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Hollywood & entertainment industry news
'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes' climbs into $100-million club in China

“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” surpassed the $100-million mark at the Chinese box office last week, becoming the fourth-highest-grossing imported film in the territory this year.

Four American movies have now made more than $100 million in the mainland in 2014 -- the club also includes “Transformers: Age of Extinction” ($304.4 million), “X-Men: Days of Future Past” ($118.1 million) and “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” ($118 million), according to data from film industry consulting firm Artisan Gateway.

20thCentury Fox’s “Apes” has now made a total of $105 million after a month in theaters here.

In second place for the seven days ending Sunday was “The Expendables 3,” which has racked up a total of nearly $65 million, far outpacing its performance stateside.

The Liam Neeson suspense thriller “Non-Stop” -- which hit theaters in the U.S. way back in February -- finally opened in China on Friday, landing in third place with $7.5 million in its first weekend in release.

Fourth place...

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TV ratings: 'Big Bang Theory' wins night; 'Gotham' premieres strong

Season 8 of CBS' "The Big Bang Theory" kicked off with -- you guessed it -- a bang.

Back-to-back episodes of the highly anticipated sitcom topped Monday night TV ratings and elevated CBS to the No. 1 most-watched network, according to Nielsen.

The 8 p.m. season premiere drew in roughly 17.7 million viewers and earned a rating of 5.3 in the key 18-to-49-year-old demographic.

A second original episode of the show, which aired at 8:30 p.m., posted slightly higher numbers, with roughly 17.9 million viewers and a rating of 5.4 in the key demo.

Also on the network, the premiere of "Scorpion" was the third-most-watched program of the night overall. The lead-in from "The Big Bang Theory" helped the adventure series draw in 14 million viewers. It earned a rating of 3.3 in the key demo.

The finale of "Under the Dome" earned a rating of 1.8 in the key demo, down 36% from last season's finale. It drew in 7.5 million viewers.

The network averaged 13 million viewers. However, with a rating of 3.5 in...

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Giants-Dodgers broadcast on local KDOC-TV scores ratings home run

Los Angeles finally got to see the Dodgers play baseball on TV.

Time Warner Cable simulcast Monday night's matchup between the Dodgers and rival San Francisco Giants on the independent local broadcast station KDOC-TV (Channel 56).

The broadcast on KDOC -- which is widely available to viewers in the region -- drew three times the audience of SportsNet LA, the channel owned by the Dodgers, according to preliminary overnight ratings.

The game ended in the 13th inning with the Giants beating the Dodgers, 5-2.  

Preliminary ratings showed that KDOC's telecast of Monday night's game generated a 3.47 household rating in Los Angeles, and a 6 share.

In contrast, the game on SportsNet LA mustered only a 1.12 household rating and a 2 share.

Last week Time Warner Cable took the unusual step of arranging to simulcast the Dodgers' games on KDOC this week, the final week of the regular season, because so many fans have been shut out of the TV action this year.

Only a third of the homes in the Los...

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MiTú announces partnership with Maker Studios

Latino digital network MiTú announced on Tuesday it will partner with Maker Studios to develop Latino branded entertainment content.

Since its inception in 2012, MiTú, backed by The Chernin Group and other investors, has grown to 55 million global subscribers and more than 470 million monthly views across 1,300 partner channels. 

Maker Studios, a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, draws in more than 9 billion views monthly with more than 550 million subscribers globally.

The companies hope to lure advertisers and reach the growing U.S. Hispanic market by creating culturally relevant, original, branded content using MiTu's global base of Hispanic talent.

“Hispanic millennials in the U.S. are avid viewers of online video across all platforms,” Jason Krebs, head of sales for Maker said in a statement. “Teaming up with MiTú allows us to meet the demands of so many of our brand partners who want to connect with today’s young generation of Latinos, as well as provide this...

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Time Warner focuses on its growth strategy for HBO

HBO typically needs a wheelbarrow to haul all of the trophies it collects during awards season.

Top-tier Hollywood producers, directors and stars, including Martin Scorsese, Steven Soderbergh and Matthew McConaughey, long have been lured by the rich canvas that HBO offers show creators. The premium channel boasts 127 million subscribers around the world, and a $1.8-billion profit last year, making it a reliable cash cow for parent company Time Warner.

But these days that might not be enough — Time Warner has unexpectedly found itself defending its HBO strategy.

Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox's $80-billion takeover offer this summer for Time Warner prompted Wall Street to question whether HBO is being properly managed. Murdoch had been keen to add HBO and sister channel Cinemax to Fox's portfolio.

There has also been wild speculation on Wall Street that Time Warner should spin off HBO, or create a tracking stock to cash in on its popularity — moves that Time Warner flatly rejects....

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MGM buys 55% stake in production firms of Roma Downey and Mark Burnett

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. on Monday acquired a 55% interest in the two production companies of actress Roma Downey and "Survivor" producer Mark Burnett.

The Beverly Hills-based film and television studio is reviving the vaunted United Artists label to serve as a home for Downey and Burnett's entertainment ventures, which include a planned faith-based over-the-top channel.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The agreement also involved Hearst Entertainment Inc., an investor in the husband-and-wife team's One Three Media and LightWorkers Media production entities.

MGM also is acquiring all of Downey, Burnett and Hearst's interests in television shows "Survivor," "The Voice" and "The Bible," among others.

Gary Barber, chief executive of MGM, said that he met with Burnett about six months ago for breakfast, and knew immediately that he wanted to work with the producer.

After the meeting, Burnett and Downey joined the MGM-Paramount Pictures film "Ben-Hur" as producers in April. That...

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Can J.J. Abrams and Stephen King put Hulu in the big leagues?

Hulu, at long last, is ready to play with the big boys.

The streaming service announced on Monday that it has given a direct-to-series order to a series from J.J. Abrams and Stephen King. The nine-part series, "11/22/63," is about an English teacher who travels back in time in an attempt to prevent the assassination of President Kennedy.  (The series is based on King's novel of the same name and is produced by Abrams' production company, Bad Robot.)

The project could mark a significant turn for the 7-year-old company. While the streaming site has dipped its toe in original programming, with projects such as Seth Meyers' "The Awesomes" and comedy "Deadbeat," it has yet to produce a breakout hit, nor has it boasted such heavy-hitting names.  Its more steady approach is in stark contrast to its competitors, Netflix and Amazon Prime, which have taken a more aggressive approach in getting into original programming.


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Barco Escape to show Lady Gaga, Tony Bennett concert in theaters

Barco, the giant cinema technology company, is hoping Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett will lend some star power to its new panoramic theater system.

Last week, Barco unveiled its 270-degree panoramic theater screen experience that uses three screens and multiple projectors to put audiences in the middle of the action.

The system, dubbed Barco Escape, debuted in a small number of Cinemark theaters with the release of Fox movie "The Maze Runner."

This week the Belgium-based company will announce another venture to promote its new technology.

Barco will collaborate with Universal Music/Interscope Records and recording artists Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga to bring their performance at the Grand Palace in Brussels into Barco Escape theaters in early 2015.

The performance will be filmed today specifically for the Barco format, the day before Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga’s "Cheek to Cheek" album of jazz and popular standards is set to release worldwide.

“To me, going to the cinema is a magical...

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Hoping to watch 'Madam Secretary' but got 'CSI'? Here's what happened

New CBS drama "Madam Secretary" had quite the viewer turnout on Sunday, debuting with a strong 14.7 million viewers (according to time-adjusted fast nationals). But some West Coast viewers who intended to catch the encore later that night grumbled it felt too "CSI" -- because it was.

Due to the overrun of CBS' broadcast of the Denver Broncos-Seattle Seahawks game earlier on Sunday, which ran 34 minutes long, things got pushed in prime time on the East Coast, slightly affecting those on the West Coast.

The Tea Leoni-led drama was scheduled for an 8 p.m. ET premiere, but got pushed to 9 p.m. ET -- thus, pushing "The Good Wife" to 10 p.m. ET. The originally-set "Madam Secretary" encore at 10 p.m. was, as a result, preempted, causing it to also be bumped on the West Coast to keep the programming pattern on both coasts in sync. In its place was a rerun of "CSI."

Those who didn't set their DVRs for the original airing, or had other stuff to watch or do at 8 p.m., were the ones affected. ...

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Warner Bros. promotes Lachmund to head labor relations

Warner Bros. Entertainment has reorganized its labor relations department, appointing longtime studio executive Hank Lachmund to head the division.

Lachmund, a 31-year studio veteran and former supervisor with the National Labor Relations Board, has been promoted to executive vice president of industrial relations, the studio said Monday.

In his new role, Lachmund will be responsible for all aspects of labor relations as well as industrywide issues involving the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which negotiates labor contracts with the major Hollywood unions

He replaces Alan Raphael, a 34-year studio veteran, who will retire at the end of November.

“Hank’s experience, judgment and expertise will ensure that Warner Bros. continues as a respected and recognized leader in labor issues,” Warner Bros. general counsel John Rogovin said in a statement. “I’d also like to thank Alan for his many years of service to Warner Bros. and the countless contributions he’s made to...

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MGM buys 55% stake in production firms of Roma Downey and Mark Burnett

Beverly Hills-based film and television studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer has acquired a 55% interest in the two production companies of actress Roma Downey and "Survivor" producer Mark Burnett.

The husband-and-wife team's One Three Media and LightWorkers Media production entities are co-owned by Hearst Entertainment Inc., which invested in Burnett's production business in 2011. 

As part of the deal, MGM is acquiring all of Downey, Burnett and Hearst's interests in television shows "Survivor," "The Voice" and "The Bible," among others, MGM said Monday.

Financial terms of the arrangement were not disclosed. 

MGM is reviving the vaunted United Artists label for a new media venture that will consolidate the various elements included in the deal. Burnett, who along with his wife scored a faith-based film hit with this year's "Son of God," will serve as chief executive of United Artists Media Group.

"Mark and Roma are without a doubt the most successful and dominant players in unscripted...

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TV ratings: 'Sunday Night Football' scores; 'Madam Secretary' shines

NBC tackled the key 18-to-49-year-old demographic with "Sunday Night Football" but CBS won the night overall with two season premieres and the debut of its new show "Madam Secretary."

However, due to the nature of live sports, ratings for CBS, NBC and Fox (from 7 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.) are approximate. 

The NBC broadcast of the Pittsburgh Steelers- Carolina Panthers game earned a rating of 7.2 in the key demo and averaged about 18 million viewers, according to preliminary Nielsen ratings.

In metered markets, which reflect time-zone adjustments, the telecast averaged a 12.3 rating in the key demo. It was most popular in Pittsburgh (with a rating of 38.9) and Charlotte (with a rating of 31.1).

The network was No. 1 in the key demo with rating of 5.6 and second overall, with about 14.3 million viewers.

CBS topped the night with 17.4 million viewers and a rating of 3.8 in the key demo. Its NFL over-run, which lasted until about 8:04 p.m. EDT, helped draw in strong numbers for the season...

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