The Morning Fix: ‘Inception’ throws water on ‘Salt.’ Weinstein Co. still alive in Miramax hunt. Disney going after Playdom. TV critics say slim pickings this fall


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After the coffee. Before finding out who is behind that annoying ‘Who Do You Want to Be’ radio ad and hunting them down.

‘Inception’ wins box-office election. Christopher Nolan’s ‘Inception’ was No. 1 at the box office for the second week in a row with $43.5 million, dropping only 31%. The Warner Bros. thriller easily beat Sony’s ‘Salt,’ which came in second with a solid $36.5 million in its first weekend. ‘Ramona and Beezus’ took in just $8 million; sadly, the characters may be more familiar to parents and (gasp) grandparents than the kids it was targeting. Box-office analysis from the Los Angeles Times, Hot Blog and Hollywood Reporter.


Oh great, more ads before the movie starts. Screenvision, a company responsible for advertising on the big screen (you know, those spots that pop up that you mostly ignore while you’re waiting for the movie you spent over $10 to see to begin), wants to jazz up the commercials. By Screenvision’s estimates, it has a captive audience of almost 50 million people a month, and it’s time to exploit that with new ads, including spots that could encourage moviegoers to whip out their cellphones and download goodies. So let’s get this straight -- at the same time the movie theaters rightfully tell us to turn off our cellphones, they’ll run spots telling us to use them? More on Screenvision’s schemes from the New York Times.

The never-ending story. Last Friday, the New York Post said Fortress Investment Group, the fund backing Weinstein Co.’s efforts to reacquire Miramax from Walt Disney Co., was pulling out. Now the Wrap and Hollywood Reporter say Fortress has issued a statement denying that it is severing ties with Weinstein Co. Of course, Ron Tutor and his backer Colony Capital are still in the driver’s seat, at least for now. Maybe Carl Icahn can jump in and really shake things up. (That’s a joke, folks. Icahn’s busy enough trying to takeover Lions Gate.)

Tribune reluctant to embrace pay wall. Randy Michaels, chief executive of Los Angeles Times parent company Tribune Co., told the Wall Street Journal that he does not ‘believe the economics of a pay wall are going to work, unless your content is unique, highly differentiated, difficult to duplicate. As good as I believe our content is, if there are reasonable substitutes available for free, it’s tough to get people to pay.’

Overture closes its doors. Last week, Liberty Media’s movie production company, Overture Films, decided to call it a day after just three years. Chris Albrecht, the new head of Overture parent Starz, had been expected to pull the plug since taking over. Meanwhile, Ryan Kavanaugh’s production company, Relativity Media, will take over Overture’s marketing and distribution operations. More on Overture’s demise and Relativity’s rise from the Los Angeles Times and its columnist, Patrick Goldstein, as well as Hot Blog and the Wrap.

Slim pickings this September. Later this week, the broadcast networks will start hyping their fall season to the nation’s TV critics (yes, there are still a few left). Broadcasting & Cable surveys some critics and finds that while last year there was lots of excitement about several shows, including ABC’s ‘Modern Family’ and ‘The Middle,’ Fox’s ‘Glee’ and CBS’ ‘The Good Wife,’ there’s a little less to get excited about this year. I’m still viewing my pilots, but must say I was intrigued by NBC’s ‘The Event’ and thought CBS’ ‘Blue Bloods’ was a serviceable, if not a little formulaic, police drama. It’s the kind of show you watch when you don’t have a date on Friday night.

Inside the Los Angeles Times: CBS Entertainment chief Nina Tassler’s road map from the Berkshires to Hollywood. Disney nears a deal to buy Playdom, a company that makes games for social networks. John Horn on the next generation of risk taking directors.


-- Joe Flint

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