The Morning Fix: ‘Megamind’ is unstoppable. D.C. puts Comcast-NBC on front burner. Keith Olbermann at odds (as usual) with his MSNBC bosses.
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After the coffee. Before figuring out what 1980s classic Hollywood will ruin next.
The Skinny: Ever read a review and wonder if you were watching a different episode? Anyway, ‘Megamind’ stayed on top of the box office while ‘Unstoppable’ posted solid numbers and didn’t fly off the rails. Comcast inches closer to an executive structure for NBC, but will regulators take all the fun away?
Derailed! ‘Megamind’ continued to rule the box office. The 3-D animated cartoon from DreamWorks Animation easily brushed off a challenge from 20th Century Fox’s ‘Unstoppable.’ ‘Megamind’ took in just over $30 million while ‘Unstoppable,’ starring Denzel Washington in a story about a runaway train, made a respectable but not spectacular $23.5 million. Also opening was Universal’s ‘Skyline,’ which finished fourth, and ‘Morning Glory.’ The latter, starring Rachel McAdams, made only $9.6 million, and although it seems safe to say it will be heading to a Redbox near you soon, Paramount brass remain optimistic that it will have a slow build and ultimately deliver. Box-office analysis from the Los Angeles Times, Variety and Movie City News.
Better off Ted. The speculation of who will get what desk once Comcast closes on its deal to take over NBC Universal continues. On Friday, the Los Angeles Times popped that Ted Harbert, the veteran programming executive who currently oversees Comcast’s West Coast programming operations, including the E! cable network, will take a senior role running much of NBC’s business operations. He’ll be paired with former Showtime executive Robert Greenblatt, who will handle entertainment. In the meantime, the Wall Street Journal says the Federal Communications Commission and the Justice Department are putting their regulatory review into high gear in hopes of finishing by the end of the year. Both the WSJ and the Washington Post think there will be heavy conditions put on the deal to try to prevent Comcast from flexing its muscle on the Internet. Of course, the company will have a lot of muscle to flex in cable as well, so that should be an area of concern to regulators too.
Everyone wants to be a player. Doesn’t it seem like every six months or so there’s a story about new sources of funding coming into the movie business? Well, with the American Film Market going on last week, it’s time for another one. The New York Times looks at the latest chumps, er, invesors, looking to fufill their big-screen dreams.
Gee, looks like this cable thing will stick around. Reuters has noticed that cable TV is no longer just home to old reruns. Now its home to old talk-show hosts (Oprah, Conan). Seriously, the story talks about how hot Discovery and Scripps and other cable programming companies are on Wall Street. We learn that Peter Liguori, chief operating officer of Discovery, wants ‘audiences who are passionate.’ That’s good. I hear most other networks want viewers who just drift in and out.
Does Rupert Murdoch <3 Yahoo? With former News Corp. executive Ross Levinsohn landing a senior role at Yahoo, Business Insider is kicking off the News Corp.-wants-to-do-a-deal-with-Yahoo rumors. Well, it would give News Corp. a place to park ailing MySpace where its losses wouldn’t be so visible.
Just get along already. If you thought that because MSNBC’s suspension of Keith Olbermann ended quickly everything was hunky dory between the host and his bosses, guess again. The Daily Beast’s Howard Kurtz says Olbermann is at war with his network. Of course, anyone who has worked even remotely close to Olbermann will tell you he can be a drama queen and often clashes with brass and his colleagues. As usual there is the speculation that once Comcast takes over NBC, parent of MSNBC, the whip will come down on Olbermann’s antics. Everyone seems to forget that Comcast owns plenty of cable networks and no doubt deals with big egos all the time. They will ignore what needs to be ignored and smack what needs to be smacked.
Inside the Los Angeles Times: Turner programming chief Michael Wright almost ended up as Mallory’s boyfriend on ‘Family Ties.’ Instead, he oversees a growing empire of top cable shows. Disney has launched its online movie site. Sex rehab is a growth business.
-- Joe Flint
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