The Morning Fix: 'Paranormal Activity 2' rules box office! NFL sticks its nose into Cablevision-Fox fight. Parents Television Council facing challenges on screen and behind the scenes.
After the coffee. Before figuring out if people fainting during the movie "127 Hours" is a good marketing campaign.
The Skinny. Fox has to be a little bummed that neither the Yankees nor Phillies are in the World Series, but hey, I'll still be watching. "Paranormal Activity 2" dominated the box office this weekend. Ever wonder what happened to those movies you hear about but never see? Thursday used to be "must-see TV" night, but no more. Finally, do we really need a sequel to "Top Gun"?
Scary numbers. "Paranormal Activity 2," Paramount's sequel to its surprise horror hit didn't sneak up on anyone this time around but still finished first at the box office, with a $41.2-million take. Coming in second was Paramount's "Jackass 3D," which took in $21.5 million. That's a drop of almost 60% for the slapstick feature, but the film will still make a boatload for the studio. Opening slowly was the Clint Eastwood-directed "Hereafter," which only made $12 million. However, because it is a drama aimed at adults, it may be a slow build, as is turning out to be the case with Disney's "Secretariat." Box office breakdown from the Los Angeles Times, USA Today and Movie City News.
Older people go to movies too, just not on the first weekend. Variety looks at the success of "Secretariat" and "Red" and realizes that if you give people over 40 a reason to show up at the multiplex, they will come.
As much dirt behind the scenes as there is on the screen. The Parents Television Council, the long-running advocacy group committed to cleaning up the airwaves, may have to do some housecleaning of its own. The New York Times looks at the inner workings of the PTC, including concerns about its finances and fund-raising efforts. If that's not enough, the Federal Communications Commission's indecency regulations are under attack, and the more they are weakened, the more the clout of the PTC to make trouble for the networks is diminished.
Where'd everybody go? Thursday used to be the biggest weeknight to zone out in front of the television, and Hollywood and the car companies loved to spend big bucks to saturate that night's shows with ads. But so far this season, the audience for Thursday is shrinking. The Wall Street Journal takes a look at what is happening on television's biggest night, while the Los Angeles Times zooms in on just how bad it's gotten for NBC on a night the network used to own.
Out for itself. As the feud between Fox and Cablevision moves into its second week and New Yorkers are left without football, baseball and other Fox programming, the National Football League is finally weighing in. No, the league isn't telling Fox to put its signal back on while the two sides negotiate. It is telling Cablevision that if it is so in favor of arbitration as a way to reach a deal with Fox, it should arbitrate a deal with the NFL Network. The New York Post, which is owned by Fox parent News Corp., just happens to have the story of the NFL's letter to Cablevision on the matter. We're sure it's just a coincidence.
I am dangerous! Tony Scott is game to make a sequel to "Top Gun," the 1980s movie that catapulted Tom Cruise into the stratosphere and briefly made beach volleyball a guy's sport. The director tells HitFix he doesn't want to do a "remake." Well, if that's the case, then don't call it "Top Gun 2" or "Top Gun: The Next Chapter" or "Top Gun" anything. Make a new movie and don't use the old name as a marketing gimmick. Yes, this is why I won't be getting a job at a studio anytime soon.
Don't give them a reason to cut the cord. The TV industry may be gradually waking up to the idea that one way to stop people from cutting the cord to their TV is to give them fewer reasons to do so. Last week, ABC, CBS and NBC all said no to Google TV, and many networks are resisting Apple's efforts to bypass the cable box. The Associated Press on TV's wake-up call and Mark Cuban's rant on why the networks are smart to steer clear of Google. However we all end up watching TV in the future, one thing is for certain: It will be a big pain for advertisers to get their messages to consumers, says Advertising Age.
-- Joe Flint
Follow me on Twitter. It's good for your soul. Twitter.com/JBFlint