The Morning Fix: ‘Breaking Dawn’ has bite. Wood case reopened.
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After the coffee. Before sending Demi Moore a feel-better card.
The Skinny: Tim Tebow can’t do much well but win. As a long-suffering Redskins fan, that’s certainly good enough for me. Friday’s headlines include a probe of a casting director hiding from his past, previews of the weekend box office and the reopening of the investigation into Natalie Wood’s death.
The past keeps knocking. Jason James Murphy, who made national headlines in 1996 when he kidnapped and molested an 8-year-old boy, has been working in Hollywood as a casting director and worked on several movies that featured children. While Murphy is a registered sex offender, he set up shop under an alias -- Jason James. Although there is no evidence that he has done anything inappropriate as a casting director, California law forbids sex offenders whose victims were younger than 16 from ‘working directly and in an unaccompanied setting with minor children on more than an incidental and occasional basis or have supervision or disciplinary power over minor children.’ The unregistered name change, which seems designed to cover his tracks, also runs afoul of California law. More from the Los Angeles Times.
Vampires to eat penguins. ‘Breaking Dawn,’ the latest installment of the ‘Twilight’ vampire saga, is expected to devour ‘Happy Feet Two,’ the animated movie about dancing penguins. ‘Breaking Dawn’ will generate around $150 million, according to the box office prognosticators. Summit Entertainment is being more conservative and predicting between $110 million and $120 million. ‘Happy Feet 2’ is looking at box office of $30 million and $35 million. I won’t be seeing either and instead will try to catch ‘The Descendants.’ Box office advance looks from the Los Angeles Times and Variety.
Game changer. Major League Baseball is going to add another wild card slot to the postseason. The move will mean more playoff games and -- of course -- more TV money. Also, the Houston Astros are leaving the National League Central for the American League West. As a traditionalist, I’m against this. But then again, if I had my way there would be more day games, no designated hitter and no teams in Florida! More from the Los Angeles Times and The Wall Street Journal.
No story? Last week, The Wall Street Journal reported that Howard Stern was ‘in serious negotiations’ to become a judge on NBC’s music talent show ‘America’s Got Talent’ at a price tag of $15 million a year. At the ‘Breaking Dawn’ premiere in New York, Stern told the New York Post that ‘no one’s told me anything,” adding, “I heard that they want me for the job.... I’m honored that they would consider me.” So did the WSJ reach or is Stern being coy? We’ll know soon enough.
Running out of string. Sony Corp. Chief Executive Howard Stringer is under intense scrutiny as betting on his future at the consumer electronics and entertainment giant has practically become a sport. BusinessWeek looks at Stringer’s challenges in a lengthy piece and notes that there’s ‘more to Sony’s problems than acts of God and currency traders.’ This is the article to print out and read at breakfast or lunch.
Raising money. Miramax is looking to raise about $550 million, in part to pay a dividend of about $140 million to the independent studio’s new owners including Colony Capital, according to Bloomberg. Too complicated for me to comprehend all the financial details at this early hour.
Inside the Los Angeles Times: The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is opening a new investigation into the 1981 death of Natalie Wood. Betsy Sharkey says there is no blood flowing in the new ‘Twilight’ movie ‘Breaking Dawn.’
-- Joe Flint
Follow me on Twitter. It’s been a long week and I need a lift. Twitter.com/JBFlint