Golden Globe winners are also losers

Mon Jan 14, 2008 2:15am EST
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By Dean Goodman

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - If a movie wins a Golden Globe, but there's no ceremony, does the prize still count?

That's the issue faced by the Hollywood studios behind such films as "Atonement" and "Sweeney Todd," which lost their moments of glory on Sunday to the Hollywood writers strike.

Globe organizers were forced to cancel their usual NBC broadcast after the actors union said it would boycott the event in deference to striking writers. A 30-minute news conference was held instead, with the winners announced by a revolving cast of TV gossip show reporters.

That's a poor promotional platform for films that would have benefited from primetime exposure during an alcohol-fueled, three-hour broadcast packed with celebrities.

"Certainly it takes away the visibility from us and everybody, which is too bad," said Jack Foley, president of distribution at General Electric Co's Focus Features, which released best-drama winner "Atonement." "It's a big, huge commercial. There are no two ways about it."

Last year, 20 million viewers tuned in to the show, and winners such as "The Queen" and "Babel" used the Globes as a springboard to expand nationally the following weekend.

"Atonement," which led the field with seven nominations, has earned a modest $25 million after six weeks in release, and is now playing in 950 theaters. (By contrast, box office champ "The Bucket List" is in 2,911 theaters.)

DOUBLE WINNERS   Continued...

<p>Jorge Camara, president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, announces "Atonement" as winner of the Golden Globe Award for best drama motion picture at the 65th annual Golden Globe Awards news conference at the Beverly Hilton hotel in Beverly Hills, January 13, 2008. REREUTERS/Mario Anzuoni</p>