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Howl Finds a Home, Will Smith Looks at Sequels, Live Baseball on PS3, Mags See Uptick

Howl Finds a Home, Will Smith Looks at Sequels, Live Baseball on PS3, Mags See Uptick

Adam Yauch’s Oscilloscope Laboratories has finally acquired U.S. distribution for Sundance opener Howl. O-scope had three nominations at the last Oscars, so the Jeffrey Friedman/Rob Epstein Beat biopic adds a little wind to the distrib’s sails. James Franco plays Allen Ginsberg in this historic evocation of the young poet’s obscenity trial and off-beat lifestyle.

Franco’s popularity is a plus, considering the movie’s lukewarm response at Sundance. (Here’s my Sundance report.) Some critics argued that the film explored too little of the Beat scene; here’s the THR review. Howl will need more support from critics, but should find an audience among the sophisticated art-house crowd.

Major League Baseball has signed a deal to hook up PS3 with MLB.TV. Subscribers will be able to stream live games and replay archived material. No word yet if the service will be a Sony exclusive. Not to be outdone, Microsoft has announced its own “channel” for the 360. The battle for couch potatoes rages on. I look forward to watching hi-def Yankees on my new PS3, which I use for Blu-Ray viewing, Netflix streaming and Beatles Rock Band.

The brutal publishing economy has culled the glossy herd a tad: magazines are reporting an industry-wide gain since last year.

Michael Bay fans, at least, can rejoice. Will Smith might be making Bad Boys III and Men In Black 3-D.

If Will Smith pulls this off, and another sequel to Independence Day, he’ll ascend into box-office heaven and form a constellation in the shape of a dollar sign.

Could this sudden interest in sequels be the result of having (unusual for Smith) experienced an actual flop? Seven Pounds topped out at $167 million worldwide, compared to Hancock‘s $624 million.

[Cameron Carlson contributed to this report.]

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