The Morning Fix: Sheen's back! Disney invades Russia.
After the coffee. Before deciding between 'Puss in Boots' and 'Like Crazy.'
The Skinny: Let's hope Game Seven has as much drama as Game Six! Friday's headlines include the box office preview, new battles between Hollywood and the movie rental chains, and Charlie Sheen's new job.
Cat scratch fever. "Puss in Boots" will meow its way to the top of the box office this weekend with industry estimates calling for it to take in $40 million. Paramount, which is distributing the animated flick, thinks it will be closer to $35 million. That's what's known as lowering expectations. The other two new movies are Justin Timberlake's "In Time," which sounds at first glance like an update of "Logan's Run," and Johnny Depp's "The Rum Diary." Box office projections from the Los Angeles Times and Hollywood Reporter.
On his own. Although watchers of the palace intrigue at Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. have speculated that the mogul's eldest son Lachlan may return to an executive role at the company, he dismissed such talk in an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald. Now head of Australia's TEN Network, Lachlan Murdoch said he has "no plans" to go back to his father's company. The reason there has been attention on Lachlan is in part because his younger brother James, who is now News Corp.'s deputy chief operating officer, has been tarnished by the phone hacking scandal at the company.
Winning! Charlie Sheen's new sitcom -- a TV version of the Adam Sandler movie "Anger Management" -- has landed at FX. Under terms of the deal, FX will telecast 10 episodes and if the show does well is on the hook for another 90. Can't wait for the crossover episode with "American Horror Story." I'll bet Sheen can rock a rubber suit. Thoughts on FX's gamble from Variety's Brian Lowry.
Start carrying dimes. Redbox, the owner of those kiosks that rent movies outside stores, is raising its rental price from $1.00 to $1.20. The move comes as business has improved for Redbox in the wake of Netflix's stumbles. Meanwhile, tensions between rental outlets such as Redbox, Blockbuster and Netflix and the movies studios are growing. More from the Los Angeles Times and Bloomberg.
Mickey invades Russia. Need further proof of who won the Cold War? Walt Disney Co. is launching the Disney Channel in Russia. More on the expansion from the New York Times.
I'm telling! DirecTV has gone to big brother in its fight with News Corp. In a letter to the Federal Communications Commission, the satellite broadcaster, which is in a contract dispute with News Corp. over distribution agreements for more than 20 cable channels, charged that News Corp. is engaging in misleading advertising. Details from the Los Angeles Times.
Fighting back. Viacom, whose Spike TV used to carry to Ultimate Fighting Championship until it lost the rights to Fox, has bought a big chunk of Bellator, another mixed martial arts outfit. Fights will start on Spike in 2013. The story from USA Today.
-- Joe Flint
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