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Box office: 'No Good Deed' at No. 1 with $24.5 million

“No Good Deed” swam past “Dolphin Tale 2” this weekend, as both films gave the box office a much-needed boost after a summer slump.

Director Sam Miller's "No Good Deed" finished the weekend on top with an estimated $24.5 million in ticket sales in the United States and Canada, with the aquatic family favorite at No. 2 with $16.5 million.

Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” added $8 million to its gross in the U.S. and Canada and became the first film of 2014 to reach the $300-million milestone. After its seventh weekend, the film has grossed about $305.9 million in the U.S. and Canada, bringing its worldwide total to $612 million.

Sony Pictures’ Screen Gems label had predicted “No Good Deed,” which cost a modest $13.2 million to make, would gross in the mid-to-high teens.

“We really believed the film would succeed … and it did, in a big way,” said Rory Bruer, distribution president for Sony Pictures.

The film follows Colin (Idris Elba), an escaped convict who invades the home of wife...

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Thursday Night Football draws 20.8 million viewers to CBS/NFL Network

CBS' expensive foray into Thursday prime-time NFL games is off to a strong start in the ratings.

The premiere of "Thursday Night Football" on CBS and the NFL Network scored an average of 20.8 million total viewers, according to Nielsen. That's an increase of nearly 90% from last year's comparable Thursday night game that aired only on the NFL Network.

Last week's Thursday kickoff on rival network NBC -- a highly anticipated battle between the 2013 Super Bowl champions the Seattle Seahawks and the Green Bay Packers -- delivered nearly 27 million.

Another big recent prime-time game, NBC's Sunday matchup between the Indianapolis Colts and the Denver Broncos, scored 23.5 million viewers.

About 3.4 million of the Ravens-Steelers game's 20.8 million total viewers watched via NFL Network's simulcast. That telecast earned a 1.6 rating among 18-to-49-year-old viewers. Taking out the NFL Network's numbers, CBS scored 17.4 million viewers and a rating of 5.9 in 18-49.

CBS has been adding more...

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TV ratings: 'Thursday Night Football' tackles 'Biggest Loser' debut

Final ratings for the debut of CBS' "Thursday Night Football" won't be out until later, but it clearly had an impact on rival NBC's season premiere of "The Biggest Loser."

The weight-loss-competition reality show's 16th season opened with 5.4 million total viewers on average, lower than last year's fall debut by about 25%, according to early numbers from Nielsen.

Among 18-to-49-year-old viewers, the category most prized by advertisers, the show scored a rating of 1.6, down 30% from last season's number.

In 2013, "Biggest Loser" premiered without competition from the National Football League. This season's opener also aired five weeks earlier than last season, which likely also depressed viewership.

"Biggest Loser" did hold the distinction of being the highest-rated non-sports network show of the night.

As for Thursday night's pigskin proceedings, the game between the Baltimore Ravens and the Pittsburgh Steelers unsurprisingly did much better than last year's Thursday opener, according...

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Hulu to stream L.A. Times' short-form videos

The Los Angeles Times announced Friday that millions of viewers will now be able to stream The Times’ short-form videos on Hulu.

Hulu, based in Los Angeles, is an online video service that has television shows, clips and movies on its website. It also offers a monthly subscription service, available on smart TVs, gaming consoles, mobile phones and tablets.

Jennifer Collins, Tribune Publishing’s vice president of digital development, said distributing the content on Hulu’s “innovative platform opens exciting new possibilities.”

The series, released under The Times' new Originals banner, is part of the company’s ongoing effort to expand its video storytelling.

Last week, The Times announced that it would begin its accelerated push into video journalism with Los Angeles Times Documentaries, which will air exclusively on DirecTV's Audience Network channel. The series kicks off Saturday with “A Soldier’s Wife,” a documentary developed through more than a year of reporting by a Times...

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'Dolphin Tale 2' to top 'Guardians of the Galaxy,' thriller 'No Good Deed'

“Dolphin Tale 2” may splash ahead of thriller “No Good Deed” and four-time box office winner “Guardians of the Galaxy” this weekend.

The aquatic family film is expected to gross up to $22 million, according to people who have seen pre-release audience surveys. This would put it in a tight competition for No. 1 with “No Good Deed,” which is expected to gross $19 million to $21 million.

Meanwhile, Marvel’s “Guardians” will likely add $7 million to its $297-million gross, putting it on track to be the first film of 2014 to pass the $300-million milestone.

Though the movie industry suffered its worst May-to-Labor Day season since 1997, when factoring in inflation, the newcomers will likely help shake off the summer slump.

With the lack of family films to choose from this summer, younger audiences and families are expected to gravitate to “Dolphin Tale 2.” On Thursday, the film had notched a positive 60% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

The film, which stars Ashley Judd and Morgan Freeman,...

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Hollywood gives Washington the red carpet treatment

Hollywood took its show to Washington this week.

Actor RJ Mitte of AMC's hit series "Breaking Bad" joined various other actors, makeup artists, costume designers and story board artists to give lawmakers a behind-the-scenes look at the "creativity, talent and innovation that drive the American film and television industry."

Titled "Beyond the Red Carpet: Movie and TV Magic Day," the Wednesday night event was billed as an industry showcase that featured various booths and exhibits at the Cannon House Office in the nation's capitol. 

Participants included a costume designer from AMC's series "Turn," a makeup artist from the Syfy series "Face Off," and supervising animators for the Elsa and Anna characters from Disney's hit movie "Frozen."

“The extraordinary range of skills and talents showcased today offers a glimpse of what the creative community does every day to bring great stories to audiences around the world," said Ruth Vitale, executive director of CreativeFuture, which advocates...

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SAG-AFTRA and producers reach deal on a new animation contract

SAG-AFTRA, the union representing Hollywood actors and other performers, has struck a deal with the major studios on new contracts covering animated production.

After four days of negotiations, SAG-AFTRA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers said they had reached agreements on new contracts for television animation.

The terms of the deals will be presented to the SAG-AFTRA National Board of Directors on Oct. 12, the groups said in a joint statement.

Contract terms were not disclosed. The agreements are expected to be modeled on a master contract covering movies and prime-time TV that was approved by members in August.

That contract included modest pay rate hikes and a slight increase in contributions that producers will make to the union's pension and health plans. SAG-AFTRA is Hollywood's largest union with more than 165,000 members.

Twitter: @rverrier

 

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YouTube U.S. ad revenue to cross $1 billion this year, EMarketer says

U.S. advertising revenue for YouTube, the biggest Internet video website, could reach $1.13 billion in 2014, according to a report from research firm EMarketer.

That would be an increase of 39% from 2013, EMarketer said Thursday.

However, the research company estimated that YouTube's share of the U.S. digital video advertising market will decline in the face of rising competition from companies including AOL and Yahoo, which are expanding their online video businesses.

This year, YouTube's estimated market share could decline to 18.9%, compared with 21.2% in 2013, the report said.

Meanwhile, EMarketer said video ad revenue for AOL could increase 20% this year, thanks to more full-length shows, short-form videos and professionally produced programs that attract advertisers. AOL commissioned its first long-form series, "Connected," in April.

Though Yahoo's ad sales are currently in decline, they're expected to grow in 2015, EMarketer said.

YouTube, which is owned by Google, declined to...

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TV ratings: Obama address delays programs; 'Big Brother' wins key demo

The season premiere of Gordon Ramsay's "Hell's Kitchen" helped Fox tie NBC for No. 1 Wednesday night in the key 18-to-49-year-old demographic, according to preliminary Nielsen ratings.

However, live coverage of President Obama's 9 p.m. EDT address delayed some programming, making ratings for ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox approximate.

In its two-hour run, "Hell's Kitchen" averaged a rating of 1.4 in the key demo (1.5 in its first hour, 1.3 in its second), down from last season's premiere, which earned a 2.0.

With Ramsay's reality show and the presidential address, the network averaged 4.2 million viewers, making it the third most watched overall. 

On NBC, the combination of Obama's address and "America's Got Talent" averaged 10.7 million viewers, making it the most-watched program of the night. It earned a rating of 2.0 in the key demo. 

With about 8 million viewers, the network was the most watched of the night.

Meanwhile, on CBS, "Big Brother"  once again won in the key demo, with a rating...

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YouTube's '@SummerBreak': reality TV for the social-media generation

It's a sweltering 90-degree day, and 17-year-old Dash Dobrofsky, who normally spends his summer days hanging near Tower 26 on the beach in Santa Monica, is inside a Melrose Avenue cake shop, a crisp, white apron over his bro tank and a camera crew over his shoulder. He and his friends Jacob and Ava, each with their own unfrosted cake, are in the middle of a decorating session when things get competitive between the two male cast members of the teen YouTube reality show "@SummerBreak."

Dash sketches a black frosting mustache on his cake. Ava decorates hers with small, intricate floral designs. Jacob starts to write all three of their names on his, but then leaves out Dash. It's an Ava and Jacob cake now.

"Dash, you don't make the cut," Jacob says. "Your name doesn't fit on my masterpiece." The three friends laugh, cut into their cakes and pull out their phones. Selfie time. They click and hit "send."

But none of the photos of themselves or their cake masterpieces ever makes it to their...

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'Late Show With David Letterman' ex-intern drops class-action lawsuit

A former unpaid intern for “Late Show With David Letterman” has dropped her class-action lawsuit against CBS and Letterman’s production company, Worldwide Pants, days after filing the suit.

The suit “is discontinued in its entirety without prejudice,” says the notice of discontinuance filed Wednesday in New York Supreme Court.

Mallory Musallam’s lawsuit, filed on behalf of six years’ worth of unpaid “Late Show” interns, accused the defendants of violating minimum-wage and overtime laws. It alleged that they intentionally minimized labor costs by giving work to unpaid interns instead of having paid employees stay extra hours or hiring additional employees to do it.

As a “Late Show” intern from approximately September through December 2008, Musallam typically worked more than 40 hours a week and did not receive any pay or academic or vocational training, the suit said. Her tasks, it says, included “research for interview material, deliver film clips from libraries, running errands,...

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Time Warner chief Jeff Bewkes rules out HBO spin-off

Some on Wall Street have been urging Time Warner to spin off its crown jewel -- HBO -- into a separate company.

But Jeff Bewkes, chief executive of Time Warner, said he had no intention of hiving off HBO.

"We are not going to do that," Bewkes said Wednesday during the 23rd annual Goldman Sachs Communacopia Conference in New York. 

Bewkes also said he wasn't interested in a partial IPO or setting up a tracking stock for investors who wanted to own a piece of the premium pay channel.

Instead, Bewkes said, he was more focused on having the company's three business units -- HBO, Turner Broadcasting and Warner Bros. in Burbank -- work together. Setting up a stock for HBO would be too disruptive.

Time Warner has faced pressure on Wall Street to detail its strategy to grow its earnings and share price ever since Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox made an unsolicited bid earlier this summer for Time Warner. 

Time Warner refused to entertain discussions with Fox about a takeover. Fox's bid then...

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