After the coffee. Before trying to take the rest of the day off.
The Skinny: Yes, you read that right. After this column is live, it is my hope to take the day off -- so don't make any news. My highlight of the day should be a new box from Time Warner Cable. I'll let you know how it works. Today's roundup includes the weekend box-office preview and a look at how "The Shawshank Redemption" continues to generate big bucks two decades after its theatrical release.
Daily Dose: Amazon is offering some folks a free monthlong trial of its Fire TV set-top box. Media analyst Rich Greenfield of BTIG said he got an email from Amazon and that the company is even offering a free return if the user does not want to keep it. Amazon has also rolled out a big ad campaign for Fire, starring Gary Busey. Greenfield says he has been impressed with Fire, especially its voice navigation function, which is what the Busey ad showcases as well
The X factor. "X-Men: Days of Future Past" should blow everything else out of the water at the box office this weekend. The most optimistic industry forecasts have the latest "X-Men movie taking in well over $120 million during the holiday weekend. 20th Century Fox, the studio releasing the movie, is being far less bold in its predictions. It says the movie should make around $95 million. That's what's known as lowering expectations, kids. By the way, you know I've never seen an "X-Men" movie. No reason to break that streak yet. Also opening is the romantic comedy "Blended" starring Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore. Box-office previews from the Los Angeles Times and Variety.
Got tickets? Like crazed rock 'n' roll fans, film buffs descend on Cannes every spring not just to eye celebrities but to weasel their way into screenings. Unlike most film festivals, Cannes tickets are not made available to the general public, so people have to get clever or be a really good beggar to get to see a movie along with the cool people. The Los Angeles Times on what it takes to make it into the theater.
Steering clear of soccer. With the World Cup starting in a couple of weeks, some studios are being careful about releasing movies so they won't get trampled at the box office because everyone will be glued to the TV or rocking a stadium. Business Week on the World Cup effect on the global movie business.
Never enough lobbyists. On Thursday, I met with a young man interested in a career in journalism. While I never downplay the glamour of the job (including getting up at 5:30 a.m. every day to write little summaries of other people's stories), I should have told him to become a lobbyist. According to The Hill, Comcast has 40 different lobbying firms on its payroll. As long as the cable giant keeps buying stuff, it's a growth industry!
Return on investment. For many years you couldn't turn on TNT without catching "The Shawshank Redemption," the prison drama starring Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman. But how the movie, which never did much at the box office, got to be a staple of cable TV and what that has meant for Castle Rock, which made the movie, and current owner Warner Bros. and the cast and crew makes for this interesting read from the Wall Street Journal.
Follow me on Twitter. Even when I'm off, I'm on. @JBFlint.