The Morning Fix: ‘Thor’ roars! Paula and Simon together again! OWN not living best life.
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After the coffee. Before finding out if your pilot has a prayer.
The Skinny: This is the week the networks get cracking on their fall schedules. Get ready to hear lots of bad info on what shows will make the final cut. So glad I don’t have to obsess on this stuff anymore. At the box office, ‘Thor’ had a mighty roar.
‘Thor’ soars! Paramount and Marvel’s ‘Thor’ roared to a $66-million opening weekend at the box office. It stomped romantic comedies ‘Something Borrowed’ and ‘Jumping the Broom’ into submission. Although the $13.7 million ‘Jumping the Broom’ pulled in was decent given the cost of the movie, ‘Something Borrowed,’ starring Kate Hudson, was considered a flop with its $13.2 million. Still in the fast lane in its second weekend was ‘Fast Five,’ which took in more than $30 million and finished second overall. Also opening in 22 theaters was ‘The Beaver,’ starring Mel Gibson as a man who starts communicating through a puppet. Directed by Jodie ‘Stand by Your Mel’ Foster, the movie only took in $104,000. Box-office analysis from the Los Angeles Times, Movie City News, Deadline Hollywood and Indie Wire.
I’d like to look under the cushions of their couches. The Wall Street Journal takes a look at highly paid chief executives, many of whom are in the media industry. Viacom Chief Executive Philippe Dauman leads the way with a compensation package valued at north of $80 million. If you wonder how executives spend their money, the New York Post’s Page Six details all the cash that recently ousted NBC Universal President Jeff Zucker laid out for his kid’s bar mitzvah. What happened to a reception in the basement of the temple and a party at home? Worked for everyone in my class.
Not living its best life. The slow start of OWN -- the 5-month-old cable network co-owned by Discovery Communications and Oprah Winfrey -- has led to a quick hook for its chief executive, Christina Norman. On Friday, Discovery and Winfrey said Discovery Chief Operating Officer Peter Liguori would take over the network while a search for a successor to Norman went into full swing. With Winfrey’s daytime talk show soon ending, she too will become more involved in the channel, although frankly it sounds like a cop-out every time she passes the buck on OWN’s small ratings. Given how competitive the landscape is and that Winfrey’s name is on the channel but she really isn’t there all that much, what were she and Discovery expecting out of the gate anyway? Coverage from the Los Angeles Times as well as analysis from yours truly. Additional reporting from the New York Times.
Inside Pixar. The New Yorker heads out to Pixar HQ to see the inner workings of the hit factory and try to explain John Lasseter’s success.
Yes, Netflix can be a friend too. If you knew someone who came by your house, looked at all the books you had that no one had read in years and then started throwing money at you, wouldn’t you smile? That’s what Netflix is doing by buying old reruns from companies such as CBS and Warner Bros. That doesn’t mean these same companies are going to let Netflix get at their current bestsellers, just like no one is getting at my Charles Bukowski collection. More on Netflix from the Wall Street Journal.
Let the dance begin. The broadcast and cable networks are posturing big time about how they are going to get big increases from advertisers when commercial time for the fall season is sold in the coming weeks in what is known as the upfront market. Ad Age takes a look at the market and explains why, although there is plenty to be hopeful about, there are some dark clouds out there.
How these guys became friends. Usually, ESPN and Fox Sports are rivals trying to outbid each other for big sports properties so they can charge more to cable and satellite operators, who then turn around and gouge us folks. When it came to a new deal for the Pac-12 conference, the two sports giants teamed up on a $3-billion deal. Sports Business Journal looks behind the scenes at how the partnership came together. You will need to subscribe to get past the first paragraph.
Groupon and Live Nation form venture. Groupon, the global coupon and discount center, is teaming up with Live Nation, the concert promoter, on a new venture to sell concert tickets. Details from USA Today.
-- Joe Flint
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For the record: Christina Norman’s title at OWN was chief executive, not president. This post has been corrected to reflect that.