The Morning Fix: No green for 'Green Zone!' A Glenn Beck backlash? FCC to unveil grand broadband plan. RIP, Peter Graves
The future is now. This week the Federal Communications Commission is expected to submit its much anticipated and controversial plans for a broadband nation. Part of the FCC's goal is to bring broadband access to those parts of the country that lack access. But elements of the plan will probably be met with resistance from big media companies, and broadcasters are already fighting a push from the FCC to take some of their spectrum back and auction if off for mobile devices. The New York Times on the FCC's plans and the battles it may face.
"The Green Zone" doesn't get a lot of green. Another big disappointment for Universal Pictures as the Paul Greengrass-Matt Damon Iraq war drama "The Green Zone" flopped in its opening weekend, delivering less than $15 million in domestic box office. Since it cost more than $100 million to make and market the movie (yes, posters that say from the director and the star of the Jason Bourne movies apparently is considered marketing), this one will be bleeding a lot of red ink. Meanwhile, Walt Disney's "Alice in Wonderland" continues to steamroll. Box office breakdowns from the Los Angeles Times, Dave Poland's Hot Blog and Hollywood Reporter.
That's not chump change. Bloomberg reports that News Corp. is poised to make as much as $400 million off of Jim Cameron's ground-breaking 3-D movie "Avatar." That figure includes the pay-TV and DVD cut for News Corp. and, Bloomberg says, represents about 40% cut of the as much as $1 billion the movie is expected to earn. The others poised to make some bucks off the movie are investors Dune Entertainment and Ingenious Media Holdings.Inside the trades. The New York Times has another 'bleak future for Hollywood trade paper' stories. Both Variety and Hollywood Reporter are struggling, and both owners seem to think they'll turn things around. Of course, only the Hollywood Reporter seems to be owned by someone who wants to own it. Variety's owner, Reed Publishing, has been looking for buyers unsuccessfully for some time now. Meanwhile, Dave Poland's Hot Blog thinks Variety editor Tim Gray's latest response about the flap over the film review for "Iron Cross" being pulled and then put back online needs a lot of examination. There's supposed to be some other big piece on the trades coming from somewhere, but despite promises, that blog post has not emerged. And yes, the usual disclaimer that I once worked at Variety.
A Glenn Beck backlash? Washington Post media columnist Howard Kurtz reports that despite his big success, there is concern inside Fox News Channel about Glenn Beck and his show. The story says some Fox News staffers fear Beck's over-the-top rants and theatrics are tainting the journalistic efforts of the rest of the channel. While there are no doubt people at Fox News who are not fans of Beck (just as we're sure there are folks at MSNBC who don't love Keith Olbermann), Kurtz's story does not have any quotes from Fox News people on the record or any anonymous quote saying there is worry about what his show says about the rest of the network. There isn't even an obligatory paragraph that says, "three people who could not be named because they were not authorized to offer negative views on one of their co-workers said Beck's show is a joke."
Inside the Los Angeles Times: Disney Studios is pulling the plug on Robert Zemeckis' ImageMovers Digital studio, which is bad news to the 450 people who work there. KCAL's prime-time news show continues to chug along after 20 years. Peter Graves, star of "Mission Impossible," but perhaps best remembered for his ability to poke fun at himself in "Airplane," dies at 83.
-- Joe Flint