The Morning Fix: ‘Cars 2’ cruises! ‘Bad Teacher’ gets A! Cable’s power drain.


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After the coffee. Before applying for a job to be a box-office forecaster. It seems accuracy is not a requirement.

The Skinny: Another weekend of blown box-office projections as both ‘Cars 2’ and ‘Bad Teacher’ do better than expected. If I were a gambler, I’d cry fix! In other news, the NFL is shopping a new TV package for Thursday night, and that cable box under your TV is wasting a lot of electricity.


Nobody knows anything. Proving once again that box-office projections are something of a sham, ‘Cars 2,’ the latest from Disney’s Pixar, took in almost $70 million at the box office. That easily beat the estimates of Disney, which were intentionally low so that, no matter what ‘Cars 2’ did, the studio could say it beat expectations. Also doing better than expected, per the so-called box office experts who never actually put their names to their predictions, was Sony’s ‘Bad Teacher,’ with Cameron Diaz and Justin Timberlake, which made $31 million. Tumbling from its disappointing opening of a week ago was Warner Bros.’ ‘Green Lantern.’ My hunch is Ryan Reynolds will be sticking with the romantic comedies for awhile and in a year or two will pop up in buddy-cop film. Box-office coverage from the Los Angeles Times, Deadline Hollywood and Movie City News.

Are you ready for some more football? In a move that had been expected for some time, the National Football League is looking to pump some more money out of the television-rights well. The league, which already has one Thursday package in the second half of the season on its own NFL Network, now wants Thursday night games on all season. Besides the NFL Network, odds are that Comcast’s soon-to-be-renamed Versus channel would be a likely candidate. Turner, which used to carry football on its TNT channel and Fox’s FX, will also likely take a look. I will be in the minority and argue that the NFL is risking long-term damage to its property by over-saturating the market with yet another TV package. If I were CBS or Fox, I would also look to pay a little less since one more national package takes away from the hot games they’ll get every Saturday afternoon. In the end, the almighty dollar will win out. More from Sports Business Journal.

Juice wasters. Sometimes reporters are so busy looking up in the trees for hidden stories, no one else can see that they’re missing some low-hanging fruit. On Sunday, the New York Times found a big old grapefruit just hanging there in how much electricity those cable boxes hooked up to our television are sucking up. The problem, of course, is we keep the boxes on all the time even when the TV isn’t on and there isn’t a ‘sleep’ mode that would save some power. Seems to me that new, energy-efficient boxes should be a priority for the set-top-box manufacturers. Of course, we consumers may also have to chip in by being willing to wait (gasp) a few seconds for a box to warm up before we can watch TV.

Keep the light shining. While Warner Bros.’ ‘The Green Lantern’ hasn’t had the brightest box-office performance, that’s not stopping the studio from planning a sequel. Of course, what is Warner Bros. going to say right now? If they say no, then that’s admitting it didn’t work. They can say they’re planning one now and no one will bother to notice if it never shows up. More from the Hollywood Reporter.

Another term. Taylor Hackford was elected to another two-year term to run the Directors Guild of America. More on his win and what’s ahead from Variety.

The son also rises. James Murdoch, who one day may run all of News Corp., wants a bigger media giant to control. The Financial Times reports that the born-on-third-base Murdoch said at a conference in Cannes, France, that ‘as the competitive set shifts, we’re not big enough’ to compete with giants like Google.

Inside the Los Angeles Times: One of gangster Whitey Bulger’s former henchmen is working on a screenplay.

-- Joe Flint

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