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Blockbuster Entertainment Award

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Blockbuster Entertainment Award

Blockbuster Entertainment Awards
Awarded for Peoples choice awards for music, film and video games
Location Los Angeles
Country United States
Presented by Blockbuster LLC
Reward Trophy
First awarded 1995
Last awarded 2001
Television coverage
Network CBS (1994)
UPN (1995 - 2001)

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

Formation and first awards

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 awards show. Winners were determined by votes cast by customers in Blockbuster stores. The ballot consisted of the year's three top-grossing films, video's 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 William 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." Billboard magazine stated the awards show was "surprisingly entertaining" and applauded Blockbuster for "raising the status of home video". Billboard commented; however, that handing out awards for films in both theatrical and video releases did not make much sense, as almost all films nominated had been out on video for several months. Billboard stated that 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 awards

The 2nd 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, 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]

Cancellation

In November 2001, after having run for seven consecutive years, Blockbuster announced they were cancelling 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] Blockbuster has since removed all mentions that the awards show ever existed from their main website.[24]

References

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