The Morning Fix: Google's entertainment device, 'The Vow' looks hot
After the coffee. Before reading Steve Jobs' FBI file.
The Skinny: The final thing I did before falling asleep Thursday night was watch "Top Chef" (I'm a day behind) and get worked up about how mean all the chefs are to Beverly, even though she's clearly as good or better than almost all of them. I can't be the only one who feels like they're watching the popular kids in high school gang up on a geek all over again. There's other news today, though, like Google's new home entertainment device, some bad video game sales, and another movie shut down because the budget was too high.
The Daily Dose: Warner Bros.' first DVD release since it stopped selling discs to Redbox in a dispute over a 56-day window that the studio wants and the kiosk company refuses to accept happened this week with "A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas." According to Redbox's website, customers will find the movie in those ubiquitous red kiosks on Feb. 14, just seven days after it hit store shelves. It will be interesting to see just how many copies there really are, though. Since Redbox has to buy copies from retail stores or independent distributors, availability might not be great.
Google leaving the virtual world: A mysterious device being tested by Google turns out to be a home entertainment system that can stream music wirelessly throughout the home, the Wall Street Journal and New York Times report. Should it come to market, it would be the first time Google releases a product under its own brand name and would put Google into competition with devices made by Apple (the two companies are already fierce competitors for mobile phone software). I can only imagine Google has designs not just on music but video as well, which makes this very interesting for folks in the TV and movie businesses.
Everybody love Channing: Analysts are predicting a hot weekend at the box office with four new movies opening and several expected to perform well. Everyone seems sure that "The Vow," a syrupy romance starring Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams timed perfectly for Valentine's Day, will be No. 1 with more than $30 million. "Safe House" should also have a strong weekend, followed by the 3-D "Star Wars Episode 1 -- The Phantom Menace" and "Journey 2." Details from the Los Angeles Times and the Hollywood Reporter.
Low score: Video game industry experts always complain that data released each month from analysts at the NPD Group don't capture the growth of digital distribution. That may be true, but the sales of discs and consoles tanked in January, dropping 34% from a year ago and coming in well below analysts' estimates, according to the Los Angeles Times and Gamasutra. In more positive news, the nation's largest video game publisher, Activision Blizzard Inc., reported better than expected earnings and swung to a profit, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Feig in, Shearmur out: Lions Gate continues to shake up its motion picture group as executives make the jump from its new subsidiary Summit Entertainment. The latest is Summit's Erik Feig, who was named president of production Thursday. Lions Gate's existing president of production, Alli Shearmur, is expected to leave her post and take a production deal. Details from the Los Angeles Times and Deadline.
"Paradise Lost" is lost: The latest movie to get scrapped over budgetary concerns is Legendary Pictures' "Paradise Lost," starring Bradley Cooper. Legendary reportedly wanted to bring the budget of the adaptation of John Milton's classic poem to about $120 million, but couldn't figure out how to do it with the visual effects the movie needed. Unlike films such as "The Lone Ranger," which went back into production after a budget trim, it looks like "Paradise" is dead for now. Details from Deadline and Variety.
Inside the Los Angeles Times: 2011 movie ticket prices were up from the full year 2010, but down slightly from late 2010. "Man on a Ledge" was made at the Roosevelt Hotel -- in New York. Reviews of "Safe House," "The Vow," and "Journey 2."
-- Ben Fritz
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Photo: Channing Tatum at the premiere of "The Vow." Credit: Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images