After the coffee. Before getting my cat to stop eating my Mac power cord.
The Skinny: I took a break from the Colts-Broncos game Sunday night when it looked like a blowout and found myself getting sucked into the Food Network's new show "Guy's Grocery Games." I learned how to make spaghetti and meatballs without spaghetti and meat. Today's roundup includes the weekend box office recap. Also, a look at how Sinclair Broadcast Group continues to grow despite complaints from media watchdogs that it is twisting FCC rules to its advantage. Also, a profile of director Steve McQueen.
Daily Dose: After years of managing Aerosmith lead singer Steven Tyler, it'd be perfectly understandable that Eric Sherman would want to go on a permanent vacation. So his new job is appropriately a big change of pace as Sherman becomes chief executive of Veria Living, a U.S. unit of Indian media giant Zee Group. Veria Living is a a health and wellness cable channel that is seeking to grow its reach here. Sherman is a former Viacom executive who helped build VH1 Classic, among other channels.
"Gravity" slays "Carrie." Even scary "Carrie" couldn't knock "Gravity" down. The space drama easily took first place with $31 million. "Carrie" was supposed to also top the $30 million mark but couldn't even reach $20 million. Way to go, box office predictors! Also enduring a tough weekend was "Escape Plan," which made less than $10 million, and "The Fifth Estate," which didn't even crack $2 million. Box office recaps from the Los Angeles Times and Hollywood Reporter.
Sinclair's strategy. Most people outside of the TV industry have never heard of Sinclair Broadcast Group, but the Baltimore-based company is the biggest owner and operator of local television stations. Besides owning lots of stations, Sinclair also manages scores more through complex partnerships that media watchdogs say skirt the spirit of Federal Communications Commission regulations. The Wall Street Journallooks at the scrutiny of Sinclair. And just to show you how things don't change (and how old I am), here is a Wall Street Journal story on Sinclair that I wrote back in 2004 (subscription required).
What costs what. When Variety landed Ad Age reporter Brian Steinberg, he also brought with him his annual survey of what commercials cost in prime time. While there are other surveys, Steinberg's is typically the most reliable of the bunch. This year's chart won't make broadcast network programming executives happy. The top three shows in terms of commercial prices are professional football and AMC's "The Walking Dead."
Scary money. Blumhouse Productions seems to have found the right formula to make horror pay big time. The New York Times notes that the company has spent less than $30 million on five movies that have generated more than $1 billion in worldwide box office. The secret: Everyone works for scale and if a movie is huge, talent gets a piece of the prize. “So basically people work for free,” Jason Blum said.
Not done yet. Last week, 20th Century Fox marketing chief Oren Aviv was bounced from the movie studio and replaced by Paul Hanneman and Tomas Jegeus. Now it looks like longtime chief creative officer Tony Sella is also headed out of Fox. Details from Deadline Hollywood.
Inside the Los Angeles Times: John Horn on how director Steve McQueen spared no detail for his gripping new movie "12 Years a Slave."
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