The Morning Fix: ‘Think Like a Man’ on top. Chernin’s new friends.


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After the coffee. Before trying to remember life when ‘The Hunger Games’ wasn’t the No. 1 movie.

The Skinny: My dentist sent me a survey after my last visit. I don’t know why, but it seems tacky. It’s not a gym or a restaurant. If I have a problem with the service, you’ll know it. Monday’s headlines include a new box-office champ, a big shakeup at Walt Disney Co. and Peter Chernin getting some new money.


Daily Dose: One expects morning shows to be shills for their parent companies. Seldom does a day go by when NBC’s ‘Today’ isn’t promoting some NBC program or Universal movie. But aren’t the Sunday news magazines supposed to be more sacred? Maybe not. On Sunday, NBC’s ‘Meet the Press’ not only had ‘Tonight Show’ host Jay Leno, but it devoted a segment aimed at hyping the network’s coverage of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Thinking like a winner. After four weekends on top, ‘The Hunger Games’ was knocked out of first place by the romantic comedy ‘Think Like a Man,’ which took in $33 million in its debut weekend. ‘Man’s’ performance was much stronger than industry analysts predicted. Coming in second was ‘The Lucky One,’ a tear-jerker staring Zac Efron, which made almost $23 million. ‘The Hunger Games’ fell to third, with $14.5 million. Box-office recaps from the Los Angeles Times and the Hollywood Reporter.

Chernin’s new partner. Providence Equity Partners is investing $200 million for a large stake in the Chernin Group, the production company founded by former News Corp. Chief Operating Officer Peter Chernin. The cash infusion is to be used for acquisitions of media companies here and abroad. Providence Equity will also get seats on the board of the Chernin Group, while Chernin will become a senior advisor to the private equity firm. Details from the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times.

Ross out as boss. Last Friday (which is usually when companies release bad news), Walt Disney Co. said Rich Ross was out as head of its movie studio. Ross, who took the job in 2009 after a successful stint running Disney Channel, struggled with some big flops (‘John Carter,’ ‘Prom’) and had put executives in place who failed to win the confidence of Hollywood producers. Analysis of what went wrong for Ross from the Los Angeles Times, Deadline Hollywood and Variety. No replacement has been made, but I am available. I promise no $200 million write-downs like the one Disney said it’d take on ‘John Carter.’

The spreading scandal. British regulators are now investigating satellite broadcaster British Sky Broadcasting, which is 39% owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. BSkyB has admitted to hacking into emails for stories but is trying to make the case that it was serving the public interest by using the hacking to expose wrongdoing. News Corp.’s British tabloids are already mired in an ethics scandal for phone hacking. More from Reuters.

Hot summer ahead. We’re still a few weeks away from the official start of the summer movie season, but speculation has already started that it could be one of the biggest ever, thanks to ‘The Avengers’ as well as new ‘Batman’ and ‘Men in Black’ movies. The Wrap with a summer preview.

Inside the Los Angeles Times: A preview of CinemaCon, the conference at which theater owners and Hollywood big shots get together to break bread.

-- Joe Flint

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