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The Morning Fix: 'The Hobbit' has big hole to fill! Memorial Day box-office blues. CBS eyes India

June 1, 2010 |  7:10 am
After the coffee. Before figuring out if the NBA finals will go six or seven games.

Maybe they just aren't that in to you. Despite tons of hype and little competition at the box office, "Sex and the City 2" took in just $37.1 million from Friday through Monday. It's five-day take was less than what the original movie did in its first three days. Of course, other than Carrie Bradshaw's outfits, it was not a super-expensive movie. Still, the medicine studio executives were taking after that opening was an aspirin, not a morning-after pill. So where were all the single ladies? Maybe at "Shrek Forever After," which finished first. They sure weren't dragged by their boyfriends to "Prince of Persia" as the Jerry Bruckheimer action movie took in just $37.8 million. Overall, it was the worst Memorial Day weekend for Hollywood in 17 years. Me, I saw Michael Douglas in "Solitary Man." Can't decide if his character is something to aspire to or run from. More box-office analysis from the Los Angeles Times, Hollywood Reporter and Hot Blog

'Hobbit' director takes a hike. Guillermoro del Toro has quit as director of MGM's "The Hobbit," citing numerous production delays tied to the financial woes of the troubled studio. "The Hobbit" is a two-part prequel to Peter Jackson's "Lord of the Rings" franchise. "After nearly two years of living, breathing and designing a world as rich as [J.R.R.] Tolkien's Middle Earth, I must, with great regret, take leave from helming these wonderful pictures," Del Toro said in a statement. Details from Variety and the New York Times, which says Jackson might come in and save the day.

A passage to India. CBS Corp. is in talks with India's Reliance Media World, headed by mogul Anil Ambani,  about a joint venture to launch CBS channels there that would include both U.S. shows and, eventually, local product, according to the Economic Times. CBS is the latest media company to look to India for growth. Sony, Viacom and Time Warner, through its Turner unit, have been working on establishing a presence there for years.

Bewkes on center stage. Time Warner Chief Executive Jeff Bewkes has a wry sense of humor and doesn't much care for being pampered the way many CEOs do. He also has a sharp focus and is more interested right now with playing the hand he's got than trying to build up Time Warner through deals. The Financial Times offers up a profile of the low-profile Bewkes that makes for good reading. Just one note, though. Although it is technically true that Bewkes took over running HBO after Michael Fuchs was forced out, Fuchs was forced out after adding duties as CEO of Warner Music Group. To leave out that tidbit implies that he was pushed out over something to do with HBO rather than the latter. Yes, I've been doing this too long.

Time Warner Cable vs. Disney. Summer hasn't even officially started yet, but the folks at Time Warner Cable and Walt Disney Co. may want to take their vacations now. That's because the programming contract for Disney's ABC stations, as well as several key cable networks with Time Warner Cable, is up Sept. 1, according to the New York Post, and another ugly battle between programmer and distributor is expected.

Inside the Los Angeles Times. The upfront ad market -- where TV commercials are sold for the fall season -- should get swinging in the next few weeks, and the networks like the script they've got. CNN is turning 30, but rather than celebrate, the network is struggling to figure out how to fix its 8 p.m. hour. Patrick Goldstein on New Line. Remembering Dennis Hopper.

-- Joe Flint

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