The Morning Fix: 'Super 8' has super weekend! Is Comic-Con losing its mojo? RIP Laura Ziskin.
After the coffee. Before reading Bloomberg's complaint against Comcast and needing even more coffee.
The Skinny: The only people as happy as the folks in Dallas are the folks in Cleveland. In other news, "Super 8" finished on top at the box office and "Book of Mormon" cleaned up at the Tony Awards. Send some good thoughts to ailing sax player and Bruce Springsteen sideman Clarence Clemons.
"Super 8" does super great. "Super 8," the movie from J.J. Abrams and Steven Spielberg about a bunch of kids trying to make a movie who stumble into a government coverup, took in $37 million in its opening weekend and finished on top of the latest "X-Men" film. Although there will be lots of talk about how the performance of "Super 8" is better than expected because it had no stars, don't buy it. The movie had two of the biggest names in the business working on it, and a brilliant trailer that played to audiences of all ages. I saw it Saturday and enjoyed it, but the first hour was much better than the second. Having something of a bummer debut was "Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer." Sometimes a goofy title can work (The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants,"), but other times it flops. What kid would want to ask their mom to take them to "Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer"? Box office analysis from the Los Angeles Times, Variety, and Movie City News.
Too cool for Comic-Con. For the last few years, all we've been hearing about Hollywood is how important Comic-Con, the festival of comic-book fans, is for marketing movies and TV shows. Indeed, the big studios kind of took over (some might say ruined) the event by overwhelming it with hype. This time around, a couple of studios are steering clear, according to the New York Times. Among the studios staying away are Warner Bros. and DreamWorks. Fear not, geeks: Paramount, Universal and 20th Century Fox will be there in full force.
Keeping Current. Next week, Keith Olbermann returns to TV with a show on Current, the little-watched cable network founded in 2005 by Al Gore. Current was originally going to be a channel that relied on user-generated, grass-roots-style journalism. Unfortunately, though that's an ambitious and admirable goal, it's not a moneymaker. Over the last several years, the channel has gradually shifted to more professional fare and now is banking on the volatile Olbermann to bring in big ratings. The Wall Street Journal looks at Current's big bet. Anyone want to take a poll on how long until Olbermann's first meltdown?
What, me worry? ESPN fell short in its efforts to acquire the TV rights to the 2014 and 2016 Olympics, but CEO George Bodenheimer is still sleeping at night. In an interview with Broadcasting & Cable, Bodenheimer said he is very bullish about the sports cable empire's future.
Let us in! News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch and his top movie executive, Jim Gianopulos, tried to make the case for China to let more films from the rest of the world -- particularly the United States -- into the country. China has strict restrictions on how many movies it allows from outside, which the studios see as a) promoting piracy and b) shutting them out of a lucrative market. More from the Hollywood Reporter.
Checkbook journalism. The TV networks do not, repeat, do not pay for stories. They pay for photos and videos to use in the stories and that money happens to go into the pockets of the subjects of those stories, but that's not the same as paying for the story. Hey, if you can sleep at night, then have at it. The New York Times takes a look at the practice, which is particularly prevalent with the morning shows. Interestingly, former ABC News President David Westin, who condoned the practice in his tenure at the network, bad mouths it now. Funny how that works.
-- Joe Flint
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