The Morning Fix: `Tourist’ keeps everyone at home! Icahn throws in towel on Lions Gate. Who to bug for Super Bowl tickets. Bewkes says don’t belive Netflix hype.
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After the coffee. Before finding out if I’m the only one who thinks ‘Black Swan’ is immensely overrated.
The Skinny: Saw ‘Black Swan’ over the weekend. So what’s all the excitement about? Was the pitch ‘Single White Female’ in a ballet with a little bit of ‘American Psycho’ thrown in? Time Warner Chief Executive Jeff Bewkes thinks Netflix is overrated. A look at the top 50 sports executives. How about a look at the worst sports executives? I know an owner of a particular football franchise in the nation’s capital will be pretty high on that list.
Not a tourist attraction. The Johnny Depp-Angelina Jolie thriller ‘The Tourist’ flopped at the box office as few wanted to take the trip. The movie from GK Films and Sony took in just $17 million in its opening weekend. The movie, starring two of Hollywood’s biggest stars, finished second behind Fox’s ‘The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader,’ which took in an estimated $24.5 million. That was also something of a disappointment, but it did have a strong opening overseas. Box-office analysis from the Los Angeles Times and Variety.
The folks who can get you Super Bowl tickets. Sports Business Journal has released its annual 50 most powerful people in sports. At the top is NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, followed by ESPN head George Bodenheimer. Other media executives making the cut include the network sports chiefs (Fox’s David Hill, NBC’s Dick Ebersol, CBS’s Sean McManus and Turner’s David Levy) and other media moguls. Interestingly, there are not that many actual owners on the list. Hal Steinbrenner, who now runs the Yankees, is all the way down at No. 35. Registration is required to read the list.
Focusing on focus. Gore brothers Alec and Tom, who fell short in the efforts to acquire Miramax, are now focusing on Universal Pictures’ specialty label Focus Features. Whether Universal wants to unload the unit remains to be seen. The Gores, who each have private equity firms, also kicked the tires at Overture. Details from the Los Angeles Times.
Don’t believe the hype. Netflix, which has seen its stock hit highs and just recently cut a deal to stream content from Walt Disney Co.'s ABC as well as some of its cable channels, is getting too much attention. That’s the view of a couple of top media executives including Time Warner Chief Executive Jeff Bewkes, who told the New York Times that ‘it’s a little bit like, is the Albanian army going to take over the world?”
Review of Comcast - NBC Universal is heating up. The Federal Communications Commission and the Justice Department, the two branches of government charged with deciding whether the merger of cable and broadband company Comcast Corp. with programmer NBC Universal is bad for the public and anti-competitive is gathering steam. More lawmakers are weighing in and executives from Comcast are setting up cots at the FCC. Coverage from the National Journal and Washington Post. If you want an overview of the issues and the review process, here’s Friday’s piece from the Los Angeles Times.
Time to shine. Amy Adams, one of the standouts of ‘The Fighter,’ may be ready to move up in weight class thanks to her strong performance. Vulture looks at what playing Mark Wahlberg’s brassy love interest with her own powerful punch could mean for her career.
Isn’t that the piont of being Google? While regulators fret over whether a Comcast - NBC Universal will have too much power, the Wall Street Journal looks at complaints that search giant Google favors its own content vs. competitors. Google ‘is trying to leverage its distribution power ... to take an inferior product and put it in front of the user,’ the article quotes Yelp Inc. Chief Executive Jeremy Stoppelman as saying. Many of the issues explored here mirror concerns about Comcast - NBC Universal, albeit on a different playing field.
Throwing in the towel. Hard to believe it yet but a recent court setback has investor Carl Icahn thinking the end is here for his hostile takeover effort of Lions Gate. The Hollywood Reporter quotes Icahn saying, “We recognize that it is now virtually impossible for us to prevail in the proxy contest.’
Inside the Los Angeles Times: Several actresses are managing to avoid the Hollywood practice of being considered over the hill once they get pass 40. Time for another ‘Black List’ of overlooked screenplays.
-- Joe Flint
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