** Disney Pulls Out of Next 'Narnia' Movie. Walt Disney Co. said it won't be involved in a third "Chronicles of Narnia" movie, pulling out of a longstanding partnership with co-producer Walden Media to finance the children's franchise that once represented one of the most promising film properties in the Disney stable.
Disney cited "budgetary considerations and other logistics" as reasons for not financing the film. But the studio's decision comes in the midst of a sharp downward turn for the franchise, based on the popular fantasy books by C.S. Lewis. The series' first film, "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," grossed $745 million world-wide in 2005, while the second film "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian," brought in just $419 million world-wide when it was released earlier this year. Reports at the time of the film's May release estimated that it cost as much as $200 million to produce, not counting marketing costs.
Some of Walden Media's recent films, such as "Nim's Island" and "Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium," have also stumbled at the box office, though its 3-D film "Journey to the Center of the Earth" performed well this summer. (Wall Street Journal)
** A new magazine launched that will focus on the single life. David C. Wright, an entrepreneur, recently launched Singular, a Los Angeles magazine for singles. "We want people to not feel stigmatized," said Wright, "whether it's a chapter of your life or longer, it's all right to be single." Singular is considered a controlled-circulation magazine because it is sent free of charge to people with a certain income and makes money from advertising rather than subscriptions. (Los Angeles Times)
** America's Next Top Model winner Eva Marcille (formerly Eva Pigford) announced her newly engagement to Tyler Perry’s House of Payne star Lance Gross. The proposal happened on Christmas Eve. (E!)
** A federal judge said Fox retains rights to distribute the Warner Bros. superheroes film 'Watchmen,'. The ruling in favor of Fox comes as a surprise, given that the studio appeared to have dropped the project more than a decade ago and was not involved in producing the film, which is based on a comic book series by the same name and is scheduled to hit theaters in March. The decision came in a five-page order issued on Wednesday. "Fox owns a copyright interest consisting of, at the very least, the right to distribute the Watchmen motion picture," the ruling read.
The judge advised the studios, at this point, to focus on reaching a settlement or appealing the decision. "The parties may wish to turn their efforts from preparing for trial to negotiating a resolution of this dispute or positioning the case for review," he wrote. It's not clear how the studios involved might resolve the dispute. Warner Bros., a unit of Time Warner Inc., could pay Fox a lump sum or cut it in on a portion of the profits. Also not certain is whether Fox would have to put up some of the film's production costs under such an arrangement. (Wall Street Journal)
** According to inTouch Weekly, actress Zooey Deschanel and musician Hunter Burgan are engaged. The proposal happened over the weekend of December 20th.
** Coca-Cola's Landmark Billboard in Times Square Goes Green. The Coca-Cola Company's iconic red billboard in New York City's Times Square is going "green" in time for New York's famous New Year's celebration. Coca-Cola is leading a unanimous eco-friendly shift to wind power among 30 billboards that tower over the world's most recognizable intersection.
Coca-Cola was the first company to select clean, renewable wind power to light up their billboard located at 47th and Broadway. After Coca-Cola made their commitment, all of the neighboring billboards on three buildings around Times Square joined the movement through an electric supply agreement with ConEdison Solutions and the building management company.
This voluntary action is the latest example of Coca-Cola's commitment to Live Positively, an operating philosophy that guides the Company's service to its customers, consumers and communities. This guiding philosophy is the basis for the Company's consumer-focused programs, products and packaging, and efforts to help the environment. To learn more about Live Positively and Coca-Cola's efforts to support recycling, the environment and sustainable energy, visit the new Web site http://www.livepositively.com/. (Press Release)