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The Blockbuster Entertainment Awards was a film awards ceremony, founded by Blockbuster Entertainment, Inc., that ran from 1995 until 2001. The awards were produced by Ken Ehrlich every year.[1][2]

Blockbuster Entertainment Awards
Awarded forPeoples choice awards for music, film, and video games
Sponsored byBlockbuster LLC
LocationLos Angeles, Hollywood
CountryUnited States
Presented byBlockbuster Entertainment
Reward(s)Trophy
First awarded1995; 24 years ago (1995)
Last awarded2001; 18 years ago (2001)
Most awardsNicolas Cage
Television/radio coverage
NetworkCBS (1994)
UPN (1995–1999)
Fox (2000–2001)
Produced byKen Ehrlich

Formation and first awardsEdit

The awards were first held on June 3, 1995, at the Pantages Theatre[3] and broadcast on June 6.[4] The idea for the awards show came from Blockbuster marketing executive Brian Woods,[5] who worked on the project for about two years.[6] Blockbuster reportedly saw creating the awards as a way of promoting both the company and also the performers whose records and films were sold in their stores.

We wanted to have entertainers who are truly public favorites, like Arnold Schwarzenegger or Sylvester Stallone or Jean-Claude Van Damme, people who do big box office and big business in home video, but are not in the foreseeable future likely to be nominated for an Academy Award.

— Brian Woods[5]

CBS signed a contract to screen the awards in late 1994, and Ken Ehrlich was hired to produce the show. Winners were determined by votes cast by customers in Blockbuster stores. The ballot consisted of the year's three top-grossing films, videos, and music albums[5] in 33 categories.[6] Over 1.5 million votes were cast and approximately 10 million people watched the awards on television. The music and video industry "turned out in full force" for the event, which was hosted by Cindy Crawford and William Baldwin. Celebrities attending included Bill Pullman, George Clooney, Kurt Russell, Steve Martin, Jennifer Tilly, Melanie Griffith, Danny Glover, Alfre Woodard, and David Spade.[4] Jim Carrey, who won three awards, was one of the few winners who thanked voters for his award, stating: "I'm thankful for this award, even if you rented my tapes just to show the guy behind the counter that you rent more than porn videos." Eileen Fitzpatrick of Billboard magazine stated that the awards show was "surprisingly entertaining", and applauded Blockbuster for "raising the status of home video". Fitzpatrick questioned the idea of handing out awards for films in both theatrical and video releases, saying it did not make much sense, as almost all films nominated had been out on video for several months. This caused confusion for recipients, many of whom did not understand what award they were getting. Sandra Bullock had just received the award for Best Action / Adventure / Thriller Actress in Video for the film Speed, when she was named the winner for the same film in the theatrical category, and "literally didn't know whether she was coming on or going off the stage."[7]

Subsequent awardsEdit

The second Blockbuster Entertainment Awards were held on March 6, 1996[8] at the Pantages Theatre.[9] Kelsey Grammer hosted the awards. As Blockbuster was owned by Viacom, who also owned Paramount Pictures, MTV, Big Ticket Television and Worldvision Enterprises, producer Ken Ehrlich stated the awards "bent over backward" to avoid any connections with Paramount, in order to give the awards more credibility. Paramount productions were nominated for only 5 of the 49 nominations, though coverage of the awards switched from CBS to the United Paramount Network.[10] Unlike the first awards, which were taped and aired later, the 2nd awards were aired live.[11]

The 3rd Blockbuster Entertainment Awards were held on March 11, 1997 at the Pantages Theatre. Over 11 million votes were cast, which made it the largest publicly voted awards presentation in history at the time.[12]

The 4th Annual Blockbuster Entertainment Awards were held on March 10, 1998 at the Pantages Theatre. Once again over 11 million votes were cast. Live performances at the awards included Boyz II Men, Garth Brooks, Mariah Carey and Savage Garden.[9]

The 5th Blockbuster Entertainment Awards were held on June 16, 1999[13] at the Shrine Auditorium.[14][15] Approximately 6.5 million people watched the awards on television.[16] Harry Connick, Jr. described his nomination for Best Actor for the critically panned film Hope Floats as "absolutely insane".[17]

The 6th Blockbuster Entertainment Awards were held on May 9, 2000[18] at the Shrine Auditorium, and for the first time presented awards for video games in addition to music and film.[19] Christina Aguilera and the Backstreet Boys both received two awards.[20]

The 7th and final Blockbuster Entertainment Awards were held on April 10, 2001 at the Shrine Auditorium.[2] Approximately 4.5 million people watched the awards on television.[16] Stevie Nicks, Sheryl Crow, Joe, Mystikal, LeAnn Rimes and Ricky Martin performed live at the event.[21]

CancellationEdit

In November 2001, after having run for seven consecutive years, Blockbuster announced they were canceling the awards following concerns after the September 11 attacks, stating: "Due to the uncertainty of the times, we can't predict consumer response to our show, nor audience behavior—especially media viewing habits—all of which are being affected by world events."[22][23] Blockbuster stated their decision to cancel the awards was influenced by the fact that the 53rd Primetime Emmy Awards had to be rescheduled twice following security concerns after the September 11 attacks, and that when they did air, their ratings were 22% lower than the previous year.[16]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Ken Ehrlich". The New York Times. Retrieved May 15, 2013.
  2. ^ a b "Blockbuster(R) and Entertainment Weekly Magazine Present the Seventh Annual Blockbuster Entertainment Awards(R) Airing April 11 on FOX". January 8, 2011. Retrieved May 15, 2013 – via PR Newswire.
  3. ^ Calendar: June. Billboard. May 27, 1995. p. 87. Retrieved September 30, 2019.
  4. ^ a b Industry Turns Out For Blockbuster Awards. Billboard. June 17, 1995. p. 64. Retrieved September 30, 2019.
  5. ^ a b c Mifflin, Lawrie (May 22, 1995). "More Awards Programs, More Winners, More Money". The New York Times. Retrieved September 30, 2019.
  6. ^ a b Fitzpatrick, Eileen (March 4, 1995). Blockbuster Getting Into The Act With Awards Show. Billboard. p. 64. Retrieved September 30, 2019.
  7. ^ Fitzpatrick, Eileen (June 17, 1995). Blockbuster Awards Reflect Video Industry's Legitimacy. Billboard. p. 60. Retrieved September 30, 2019.
  8. ^ "Photo of Shania Twain". Country Music Television. Retrieved May 15, 2013.
  9. ^ a b "Julia Roberts and Will Smith Each Take Two Trophies at Fourth Annual Blockbuster Entertainment Awards". Blockbuster Entertainment. March 10, 1998. Archived from the original on June 20, 2015. Retrieved September 30, 2019 – via PR Newswire.
  10. ^ Richter, Erin (February 23, 1996). "Blockbuster Entertainment Awards -- The second annual ceremony could reward Emma Thompson and Brad Pitt". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on June 17, 2018.
  11. ^ Fitzpatrick, Eileen (December 16, 1995). Blockbuster Awards: New Time, New Channel. Billboard. p. 96. Retrieved September 30, 2019.
  12. ^ "Talk With The Stars Live From The 3rd Annual Blockbuster Entertainment Awards Chat Room on Tuesday, March 11 at www.blockbuster.com". Blockbuster LLC. March 8, 1997. Retrieved May 15, 2013.
  13. ^ "Star-Studded Excitement of Fifth Annual Blockbuster Entertainment Awards(R) Featured at www.blockbuster.com". June 16, 1999. Retrieved May 15, 2013 – via PR Newswire.
  14. ^ "5th Annual Blockbuster Entertainment Awards, The". Turner Classic Movies. Archived from the original on October 15, 2018.
  15. ^ "5th Annual Blockbuster Entertainment Awards". The New York Times. Retrieved May 15, 2013.
  16. ^ a b c "Viewership Uncertainty Causes Blockbuster to Cancel Awards". Berkeley Daily Planet. Associated Press. November 24, 2001. Archived from the original on June 28, 2013.
  17. ^ Blockbuster Entertainment Award. Los Angeles. April 2000. p. 96. Retrieved September 30, 2019.
  18. ^ "Sixth Annual Blockbuster Entertainment Awards(R) Presenters and Performers To Receive King Size Basket of Thank You Gifts". May 8, 2000. Retrieved May 15, 2013 – via PR Newswire.
  19. ^ "6th Annual Blockbuster Entertainment Awards". The New York Times. Retrieved May 15, 2013.
  20. ^ "This Day in Music". Billboard. Archived from the original on June 21, 2018.
  21. ^ "Nicks, Crow, Rimes Sign On For Blockbuster Awards". Billboard. Archived from the original on October 15, 2018.
  22. ^ Susman, Gary (November 22, 2001). "Blockbuster cancels awards show". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on July 11, 2019.
  23. ^ "Blockbuster Cancels Awards Show". Billboard. 2001. Archived from the original on July 8, 2019.