Thursday, March 10, 2011

My BS sense is tingling

As I posted the other day, The New York Times continues to report that doomed Broadway show Spider-Man cost $65 million to produce, despite the fact that the paper has been using that same figure since at least November and after the show's many, many problems and additions and revisions. I tried to point this out in a comment on the paper's story yesterday that covered director/creator Julie Taymor's firing and, yes, trotted out that $65 million figure once again. I didn't keep a copy, but it was respectful and asked for, you know, some actual reporting. Comments are moderated on the Times' site, and it didn't get posted.

Let's look at what was deemed more worthy of being used:
Where is Disney in all this? Taymor and Bono are damaging the Spiderman franchise. Why isn't Disney pulling the plug on this and suing Taymor for her gross negligence an incompetence and Bono for intentional infliction of emotional distress?

Um, nowhere? Disney has zero to do with this show.
As a Philadelphia Lawyer, I find it difficult to be PRO BONO! Pro bono! Get it?.....Pro...Bono?! Ah, ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

I love the theatre as much as anyone, but in the final analysis, any show (no matter how good) is just entertainment—slight and transitory. It is not a cure for penicillin.

Who cares. Stop writing stories about spiderman

But not my legit question on reporting?

(It's not just the Times. An Associated Press story from this morning uses $65 million, too. I can't find any legit business reporting on this. In the grand scheme of things this may not be a hugely important story, but accuracy still matters.)

UPDATE: I'm thinking of starting a telethon to raise money to fight penicillin. Who's with me?

UPDATE UPDATE: Concerned reader God Is My Codependent points out that Variety has actually done some reporting. Huzzah!:
Capitalization costs were estimated at $65 million late last year, but since then the delayed openings and ongoing rehearsals during performance weeks have meant increased costs in actor and stagehand overtime.

One estimate of the current budget, from an industry type affiliated with the show, puts current capitalization costs at $70 million-$72 million, with the number only going up.

Sounds like a lowball figure, but I appreciate someone actually trying!

UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE: Hey, whaddya know--the Times finally made an attempt at updating the cost:
With the announcement last week that the “Spider-Man” opening was being delayed for a sixth time, until summer, the drama behind the now $70-million-and-counting musical now seems like theater of the absurd, where words like “opening” mean nothing, and rules don’t exist.

It appears to have grabbed "$70 million and counting" at random, out of embarrassment, but still!

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