding New York.
  • (09/13/2006): Buoyed by Sean Hannity's recent tirade, a group of banned YouTube uploaders, mostly conservative in beliefs, decide to create their own video website to act as a safe haven. Entitled TruthTube, it is advertised as "a place free from PC gone mad and where no one is trying to silence us."
  • (09/14/2006): Barbara Walters does an interview with several of Bill Cosby's alleged victims on 20/20. Walters also points out that the reason the article suddenly made the rounds and people began talking about the allegations against Cosby in the media started when comedian Chris Rock made an offhand comment to a reporter. "I've always loved Bill Cosby growing up, but I have to tell you flat out...he done fucked up." As a result, the press began dissecting the allegations with a fine-toothed comb. In the interview, Andrea Constand states, "The world has to know the truth about this man, this figure that people have clung to out of reverence. And while it won't take away the hurt or undo everything, this civil suit can go a long way to redressing the balance. And I want to make it clear that no matter what Mr. Cosby might offer, we'll never accept a settlement from him." Afterwards many networks begin to pull reruns of The Cosby Show from their schedules.
  • (09/16/2006 to 09/18/2006): The other members of Nirvana give their testimony, by which time redirect ends, and the journey adjourns to deliberate. Meanwhile, Mel Gibson reemerges and begins to start giving apologies for his behavior, and stressing that he is not an anti-Semite. In his apologies, he states that he would appreciate a dialogue with various Jewish leaders regarding how best to heal the wounds.
  • (09/23/2006): David Geffen is convicted on all counts. The person who has the most to say about the verdict is Steven Spielberg. "David was my friend. I thought he was also my partner, someone with whom we were going to really take the world by storm together. We were in this together. And to know all the things that he did, especially the ways he was setting me up for a fall, to receive the egg on my face for his own actions...it's truly shattering."
  • (09/26/2006): Theron is set to depart for Canada, as shooting will soon commence on Ferris Wheel in Moose Jaw. Annasophia Robb, who played Violet Beauregarde in Tim Burton's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, is the lead in this project.
  • (09/27/2006): David Geffen is found dead from carbon monoxide poisoning, prior to receiving his sentence. Kenneth Lay is also found dead at a vacation home in Aspen, from a heart attack, before he could begin serving his sentence. Immediately afterwards conspiracy theorists start posting videos on TruthTrube accusing Kurt Cobain and Nirvana of poisoning Geffen.
  • (09/30/2006): In what some might consider a face-saving move for Disney to try to protect their investment in Apocalypto (though they did cancel plans for the Holocaust-based miniseries by Icon Productions for ABC that was in the planning stages), ABC's Diane Sawyer arranges an interview with Mel Gibson to be shown on Good Morning America. Sawyer is specifically chosen for her interview with Gibson three years prior, which aired on Primetime after The Passion of the Christ was released, in which she was quite tough on Gibson and pulled no punches. Gibson recognizes this factor and consents to the interview.

The following is a excerpt from Diane Sawyer's Interview of Mel Gibson on Good Morning America that aired on ABC on October 12 and 13, 2006:

SAWYER: You also said during your arrest that Nirvana and Springbok were 'disrupting the social order'. What did you mean by this?

GIBSON: It's simple, really. I resented how easily they were able to transition from being your average rock stars to being corporate moguls. But I've come to terms with that since. It was something said in a fit of rage when I felt completely and utterly powerless, but I respect Springbok and Kurt Cobain for all they've done for entertainment.

SAWYER: Do you regret your relationship with them ending?

GIBSON: Oh of course, I definitely wish it didn't have to end this early or on this note. Kurt, Charlize and Jennifer are all wonderful people and I was honored to be able to make Apocalypto for them. It's going to take some time to adjust to this, to have to strike out again without that sort of comfort and consistency.

SAWYER (Voiceover): Of course, many wondered why someone like Gibson, who besides being known as being a devout Catholic, is also known as an unreconstructed conservative, would latch onto a company like Springbok in the first place, given the liberal beliefs of its founders.

SAWYER: I know that you've been outspoken in the past for your politically conservative views. What do you make of Nirvana's recent albums and their left-leaning concept albums?

GIBSON: I knew from the start that me and Kurt wouldn't agree politically on almost everything, but I respect him for pulling through with his ideas and basically just telling the world that he didn't care. It reminds me a lot of how I am with films, so while I may think Dixie Dope and Americaca make statements I don't agree with, at least they're making the statements they want to. And that's probably why they're still selling out stadiums.

SAWYER: So, there was no problems between you all, until now?

GIBSON: None whatsoever. I've enjoyed their company, they've enjoyed mine, we've had some very healthy, mutually respectful debates, but we've never left angry. In fact, I kind of surprised them, because I told them I don't agree with President Bush and the war in Iraq, something they also feel. Kurt actually said, "I thought you'd be more like Clint Eastwood and tell us to support the troops." Look, I may be a Republican, but I'm also my own person. In fact, they reached out to me, to give words of support when this all went down. I still consider them my friends.

SAWYER (Voiceover): But now, of course, a highly-publicized alliance has been blown to smithereens, all because of what happened that night.

For the full interview click here.

  • (10/04/2006): Theron heads to Canada to report to the set of Ferris Wheel.
  • (10/06/2006): Jerry Weintraub is questioned about whether Springbok was going to be involved in the Icon Productions Holocaust miniseries on ABC. "We did think about it. Now that project, about the experiences of Flory van Beek, was still early in pre-production, it didn't even have a script yet. Obviously, that's not going to happen now. But even with all this going on, we still are very committed to Apocalypto. Disney has reports from the exhibitors, and the early screenings Mel has been doing on tribal lands. The enthusiasm is there, and it's going to open on 2500 screens. And we will definitely pull out on the stops for its DVD release, and on the new Blu-ray format. But that is where our commitment to Mel and Icon will end. It's a shame, because we were fully committed to making the most out of all this." Meanwhile, The Departed opens on this day to rave reviews and a healthy box office. "It's a perfect storm of everything going right. Scorsese's directing, the brilliant performances, especially those of Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon and Jack Nicholson, the deft editing, the music choices, and the story at the heart of it all. It's a potent cocktail that simply works."
  • (10/15/2006): Publication of a book co-written by Bill Cosby as part of his "call out" tours, Come On, People has been cancelled, and the entire advance given to Cosby is demanded back by the publisher. Cosby, through his lawyers, refuses and threatens to sue to put the project back on. Many question the wisdom of his statements, given that the civil suit spearheaded by Andrea Constand is about to go forward shortly.
  • (10/17/2006): Cobain is questioned while headed to attend a school performance that his and Theron's twins are taking part in. "What do you plan to do, now that the tour is over, and everything is falling into place?" Cobain shrugs a little. "I guess I can take a little bit of time off, where Nirvana is concerned. I mean after putting two great albums like this back to back and going all over the world for that, you need time to recharge."
  • (10/22/2006): Cosby's former Cosby Show costar Malcolm-Jamal Warner speaks out against him, stating: "Bill was tyrannical, controlling and extremely perverted on set. He always had to have his way and he was always harassing everyone off the set. If you made a peep, he'd have you thrown out."
  • (11/03/2006): Borat is released to a surprisingly massively successful results critically and with the public at large. Many people make not of the Hannity interview scene, which is shown in full, and of course reignites hard feelings over at Fox News.
  • (11/05/2006): Lisa Bonet's former husband Lenny Kravitz joins in the piling on Cosby. "I've never really forgiven what he did in getting her off the show and A Different World, and having to rewrite Denise to be this total airhead who can't commit to anything and just makes big decisions without thinking. All this because he said Denise couldn't be pregnant, even though there were plenty of other ways to go about it. That said, I'm glad that Zoe is the result of all that."
  • (11/08/2006): Kenan Thompson is the next celebrity to call out Mr. Cosby. "I met him on the set of Fat Albert, which he obviously made. But he was always telling us that things had to be a certain way and he would yell at us if we screwed up anything. He was a total asshole off of the screen and people really need to know this."
  • (11/13/2006): Sean Hannity, after stewing for a while, goes on an explosive, blistering tirade against Borat and "the great deception" placed upon him. "There is nothing more disgusting, more immoral, than this incredible, unethical act of duplicity, just for cheap laughs. I hope that Mr. Baron Cohen and everyone else involved gets their just desserts."
  • (11/15/2006): The day before the civil suit begins, Phylicia Rashad weighs in on the controversy, clearly refusing to believe the worst. "This is a great man, a proud man, who has done his best to bettering life for everyone, especially his own community. And someone wants to tear that down, for whatever reason, whatever twisted motives, because they don't like his message."
  • (11/17/2006): Sacha Baron Cohen begins alternating between engaging in interviews in-character as Borat and out of character as himself. During the out of character interviews, Cohen explains the arduous process that it took to create the film. "I had to get all sorts of legal documents signed and then think to myself: 'What will Borat do today to expose ignorance?' It wasn't nearly as easy as everyone wants to believe. I also had the police called on me 98 times while filming, so you could never be in one place for too long."
  • (11/19/2006): After Edward Norton decides to turn down an offer to play Bruce Banner aka The Hulk in a reboot/sequel to the 2003 Ang Lee film, Actor Mark Ruffalo would be cast in the titular role for The Incredible Hulk. Set to begin filming in April of 2007, Hulk and another Marvel Comics film Iron Man (starring Robert Downey Jr., Gwenyth Paltrow, Don Cheadle and Jeff Bridges) are the first two films planned for what is to be known as the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
  • (11/21/2006): Court TV receives reports that if Andrea Constand and the dozen other women win their civil suit, there are dozens of other victims waiting, who want to move up the next rung and move to a criminal case for the ones still covered in the statute of limitations. Meanwhile, Kevin Spacey is formally arrested for his own transgressions, quite a few of which also fit that timespan. Anthony Rapp is expected to be the primary witness in any trial.
  • (12/08/2006): Apocalypto premieres to surprisingly good results. Despite mixed to positive reception by the critics, the movie makes $120 million at the box office, against $40 million for the budget and $25 million advertising. However, the film does not become a bigger success due to clear holding back on Springbok's part as well as the refusal of some moviegoers to forgive Gibson for his transgressions.
  • (12/15/2006): Several movie theaters in the Deep South begin banning showing of Borat. This does not stop the hugely successful film from grossing $193 million at the domestic box office as of that point, however.
  • (12/19/2006): Rumors emerge that Sean Hannity may soon be leaving Fox News, because Borat's success is rankling against him and making him ever more unpleasant. Hannity naturally denies the reports, and becomes ever angrier each night. James Murdoch apparently is concerned about Hannity's continued viability as a network talent.
  • (12/25/2006): Several videos emerge on YouTube condemning Borat's success. "This film is anti-american is every way conceivable and Sacha Baron Cohen should not be profiting off of the film. It's proof of how this country is declining."
  • (12/30/2006): Saddam Hussein is executed, the ceremony is broadcast on TV and ends up on YouTube.
  • (12/31/2006): Nirvana plays a one night only special New Years Eve show in New York City.

2007[]

  • (01/02/2007): Nirvana decides to book one last concert to be the official end of the Americaca tour, a show at the KeyArena on February 25 to mark Cobain's 40th birthday. In addition, the members of Nirvana, Theron and the family have also all been invited to Elton John's 60th birthday concert at Madison Square Garden on March 25, which, like the Nirvana show, will be filmed and recorded for later release. Besides the success of Lestat, John is also raking in the success of his latest album, The Captain & the Kid, a sequel to Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy, which, as Bernie Taupin points out, "is a bitter album of success" compared to the original being "a joyful album about failure."
  • (01/05/2007): Following growing rumors, Sean Hannity officially resigns from his position on Fox News. "I cannot take the endlessly vitriolic attacks from the left through their sick entertainment, the type that Mr. Cohen is profiting off of unfairly. And just like one of our most misunderstood Presidents once said, you won't have Sean to kick around anymore."
  • (01/06/2007): Platinum Dunes announces that it is insolvent and is forced to fold. Cofounders Andrew Form and Brad Fuller state a hope that its shelved development slate will be picked up by other parties down the line. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning was released on October 6 to a hostile reaction by critics and audiences, calling it a cynical attempt to copy "torture porn" films like Saw and Hostel, and only made $32 million at the box office.
  • (01/08/2007): The script for The Dark Knight is officially locked down, so that preproduction can take the next step, including scouting of locations in Chicago to suit the film. Compared to the first film, Christopher Nolan wants this one to have less of a comic book feel in its environments and simply just film in Chicago as is. Because of his success, Nolan has full autonomy to make the call on his own.
  • (01/12/2007): During Oscar nominations, as expected, Apocalypto does not receive a single mention, due to Springbok's lack of a campaign. However, The Departed and, more surprisingly, Borat, receive a great deal of nominations.
  • (01/16/2007): Borat reaches $218 million at the domestic box office, amidst the revelations of its surprising Oscar nominations. The film has been nominated for Best Picture, Best Director for Larry Charles, Best Actor for Sacha Baron Cohen, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Film Editing and Best Costume Design.
  • (01/20/2007): James Cameron and cinematographer Vincent Pace finalize the designs of the so-called Fusion Camera System, intended to be used for Avatar (which will be filmed first) and the Battle Angel Alita adaptation. Using the CineAlta digital cameras, and special lenses provided by Fujifilm, it is built to film natively in stereoscopic 3D and manipulate an actual camera through pre-rendered CG environments.
  • (01/28/2007): Nirvana begins to prep for the 40th birthday concert.
  • (02/02/2007): Cobain begins to plot a guest list for people to make appearances onstage, including peers in the musical community.
  • (02/05/2007): Frances begins providing set designs to her father, for how to make it all appear at the show.
  • (02/10/2007): With only ten days left until the concert, Nirvana begins prepping the sets for each "era" to reflect their changing appearances throughout Bleach, Nevermind, In Utero, Tuc Eht Parc, From the Muddy Banks of the Wishkah-Ha, Questions Answered by the Unanswerables, Dixie Dope and Americaca.
  • (02/13/2007): The jury in the civil case awards the full amount of damages sought by Andrea Constand and the other women. Shortly afterwards, the dozens of other women file the criminal charges against Cosby. "Whatever remained of Bill Cosby's image as America's Dad is completely blown to smithereens now," Wolf Blitzer intones.
  • (02/17/2007): Nirvana finalizes the guest list for the February 20th concert, with the list being released tomorrow.
  • (02/18/2007): The full guest list for the concert, appearing onstage for speeches and/or jamming with the band includes Chris Farley, David Spade, Chris Rock, Carrie Fisher, Jerry Cantrell, Kim Thayil, Mike McCready, Matt Cameron, Stone Gossard, Chris Cornell, Layne Staley, Slash, Duff McKagan, Steve Walsh of Kansas, David Ragsdale of Kansas, Jonathan Cain, Mick Jones of Foreigner, John Paul Jones and Jason Bonham.
  • (02/19/2007): Nirvana's concert sells out instantly.
  • (02/20/2007): Despite not appearing on the posters, Ann and Nancy Wilson announce that they will be joining in the concert, with the intent to do not just Heart and Nirvana songs, but to also perform a song or two written for the successful movie Almost Famous.
  • (02/22/2007): The Donners' Company announces that James Mangold, already known to 20th Century Fox for his successful Johnny Cash biopic Walk the Line, will become main producer and architect of the X-Men franchise, starting with the film that comes after the next one. Currently, a series of origin films are planned to expand on the characters, especially after the less than stellar performance of X-Men: The Last Stand, citing in particular its muddled approach to the "Dark Phoenix" storyline.
  • (02/25/2007): The 40th birthday concert is an immense success by any standard. The speeches are loving and heartfelt, the additional musicians fit in with Nirvana, and besides covering every era of Nirvana's existence, various covers are played, which liven up the proceedings. However, the best moments occur recapturing the Unplugged magic, bringing back "The Man Who Sold the World" and the finale performance of "In the Pines/Where Did You Sleep Last Night?"
  • (02/28/2007): Nirvana's 40th Birthday Bash starts airing on MTV.
  • (03/06/2007): Borat sweeps the Oscars, taking Best Picture, Best Director for Larry Charles, Best Actor for Sacha Baron Cohen, Best Editing and Best Adapted Screenplay.
  • (03/08/2007): Production begins on a film adaptation of Sweeney Todd, due by Christmas, produced by DreamWorks, Warner Bros. and Springbok, and directed by Tim Burton. The film features Johnny Depp in the title role, and also includes the likes of Helena Bonham Carter, Alan Rickman, Timothy Spall and Sacha Baron Cohen.
  • (03/11/2007): People begin denouncing Borat for its Oscar sweep on YouTube.
  • (03/14/2007): The final script for Death Note, after cuts and polishing by David S. Goyer, is officially locked down. Now production starts to take a more concrete form, mainly in terms of working around the schedule of The Dark Knight, which is now applying for permits in Chicago under the fake title Rory's First Kiss in an attempt to keep media attention away. In addition, a massive viral marketing campaign through the use of augmented reality games, modeled after the success of "I Love Bees" for Halo 2, is in the works, focusing both on the Joker, as well as Harvey Dent, portrayed by Aaron Eckhart, in his campaign to become Gotham City's District Attorney. At the same time, Springbok is also in contact with director Terry Gilliam, known as the lone American from Monty Python, and his solo career as a director, responsible for Time Bandits, Brazil, The Fisher King and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Ever since his squabbles with the Writer's Guild of America regarding scriptwriting credits for Fear and Loathing, Gilliam has refused to work in America anymore, even to seek American investors or production partners. Since then he's notably failed to complete a film entitled The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, did The Brothers Grimm with Heath Ledger and Matt Damon (which died an inglorious death upon release), and literally begged for investment funds holding a sign like a homeless man during the production of his most recent film Tideland. Gilliam is working a project with his old collaborator Charles McKeown, with whom he hasn't worked with since The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, and is scrambling to find the funds for the project, knowing European investors are skittish after Quixote. Springbok will keep tabs on the Gilliam proposal and see how it turns out.
  • (03/16/2007): The final cut of the planned Grindhouse double feature by Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez is screened at Springbok, before prepping for the release on April 6. Both directors convinced Springbok and Disney/Touchstone to greenlight the planned double feature, an homage to '70s grindhouse and exploitation flicks and the theaters they were screened in, knowing full well that this wouldn't be anywhere near as successful as their earlier filmography. Rodriguez's film, Planet Terror, takes a twist on alien invasion flicks, with Michael Biehn as the main protagonist. Tarantino's Death Proof stars Kurt Russell as Stuntman Mike, a figure who lures women into his car with the intent to kill them in horrible wrecks. Notably, Tarantino also tells Disney that he doesn't intend to give them any more of his films, because of having offers from other studios to distribute, especially with Springbok in his corner. While disappointed, Disney executives go along with this announcement and hope to make the double feature as successful as possible.
  • (03/25/2007): On the night of Elton John's 60th birthday concert at Madison Square Garden, which Cobain, Theron, the family and band attend, they receive news from Jennifer Todd about a hiccup on the set of Sweeney Todd in London. Apparently, Johnny Depp's daughter, Lily-Rose, was suddenly taken ill with a mysterious kidney ailment, and left the set to be with her and his romantic partner, Vanessa Paradis. Tim Burton also left the set to support his longtime friend, and shooting is at a standstill. Theron and Cobain announce that they will personally check things out and book the next flight to London.
  • (03/29/2007): Britney Spears, the world famous pop sensation, is found dead in a Los Angeles hotel at the age of 25. Coroners identified a gunshot wound to her forehead and conclude that she committed suicide.
  • (03/31/2007): People magazine breaks the first in-depth story about Spears' death. Apparently, her mental state had been spiraling downward after her divorce from husband Kevin Federline, as recent hard partying escapades with the likes of Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan, and taking drugs from various unknown sources, including pharmaceuticals with prescriptions. Her mother, Lynne Spears, is quoted in the article. "All that celebrity life, everything that happened since the '90s, it took its toll and ate her life, her identity. She wasn't even real anymore. Her managers, her label, should have known better than to exploit her the way they did, and just put her on like a trained circus monkey. They wanted the money above all else, and it's sickening."
  • (04/01/2007): Iron Man starts filming slightly behind schedule. Notably, director Jon Favareu does not have a specific script for the project and the actors are instructed to improvise greatly.
  • (04/02/2007): Over the last few days, the scene in London, as Cobain and Theron checks in, is quite frantic. Even with the support of his significant other, their son Jack, Tim Burton, and a surprise visit from Danny Elfman (who is not involved with Sweeney Todd in any capacity), Depp is quite despondent and worried, and even undergoing erratic mood swings to try and exorcise his feelings. At one point, he declares to no one, "I'll do anything if my girl gets better." Meanwhile, Cobain and Theron meet with Jennifer Todd in London to assess what to do regarding production of the film.
  • (04/03/2007): A public funeral is held for Britney Spears, with many celebrities attending including Beyonce, Mariah Carey, Michael Jackson, the Black Eyed Peas and Shakira.
  • (04/05/2007): By this point, Lily-Rose Depp's condition has stabilized, to her parents' relief. Depp decides to follow through on his instinctive pledge by giving up intoxicating substances of all kinds. Meanwhile, as production of Sweeney Todd is set to resume, Warner Bros. is angry with Burton for walking off the film for a few days, and demands that sections of the script be cut as a consequence for the cost overruns, notably an elaborate sequence for "The Ballad of Sweeney Todd" and the ensemble numbers from the stage production.
  • (04/07/2007): Jennifer Todd begins to argue with WBs executives over keeping the scene intact. "If you're going to cut this scene all because of a little girl getting sick for a few days, we'll take our business elsewhere!"
  • (04/08/2007): By this point, Warners executives cave and state that the scenes can be left in the film, but state "this is a silver bullet. If you fail to get the film ready by our Christmas release date, you're all going to be held responsible."
  • (04/10/2007): Back in the States, Todd moves to look over the schedules for Death Note and The Dark Knight, with the reason they have to manage their schedules around each other because of Adam Driver being cast in both films as the Joker and Near, and both also being scheduled summer releases (though a year apart). Theron, meanwhile, is looking over trying to secure a distribution deal for Ferris Wheel, which has since been changed to Sleepwalking, but no one has bit until now.
  • (04/13/2007): The HBO limited series of Titan AE premieres to great ratings and reviews, praised for fleshing out the original idea in an impressive manner. Meanwhile, Theron finds a distributor for Sleepwalking, a group formed by Starz entitled Overture Films, with the intent to premiere it at a film festival in August before releasing it to the general public next March.
  • (04/16/2007): Reports of dissension at Adult Swim surface, mainly over the managerial style of channel head Mike Lazzo, and where his priorities lie. Apparently, this was also kicked off because of tension with Aaron MacGruder, creator of The Boondocks, notably the only original series on the programming block not managed in any way by their in-house animation division, Williams Street Productions.
  • (04/20/2007): ATHF Colon Movie For Theaters premiers to mixed to positive reviews and minor box office success. Notably, the film attracted controversy when a viral marketing stunt was mistaken for a bombing attack in Boston.
  • (04/21/2007): Theron is interviewed by local news in Boston about the bomb scare, in which Lite Brite-style LED installations of minor characters named The Mooninites were placed on storefront signs in various cities, and which the Boston PD mistook as a bomb. "I personally didn't know that Adult Swim had this in mind to promote the film, but I speak for all of us when I say that we deeply regret the misunderstanding. It was never our intention to scare people like this."
  • (04/25/2007): Despite widespread pressure from the network, Jim Samples decides not to step down as the Vice President of Cartoon Network.
  • (04/27/2007): With Jim Samples still in place at CN, there is then a move to turn attention to the Adult Swim block, and what to do regarding Mike Lazzo. Samples makes his position clear. "Honestly, do we really need Mike that much? He doesn't do much in his job, except take credit for the success, and when he actually does work, it's simply causing tension with creators over their programs and forcing them to sign the rights over to him in perpetuity."
  • (03/30/2007): After much deliberation, Samples decides to fire Lazzo from the network. "He really hadn't done anything that important and we could easily replace him with someone who can do their job and not steal credit from the hard working animators who make Adult Swim a reality."
  • (05/02/2007): Filming of The Dark Knight is officially set to begin shortly in Chicago. At the same time, the potential Terry Gilliam project, now entitled The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, attracts Heath Ledger to be involved in the film. As Ledger explains, "I'd cut carrots on a Gilliam film." With this, Springbok becomes quite committed to helping the film become a reality.
  • (05/05/2007): Filming for The Dark Knight commences.
  • (05/08/2007): The long-gestating revival of Barry Keating's Starmites premieres as a North American tour. Meanwhile, Whistle Down the Wind finally premieres on Broadway, ten years after it was intended to, at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre, the same venue it was planned for. Reviews are decidedly vicious towards the production, but many praise the score, calling it Andrew Lloyd Webber's strongest one since Phantom.
  • (05/12/2007): Casting for Parnassus begins to gather steam. Christopher Plummer signs to play the title character, a traveling illusionist who creates mental pictures for the audiences in a magic mirror, who also made a deal with the Devil for eternal life. Tom Waits is signed to play the Devil, referred to as Mr. Nick in the film.
  • (05/17/2007): Following the mixed reception of Spider-Man 3, Sam Raimi announces that the film will be the final one in the series.
  • (05/20/2007): Executives at Sony are reportedly angry with Raimi's decision to end the Spider-Man franchise, and trying to seek ways to continue. At the same time, unknown actors Lily Cole and Andrew Garfield are signed in connection with Parnassus, along with Verne Troyer in the role of Percy. Meanwhile, there is talk of tweaking an element to the script, regarding how Ledger's character, Tony, is meant to undergo a transformation that brings out different elements of his personality when he travels through the mirror. It is suggested that these different personalities should be played by different actors, with different faces, to help further sell the transformation. Gilliam is quite intrigued by the idea.
  • (05/23/2007): Filming on Sweeney Todd wraps, and marketing prepares to do its job.
  • (05/26/2007): Terry Gilliam moves to hustle European investors to pony up investment capital for Parnassus budget, being a bit wary with how they might react without a certified star lead or the reputation of Quixote hanging over him.
  • (05/27/2007): It is announced that Ed Ed n Eddy will receive a sixth and final season consisting of 13 episodes. It is set to premiere in September 2008, with a series finale movie set to air on TV in June 2009.
  • (06/02/2007): Keith Crofford, Mike Lazzo's lieutenant at Adult Swim, who has since assumed his duties, offers a great inducement to settle affairs with Aaron MacGruder. The rights to The Boondocks are offered back to him, as well as a substantial royalty hike with each broadcast.
  • (06/04/2007): Springbok views the final cuts of There Will Be Blood and No Country for Old Men. Impressed with the results, they are tacked with fall/winter releases, December 26 for the former, November 9 for the latter. Meanwhile, it enters a deal to help produce David Fincher's upcoming film, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, which has already completed principal photography, but needs to be further tweaked regarding its visual effects, courtesy of Digital Domain, and a marketing strategy planned out.
  • (06/07/2007): Cobain decides to book several surprise shows at Aberdeen High School in Aberdeen, Washington from June 15th - June 20th to celebrate Nirvana's 20th anniversary as a band. There is no set song list for these shows, as the group intends to take requests from the audience.
  • (06/08/2007): Burn Notice, a new series created by Matt Nix, a former writer for Code Lyoko, and co-produced by Springbok and Fox Television Studios, premieres on USA Network. The show stars Jeffrey Donovan as Michael Westen, a former US Army Ranger and CIA contractor who ends up blacklisted with a "burn notice" saying that he is no longer considered a valuable asset and seeks to figure out why while hiding out in his hometown of Miami; Gabrielle Anwar as Westen's ex-girlfriend Fiona Glennane, a former IRA operative who has settled in Miami and Americanized in order to fit in more; and Bruce Campbell as Sam Axe, a former Navy SEAL who has retired lives off his pension in Miami for suntans, booze and women, and is also the only connection to intelligence agencies Westen has left. The show is a massive hit, to amazing ratings and critical reception, and runs successfully for seven seasons.
  • (06/12/2007): Despite the shows being booked under a pseudonym, as is standard practice when any band books surprise gigs in intimate venues, the true identity is already known in town.
  • (06/13/2007): While practicing with Nirvana for the 5 day concert, Cobain takes refuge at his mother's house.
  • (06/14/2007): A local newspaper, reporting the fact that the secret shows aren't so secret anymore, despite no official confirmation or denial from the band, states the following. "For many longterm residents of Aberdeen, it is strange and fascinating that its most famous native son, who has put as much distance from it as possible, is apparently coming home for a series of shows. While the teenagers that currently attend Cobain's alma mater are surely excited, the older adults can't simply help but shake their heads in fascination, trying to make heads or tails of it all." Meanwhile a local news station reports on the secret concerts. Students from Aberdeen High School discuss the importance of Nirvana to them and their favorite albums, along with possible experiences seeing them in concert.
  • (06/15/2007): Prior to the concerts beginning, a student allows his email message to Nirvana be reprinted in the local news, saying "you're my favorite band, but I don't have any money to attend concerts. I'd really like to see you, though. Since you're about to mark your 20th anniversary, could you come home to Aberdeen?" With the student's permission, Nirvana reads the email to the audience just before they begin their first show.
  • (06/20/2007): By the end of the fifth show, the town of Aberdeen seems to be well on Nirvana's side. With this, audience demand seems to be satisfied for the present as far as live shows for the rest of the year.
  • (06/22/2007): By now, Gilliam has managed to secure $30 million for the budget, and production is set to begin in London in December before moving to finish up in Vancouver. In the meantime, Gilliam and cinematographer Nicola Pecorini begin doing camera and lens tests to find the most effective ones for the story.
  • (06/25/2007): Zophyre is released to rave reviews and impressive sales. Rumors of a sequel already surface.
  • (06/28/2007): The trailer for Sweeney Todd is released.
  • (07/02/2007): A small scene from The Simpsons Movie is leaked onto YouTube and features animated versions of Nirvana performing a concert on Lake Springfield.
  • (07/05/2007): Nirvana, Theron, the family, Jennifer Todd and Leonard Soloway attend a first-anniversary party for The Beatles-themed Cirque du Soleil show Love, along with the surviving Beatles and their families, Yoko Ono and Sean Lennon, Beatles producer George Martin and his son Giles, and, surprisingly, Michael Jackson, suggesting the settling of any tension between him and Paul McCartney over the 1985 purchase of the ATV catalog.
  • (07/07/2007): Jim Samples is interviewed by Forbes regarding his tenure at Cartoon Network. One of the questions he is asked is regarding why several older, already concluded series like Johnny Bravo and Dexter's Laboratory are still rebroadcast so often. "Because many fans of the channel have a soft place for these shows, and we want to do right by them. It's a major reason why we've decided to keep certain shows going, and ensure these older shows never disappear. This way, everyone gets to see what they want, and more people are attracted to it. It also helps ensure that when we introduce new series, they are of the same quality as these older shows and there will be a massive crossover element there."
  • (07/11/2007): Nirvana partakes in a meet and greet at a local 7-11 which has been transformed into the Kwik-E-Mart in promotion for The Simpsons Movie.
  • (07/14/2007): With the idea of physical transformations for the character of Tony being officially decided upon for Parnassus, Gilliam makes calls for people to fill in these roles, which would occur during the Vancouver portion of the shoot. Among the chief candidates are personal friends of Heath Ledger, including Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell. All three are quite amenable to the idea.
  • (07/16/2007): Death Note begins applying for location permits in Tokyo and Osaka, as well as plans to do a great deal of soundstage shoots at Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden, where much of the shoots for the Harry Potter series occurs.
  • (07/20/2007): Disney announces that the reopening date of Disney's Hollywood Studios will be on March 18, 2008. In addition, it is confirmed that this will be Michael Eisner's last day as CEO, and that he will hand the reins over to Bob Iger. Both are expected to give speeches to mark the reopening.
  • (07/26/2007): The stage adaptation of The Little Mermaid begins a tryout at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House in Denver, expected to last through the fall until previews begin at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, where the stage version of Beauty and the Beast recently bowed out, in late November. The production agreed upon has a book by Doug Wright, Francesca Zambello as director, lighting by Natasha Katz, choreography by Stephen Mear, set design by George Tyspin (which includes partial water immersion, based upon plans for a special water spectacular at the Georgia Aquarium), and every song from the film, as well as nine new songs written by Alan Menken and Glenn Slater, the latter of whom is also set to work on lyrics and brush up the book on the planned Phantom sequel production Love Never Dies, as well as work with Menken on the songs for an upcoming Disney animated film adaptation of the story of Rapunzel. Meanwhile, Mary Poppins has done well in America, litigation regarding Dennis DeYoung and the transfer of Hunchback is still down the pike, and stage transfers of Aladdin and Newsies are coming on the slate for Springbok and Disney. The planned stage transfer of Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein has undergone a tryout in Seattle at the Paramount Theatre, and will move to Broadway, at the Hilton Theatre (formerly Ford Center for the Performing Arts), the second-largest Broadway theater, very shortly. Investors, fellow producers and creatives are still being courted for an English-language transfer of Michael Kunze's Elisabeth. As for Love Never Dies itself, Leonard Soloway and Jennifer Todd are quite unhappy with the proposed book by Ben Elton, known for the Queen musical We Will Rock You, and partially based on the much-reviled novel The Phantom of Manhattan by Frederick Forsythe, mainly for its sudden reversals in characterization as well as weak plotting. "This is a fucking travesty, it completely shits on these characters, especially Christine, and is purely written just to appeal to Christine/Phantom fanfiction writers! You can't fucking do that!"
  • (07/29/2007): Apple Corps v. Apple Computer is officially settled once and for all. A revolving series of litigation since the '70s, The Beatles' Apple Corps has repeatedly sued Apple Inc. over trademarks, and made deals that Apple Corps would not make computers, and Apple Computer/Apple Inc. would not break into music. The latest batch of litigation occurred because of the sales of the iPod and the iTunes software for storing MP3 files. Back in late 2006, the courts in London found in favor of Apple Inc, arguing no breach of contract was provable and no trademark infringement occurred, but Apple Inc. decided to license back some trademarks to Apple Corps, as well as undisclosed cash settlement. Steve Jobs and Neil Aspinall are quite pleased. "It's great to have all of this behind us. Simply put, there is a lot of mutual respect between us, for The Beatles and for what Apple Inc. has managed to do, especially since Steve came back to the company in '97."
  • (07/31/2007): Quentin Tarantino makes a deal with Universal Pictures to let them distribute his next film.
  • (08/02/2007): At this moment, all watchers of the 2008 election are primarily focused on the Democratic nomination. Many had assumed that it would land in the hands of Hillary Clinton, who during her time in the Senate had carved her own reputation, separate from her husband. But Illinois Senator Barrack Obama has been unexpectedly gaining momentum, especially as some are excited at the thought of breaking barriers with electing the first African-American President. His message, focused on the concepts of "Hope and Change" is resonating strongly with potential voters.
  • (08/07/2007): Kurt Cobain announces his support for Senator Obama on Twitter, urging other voters to vote for him in the primaries and hopefully the 2008 general election. "We sit at a crossroads and we have to make a difference by voting for candidates like Mr. Obama."
  • (08/10/2007): Reports of a coming downturn in the housing market began to ripple through the financial press. The bubble was especially fueled thanks to deregulation of the financial sector under Presidents Clinton and Bush, legislation promising homes for as many Americans as possible, and easing standards for bank loans and mortgages so that potential homeowners would have easier credit to buy their properties. However, certain neighborhood developments sit largely abandoned, and homes begin to be foreclosed on in bigger numbers.
  • (08/13/2007): At a Springbok board meeting, they vote on whether or not to take the company public on the New York Stock Exchange. This is a move that they have mulled over for a while, but have not made a commitment to, because of wanting to avoid the pitfalls of the likes of the WWE and NASCAR in their NYSE trading histories. At the vote it is decided that it is best to hold off on the idea for now, because of concerns about what might happen if the housing market makes a sudden slide in its fortunes.
  • (08/17/2007): Around this time, though not as notable, political watchers are also keeping an eye on the Republican nomination for President. Odds are on Senator John McCain, who had previously been considered the favorite for 2000 before George W. Bush suddenly went into the lead. But many also wonder what type of campaign McCain will run this time around.
  • (08/19/2007): Vice President Dick Cheney announces that he will not be seeking the Presidency in the 2008 election.
  • (08/23/2007): Final cut of I'm Not There is officially approved, ready for its premiere at the Venice International Film Festival on September 4, before opening on a limited basis in November. In addition, Heath Ledger plans to knock out his shoot for Parnassus before going to report to the set of Death Note.
  • (08/26/2007): Early photos of Adam Driver in character as the Joker in The Dark Knight are leaked onto the Internet.
  • (08/31/2007): Springbok announces that it is planning a new spy comedy spoof series directed by Jay Roach, meant to effectively continue in the vein that was done with the Austin Powers films. "It's the closest we'll get to touching James Bond, and the closest to a fourth Austin Powers film that can be done without Mike Myers. Though I'm sure he would love it if he were here to see it," Roach comments.
  • (09/03/2007): Van Halen performs a warm-up gig at Irving Plaza to prep for their first tour with their current lineup, starting in Greensboro, North Carolina on September 27. Bassist Tommy Stinson, who was made a full member of the band in 2003, decided to leave and join Soul Asylum instead. Filling in on bass is Eddie Van Halen's son, Wolfgang, a lineup that David Lee Roth referred to as "three-quarters original, one-quarter inevitable."
  • (09/07/2007): An internal study by Disney's accountants point out that a potential slowing down in tourism may occur within the next 12 months, but traffic to the theme parks should still be considerable, especially with the reopening of Disney's Hollywood Studios in March.
  • (09/10/2007): Work on the reformed Hollywood Studios is almost complete.
  • (09/14/2007): Death Note begins moving its production staff over to the location shoot in Japan.
  • (09/17/2007): Unbeknownst to most of the public, Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg are looking at a state of disarray in DreamWorks. Despite the consistent success of its animated films, the live action division has been hit or miss since 1997, with each hit, especially Spielberg's own films, followed by several disappointments or outright flops. In addition, the founding partners' ambitious hopes for DreamWorks to be a conglomerate and creative force on par with Disney have not panned out well. A weak television slate and a massive downturn in their investment in video game arcade group entitled GameWorks, complete with "immersive" 3D games, forcing a sell off to rivals Dave & Buster's, has left the company considerably in the hole and scrambling for funds and loans to keep them alive, though at least there is no immediate crisis. Of course, Spielberg has his hands tied as he is in the midst of production on a new Indiana Jones film, and cannot immediately focus on the hole.
  • (09/19/2007): Marvel announces that a movie revolving around the character of Black Widow is in the works to be released by 2009. A script by David Hayter, known for writing X-Men and assisting with X2, written back in 2000 when Marvel had a distribution deal with Artisan Entertainment, is being polished and refined by Hayter to fit with the times.
  • (09/23/2007): The long-gestating English-language transfer of Elisabeth will premiere off-Broadway at the New York City Center in December. "This is a show that we know can be somewhat of a risk, in terms of a future in the States," Leonard Soloway states. "There's a good chance it may never end up on Broadway proper. But at least, it will premiere in a way that people can see it. We also fully intend to make a cast recording album and a DVD for those who can't come to the engagement." Soloway also announces a truce, of sorts, with Matt Stone and Trey Parker. "Matt and Trey are working on a stage musical idea with Robert Lopez, and it's actually a real gut-buster, so we're putting aside our differences to bring it to life."
  • (09/27/2007): Nirvana regroups in Los Angeles to begin work on their next album, which is to be titled Whisper.
  • (10/01/2007): Rolling Stone reports in "Random Notes" that the new Nirvana sessions involve the band reuniting with Nevermind producer Butch Vig at Sound City Studios, though with a definite promise of "ensure the mixing is good this time around!" by Cobain, who was never all that pleased with Vig's initial mix of the album, or the subsequent released mix by Andy Wallace.
  • (10/02/2007): An early trailer for Iron Man receives wildly positive reviews, with many praising the surprising inclusion of Robert Downey Jr. as the titular character.
  • (10/05/2007): CNBC points out that there is now the beginnings of a definite downturn in the housing market, especially since prior to this, prices had now gone from any reasonable valuation to soaring in a vertical line. "Hopefully, people are prepared to deal with this."
  • (10/07/2007): President Bush informs the nation in a televised address warning potential house buyers to make sure they have good credit before going through with their purchases. "In times like these, be prudent and wise."
  • (10/09/2007): Overture Films officially manages a release date for Sleepwalking on March 22. The film had premiered to indifferent reactions at a second-string film festival in August, but Theron remains quite proud of the work. Meanwhile, a distribution deal for Parnassus is made with Sony Pictures Classics, to be out sometime in 2009. As the character of Ryuk will be a CG-rendered motion with Heath Ledger doing the dialogue later, this will allow the film production in Japan and Leavesden to proceed without him for the time being while he does his commitment to Parnassus.
  • (10/16/2007): Nirvana begins recording the first few songs for Whisper.
  • (10/23/2007): Principal photography on Mommie Dearest is complete. Naturally, due to Danny Boyle having other projects in the pipeline, he moved to juggle these at the same time and delegated a lot of shoot details to the second unit. Even still, Springbok and New Line Cinema are pleased with the dailies and are confident that an impressive film will take shape, and possibly be among the top ten films of 2008.
  • (10/30/2007): Filming for The Dark Knight wraps up.
  • (11/04/2007): I'm Not There officially opens to rave reviews, though definitely limited box office, because of its art house status. Especially praised is the performance of Cate Blanchett, dubbing that she steals the show.
  • (11/09/2007): Location shoot permits for Parnassus are filed, with the expectation to begin in a month.
  • (11/12/2007): The foreclosure rate begins to rise noticeably, with ripple effects at mortgage firms.
  • (11/14/2007): Springbok officially announces that it is connected at the hip with Martin Scorsese for the remainder of his career. "Marty really loves us as much as we love him, so we intend to stick around with him." Scorsese is already planning a new feature film, an adaptation of the novel Shutter Island. Furthermore, they are in talks with Sacha Baron Cohen to find the right vehicle as a followup to Borat, potentially involving another of his Da Ali G Show characters.
  • (11/17/2007): After looking over James Cameron's script for Avatar, Springbok is certainly pleased, especially after having taken a tip to flesh out the motivations of the human characters. With the tech judged to be sufficient to Cameron's standards, casting complete and the Fusion Camera System judged perfected, filming is set to begin.
  • (11/25/2007): Kristen Stewart, who had a notable role as the daughter of Jodie Foster's character in David Fincher's Panic Room, is cast as one of the leads for Jay Roach's planned spy spoof comedy trilogy, which is intended in the vein of buddy cop films.
  • (12/02/2007): Principal photography for Parnassus begins in London. Meanwhile, the shoot for Death Note also officially begins in Tokyo.
  • (12/05/2007): Nirvana accepts an offer to perform at Lane Stadium at Virginia Tech to mark the first anniversary of a horrific massacre that occurred on April 16, in which 32 people were killed.
  • (12/07/2007): The band takes a break from work and Theron a break from Springbok to go on a vacation to London, as they have bought tickets to the Ahmet Ertegun Tribute Concert at the O2 Arena on the 10th, to pay tribute to the late founder of Atlantic Records, who died after an unexpected fall backstage at a Rolling Stones show at the Beacon Theatre being filmed for a Martin Scorsese documentary. Most notable about the show is an unexpected reunion of Led Zeppelin, with John Bonham's son Jason on drums. On the same, the Disney-ABC Television Group announces the creation of two new channels to be added without additional installation costs on basic cable packages, ABC Classic and Disney Channel Classic, which are solely devoted to reruns of classic shows from years past, including reruns of the entire ABC Daytime lineup and their entire run history. And given that The Disney Channel has been keeping reruns of vintage shows and films already, it's not much of a stretch to include programming from the early paid cable installation days.
  • (12/09/2007): Michael Eisner sits down for his last interview as CEO of The Walt Disney Company with Forbes:

Q: Why have you chosen the reopening of Disney's Hollywood Studios in March to be your final day as CEO?

A: I've been in charge of The Walt Disney Company since 1985, and one of the biggest responsibilities I've had was overseeing the theme parks. The original Disney-MGM Studios was the first opening I attended, and I did the dedication back in 1989. So, 19 years later, I'm coming full circle in a sense. What better way to bow out then with the reopening of a prime park, and also give Bob Iger his chance to shine. He has really come through for us ever since he came onboard, and I know I'm leaving the company in safe hands.

Q: What would you say is your proudest accomplishment as CEO?

A: I would definitely say what has happened with the parks and the movies is what really cheers me up. Disney has not only clawed its way back from the doldrums, but has stayed on top ever since, in a direction that I know Walt himself would've approved of. The magic of Disney is truly real, and I've always been a true believer in it.

Q: Is there anything you will miss?

A: Getting to be around all these fine people, in our "Laughing Place."

  • (12/15/2007): A promo is leaked onto YouTube of the revamped Hollywood Studios park, which resembles a Golden Age movie studio and features several new themed lands that parody iconic genres and movies.
  • (12/20/2007): To secure working capital for DreamWorks for the short term, Jeffrey Katzenberg arranges for India-based company Reliance Entertainment, an arm of the Reliance Group, to infuse the studio with $500 million in equity, and another $500 million in assumed debt and to be named a co-partner in all future live action DreamWorks films. It is also intended to help finance a new slate of four to eight pictures per year. However, this capital will not last beyond a year, and more money is needed. Reliance also is not ready to sign on the dotted line just yet.

2008[]

  • (01/10/2008): The London shoot for Parnassus wraps, with cast and crew (except for Heath Ledger) taking a break before relocating to finish in Vancouver. Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell will now move in to fill in for Ledger in the Vancouver shoot.
  • (01/12/2008): Scarlett Johansson is officially cast as Natasha Romanoff for the Black Widow film, which is scheduled to be released in the summer of 2009.
  • (01/16/2008): With 20 tracks in the can for Whisper, recording is put on a pause, especially to consider which tracks are the strongest. Meanwhile, a teaser for Mommie Dearest is released, hyping a Thanksgiving release. At the same time, because of the involvement regarding Joan Crawford, longtime Springbok associate Ryan Murphy, and his fellow Nip/Tuck creator Brad Falchuk, who helped polish the script and served as executive producers, are interested in a followup project of some kind revolving more around her, instead of Christina, possibly even bringing in her infamous feud with Bette Davis. In addition, during research for the film, much was made of the fact that Christina's two youngest siblings, twins Cindy and Cathy, were adopted by Joan through the help of the infamous "baby snatcher" Georgia Tann, and Springbok is looking to make that into a movie in and of itself.
  • (01/18/2008): A workshop for the stage musical project Matt Stone and Trey Parker have been working on with Robert Lopez (all three shared duties for the book, music and lyrics) is set for February.
  • (01/22/2008): DreamWorks makes a deal to move its operations and headquarters back to the Universal Studios lot, a sign representing a retreat of sorts for Steven Spielberg. Meanwhile, the search for additional capital to keep the company operating smoothly is still progressing.
  • (01/24/2008): Ten additional tracks to consider for Whisper have been recorded, and recording is judged fully complete. The plan is then made to take a break and "clean our ears out" before heading to mixing.
  • (01/28/2008): Death Note nears the completion of its filming.
  • (02/01/2008): Joe Dante officially signs on as director of Black Widow, with plans to film in Germany fairly shortly.
  • (02/08/2008): Death Note completes filming.
  • (02/10/2008): First trailer for Iron Man is released. Meanwhile, after finishing principal photography on Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Steven Spielberg returns to directly assess the situation at DreamWorks and to find additional capital for the company to take effect in 2009. So desperate is the situation, that Spielberg broaches the idea of going to Disney to provide them a loan, an idea that Katzenberg furiously rejects, which leads to Spielberg deciding to go behind his back.
  • (02/15/2008): Disney's Hollywood Studios undergoes a soft opening to test the new attractions and gauge audience reactions.
  • (02/18/2008): First teaser trailer for Death Note is released, aiming for a fall release in September.
  • (02/22/2008): The first images of the new Hollywood Studios appear to the press. Notably, except for the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, no attractions are tied in with any preexisting property any longer, but now are colorful parodies of the like. No reference to Disney as a whole, or any of its ownerships, like ABC, remain, though it is announced that stars of ABC programming will continue to host fan conventions, such as the ABC Super Soap Weekend, and appear in the park, though under certain conditions.
  • (02/25/2008): Springbok quietly reaches a deal with Universal Pictures regarding a followup to Borat, decided to be about another Da Ali G Show character, Bruno, an Austrian fashion personality, who also happens be host of his own show. Filming is expected to begin shortly, with plans to release the film next spring.
  • (02/28/2008): Nirvana announces it will play a one-day concert at the re-opening of Hollywood Studios.
  • (03/03/2008): Invitations are officially sent for the re-opening festivities on the 15th, with a veritable collection of Hollywood stars to attend. Nirvana's performance will occur at the Hollywood Hills Amphitheatre, formerly home of Fantasmic!, and now transformed into a 10,000-seat performing arts venue with state of the art bells and whistles to spice up performances.
  • (03/08/2008): Planet Hollywood, and Cobain and Theron's investment, takes a hit in its stock price (the only thing to date they are involved in that is publicly traded), though just abut every company traded on the NYSE is similarly affected.
  • (03/14/2008): Nirvana heads to Florida once again to prepare for the concert.
  • (03/15/2008): Disney's Hollywood Studios reopens to grand fanfare, a loving dedication by Michael Eisner, followed by his retirement speech, and Bob Iger giving his own dedication and acceptance of the position of CEO. The press enjoys the revamp considerably, and call it "incredibly inventive, thoroughly original, and true to the intent of the original park. There is truly nothing else like it in the world!" The new rethemed attractions are praised considerably, and Nirvana's breaking in of the 10,000 seat amphitheater is similarly well-received, complete with laser displays, LED light sculptures, fireworks and fog effects.
  • (03/16/2008): Nirvana's concert is fully filmed and uploaded onto YouTube.
  • (03/20/2008): The first full trailers for The Dark Knight and Death Note premiere to the public, as does a teaser for Mommie Dearest.
  • (03/24/2008): Black Widow begins filming in Germany.
  • (03/27/2008): A crisis of payment and credit begins to hit firms involved with monetizing mortgages and selling them in forms like junk bonds for additional profit, notably the likes of Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers. In addition, various companies begin to continue to slide in the stock market.
  • (03/29/2008): Sleepwalking officially releases to the general public, to dispiriting reviews and low ticket sales.
  • (04/06/2008): Sacha Baron Cohen causes a stir at a fashion event while in character for his next film Bruno.
  • (04/10/2008): A viewing party for the final cut of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is held at Skywalker Ranch, and the members of Nirvana and Springbok are invited. At the party, enthusiasm is generally warm, though with some reservations over apparent gaps of logic in the events of the movie.
  • (04/13/2008): Nirvana announces that they will be performing a string of benefit concerts for the candidacy of Senator Barack Obama, including the likes of the surviving members of The Grateful Dead (performing as The Dead), Jackson Browne, James Taylor, and The Allman Brothers Band.
  • (04/15/2008): The setlist for the concert is revealed, with some songs from Whisper featured, such as the intended singles "The Grey Remains", "Build With Ash", "Ignite the Future" and "Memento".
  • (04/17/2008): Warren Spector officially confirms that a sequel to Zophyre is in the works. Springbok's games division had an auspicious year, with the release of that, the success of The Orange Box and Portal as a standalone, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare being Game of the Year, BioShock being praised for its story and setting, and expectation high for Half-Life 2: Episode Three, launching shortly.
  • (04/29/2008): GTA IV is released to critical acclaim, with praise for the return to Liberty City after the previous two games were set in Vice City and San Andreas respectively.
  • (05/02/2008): Iron Man opens to surprise acclaim as well as massive box office success, thus officially cementing Robert Downey, Jr. as in the midst of an incredible comeback, a credible superhero lead, and getting the Marvel Cinematic Universe off to a strong start. The success is particularly noticed by Disney, looking to expand with additional properties, especially while Star Wars continues on its screen hiatus.
  • (05/06/2008): Whisper is officially mixed and ready to head to mastering by Stephen Marcussen.
  • (05/10/2008): By now, it is clear that Senator Obama is the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination, especially after his closest competitor, Hillary Clinton, conceded defeat. Notably, many of his speeches on the campaign trail focus on the growing crisis in the economy, especially the growing numbers of homeless and jobless Americans.
  • (05/13/2008): Leonard Soloway confirms that Springbok's theatrical division is planning to do a stage transfer of the combined story of Dixie Dope and Americaca as a rock opera, with plans for a workshop sometime late in the year, a 2009 tryout in either Seattle or Berkeley, and hopefully landing on Broadway in 2010. Michael Mayer, director and librettist of Spring Awakening, is turning the combined albums into a stage book and directing the proposed production, starting with the workshop. In addition, Soloway announces that Springbok is looking towards a full scale revival of the stage presentation of The Who's Tommy, as well potentially bringing other related stories to stage transfers, namely a stage version of Quadrophenia and Pete Townshend's solo album Psychoderelict.
  • (05/15/2008): New Line Cinema announces the production of Dumb and Dumber To, a sequel to the beloved 1994 comedy, though plot details and an expected release date are not yet forthcoming.
  • (05/19/2008): Oil prices around the US begin to skyrocket, worrying consumers.
  • (05/21/2008): Republican frontrunner Senator John McCain announces, in a total surprise move, that Alaska Governor Sarah Palin will be his running mate. Palin is only early into her first gubernatorial term, and has not done anything of significance in the position.
  • (05/23/2008): McCain's choice of Palin is mocked brutally in the press.
  • (05/27/2008): Nirvana announces that it will be doing a series of charity shows in June to benefit the likes of St. Jude's Children's Hospital, Feeding America, cancer benefits, and a fund for rape victims.
  • (05/30/2008): Springbok announces that a film adaptation of the musical version of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Jim Steinman's Whistle Down the Wind is coming down the pike. Whistle lasted only three months on Broadway last year, especially due to the critics's moving to drive a stake through the production over its plot. "Andrew and Jim were really disappointed in how the show went down in the States," Leonard Soloway states. "The North American tour was going well, even with mixed reviews, but the New York run was absolutely trashed like you wouldn't believe, and I know Andrew cried over it. But he wants it to live on somewhere here, and Jim especially wants it, because he's proud of the lyrics he wrote for that. In fact, the production was originally going to be a movie, before someone said it was a stage piece. So, we've made a deal that we'll make a film of it, in exchange for massive rewrites of Love Never Dies to create a story that actually suits the score."
  • (06/05/2008): Republican presidential candidate John McCain makes an unfortunate gaffe when he says: "We're fighting for the hard-working Americans who understand that welfare is simply no solution to ending poverty."
  • (06/07/2008): Death Note is officially scheduled for a Christmastime release, though there are rumors it may be pushed back because of scheduling conflicts with Springbok's other projects.
  • (06/10/2008): Springbok announces that a prequel to the original Alien is coming, though it will "contain strands of the film's DNA, but also be its own story, its own mythology." Damon Lindelhof, writer for the ABC series Lost, is hired to pen the script, with Ridley Scott directing the film.
  • (06/13/2008): The Incredible Hulk is released to generally favorable reviews, with praise directed toward Mark Ruffalo's portrayal of the titular character. However, it's compared unfavorably to Iron Man.
  • (06/16/2008): The economy slowly continues on its descent, with Bear Stearns expected to default on obligations to its creditors.
  • (07/05/2008): The Dark Knight opens to rave reviews and massive box office. It is considered far superior to the original film, and much praise is singled out for Adam Driver's portrayal of the Joker, "a furious tour de force of menace."
  • (07/12/2008): Work begins to shoot the music videos for the four singles from Whisper, once again directed by Samuel Bayer. On the same day, it is announced that Chris Farley and David Spade are being cast to play supporting roles in Dumb and Dumber To, especially after work finished on a long-gestating Matt Foley movie produced by Springbok, originally set to premiere last year, but which has been unexpectedly tied up in litigation concerning the film's director, Bo Welch, saying he deserves a bigger cut of the planned profits. They will play the roles of two figures trying to seek to obtain an inheritance Harry and Lloyd will receive from long-lost English relatives, with John Cleese playing the executor.
  • (07/14/2008): An earlier loan of $25 billion to Bear Stearns by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and purchase of the company by JPMorganChase officially take effect, after four months of hemming and hawing, and certain outrage from stockholders and anti-corporate screeds by Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone. In addition, the federal government is openly mulling a takeover the Federal National Mortgage Association (also known as Fannie Mae) and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporate (Freddie Mac) due to the precariousness of their situation as the housing crisis continues to spill over and their stock is sinking like a rock.
  • (07/17/2008): Death Note is moved up in its premiere schedule to November 20th, with New Line Cinema citing "exhibitors' demand and enthusiasm."
  • (07/20/2008): Enima announces that it has secured a deal to tackle several highly popular anime/manga series. First off, it has made a deal for the series Sailor Moon, which includes creating a brand new English dub of the original anime to supersede the earlier dub from the '90s, and which will now air through first-run syndication, primarily via Tribune Broadcasting, which carried Andromeda and Mutant X (as well as a recent upcoming new series, Legend of the Seeker, by Sam Raimi and Robert Tapert, as a return to the halcyon days of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Xena: Warrior Princess, Jack of All Trades and Cleopatra 2525, but this one is surprisingly also made with Disney-ABC Domestic Television), as well as Fremantle Media, known as the syndicators for Baywatch/Baywatch Nights. A planned two-part live action film is also in the works, with a distribution deal already made with DreamWorks Pictures, but actual distribution and marketing handled by Disney/Touchstone, as a proof of concept for a proposed deal Steven Spielberg is trying to reach regarding capitalization for DreamWorks, and additional production by Amblin Entertainment. Enima has also secured rights to do a two or three-film series of Inuyasha, which will be done in assiociation with Valhalla Entertainment with Gale Anne Hurd producing, and working on the script with her husband, screenwriter Jonathan Hensleigh, as well as original series creator Rumiko Takahashi, and with Paramount handling North American distribution, and 20th Century Fox in charge of international rights. Enima has also secured rights to a recently published manga series, Black Butler, and its plans are somewhat less developed. No release dates for these projects are given, nor is any further information regarding casting, scripts and direction.
  • (07/22/2008): Work on Jay Roach's spy spoof officially begins, with Michael Cera cast as the male lead, and Liam Neeson, recently newly minted as an action star in the film Taken, as the villain, Colin McCord.
  • (08/02/2008): The first single for Whisper is officially pegged to release in four days.
  • (08/06/2008): Whisper's first single is released.
  • (08/10/2008): Springbok's video games division officially enters a deal with Eidos Montreal to co-develop future titles in the Deus Ex series. Both titles released to date were handled by Warren Spector's old company, Ion Storm, which eventually folded due to the ripple effects over the failure of Daikatana.
  • (09/03/2008): Mommie Dearest is released to surprisingly good reception and box office, praise for the performances of Jessica Lange, Abigail Breslin, and newcomer Rooney Mara as adult Christina Crawford.
  • (09/12/2008): Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are placed under conservatorship by the federal government, to protect from ripple effects caused by their failure.
  • (09/15/2008): Lehman Brothers files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, after the government refuses to bail it out. However, this has untold repercussions.
  • (09/22/2008): Whisper is released to great sales and acclaim.
  • (09/26/2008 to 10/15/2008): The four official debates of the 2008 election are held at the University of Mississippi, Washington University in St. Louis on the 2nd, Belmont University on the 7th, and Hofstra University. During the debates, Senator Obama and Vice Presidential pick, Senator Joseph Biden, perform exceptionally well, smashing Senator McCain and Governor Palin by a massive margin. The VP debate in particular is satirized by Saturday Night Live, with Tina Fey as Palin lampooning her vacuous demeanor.
  • (09/29/2008): A period hereafter referred to as the Great Recession officially begins, as financial markets enter a state of freefall. In addition, many banks, and companies such as AIG, Washington Mutual and Merrill Lynch are on the verge of failure.
  • (10/02/2008): Nirvana begins the official tour for the album. Meanwhile, Springbok and Bo Welch settle their differences, and the Matt Foley movie is blocked for a May release.
  • (11/04/2008): By a wide margin, Senator Barack Obama is elected the 44th President of the United States, marking him as the first African-American to hold the office.
  • (11/09/2008): Nirvana performs a jubilant concert at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C., partly to celebrate Senator Obama's victory, complete with constant political remarks and gratitude from Novoselic, true to form.
  • (11/20/2008): Death Note premieres to impressive reviews and box office, especially praising the performances of Zac Efron, Brie Larson and Heath Ledger. "For those who wanted a followup to The Silence of the Lambs but have been disappointed with what came next for Hannibal Lecter, this story will easily fill the need," Richard Roeper raves.
  • (12/08/2008): The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is a surprise hit with the critics and moviegoers alike, with enthusiasm for David Fincher's tackling of the story of a man who ages in reverse, the makeup and digital effects to make it possible, and the subdued but earnest performances of Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett.
  • (12/11/2008): Senator Barack Obama begins naming his Cabinet, most notably for Secretary of State Senator John Kerry, for Secretary of Treasury academic Elizabeth Warren, for Attorney General New York Attorney General Elliot Spitzer, and for Secretary of the Interior U.S. Representative for Washington Jay Inslee.

2009[]

  • (01/07/2009): The Dixie Dope musical is set to premiere in Berkeley in September.
  • (01/20/2009): Barack Obama is inaugurated as the 44th President of the United States.
  • (01/23/2009): Unknown Hinson is confirmed to reprise his role as "the Talky Man' in Dixie Dope, and that he will be allowed to continue doing dialogue for Squidbillies by recording in Berkeley and New York, instead of Atlanta.
  • (01/26/2009): Disney begins initial talks to purchase a stake in Indian film distributor UTV to allow them to control distribution of the films in South Asia. Because of the early success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, they are also looking into an acquisition of Marvel itself, and early talks are encouraging. Rumors also emerge that Disney is seeking to purchase 3000 additional acres in central Florida for potential future gates for Disney World, though they would have to make the bid in the open, having learned from the disasters of the first attempt with Disney's America and Euro Disney.
  • (01/28/2009): The first teaser for Black Widow is released, pegging it for a June 15 opening.
  • (02/03/2009): The plot and details for Dumb and Dumber To, aiming for a holiday release, are revealed. In the sequel, after showing that Lloyd has been pulling a prank on Harry by pretending to be in a catatonic trance in a sanitarium for 15 years, the duo discover that they are distant cousins of English aristocracy, and travel to collect their fortune from the executor, played by John Cleese. However, another scheming duo, portrayed by Chris Farley and David Spade, try to worm their way to the fortune instead.
  • (02/06/2009): The planned film adaptation of Whistle Down the Wind comes together. Garrett Hedlund is cast as The Man, with Elle Fanning as Swallow, with additional roles for Idris Elba, Michael K. Williams, Paul Dano, Adrienne Warren and Tom Jones. Locations in the Acadiana region of Louisiana are currently being scouted for filming, to correspond with a plan somewhat revitalize the arrangements. Steven Rinkoff, frequent assistant to Jim Steinman since the '80s, describes it as such: "While keeping in the various rock and orchestral elements, especially the strings and screaming guitars, a bit of a distinct regional flavor would also go along way. Since the film is set in Cajun country, taking in a taste and influence from the likes of zydeco would certainly spice things up and ensure that proper respect is given. It goes along well with the story, showing the crossroads of innocence and experience, gospel and early rock n' roll, God and the Devil." The film is set for release in the summer of 2011.
  • (02/09/2009): Nirvana officially releases their set performed at the inauguration, which also includes an appearance from Aretha Franklin, who also performed at the same event, to do a rough, and not very tuneful rendition of "Freeway of Love" with Clarence Clemons joining in.
  • (02/10/2009): Jay Firestone, founder of Canadian entertainment group Alliance Films and television production company Fireworks Media, is officially hired by Springbok to help lead their television division, especially regarding any potential future projects released via first-run syndication. It also announces that it will purchase Mainframe Entertainment/Rainmaker Studios, the animation group responsible for many notable, even hit, series on Fox Kids and Cartoon Network, including ReBoot, Beast Wars and Beast Machines, Action Man and Max Steel; as well as notable one-off direct to video films like Hot Wheels World Race.
  • (02/11/2009): Springbok announces that they will be helping out DreamWorks during their distribution deal with Disney, they will help DreamWorks co-produce the film adaptation of the play War Horse, the long in development Lincoln, and a live action film adaptation of Sailor Moon.
  • (02/18/2009): The first full trailer for Black Widow is released to the public. Meanwhile, Disney enters very definite and concrete talks to purchase Marvel within the year. A thorny issue to deal with is the matter of preexisting distribution and merchandising deals. The current deal Marvel has for their Phase One projects is set through Paramount, with the exception of The Incredible Hulk, due to Universal exercising their maintained control stemming from the 2003 Ang Lee film. There is also the matter of the rights to using Spider-Man being maintained by Sony, and the X-Men and Fantastic Four by 20th Century Fox, as well as the abrogated 2000 deal Marvel made with Artisan Entertainment which was made null and void when Lionsgate purchased them. Furthermore, Universal has a licensing deal for attractions based on Marvel characters at Universal's Islands of Adventure.
  • (02/20/2009): From a Springbok press release, gearing up for the company's 10th anniversary later in the year:

[QUOTE=]

Springbok is quite pleased to announce that 2009 is shaping up to its busiest year yet! In the matter of live action films, there is plenty to share. First off, after some time to figure out a release schedule, the two-part HBO biopic Phil Spector: Tearing Down the Wall of Sound, will be released on March 12 and 13. Featuring Al Pacino as the infamous and reclusive genius producer who was also convicted of second-degree murder, the film moves to track the entirety of Spector's life and career, the agony and the ecstasy. Thanks to resolving our differences of the past year, Matt Foley: Motivational Speaker will finally see the light of day on May 5. A passion project that Chris Farley has kept close to his heart for more than a decade, it is well past time for the silver screen to admire and fall in love with the well-intentioned, over the top, motivational speaker who lives his life in a van down by the river. Christopher Nolan's latest film, Inception, a pulsating cerebral and contemplative thriller, is set to be the summer tentpole when it is released. Quentin Tarantino's newest project, Inglourious Basterds, a World War II revenge fantasy involving a group of American vigilantes seeking a chance to kill Hitler, is another uproarious, humorous, ultraviolent installment from one of the modern auteurs of our age. Terry Gilliam's The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus will premiere at the Cannes Film Festival on May 22, then will enter a staggered release schedule of the UK in September, Europe as a whole in October, and North America on Christmas. Insanity Row, a big, bombastic action film starring Jean-Claude Van Damme, is another big release scheduled for the fall, sure to attract plenty of popcorn sales. And James Cameron's latest passion project, Avatar, is certain to once again create a new paradigm in the world of filmmaking and visual effects, set amongst a world where humanity is seeking for raw materials to sustain their race on an alien world, and a man paralyzed from the waist down gets a chance to live once more using synthetic bodies called "avatars" to walk amongst the natives.

The future is just as exciting as this year, to be sure. Springbok is pleased to announce that it is working with Disney on a live-action sequel to Alice in Wonderland, though using the same name (because it's more marketable!), to be directed by Tim Burton, who is eager to bring his signature style and visual flair to the world of Wonderland and its inhabitants. Along with Sony's Columbia Pictures and producer Scott Rudin, Springbok has officially secured the rights to make a film franchise of the Millennium novel series by Stieg Larsson, who died before his books could be published. Steven Zaillian is set to write the script and David Fincher to direct the first installment, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, with hope to release it in 2011. Work on the Alien prequel/spinoff Prometheus is officially underway. The film, directed by Ridley Scott and penned by Jon Spahits and Damon Lindelof, will be released by 20th Century Fox in two parts in 2010 and 2011, and contains an impressive cast with the likes of Noomi Rapace (who played Lisbeth Salander in the Swedish miniseries version of the Millennium novels), Michael Fassbender, Guy Pearce, Idris Elba, and Charlize Theron will indeed have a significant role in the film. Springbok is also partnering with Walden Media to create a film adaptation of The Giver and its followups, Gathering Blue and Messenger. Jeff Bridges, who has long been attached to the title role, is looking forward to finally having this adaptation ready to go in 2010. Though he will certainly be kept busy with Springbok for a while, as it will release the Coen brothers' forthcoming project, a remake of True Grit, with Bridges attached as Rooster Cogburn, and also featuring Matt Damon and Josh Brolin. Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio are reteaming for an adaptation of Dennis Lehane's novel Shutter Island, and Springbok will release the film next year. Richard Linklater is reuniting with Springbok to work on his latest work, a film examining the strange and true case of Bernie Tiede, a funeral service worker and local philanthropist much beloved in the town of Carthage, Texas, who was later convicted of murder. Springbok is also in the midst of doing research for a projected film about the life and crimes of baby snatcher Georgia Tann, who used helping parents adopt children to mask her actions. And of course, there are the forthcoming Enima adaptations of Sailor Moon and Inuyasha, and its recent stake in the distribution deal between Disney and DreamWorks.

Regarding animation, besides our continued past projects still ongoing, Springbok is reunited with Robert Zemeckis and his ImageMovers company for his latest project, a rendition of A Christmas Carol, to be released by Disney this holiday season. Once again taking full advantage of the motion capture technology utilized to impressive effect on The Polar Express, this also allows the same actor to portray various characters at the same time; featuring Jim Carrey as Ebenezer Scrooge at various points in his life as well as the Ghosts of Chrismas Past, Present and Yet to Come; Gary Oldman as Bob Cratchit and Jacob Marley; as well as the likes of Colin Firth, Bob Hoskins, Cary Elwes and Robin Wright Penn in additional roles. Springbok is also planning to work on a continuation of new songs for Schoolhouse Rock, which will once again air on ABC on Saturday mornings, as well as The Disney Channel, and on ABC Classic and Disney Channel Classic, as well as be on new DVD and Blu-ray releases.

For television, while Springbok did have to deal with a major disappointment with the collapse of the CBS sitcom Looking for Lucky last year after two seasons of dismal ratings, there is still the massive of its continued work with Carmen Sandiego on PBS, the past success of Workshop and The Devil's Advocate, bringing The Practice to a highly well-received finale last year, the taking over of the massive juggernaut House, M.D., the surprise hit of The Chris Farley Show on NBC, and the revival series Ellen: The Second Coming on ABC (pushing her to have two highly successful series on the same channel running at the same time). Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, hot off the success of Nip/Tuck and their invaluable assistance in other series, are also working on an anthology series of their own for FX, which Springbok is certainly pleased to be involved in from the ground up.

The premiere of Dixie Dope will be held at the Berkeley Repository Theatre this September, before transferring to New York, and further workshops for The Book of Mormon will also be held. Love Never Dies, the sequel to The Phantom of the Opera, will simultaneously premiere next year at the Adelphi Theatre in London and at the Neil Simon Theatre in New York.

In the world of video games, Zophyre 2 is coming close to release, as are BioShock 2 and a sequel to Portal. A sequel to Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, is also in the running to be one of the biggest success stories of the year, especially after the reception of last year's Call of Duty: World at War.

[/QUOTE]

  • (02/23/2009): By this point, President Obama has pushed through various proposals successfully, including the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, signing the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crime Prevention Act, additional work on the Temporary Assets Recovery Program (TARP) pushed through in the last few months, and work on a stimulus spending bill to help goose the economy along.
  • (02/25/2009): Nirvana moves to begin a co-headlining tour of Latin America with Annie Lennox, notably with at least one stop in each nation. Most notable are three dates in Mexico City (in different venues each time), two nights at the Estadio do Maracana in Rio de Janeiro, a night in Buenos Aires, and stops in Bogota and Caracas.
  • (02/27/2009): During the concert at the Plaza de la Revolucion, Cobain joins Annie Lennox's set during renditions of "Walking On Broken Glass" and the Eurythmics's "I Saved The World Today."
  • (02/28/2009): While still in Mexico City, Cobain is interviewed by a writer from MOJO about what kind of music Nirvana will make after Whisper. "Well, the guys and I definitely are at the point that we can start self-producing. We easily could've done it years ago, but just didn't feel confident enough. But, we're probably going to save that for the album after the next. So, if we're going to go big on our last produced album, we should really make it memorable. A part of me would like to see what the likes of Jack Douglas and/or Bob Ezrin could bring to the table for us. Maybe we'll go the double album route, split it between producers, or make it a patchwork of six or seven different producers doing three or four tracks each. I don't know, but it would be something along those lines."
  • (03/02/2009): Growing unrest in the U.S. automotive sector is quite visible, especially with the likes of General Motors, Ford and Chrysler. Layoffs are especially severe in the Detroit region, and there is a very real appearance that the automotive industry could collapse within a year or two.
  • (03/05/2009): The boards of Orange and Osceola Counties in Florida begin holding deliberations regarding Disney's bid for the additional 3000 acres to add to Walt Disney World. Pressure is being put on from local environmental groups regarding potential drawbacks and effects on wildlife. Meanwhile, Disney's in-house infrastructure, the Reedy Creek Improvement District, puts their case. "When Walt himself bought the original 27,000 acres, the plan was always to keep most of it undisturbed and in its natural state. We've maxxed out the available space we can use while honoring Walt's wishes with Disney's America, so if we want additional parks, which we are seriously considering, we need more space."
  • (03/09/2009): Jay Roach's spy spoof series, now entitled Let's Be Spies, is set for an August 21 release.
  • (03/11/2009): During the final stop of the Latin American tour in Santiago, Chile, Annie Lennox reappears during Nirvana's set, wearing her outfit from the Eurythmics' Peacetour, and gives a speech praising Cobain's activism, before joining them for renditions of "Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam", "The Man Who Sold the World" and a reprise of "I Saved the World Today."
  • (03/14/2009): President Obama announces his intention to unveil his healthcare plan in short order. "We are working on something that brings healthcare to be accessible to everyone, within reason."
  • (03/18/2009): Before heading to Europe for the next leg of the tour, Nirvana performs a private set at the El Rey Theatre on behalf of the family of Pat Tillman, the NFL star who gave up his career to serve in Afghanistan and was killed by friendly fire.
  • (03/21/2009): Disney and Marvel Entertainment reach a preliminary deal in which Disney will purchase them. However, certain details must be ironed out first, and the deal will not be announced for some time. Besides the paperwork with Marvel's previous deals, they have to figure out how to divide the comics division from films and television.
  • (03/23/2009): Bruno, the followup to Borat, is released to considerable acclaim and attention, especially for Springbok as well as Sacha Baron Cohen's antics in the film. In the course of filming as alter ego Bruno, a "19-year-old" Austrian fashion host, he invaded a fashion show (attended by the likes of Paul, Linda and Stella McCartney) in an all-velcro suit and tore down the curtains, shot a pilot for an American version of his show to the consternation of the test audience (including invading their space), arranged for American Idol co-host Paula Abdul to be interviewed while sitting on "Mexican chair people", went on a series of visits around the Middle East acting like was fostering dialogue between Jewish and Arab coalitions while insulting them continually, brought former talk show host Richard Bey out of retirement to host a fictional show in which Bruno made countless insults regarding adopting an African baby, used an interview with Ron Paul to proposition him for gay sex, and hosted a massive "straight pride" parade involving an MMA combat arena and then deliberately angered the homophobic crowd. "While it probably won't be as successful as Borat," Kenneth Turan states, "this movie is plenty good on its own. Hats off to Baron Cohen, Springbok, and Universal for providing this scathing satire."
  • (03/27/2009): Springbok announces that it will hold a special 10th anniversary birthday bash at Treasure Island in San Francisco on May 15. All of Springbok's main figures and connections, as well as many Exploitation Records artists, will appear, with a number of the artists, such as Aerosmith and Kansas, perform for the guests. The party will be released as a pay-per-view and paid webcast. With the news of "all connections appearing", there is thus news and rumors whether any personnel from Icon Productions, representing the scuttled deal, will appear. Since Mel Gibson's annus horriblis, Icon has also shrunk considerably in stature, for while it still has its L.A. offices, it has no presence in North America regarding film production and release anymore, is working on a deal to sell off its European operations (and the Majestic film library) to a separate company, and has mainly reconsolidated in Australia, buying the small independent arthouse cinema chain Dendy Cinemas (only five locations) for $21 million AUS, and focusing on distributing films in the UK, Ireland and Down Under. Bruce Davey has also relocated back to Australia since then, and Icon's fledgling efforts in TV production have been abandoned. Gibson, for his part, is making tentative steps to a comeback, starring in a film adaptation of the British TV series Edge of Darkness, which Icon is attached to co-producing for Warner Bros., and to be directed by Martin Campbell, known for the James Bond entries GoldenEye and Casino Royale, as well as The Mask of Zorro.
  • (03/31/2009): Disney, via the Reedy Creek Improvement District, officially calls a Q&A town hall session with the environmental groups to answer questions regarding the plans for the land, and management of it. During the questioning, the Disney representatives stress that they will be responsible stewards of the acreage and ensure that plant and animal life will still flourish, regardless of development. "We're not the types to dump toxic waste into wetlands, kill off endangered species, or prevent water from reaching where it should. And we're definitely taking efforts to reduce our carbon footprint while we work, in full compliance with the Kyoto Protocols, beyond even. In fact, we're creating, within our existing land, a wildlife preservation sanctuary, a further extension of Animal Kingdom, where nature will exist undisturbed."
  • (04/02/2009): President Obama announces to a joint session of Congress his intent to work with Congress regarding his plans for healthcare reform. The House and Senate begin housing committee meetings to discuss craft potential bills to address the situation.
  • (04/05/2009): The Disney/Marvel purchase begins to come together. Disney will officially own Marvel's comics, film and television divisions, and take over merchandise rights. Regarding the MCU, the original distribution deal with Paramount covering Phase One will remain intact, and Disney will officially become distributor starting with Phase Two. Universal Pictures will retain all film rights to The Incredible Hulk, which stymies plans for future standalone films with him, Sony will retain ownership of Spider-Man (though there are plans to incorporate the character at a later date down the line), and 20th Century Fox will still retain the rights to the X-Men and Fantastic Four. Disney will, however, now officially own the rights to incorporate Marvel characters in amusement park attractions, and take over the rights at Universal's Islands of Adventure by giving Universal a share of the operating profits for the first five years of any amusement park built with the Marvel characters. The Hulk coaster and Spider-Man ride will be rethemed as appropriate. As for how Disney operates Marvel, the company will be split into three divisions. Marvel Comics will remain under the ownership of Isaac "Ike" Perlmutter; Kevin Feige, who has been executive producer of all Marvel films since 2003, will take ownership of the film division, hereafter called Marvel Studios; and Marvel Television, headed by Jeph Loeb, will officially be made part of the Disney-ABC Television Group, with plans to work closely with Marvel Studios.
  • (04/09/2009): During meetings regarding the shaping of the production of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Theron approaches David Fincher and changes tack regarding another possible project, this one seeming more in touch for television. She brings a copy of the book Mindhunter: Inside the FBI's Elite Serial Crime Unit by former FBI agent John E. Douglas, focused on the early days of the Behavioral Science Unit and gathering databases about serial killers in order to capture future ones. Fincher looks at the book idly and states, "Television is not my thing. I'm in films these days." Theron has a bee in her bonnet and particularly wants to bring this along as a TV project, even if the road to getting such a property done in that setting is clearly going to be long and circuitous.
  • (04/15/2009): Regarding casting for The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, which is planned for release in 2011, there is considerable focus on who should take on the roles of Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist; particuarly in terms of showing the differences between these characters, as well as their sense of justice and focus on the case they are given. Names currently bandied about for the roles include Daniel Craig, who took over the role of James Bond starting with Casino Royale, and Springbok's recent ingenue discovery Rooney Mara. While Mara's schedule is definitely open, Craig's is definitely another matter, but Jennifer Todd announces "by hook or crook, we're going to make it so!"
  • (04/23/2009): Hanoi Rocks, who recently performed a series of farewell dates in Japan and their native Finland, announce that the Springbok anniversary bash will be their final concert. Despite the renewed success thanks to Exploitation Records, including getting them a successful North American tour, the reborn band couldn't sustain itself, and so is determined to end on a high note.
  • (04/28/2009): Nirvana concludes the European leg of their tour to prepare for the Springbok bash.
  • (05/03/2009): A special pre-release party for the belated release of Matt Foley: Motivational Speaker, is held at the Key Club in L.A., along with a premiere to be held at Mann's Chinese Theatre for opening day in two days, as well as a massive spread by Planet Hollywood that night.
  • (05/05/2009): Matt Foley: Motivational Speaker premieres to a warm reception at Mann's Chinese Theatre. Of course, much is made about Chris Farley's considerably healthier appearance compared to the Matt Foley character, used via prosthetics to keep his appearance the same as it was in the '90s. As for the film itself, it is considered a massive shot in the arm for films based on SNL sketches, given the lack of traction regarding recent outings like The Ladies' Man, Blues Brothers 2000, and so on, and is considered a big development for a potential film on a recent sketch on the show currently, "MacGruber."
  • (05/15/2009): The 10th anniversary party for Springbok is a roaring success, and pay-per-view/paid streaming sales set a new record for non-pornography related streaming video. The performances by Nirvana and the other artists are also widely praised. Afterwards, a Springbok contingent preps to head over to France and attend the Cannes Film Festival, where Inglourious Basterds and The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus will premiere on the 20th and 22nd, respectively.
  • (05/17/2009): Nirvana proceeds to Johannesburg to resume their tour, which will kick off at Ellis Park Stadium. Meanwhile, Christopher Nolan's next film, Inception, is delayed until next July, to allow further refinement of the story and visuals.
  • (05/19/2009): Springok's contingent arrives in France to prepare for the festival. In attendance are Theron, Jennifer Todd, Quentin Tarantino, Tarantino's longtime editor/collaborator Sally Menke, Brad Pitt, Terry Gilliam, Heath Ledger and Christopher Plummer.
  • (05/20/2009 to 05/22/2009): Springbok's projects are ecstatically welcomed by the festivalgoers and critics at Cannes. Inglourious Basterds is slotted for a release on August 21, while Parnassus has a staggered schedule starting with England in September, the rest of Europe in October, and North America at Christmas.
  • (05/29/2009): Drag Me to Hell, the first film by Sam Raimi since the conclusion of the Spider-Man trilogy, is released by Universal Pictures, co-produced by Springbok and Raimi's Ghost House Pictures. The film stars Alison Lohman, best known as the voice of the titular character in the English dub of Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, as Christine Brown, a loan officer at a bank, made to prove she can make "hard choices" by not extending the mortgage of an elderly woman, who retaliates by placing a curse on Christine, that after three days of escalating torment, will end by plunging her soul to Hell for eternity. The film co-stars Justin Long, Lorna Raver, Dileep Rao and Octavia Spencer, and is receives massive critical acclaim as a massive return to form for Raimi, and makes $91 million at the box office against a $30 million budget and $10 million marketing.
  • (06/02/2009): Black Widow premieres at Alice Tully Hall to a surprisingly warm reception, especially praising it as a return to form for Joe Dante and his direction.
  • (06/05/2009): It's announced that Black Widow will be receiving two sequels due out for release in late 2012 and late 2014 respectively, with Scarlett Johansson to reprise her role as the titular character.
  • (06/09/2009): Surprise flash floods cancel Nirvana's planned performance in Jerusalem at the Sultan's Pool. "We promise that we'll make up the date later in the year and come back to you all," Cobain states in a press release.
  • (06/12/2009): Insanity Row premieres to abysmal reviews and pitiful box office, with many dismissing it as "just another by the numbers, cookie cutter, disposable action movie you haven't already seen."
  • (06/15/2009): Theron heads over to Pinewood Studios in London to report for the shoot of Prometheus.
  • (06/17/2009): As work on the next installment in the Deus Ex series gets underway, Eidos Montreal's parent company, Eidos Interactive, suddenly is taken in a joint takeover by Sony Computer Entertainment and Square Enix, who was already working to publish the game, and renamed Square Enix Europe. Despite Sony's involvement, the new game will be still be made available on PC and Xbox 360 along with PlayStation 3.
  • (06/20/2009): Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, which back in 2005 was placed under a new parent company, MGM Holdings, led primarily by Sony (along with Providence Equity Partners, TPG Capital, Comcast, DLG Merchant Banking Partners and Quadrangle Group) that took it over in a $4.8 billion leveraged buyout (with Sony maintaining a minority stake), is teetering on the edge of bankruptcy (yet again), and struggling to repay its creditors. MGM CEO Stephen Cooper is attempting to convince everyone to restructure the debt. As of this moment, MGM, besides having its movies distributed by Sony, particularly via Columbia Pictures, has also been continually reshuffling its primary other ownership stake, United Artists, the latest of which involved having Tom Cruise and his longtime business partner Paula Wagner, buy a 30 percent stake, then reshuffle yet again when Wagner left last year. Meanwhile, MGM's other big owned asset, Orion Pictures, continues to remain dormant. Springbok enters the fray with a decision to move The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo to be an MGM release, with Columbia Pictures distributing it. On the same day, Springbok announces that it will purchase a minority stake in the legendary Japanese animation company Studio Ghibli, amounting to 20 percent, and representing the studio's North American division, which will continue to have its English language dubs distributed by Disney.
  • (06/25/2009): Having officially secured tax credits from the state of Louisiana, filming of Whistle Down the Wind is set to begin in August, giving the cast enough time to prep vocally and learn the choreography as well. In addition to that and continuing work regarding Steven Spielberg's War Horse and Lincoln, Springbok is also eyeing another potential project to produce for the DreamWorks/Disney pact; Kathryn Stockett's novel The Help, set in Jackson, Mississippi, in 1963 and focused on a group of African-American maids employed by well-off white families. Jennifer Todd is circling the project along with Chris Columbus and his production company, 1492 Pictures, as well as Brunson Green and Harbinger Pictures. Talks regarding securing the rights are expected to go on for several months
  • (06/27/2009): During a break in filming of Prometheus, Theron meets George Miller, director of the Mad Max franchise, as well as assorted films like Lorenzo's Oil, Babe, and Happy Feet. Miller tells her that he's in the middle of scouting locations for a long-announced and gestating fourth Mad Max installment, and that there's a role that might interest her. Theron agrees to look over a copy of the script and get back to Miller about the prospect.
  • (06/30/2009): During a blistering performance at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan, Cobain sets a new record for stage dives and crowd surfing, doing it ten times in the same show. "I think this is probably going to fade into legend now," he replied, half-jokingly.
  • (07/02/2009): Jennifer Todd is queried by CNN's Wolf Blitzer, especially about the effect that the recession has had on Springbok. "Well, Planet Hollywood did take a hit in its stock price, which does effect those investment funds that Kurt and Charlize have, and their houses were devalued, but our box office and TV ratings have remained solid, making up for that. Funnily enough, we were contemplating taking the company public on the New York Stock Exchange this time last year, but we chose to wait it out. If we ever do go public, it would certainly be when everything's on an upturn." When asked about if the company ever had any association with recently disgraced financier Bernard Madoff, who was arrested for bilking billions out of unsuspecting investors in a massive Ponzi scheme, Todd reflects a bit sadly. "We heard his name a few times in parties, but never met him, let alone contemplate investing with him. Sadly, we did learn that Steven Spielberg did give quite a sum to him, not just on his behalf, but also on his USC Shoah Foundation, which he founded after the release of Schindler's List, and Madoff also defrauded Elie Wiesel in much the same manner. It's truly sad and despicable, not just because this contributed to DreamWorks' financial woes, but the fact that someone people liked to refer to as 'the Jewish T-bill' ended up making total victims of Holocaust survivors and groups dedicated to furthering the mission of 'Never Forget.'" Lastly, Blitzer asks Todd about another disgraced financier, Jeffrey Epstein, a hedge fund manager who was convicted last year and given a harsh penalty for molesting and sex trafficking of teenage girls in Florida and New York, and his private estate, Little St. James Island; and also had massive political connections. "Thankfully, none of us ever knew or heard the name Jeffrey Epstein, or ever had him involved in anyway with funding for the company, or Kurt or Charlize's charitable groups. I know a lot of people went agog over the fact that President Clinton used his planes a few times to do work on behalf of his foundation, especially in Africa, and Kevin Spacey was on one of those flights before he was caught; but guilt by association is not a viable method to determine one's character. I don't want to turn this into being all about the Clintons, but even the greatest defects of his character doesn't suggest being involved in massive orgies on that island, or aiding and abetting what Epstein or Spacey did. Sometimes, it's just merely a case of wrong place, wrong time, and that's all there is to it."
  • (07/04/2009): As part of Nickelodeon's festivities to mark the holiday, the fourth season of Avatar: The Last Airbender premieres. Springbok and the show's creators lobbied hard to make a fourth season to resolve remaining loose ends regarding the character of Azula and her and Zuko's relationship, as well as the whereabouts of their mother, managing to convince Nickelodeon and Paramount of this being a more fitting followup instead of a live action theatrical film, which they were contemplating giving to M. Night Shyamalan, whose reputation has taken a precipitous nosedive with films like The Village, Lady in the Water and The Happening. To differentiate James Cameron's upcoming film from the show, the film is entitled James Cameron's Avatar in all promotional material.
  • (07/07/2009): Jerry Bruckheimer officially joins as producer of Enima's proposed film series rendition of Inuyasha, marking the first time he has co-produced with Gale Anne Hurd since Armageddon. Meanwhile, the first draft of Hurd, Jonathan Hensleigh and Rumiko Takahashi's script, enough to cover two or three films, is given to Springbok for review. At the same time Diablo Cody and Naoko Takaeuchi's script for Sailor Moon is locked down, with hopes to produce the first in a potential series of films to be out in 2012.
  • (07/09/2009): Springbok enters talks with poet Michael McClure, best known for his association and friendship with Jim Morrison, regarding bringing several potential film project dreams of Morrison's to life via financing (but not production). These include adaptations of McClure's plays The Beard and The Adept, as well as an official distribution and release of Morrison's legendary 50 minute film HWY. Negotiations with the surviving Doors, and the estates of Morrison and his longtime lover Pamela Courson are set to begin.
  • (07/12/2009): By this time in Congress, there are several potential bills regarding healthcare that have been approved made their way through committees in both houses. President Obama takes the time to reiterate his plan of "affordable and reasonable healthcare for all, removing a considerable amount of power from the insurance companies and their refusal to pay for important procedures and recoveries."
  • (07/14/2009): Congressional testimony and hearings regarding expert opinions on how to handle the proposed healthcare reform is set to begin, lasting through September.
  • (07/16/2009): During Nirvana's last date in Japan, the last of a series of three dates at the Tokyo Dome, a notable girl idol group joins them onstage for several songs.
  • (07/20/2009): Economics professors Jonathan Gruber and David Cutler testify before Congress, stating that the "guaranteed issue" proposal requires both community rating and an individual mandate to ensure that a death spiral does not occur. Combining these ideas, one from a liberal view, and a decidedly more conservative one, is also intended to ensure bipartisan support, especially regarding the inclusion of other features such as a public option.
  • (07/22/2009): Debate begins to held regarding passing a law prohibiting actors from undergoing massive weight gain of body fat for film roles. The biggest such example being used to bandy about support for the proposed bill is Russell Crowe's 63-pound weight gain for the film Body of Lies, after which his cholesterol skyrocketed to dangerous levels, as well as visible evidence that he is struggling to shed the weight he gained. Chris Farley's use of prosthetics and a fat suit for Matt Foley: Motivational Speaker, as well as Eddie Murphy's makeup transformations for The Nutty Professor are being cited as proof that actual weight gain is not necessary for film projects.
  • (07/24/2009): Disney is officially granted the additional 3000 acres to build future gates for Walt Disney World. As part of their work to please environmental groups, Disney also promises to lobby in reforestation efforts worldwide, including their own properties, for both wildlife and capture of carbon dioxide emissions in the atmosphere, as well as lobby for research into a future potential solution in carbon capture: "iron seeding" of the oceans.
  • (07/27/2009): During the final leg of Nirvana's tour in Australia, the band is booked to perform in the Sydney Opera House for two nights, with one night acoustic, and the other electric, and set to be filmed and recorded for later release.
  • (07/31/2009): First casting for the Sailor Moon film is announced, with Kim Basinger officially slated to play the role of Queen Beryl.
  • (08/02/2009): Nirvana adds one last leg of the tour, focused specifically on intimate venues across America, similar to the ones they played during the early '90s, including the likes of the Roseland Ballroom in New York, the Paramount Theatre in Seattle, the Fox Theatre in Atlanta, and so on.
  • (08/05/2009): Universal Music Group announces that while their primary group will still remain Interscope Geffen A&M, the Geffen Records label itself will remain shuttered, and Interscope Records as their only real active label of the group. Even reissues of Geffen Records material will be renamed as Interscope. "Make no mistake, Geffen Records was an important part in the history of the music business, and even David Geffen himself had an important role in all of it. After all, while he never met Nirvana, he did still actually get on a phone call to attack journalists when the reports of In Utero being potentially rejected by DGC and insist that it was a priority for the group. But because of what we know now about what he did, it doesn't feel right to credit him, even with its biggest success stories." UMG also makes a report about potential loss and damage regarding the fire at the Universal Studios backlot last year, which resulted in the loss of the original King Kong part of the backlot tour. "Well, since many of our artists went on to other labels, such as Exploitation Records, and the paradigm shift where artists now own their masters, for the most part, they took their tapes to their own storage vault. If any of the remaining artists with us wanted, they signed deals for us to remain in possession of the physical masters wherever we saw fit. And sadly, quite a few of artists that took that deal did lose the masters in the fire, which we fully notified them of. Hopefully, at least some of these artists did make backups before leasing the masters to us."
  • (08/07/2009): Fox News begins hosting political ads for gatherings referred to as "tea party protests" being held in various cities. The only thing that seems to connect them is a message of dissent against President Obama's agenda, especially the healthcare debate.
  • (08/10/2009): Filming of Whistle Down the Wind officially begins in Louisiana.
  • (08/14/2009): Nirvana's intimate US leg begins, launching at the Roseland Ballroom.
  • (08/20/2009): Steven Zaillian's script for The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is officially approved by Springbok and Sony, and move to further convince Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara to sign to the project.
  • (08/25/2009): Ted Kennedy dies from brain cancer. As the "liberal lion of the Senate", Kennedy had been especially devoted to solving the healthcare debate, and his death has potentially thrown a monkey wrench into the works to pass a bill. Much attention is given to the fact that Senator Kennedy was the last of the original generation of the Kennedy family that grabbed the nation's headlines and adoration. Springbok also gives a statement of condolences, as as Senator Kennedy had also been a constant political ally in its founders' political activism and charity work.
  • (08/29/2009): During his 51st birthday, Michael Jackson sits down for an in depth interview:

Q: You're about to drop your first album in almost a decade, and your first through Exploitation Records. What, if anything, has changed in the way that you make music?

A: My philosophy regarding music has never changed. I simply want songs to be the best they can, to truly reflect what's in my heart, and what I believe. And what I feel regarding the making of videos, or rather short films, is the same, I want full stories in the films, a story with a beginning, a middle and an end, something with just as much depth as a major Hollywood movie. What is different is that the Springbok people don't try to restrain me with deadlines, don't hold my masters or publishing hostage, and I can take my time to ensure the album is truly great. I also got the chance to branch out into acting, my life's dream, and to simply be there for my children, watch them grow, make them feel always loved and secure. I also even got to fulfill my lifelong intention to give Neverland away as a gift to the children of the world, a place where they can go and spend as much time as they want, for free, and escape from their troubles and those of the world at large. I don't need to live there to be happy, as long as I have Prince, Paris and Blanket, I am happy. It certainly helps that I have lots of friends that open their homes to me, like Barry Gibb and his place in Miami.

Q: Do you still intend to stay away from touring? You've announced this intention to stop before, all the way back to Bad.

A: Invincible was my last tour, full stop. I'll never stop performing, and I certainly like the idea of doing residency shows like Celine Dion, Elton John and Cher have been doing in Vegas. But going around the world on a jet for long stretches of time, that's not for me anymore. I'm 51 years old today, and I don't have the stamina that I used to, not even what I used to have when I was 44, 45, when I toured last. Besides, if I kept up touring, I wouldn't have as much time with my children.

Q: What are you planning to do regarding film projects to follow up MidKnight?

A: I've always wanted to do something regarding the life and imagination of Edgar Allan Poe, because I feel some sort of kinship with him. I think it, and a lot of film projects I do now, will be animated, because it's easier to make the images in my mind come true that way.

Q: You used to count David Geffen as one of your best and closest friends. How did his trial and conviction make you feel?

A: David came up to me after Thriller, saying he wanted to work with me, and could get me movie projects. He earned my confidence because he used his connections with Michael Eisner and Jeffrey Katzenberg, when they both ran Disney, and got me the deal for Captain EO. He also roped in Jeffrey, and both of them told me that Steven Spielberg wanted me for a Peter Pan project to be made by Disney. Then he told me that Steven dropped us to instead go with TriStar and Hook, making it seem like he betrayed me. I found out, through Steven's testimony at the trial, that this Disney Peter Pan project was never actually in the works, and Hook was the plan all along, so there actually wasn't anything for me. I then put Steven as an enemy, especially when he didn't say anything to defend me against charges of being anti-Semitic when "They Don't Care About Us" was released. It truly made me sick inside, to realize David was using me, and that he also had a hand in sowing problems with me and Sony Music, all because I wouldn't leave to sign with Geffen Records instead. I trusted him completely and openly, and he chose to stab me in the back many times over. Thankfully, Steven and I have reconnected and things are good between us now.

  • (09/01/2009): Rumors spread that Springbok is eyeing Nicolas Cage for the role of the villain Naraku in Inuyasha.
  • (09/05/2009): The first full trailer for Avatar is released to the public.
  • (09/09/2009): On the same day that a massive Beatles remaster campaign and a Beatles-themed version of Rock Band is released, President Obama addresses a joint session of Congress to reassert his dedication to healthcare reform.
  • (09/12/2009): Springbok officially snaps up the rights and intent, and financing to the Jim Morrison/Michael McClure projects, as well as the financing of HWY and a forthcoming documentary on The Doors, When You're Strange. All except the documentary will be credited to the production company Morrison founded in 1969, HiWay Productions, reflecting Springbok's desire only to finance (the documentary will be credited to Eagle Rock Entertainment and Dick Wolf's company Wolf Films). Details regarding the script, direction and casting for the two McClure adaptations have yet to be nailed down.
  • (09/17/2009): Nirvana performs the last date of its tour at the Paramount Theatre in Seattle.
  • (09/23/2009): Zophyre 2 is released to even better critical acclaim and sales than its predescessor.
  • (09/25/2009): Roman Polanski is arrested in Switzerland by authorities, pursuant America's longstanding intention to have him extradited back to face punishment for his statutory rape charge. Polanski had left his home in France to collect an award regarding his achievements in film, and is also currently in the middle of production of his latest film, The Ghost Writer, starring Ewan McGregor and Pierce Brosnan.
  • (09/28/2009): Reports emerge that Frances Bean Cobain is set to release her first album, having inked a three-album deal with Mercury Records.
  • (10/01/2009): Casting sessions are officially set up to determine the main roles in the Sailor Moon adaptation. "We're looking for the best young girls who can embody the Sailor Scouts, and can definitely pull their dramatic weight around here."
  • (10/04/2009): Warren Spector announces that Springbok's games division is also working on a game for Disney entitled Epic Mickey, set to release next year, and also incorporating Disney's original creation, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, recently purchased back from Universal in exchange for letting Al Michaels out of his deal with ESPN to announce sports for NBC. "This will be an experience like no one has ever seen before."
  • (10/09/2009): Plot and details about Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland film are revealed. The film is a sequel which involves a teenaged Alice returning to Wonderland, only to find that it has fallen under the full control of The Red Queen and the Jabberwocky, and Alice is the only figure to resolve the situation. The cast features the likes of Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter, Helena Bonham Carter as The Red Queen, Anne Hathaway as the White Queen, Alan Rickman as the Caterpillar, Crispin Glover as the Knave of Hearts, and Australian newcomer Mia Wasikowska as Alice.
  • (10/16/2009): Jennifer Todd does press to prep for the upcoming release of Robert Zemeckis' rendition of A Christmas Carol for Disney: "Our intention was to create the most faithful retelling of the story, especially in terms of rendering the images and visuals to live up to the way that Dickens described them in the original novella. It's also another impressive vehicle, not only to show how motion capture can really bring out characters, but for Jim Carrey to really show his dramatic chops, even in a more family-friendly endeavor. He's shown he can easily do it, but except for The Truman Show, those works aren't particularly accessible. Thus, this is our way to remedy that."
  • (10/22/2009): Planet Hollywood's theatre expansion venture, Planet Theatres by AMC, is now officially tied with Regal Cinemas in number of screens and locations across North America, with most regular AMC Theatres locations being turned into Planet Theatres by AMC locations as well, including the AMC locations at Downtown Disney's Pleasure Island, and Universal CityWalk at Universal Orlando Resort. Reports come in that talks of international expansion are supposedly in the works as well. Likewise, the other restaurant ventures Cobain and Theron have equity stakes in, Miami Subs Pizza & Grill and Roadhouse Grill, have likewise entered a new age of expansion beyond the US and Canada, with deals being made throughout Europe and South Asia.
  • (10/28/2009): The premiere of Avatar is set for London on December 10, with the film opening in all theaters worldwide on the 18th. This date was set at James Cameron's request to allow post-production on the visuals to be fully realized, and to ensure that theaters could install 3D projectors, given Cameron's wanting the full experience demonstrated as it was filmed in stereoscopic 3D.
  • (11/05/2009): After considerable negotiation and back and forth, especially regarding a shooting schedule, Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara officially commit to The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, as well as sign contracts to reprise the roles in the two followup films. Additional casting for the first film proceeds smoothly enough, with Christopher Plummer, Stellan Skarsgard and Joely Richardson officially signed to the production.
  • (11/06/2009): A Christmas Carol opens to mixed to positive reviews and massive box office. Some criticize the motion-capture visuals as making it a story of style over substance, but Jim Carrey's performance is widely praised. The film is much more warmly received in the UK, pleased by what they consider the best version of Dickens' classic yet released.
  • (11/09/2009): In a surprising announcement, it is announced that Disney's most controversial film Song of the South will get a home video release for the first time ever with Springbok handling the marketing. To ensure it's tastefulness to modern standards, it will have a disclaimer like the Warner Bros. Cartoons of the era, entire featurettes about the history of the production, how it has been received, why certain depictions are considered wrong today, and the steps made towards tolerance and understanding in the modern world. These include interviews and commentary with historians, sociologists, and various figures, including actors and filmmakers associated with other films, such as the main figures behind Schindler's List: Steven Spielberg, Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes and Ben Kingsley. "Our hope is that with this release, we can show and start a dialogue that is quite necessary," Whoopi Goldberg, who plays a big part in the special features and has long advocated for Song of the South to be released, states firmly. "It's time to open up."
  • (11/15/2009): Post-production work on Avatar is finally judged complete, and the film is finished.
  • (12/03/2009): Cobain is hospitalized after injuring his hand quite badly from breaking a glass. He requires microsurgery and stitches, and even gets treatment for bone spurs beginning to form. Thankfully, when he recovers in six to ten months, he should be able to play to a degree similar to an 18-year-old, effectively being better than he has been in a long time.
  • (12/13/2009): Walt Disney Imagineering announces that the 3000 acres added to Walt Disney World can fit three or four additional parks. "Basically, within 20 years, we may see plenty of additional gates and amenities. And our reforestation efforts on all our properties are also planned to go quite swimmingly."
  • (12/18/2009): Avatar opens to universal praise and massive box office. One reviewer on a blog site states, "James Cameron has outdone himself yet again. More than a decade after Titanic, he has not only repeated that impressive success, he has surpassed it!" Indeed, Cameron breaks his own record of the highest-grossing movie of all time. Of course, there are some detractors, who attack the movie as lacking originality and calling it formulaic, referring to it as "Dances With Smurfs", especially after a South Park episode of the same name lampoons the film.

2010[]

  • (01/07/2010): Dixie Dope ends its tryout run at Berkeley after four months. The transfer to the St. James Theatre begins, with previews beginning March 24, and the production opening a month later.
  • (01/10/2010): Frances Cobain drops the first single off her debut album to radio stations around the country. The album is expected to drop in two months.
  • (01/12/2010): Cobain posts a video to the Nirvana website, showing off his progress since his injury.
  • (01/15/2010): Frances reports to the set of her first music video.
  • (01/17/2010): Cobain announces that once his hand is healed, Nirvana will do something to benefit the victims of the recent earthquake in Haiti.
  • (01/22/2010): A group of fairly unknown, up and coming actresses are announced to play the main heroes in Sailor Moon. Meanwhile, Gore Verbinski is announced as the director of Inuyasha.
  • (01/25/2010): Cobain posts a video showing himself and Frances looking in the editing room for her music video to watch a rough cut. UMG is looking forward to Frances' release.
  • (02/01/2010): Principal photography on both parts of Prometheus is judged complete, as well as certain necessary reshoots. Post-production of the first part is largely finished, and on set for a June release.
  • (02/05/2010): Jay Firestone announces that Springbok's TV division is pursuing a reboot of the sci-fi series Andromeda, a series known for utilizing unused leftover notes from Gene Roddenberry that didn't make it into Star Trek, starting out promisingly enough, then experiencing a massive nosedive in quality after lead star Kevin Sorbo (known as the lead in Hercules: The Legendary Journeys) let his ego run rampant and tore down the structure to turn it into a vanity vehicle. Original creator Robert Hewitt Wolfe will come on board, fully use his 80-page story bible, and be the showrunner, and like the original series, it will be released through first-run syndication by Tribune Broadcasting.
  • (02/08/2010): Jennifer Todd is questioned about the main upcoming Enima projects. "Casting for Sailor Moon is complete, and we have a lovely group of up and coming actresses for our heroes. We plan to start filming in Tokyo soon, and we feel that it can form at least two films that will do justice to the material. We've made a lot of progress for Inuyasha, especially hiring Gore Verbinski to direct. However, we don't have a release date in mind for it yet, especially since he's working on an animated project at the moment...which we're also producing. We're also certainly quite proud of our choices for co-producers. Gale Anne Hurd has proven herself to be quite shrewd, tenacious and maintaining integrity in everything she does, and a female point of view is certainly needed to ensure the story is done justice. And Jerry Bruckheimer knows how to pull out all the stops for a project like this, full of action and adventure, especially his work on the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy. We are confident that we will truly make magic together."
  • (02/13/2010): Rumors emerge through the industry grapevine that Sacha Baron Cohen is being approached to portray Freddie Mercury in a biopic film, with Graham King approached as a producer by screenwriter Peter Morgan. Springbok files this note away to keep handy and keep tabs on the reported project, while the prospect certainly excites Cobain, a long-confirmed Queen fan. He has a conversation with screenwriter Jay Cocks to consider working on a hypothetical script on spec, as well as the notification "expect this idea to take years and years to actually be a reality...if it even happens, that is."
  • (02/16/2010): Frances' debut album, Crossfire, is released by Mercury Records to a decent enough reception. "Much like how Julian and Sean Lennon, or Dhani Harrison, have stood in the shadow of their famous fathers (and mother, in the younger Lennon son's case), or how Ziggy Marley and his siblings have tried to differentiate themselves and find their own success without trading too much as being the offspring of the 'Conquering Lion of Reggae', Frances Bean Cobain will likely struggle to carve her own identity and avoid comparison to her notorious and extremely talented parents," David Fricke writes in his review for Rolling Stone. "But, as a first step in her journey, it's pleasant enough, and she shows definite promise. There are hints of Kurt's mixture of melodic and punk sensibilities, as well as Courtney's riot grrl chaos with a Fleetwood Mac chaser, but certainly nowhere near enough to make one think she wants to copy either."
  • (02/20/2010): Casting for The Help begins to occur at a fairly breakneck pace. In short order, Emma Stone, Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Bryce Dallas Howard, Sissy Spacek, Allison Janney, Aunjanue Ellis, Cicely Tyson and Jessica Chastain are officially signed to the production.
  • (02/22/2010): A series of continual interviews for the film Edge of Darkness, Mel Gibson's return to acting for the first time since 2002, as well as his first move to a comeback after his public disgrace, do not go off well. The film itself receives mixed reviews and is a box office disappointment, reaching only $81 million. However, Gibson becomes very guarded and bug-eyed during questions referring to his personal life (such as his pending divorce from Robyn Moore, his current relationship with Oksana Grigorieva, who gave birth to a daughter, Lucia, back in October) and his misbehavior, and even goes so far as to call one news anchor "asshole" on camera.
  • (02/23/2010): Jennifer Todd is questioned about her side regarding the short-lived Icon Productions deal, and her feelings regarding Gibson in the years since. "It was a deal that made a lot of sense at the time, and none of us regret making it in the first place. Mel is a talented man, always has been, and it would be a shame if he were to simply fall by the wayside. Redemption is something we all firmly believe in. That said, after seeing the interviews, it does make one wonder if he's taking it seriously enough, if he truly understands why some people won't move on or extend their forgiveness. If he isn't, there's a very good chance of self-sabotage. Even with that, I speak for all of us when I say that we wish Mel nothing but the best and always will."
  • (02/25/2010): Because of her work on the Sailor Moon script, Diablo Cody is given a development deal with Springbok. Cody already has an idea to use, another reteaming with Jason Reitman, son of Ivan Reitman, and who was the director of Juno, and specifically created with Theron in mind for the main role, under the title Young Adult.
  • (02/26/2010): Theron is interviewed on Entertainment Tonight about the state of the company, how her marriage is going, and then ends up going to questions about Mel Gibson's state of mind and feelings about the end of the Icon deal. "I've never said this before, but an article about Icon, more than a decade ago, actually planted the seeds to create Springbok. I showed it to Kurt, then when we read Akira and Ghost in the Shell, that's when it took off and we hit the ground running. So Mel and Bruce Davey were basically our inspiration. So it felt nice to actually work with them, and it was a shame that it ended."
  • (03/03/2010): President Obama and his Attorney General, Eliot Spitzer, announce support the Dodd-Frank reform, which sets a new code of conduct and harsh guidelines for Wall Street, moves to limit the size of bank mega-mergers and the "too big to fail" status, and harsher scrutiny for bank loans. Spitzer also announces that he is out for scalps to make examples of finance executives for their behavior leading to the Recession. "When Enron, WorldCom, Arthur Andersen and their lot went bust, we made sure they paid for their actions. So it must be now."
  • (03/06/2010): Beginning to be able to move his hand to a better extent, especially to play guitar, Cobain receives an offer for Nirvana to pass some time while they are still working on writing new material. Brian Wilson is working on an album of Disney covers, entitled In the Key of Disney, which will release sometime next year. Wilson offers for Nirvana to join in the sessions, maybe even spin off their own standalone album as well. Cobain is eager to accept, and a one-off deal for the potential two albums is made with Walt Disney Records.
  • (03/09/2010): Springbok announces that Nip/Tuck creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, who were also involved in the storylines for Code Lyoko as well as polishing for Mommie Dearest and planning to do a spinoff film about Georgia Tann, will be creating an anthology series for FX that will premiere next year. Details are yet to emerge. Meanwhile, Mindhunter makes a tentative deal for Fox 21 Television Studios to assist in production for an HBO release.
  • (03/24/2010): Dixie Dope begins previews, and opens a month later to rave reviews and tremendous box office at the St. James Theatre.
  • (04/05/2010): The final cut of the first part of Prometheus is officially locked down.
  • (04/10/2010): Nirvana begins the Disney sessions with Brian Wilson.
  • (04/14/2010): Dodd-Frank is passed by a wide margin in both houses of Congress.
  • (04/20/2010): The Deepwater Horizon, an oil rig owned by British Petroleum, catches fire in a sudden accident, killing over a dozen workers, and leading to oil gushing out from the bottom, spreading throughout the Gulf of Mexico.
  • (04/23/2010): The Affordable Care Act is put on the fast track to being adopted by Congress.
  • (05/02/2010): Casting for War Horse is announced, with the likes of Emily Watson, David Thewlis, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Hiddleston, and a young lead, Jeremy Irvine. Filming is soon to begin, while The Help begins setting up shop in Clarksdale and Greenwood, Mississippi.
  • (05/05/2010): Springbok announces that it is moving its main source of operations to Toronto, with a new headquarters nearly complete. "We fully made this move because we're about ready to make the leap to go public," Jennifer Todd states. "We wish to make this leap to really expand our financing of projects for other producers, as well as whether to ponder also branching out into distribution and exhibition, not to mention buying library rights. Confident as we are that the economy is bound to improve under President Obama, you have to take extra precautions. We are NOT vacating our offices at the Playa Vista lot, though, and many people will remain there. Likewise, Exploitation Records will continue to maintain its headquarters in New York."
  • (05/10/2010): Buoyed by the success of Dixie Dope since its recent opening, Springbok and Disney announce that a stage transfer version of Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas is in the works. Unlike other Disney stage transfers, this will not go on to a major Broadway theater, as it is meant to be a seasonal production that plays every October through January, though it will open at the latest and biggest Off-Broadway theater in New York, the Little Shubert Theatre, a 499-seater with a proscenium and stage at the same dimensions as the major Broadway theaters, perfect to stage massive, design-heavy productions.
  • (05/15/2010): Filming on Sailor Moon begins in earnest, as does the shoot for The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.
  • (05/20/2010): Nirvana announces a plan to hold two benefit concerts at Gulf Shores, Alabama and Panama City Beach, Florida, on behalf of the Gulf Coast, who have been impacted heavily by the environmental effects of the Deepwater Horizon disaster last month and the attempts to clean the spilled oil.
  • (05/26/2010): Springbok officially relocates to its new Toronto headquarters, and announces that it will officially go public on the New York Stock Exchange, NASDAQ, the London Exchequer, Australian Securities Exchange and the Tokyo Nikkei in a month.
  • (06/05/2010): Prometheus, which now is simply the title of the first part of the two-part film, while the second part to come next summer is being called Paradise, opens to impressive box office and reviews, especially in terms of being the beginning to light a fire again under the Alien franchise.
  • (06/08/2010): From Anime News Network:

"Springbok's Enima Division Revs Up, Admits Alita Delay"

By this point, Springbok Productions has proven itself a formidable powerhouse, and its division focused on anime adaptations, Enima, has already more than earned its stripes. Currently, the division is filming the first installment in an intended franchise adaptation of Sailor Moon in Tokyo, with intent to release by DreamWorks Pictures via Disney's Touchstone Pictures banner sometime in 2012, just in time for the original series' 20th anniversary. "Sailor Moon has always been a landmark in anime and manga," Jennifer Todd relates. "Our intention has always been to do justice to it, especially because it is also a landmark in female empowerment and achievement. And with the likes of Diablo Cody working with (original creator) Naoko Takaeuchi on the script, Patty Jenkins directing, and Kim Basinger playing Queen Beryl, we've got quite a vehicle to attract the old fans and bring in new ones."

Springbok is also deep in pre-production for a franchise adaptation of Rumiko Takahashi's Inuyasha, co-produced by Gale Anne Hurd and Jerry Bruckheimer and directed by Gore Verbinski, to be distributed by Paramount in North America and 20th Century Fox internationally. Todd admits that there is still not a lot of firm information to hand out. "The script by Gale, Jonathan Hensleigh and Rumiko is still being worked over, and we're probably going to hire someone to further polish it. Nic Cage really is psyching himself to play the villain, Naraku, but we haven't gotten a firm commitment as of yet, to say nothing of the fact that no one else has been cast yet. We also don't have a release date in mind yet, but we're certainly getting there."

Enima is also continuing to help with Disney's English dubs of the films of Studio Ghibli, of which Springbok recently bought a 20 percent stake to create a North American division. Of special importance is the upcoming film The Wind Rises, which acclaimed director Hayao Miyazaki has announced to be his last film. The story is a fictionalized account of the life of Jiro Horikoshi, the inventor of the Mitsubishi Zero, the creation of a peaceful man who despised war but wanted to create flying machines he could be proud of.

Of course, of bigger importance is a project Enima has been circling around for several years now. Back in 2005, Springbok announced its intent to co-produce an adaptation of Battle Angel Alita, written and directed by James Cameron, who had announced his interest in such a project back in 2000. However, Cameron chose instead to focus on Avatar, which ended up becoming the biggest box-office success of all time. So where does this leave the Battle Angel film? "Jim hasn't forgotten about that at all, he's still just as passionate as ever," Todd remarks. "But he's also gotten a bee in his bonnet about wanting to continue the story of Avatar, in addition to interests in doing an adaptation of The Informationist as well as something about free diving. He's got a lot of irons in the fire, and his head goes into many different directions at once. So, this project is going to take some time yet to come to fruition, but when it does, we'll be there." This is hardly the first time Cameron has had different projects in the works at once, and he's let some go to other directors while keeping a producer's and/or writer's credit. A prime example being the 2002 film Solaris, based on the novel of the same name, which ended up directed by Steven Soderbergh. Cameron and his Lightstorm Entertainment production company also co-produced the recent Springbok project Prometheus, a prequel to Alien directed by original director Ridley Scott.

  • (06/12/2010): Springbok officially holds its IPO in New York, London, Australia and Tokyo. All five stock markets go absolutely berserk, with stock prices spiking considerably. Springbok soon finds itself awash with over $15 billion in fresh capital.
  • (06/15/2010): The Affordable Care Act is formally adopted and goes into full effect.
  • (06/18/2010): From the Financial Times:

[QUOTE=]

"Rapid Growth as Springbok Goes on Purchase Spree"

Springbok Productions' meteoric rise continues unabated, as the success of their recent stock offerings on the NYSE, NASDAQ, London Exchequer, Australian Securities Exchange and Nikkei, along with Kurt Cobain and Charlize Theron's individual investments in Planet Hollywood, Miami Subs Pizza & Grill and Roadhouse Grill, give the company tens of billions to sit on and put to good use. And it appears that they fully intend to branch out in many ways that will add to their profitability.

Springbok has recently made two significant purchases to add to the company's assets. First it bought Revolution Studios, the production company/financing group responsible for much of Sony's output since 2000 and founded by former 20th Century Fox and Walt Disney Studios head Joe Roth, for a whopping $450 million. Revolution Studios's output has long been considerably profitable for Sony, if very few of them were also critical hits, Springbok now will own all home video library rights for those titles. They also convinced Lionsgate to part with Artisan Entertainment, having purchased it from them for $375 million. Artisan was considered a mini-major in its own right up until Lionsgate's purchase of it, and also owned the libraries of Republic Pictures, EMI Pictures, Hemdale Film Corporation, and Carolco Pictures.

For much cheaper prices, Springbok is also entering deals for libraries only of certain other companies, among them Rysher Entertainment and the Disney-owned Caravan Pictures, which was founded by Joe Roth and Roger Birnbaum in 1992 and shuttered in 1999, after Birnbaum left to found Spyglass Entertainment. It has also emerged that some of the film producing figures Springbok has brought on board have gifted their libraries/investments to Springbok, but until now that was never made public. Such gifts include Jerry Weintraub Productions, Azoff Entertainment, Interscope Communications, the production credits of David V. Picker, the Kushner-Locke Company, Jon Peters and Peter Guber's Mandalay Pictures, and Quentin Tarantino's 1990s filmography, as gifted to the company by the director himself.

Picker, one of the main figures responsible for the gifting, is quite sanguine. "Any company worth their salt works to expand their library rights. Springbok has shown themselves to be not only financially sound stewards, but artistically responsible ones as well. Libraries are lucrative investments and there is so much money that comes on the home video, broadcast and streaming rights."

But this also does not seem to be the end of it. The Revolution Studios and Artisan deals now position Springbok to be a film distributor along with production company, and it appears they are now making entreaties regarding acquisitions of cinema chains to enter the exhibition business as well. "Such deals would not just be for us to control the box office and show our films at the expense of others," Picker reiterates. "If anything, we'd make it easier for any film project to be shown on the silver screen, no matter how decidedly out there or un-commercial it would be. We'd also make incentivized rates to make better deals and ensure these people aren't getting ripped off, and we'd operate quite differently from major chains like Regal and AMC in that regard."

[/QUOTE]

  • (06/24/2010): Box Office Magazine points out that having two films released at the same time has worked surprisingly well for Springbok. Prometheus and Inception have received ecstatic reviews and impressive box office returns. "It certainly also helps that between Heath Ledger as the main protagonist in Inception, working against a very well-chosen supporting cast, and Noomi Rapace, Charlize Theron, Michael Fassbender and Idris Elba working well in Prometheus, it's almost like Springbok is treating the public to a double feature."
  • (07/03/2010): Springbok buys Overture Films, its former distribution partner for Sleepwalking, as the Starz-affiliated company is going under. It is also seriously pursuing its potential future as an exhibition company by circling small cinema chains such as Muvico Theatres and Cobb Theatres for potential purchase.
  • (07/11/2010): Oksana Grigorieva, Mel Gibson's latest love interest, comes out swinging stating that Gibson has assaulted her physically, and has worked to file a restraining order against him to keep him from seeing her and their daughter Lucia. Gibson states that he only slapped her once, with an open palm, to keep her from shaking the baby. To build her case, Grigorieva releases several apparently incriminating voicemails left by Gibson, during which his rage is thoroughly unchecked. Most notable are lines such as "if you get raped by a bunch of niggers, it'll be your fault," and "YOU SHOULD JUST FUCKING SMILE AND BLOW ME! Because I deserve it." This development comes right in the middle of Gibson's move to further his comeback attempt by starring in a film called The Beaver, to be directed by Jodie Foster.
  • (07/13/2010): While visiting Theron during the shoot for Young Adult, Cobain and Jennifer Todd help her compose a letter to Mel Gibson for him to keep to heart. The text will not be revealed to the public for six years:

Hey Mel!

Bet you didn't expect to hear from us. It's been a long time, but sometimes you need a little word. So, let's go and get down to brass tacks. In all the time that we knew you, you've always struck us as a lovely man, with good humor about him, a great passion for storytelling, a devoted husband and father. Deep down, all of us know that you are a good man, who just has demons to struggle with, like all of us, except a bit more visible than others. The road to hell is paved with good intentions, after all. But love always triumphs in the end, and your goodness does shine through. It's now going to be extremely rough, more than it was prior, but you can find your way through. Redemption is possible. Even though we aren't business partners, we still care very much about you. If you ever need any help, anything we can do for you, never hesitate to call on us and let us help you as best we can. Feel free to also let Bruce know about this, and maybe he can be part of it. Just know that and keep it handy for a rainy day.

Wishing you the best and lots of love!

The Springbok Productions Family

  • (07/15/2010): Elizabeth Williams and Anita Waxman are interviewed regarding the reception to the Andrew Lloyd Webber production Love Never Dies, and the work it took to make it somewhat worthy of premiere. "It was a hard battle to get there," Williams replies. "The initial book was very troublesome. It basically was a 'fix it' story pandering to the fans of the original who only care about wanting the Phantom and Christine to end up together, and there was a lot disastrous effects on characterization, especially Raoul. We managed to convince Andrew and Ben Elton to rework it to basically be a bit of a fantasy sequence of Christine, basically entering a self-imposed form of therapy to overcome her trauma, getting even physically ill in the process, and basically thinking she's entered a series of events that hasn't actually happened, especially regarding the Phantom's reemergence. The lines between fantasy and reality become very blurred, a bit of a Total Recall/Wizard of Oz situation, and the score helps tell that. Charles Hart was then brought on board to help rework Glenn Slater's lyrics to make them fit better, and we also cut a few songs out of consideration. Therefore, what we have now is something far more suited to continuing the story, especially against Andrew's strongest score in more than a decade." Waxman is then questioned about the production's fate. "Ticket sales at the Adelphi Theatre in London have gone quite well, as are sales of the album, and it appears the same is happening right now in New York at the Neil Simon Theatre. We are definitely also shaping up a production in Australia, as well as a North American tour, and a concert video. We don't expect this to be as big as Phantom, by any means, but it should do all right." On that same day Roman Polanski commits suicide at his Switzerland home before the Swiss authorities can extradite him back to America.
  • (07/20/2010): It is announced via Variety, that Springbok will take part in a major partnership with The Walt Disney Company in which Springbok will produce live action retellings of Disney's most popular stories beginning with a reinterpretation of Sleeping Beauty from the point of view of Maleficent and a more straightforward remake of Cinderella.
  • (07/22/2010): Springbok finalizes purchases of the assets of the British financing group Odyssey Entertainment, as well as buying Muvico Theatres and Cobb Theatres, with all three deals coming to a combined cost of $100 million. Meanwhile, a new, upcoming film called The King's Speech from Tom Hooper, who directed the HBO miniseries John Adams, set to premiere at the Telluride Film Festival in September, reaches a surprising, multi-tiered distribution deal, split across different territories and companies. Disney/Touchstone Pictures will handle North America, United International Pictures, a partnership for international distribution by Paramount and Universal, will handle distribution in Europe through Universal, Lionsgate's Summit Entertainment will handle almost everywhere else, while Icon Productions' distribution group, Icon Film Distribution, will release the film in Australia.
  • (07/25/2010): Springbok launches a bid to take control of British cinema chain Vue Cinemas, as well as Australian chain HOYTS Cinemas, for a combined purchase price of $300 million. Such a deal would catapult Springbok to already being a considerable force in the exhibition business.
  • (07/28/2010): With his hand fully healed and after getting through the sessions for the Disney covers with Brian Wilson and the benefit shows for the Gulf Coast, Nirvana is set to begin recording their next album, a double-disc concept album being planned as the polar opposite of Nevermind, complete with an opposite album cover. Notably, as their last album before moving to self-producing, the band will be working with a series of different producers and different studios, big names such as Bob Ezrin, Jack Douglas, Rick Rubin and Don Was. Despite using different producers (with determining whose production of the same song gets used as the choice of that song on the list), the intent is to keep it all as a unifying story and theme, regardless. The new album will not be the only release for 2011, as plans for a 20th anniversary deluxe box set of Nevermind are also being made.
  • (07/31/2010): From a Springbok press release:

[QUOTE=]

Springbok's Purchase of Vue and HOYTS Approved, New Division of Company By Territory Goes Into Effect

Today, Springbok Productions' bids to purchase Vue Cinemas in Europe and HOYTS Cinemas in Australia have officially been approved, ensuring that Springbok will now be a true power in the exhibition business, along with the earlier purchases of Muvico and Cobb Theatres in North America. As a result, Springbok is now an official member of the National Association of Theatre Owners, which allows the constant schmoozing at conventions like ShoWest and CinemaCon to become even more effective, in terms of reaching maximum potential for all our films to reach as many screens by our competitors as possible, and to allow impressive, fair-minded deals for all other product on our own screens, allowing as much product as possible to be screened, no matter its commercial prospects.

With the success of Springbok's public stock offerings and side investments bringing fresh billions in revenue, as well as the recent acquisitions that have been made, Springbok is implementing a new shakeup in the corporate structure, to officially divide responsibilities and duties by territory, complete with new offices to match!

Springbok's main business will continue to be located in the North American division. Our official headquarters in Toronto will oversee the full structure of the company, all acquisitions and investments (including the distributor and exhibition work), financing for films, television series and video games by other production companies, and the accounting offices. The main work will continue to be in our L.A. offices at the Playa Vista studio lot, overseeing all creative projects, where most of our executives and employees will report, and the official offices for Denver and Delilah Animation, which also maintains a secondary office at George Lucas' Skywalker Ranch. The 20 percent minority stake in Studio Ghibli alllowed the creation of Studio Ghibli North America, overseeing all the major work on English dubs of their filmography, with our offices located at Pixar headquarters in Emeryville, California. And Exploitation Records continues to host its worldwide headquarters in New York, at the former Trump Tower.

All of our new international divisions will handle distribution deals (both for ourselves in making deals with studios to release our work, and being direct distributors whenever needed), and exhibition, where that applies. Springbok Latin America is based at Estudios Churubusco in Mexico City, Springbok UK near Shepperton Studios in London, Springbok Europe in the heart of Paris, Springbok Italy near Cinecitta in Rome, Springbok Africa in Charlize Theron's birthplace of Johannesburg, Springbok MDE in the Media City area of Dubai, Springbok Japan in Tokyo, Springbok China in Beijing, Springbok ANZ in the HOYTS offices in Sydney, Springbok South Asia in Mumbai, and Springbok Southeast Asia in Shah Alam.

[/QUOTE]

  • (08/02/2010): The first trailer arrives for Misplaced, the drama based on the crimes of Georgia Tann, which was given to MGM to distribute and use to revive the Orion Pictures name, and co-produced by George Miller and his production company Kennedy Miller Mitchell. Miller chose to join the film, set to premiere around Halloween, as a way to further induce Theron to join the planned Mad Max film. A trailer is also released for Springbok's production of the Coen brothers' remake of True Grit, s a Paramount release co-produced with David Ellison's Skydance Media, planned for Christmas release, to accompany as previews for Springbok's adaptation of The Giver. The film receives generally positive reviews, though some pundits state that the film lacks the same spark and purpose as Lois Lowry's original novel. Nonetheless, Springbok is proceeding with planned film versions of the additional installments that form a loose trilogy, with Gathering Blue set to release next year, and Messenger in 2012.
  • (08/05/2010): Rumors abound that Paula Wagner, Tom Cruise's longtime agent, and briefly CEO of United Artists, is in talks to join Springbok, and possibly even allow them to take a stake or control of Cruise/Wagner Productions. Former Disney executive Nina Jacobson and former Paramount head Sherry Lansing are also rumored to be negotiating with Springbok.
  • (08/10/2010): From The Hollywood Reporter:

[QUOTE=]

Springbok Gains New Heavy Hitters, Hooks Up With Johnny Depp

Springbok Productions announced today that Paula Wagner, Tom Cruise's longtime agent, former Disney executive Nina Jacobson, and former Paramount head Sherry Lansing are officially joining the film division. In addition, their television productions and record label arms are also being shored up by the hiring of former executives Fred Silverman (NBC, CBS, ABC), Anthony Thomopolous (ABC), Lloyd Braun (ABC), Channing Dungey (ABC), Mo Ostin (Warner Bros. Records, DreamWorks Records), Lenny Waronker (Verve Records, Warner Bros. Records, DreamWorks Records) and Marylou Badeaux (Warner Bros. Records). Between all of them, Springbok has gained considerable muscle and clout that many insiders consider a definite win for them.

Wagner, along with Cruise, formed Cruise/Wagner Productions in 1993, with the intent to give her client more creative control over his projects and retain more of the profits. The company, which Springbok bought as part of Wagner's pact, has earned almost $3 billion over its life, through such films as the Mission: Impossible franchise, Vanilla Sky, The Last Samurai, Minority Report, the 2005 War of the Worlds, and Lions for Lambs. C/W also moved into more arty territory in films that Cruise wouldn't star in, such as The Others (starring his ex-wife Nicole Kidman), Narc, Ask the Dust and Shattered Glass, Billy Ray's 2003 film starring Hayden Christensen (at one point a serious contender to play Anakin Skywalker in George Lucas' Star Wars prequels) as disgraced New Republic journalist Stephen Glass. Cruise and Wagner also attempted to stretch themselves by taking control of United Artists, buying a 30 percent stake in the venerable studio owned by MGM, and moving to restore its luster. However, their tenure was brief and bitterly disappointing. As part of her Springbok contract, Wagner and Cruise have sold their ownership stake of UA back to MGM. "Paula is not on board as an executive," a member of Springbok's legal team present at the talks states. "She is here in a creative capacity, and she knows her way around film production. She has invaluable insight, and will only be a plus. As to whether we can get Tom signed on to any projects, that's hard to tell, especially since, because of previous disputes they had with Paramount, we don't own any part of future M:I installments. He's not the most highly paid star for nothing, and we'd really have to provide an extremely nice sweetheart deal to attract him here, but he'd certainly be worth every penny."

Jacobson was part of the team at Walt Disney Studios, which overlooks the live action filmography, having sat through the tenures of Jeffrey Katzenberg, Joe Roth, Peter Schneider and the early days of Dick Cook and Meryl Poster. Her final days there were fraught with continuous headaches, where she oversaw the folding of Miramax Pictures into the Touchstone brand (and subsequent partial rebranding) after Harvey Weinstein's exposure, the shuttering of Caravan Pictures and Hollywood Pictures, which had ended up becoming Disney's toxic waste dump, the controversy regarding Mel Gibson's 2006 film Apocalypto, and a breaking of ties with M. Night Shyamalan. The director, after having been credited as a wunderkind creative genius with films such as The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable and Signs, began to lose his groove soon after. His 2004 film The Village was found to be underwhelming, and Jacobson, among the rest of the division, refused to greenlight his followup film, Lady in the Water. As a result, Shyamalan broke the contract Disney had with his production company, Blinding Edge Pictures, and gave the film over to Warner Bros. The film exceeded even Disney's worst fears when they passed, and Shyamalan then went to 20th Century Fox for his latest film, The Happening, which did even worse. Currently, the director, after having been denied a chance to direct a live action adaptation of Springbok's animated Nickelodeon series Avatar: The Last Airbender, is said to be working on a project with Will Smith. As for Jacobson, apparently Springbok's offer for a chance to join was too good to pass up and she put off any plans of retirement.

Lansing, during her tenure at Paramount Pictures, solidified herself in its history with an incredible success rate. Under her watch, 80 percent of Paramount's films turned a profit, an unheard of feat. She also negotiated the success and release of Braveheart and Titanic with surprising budget and profit sharing deals with 20th Century Fox. Fox put up two-thirds of the budget and handled the international sales, but Paramount ended up keeping most of the overall profit and ownership of those films' Oscar victories. "Sherry is an absolute delight, and a true master at her art. Springbok is all the more blessed to receive her." Silverman, Thomopolous and Braun all were network heads in their past, and contributed impressive victories. Silverman turned around ratings for NBC's news division and nighttime lineup, as well as achieving success with ABC's programming, Thomopolous helped further solidify ABC as a force to be reckoned with and justified Disney's purchase of them, and Braun helped conceive the massive juggernaut series Lost. Dungey was considered an impressive up and comer with the potential to be head of the network in the future, but chose to tie her fortunes to Springbok and its television slate. Ostin, Waronker and Badeaux are best known for their tenure at Warner Bros. Records in the '70s, '80s and '90s, during which they moved to make it artist-friendly and a notable player in the rock world, with signings like Neil Young, Eric Clapton, REM, Van Halen, Maria Muldaur, Black Sabbath, Curtis Mayfield and Prince.

In addition to all this, Springbok decided to solidify a future with Johnny Depp, who starred in Springbok's adaptation of Sweeney Todd and the recent Disney outing Alice in Wonderland, both directed by his constant collaborator Tim Burton. They also helped finance his 2005 film The Libertine and secured a distribution deal for the movie with Disney under its Touchstone Pictures banner and roped in Mel Gibson's Icon Productions to produce it. Depp, who is also the lead in Springbok's upcoming animated project Rango (reuniting him with Pirates of the Caribbean director Gore Verbinski), has officially signed up to do yet another project with them, a semisatirical biopic of Saddam Hussein, playing the lead. The film project came to life as they took an option on a hagiographic account of Hussein's life written by anti-imperialist gadfly Tariq Ali, which was brought to them by comic actor Sacha Baron Cohen, who hooked up the company for the mockumentary films Borat and Bruno. Baron Cohen will also star in the film, projected to open in 2012, as Hussein's right hand man, and Larry Charles, who directed both earlier films, is back in the director's chair for this project as well.

To further solidify their relationship, Springbok has also committed to providing a cash infusion for Depp's film production company, Infinitum Nihil, run since 2004 by his sister Christine Dembrowski, and his indie music label Unison Music. The latter was formed only recently by his good friend Bruce Witkin, a studio engineer and producer who was a childhood friend of Depp's and recorded his vocals for Sweeney Todd, and Ryan Dorn, with an aim to produce and release albums by indie rock artists, with Depp an unofficial A&R man, and contributing guitar and vocals (as well as directing music videos) when he feels. Their first signing was the band Babybird, whose first album with Unison Music, Ex-Maniac, was released in March, propelled by the lead single "Unloveable" (sic), which Depp played guitar on and directed the video for. Springbok used its record industry contacts to solidify Unison Music a distribution deal with Atlantic Records, which will manufacture and distribute all Unison releases.

Depp also recently proceeded with a rash of selling off of several of his dozens of properties around the world, and some of his more expensive belongings, to help fund both endeavors, as well as "reorient" himself. He and his romantic partner, Vanessa Paradis, have always been fairly private, especially regarding their two children, Lily-Rose and Jack. But lately, they have been more reclusive, and rumors suggested that Depp was considering packing it in.

"None of that is remotely true," a Depp associate replies. "But Johnny is getting himself into a better place. After Lily-Rose got sick and recovered, he came to the realization that he needed to work on himself, for his family's sake. He's given up smoking, he has largely cut back from drinking, and he doesn't really party with any kind of substances anymore. He also has slowed down his spending habits and sold things off because his accountants pointed out that he was on the verge of getting himself into a hole he couldn't dig himself out of. He's learning to be prudent, especially because, as he says, 'I don't want to have to take a film role just because I need the money to provide for my family.' Johnny wants what's best for Vanessa and the children, and the people at Springbok indirectly brought him to this point. He is truly grateful that they came into his life."

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  • (08/13/2010): Nirvana, and their coterie of star producers, begins work on the new album. For this lavish farewell to outside producers, and making a double-album anti-Nevermind, the decision is made to go all out. The sessions are booked at none other than George Lucas' Skywalker Ranch, at the Skywalker Sound studios, as well as the scoring stage, notably seen in the music video for Journey's "When You Love a Woman." Skywalker Ranch has seen rock groups record albums here before, as The Grateful Dead did their 1989 album Built to Last here, as well as Journey doing embellishments for the 1996 album Trial by Fire.
  • (08/16/2010): Cobain and Theron officially purchase Phil Spector's former "castle" in Alhambra, California, with the intention to create it as a new, innovative treatment center. Dubbed "Detox Mansion," after a Warren Zevon song, it will be an all-encompassing rehab center for PTSD, depression, substance abuse, physical therapy, mental disorders and to be far more discreet and sequestered than traditional rehab centers like Betty Ford, especially for celebrities, though it will also be open to the general public. Supported by Dr. Steven Chatoff, considered one of the best addiction recovery specialists around, it aims to be especially focused on being a support group that takes the best of everything else, adds things of its own, and hopefully be more successful than its "competitors." The first patient to head there is Mel Gibson, who decides to take the offer of support and friendship from Cobain and Theron to work on himself.
  • (08/20/2010): The third installment in Jay Roach's Let's Be Spies trilogy, A Screw to a Kill, is released. Given that last year's sequel film, From Vancouver with Love, did far better than the first, expectations about this installment are quite high.
  • (08/26/2010): Springbok announces that it has officially signed on to co-produce a film adaptation of the novel Cloud Atlas, to be written and directed by the Wachowskis, the sibling auteurs responsible for The Matrix and its underwhelming sequels, as well as writing the script for the film adaptation of V for Vendetta. Springbok also officially obtains the film rights for a film adaptation of the musical Les Miserables. Casting and hiring of crew is expected to unfold in fairly short order. In addition, Springbok works out a deal with Sony and MGM regarding the Millennium film series. Sony will help distribute all films, but a part of MGM will listed as the main studio in each case. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo will be MGM proper, The Girl Who Played With Fire will done by United Artists, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest will be Orion Pictures. While the first film is coming together well for its 2011 release, David Fincher does not plan to stick around to direct the other two films, so Springbok is putting feelers out for potential directors for them, which would be filmed simultaneously and released as the two films.
  • (09/01/2010): Danny Elfman is interviewed regarding his role in the upcoming seasonal off-Broadway stage transfer of The Nightmare Before Christmas. "It was honestly quite comforting, settling back in. Writing the original score was one of the easiest jobs I've ever had, because Jack Skellington and I really are so alike. Thus, I didn't have any problem coming up with new songs, adding a yet darker tone to the story." Elfman also reveals that for the first two performances, starting a month from now, there is a special gift to the audience. "I'm actually playing Jack for the first two nights, and Catherine O'Hara will return as Sally as well. Just a little something to really get the crowd quite ecstatic. And there will be a little something for an encore." He refuses to say what the "something" is, but speculation about an Oingo Boingo reunion of some kind naturally hits the Web.
  • (09/07/2010): Final cuts of Whistle Down the Wind and The Help are officially locked down for release in May and August of 2011. By now, Nirvana has gathered about eight complete songs, and fragments of 20 more in their sessions at Skywalker Ranch. The physical set for the stage rendition of Nightmare is constructed at the Little Shubert Theatre, for performances to begin on October 2.
  • (09/13/2010): By now, the economy has become surprisingly healthy under President Obama's leadership. The massive stimulus bill, the largest since the New Deal, as well as the brisk new regulations for Wall Street under Dodd-Frank, have restored consumer optimism like never before. "Not even President Clinton can make a claim to have turned things around that quickly," a CNBC anchor notes ruefully.
  • (09/18/2010): Nirvana announces the name of the upcoming album, Actually..., and that the double length concept album will stress the "anti-Nevermind" angle by having Spencer Weddle, the baby from the former's cover art, return for an underwater shoot that is the inverse. The album is planned to be released in April. Meanwhile, the 20th anniversary deluxe box set of Nevermind will release next September, which will include a full remastering of the original album, Butch Vig's original mixes, all released B-sides, demos that were not released in the With The Lights Out box set, and several live performances; some, like the Halloween '91 show in Seattle and a November '91 show in Amsterdam having been previously released in full, and others, like a November '91 show in Rome and a December '91 show in Del Mar, California, never before officially released in full. All of Nirvana's performances captured on the documentary 1991: The Year that Punk Broke, will also be released in full. The music videos to promote the album will be released, fully remastered for best audio and video clarity, and include the realization of Cobain's original vision for the "Lithium" video; an animated story about a girl taking care of an egg, which DGC/Geffen Records had vetoed because of expense and time.
  • (09/24/2010): Buried, a film by Rodrigo Cortes and co-produced by Springbok, is released by Lionsgate everywhere except the UK and Australia, by Icon Film Distribution UK and Icon Film Distribution Australia. The film stars Ryan Reynolds as Paul Conroy, an American civilian working in Iraq, who wakes to find himself buried in a wooden coffin with only a Blackberry and a Zippo lighter. The 95-minute film takes place entirely in this coffin, showing his efforts to find a way. It also stars the voices of Stephen Tobolowsky and Samantha Mathis. The film is a massive hit with critics, and makes $21.3 million against a budget of $2 million and virtually no promotion.
  • (09/26/2010): Springbok announces the purchase of Mandeville Films, a Disney-owned subsidiary set up in 1995 by David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman at the express wishes of then Walt Disney Studios chairman Joe Roth. Unlike several of Springbok's acquisitions, none of Mandeville's employees are guaranteed employment with Springbok, and Lieberman and Hoberman will not have any place in the company structure. Mandeville will fulfill its remaining commitments under its name, notably a new film using The Muppets and a potential sequel, and a handshake deal for a new rendition of Chip n' Dale: Rescue Rangers, but it has effectively shut down, and Springbok will take over Mandeville's offices on the Disney lot in Burbank. Said office will be used solely for Springbok's projects distributed by Disney. Hoberman and Lieberman found a new company, Hyperobject Industries, which a decade later will feature Adam McKay as a member.
  • (10/02/2010): The stage transfer of Nightmare premieres at the Little Shubert to rave reception, especially with the opening performances with Danny Elfman and Catherine O'Hara. The "something" that Elfman alluded to turns out to be an impromptu performance of "Dead Man's Party" with Oingo Boingo guitarist (and Elfman's scoring assistant) Steve Bartek and the orchestra, which truly brings the house down.
  • (10/07/2010): Springbok finds a potential candidate for directing the other two Millennium films in broaching Samuel Bayer to take the position. Bayer is noncommittal, but very interested.
  • (10/11/2010): From The Wrap:

[QUOTE=]

"Blavatnik & Till's Icon to Co-Finance Movies with New Line Cinema," by Sharon Waxman

New Line Cinema has created a film production fund with Russian billionaire Len Blavatnik to make movies budgeted between $5 million and $20 million, TheWrap has learned.

The new fund — created among Blavatnik’s Access Industries, his newly purchased Icon UK Group and New Line — will be a rolling credit facility that could support up to $100 million over the next two years.

Blavatnik, a Moscow-born businessman who lives between the U.S. and London, is ranked by Forbes among the world’s top 100 billionaires, with an estimated fortune of $7.5 billion.

He had been circling many potential projects in the entertainment industry, including bidding on MGM and considering a purchase of the Miramax name from Disney. This will be his first major foray into filmmaking.

New Line will handle U.S. distribution for the films and will split international distribution with Icon.

TheWrap has learned multiple inside details of this new fund, the latest to aim at mid-budget productions that have been abandoned by the major studios and/or haven't been picked up as prestige vehicles by Springbok Productions, Disney's Touchstone Pictures or MGM, all of which moved to fill the void that Miramax left behind after it was shuttered following Harvey Weinstein's exposure.

The fund will be controlled by Blavatnik’s companies, Access and Icon. Icon is run by Stewart Till, the former CEO of United International Pictures. The partners will each have a certain number of “put” options for favored projects over the course of the deal.

New Line will distribute in the United States, Canada, Germany, France and Australia, putting up all of the funds for prints and advertising. Icon will distribute in the United Kingdom and other foreign territories. Blavatnik and New Line will share the profits 50-50, with all revenues going into a single pot. "This is a great deal," New Line founder and head Robert Shaye told the press. "We get to help Icon build itself into a real power in distribution, and we make impressive projects together. It's the best deal I've done: best for Icon, best for New Line, best for Time Warner, and best for the ticket-buying audiences."

Icon UK CEO added: "This is a great deal on two counts. Firstly, it fits our more aggressive acquisitions and production strategy, and secondly, it's a fantastic opportunity to work with a newly rejuvenated New Line."

Icon UK head Hugo Grumbar stated that the deal was brokered with the intention of getting better access to the domestic market via New Line in addition to accessing New Line's talent. "There's an enormous amount of talent out there and both of us want to get into producing smaller level films. This fund seemed like a natural progression for both of us. We both want to make movies that are going to sell internationally and domestically. There will be no loud voices on either side of the table and there's no point in sitting around as we've already seen so many things that fit the bill."

Michael Lynne, co-CEO of New Line, added the following: "As we witness the shuttering of independent film divisions at the studios, we see this collaboration of like-minded companies as a tremendous opportunity to embrace the numerous opportunities out there."

The companies have worked together before. New Line and Icon both have recently distributed such titles as Nowhere Boy(2009), The Box (2009), A Single Man (2009) and The Road (2009).

In November 2009, Blavatnik’s U.S.-based Access Industries financed Till in buying Icon Film Distribution, the international sales and film distribution arm of Los Angeles-based Icon Group, formed by Mel Gibson and Bruce Davey, along with its Majestic film library.

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  • (10/26/2010): An amended version of the proposed "Hollywood extreme weight fluctuation ban" is signed into law by President Obama. Under the new law, actors can gain or lose no more than 50 pounds for roles, and must be done under the careful supervision of a nutritionist and fitness trainer at all times to monitor their health.
  • (10/29/2010): By now, Nirvana has recorded 35 full songs, several versions each by the different producers. The idea is to select which version of each song fits best for the sequenced narrative.
  • (11/02/2010): President Obama heads to Copenhagen to meet with the leaders of various other countries to work on a potential additional pact to supplement the Kyoto Protocols and ramp up the scaling back of greenhouse gas emissions, the reforestation and iron seeding movements, and sustainable green energy.
  • (11/07/2010): Tom Cruise officially signs on for a supporting role in Hussein as an American journalist covering events in Iraq.
  • (11/13/2010): Christopher Nolan and his brother Jonathan officially finish a script for the final part of the Batman trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises, and pass it along to Springbok and Warner Bros. The intent is to begin production in the spring.
  • (11/21/2010): Director Brett Ratner is accused by several women of prolonged sexual harassment. This comes as he is in the middle of finishing a third film in his Transformers series that he started in 2007, a series that has been much loathed and mocked as buffoonish and action movie drivel. Ratner categorically denies the allegations.
  • (11/27/2010): Recording of Actually... is declared complete, and work turns to assembling the album properly, mixing it and mastering it.
  • (12/03/2010): It is announced in The Hollywood Reporter that The Walt Disney Company will be spinning off the Miramax brand, when asked about the decision Sean Bailey the president of production at Walt Disney Studios, admitted. “It’s been a decade since it was used, and by this point, the public has forgotten about the name and the amazing films it released. By this point, a revival and new leadership could bring back some prestige to the industry, especially if people are afraid Springbok’s going to swallow it whole.” When asked why Filmyard isn’t doing anything with the name before another buyer comes along, Bailey is sanguine. “A holding company has no power in film production, and we knew going in that it would be years before a buyer with that clout will come along.”
  • (12/05/2010): Brett Ratner is officially barred by Paramount and Hasbro from doing press for the new Transformers, and stricken from all press materials. Other projects that he was assigned to or looking into officially cut all ties with him.
  • (12/08/2010): While getting ready to set up for the premiere of Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk's new anthology series on FX in several months, Springbok's television division makes a deal for first-run syndication of a new animated series called Chaos Town, set to premiere in the summer, as well as working on a deal to take an option for three new television movies with NBC, based on the famed and infamous true-crime novels of Joe McGinnis; Fatal Vision, Blind Faith and Cruel Doubt, all of which were made into hit miniseries on NBC in the '80s and '90s. The possibility is done to look into McGinnis' investigative methods and expose all possibilities regarding the guilt or innocence of the convicted.
  • (12/11/2010): The so-called Copenhagen Agreement is approved and finalized by all member nations.
  • (12/15/2010): Presiden Obama is briefed regarding intelligence that Osama bin Laden's hiding place has been discovered near Islamabad, Pakistan, and that there is a growing feeling of moving on this information to launch a raid. Of course, not everyone in the relevant organizations has given their approval as of yet and are debating the strength and validity of the intelligence.
  • (12/19/2010): Springbok officially prepares for a festive Christmas celebration with True Grit performing well, and the final mixes for Actually... coming close to being approved.
  • (12/25/2010): Springbok celebrates Christmas with a festive party benefit for St. Jude's Children's Research Hopsital, complete plenty of food and drink and music (including a set of the Elvis Presley estate's live concert series Elvis Presley in Concert, which has his '70s backing group, the TCB Band, playing live to video and audio of Elvis from the '70s, and has been used to to get Elvis to tour locations in other countries he never did in life), capped off by a performance of Frances with her group.

2011[]

  • (01/05/2011): After much back and forth, and impassioned pleading, the raid on the suspected hiding place of Osama bin Laden, dubbed Operation Neptune Spear, is given the green light.
  • (01/07/2011): President Obama gives a speech to the press confirming the death of Osama bin Laden. Crowds across the nation cheer wildly at the news, and President Obama's approval ratings skyrocket into the 90s as a result.
  • (01/12/2011): Actually... is officially slated for an April 5 release. Springbok also announces on their website the release dates of their film and television projects for 2011 with the animated film Rango coming out on March 4, Gathering Blue on April 9, Whistle Down the Wind on May 20, Paradise the second part of Prometheus on June 10, Bernie: to premiere at the LA Film Festival on June 16 with a wide release soon to follow, with the TV show Chaos Town to premiere in first-run syndication on July 7, the period drama film The Help to premiere on August 10, the FX anthology series American Horror Story on October 5, the comedy film Young Adult on December 9, the David Fincher adaptation of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo on December 20, and Steven Spielberg's War Horse: to premiere on Christmas day.
  • (01/15/2011): Springbok provides an exclusive first look of their adaptations of Sailor Moon and Inuyasha exclusively to Anime News Network.
  • (01/20/2011): Springbok begins work to put together a deal for Arnold Schwarzenegger for a return to acting after finishing his term as governor of California. They have been holding informal discussions with him in the last few months, confirming that he plans to resume his career and even break some new ground. Albert S. Ruddy, a legendary producer with ties to Old Hollywood, known for producing The Godfather and Million Dollar Baby and who has been part of Springbok since 2004, already has a project in mind that he's held onto for years called Cry Macho, which could stretch Schwarzenegger's acting muscles.
  • (01/23/2011): Casting for new characters to fulfill important roles in The Dark Knight Rises begins in earnest. Soon they are in talks with the likes of Anne Hathaway for Selina Kyle/Catwoman, Tom Hardy as Bane, and Joseph-Gordon Levitt for a youngm hopeful member of the Gotham City Police Department. At the same time, Warner Bros. begins to plot out a new series of DC films, unrelated to the Nolan trilogy, to create a cinematic universe on par with Marvel. Springbok, while stating they will step away from producing comic book heroes after finishing the last part of Nolan's trilogy, does agree to help finance the series.
  • (01/28/2011): The first trailer for Whistle Down the Wind is released to the public.
  • (02/02/2011): Springbok proudly announces that it has "signed" legendary artist Prince onto Exploitation Records, with Springbok even being able to resolve the rights issues surrounding Prince's master recordings from when he was with Warner Records. “This is truly a landmark deal,” Jason Flom, part of Exploitation Records, states. “We not only get to work with one of the true living legends of popular music, but managed to bring closure to one of the industry’s longest-running dramas. Prince will thus have all of his music truly be his and his alone.”
  • (02/08/2011): The cover art shoot for Actually... is held in the same pool where the Nevermind cover was shot.
  • (02/12/2011): Nirvana reports to filming of the video for the lead single, reteaming with Kevin Kerslake as director after a long absence.
  • (02/17/2011): From Playbill:

[QUOTE=]

"Reading of New Musical Rebecca to Feature Sierra Boggess, Hugh Panaro, Carolee Carmello," by Andrew Gans,

Sierra Boggess (Love Never Dies, The Little Mermaid), Hugh Panaro (The Phantom of the Opera, Lestat) and Carolee Carmello (Lestat, The Addams Family) will head the cast of a March 18 industry reading of the Broadway-bound musical Rebecca in New York.

The reading will be directed by Tony Award winner Michael Blakemore and Francesca Zambello. Producers are the stage theatricals division of Springbok Productions (headed by Leonard Soloway, Elizabeth Williams and Anita Waxman), Ben Sprecher and Louise Forlenza for Global Broadway Productions and Norton Herrick for Herrick Entertainment.

The cast for the reading will also include James Barbour, Anastasia Barzee, Don Stephenson, William Youmans and John Horton.

Rebecca features original book and lyrics by Michael Kunze, music by Sylvester Levay, English book adaptation by two-time Tony Award winner Christopher Hampton (Sunset Boulevard), English lyrics by Hampton and Kunze, and direction by Blakemore (Kiss Me, Kate; City of Angeles; Noises Off) and Zambello (Little Mermaid). This marks Springbok's third collaboration with Kunze, having brought forth his original hit Vienna musical Elisabeth Stateside for a New York City Center engagement in 2007, and Kunze's hit musical with Jim Steinman, Dance of the Vampires, to a successful three-year run on Broadway. Several of the actors for the reading have been involved in Springbok projects, most notably Boggess, Panaro and Carmello.

Based on the classic Daphne Du Maurier novel (and later turned into an Oscar-winning film by Alfred Hitchcock), Rebecca, according to press notes, "is the story of Maxim de Winter (Hugh Panaro), his new wife (Sierra Boggess) and Mrs. Danvers (Carolee Carmello), the housekeeper of his West Country estate of Manderley – where the memory of his first wife, the glamorous and mysterious Rebecca, still casts a shadow."

Rebecca had its world premiere in 2006 at Vereinigte Buhnen Wien in Vienna, where it played to sold-out houses totaling more than three years. It is currently playing in Budapest, Hungary; Helsinki, Finland; and at the Imperial Theatre in Tokyo. An additional production will open in Stuttgart, Germany in November 2011 with productions currently planned for Russia and beyond. The show had its first English-language reading in 2009 in London, when for a potential West End run, but no one bit, and Springbok's involvement made Sprecher and Forlenza decide to switch to a New York opening instead.

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  • (02/19/2011): Thanks to the generosity of Prince, Nirvana will premiere the album's release with a full concert set at Paisley Park, Prince's recording complex in Chanhassen, Minnesota, on the album's release date, April 5.
  • (02/25/2011): The first single for Actually..., "Here Comes the Rain", premieres on MTV, VH1, YouTube, and active rock stations around the world.
  • (02/28/2011): Margot Kidder takes up residence in the Detox Mansion to get a grip on her substance abuse and lingering effects of her bipolar disorder.
  • (03/04/2011): Rango premieres to critical raves and a hefty box office. Much of the praise goes to Johnny Depp's performance as the title character, as well as those of the likes of Isla Fisher, Ned Beatty, Alfred Molina, Harry Dean Stanton, Ray Winstone, and a cameo appearance by Clint Eastwood as "the Spirit of the West", who takes the form of The Man With No Name.
  • (03/08/2011): By this point in time, there are 20 different prosecutions against Wall Street executives and companies in various stages of progress, affecting the likes of JPMorganChase, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, SunTrust, Wachovia, Citi Group, PNC, Wells Fargo and Bank of America. Various real estate executives are also under the microscope.
  • (03/12/2011): To further sweeten the potential deal for Cry Macho, Springbok offers Schwarzenegger an offer of redemption of sorts; a reboot/sequel of the 1993 film Last Action Hero, which was hyped extensively at the time of release, but ended up getting swamped by Jurassic Park. The film was also faulted for not having a concrete idea for how to parody Schwarzenegger's filmography and action movies in general, as well as best pulling off its "reverse Purple Rose of Cairo" gimmick. Springbok offers a chance to to revisit the concept and do right by it this time.
  • (03/15/2011): Test screenings for Whistle Down the Wind begin to be held throughout the nation, and results are generally positive.
  • (03/20/2011): Blockbuster announces its intent to start launching and creating original shows for its streaming service, Blockbuster Entertainment, and the first shows to launch in 2013. Many studios and companies, including Springbok, officially take out options to fill slots for the original content.
  • (03/24/2011): The Book of Mormon premieres to rave reviews and ticket sales.
  • (03/29/2011): Nirvana looks over the work done so far for the 20th anniversary deluxe box set of Nevermind, and are pleased with the progress.
  • (04/05/2011): To mark the release of Actually... (with the standard impressive reviews and brisk sales), Nirvana holds their launch concert at Paisley Park. Prince joins in for some songs, and Nirvana also follows Prince's lead to perform some of his songs.
  • (04/09/2011): Gathering Blue is released to the same middling reception as The Giver.
  • (04/14/2011): Nirvana officially announces dates for a North American summer tour of amphitheaters, starting at the Gorge Amphitheatre in Washington.
  • (04/17/2011): Burn Notice: The Fall of Sam Axe, a 90-minute prequel film to Burn Notice, airs on USA Network. The prequel film was a condition set in when Bruce Campbell renegotiated his contract for the show, and finally underwent production and to be a lead-in for story elements in the show's fifth season. The movie focuses on Sam Axe, revealing his last mission for the SEALs, tracking down a terrorist cartel in Colombia and a salacious affair with a superior's wife. The movie receives mixed reviews by the critics, and attracts a respectable 3.57 million viewers, making it the 23rd most-watched show on cable TV that week.
  • (04/19/2011): Filming and most post-production on Young Adult is officially considered complete.
  • (04/25/2011): Springbok drops a first look and advertising for the new FX anthology series American Horror Story, due to premiere October 5.
  • (04/28/2011): Warner Bros. starts planning out a new Superman movie to launch their planned cinematic universe and also keeps tabs on British director Matthew Vaughn, who is directing the newest X-Men film, First Class, a prequel and also intended reboot to course-correct after the disgruntled reaction to The Last Stand and 2009's origin film X-Men Origins: Wolverine, the latter of which was criticized for lack of consistency with the original films and wasted potential with the character of Deadpool, the fourth-wall breaking "Merc With a Mouth", known for openly breaking the rules of the comics convention. The hope is that Vaughn's film can spark new life in the franchise. Vaughn also has made a 30-minute short film, focusing on Magneto's potential involvement in the assassination of John F. Kennedy, which will be packaged with DVD and Blu-ray releases of First Class.
  • (05/04/2011): Springbok announces that it will be producing the Arnold Schwarzenegger film Cry Macho, that it might be involved in the next Terminator film, and that there are talks for a sequel to the underrated Last Action Hero.
  • (05/07/2011): Whistle Down the Wind begins holding early screenings before its May 20 premiere. The critics are not particularly pleased with the film, much as they weren't with the stage version during its brief New York run.
  • (05/12/2011): Filming for The Dark Knight Rises begins in earnest.
  • (05/15/2011): The surprise news that Arnold Schwarzenegger and his wife, Maria Shriver, are separating, is followed by the revelation that he fathered a child outside of his marriage with a housekeeper. This scandal would put Arnold's acting career on hold and lead to Springbok to nix Cry Macho shortly after.
  • (05/20/2011): Whistle Down the Wind performs to underwhelming results at the box office after officially opening, though it does well in certain markets, especially throughout the Deep South.
  • (05/24/2011): Springbok, Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio's Appian Way Productions officially takes an option on the book The Wolf of Wall Street, about the financial crimes of Jordan Belfort, who ran the pump-and-dump front company Stratton Oakmont, pushing people to invest in worthless properties and then pocket the money. The film is intended to be released in 2013. Springbok also makes a deal with 20th Century Fox for Quentin Tarantino's next film, known to be created in the vein of a spaghetti western, and sets to work casting for the adaptation of Les Miserables.
  • (05/27/2011 to 05/29/2011): Nirvana begins their tour with three nights at the Gorge Amphitheatre. In a feat of surprise, Nirvana will perform several days at the Sasquatch Music Festival being held there at that exact date, and is the headliner on Friday the 27th.
  • (06/01/2011): From The New York Times:

[QUOTE=]

GE Wishes To Divest Itself of NBCUniversal, Sells 35 percent Stake to Comcast

Today, General Electric, longtime parent company of the NBCUniversal conglomerate, has sold a 35 percent stake to cable giant Comcast, in a plan to divest itself of every share in time. GE had hoped to sell more to Comcast, but the FCC and SEC prohibited Comcast from receiving a controlling stake, stating that having a cable company take control of a media conglomerate would set a disturbing precedent.

This is just the latest step in the long, winding, complex road regarding ownership of NBC and Universal Pictures, that has started since their original parent company, Music Corporation of America, or MCA, sold itself. After ownership stakes by the likes of RCA (then still an independent group that included electronics as well as the record label), things changed in 1990. At that point, inspired by Sony's recent purchase of CBS Music, Columbia Pictures and TriStar Pictures, MCA was purchased by Panasonic (then merely a brand name being sold by the parent company Matsushita), in a massive deal. It was a surprising deal, clearly inspired simply as just another deal in the Japanese asset price bubble of the time.

However, while Sony's company bosses in Tokyo have practiced a very laissez-faire attitude regarding its American holdings and left them to basically govern themselves, MCA's new owners in Osaka were not so trusting. While Universal and NBC continued runs of profitability, the corporate cultures simply did not mesh, and they chafed under the strict new leash they were under. Panasonic kept a tight control of the purse strings and worked to slash expenses wherever possible. Panasonic also came to resent the purchase and wanted out. In 1996, they sold 80 percent of their stake to Seagram, the Canadian beverage company, who spun off their control of DuPont to finance the purchase. This came at the same time as the now-disgraced David Geffen moved behind the scenes, after having sold his label to MCA, helped arrange Seagram's 1998 purchase of PolyGram, and its assorted labels like Interscope Records, to create the Universal Music Group in a mega-merger that led to many artists that had signed on being orphaned and thousands of record executives losing their jobs. Seagram also purchased the remaining stake from Panasonic.

Seagram ended up also having a bad case of regret, as the former MCA was not as steady in earnings as DuPont and their earnings and stock shares were erratic. Seagram also ended up becoming bankrupt, its brand only surviving because Coca-Cola bought the rights. Vivendi, the French privatized water giant, bought the conglomerate and all of its holdings, and stability returned, at least until 2004. Vivendi sold 80 percent of NBCUniversal, as the film and television group was now called, to GE, but chose to retain full ownership of UMG, which it still holds. GE has long been a hugely profitable company, especially during the tenure of Jack Welch as CEO, with lots of products to its name. But even a steady and rock-solid company like GE was affected by the Great Recession, because of the lines of credit to other banks, especially NBCUniversal. GE wanted to offload its position and minimize exposure.

Starting in 2009, GE began having talks with Comcast to buy a controlling stake of the conglomerate, while it also moved to purchase the remaining 20 percent of Vivendi's stake to keep things simplified before any such sale took place. (The Vivendi purchase was finalized after New Year's.) They expect that doing this would be easy, as the SEC has long seldom turned a critical eye to so-called vertical mergers (one type of company buying a company in another market or specialty), compared to horizontal mergers (one type of company buying another company in the same business and market). However, they, along with the FCC, refused to bless the proposed sale. "A cable conglomerate taking control of a media group sets a disturbing precedent," as the decision reads. "Comcast can easily influence favored nations status for itself in NBC and Universal, setting low rates for any and all customers subscribed to Comcast, compared to other cable providers, and slant news coverage to be incredibly biased to itself. This could easily set a trend where cable and telecom companies keep moving to chew up the landscape and leave nothing behind. In fact, a Comcast takeover of NBCUniversal would actually be far more problematic than say, Disney buying another studio, because in that case, proper divestment concessions would be put in place to ensure such a merger wouldn't be anticompetitive and any stake of the movie business would still be below 50 percent."

GE still seeks to offload the rest of its ownership and find other parties to buy other stakes. Naturally, this leads to questions about what new name, if any, could be used for this mixture of parent companies. Some suggest that the MCA and/or PolyGram names might possibly be revived.

[/QUOTE]

  • (06/03/2011): From Variety:

[QUOTE=]

Blockbuster Heads Discuss "Clicks, Bricks and Flicks" Operation

John Antioco and Reed Hastings are not names people would know off the bat, but they basically created the modern face of movie rental. Antioco has been the CEO of Blockbuster Video since 1996, and Hastings is the President of Blockbuster Entertainment, their streaming video service that has become first and foremost in the company's strategy. "Reed brought a great opportunity to us," Antioco states. "He saw the value in the Internet, mail-order movies, on-demand video and streaming and how Blockbuster could be poised to lead the industry and grow. He brought Blockbuster into the 21st century, and he deserves every accolade given to him."

Hastings, relaxed and modest, just shrugs. "Well, anyone could have come up with the idea. All people had to look at was how the music industry was embracing the opportunities that the Internet was giving us, how they were quick to adopt digital downloads as the next evolutionary step. Porn companies were the first taking full advantage of streaming video online, despite how expensive broadband and bandwidth capacity was back then, and making a killing through the credit card charges. Thus, it wasn't hard to make the next leap and see that movies could do the same. Especially given how people were dissatisfied with the rental experience of late fees and fees for not rewinding the tapes. I was looking into setting up my own company to sell or rent DVDs through mail, and Blockbuster, especially John, took a vested interest, bought my work, and incorporated it."

The work has definitely paid off. In addition to Blockbuster's innumerable and omnipresent traditional brick and mortar stores, planned to be phased out by 2050, vending machine kiosks can be found in many locations where people can rent DVDs and Blu-rays for a dollar a day. The mail-order business is a thriving component, where customers can hold onto the movies for as long as they want for the same flat fee. Blockbuster Entertainment takes full advantage of the parent company's contacts in Hollywood and New York to hold absolutely every movie and TV series that is non-pornographic and whose masters or negatives haven't been lost for anyone with an Internet connection to watch over their desktop PCs, laptops, tablets, smartphones and video game consoles for a subscription fee of either $10 a month or $60 a year. "We call it, 'clicks, bricks and flicks,'" Antioco replies. "It has been an absolute game changer, the ultimate killer app. No one else was prepared for it. That's why Hollywood Video and the others all went belly up."

Now, Hastings and Antioco are taking what they say is the next step forward in their strategy, the creation of original content solely for Blockbuster Entertainment. The plan, which goes online in 2013, calls for the continuous rollout of movies and shows that can only be seen through the streaming service. "It will be absolutely everything," Hastings says. "Every genre, every major studio and company, major talent involved. They all were happy to sign and commit to the plan, though some, like Disney, plan to do a sequential, step-by-step rollout, saying they want to test the waters with Marvel product before giving new shows and films from the likes of Walt Disney Pictures, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Touchstone Pictures, Pixar and Lucasfilm. And of course, Springbok Productions didn't hesitate at all. They already have an option for an animated series that will be part of our inaugural rollout."

Antioco becomes serene at that. "Basically, we have everyone locked up. We thought ahead and of course locked them into ironclad contracts with non-compete clauses, so these studios and companies and channels can't break off and form their own streaming services down the line. The only real competitors we could have are YouTube, though we also have a deal for YouTube original content as well, and the series that premiere first on premium cable channels like HBO, Starz and Showtime, though we show their content too. The only groups that could have a legitimate claim to competing with us would've been the likes of Amazon or Apple, but much like how the record labels and artists cornered the market in selling MP3 downloads and prevented them from creating their own stores on their sites, we cornered this market and basically made it almost impossible for them to break ground."

When asked why no one else attempted something like this before, Hastings adds a correction. "Well, Hollywood Video actually did wake up and try to get in, too little too late. They even were the first to attempt making exclusive content, which were going to be released only on DVDs that could only be rented at their locations, and all the standard fees. To say it didn't take off would be an understatement."

[/QUOTE]

  • (06/05/2011): Nirvana performs a massive, sold-out show at Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre, filmed and recorded for potential live release.
  • (06/10/2011): Paradise opens to critical raves and box-office success, strengthening Springbok's hand to add continued relevance and flair back to the Alien franchise.
  • (06/16/2011): Richard Linklater's Bernie opens at the LA Film Festival. Initial reception is quite impressive, with considerable praise going to Jack Black's performance in the titular role, and an outpouring of sympathy for the real Bernie Tiede. MGM and Orion Pictures soon receive massive demand from exhibitors to release the film widely in theaters in 2012.
  • (06/20/2011): The first sneak peak at Denver and Delilah Animation's first-run syndicated series Chaos Town is given through the Entertainment Weekly website. After the collapse of the various Arnold Schwarzenegger projects, especially The Governator, the syndicators prepare give this show far more visibility and exposure than was planned. Meanwhile, Box Office Weekly points out that Whistle Down the Wind is performing better in the UK and Australia, but American numbers refuse to go up and theaters are beginning to opt out. Paradise is doing quite well even with the competition from the likes of Thor and X-Men: First Class, as well as the likely revenues for Captain America next month.
  • (06/25/2011): During Nirvana's show at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion near Houston, Alter Bridge singer Myles Kennedy joins them onstage for a few songs. The instrumentalists of Alter Bridge, also of Creed, have been angling for Exploitation Records to sign them. Scott Stapp also has been trying to get Creed signed, due to dissatisfaction with Wind-Up Records regarding the promotion of the reunion album, 2009's Full Circle, and also anger of the label's "misplaced priorities" in promoting bands like Evanescence.
  • (06/28/2011): Access Hollywood is the first to break with an inside first look at the set of Marvel Studios' The Avengers, in which Iron Man, The Hulk, Captain America, Hawkeye, Black Widow and Nick Fury are brought together to defeat Loki after he launches an invasion attack on New York. The movie is in the hands of Joss Whedon, best known as the creator of series like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel and Firefly/Serenity, and who also started out as a co-writer for projects like Roseanne and Toy Story, as well as script doctoring for Twister. It is expected to be a major event when it releases next May.
  • (06/30/2011): Blockbuster Entertainment announces the first ever Blockbuster original series for the streaming service, a American version of the British drama series House of Cards, that'll be produced and directed by David Fincher and executively produced by and starring actor Christian Bale.
  • (07/01/2011): Springbok officially reveals the cast for the adaptation of Les Miserables. The movie will feature Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean, Russell Crowe as Javert, Anne Hathaway as Fantine, Amanda Seyfried as Cosette, Eddie Redmayne as Marius, Aaron Tveit as Enjolras, Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen as the Thenardiers, and Samantha Barks as Eponine, having played the role previously on the West End and in the 25th anniversary concert at the O2 Arena. Original cast members Colm Wilkinson and Frances Ruffelle will have cameos in the film, which is scripted by William Nicholson and directed by Tom Hooper. Also of note is that the songs will be performed live by the cast without any kind of safety net recordings, a technique last used by Peter Bogdonavich's much-maligned 1975 film At Long Last Love. The movie is intended to be released by Universal Pictures in December 2012.
  • (07/04/2011): Nirvana gives a rousing Fourth of July performance at the Ford Amphitheatre in Tampa, Florida.
  • (07/07/2011): Warner Bros. officially selects Matthew Vaughn to direct the first film in their cinematic universe, a Superman film entitled Man of Steel, and also sign Russell Crowe to play the role of Jor-El. Given that the script coming together will call on him to do an extended underwater scene and hold his breath, this actually will help out considerably in his performance as Javert. Chaos Town premieres to strong reviews and ratings.
  • (07/10/2011): A BBC interview with Princess Diana, belatedly marking her 50th birthday, airs to the public. Of most interest is on her love life. "I've had lots of relationships since Charles, and they've never lasted. Do I hope to find love? Of course. But my charity work, and watching William and Harry grow has been of utmost importance to me." On the question of her relationship with the royal family: "It's definitely civil these days, but very, very distant. They've had to adopt a lot of changes to be relevant to the modern days, and they're not fully happy with that still. They tolerate me, but nothing more. And that's probably for the best."
  • (07/15/2011): Invited to watch the rushes of The Dark Knight Rises is George Miller, once again moving to gear things up for Mad Max: Fury Road. It's currently beginning to look like filming will be ready to start next year, and he continues to woo Theron for the role of Furiosa, which she is more than happy to do. Miller also looks at footage of Tom Hardy as Bane and declares that he is perfect to pick up the torch and take on the role of Max Rockatansky. Negotiations to secure him begin in earnest.
  • (07/20/2011): Nirvana gives an additional unscheduled performance at the Hollywood Hills Amphitheatre at Disney's Hollywood Studios, to the thrill of parkgoers.
  • (07/25/2011): Springbok is formally invited to appear at the 25th anniversary concert for The Phantom of the Opera at the Royal Albert Hall on October 2. Unlike the Les Miserables anniversary special last year, this will be a fully staged production and not a mere concert. Ramin Karimloo, who has played both Raoul and the Phantom in the past and plays the Phantom in the West End version of Love Never Dies, will take on the Phantom for this special and retire from the role. Sierra Boggess, who played Ariel in the Broadway version of The Little Mermaid and is Christine in the West End version of Love Never Dies will take on Christine for the special.
  • (07/29/2011): Nirvana's performance at Jiffy Lube Live in Bristow, Virginia, is cut short by a group of Tea Party supporters gatecrashing the concert, tearing down fences and vendor stalls, and engaging in fistfights with concertgoers and venue security. The crowd has to be dispersed by tear gas, and Nirvana's next two concerts in Virginia Beach and the Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland, are cancelled due to security concerns. 20 people are badly injured and hospitalized in the fracas.
  • (08/03/2011): Nirvana does a free, unscheduled benefit for the hospitalized concertgoers at the Pimlico Racetrack in Maryland, which is broadcast on a webstream.
  • (08/10/2011): The Help premieres to supportive reviews praising the script, direction and ensemble acting, and the box office to match.
  • (08/12/2011): Hussein begins filming, predominantly at Pinewood Studios in London.
  • (08/14/2011): Samuel Bayer officially commits to direct the remaining two films in the Millennium trilogy. David Fincher will remain connected as an executive producer, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross will also score the next two films like the first, Steven Zaillian is already at work penning the two-part script, and they plan to block time around Rooney Mara and Daniel Craig's schedules, especially with Craig returning to film the upcoming Bond 23.
  • (08/17/2011): Quentin Tarantino brings Springbok the script for his next film, a spaghetti western set in the antebellum South entitled Django Unchained, about former slave becoming a bounty hunter to search for his wife and free her. Springbok brings the script and makes a deal for 20th Century Fox to distribute the movie in late 2012.
  • (08/20/2011): From Variety:

[QUOTE=]

Springbok Creating Trio of Slavery-Related Projects

Springbok Productions are no strangers to making big, ambitious projects, and there certainly is no exception with the announcement that they will be releasing three films that all have some relation with the topic of American slavery in the antebellum South. Though very different in tone from each other, they all have that one linking element in common.

First off, after having finished production on the film War Horse for Christmas, Springbok and Steven Spielberg will soon begin production on the long-announced Lincoln for release by DreamWorks Pictures via Disney's Touchstone Pictures in North America and 20th Century Fox internationally the following holiday season. Despite the title, the film, based on Doris Kearns Goodwin's bestseller Team of Rivals, is not a chronicle of his entire life, but instead focuses on the effort to get Congress to pass the 13th Amendment in January 1865, while the war was still officially on and to ensure that slavery would be extinguished. Daniel Day-Lewis will play the title role, while Sally Field will portray Mary Todd Lincoln. The movie also features Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Robert Lincoln, David Strathairn as William Seward, Tommy Lee Jones as Thaddeus Stevens, Hal Holbrook as Francis Preston Blair, James Spader as Republican operative William N. Bilbo, and Jackie Earle Haley as Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens.

At the same time and release point, Springbok and Fox will release Quentin Tarantino's next project, Django Unchained, a film in which a former slave becomes a bounty hunter to search for and free his wife, shot in the vein of a spaghetti western. Jamie Foxx has been signed on to play the titular role, with Christoph Waltz, who broke out to receptive audiences as Hans Landa in Tarantino's last film Inglourious Basterds, as his foil, Dr. King Schultz. Leonardo DiCaprio has been confirmed as the movie's antagonist, the slave owner Calvin Candie, master of "Candyland," his ode to subjugation, with Tarantino regular Samuel L. Jackson as his right-hand man, a house slave named Stephen. Don Johnson, Bruce Dern and Jonah Hill have also been confirmed to have roles in the movie, though Hill's role is expected to be short, since he and DiCaprio are also working together on another Springbok project, Martin Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street, expected in 2013.

Lastly, Springbok, along with Regency Enterprises and Brad Pitt's production company Plan B Entertainment, have announced that they are working together on 12 Years a Slave, based on the narrative by Solomon Northup, a free man from upstate New York who was mistaken for a runaway slave and made to toil at plantations down south. British director Steve McQueen will helm the project, with a script by John Ridley. Chiewetel Ejiofor will star as Solomon, while Michael Fassbender will star as Edwin Epps, the cruel, vindictive slave owner who kept him the longest. Pitt will star in a brief supporting role, as will Paul Giamatti, Alfre Woodard and Paul Dano. The film will be released sometime in 2013, with Fox Searchlight Pictures distributing it in North America, Entertainment One in the UK and Ireland, Icon Productions/Icon Film Distribution in Australia, and Lionsgate's Summit Entertainment elsewhere.

[/QUOTE]

  • (08/21/2011): Disney announces major plans for a new theme park in Chendor, Malaysia, as part of a massive undertaking with Genting Malayasia's project, Resorts World Chendor, which the park itself will be named Disneyland Malaysia. This is set to be one of the largest Disney Parks in the world, with 9 themed lands. It would take WDI 8 years to design and build the park before opening to outstanding success in May 2019. Disney also hinted at similar anbitions for Dubai and Korea, but these haven't materialized as of yet. This is Disney's fourth theme park in Asia, after Tokyo, Hong Kong and Shanghai.
  • (08/23/2011): Denver and Delilah Animation holds a meeting to discuss the Blockbuster Entertainment series they've taken an option on to premiere in 2013. A group of new employees for the division, led by Raphael Bob-Waksberg, have already provided a massive and lengthy story bible, spanning some 150 pages, for something entitled BoJack Horseman, the story of a former TV sitcom star living in a life of self-loathing and continuous sabotage. The meeting includes Bob-Waksberg and his group, Denver and Delilah head Stan Kinsey, Springbok TV leaders Jay Firestone and Channing Dungey, Theron, Jennifer Todd, and Cobain via speakerphone. Everyone is quite impressed by the breadth of detail and how the narrative has been crafted well in advance, though some, notably Firestone, Kinsey and even Cobain, aren't necessarily liking what is being plotted out beyond Season 4, and think it could deserve a second pass and need something more elaborate and intense to continue. The idea of potential spinoffs years down the line are also considered and kept in a mental note.
  • (08/26/2011): Nirvana performs at the Darien Lake amusement park compound in upstate New York.
  • (08/29/2011): From The Hollywood Reporter:

[QUOTE=]

GE Completes Sale of NBCUniversal, PolyGram Name to be Revived

General Electric has finished off its sales of its ownership stake in the NBCUniversal conglomerate, finding additional partners to buy stakes to supplement cable giant Comcast's 35 percent stake. The additional buyers are Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group of Japan, with a 10 percent stake, American real estate holding company Colony Capital (already creator of a holding company for the Miramax Pictures name) holds 7.5 percent, chemical conglomerate DuPont has taken ona 6.5 percent share, the Qatar Investment Authority (also part of the Miramax deal) holds 8 percent, Panasonic (ironically, a former owner of the whole of the conglomerate) reunites with 8 percent of the group, Lionsgate has purchased 5 percent, Cineworld (the world's second-largest cinema chain, the owner of the Regal Entertainment Group in the US, as well as Cineworld and Picturehouse in the UK & Ireland, Cinema City in Europe and Yes Planet in Israel, a total of 9518 screens at 790 locations worldwide) has invested 10 percent, and French film production company StudioCanal has the remaining 10 percent.

In light of this recent transaction, this diverse group of owners will simplify matters by creating a new parent company to pool their control of NBCUniversal to go as the new byline. Henceforth, starting in 2012, to mark Universal Pictures' 100th anniversary, the group shall be referred to as "A PolyGram Company." This revives a very familiar and omnipresent name from decades past. Up through 1998, PolyGram was a conglomerate that had stakes in music, film and television production. It owned many different record labels, most notably Mercury Records, Interscope Records and Polydor Records, owned film production group Interscope Communications as well as putting out films through their PolyGram Filmed Entertainment shingle, and likewise with television. Then, NBCUniversal's parent company, Seagram, bought PolyGram and merged it all together, especially to form the Universal Music Group, which is still fully owned by NBCUniversal's former parent company Vivendi.

GE had been looking to reduce its exposure due to the lingering effects of the Great Recession and how their ownership stake of NBCUniversal was leading to unexpected hiccups from their bank credit lines. It had hoped to sell a controlling stake to Comcast before the SEC and FCC put the brakes on that. Comcast, with its 35 percent stake, is still the largest owner. They also ended up fully purchasing DreamWorks Animation, which was spun off from DreamWorks Pictures in 2004 by Jeffrey Katzenberg to raise badly needed capital.

[/QUOTE]

  • (09/02/2011): Springbok makes a deal to finance a return of Sam Raimi's Evil Dead franchise, starting with a reimagining/reboot proposed by Raimi, Robert Tapert and Bruce Campbell, to be directed by up and coming short film director Fede Alvarez. In addition, Springbok and Disney also tap Raimi to work on a prequel to The Wizard of Oz, taking advantage of Disney having held the rights to use the other books in the series for several decades, and to focus on an origin story for The Wizard himself.
  • (09/05/2011): Nirvana's performance at Alpine Valley Music Theatre in East Troy, Wisconsin, goes 40 minutes past end time due to a series of encores.
  • (09/08/2011): Nirvana finishes the North American tour with a performance at the First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre in Tinley Park, Illinois.
  • (09/11/2011): Nirvana and members of Springbok attend the opening of the National September 11 Museum & Memorial in New York, which includes the footprints of the former Twin Towers converted to a reflecting pool memorial called "Reflecting Absence", a museum dedicated to commemorating the before and after, and the opening of the new One World Trade Center, also referred to as the Freedom Tower. Paul Simon performs a somber solo version of "The Sound of Silence" at the proceeding. Nirvana performs a three song set of "All Apologies", "Pennyroyal Tea" and "Where Did You Sleep Last Night?"
  • (09/15/2011): Jennifer Todd is interviewed on Entertainment Tonight regarding the situation around Arnold Schwarzenegger, she reveals during the interview that while Cry Macho will most likely never happen the sequel to Last Action Hero is still a possibility and that Springbok is still working to make it happen.
  • (09/19/2011): Springbok and Gore Verbinski scout locations in Japan for the modern day elements of Inuyasha, as well as ones in Australia and New Zealand for the feudal era story. Springbok, Paramount and Fox also apply for Australian and New Zealand tax credits for the project.
  • (09/23/2011): Nirvana officially announces a string of European dates to begin in a month.
  • (09/26/2011): MGM/Orion Pictures sets April 27 as the wide release date for Bernie. Meanwhile, the third film in Springbok's three-picture deal with Richard Linklater, the twelve-year-project, inches closer to completion.
  • (09/30/2011): Casting for Springbok and the Wachowskis' adaptation of Cloud Atlas is confirmed. The film will involve multiple plots in six different eras in time, and thus the cast will be placed in a role in each section. Confirmed to appear in the film are Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Sturgess, Ben Whishaw, Hugh Grant, Jim Broadbent, Doona Bae, Hugo Weaving, Susan Sarandon and Keith David.
  • (10/03/2011): Disney and Springbok confirm casting for Oz. James Franco will star as Oscar Diggs, the con man who becomes the Wizard. Michelle Williams takes on the role of Glinda, Rachel Weisz as Evanora, the future Wicked Witch of the East, Mila Kunis as her sister Theodora, and also will include roles for Zach Braff, Tony Cox, Bruce Campbell, Sam Raimi's brother Ted, and the original leading ladies from The Evil Dead: Ellen Sandweiss, Betsy Baker and Theresa Tilly. Springbok and Disney also announce their work on Saving Mr. Banks, a biopic of Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers and the process Walt Disney took to bring the story to life in the film. Both films will be released in 2013.
  • (10/07/2011): American Horror Story premieres on FX to rave reviews and strong ratings. Over the coming seasons, Springbok's anthology series from Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk (with strong input from the likes of Douglas Petrie and Jessica Sharzer), grows from strength to strength, especially when it is revealed that they all take place in the same shared universe. Many renowned talents that lend themselves for the show over the years include Dylan McDermott, Sarah Paulson, Evan Peters, Zachary Quinto, Lily Rabe, Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett, James Cromwell, Gabourey Sidibe, Rosa Salazar, Lady Gaga, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Finn Wittrock, Billie Lourd, Angelica Ross, Macaulay Culkin and Stevie Nicks (reprising her trick from the ABC Daytime series Port Charles of actually being a witch in the witchcraft-themed third season American Horror Story: Coven.)
  • (10/11/2011): Springbok and Gore Verbinski are granted their tax credits for Inuyasha.
  • (10/13/2011): Regarding casting for Saving Mr. Banks, Tom Hanks is officially signed to portray Walt Disney, with Emma Thompson as P.L. Travers and Colin Farrell as Travers' father, Travers Goff.
  • (10/16/2011): Springbok officially purchases Witt/Thomas Productions, the production company of Paul Junger Witt and Tony Thomas; best known for production of television series such as Benson, The Golden Girls, the 1987-1990 CBS series Beauty and the Beast starring Linda Hamilton and Ron Perlman, Blossom and Everything's Relative, as well as production of films such as Dead Poets Society and Christopher Nolan's Insomnia. Besides adding all these titles to their library, Springbok also adds Witt and Thomas to help head their television division. At the same time, the TV division and Denver and Delilah Animation both decide to hold back the premiere of BoJack Horseman for a year, until 2014, to ensure that the story bible and actual scripts for the episodes are in first-class shape before premiering it, which Blockbuster readily agrees to. This is also done because Dan Harmon, creator of the show Community, along with Justin Roiland, a voiceover actor who takes supporting roles in animated series, comes to them with an idea for an animated series to head to Adult Swim, which can easily fit as Springbok's big animated premiere for 2013.
  • (10/20/2011): Dixie Dope officially closes on Broadway, partially to make room for Springbok and Mel Brooks' stage transfer of Blazing Saddles in a few months. In addition, the long-announced Stephen King/John Mellencamp musical Ghost Brothers of Darkland County, which Springbok is helping to produce, is officially ready for the public, starting a tryout at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta on April 11.
  • (10/27/2011): Nirvana completes the European tour and plans to take the rest of the year off before resuming in Australasia.
  • (11/02/2011): A burglary at the home of Michigan State gymnastics instructor Dr. Larry Nassar while he and his family are away takes a surprising turn. The burglar takes a computer, and discovers disturbing images, and turns himself in for the burglary to surrender the hard drives. Over the next few days, forensic investigators find child pornography, and realize this is unraveling something quite sinister.
  • (11/04/2011): A grand jury officially indicts Jerry Sandusky, a former assistant coach for the Penn State Nittany Lions, for various sexual crimes against underage boys, using his charity, Second Mile, as a shield to extend his net. From Sandusky's obvious criminality, the questions are soon raised as to whether the Penn State football program, especially their legendary coach, Joe Paterno, was aware of Sandusky's actions and moved to conceal it from the public to keep the focus on Paterno's string of victories.
  • (11/06/2011): Larry Nassar is officially arrested and booked for possession of child pornography, as well as rumblings of victimizing his gymnastics students and potential Olympics hopefuls. This also comes right in the middle as the US Olympic gymnastics team is training for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.
  • (11/07/2011): In its first U.S. sale, recently launched L.A.-based indie studio Gaumont International Television begins setting up the crime drama Hannibal at NBC. The series was bought by NBC preemptively, especially after Springbok Productions announced its interest in the project and joined GIT in helping with the sale and becoming a producer on the series. It marks a reunion between the network and GIT CEO Katie O’Connell, who previously served as NBC head of drama. Brian Fuller (the showrunner) is developing a script against a 13-episode commitment, meaning that the project won’t go through a pilot stage but straight to series if NBC brass like the script. The network has a short window after receiving Fuller’s script to pick it up. In a model similar to that for NBC’s midseason drama series The Firm, GIT, the U.S. arm of French film studio Gaumont (best known for the early filmography of director Luc Besson before he broke with the studio to form his own company, Europacorp), will fund the potential series by a mix of a U.S network license fee and international sales. The project was taken to MIPCOM last month, and a number of international deals are already in the works.
  • (11/12/2011): Citigroup sells off its ownership of EMI in parts. The recorded music operations and labels (including Parlophone, EMI Records, Capitol Records, Harvest Records, Virgin Records, Caroline Records and Capitol Records Nashville) will be purchased by Universal Music Group for $1.9 billion, while the publishing rights will be purchased by Sony/ATV for $2.2 billion. To pass muster with the European Commission and Federal Trade Commission, UMG will divest itself of V2 Records, Parlophone Records, Sanctuary Records and Chrysalis Records, among others, to be purchased by other buyers, while UMG will still hold onto the others, including Calderstone Productions, the group that administers The Beatles' recorded output.
  • (11/13/2011): Springbok officially begins screening Young Adult, War Horse and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo for critics prior to their releases in December. A schedule for Theron to take part in the shoot for Mad Max: Fury Road is officially plotted out and approved by George Miller and Warner Bros. However, right after that schedule is approved, unseasonal rains in the main filming location, Broken Hill in New South Wales, Australia, has led to an overgrowth and abundance of wildflowers, rendering the site unusable. Miller moves to secure an alternate site in Namibia, to the derision and disappointment of many Australians.
  • (11/16/2011): Cobain is hospitalized after having been diagnosed with polyps on his vocal cords, which require surgery to remove. As a result, the Australasian tour, set to begin in February, is officially cancelled, as well as any potential road dates until August at the earliest. Even with the news, reports emerge that promoters may be seeking to sue the band for pulling out of the tour.
  • (11/18/2011): Frances Cobain seeks to negotiate an alternate solution to the stiffed promoters, seeking to have her band fill out dates in smaller venues represented by them as a consolation prize. Promoters are cautious, but certainly interested in discussing the matter further.
  • (11/20/2011): Theron off-handedly jokes about Cobain's surgery in a meeting at Springbok, discussing the slate of projects for 2012 and beyond. "Now he knows how I felt when I lost my voice when I shot The Road a few years back."
  • (11/25/2011): Cobain is discharged from Cedars-Sinai Hospital after having made the initial recovery from his operation.
  • (12/01/2011): Filming on Inuyasha begins in Tokyo.
  • (12/03/2011): Prey 2, the sequel to the 2006 game by Human Head Studios, is officially announced for an April release. Springbok helped with the development of the game to prevent the IP's current rights holders, Bethesda Softworks, from doing anything to potentially sabotage the title, mainly a hostile takeover attempt of Human Head through withholding milestone funds. Coming on Springbok's success with the releases of Deus Ex: Human Revolution and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 in 2011, the game-playing public is quite excited.
  • (12/05/2011): Promoters of the scuttled Nirvana Australasian tour accept having Frances play dates under their purview as a consolation prize.
  • (12/08/2011): Andrew Lloyd Webber announces that he is working on a Phantom prequel with Springbok, with hopes to have it open in 2014.
  • (12/12/2011): Springbok announces a five picture development deal with English director Paul Greengrass which will take effect after Greengrass finishes his next project, a film with Sony and Trigger Street Productions about the 2009 Maersk Alabama hijacking and tense rescue by Navy SEALS of Captain Richard Phillips, featuring Tom Hanks, and set for release in October 2013. Already, Greengrass and Springbok have a number of potential projects to consider. These include Greengrass' proposed film about the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. entitled Memphis (which was supposed to be his next film until Universal pulled out), a Karen Carpenter biopic film, work on a rumored Freddie Mercury biopic that currently is supposed to feature Sacha Baron Cohen in the role, a Meat Loaf biopic, a film about the Trail of Tears, a potential anime adaptation, and Greengrass being assigned to either of the two projects Johnny Depp's Infinitum Nihil shingle and Disney have picked up to produce shortly. Details remain quite sketchy at the moment, but more will become available after Greengrass has finished his current production.
  • (12/15/2011): In a clinch for Springbok's stage theatricals division, Newsies succeeds in its tryout run to head off to Broadway. The planned Disney/Springbok stage transfer of Hunchback of Notre Dame hires Peter Parnell to help recraft James Lapine's original book, specifically to make it closer to Victor Hugo's original novel. Springbok helps land a deal to produce Pete Townshend's musical projects, with a brief limited engagement revival of Tommy on Broadway in 2012 along with regional productions, a Stateside production of the transfer of Quadrophenia that has done UK perfomances, a transfer of Townshend's 1993 solo album Psychoderelict, and a full production of Townshend's work The Boy Who Heard Music, which had a staged reading in 2007, and contains material that ended up on The Who's 2006 album Endless Wire. Ghost Brothers of Darkland County is gearing up for its Atlanta tryout, Blazing Saddles will open at the Foxwoods Theatre in the spring of 2012, and Springbok will produce a UK arena tour production of Jesus Christ Superstar for 2012, with a North American arena tour in the works if the UK stint is successful.
  • (12/20/2011): Box Office Magazine reports that War Horse, Young Adult and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo are performing well in theaters, with rave reviews and a considerable box office haul for each one. "In the scheme of things, 2011 appears to be Springbok's most profitable year yet."
  • (12/24/2011): From Broadway.com

[QUOTE=]

Mel Brooks and Springbok Saddle Up for New Musical Premiere

In April, comedy legend Mel Brooks will debut his third stage musical, Blazing Saddles, the buzz about which has been quite massive. And deservedly so. The new Broadway musical, based on the 1974 Western spoof that is considered to be Brooks' masterpiece, is not only the third musical he has done after The Producers and Young Frankenstein, but also his second go-round in launching a show with the stage theatricals division of Springbok Productions. They worked together to bring Young Frankenstein to the Great White Way in 2007, definitely hoping to repeat the success of Brooks' inaugural stage delight. Sure, the show received extremely mixed reviews and closed after only two years, compared to the unparalleled six-year success that The Producers had, but there are no regrets among the group.

"Mel is an absolute delight and a joy to work with," Springbok theatre head Leonard Soloway asserts. "When he's around you, everyone steps up their A-game and works their asses off. We knew going in that people were going to compare Young Frankenstein to The Producers and that it was never going to win that contest, but we did it because we wanted to and we were passionate about it. We had a great time doing that show, as did the actors and crew, and we were definitely wanting the good times to continue. Mel had the vision of doing Blazing Saddles as a musical in that time, and we supported it from day one. And it's going to pay off considerably."

Springbok and Brooks first came into contact when the former stepped up to the plate to help finance the 2005 film adaptation of The Producers, bringing back original Broadway cast members Nathan Lane, Matthew Broderick, Gary Beach and Roger Bart, with the additions of Uma Thurman and Will Ferrell. Thanks to Springbok's help with the budget and the marketing, the film was quite successful, even if not nearly to the extent the stage show was when it opened in 2001. In return, Springbok got the rights to tackle North American regional productions of the stage version, as well as the 90-minute Vegas spectacular that originally debuted with David Hasselhoff in the cast (which he was doing at the time that the infamous video of him drunkenly struggling to eat a cheeseburger on the floor was made). This made Springbok want to collaborate fully with Brooks on his next project, all of which leads us to now.

Like the first two musicals, Blazing Saddles boasts music and lyrics solely by Brooks, a book co-penned by Brooks and Annie librettist Thomas Meehan, orchestrations by Doug Besterman, and choreography and direction by Susan Stroman. Springbok is joined as producers of this project by Producers alumni Rocco Landesman, concert promoters Robert F.X. Sillerman and Michael Cohl, and the Frankel-Baruch-Viertel-Routh Group, and additional producer East of Doheny. "The old gang is back together," Stroman states, "and nothing can drive us apart." The main cast features notable regional Shakespeare actor Daveed Diggs as Sheriff Bart, and Mandy Gonzalez, who first came to prominence as the female lead in Springbok and Jim Steinman's Dance of the Vampires and lately was in the original Broadway cast of Lin-Manuel Miranda's In the Heights, will play the role of Lili von Shtupp. "Ever since Vampires, Mandy has risen to incredible heights," fellow Springbok theatricals executive Anita Waxman muses. "She's a true diva with a powerful voice to match, and she was quite happy to come aboard." Waxman will neither confirm nor deny rumors that Springbok has given Miranda a development deal for his followup to Heights.

"Mel is an absolute machine of inspiration," Soloway states. "The book and the songs just poured out of him. When we did an initial staged reading back in March, the laughs couldn't stop. We know we've got a definite winner here." Unlike either of Brooks' other musicals, Saddles will not have an out-of-town tryout, and will instead open cold in New York at the Foxwoods Theatre on April 17, after a month of previews. "I will take full responsibility for that," Soloway asserts. "I feel so strongly that this show is amazing that I pushed for us to head straight to Broadway, and that the preview audiences will be all we need to fine-tune the show prior to opening. If it blows up in my face, that it was a big mistake, then so be it." Meanwhile, with Springbok also moving to open Disney's Newsies at the Nederlander Theatre this spring, prepping for the Atlanta tryout of Ghost Brothers of Darkland County, postponing the New York opening of the stage transfer of Disney's Aladdin to work out the kinks of that show after a middling reception at its Seattle tryout earlier this year, a limited engagement revival of The Who's Tommy for the spring, continued work on crafting the book for the American version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, gathering working capital for Michael Kunze's Rebecca and the upcoming film adaptation of Les Miserables by Universal Pictures for next Christmas, Springbok certainly has a lot on its plate besides Saddles.

[/QUOTE]

  • (12/28/2011): Widespread calls to the NCAA and figures at the Penn State athletics program call for the removal of a bronze statue of Joe Paterno mounted near Beaver Stadium. Paterno, who was fired last month due to growing suspicions about his role in the Sandusky affair despite protests from local residents, has seemingly gone into hiding as his legacy begins to crumble. Meanwhile, school president Graham Spanier, vice president Gary Schultz and athletics director Tim Curley, who have all stepped down, are also being investigated on charges of perjury, obstruction of justice and failure to report child abuse, as the officials seem to be the ones most directly responsible for masking Sandusky's crimes. In addition, Michigan State is facing similar pressure of their own. As a result, former FBI director Louis Freeh has been called to lead internal investigations into both scandals, and the schools' responses to them.

2012[]

  • (01/03/2012): By this point, as President Obama moves to swing around for his reelection campaign, former Governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney becomes the frontrunner for the Republican nomination. However, it is noticed that Romney proceeds to give a somewhat schizophrenic campaign policy, with some speeches moving more to the right, and others to move with his image as a moderate. This is especially when he attacks the ACA, or "Obamacare" as Republicans have tended to refer to it, as a mistake, even when it is pointed out how much it was modeled on a health care initiative Romney used for Massachusetts, where he can only hem and haw in response.
  • (01/05/2012): The first trailer for Hussein is released, in which a July 5 release date is given.
  • (01/08/2012): Sailor Moon is confirmed for a March 23 release date.
  • (01/10/2012): Cobain and Theron begin looking into adoption from African nations, as both feel the desire to add to their family and give some underprivileged child a chance for a better life.
  • (01/14/2012): Final casting for Mad Max: Fury Road is officially released by George Miller and Warner Bros. Besides the confirmation of Theron as Furiosa and Tom Hardy to take over the role of Max, it is announced that that Anglo-Australian character actor Hugh Keays-Byrne will take on the film's antagonist, Immortan Joe. Two daughters of rock royalty are also announced to feature, with Lisa Marie Presley's daughter Riley Keough and Lenny Kravitz' daughter with Lisa Bonet, Zoe, both in the film. Filming is set to commence in June at the new site in Namibia, though it also thankfully appears that the Outback will return to its natural state in enough time to return to Australia to finish filming there.
  • (01/17/2012): The U.S. Olympic Wrestling Team makes a public statement that even with the Nassar scandal and a recent need to switch personnel on their supporting team, they fully intend to compete in London and aim for the gold. "Sometimes, the only thing to do is keep plugging away at what you do best to let all the cares of the outside world disappear."
  • (01/22/2012): Joe Paterno dies from lung cancer. While still grappling with the scandal and Paterno's role in it, Penn State commences to mourn his death and hold a massive funeral service for him.
  • (01/25/2012): During a public press conference Disney announces that new Star Wars films are being put into production including a sequel trilogy and anthology films, also George Lucas shockingly announces that he will be retiring from Lucasfilm and that producer Kathleen Kennedy will become the new head of Lucasfilm going forward.
  • (01/29/2012): Nirvana is officially booked for a fall engagement at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace, to be Cobain's first shows after his surgery, starting in September. Following the success of Celine Dion, Elton John and Cher in lengthy engagements in Vegas, turning the desert resort town from "the place entertainers go when their careers are dead" to a new gathering of prestige for their reputations, hard rock artists are becoming increasingly attached to the concept of doing residencies, especially after Prince's 21-concert stay at the O2 Arena in London. Nirvana also receives offers to do similar multiple nights in New York, Los Angeles and London.
  • (02/02/2012): Warner Bros. announces that British actor Henry Cavill will take on the mantle of Superman in Matthew Vaughn's Man of Steel, meanwhile for the time being, director Jeff Wadlow, already working as director on a sequel to Vaughn's 2010 film Kick-Ass, will take over as director of a potential franchise based on Dave Gibbons and Mark Millar's comic series The Secret Service, though Vaughn will still produce and help with the script.
  • (02/05/2012): Andrew Lloyd Webber officially announces the Phantom prequel, The Devil's Child, is in the works for a planned 2014 opening. He also confirms that he is reuniting with original Phantom lyricists and librettists Charles Hart and Richard Stilgoe for the project.
  • (02/07/2012): Springbok announces that Paul Greengrass' proposed film about the King assassination, Memphis, will begin filming in 2013, right after he finishes production of Captain Phillips. Greengrass is also potentially being attached to one of the two projects Disney and Johnny Depp bought last year, specifically the proposed Paul Revere biopic Midnight Ride
  • (02/10/2012): Cobain and Theron identify a perfect candidate for adoption, a child named Jackson, who they will come to realize is a transgender girl. Adoption paperwork making it official will take a month to finalize.
  • (02/13/2012): The final trailer for Sailor Moon, promoting its March 20 release, is dropped to the public.
  • (02/15/2012): Nirvana officially commits to residency shows to finish out the tour for Actually..., starting with six shows at Caesars Palace in early September, six at the Gibson Amphitheatre, six at Madison Square Garden, six at the O2 Arena in London, six at the Budokan, then six at ANZ Stadium in Sydney, with this round of shows finishing in early December.
  • (02/17/2012): While doing initial rounds and promotion for the release of The Avengers, Kevin Feige announces much of the slate of the so-called "Phase Two" of the MCU. These include the previously announced Iron Man 3 and an obvious second Avengers film, as well as Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: Winter Soldier, Black Widow 2, and new film properties, Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man. While not all the details of Phase Two regarding cast and crew have been nailed down yet, Feige does announce that Thor: The Dark World will be helmed by Patty Jenkins, and admits that "Springbok actually gave us the rushes of the Sailor Moon two-part film that Patty directed, and of course how they chose her to do that film based on Charlize Theron's experiences with her on Monster. Patty is an amazing director, and definitely knows how to be in tune with female characters and flesh them out. Having someone like her can help us elevate the material, especially regarding the role of Jane." As a sidenote, Feige adds, "if Marvel Studios was still under Ike Perlmutter's domain, this wouldn't be possible," before laughing and moving on to announce another somewhat surprising hire, that James Gunn to co-write and direct Guardians. Gunn, who got his start with Troma films and has moved on to direct films with an emphasis on shock humor like Slither, has also made social media posts comprising of similar edgy jokes. "We did discuss that with him," Feige states, "and he owned up to everything, and also stressed that he is changed and willing to change. The James Gunn of today is a very different man, and he is also a great choice to handle one of Marvel's lesser-known properties." Feige then also announces that the MCU's television slate is also ready to debut next year with the series Agents of SHIELD on ABC, with Joss Whedon's brother Jed as a main showrunner. Feige also gives praise to Marvel Television head Jeph Loeb, saying "he's got quite the talent for helping us translate things to the small screen, and he and I will be in constant contact to help let the story unfold naturally and connect. As for how, you just have to tune in to see for yourselves." When asked about DC's answer to the MCU, set to debut next year with Man of Steel, Feige doesn't bat an eye. "I don't see it as a competition. There's room for both of us, and I wish them well."
  • (02/20/2012): Seth MacFarlane, creator of Family Guy and American Dad, announces that Family Guy will end after the next season to free himself for pursuing other creative ventures, particularly in film. His film debut, Ted, is set for release on June 29.
  • (02/22/2012): Messenger, the final part of the trilogy started with The Giver, is released. Like with The Giver and Gathering Blue, the film attracts mixed reviews and a modest profit.
  • (02/24/2012): Cobain is briefly interviewed by the website Ultimate Classic Rock about the decision to wrap up the tour and do six different residency shows in the last four months of the year instead of a full tour. "After having a surgery like I did, for polyps, it definitely made me and the rest of the band think that things have to change somewhat. I have to learn to push myself differently, so that I don't blow out my voice and lose it. I'm 45 now, that's a very different time than I was 10, 15 or 20 years ago. Everybody gets older, and they have to deal with their limitations in different ways. Back in the mid '90s, we started using in-ear tech to be able to perform better with less strain and minimize the risks of hearing damage, like a lot of older artists, but we still kept up the same punishing schedules. We're getting to the point we have to start doing things smarter and shorter, which will let us move our careers much longer. So while tours are definitely still in our future after these residencies, we have to plot them differently. More off days, shorter legs, changing the pacing of the shows themselves, things of that nature. I think our fans will certainly understand and agree that this is an important evolutionary step for us."
  • (02/29/2012): Cobain and Theron attend the premiere of Sailor Moon at Mann's Chinese Theatre, where it receives several standing ovations by the crowd, including a number of anime cosplayers. The decision was made to hold the premiere less than a month early before finalizing of Jackson's adoption as well as preparing to head to Namibia for the Fury Road shoot. Cobain and the family will join Theron for a good portion of the shoot, at least in Namibia, though it's not clear if they will follow her and the rest of the production when it heads to Australia to finish filming. Among the other notable aspects of the production, besides the cast and Miller taking back the director's reins, is the choice of cinematographer, John Seale, who came out of retirement to take part of this. It is his first time working with digital cameras, namely the Arri Alexa, which is one of the latest steps in digital filming. Seale also contains some further upgraded models, the Arri Alexa Plus. There is also the fact that the vehicle design is a striking exercise of maximalism, in creating bigger, better, more menacing behemoths to race through the deserts, including one in which a character plays screaming loud guitars through a stack of amplifiers and PAs, which Miller states is a callback to cavalry charges of old.
  • (03/02/2012): It is announced that for the soundtrack for the adaptation of Inuyasha that 2 singles will be included in the soundtrack for the film. The first single is "Faule dr Roane" from Kansas and the often forgotten Celine Dion song "Then You Look At Me."
  • (03/05/2012): NBC officially orders a 13 episode season of Hannibal.
  • (03/09/2012): As it becomes clear that Mitt Romney is all but certain to win the Republican nomination, President Obama proceeds on whistle stop campaign rallies, a mixture of his usual inspiring oratory and brandishing his administration's accomplishments, particularly in terms of social equality, economic reform, healthcare, and the prosecution of the War on Terror. All throughout, his support has been quite solid throughout, with commanding leads against all prospective Republican nominees. Vice President Biden is also keen to burnish his running mate's work. Meanwhile, Romney puts entreaties to Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin to be his running mate.
  • (03/12/2012): Principal photography of Cloud Atlas and Lincoln is judged complete, while production for Les Miserables and Django Unchained is in different stages of progress, and Springbok's 2013 offerings are soon to begin work. Marketing for The Dark Knight Rises ratchets up for its July 20 release.
  • (03/14/2012): Springbok looks over the final cut of an animation project it has a co-production credit with but didn't announce; a cut of Aardman's upcoming film The Pirates! In an Adventure With Scientists, due to be released in the UK in two weeks, and in the US on April 27. Springbok was eager to join the company behind Wallace and Gromit and Chicken Run for a project that fit the same vein; they have also been talking with Aardman about making a film on their latest cartoon series, Shaun the Sheep.
  • (03/20/2012): Sailor Moon is released to impressive box office and reviews, praising the film for the talents of the Asian-American actresses playing the Sailor Scouts, a whip-smart script that captures the spirit of the original series and serves the characters well, and Kim Basinger's turn as Queen Beryl. As such, people are quite excited for the release of part two, confirmed to be entitled Sailor Moon: Crystal Heart, next year.
  • (03/22/2012): Springbok confirms that it is producing the next film of South African director Neill Blomkamp, known for the movie District 9 and brought to the mainstream thanks to that film being produced by Peter Jackson. Theron in particular has been looking to help South African talent further break into Hollywood, and Blomkamp, as well as the last film's main star, Sharlto Copley, had definitely popped up on their radar.
  • (03/25/2012): Filming of the modern Tokyo scenes in Inuyasha is complete and the production begins the move to Australia and New Zealand for the feudal era scenes.
  • (03/27/2012): Errol Morris' book about the Jeffrey MacDonald case, A Wilderness of Error, is published. In addition to Fatal Vision, this book is being used as a main source for Springbok's television movie about the case set to premiere next year.
  • (03/30/2012): Warners announces full casting for Man of Steel. Besides the confirmations of Henry Cavill and Russell Crowe, the movie will also feature Amy Adams as Lois Lane, Patrick Fugit (best known for the role of William Miller in Cameron Crowe's Almost Famous) as Jimmy Olsen, Kevin Costner as Jonathan Kent, Diane Lane as Martha Kent, Laurence Fishburne as Perry White and Eric Bana as General Zod.
  • (04/03/2012): The revival of Tommy does well for its limited engagement on Broadway. At the run, original director Des McAnuff states that he hopes to do a full update of the show down the line, "to make it more in line with today's audiences, and sharpen the script some more. I know there a lot of things that fans of the album and the '75 film don't like about our version, elements that Pete wrote back in 1992/93, when he was going through a lot of turmoil in his life and spreading himself a bit thin. Maybe, with Springbok's help, we can make a bigger, better show in the future."
  • (04/06/2012): Nirvana begins conceptual work on their series of residencies for the end of the year, in terms of planning the setlist, the set design, and potential multimedia aspects.
  • (04/13/2012): Ghost Brothers of Darkland County premieres at the Alliance Theatre to rave reviews by the Atlanta critics, but mixed to negative reception by the out-of-towners. John Mellencamp's songs, establishing the musical as a folk, roots rocks, Americana piece with arrangements and production by T Bone Burnett, are universally praised, but Stephen King's book is considered quite reductive and "an acclaimed author simply working on autopilot." However, sales of the concept album by Exploitation Records and produced by Burnett, having the songs performed by the likes of Elvis Costello, Roseanne Cash, Sheryl Crow and Kris Kristofferson, and dialogue and moments of story read out by Kristofferson, Matthew McConaughey, Samantha Mathis and others, are quite strong, especially the deluxe version which comes with a book containing the full libretto. Springbok also realizes that the show doesn't have strong enough legs to move on to Broadway, or even to full-fledged regional productions, but does arrange for a concert video recording to be made and sold. Meanwhile, Newsies and Blazing Saddles are quickly finding a home on the Great White Way, and both are emerging as strong Tony contenders as well. Furthermore, Springbok stays in touch with King to take on financing of adaptations of his latest works. his 2009 novel Under the Dome as a TV series, his 2011 book 11/22/63, in which a man seeks to prevent the assassination of John F. Kennedy, as either a movie or TV series, and is also keeping tabs on his next planned book, a sequel to The Shining entitled Doctor Sleep.
  • (04/17/2012): Springbok officially gets Paul Greengrass' Memphis slotted for a Christmas 2013 release, for him to start directing as soon as work is finished on Captain Phillips, slated for Halloween of that year. The plot will focus specifically on the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the manhunt for James Earl Ray, and is slotted to have a fairly small budget not exceeding $40 million, and this a fairly short shooting schedule of no more than six weeks. Springbok convinces DreamWorks to include it in the 2013 slate, which means distribution by Disney, except in Australia and New Zealand, where Icon Film Distribution will do so. In addition, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon's production company, Pearl Street Films, also agrees to help produce the film.
  • (04/20/2012): Disney and Springbok officially announce that a reimagining of Sleeping Beauty from Malfeficent's point of view is certainly in the works, and that Angelina Jolie has been signed to the role. The film is expected to be released sometime in 2014.
  • (04/22/2012): Final casting for The Wolf of Wall Street is announced. Besides Leonardo DiCaprio, the film will feature the likes of Jonah Hill, budding Australian actress Margot Robbie, Matthew McConaughey, and supporting parts for actors-turned-directors Rob Reiner and Jon Favreau.
  • (04/25/2012): Nirvana receives an offer to perform at Bonnaroo, which is certainly an offer worth a considerable sum, and also help the band keep themselves warmed up prior to the residencies. They mull it over.
  • (04/28/2012): The band accepts the offer to headline the festival, which would also be done right before the Fury Road shoot begins in Namibia.
  • (05/01/2012): Warren Spector and Springbok's video games division looks over the alpha build of Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two, and is quite pleased with the work. Everything looks quite impressive enough for a planned late November release.
  • (05/04/2012): Test screenings for The Dark Knight Rises begin in earnest, and Cloud Atlas and Les Miserables are officially locked down. Meanwhile, The Avengers is released to phenomenal reviews and box office, breaking $1 billion.
  • (05/06/2012): Springbok's Hannibal series officially moves to nail down the story bible, regarding how it will tell its story. The decision is two or three seasons of original material, set before Red Dragon, followed a season to tell that story, one for The Silence of the Lambs, one for a drastically revamped version of the novel and film Hannibal, then a final season to resolve all loose ends. Meanwhile, Hugh Dancy is landed for the role of FBI agent Will Graham, while Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen will play the titular character.
  • (05/08/2012): Final cuts of Hussein and Django Unchained are locked down.
  • (05/10/2012): Filming begins on 12 Years a Slave and The Wolf of Wall Street.
  • (05/12/2012): Mitt Romney is officially stated to be the Republican nominee for President, and Paul Ryan his running mate, and preparations for the 2012 Republican National Convention are underway.
  • (05/15/2012): From an MTV interview of Cobain:

[QUOTE=]

Q: So, what exactly is your particular role in the organization and hierarchy of Springbok?

A: Well, Charlize and I are referred to everyone, especially Jennifer, as the creative heart and soul of the company. We both have offices at headquarters. I personally don't go there often, I've got lots of other things to do. In a lot of ways, the company runs itself, especially in how administration is done, money flowing in and out, making contracts and scheduling. But we get reports of everything that is being done, do a lot of emails and videoconferencing to discuss things. I guess you could say that we're a big part of what script ideas get approved, and we also check over things before they're officially approved. And with Exploitation Records, I get reports on how every artist's album is doing, the promotion for product, and I even tend to personally suggest certain artists that get signed. Not every time, because I personally wouldn't have suggested Skid Row to the label, as hair metal has never been my thing. But, basically, a lot of people get signed, everyone gets treated equally, and even if I don't like someone's career choices or music, I've actually been on good terms with a lot of the acts.

Q: Is that a fact? Tell me more about that.

A: Regarding Skid Row, I'm definitely on great terms with Bas (frontman Sebastian Bach), he's a great guy, real down to earth, and he's certainly talented. I mean, I can't scream the way he does. I also saw him when he did Jekyll & Hyde on Broadway back when, or the tour of Jesus Christ Superstar, and I thought he was fantastic, even if, in the former's case, the material wasn't really good. As for the rest of the band, I've talked sometimes to Snake (guitarist Dave "The Snake" Sabo) and Rachel (bassist Rachel Bolan), but I don't really know them that well, and they don't go out of their way to seek me out. They're very intense guys, and they do all the heavy lifting with the songs, it's like they're always in writing mode, even if they're not actually writing. Of course, I never could've written something like "18 And Life", "Youth Gone Wild" or "I Remember You."

Q: Hair metal may not be your thing, hence why Skid Row is the only such act on the label, but what kind of relationships, if any, do you have with other acts in the genre, that you haven't signed?

A: I've run into David Coverdale here and there, and he's a real friendly guy. I'm not a Whitesnake fan by any means, but I have to admire that he wears what he does on his sleeve, doesn't try to pretend he's something that he's not. Jani Lane and the guys from Warrant are real nice, and even asked me to jam a few times. So far, that hasn't happened, but you know... When Robbin Crosby (co-guitarist of Ratt) died, I went to the funeral, just because a lot of people went to pay respects, just about everyone from the '80s Sunset Strip scene. Twisted Sister would be the band from the scene I actually do like, and Dee Snider's a great friend of mine, he's real sharp and he gives advice here and there. Bret Michaels, I personally can't stand him, he's a definite sign of vacuity and an attention whore, but I do wonder what the other guys in Poison must be dealing with. Motley Crue is an interesting case. Again, not a fan of them, but I'm good friends with Nikki Sixx, mainly because of how much effort he has taken to grow and be a better man. I didn't pick up The Dirt more than a few times, but I've constantly re-read The Heroin Diaries. It actually made me grateful that when the temptation I had to go on that road decades ago was real prevalent, and I almost chose it, I ended up not doing so. I easily could have ended up like Nikki, even with stomach pains to use as my reason. He's grown from a boy to a man, and I appreciate how much more to him there is. Mick Mars is fascinating, but I can't really get close to him, Vince Neil is just a blowhard and real lazy guy who's really abusing his body too much, but Tommy Lee? Tommy's the worst. He's a spoiled brat who always throws tantrums, ruins his own happiness, and blames everybody but himself for it. I mean, he never put in the effort to really be a husband and father, and I know that his and Pamela's sons really resent him for that. OK, I get it, it sucks that she left you for someone like Kid Rock (even though that relationship also didn't last), but you don't have to take it out on everyone and just bitch and moan all the time. And anytime he ever made steps to get better, he just backslid hard because he threw himself back into the Crue, feeling it has to be the band above all else. I can't understand that mentality.

Q: What is your relationship like with Axl Rose and other members of Guns N' Roses?

A: It's quite fine. Axl and I don't talk much, but we do send Christmas cards every year. I'm glad we settled our differences long ago, and I understand him better than I did back in the Use Your Illusion/Nevermind days, and he does likewise with me. Back when we did the '97 co-headlining tour, it was real fun, and that live album still holds up, I say. But while I'm distant but amiable with Axl, and I've had some nice moments with Izzy Stradlin, Gilby Clarke, Matt Sorum and Dizzy Reed, my real big relationships are with Slash and Duff McKagan. They're the definite heart and soul of Guns. Both of them are real no-bullshit, meat-and-potatoes rock and roll guys who just want to get out and play, rather than present an image. And I'll admit this, compared to Slash, I'm nothing in terms of being an icon. The curly hair, dark shades, the big top hat, that's iconic right there, and me...what am I, really?

Q: What do you feel about how your peers like Alice in Chains and Soundgarden have done, especially during their time on Exploitation Records?

A: Alice are a definite class into themselves, and always have been. Layne and Jerry just have a real connection that's soulful, I think they're basically brothers. I also think that ever since William DuVall was added as a fifth member for additional vocals and rhythm guitar, the band has definitely knocked things up considerably. When they did Black Gives Way to Blue, I called them and said, "this is your best album yet." I've also been listening to the work they're doing on their next album, and I know it'll be another knock out of the park. Of course, Soundgarden are definitely iconic, since they are one of the original acts of the scene. Chris has really come into his own and has gotten much better as a writer, and I can tell he puts his heart into it all. I'm lucky to be so close.

Q: What other acts on your label are you close to, besides your fellow grunge peers?

A: Sammy Hagar is an interesting case, as we move both his solo material and the work he does with Chickenfoot. He's a hard rock Jimmy Buffett and proud of it, and he's definitely a real nice guy, but he has a real irrational hatred and vendetta against Van Halen, and he also continues to constantly lie and rewrite history about his tenure there. He's a passive-aggressive manipulator in that situation, and I can't stand the potshots he takes at Eddie, calling him and Alex the worst people on the face of the earth. After all, I've gotten to know Eddie better, and I get where his head's at, and how he and Alex, if anything, have a problem with tact and they tend to be too bluntly honest about things, not factoring sensitivity. Thankfully, most of the time, Sammy will talk about anything other than Eddie and Alex, so most of the time we're on great standing. I personally pushed for Sleater-Kinney to be signed, because I definitely wanted more girl power in our roster, same reason we recently signed Evanescence and a solo deal for Amy Lee, because their contract with Wind-Up Records had expired. I love the AOR groups that we signed, and I've actually spent some real good time with Steve Perry and Neal Schon in particular; Aerosmith is always a blast, and Steven Tyler's quite the host, you gotta be there to really know what I'm talking about. Dolly Parton is a class act, she just exudes positivity and compassion, and her talent has definitely not left her. Elton John is a real close friend, especially since we've worked with him creatively, and I admire his brutal honesty about himself. And I'd also really say that having Wilson Phillips on the roster is an amazing feat for us, because there's something about them you can't put into words, other than those are lovely songs.

[/QUOTE]

  • (05/19/2012): Filming of Fede Alvarez's reimagining of Evil Dead begins filming in New Zealand, which is meant to be more of a serious, ultra-gory rendition, compared to the camp fun of the original series. The script, by Alvarez and his friend Rodo Sayagues (and features script doctoring by Diablo Cody to smooth over their somewhat stilted command of English) also calls for a great reliance on practical effects, and 70 shooting days, all at night.
  • (05/20/2012): Pickup shots for Sailor Moon: Crystal Heart are made to further strengthen the material for next year's release.
  • (05/24/2012): Springbok heads get a look at the current builds of BioShock Infinite and Deus Ex: Human Revolution, and are impressed with progress so far. Both games are expected to be big sellers next year.
  • (05/27/2012): Details are finalized regarding Paul Greengrass' Memphis. The film, which is planned for a Christmas 2013 release, will be distributed as part of the Disney/DreamWorks deal. Besides Reliance Entertainment, Participant Media and Springbok, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon's production company, Pearl Street Films, affirms its previously announced intention to co-produce the film, and Lakeshore Entertainment has also been roped in for the project, in exchange for helping Greengrass on yet another, non-Springbok project, Johnny Depp and Disney's Paul Revere biopic, Midnight Ride, currently planned for the spring of 2014, and for Greengrass to begin filming soon after wrapping Memphis, then to follow with diving right into another Springbok film. "I guess I'm not going to sleep much for the next few years," Greengrass jovially replies to the press. David Oyelowo, also playing the role of Dr. King in the upcoming film Selma, will reprise the role in this film, while James Earl Ray will be portrayed by Damon, who will soon report to the film after finishing his scenes in Neill Blomkamp's Elysium.
  • (05/31/2012): Exploitation Records attempts negotiations to take over the catalog of Elvis Presley from RCA Records/Sony Music, starting by talking to the Estate, and Priscilla and Lisa Marie Presley directly by saying that they would be better suited artistically to keep the King's legacy alive with new packages, documentaries, movie and concert re-releases, and book publishing, including work sanctioned by the Estate. Priscilla and Lisa Marie are noncommittal, but know this is a serious bid, though they warn that Sony will fight tooth and nail to keep the catalog in their court.
  • (06/02/2012): In the midst of getting Michael Kunze's musical Rebecca ready for a US production, starting with a Chicago tryout in 2013, and an eventual Broadway run, Springbok discovers that several minority investors are fictitious and created solely so one investor can pocket money for himself and divert it from the production. Springbok announces a cleaning of house and that in place of these investors, that Bob Boyett, USA Ostar Theatricals, East of Doheny, Lawrence Horowitz and Barry and Fran Weissler will pick up the slack, in addition to themselves, Andrew Braunsberg, Ben Sprecher/Louise Forlenza of Global Broadway Productions and Norton Herrick of Herrick Entertainment.
  • (06/04/2012): Pickup shots for Sailor Moon: Crystal Heart are complete, and postproduction officially begins.
  • (06/07/2012): Exploitation Records reaches a co-release deal with UMG's Republic Records for the soundtrack album of Springbok's adaptation of Les Miserables, now officially complete and beginning the marketing phase.
  • (06/09/2012): Sony announces their intent to fight over the Presley recorded catalog, but announce a potential consolation prize: the recorded output of Jimi Hendrix, which they have managed for more than a decade after Experience Hendrix, the family-owned company representing the estate, had their original deal with MCA/UMG collapse. Exploitation Records ponders whether to press on the fight for Elvis, or snap up Hendrix's work without blood.
  • (06/11/2012): Nirvana headlines the first day of Bonnaroo, then Cobain flies off with Theron to report to Namibia for the Fury Road shoot.
  • (06/14/2012): Exploitation Records drops its bid for the Elvis Presley catalog and chooses to obtain the Hendrix recorded estate instead for a surprisingly low sum of $600 million. The label moves to officially structure a new deal with Experience Hendrix regarding releases and royalties, as well as moving to restrict the power of Janie Hendrix, the late guitarist's half-sister, due to concerns raised by other family members and longtime fans regarding her role in isolating off power, potential intrinsic fraud regarding Al Hendrix's will after his death in 2002, and regarding what material is chosen for release or re-release at arbitrary moments.
  • (06/19/2012): Progress reports for Oz the Great and Powerful and Saving Mr. Banks are going quite swimmingly, suggesting that these films have real heat to them as well. Meanwhile, Denver and Delilah Animation moves to build a special anniversary celebration for Schoolhouse Rock!, which it signed up to help continue in 2002, and have had irregular releases since then, as well as a massive rerun campaign of the past works for the last decade.
  • (06/23/2012): BoJack Horseman officially lands Will Arnett, best known as GOB Bluth in Arrested Development, as the titular character, with Breaking Bad's Aaron Paul as a supporting character. Casting for the rest of the ensemble is still trying to be worked out.
  • (06/27/2012): Cobain and Theron officially upload pictures of themselves, with the latter in character, on the set of Fury Road, to social media. One notable picture stands out, in which Tom Hardy is in the distance, glowering and looking quite unfriendly.
  • (07/01/2012): Springbok concludes satisfactory negotiations with MGM regarding certain rights issues over character names for Hannibal. They manage to secure the rights to use Benjamin Raspail, Jame Gumb/Buffalo Bill and Barney Fife, to be allowed to use in the series.
  • (07/05/2012): Hussein opens to rave reviews, especially praising Johnny Depp's performance, and considerable box office for a film released by Fox Searchlight Pictures.
  • (07/08/2012): While prepping for the opening of The Dark Knight Rises on July 20, Christopher Nolan, Springbok and Warner Bros. officially finalize plans for two new projects together. First off is a planned sci-fi script entitled Interstellar, about a crew of astronauts that travel into a wormhole to search for a new home for humanity, which is slated to be released in 2014; Warners will handle international releasing while Paramount picks up North America. The next project is a retelling of the story of the mass suicide at Jonestown, which is slated for 2015, and will be handled by New Line Cinema. Both projects already have completed scripts by Nolan and his brother Jonathan. Casting and preproduction prospects begin in earnest.
  • (07/12/2012): The Freeh report into the scandals at Penn State and Michigan State is released to the public. In its pages, the report produces damning evidence of a failure to warn or protect children, where the figures at the top did not fulfill their moral obligations to investigate the charges to the fullest extent possible or to protect families from being victimized. It especially states in the case of Penn State, a culture of worship around the football program had blinded everyone to the full picture. Both schools are admonished to put their houses in order and undertake serious and far-reaching ethical reforms. This report is discussed quite seriously by the NCAA, regarding how to sanction the colleges for the scandals.
  • (07/15/2012): Nirvana announces plans to do some kind of benefit concert for the victims of Nassar and Sandusky, to be squeezed alongside their residency shows.
  • (07/20/2012): The Dark Knight Rises opens to great fanfare, reviews and box office. However, the first night is marred when James Eagan Holmes, kitted out with bullet resistant gear, storms an audience attending a midnight screening of the film at the Century 16 movieplex in Aurora, Colorado, throwing tear gas grenades, then opening fire with a 12-gauge Remington 870 Express Tactical shotgun, a Smith & Wesson M&P15 semi-automatic rifle containing a 100-round drum magazine, and a .40 caliber Glock 22 handgun. Twelve people are killed and 70 injured in the attack. Authorities manage to arrest Holmes without resistance.
  • (07/21/2012): The following is a series of public statements from the team behind the film in response to the massacre:

Christopher Nolan: "Speaking on behalf of the cast and crew of The Dark Knight Rises, I would like to express our profound sorrow at the senseless tragedy that has befallen the entire Aurora community. I would not presume to know anything about the victims of the shooting, but that they were there last night to watch a movie. I believe movies are one of the great American art forms and the shared experience of watching a story unfold on screen is an important and joyful pastime. The movie theatre is my home, and the idea that someone would violate that innocent and hopeful place in such an unbearably savage way is devastating to me. Nothing any of us can say could ever adequately express our feelings for the innocent victims of this appalling crime, but our thoughts are with them and their families."

Kurt Cobain: "My heart is sick over the fact that such an appalling and profoundly disturbing act of violence could occur in one of the most wholesome and pure places left in the world, the movie theatre. It's a place where friends and family can forget about the troubles of the real world and escape in the art of a great story. I cannot express enough the grief that I and my family feel over this."

Charlize Theron: "Nothing is more sacred to me than the idea that watching a movie should be a joyful event, where all the hassles and pressures of ordinary life vanish, and for a brief moment, everything is right in the world. Going for a night out with your family and your friends is an incredible experience, and the idea that such a cowardly and despicable individual chose to use that to their advantage and make it a war zone is beyond horrifying. My thoughts are with you all, as I keep my own family close to me at this time."

Springbok: "We at Springbok Productions are devastated that such a horrific act could take place, and we would be feeling exactly the same if it was at a screening for a film we were not involved in. Humanity is sacred to us, and to know that so many people died needlessly before their time is truly despicable. As of this moment, all of our proceeds from the film will go to benefit the families of the victims in Aurora, as this is the truly the least we can do to help the community heal."

  • (07/22/2012): Cobain leaves Namibia a few weeks early to join his bandmates and Christian Bale to personally visit victims in private and help console them. Theron chips in to help over videoconference from the set, and moving to complete the Namibia shoot before moving to Australia. Meanwhile, Warners cancels planned international debut galas in France, Mexico and Japan, scales back its marketing push in Scandinavia, cancels certain television advertisements, withholding early box office numbers, and pushing a significant donation to Colorado's Community First Foundation to help benefit the victims.
  • (07/23/2012): From USA Today:

[QUOTE=]

"NCAA hands out severe punishment for Penn State and Michigan State," by Eric Prisbell

Chastising Penn State for "hero worship" and it and Michigan State for a warped athletic culture, NCAA President Mark Emmert issued a landmark ruling Monday morning, levying unprecedented penalties against the Penn State football program and Michigan State wrestling program that will cripple its ability to remain competitive on the field for years.

Penn State coach Joe Paterno was fired in November following revelations of sexual abuse by former assistant Jerry Sandusky. Michigan State sports doctor and US Olympics gymnastics coach Larry Nassar was arrested around the same time for possession of child pornography on his hard drives and violating wrestling athletes for years

Emmert handed the Penn State football program and Michigan State gymnastics program a five-year death penalty, meaning that neither team can compete in any kind of football or gymnatics match for that period. Emmert also banned Penn State from bowl games for an additional four years, imposed massive scholarship reductions on both schools (a total of 75 initial scholarships lost over four years) and fined them a combined $105 million.

Emmert also vacated all of Penn State's victories from 1998 through 2011, meaning former coach Joe Paterno loses 111 wins from what had been a total of 409 victories, the most all time in major college football.

The NCAA, which also placed Penn State and Michigan State on five years' probation, is reserving the right to investigate and punish individuals implicated in child sex-abuse cases until after criminal proceedings.

"This is an unprecedented, painful chapter in the history of intercollegiate athletics," Emmert said during a news conference at NCAA headquarters in Indianapolis.

The ruling was precedent-setting because Emmert bypassed usual investigative protocol and instead turned to the NCAA executive committee and Division I Board of Directors for the authority to punish Penn State and Michigan State because senior leaders concealed information for years that could have stopped former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky from sexually abusing children, as well as an apparent complete lack of even the most remote going through the motions to keep tabs on Nassar and his coaching methods. Emmert's actions were swift and decisive, and the boards unanimously supported the sanctions.

It was also groundbreaking because of the severity of the penalties. While Jenison Fieldhouse, where the gymnastics team for Michigan State is located, still has plenty of athletic activities even after the basketball team moved to the Breslin Center, Beaver Stadium will have no tenant until the Nittany Lions are allowed to compete again.

In the end, Emmert said he sought sanctions that would not only punish but force Penn State and Michigan State to begin to "rebuild their athletic culture." Emmert sought to minimize the damages to innocent individuals.

"We hope we would never, ever see anything of this magnitude or egregiousness again in our lives," Emmert said. "But we do have to make sure that the cautionary tale of athletics overwhelming core values of the institution and losing sight of why we are really participating in these activities can occur. That's the balance that every university needs to strive for."

In circumventing the traditional investigation process, Emmert relied on the conclusions of the nearly 500-page report by former FBI director Louis Freeh. Emmert said the report, which drew upon more than 6 million documents, was more comprehensive than any investigation the NCAA ever could have conducted.

The NCAA informed Penn State and Michigan State of the penalties it would impose. The universities agreed with the sanctions and will not appeal.

"The NCAA ruling holds the university accountable for the failure of those in power to protect children and insist that all areas of the university community are held to the same high standards of honesty and integrity," Penn State President Rodney Erickson said in a statement. Michigan State President Lou Anna Simon said much the same in her statement.

Regarding the $60 million fine, Erickson said Penn State will pay $12 million a year for the next five years into a special endowment created to fund programs for the detection, prevention and treatment of child abuse. Michigan State will pay out their $45 million fine in $9 million installments over the five-year period.

Because Penn State will be ineligible for bowl games — or the Big Ten title game — for the next decade, it will not be eligible to receive its share of the conference's bowl revenues. Estimated to be $13 million, the money will be donated to establish charitable organizations in the Big Ten communities dedicated to the protection of children.

The NCAA will also permit current or incoming Penn State football players to transfer without sitting out a season, which is likely to further impede the on-field rebuilding process for first-year coach Bill O'Brien.

Said O'Brien in a statement: "Today we receive a very harsh penalty from the NCAA and as Head Coach of the Nittany Lions football program, I will do everything in my power to not only comply, but help guide the University forward to become a national leader in ethics, compliance and operational excellence. I knew when I accepted the position that there would be tough times ahead. But I am committed for the long term to Penn State and our student athletes."

O'Brien agreed to a five-year deal in January. According to the version of his contract available on the school website, he can't terminate the contract because of sanctions against the program without giving the school a sizable buyout payment. His base salary this season is $950,000.

Some former NCAA investigators and infractions committee chairmen said it was rare, if not unprecedented, for the association to address the Penn State case because it involved a cover-up of criminal activity rather than a violation of traditional NCAA bylaws, and that the Michigan State case revealed a basic failure to implement rudimentary guardrails. Emmert said circumventing the infractions committee was no reflection on the committee or the NCAA's enforcement process.

"These are extraordinary circumstances," said Ed Ray, the chairman of the executive committee who also spoke at the news conference. "The executive committee has the authority to act on behalf of the entire association in extraordinary circumstances. And we have chosen to exercise that authority …

"The cautionary tale is that every major college or university needs to do a gut-check and ask where are we on the appropriate balance between culture and athletics and the broader culture of the university and make certain they got balance right and, if not, they take corrective action."

Said Tom Yeager, commissioner of the Colonial Athletic Association and a former chair of the NCAA Committee on Infractions: "It's a new day. What you are going to see is, this action will be subject to question going forward. Anytime there will be something not necessarily a strict NCAA infractions case, all those areas out there, the first question will be whether that falls under that category or not."

The scholarship cuts essentially bump Penn State to the scholarship levels of schools in the Football Championship Subdivision.

The school will be forced to vacate all wins from 1998-2011, a total of 112, and serve five years of probation.

Paterno was fired in November during the scandal after 409 wins at the school. That total is now officially 298. One victory last season came under interim coach Tom Bradley.

Florida State's Bobby Bowden, who had 12 wins vacated because of NCAA violations, is now the major college leader with 377 victories. Grambling's Eddie Robinson becomes the Division I leader with 408 wins in 57 seasons, ending in 1997.

The Penn State team gathered to watch the NCAA announcement in the Lasch Building. Afterward, players left the football offices without comment to news media assembled there.

The NCAA has imposed the so-called death penalty, which essentially shuts down a program for a specified period, on a major college football team just once. And it has taken Southern Methodist more than two decades to recover after it was shut down in the late 1980s following a scandal that involved, among other violations, widespread booster payments to players.

But with Penn State's case, the NCAA confronted a scandal unlike any the association had ever seen. The wrongdoing, while egregious, did not reflect traditional violations of NCAA bylaws. And no obvious competitive advantage was gained by the cover-up of criminal activity.

Paterno's two national titles remain, but his statue is gone, his reputation is irreparably scarred and the program he built during a 61-year career, 46 as head coach, is left to deal with harsh NCAA sanctions and the pending rulings of ongoing investigations.

With the NCAA verdict handed down, Penn State and Michigan State still could face further punitive measures. The Department of Justice and U.S. Department of Education are conducting investigations into the schools' actions in relation to the scandal.

[/QUOTE]

  • (07/25/2012): Nirvana announces a benefit show at the Pepsi Center in Denver for the Aurora victims to be held on August 1, along with a show at the Breslin Center at Michigan State on August 4, and a show at Beaver Stadium on August 6, to benefit the victims of Nassar and Sandusky, as well as warm up for the residency shows beginning in September.
  • (07/28/2012): Taking in the constant flow of money in and out, and the healthy growth since going public, Springbok begins to mull beginning a venture capitalism business to help fund promising entrepreneurs, music events and gatherings dedicated to social activism.
  • (07/30/2012): As part of helping seize the high ground and shore up support, President Obama signs into law a bill to establish a national high speed rail system for America, as well as electric buses and newer, environmentally friendly furnaces and more stringent fuel emissions standards for SUVs/light trucks. He also advocates a proposal to create "carbon neutral" and "carbon absorption" tech and foliage that can pull emissions out of the air, as well as create a type of light shield of satellites reflect back sunlight and lower the strength of sunlight-driven greenhouse gas conversion.
  • (08/01/2012): The Denver benefit concert is a massive success, as over $350,000 are raised on behalf of the Aurora victims.
  • (08/03/2012): The Fury Road shoot moves to Australia to finish.
  • (08/05/2012): 20th Century Fox announces that James Mangold, director of Walk the Line and key producer for the X-Men franchise since the maligned third film, will officially take over as key director in the series, starting with his currently in progress standalone film The Wolverine. Fox is also deciding to give the green light to two main series followups, a direct sequel to Matthew Vaughn's First Class, and a film tackling the famous Days of Future Past comic arc. Mangold will direct both films, and they will both be filmed simultaneously. Meanwhile, after the massive, billion-dollar success of The Avengers, Disney has put its marketing swing behind Black Widow 2, due for release on November 7, as well as hype expectations and progress for Iron Man 3 in May and Thor: The Dark World the following fall.
  • (08/08/2012): Nirvana takes over Warner Burbank Studios for rehearsals for the residency shows.
  • (08/11/2012): Casting offers begin to make the rounds for both Interstellar and Jonestown. For the former, serious entreaties are made to Matthew McConaughey for the lead role, afer filming his brief supporting role in The Wolf of Wall Street and after finishing his latest lead role project, Dallas Buyers Club, along with offers of roles to Anne Hathaway, Michael Caine, Jessica Chastain, Ellen Burstyn, David Oyelowo, Topher Grace, Casey Affleck and John Lithgow, among others. In the case of the latter, Johnny Depp is offered the role of Jim Jones, to begin work after doing Midnight Ride and also lands the lead role in another Springbok project slated for 2015, Black Mass, about the rise to power of Boston gangster James "Whitey" Bulger and his shield of protection by the FBI, though planning for that one is still coming together. Tom Cruise is also in talks to join Jonestown as reporter Tim Reiterman, who also wrote the bestselling book Raven, one of the many sources Nolan is using for the film.
  • (08/13/2012): Warners also signs on to release Black Mass and have it out in 2015, as scheduling to ensure Depp can work on it and Jonestown to be released in the same year can work out. For Depp to prep for the role and the rest of the cast and crew to become familiar, a variety of sources shall be used, including Raven, the actual video and audio recordings of the People's Temple and Jonestown (including the infamous suicide tape), the 1981 television miniseries Guyana Tragedy, and a 2007 History Channel docudrama, Jonestown: Paradise Lost. Meanwhile, casting is already coming together for the rest of the roles, with Allison Janney as Jones' wife Marceline; Powers Boothe, who played Jones in Guyana Tragedy, taking on the role of Congressman Leo Ryan; Jonathan Tucker, who starred in Sofia Coppola's The Virgin Suicides and had a significant role in the Michael Bay-produced and much maligned remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, will be Jones' biological son Stephan; Ben Affleck is signed as NBC reporter Don Harris, who was killed during the airstrip assault; Richard Dreyfuss will portray Sherwin Harris, a man who went to Guyana to see if his daughter was happy in Jonestown, while Nicole Kidman will play his ex-wife Sharon Amos and their daughter Liane will be portrayed by Carrie Fisher's daughter, Billie Lourd; Kirsten Dunst will play Grace Stoen, an ex-member of the People's Temple who went public with her story and claimed that Jones was keeping her child hostage claiming to be the father; Michael Keaton is signed to be People's Temple legal counsel Charles Garry; Anika Noni Rose, best known as the voice of Tiana in Disney's The Princess and the Frog, will play Temple member, Monica Bagby, friend of potential defector Vernon Gosney; Armie Hammer, who played both Winklevoss twins in The Social Network will be Larry Layton, main architect of the airstrip shootout. For context regarding how active Jones and the People's Temple were in politics, especially in San Francisco, Sean Penn, Victor Garber and Josh Brolin will reprise their roles of Harvey Milk, George Moscone and Dan White, from Gus Van Sant's 2008 film Milk.
  • (08/16/2012): Icon UK officially makes a deal to buy the Producers Sales Organization library from Lionsgate. This library, founded by actor-turned-producer Mark Damon, who is now currently a Springbok executive, along with producer Sandy Howard and Guinness executive Richard St. Johns handled the foreign sales of independent films, and helped finance others from 1977 to 1986. The library includes such films as The Wanderers, A Change of Seasons, Das Boot, An American Werewolf in London, Endless Love, Cujo, The Day After, Silkwood, The Outsiders, Buckaroo Banzai, Once Upon a Time in America, The Neverending Story, Short Circuit and Flight of the Navigator.
  • (08/19/2012): Springbok officially announces their plans for a venture capitalism arm to be launched in February.
  • (08/21/2012): Springbok and Disney announce their plans to produce and release a film adaptation of Stephen Sondheim's Into the Woods, due to be released in 2014. Rob Marshall will choreograph and direct the film, while original librettist James Lapine will work on the script.
  • (08/24/2012): Johnny Depp's production company, Infinitum Nihil, as well as Pearl Street Films, officially sign on as co-producers of Jonestown and Black Mass. Pearl Street had been looking into doing the story of Whitey Bulger for themselves, but Black Mass beat them to the punch, so their work and materials are being incorporated and being given a production credit for the film as well, as well as representing Affleck's role in Jonestown. Tom Cruise's TC Productions is also added as co-producer on Jonestown. Springbok also pledges to personally pay Depp and Tom Cruise their salaries for Jonestown so Warners can be free to focus on the budget for the physical production.
  • (08/28/2012): Disney and Springbok officially lock down Oz the Great and Powerful for its release in March, and also look over the workprint version of Saving Mr. Banks, set to premiere during the 2013 holiday season. Both films look quite impressive to them, and work on revving up for Into the Woods, as well as a Sleeping Beauty retelling from the point of view of Maleficent, simply titled Maleficent, for 2014. The latter film has Angelina Jolie attached as the titular character, as well as Elle Fanning for Aurora, Sharlto Copley, who came to prominence working with Neill Blomkamp on District 9 and currently on Elysium, which Springbok and Sony will release next August, is attached as King Stephan. Disney and Springbok also have eyes on doing a live action retelling of Cinderella, to be directed by Kenneth Branagh, for 2015.
  • (09/01/2012): Principal photography on Fury Road is complete, though pickup shots may be needed in the future. Meanwhile, George Miller has to contend with the Warners brass, who had been fighting to impose their ideas for how the film should be made on him, as well as having promised him a $7 million bonus if he could complete the film under budget. Theron pledges to assist Miller if Warners decides to play hardball and renege on the agreement.
  • (09/03-12/03/2012): Nirvana begins their residency stints with the first of their six dates at Caesars Palace. Nirvana begins the first of their six dates at the Gibson Amphitheatre at Universal Studios Hollywood. Nirvana starts the first of the six dates at Madison Square Garden. While taking a break before starting the six shows at the O2 Arena, Cobain would make a guest appearance at a Mudhoney show at Wembley Arena. Nirvana's first date in London is held. Nirvana begins its six residency shows at the Budokan. Exploitation Records announces that the six sets of residency dates by Nirvana will be released in various formats and various degrees of completion, including various "best of" packages. Nirvana would perform their final residency set at ANZ Stadium from November 25th to December 3rd.
  • (09/05/2012): Principal photography on Memphis begins, with Paul Greengrass having already finished much of the editing for the final cut of Captain Phillips for its October 2013 release.
  • (09/09/2012): Adult Swim officially announces Denver and Delilah Animation's newest show for the block, Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon's Rick and Morty, due to premiere in December 2013. The show revolves around an arrogant, alcholic, nihilistic scientist, Rick Sanchez, and his misadventures with his nephew, Morty Smith, as well as the interactions they have with Morty's parents and sister. Roiland voices both of the main characters and several supporting ones, and the show also features the voices of former SNL alum and Archer cast member Chris Parnell, Sarah Chalke, who famously was "alternate Becky" on Roseanne, and Kelsey Grammer's daughter Spencer.
  • (09/11/2012): As the world commemorates the eleventh anniversary of the deadly attacks, a group of armed militia, loosely coordinated as ISIS members attack the US Embassy in Benghazi, Libya. During a deadly, 13-hour firefight between them and Navy SEALs, four American civilians, including American Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens, are confirmed dead. Republicans, especially Mitt Romney, are eager to make hay of the incident to blame President Obama and hurt his campaign.
  • (09/13/2012): Various Democratic politicians, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senators Max Cleland, Dianne Feinstein, Barbara Boxer and Al Franken, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter, give fierce rebuttals to the Republicans' attempts to smear President Obama over the Benghazi attack. Great care is taken to point out how the Republicans had moved to hamstring increasing security for America's embassies, to varying success, depending on whether any of the Blue Dog Democrats could be swayed to agree, which did happen in this particular case. President Clinton's response includes a very barbed sentence: "Need I remind my erstwhile colleagues that George W. Bush, during the campaign of 2000, refrained from using the attack on the USS Cole to club Al Gore to score political points? Or that both parties happily came together after such horrific events as the '93 World Trade Center bombing, Oklahoma City, Centennial Olympic Park, or the Embassy bombings of '98? Or the Democratic Party refrained from focusing on President Reagan as having sole responsibility for the Marines killed in Beirut in 1983?"
  • (09/18/2012): After a week of attempts to attack President Obama, the GOP's talking points are not finding much of an audience, especially among independents, and the attempts lose steam.
  • (09/22/2012): Production officially begins on The Girl Who Played with Fire/The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest. The two-part film is scheduled to be released in Christmas 2013 and Christmas 2014.
  • (09/30/2012): The first teaser for Man of Steel is released.
  • (10/03/2012): The first presidential debate at the University of Denver goes quite well for President Obama. Having expected that Romney will attempt to swing back to the moderate side, he is prepared and responds in full command of his fact and respectfully points how Romney has continually triangulated through his campaign. Romney is clearly stung by this, but keeps his resolve and slogs through the debate without disgracing himself.
  • (10/11/2012): The vice presidential debate at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, is fought to a draw, as neither Joe Biden nor Paul Ryan are able to draw blood from the other.
  • (10/15/2012): From The New York Times:

[QUOTE=]

"Middleman in Financing of Rebecca Is Arrested on Federal Fraud Charges," By William K. Rashbaum and Patrick Healy

A Long Island stockbroker defrauded the producers of the Broadway musical Rebecca with an elaborate scheme that included a fictitious loan and phantom investors who were conjured up as part of a sham plan to rescue the financially ailing show, federal authorities charged in a criminal complaint Monday.

The stockbroker, Mark C. Hotton, collected $60,000 for his efforts before his arrest early Monday by federal authorities, who described the scheme as a complex fraud that was “stranger than fiction.”

Investigators said that during the spring, as Mr. Hotton was shutting down one scheme by killing off a phony investor whose $2 million he could not produce, he began a second scheme to earn fees from the producers by helping to secure a $1.1 million loan.

When none of the money surfaced, the production was potentially on the ropes before rehearsals even began. By early June, someone blew the whistle on Mr. Hotton, and cleaning of house promptly began, but not before Mr. Hotton had collected his money — including $18,210.88 for a supposed African safari with one phantom investor, “Paul Abrams,” and the investor’s eldest son, the authorities said.

Investigators arrested Mr. Hotton before dawn at his waterfront Long Island home and charged him with two counts of wire fraud, which each carry a maximum prison term of 20 years.

“Mark Hotton perpetrated stranger-than-fiction frauds both on and off Broadway,” Preet Bharara, the United States attorney in Manhattan, said in a news release. “Hotton concocted a cast of characters to invest in a major musical — investors who turned out to be deep-pocketed phantoms. To carry out the alleged fraud, Hotton faked lives, faked companies and even staged a fake death, pretending that one imaginary investor had suddenly died from malaria.” That was Abrams.

One of Mr. Hotton’s lawyers, Evan Lipton, entered a plea of not guilty on Mr. Hotton’s behalf at the arraignment in federal court in Central Islip, N.Y. Magistrate Judge Arlene R. Lindsay ordered Mr. Hotton held without bail after an assistant United States attorney, Burton T. Ryan Jr., charged that he was a flight risk, had lied in a personal bankruptcy filing last year and had been the subject of many complaints from people who said they had lost as much as $15 million to him in other types of frauds.

The Hotton schemes, if proved, would be a rare instance of fraud derailing a big-budget Broadway musical, and the elaborate plot laid out in the criminal complaint rivals the twists in Rebecca, based on the gothic mystery novel by Daphne du Maurier. The production, written by Michael Kunze, librettist for Elisabeth and Dance of the Vampires (and like those two, had previously been a smash hit in Austria and Germany before being adapted for English-speaking audiences), was announced last year after a staged reading, to be brought to life by Springbok Productions, the multi-armed entertainment conglomerate founded by Kurt Cobain and Charlize Theron, who have an established track record in staged musicals, especially Herr Kunze’s prior works.

However, in what appears to be a shocking lapse of care, Springbok’s theatricals head, Leonard Soloway, admits that they delegated far more responsibility for checking finances than they have previously done to the other lead producers of Rebecca, Ben Sprecher and Louise Forlenza. “Maybe a certain kind of arrogance had crept into our thinking,” Mr. Soloway states. “Up to now, we’d always worked with other producers in good faith, and the money had always come in a timely manner. I also thought Ben and Louise were perfectly capable of holding down the fort without having a babysitter. Thankfully, someone raised the alarm and a routine audit exposed the truth to us. If that hadn’t happened, we probably would’ve been in a holding pattern to wait, then forced to pull the plug before rehearsals began two weeks ago.”

The production, especially Mr. Sprecher and Ms. Forlenza, faced significant financial challenges by this juncture. They had spent at least $6 million on the show from funds raised from real investors and incurred an additional $8 million in debts, according to authorities. They would be liable for the money if the production did not eventually open. Thankfully, Springbok kicked in more cash, and they also talked fellow producers Bob Boyett, Lawrence Horowitz, USA Ostar Theatricals, East of Doheny and Barry and Fran Weissler into helping make up the difference. The show is still scheduled to premiere in Chicago in February, followed by opening at the Broadhurst Theatre in April.

When they met Mr. Hotton last winter, Mr. Sprecher and Ms. Forlenza were struggling to raise several million dollars to stage the show on Broadway after already postponing it once, and that apparently the money Springbok threw into the ring after they got involved was chewed up far more quickly than anticipated. When Mr. Sprecher failed to interest veteran Broadway investors in Rebecca, Ms. Forlenza was put in touch with Mr. Hotton through a mutual business associate, and in early February she and Mr. Sprecher signed an agreement with Mr. Hotton to pay him a $7,500 fee to raise money and an 8 percent commission on any funds raised in excess of $250,000, according to the complaint.

Such commissions were once common on Broadway but are now rare, considered a sign of desperation for producers who need to raise money quickly. In a telephone interview Monday, Mr. Sprecher said he never agreed to pay a commission to Mr. Hotton — but rather a percentage of eventual profits — and added that Mr. Hotton’s total percentage was capped at 8 percent of whatever he raised. No money was paid to him out of capital from the show, Mr. Sprecher said.

The criminal complaint charged that Mr. Hotton, 46, invented Abrams, who had addresses in Australia and South Africa, and three other overseas investors and then used fake email correspondence and fake investment agreements to suggest that these investors would provide $4.5 million for Rebecca. Neither Mr. Sprecher nor Ms. Forlenza ever met the phantom investors; Ms. Forlenza did meet a young woman at a Rebecca event last spring who purported to be Abrams’s niece, and had an American accent. Furthermore, Mr. Sprecher and Ms. Forlenza neglected to inform Springbok of certain important details about the financing until the exposure in June.

In addition to the scheme involving Rebecca, the prosecutors charged Mr. Hotton with using some of the same invented investors to defraud a Connecticut real estate company of $750,000. The company was similarly relying on him to help it secure a large loan, the complaint said.

In a separate case also unveiled Monday, federal prosecutors on Long Island charged that Mr. Hotton and several accomplices, including his wife, Sherri, had secured $3.7 million by creating sham invoices for companies they controlled and selling that debt at a discount to unsuspecting companies. Speaking of the Broadway case, Mary E. Galligan, the acting assistant director in charge of the New York FBI. office, said a “convincing portrayal on stage can earn you a Tony,” but “a convincing act that fleeces a production’s backers can earn you a prison term.”

Mr. Hotton’s lawyer Gerald L. Shargel said in an email on Monday morning that he had not yet seen the charges filed in Manhattan and that he would “delay comment until I have the allegations before me.” He said in a brief telephone interview that he was aware of the Long Island case but had few details.

Ronald G. Russo, a lawyer for Mr. Sprecher, the producer, said his client was “extremely gratified” that Mr. Hotton had been taken into custody and charged. “This fraud did enormous damage to Broadway, and Ben Sprecher, along with Louise Forlenza, Springbok and the other producers, remain totally committed to bring Rebecca to New York,” Mr. Russo said.

The criminal complaint said Mr. Hotton had led the producers to believe that he would bring in the $4.5 million from four overseas investors: Abrams, of Hawthorne East, Victoria; “Roger Thomas,” of St. Peter Port, Guernsey; “Julian Spencer,” of Crocker Hill, Chichester, Sussex; and “Walter Timmons,” of London.

The investigation into how the producers were so easily taken in by the swindle came after the June exposure. While Springbok hustled to shore up the finances of the show, associates of Mr. Sprecher and Ms. Forlenza raised their concerns to The New York Times and the FBI. They especially raised questions about the existence of Mr. Abrams after his reported death.

The complaint, sworn out by Thomas W. McDonald, an FBI special agent, said Mr. Hotton gave the producers what he said were email addresses for the phantom investors and handed over investment agreements that he said the investors had signed.

The investigation found that the email addresses for the “investors” were in fact controlled by Mr. Hotton and that some of the computer network addresses used to access those email accounts were traced to a location in a Manhattan where he did business. Indeed, businesses associated with some of the email addresses had Web sites, which had domain names registered to Mr. Hotton and which he apparently created shortly before and during the fraud, the complaint said. Investigators also found that Mr. Hotton used those email addresses to manufacture correspondence between himself and the purported investors, which he then forwarded to the producers.

The Long Island indictment, brought by the office of the United States attorney in Brooklyn, Loretta E. Lynch, charged that Mr. Hotton; his wife, Sherri; his sister, Denise Labriola; and three others used electrical companies to create false invoices designed to represent money owed to them by customers and others. The indictment, filed Mr. Ryan, the assistant United States Attorney, said they then sold those “debts” for $3.7 million to companies that are in the business of advancing a portion of money owed on an account receivable in exchange for the right to collect the entire amount.

Meanwhile, the Broadway production is to be codirected by Michael Blakemore and Francesca Zambello. The musical features an original book and lyrics by Michael Kunze, music by Sylvester Levay, an English book adaptation by Christopher Hampton, and English lyrics by Hampton and Kunze. The creative team includes Graciela Daniele (musical staging), Peter J. Davidson (scenic design), Jane Greenwood (costume design), Mark McCullough (lighting design), Peter Fitzgerald (sound design), Tom Watson (hair and wig design), Gregory Meeh (special effects), Sven Ortel (projections), and Kevin Stites (musical direction and supervision).

Jill Paice and Ryan Silverman (Chicago) will lead the cast to star as "I" and Maxim de Winter, respectively. The principal company also includes Karen Mason, Howard McGillin, James Barbour, Donna English, Nick Wyman, and Henry Stram.

[/QUOTE]

  • (10/16/2012): The second presidential debate at Hofstra University in New York has President Obama quite securely walloping Romney, particularly when the latter tries to revive the Benghazi talking points to strike a blow, and deny that President Obama referred to it as an "act of terror," during which the moderator, Candy Crowley of CNN, corrects Romney. Republicans gnash their teeth in response.
  • (10/22/2012): The third presidential debate at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida, under a town hall format, is held. Once again, President Obama walks off with an incredibly effortless victory, making his reelection a virtual inevitability.
  • (10/26/2012): Cloud Atlas opens to a polarizing reception, with the film's length and editing of the different interwoven stories alternately damned and praised, especially regarding the Wachowskis' direction. The film has an incredibly dreadful opening weekend of only $9.6 million from 2000 screens, and pulls in a disappointing $130.8 million worldwide.
  • (11/06/2012): President Obama wins reelection with a total of 332 electoral votes and 5 million more popular votes.
  • (11/07/2012): Black Widow 2 opens to mostly positive reviews and a fairly robust box office, if not nearly as big as The Avengers.
  • (11/09/2012): Lincoln opens to universal praise by the critics and such overwhelming favor by the public that Disney has to release more prints to meet the demand. The movie pulls in $275.3 million, becoming the biggest success of the DreamWorks/Disney distribution deal, and especially the biggest success Springbok has had with it.
  • (11/14/2012): Theron meets with Warners brass regarding the situation with Fury Road. Warners is currently unsure about the rough cut being assembled by Miller, and cannot promise a release date, or that the film will be considered good enough as is. Meanwhile, Seth MacFarlane, working on developing his next film, a Western comedy, is looking for a female lead, and Theron is quite intrigued by the chance to do a comedic role.
  • (12/07/2012): Billionaire James Packer founds a new film production/financing company, RatPac Entertainment, intended to help finance films when needed. The idea had been floated to him in the past by Brett Ratner, prior to his exposure, but Packer still believes in the idea and feels it can work.
  • (12/11/2012): Les Miserables premieres at the Ziegfeld Theatre, prior to its Christmas Day opening. The film receives mostly positive reviews, especially for the performances of its cast, and runs off with almost $442 million. The soundtrack album sells impressively well, in addition.
  • (12/16/2012): Frances Cobain announces the release of her next album in March.
  • (12/25/2012): Django Unchained also opens on this day, to universal acclaim from the critics and also with a massive box office haul, of $425 million.

2013[]

  • (01/04/2013): Theron officially signs on to take part in MacFarlane's next film.
  • (01/07/2013): The trailer for Sailor Moon: Crystal Heart officially drops, promoting its April 5 release date.
  • (01/10/2013): Principal photography and most postproduction for Memphis is complete, and Paul Greengrass gets ready to report for Midnight Ride.
  • (01/15/2013): Frances drops the first single off her new album, a song entitled "Look to the Horizon."
  • (01/20/2013): Nirvana sends a letter for President Obama to read during ceremonies for his second inauguration.
  • (01/25/2013): Hannibal is officially set to premiere on NBC on April 4 with the first commercials.
  • (01/31/2013): Frances announces a headlining tour of general admission venues across the country.
  • (02/01/2013): House of Cards officially premieres with all 13 hours of the first season on Blockbuster Entertainment. The show is immediately launched to lavish praise and high viewer counts, vindicating Blockbuster's strategy for original series, more episodes of this series, and for the different, new series to come. Furthermore, Christian Bale, in the lead as Frank Underwood, the scheming, Machiavellian Democratic Congressman who breaks the fourth wall to address the viewer directly, states that he will have plenty of time to devote to the show, and his continued list of movie projects, such as David O. Russell's upcoming American Hustle, and receiving an offer for a role in a dramatic film by director Adam McKay, looking to branch out.
  • (02/03/2013): Springbok Ventures is officially launched to a successful reception.
  • (02/06/2013): Casting for Into the Woods is officially selected, with Anna Kendrick, Meryl Streep, James Corden, Christine Baranski, Chris Pine, Emily Blunt, Tracey Ullman, Daniel Huttlestone (who played Gavroche in Les Miserables) and Johnny Depp signed on, though the latter's role will only require a few days and one number, meaning he can easily swing in after finishing Midnight Ride and before starting work on Jonestown and Black Mass.
  • (02/10/2013): Principal photography for both parts of Inuyasha is judged complete.
  • (02/14/2013): Oz the Great and Powerful premieres at the El Capitan Theatre, which Disney owns directly. After the film opens to the public on March 8, it receives generally positive reviews and makes $493 million worldwide.
  • (02/20/2013): Filming is officially confirmed as underway on Into the Woods and Maleficent, as well as preproduction well underway for Interstellar. Furthermore, Springbok officially announces that they are reuniting with Paul Thomas Anderson for him to finally work on the second film of his nonexclusive three-picture deal, an adaptation of Thomas Pynchon's novel Inherent Vice, planned for a Christmas 2014 release.
  • (02/25/2013): Nirvana officially announces a break of at least six months to recharge everyone's batteries, and also so that Cobain can easily watch and see Frances' career ramping up.
  • (03/01-07/04/2013): Running in the Shadows releases on March 1st to high praise and high sales with the album receiving even better reviews than her previous album, Her first show in her tour. Frances holds a concert at the Hollywood Palladium, which is given a webcast. The show is well-received, and critics also point out her ability to grow into her own as a musician. During the tour Frances' mother Courtney Love, would be hospitalized after tearing a tendon during a performance. Cobain, Theron and the family moved to check in on her after being released form the hospital with no lasting damage Courtney Love would actually join Frances onstage during a show at the Paramount Theatre in Seattle, during which they tear through Hole standards such as "Violet", "Miss World", "Celebrity Skin" and "Awful." Frances Cobain would finish her North American tour with a performance at the Wheeler Opera House in Aspen, Colorado.
  • (04/04/2013): Hannibal premieres to great reception and ratings on NBC, securing its future for the time being, enough for the network to renew the series for season two.
  • (04/05/2013): Sailor Moon: Crystal Heart opens reviews even better than its predecessor, as well as bigger box office. This bodes well for the Disney/DreamWorks deal as well as anticipation for Inuyasha.
  • (04/08/2013): The Cinderella remake lands Simon Kinberg and Allison Shearmur as additional producers for the project.
  • (04/11/2013): Paul Greengrass is confirmed as continuing his relationship with Springbok to launch himself into two new films for them: a biopic on the life of Karen Carpenter, to be made in conjunction with George Clooney's shingle Smokehouse Pictures, and a film about the Trail of Tears, with tribal actor Michael Greyeyes, known for the role of Domasi "Tommy" Tawodi in the the FPS title Prey and the Springbok-assisted sequel, in the lead role, and with Reese Witherspoon and her Pacific Standard Productions/Hello Sunshine company as co-producers, with a potential role in the film for her as well.
  • (04/19/2013): Elysium, 12 Years a Slave, Memphis, Saving Mr. Banks and The Wolf of Wall Street are officially locked down with postproduction complete.
  • (04/24/2013): Final casting for A Million Ways to Die in the West is announced, with Liam Neeson as the antagonist, and purposefully using his normal voice to show his Irish accent, because Seth MacFarlane made a cutaway gag in Family Guy about such a performance years ago, which Neeson enjoyed. The rest of the cast features Giovanni Ribisi, Amanda Seyfried, Sarah Silverman and Neil Patrick Harris.
  • (04/26/2013): Theron heads to New Mexico to report for the shoot, starting on May 6.
  • (04/28/2013): Miramax announces that it will officially produce and release its first new film since 2001, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, which will be in conjunction with Robert Rodriguez's Troublemaker Studios and released in August 2014.
  • (05/03/2013): Iron Man 3 opens to mostly positive reviews and promptly makes $1.2 billion at the box office. Many feel that the switch in writing and direction to Shane Black (while not involved either way, Jon Favreau still reprises his role of Happy Hogan for the film) is hardly noticeable, while some criticize the plot twist at the end.
  • (05/08/2013): Springbok officially makes a deal with HBO for a TV series adaptation of Westworld, fulfilling a long-held desire of Jerry Weintraub to do a remake of the film. The series is being created and developed by Christopher Nolan's brother Jonathan and Lisa Joy, a writer for Burn Notice and Pushing Daisies, and they, Weintraub, J.J. Abrams, Paula Wagner, and Jay Firestone are being listed as executive producers of the project, which is tentatively scheduled to premiere in 2015.
  • (05/10/2013): Nirvana does an impromptu performance in New Mexico just for the cast and crew of A Million Ways to Die in the West.
  • (05/14/2013): BoJack Horseman officially lands Alison Brie, Amy Sedaris and Paul F. Tompkins to round out the regular cast, and also moves to get celebrity guests, including to voice and poke fun at themselves, which many are quite game for.
  • (05/17/2013): Springbok officially helps launch a Broadway revival of Les Miserables, with changes to make it more like the film. Meanwhile, Rebecca, having received generally positive reviews during the Chicago tryout and after its New York opening, also opens on the West End, where it does even better.
  • (05/20/2013): Adult Swim and Denver and Delilah Animation officially announce a new Aqua Teen film entitled Aqua Teen Hunger Force Sequel Movie Film Entitled "Death Fighter", planned to be released in 2015.
  • (05/24/2013): Official production begins to animate BoJack Horseman for its 2014 premiere on Blockbuster Entertainment.
  • (05/27/2013): Cobain performs an unadvertised solo acoustic performance at the Key Club to benefit RAINN.
  • (05/31/2013): The proposed Queen/Freddie Mercury biopic, already having stalled out with losing Sacha Baron Cohen, seems effectively shut down with potential director Dexter Fletcher officially bowing out.
  • (06/05/2013): Filming officially begins on the Karen Carpenter biopic, entitled Karen Carpenter: Goodbye To Love.
  • (06/09/2013): Springbok and Disney officially move forward on the long-gestating English-language transfer of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, with a revised libretto by Peter Parnell, though elements of James Lapine's book for the German version will remain, with an intent to have it ready for a workshop after New Year's.
  • (06/14/2013): Man of Steel opens worldwide. The film receives generally positive reviews, referring to it as not eclipsing the original films with Christopher Reeve anytime soon, but earnest and full of heart, and the box office easily puts the film on a firm footing with MCU outings and gets the DCEU off to a promising start.
  • (06/17/2013): Springbok hears potential rumblings that Jimmy Iovine will step down as chairman and CEO of Interscope Records and UMG next year and give the position to his heir apparent, John Janick. Iovine begins talks of launching some new joint venture with Springbok should he decide to step down, also pointing out his success with Beats Electronics with Dr. Dre. Springbok also puts out feelers to do some kind of joint venture with former Marvel Studios/Marvel Entertainment head Avi Arad.
  • (06/20/2013): Cobain starts composing material for a new album.
  • (06/25/2013): Armando Cristian Perez, better known as the rapper Pitbull, officially joins Cobain and Theron as an equity owner of Miami Subs Pizza & Grill, and the chain announces plans to develop stores in Europe. the Middle East and Southeast Asia.
  • (06/28/2013): Robert Shaye begins talks with Icon UK to see if he can convince them to sign the deal they walked away from prior to the closing of their distribution arm.
  • (07/08/2013): Cobain joins in a session as a guest, playing on tracks for a new Guns N' Roses album.
  • (07/12/2013): Avi Arad moves his shingle, Arad Productions, to Springbok's creative headquarters in downtown L.A., marking a first for Springbok in offering a vanity deal much like the major studios, though Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk's semi-independent production companies are also based out in this building as well. Arad is named a board member of Springbok and to help spearhead "all creative development." Arad will still maintain his relationship with Marvel from a distance that he has had since leaving his post there in 2006. In addition, former Disney theatrical and studio head Peter Schneider and Disney Channel head Rich Ross are also hired by Springbok to be board members and drive "all creative development."
  • (07/16/2013): Denver and Delilah Animation offers a first look at Rick and Morty to the press.
  • (07/19/2013): Springbok and Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures Entertainment are handed a completed script for a sequel to Last Action Hero, entitled Last Action Hero II: Retirement Sucks, by Zak Penn and Adam Leff, who wrote the original script for the original film prior to its many revisions. The intent is to create a soft reboot that may or may not be a direct sequel with evidence going either way, much like George Miller decided to do with Fury Road, and also address the numerous deficiencies of the original film, most notably the way the kid skidekick sucked into the film-within-a-film reacts to his situation and being with his favorite action movie hero. The script is passed along to Arnold Schwarzenegger, having recently got his career back into gear with films like The Last Stand, Escape Plan and a sequel to Sylvester Stallone's The Expendables, and looking for something else to bite into, as plans for a Terminator restart/reboot by Skydance Media (who bought the rights from Annapurna Pictures) have been put on hold, with a decision to keep anything related to that IP on ice until a decade has passed since its last installment, Terminator Salvation, thanks to advice from Springbok, who have the library rights to the original two movies due to their acquisition of Artisan Entertainment, and agreed to co-produce the project, though only if they wait until there is significant pent-up demand.
  • (07/23/2013): Warner Bros. begins to start intense preparation to plot out the next moves for the DCEU, especially to build on the promising start they received with Man of Steel.
  • (07/26/2013): Andrew Lloyd Webber confirms that his and Springbok's prequel to The Phantom of the Opera, called The Devil's Child, will have its first public performance as a workshop at his annual Sydmonton Festival, prior to its Broadway and West End opening in 2014.
  • (07/31/2013): The first trailer for The Girl Who Played with Fire is released to the public.
  • (08/02/2013): Principal photography for A Million Ways to Die in the West is completed, leaving Theron to move to deal directly with Warners over its next moves for Fury Road.
  • (08/05/2013): Disney and Sony begin initial talks for a deal to allow Spider-Man to be featured in the MCU. These negotiations are expected to take upwards of a year.
  • (08/09/2013): Elysium opens to mixed to positive reviews from critics and a modest box office success of $286 million, considered a disappointment compared to District 9. However, this is considered a big enough move for Springbok to make bigger moves regarding the Alien franchise, especially after Neill Blomkamp constantly talked to them about ideas he had for a "true sequel" to Aliens, which were especially helped along due to a recent visit by Sigourney Weaver about such an idea.
  • (08/12/2013): Warner Bros. film group chair Jeff Robinov has informs Theron that the studio is calling for reshoots to Fury Road, set to begin in Australia in November. However, her heart sinks when Robinov tells her that the reshoots will cost $30 million, which will be added to the budget. The studio made a deal with George Miller that if he could keep the budget under $157 million, he would be awarded a $7 million bonus. The initial shoot came to $154 million, but the reshoots will deliberately make Miller miss the target. Furthermore, since Warners has been pushing long and hard for a 90-minute PG-13 film compared to Miller's insistence on an R-rated two-hour feature, it's also clear that Warners, regardless of whether or not they yield to Miller's wishes on this point, will use the excuse of "you didn't give us the film we asked for" to further deny him his bonus. This would also imperil plans Miller has for a direct sequel, and a spinoff film focused on Furiosa. Angry and knowing this is not a time to be meek, Theron shoots a venomous email to Robinov:

Jeff,

I am quite happy for returning to set to do reshoots. Anything to help make the film better and fine-tune the story. I can especially see us really making the chase sequences much better.

What I am not thrilled about is your blatantly transparent method of fucking George over. He put his heart and soul into this film, and you're trying to do whatever you can to change the rules and refuse to hand over his prize. In the course of my time working on this film, I have not only gained great respect for George as a filmmaker, but I am also honored to consider him my friend. And I will not sell my friends out. You may think that simply because this is an extramural film for me and Springbok has no say, production or financing-wise, that I'll simply roll over for you and let this happen. But that simply is not the case. I am perfectly willing to play hardball on George's behalf.

So here's what I say to you. We will go ahead with the reshoots, but you will not consider it part of George's budget that he brought to you. If necessary, I'm even perfectly willing to pay for the pickups myself, because Kurt and I have more than enough money to cover it. You will grant George the right of final cut, and allow him to make the film he wants, even if it's not as "commercial" as you would prefer. George will get his bonus, and you will also greenlight production on his two followup scripts in the franchise.

If you refuse, then I have no qualms of proceeding to fuck you up in retaliation. I will immediately go to the press and let them know what you're doing. I will call Jennifer and tell her to join with George in a suit over the film, get Springbok to buy out the distribution deal, and sell it to any of the other studios. And Springbok will pull all projects with Warners out from under you, including Interstellar, Jonestown and Black Mass, and continued financing for the DCEU slate. Hell, we'll even go to our exhibition ownerships and tell them not to play any Warners films under any circumstances, to really put a dent in your box office.

If you think I'm worried about how this reflects on me, you are quite deluded. I'll easily release this email to the press myself before you can, so that no one can twist my words out of context. And bear in mind that the odds aren't on your side. Remember Michael Eisner and the Mickey Mouse situation? Or our little spat over Sweeney Todd?

We've had a long and fruitful partnership together. I always thought of you, Barry Meyer, and now Kevin Tsujihara as straight shooters who would not bullshit anyone they worked with, and you're in great fucking danger of ruining all of that.

I've laid my cards on the fucking table. The ball is in your court.

-CT

  • (08/14/2013): After mulling things over, Robinov immediately accedes to Theron's points regarding Fury Road and the future of the Mad Max franchise, and plans for the reshoots begin quite smoothly.
  • (08/17/2013): Springbok and 20th Century Fox confirm plans for a "legacy sequel" to Aliens, which will disregard the events of the third movie and the unreleased fourth one. Neill Blomkamp will write and direct the film, planned to be released in 2015. Sigourney Weaver, Michael Biehn and Lance Henriksen are confirmed to be in the film, with plans to search for an adult actress to take on the role of Newt, as well as putting out feelers for the supporting cast. In addition to Springbok and Blomkamp's production company Alphacore, Ridley Scott and James Cameron, along with their respective companies, Scott Free Productions and Lightstorm Entertainment, will be involved as producers in the film. In addition, Springbok and Fox also have another Alien project in the works with Sega, a survival horror video game entitled Alien: Isolation, which is set 15 years after the original movie and focuses on Ripley's daughter, Amanda, searching for answers as to her mother's disappearance, and will be released for the 2014 holiday season.
  • (08/21/2013): Plans for the DCEU began to shape up, with the casting of Ben Affleck as Batman, Ezra Miller as The Flash, Baywatch/Game of Thrones actor Jason Momoa as Aquaman, and Israeli actress Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, for respective films and any Justice League installments.
  • (08/26/2013): Springbok officially links a deal with Square Enix and Dontnod Entertainment to create a very special and unique video game entitled Life Is Strange, a free roaming, critical thinking game involving a shy, introverted high school student named Max Caulfield, who reconnects with her long-lost best friend, Chloe Price, and also discovers she has the power to rewind time to change events, then has to come to grips with the effects of her actions. Springbok sees the opportunity in the concept and signs on to be fully involved at once.
  • (08/31/2013): President Obama signs a special appropriations bill that slashes military funding and spending by trillions to remove bloat and waste, and streamline America's military into a leaner, smarter, tougher fighting machine. The freed monies will now be spread across such different elements as infrastructure, Social Security and entitlements funding and solvency, the VA system, environmental affairs, welfare reform, education funding, healthcare, and paying down federal debt. The Republicans wail in frustration at these actions, but are helpless to override the Democratic majority in Congress.
  • (09/05/2013): RatPac Entertainment merges with Steven Mnuchin's Dune Entertainment, with the purpose of consolidating power, especially regarding negotiations with Warner Bros. to replace the outgoing Legendary Pictures as long-term financier.
  • (09/10/2013): Frances Cobain begins a tour of Europe with three nights at London's Brixton Academy.
  • (09/15/2013): Frances sprains her ankle during a show at Le Bataclan in Paris, pushing the postponement of the next two dates.
  • (09/19/2013): Springbok begins mapping out ideas for their potential joint ventures with Jimmy Iovine and Avi Arad, with special focus on mobile recording for concerts and speeches; conversion of tapes, film and digital media between each other; and media preservation.
  • (09/23/2013): The Blacklist, a new show from Springbok, Davis Entertainment, Universal Television and Sony Pictures Television, premieres on NBC. The show stars James Spader as Raymond "Red" Reddington, a former US Naval Intelligence officer who turned master criminal and went on the lam for 20 years, who decides to surrender himself, claiming he wants help the FBI track down and apprehend the criminals he's spent his time associating with, on the condition of immunity and working with a rookie profiler named Elizabeth Keen. The series is a massive hit with critics and ratings, and is set to begin its eighth season in late 2020.
  • (09/24/2013): The first MCU TV series, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., premieres on ABC. It focuses on the organization and its peacekeeping role in the world of superheroes, and their own crises; it is firmly set within the MCU, and works to stay well within that continuity without breaking it, but it doesn't rely solely on that status and works to do other types of stories and have its own identity, which will set a precedent for TV series to follow. The show has an incredibly strong response, and encourages Marvel to rev up their plans.
  • (09/26/2013): Icon UK finally signs the development and distribution deal with New Line Cinema for films in the $5-20 million mark, to the delight of Robert Shaye, and which will help firm up the division.
  • (10/02/2013): Springbok and Warners seek approval from the government of Guyana to build the recreation of Jonestown for Christopher Nolan's film on the actual site where it once stood, where there is nothing but grass today. The idea is to recreate everything as faithfully as possible with the set.
  • (10/05/2013): Filming of Richard Linklater's 12-year project, by now entitled Boyhood to prevent confusion with the forthcoming release of 12 Years a Slave, is now almost complete and will be ready to release in 2014.
  • (10/09/2013): Springbok's reboot of Andromeda airs its series finale, to a satisfying response.
  • (10/13/2013): Disney announces the breaking of ground in the 3000-acre expansion to Disney World of four additional gates: Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, Pixar Plaza, Marvel's Heroes Landing, and Pandora: The World of Avatar. Each gate will open at different times starting in 2016, with every part of each new gate fully operational by the time of Disney World's 50th anniversary in 2021, by which time a percolating overhaul of Epcot will also have been complete. Springbok is heavily involved in the process of creating the parks and their attractions, and attends the groundbreaking ceremony on this day.
  • (10/15/2013): Disney/Lucasfilm announce that the first film in the new Star Wars sequel trilogy will be directed by J.J. Abrams, who will also co-write with Lawrence Kasdan, and that Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford will indeed return to reprise their roles. The movie will be out for Christmas 2015. In addition, the first so-called anthology film, a movie about the Rebel Alliance stealing the Death Star plans, will come out the following year.
  • (10/20/2013): Springbok's television division announces a new TV movie entitled Heaven's Gate: Riding the Comet, about the infamous cult led by Marshall Applewhite and of which 39 members committed suicide, with their deaths and plans boasted about on the Internet. It will be released the next fall on CBS, with Amblin Television co-producing.
  • (10/24/2013): Denver and Delilah Animation signs a deal with Disney Television Animation to work together on a new Disney Channel series, a take on the "magical girl" genre entitled Star vs. the Forces of Evil, which plans to begin airing in 2015.
  • (10/29/2013): Cobain begins contemplating recording a solo acoustic album to fill time before the next Nirvana album.
  • (11/03/2013): Reshoots for Fury Road begin in Australia.
  • (11/07/2013): It is announced that Disney under Marvel Television will be developing four Blockbuster Entertainment original series based on four lesser known Marvel Heroes. These heroes include Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, and Luke Cage.
  • (11/08/2013): Thor: The Dark World opens to generally positive reviews and brisk box office (which really adds to the profits of Iron Man 3 and the new animated feature Frozen, which is a massive runaway hit, to give Disney its most profitable year yet), with special praise given to Patty Jenkins' direction, which Warners takes notice of to consider her to direct a DCEU project. The consensus is that this film is stronger than the original, but still not quite living up to its potential which would happen if a more off-the-wall director were in charge. 12 Years a Slave also opens on this day, and it is universally praised and also does phenomenal box office, of $188 million for a $20 million film with $10 million in advertising. It also is a clear contender for the Oscars.
  • (11/14/2013): Frances Cobain does an Australasian tour to finish off promotion for her album, and spends time with Theron on the set for the reshoots.
  • (11/18/2013): Springbok confirms that it is working on Love and Mercy, a biopic of Brian Wilson, for wide release by 2015. Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions will release the film, with River Road Entertainment co-producing. The film will focus on two distinct phases of Wilson's life, the period of working on The Beach Boys' sessions for Pet Sounds and SMiLE, during which his mental state began to decline; and his meeting of his second wife in the late '80s, and struggle to break free from his controlling, manipulative therapist, Dr. Eugene Landy. Paul Dano will play the younger Wilson, while John Cusack will portray the older one, and Elizabeth Banks and Paul Giamatti will also star.
  • (11/30/2013): Cobain records his solo acoustic album in an inspired night. The album is considered potentially on par with Johnny Cash's first American Recordings album with Rick Rubin for inspiration and naked honesty.
  • (12/02/2013): Principal photography of Interstellar is judged complete, and preproduction for Jonestown is already well under way, especially with Guyana having given permission to build the reconstruction, which is complete. Meanwhile, Rick and Morty premieres to surprising reception, as it soon quickly becomes a pop culture touchstone.
  • (12/06/2013): The Girl Who Played with Fire opens to a hungry ticket-buying public. The movie is considered very good and has higher ticket sales than the original, though some people feel that Samuel Bayer's direction isn't quite as inspired as David Fincher's. Nonetheless, the crowd is quite hooked and looking forward to the final part opening next Christmas.
  • (12/09/2013): Mixing and mastering of Cobain's solo acoustic album, One Alone, is already judged complete, to have it ready to ship out after New Year's.
  • (12/13/2013): Saving Mr. Banks and Memphis open simultaneously. Both films are critical and commercial successes, and are already giving Springbok its most fruitful year to date and especially embolden both it and Disney for the future projects in their partnership.
  • (12/18/2013): Springbok announces that Karen Carpenter: Goodbye to Love will be released as part of the Disney/DreamWorks pact, with Amblin Entertainment and Reliance Entertainment co-producing. Amblin also signs on for Trail of Tears, and helps sell the film to Universal, the first of several films outside of the Disney/DreamWorks pact, and that Participant Media and Media Rights Capital will co-produce the film alongside Springbok and Reese Witherspoon. Principal photography is expected to begin shortly.
  • (12/25/2013): The Wolf of Wall Street opens to universal praise and massive demand by the ticket-buying audience. Expectations also rise that Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio may both net their first Oscar wins with this film.

2014[]

  • (01/05/2014): Principal photography for Jonestown begins. The intent and schedule is meant to allow, at the very least, of all of Johnny Depp's scenes to be done before he reports to the set of Black Mass in late May.
  • (01/07/2014): Exploitation Records releases One Alone as a surprise, and the public snaps it up eagerly.
  • (01/08/2014): While Marvel is busy putting the marketing behind Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy, production on the simultaneously filmed X-Men: Apocalypse and X-Men: Days of Future Past is almost locked down, with X-Men: Apocalypse being set for release on May 23, and X-Men: Days of Future Past set for the following May. James Mangold then intends to also do one final film to wrap up Wolverine's story to be out in 2016, while Fox is also moving to seriously gear up for a film for the character of Deadpool.
  • (01/11/2014): The first trailer for Inuyasha is released, showing a planned release date of June 15. Further, it states that Nicolas Cage, besides getting top billing on the posters and trailers for his role as the antagonist Naraku, is also credited as a producer on the project, through his shingle Saturn Films, in addition to Enima Studios, Gale Anne Hurd and Jerry Bruckheimer. This is done because the box office fate of the two films could both potentially lead to an infusion for Saturn Films and put a considerable dent in Cage's numerous financial struggles.
  • (01/14/2014): Neill Blomkamp hands in his script for the new Alien installment, entitled Alien: Awakening, and building of various sets is almost complete.
  • (01/17/2014): Boyhood is officially locked down and premieres at Sundance to the first audiences to see the finished product.
  • (01/22/2014): Disney and Springbok announce final casting for Cinderella. Lily James will take on the titular role, with Cate Blanchett as the Stepmother and Helena Bonham Carter as the Fairy Godmother, as well as supporting roles for Stellan Skarsgaard and Derek Jacobi.
  • (01/25/2014): Jimmy Iovine confirms his plans to step down as chairman and CEO of Interscope Records, the Interscope Geffen A&M imprint of UMG, and UMG itself, by May 28. John Janick will succeed him in those roles, while Iovine will remain on the board. His Beats Electronics venture with Dr. Dre is in the process of being purchased by Apple, and he is expected to sit on the Apple board as well. In addition, he and Springbok will launch a new joint venture, Serenity Sonics Corporation, a company for high-resolution mobile recording of concerts for live releases, intended to compare to the likes of Effanel Music, Le Mobile and Westwood One.
  • (01/29/2014): Aware of the anticipation for David Fincher's latest film, an adaptation of Gillian Flynn's novel Gone Girl, set for release this fall, Theron personally buys the rights to Flynn's novel Dark Places to make a film project with and take the starring role.
  • (01/31/2014): Disney/Lucasfilm finalizes casting for the new group of protagonists for the sequel trilogy. Newcomers Daisy Ridley, John Boyega and Oscar Isaac will lead the films as Rey, Finn and Poe Dameron, with Lupita Nyong'o as Maz Kanata, Andy Serkis as the apparent leader of the "First Order", Snoke, and Jonathan Jackson, best known for starting as Lucky Spencer on General Hospital, then as Randy Setz in Insomnia and Jesse Tuck in Tuck Everlasting, while currently starring in the ABC series Nashville, is hired as the new focal point antagonist Kylo Ren. Jackson had been a candidate to potentially take on the role of Anakin Skywalker in the second and third prequels, before leaking of the talks made George Lucas axe the idea and the discovery of Adam Driver for the role shortly afterwards. There is also great focus on the creation of a new droid helped character, a rolling unit named BB-8, who is fated to become the primary focus in merchandising.
  • (Feb.2014): On February 3rd, Springbok and Avi Arad announce the creation of their own joint venture, Heaven Research, intended as a new intermediary for the conversion of film, tapes and digital media to different formats and other, especially for projects to be archived in more than one manner. Principal photography of Alien: Awakening would begin in earnest and New Line Cinema would begin talks with Springbok to regarding the potential of being involved in a restart of the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise. Theron would also make a deal with a relatively new indie distributor, A24, to release Dark Places in North America, while Entertainment One grabs the rest of the world, and lands Exclusive Media as a co-producer. In non-Springbok news, President Obama would sign a bill pushing for the research and development of lab and plant-based meat substitutes to create a product that tastes convincingly like the real thing and to help start curtailing the environmental strain of meat processing plants.
  • (03/02/2014): At the 86th Academy Awards, Springbok makes considerable strides, with The Wolf of Wall Street winning Best Picture and Leonardo DiCaprio as Best Actor, and 12 Years a Slave winning Best Adapted Screenplay and Lupita Nyong'o winning Best Actress. Other films receive considerable attention, with Jared Leto winning Best Supporting Actor for Dallas Buyers Club, Her winning Best Original Screenplay, Alfonso Cuaron winning Best Director for Gravity, and Frozen winning Best Animated Picture. During the speeches, Martin Scorsese, John Ridley and Steve McQueen give considerable praise to Springbok, as well as Brad Pitt's Plan B Entertainment and DiCaprio's Appian Way Productions, for their roles producing the films.
  • (03/05/2014): Denver and Delilah Animation confirms reports that it is producing the Dia de Los Muertos-themed film The Book of Life for 20th Century Fox, which will be released on October 17, and co-produced by Guillermo del Toro.
  • (03/09/2014): James Cameron decides to take himself out of