‘Smaug’ beating ‘Wolf.’ Connecticut shows ESPN the love.

After the coffee. Before a dreaded trip to the DMV.

The Skinny: Did everyone have a nice Christmas? I saw “Anchorman 2,” which was better than the trailer but about 30 minutes too long. I also watched five episodes of the new season of Showtime’s “Episodes.” Happy to report that it’s still very funny. We’ve got a light Friday Morning Fix for you since much of the business remains in holiday mode. Stories include box-office updates, price increases from two big pay-TV providers and a chat with Julia Roberts.

Daily Dose: Since much of the world is busy eating leftovers and playing with toys, today’s Daily Dose is also a leftover from yesterday. In case you missed it, here’s my story about a distribution fight between the Weather Channel and DirecTV that may get stormy.


Heavy ‘Smaug.’ Looks like I’ll have to continue to make Smaug puns for at least another few days as “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” nipped “The Wolf of Wall Street” on Christmas Day at the box office and could win the long weekend. By the way, I’m still looking for someone to go with me to “Grudge Match.” Maybe I should hold a contest. Box-office updates from the Los Angeles Times and Hollywood Reporter. Also, looks like Universal will take a bath on “47 Ronin.” More on that from Variety and Reuters.

RELATED: 60 images from ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’

The new dealmakers. Not every movie mogul eats lunch at the Ivy and has a house in Malibu. Meet Ric Reitz, part of a new breed of dealmakers who help studios and production companies land tax breaks for location shoots. Reitz, based in Georgia, is the guy to see for moviemakers looking for incentives from state lawmakers. Of course, out here Reitz isn’t so popular as runaway production means a lot of jobs leaving the state. The Los Angeles Times on how Reitz has become a best friend to the film industry.

Show me the tax breaks! The New York Times looks at the love affair the state of Connecticut has with Walt Disney Co.'s ESPN empire, which is based there. In recent years, the state has provided ESPN with some sweet tax breaks to make sure the company stays in Bristol. Of course, the flip side is ESPN is one of the biggest employers in the state and brought a lot of love to a troubled region. So is the state going too far or just making smart deals for a hugely important company? To paraphrase Fox News, you decide.

Coal in your stocking. Done paying all your Christmas bills? Hope so, because if you are a Dish Network or DirecTV subscriber your monthly bills are about to up. Both satellite broadcasters are raising prices because their own costs to acquire programming is skyrocketing. If you’re thinking maybe I’ll drop them for cable, think again. Odds are the cable guys will raise their prices too. Coverage from CNN Money.

Will anyone be riding a horse? If you are a regular radio listener or cable TV watcher, you’ve already heard your fair share of ads for electronic cigarettes. And if you grew up in a world with no cigarette ads, it is a little jarring. Well, next year there may be a big surge in ads for the electronic pipes as big tobacco companies launch their own brands. Of course, not everyone is happy with this and there is a push for the Food and Drug Administration to ban commercials for e-smokes. More from the Wall Street Journal.

Inside the Los Angeles Times: Kenneth Turan on “August: Osage County.” Julia Roberts talks motherhood and “August: Osage County.”

Follow me in 2013 for a great 2014. @JBFlint.