The Morning Fix: Box office boom! 2010 predictions. TV's remake frenzy. Charlie Sheen's wild weekend. Time Warner Cable-Fox bout headed toward final round.
Box office boom. Apparently, we can only take so much time hanging with our relatives! Thanks to "Avatar," "Sherlock Holmes" and, yes, the "squeakquel" to "Alvin and the Chipmunks," Hollywood had a huge weekend. The total box office was almost $300 million, which set a new three-day-weekend record. The only movie company groaning was the Weinstein Co., whose "Nine" premiered to a soft $5.5 million. Analysis from the Los Angeles Times, the Hollywood Reporter and Hot Blog.
Who will blink first? The battle between Time Warner Cable and New Corp.'s Fox over carrying several of the latter's channels, including Fox and FX, is heading right to the wire with no resolution in sight. At issue is the price News Corp. wants Time Warner Cable to pay to carry its Fox TV stations, including KTTV Los Angeles. The price tag is around $1 per subscriber, per month. Both sides have launched vicious ad campaigns, and even politicians have weighed in on the feud. The deadline for a deal is midnight New Year's Eve. Most times, these fights get resolved, or negotiations are extended at the last minute, although both sides here seem willing to walk away -- until they hear from viewers and advertisers, we're guessing. The latest on the tiff from Variety (yes, registration required, d'oh!).
Closing windows. Those in Hollywood's distribution chain are at odds with one another over "windows." That's an industry term referring to the window of time between the release of a product on one platform and its availability on another. The window between a theatrical release and DVD, for example, keeps getting shorter, much to the chagrin of theater owners. The Los Angeles Times takes a lengthy look at the issue and everyone's respective arguments. The Wall Street Journal follows up with its own piece on the topic.
Out of ideas. Despite the lackluster track record for remakes ("Melrose Place," Bionic Woman"), the TV industry keeps hoping to recapture lightning in a bottle. In the works for next season, per the New York Times, is a new version of "The Rockford Files" (please, no), and "Charlie's Angels." Alas, despite their reliance on making the old new again, it appears that no current network or studio execs want to talk about the trend since the only people quoted are oft-used pop-culture professor Robert Thompson and producer (and former NBC chief) Warren Littlefield.
End of the decade means ... stories about the end of the decade, of course. USA Today looks at how cable and the Internet changed television.
Charlie Sheen's latest mishap. Bad boy Charlie Sheen (wait, at his age maybe it should be bad man), the star of CBS' "Two and a Half Men" was arrested in Colorado on Christmas after an alleged altercation with his wife. We'll see if this latest incident turns off viewers. Details from the Associated Press.
Inside the Los Angeles Times: We take our shot at making predictions about what lies ahead for the media business in 2010. Just don't hold us to any of them. A look at Robert Downey Jr.'s version of Sherlock Holmes. Nothing personal, but I'll take Basil Rathbone any day.
-- Joe Flint