The Morning Fix: June gloom at box office. How money manager Starr took from Wiatt to pay Uma! Comcast and NBC sign Magic Johnson
After the coffee. Before reading this article about how technology is diminishing our attention ... wait, what was I saying?
June gloom. The skies aren't the only thing that's overcast. For the second weekend in a row, Hollywood endured soft box office. "Shrek" was again in first place, and although comedies "Get Him to the Greek" and "Killers" had OK starts, total grosses were the lowest they'd been on a weekend in May, June or July for over two years. We will no doubt get more hockey and basketball spin, but those games were on Sunday night. The really big disappointment was the horror film "Splice." The only people that movie scared were the executives at Warner Bros., which released the film. Fortunately, as the Los Angeles Times notes, international box office is picking up some of the slack. More box-office analysis from Hot Blog, Indie Wire's Anne Thompson and the Hollywood Reporter.
Taking from Jim Wiatt to pay back Uma Thurman. The New York Times digs into Kenneth Starr, the money manager to the stars who currently sits behind bars accused of ripping off his high-profile Hollywood clients. The piece goes into some detail about whom Starr worked for and the storm clouds that were brewing for some time and even some of his financial maneuvering, including the time he took money out of former William Morris topper Jim Wiatt's account to pay back Uma Thurman. All that is missing is a motive. Guess the old greed thing will have to do.
Sumner says keep your mouth shut! Viacom Inc., parent company of cable giants MTV and Comedy Central as well as Paramount Pictures and controlled by mogul Sumner Redstone, has issued some pretty tough guidelines for its employees when it comes to dealing with the media or even starting their own blogs. The Village Voice got its hands on the 48-page document. Hmm, wonder if this had anything to do with last week's rather tawdry story about Redstone's obsession with a young girl band that ran in the Daily Beast?
You have the right to an attorney. The Wrap looks at who the top celebrity lawyers are. These aren't the folks to call to get those deal terms you want; they are the ones to call when the police find that little baggie in your purse after pulling you over for swerving on Sunset at 1 a.m.
DVD sales down; well, the toys are moving. Consumer products are proving to be a bright spot for Hollywood, says Variety. It's not just limited to toy tie-ins for big box-office movies, either. 20th Century Fox Licensing & Merchandising has some 100 products related to the TV show "Glee," including books as well as blankets. Maybe 20th can work out a deal with barbers to license the Puck mohawk.
Update the Rolodex. The Hollywood Reporter has released its annual list of the most powerful digital executives in entertainment. Alas, the trade paper wimped out and listed its executives in alphabetical order instead of telling us was most powerful.
Inside the Los Angeles Times: Comcast and NBC Universal are hoping a nice letter from Magic Johnson will help convince Congress their merger is a good thing. A "Modern Family" producer said the episode that featured the character of Phil lusting after the new iPad was a little over the top and backfired.
-- Joe Flint
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