The Morning Fix: 'John Carter' flops! Univision targets networks.
After the coffee. Before seeing if the "John Carter" sequel is in the works.
The Skinny: Did you remember to set your clock forward one hour? I know it's just an hour but I was out of it all Sunday. Monday's headlines include the lackluster performance of "John Carter," Univision's push to get advertising dollars away from the English-language networks and how a new cartoon represents a change in direction for the Disney Channel.
Daily Dose: One of the big perks of being head of a movie studio is going to premieres and getting your photo taken with the stars. Disney Studios Chairman Rich Ross is no stranger to the glitz and glamour of Hollywood. But even Ross knows when to steer clear of the cameras. There are no pictures of him at the premiere for Disney's huge flop "John Carter" on the studio's press website. Ross was at the premiere, so either he avoided the flashbulbs or the Disney public relations folks decided to keep any photos of their boss off the site. Either way, smart move.
"John Carter" a non-starter. Walt Disney Co.'s "John Carter" -- one of the biggest bets in movie history -- opened with a disappointing $30.6 million at the box office, finishing a distant second behind Universal's "The Lorax," which earned almost $40 million in its second weekend of release. "John Carter" is projected to lose as much as $165 million, according to one Wall Street analyst. The only good news for Disney is that "John Carter" wasn't the only flop of the weekend. The horror movie "Silent House" and the comedy "A Thousand Words" also bombed. Box office coverage from the Los Angeles Times, New York Times and Movie City News.
Show us the dinero. Univision Chief Executive Randy Falco, once the top salesman at NBC, is now looking to woo away advertising from the English-language networks. Univision is launching a campaign to let Madison Avenue know how big its audience has gotten. One ad asks: "Guess how many nights we beat NBC in 2011?" The answer: 195. That's in the 18-49 demographic, which is the only one that matters to broadcasters. More on Falco's push to take dollars away from Advertising Age.
Keep your enemies closer. Chinese online video company Youku is buying smaller competitor Tudou in an all-stock deal valued at $1 billion. Combined, the two companies will control more than one-third of China's online video market. Details from Reuters.
Or what? Carlos Slim Helu, the Mexican media mogul, is going to try to launch a Web network called Ora.tv. He has even recruited Larry King, the former CNN talk show host, to do a show. Of course, King's demographic when he was at CNN wasn't exactly known as the most technically savvy. That's my polite way of saying his audience skewed very old. By the way, I don't mean to imply older people don't know how to use the Web (save that phone call, mom); actually I mean they have better things to do than waste their time surfing the Internet the way I do. The news of Slim's plans was broken in the New York Times, where he happens to be a large stakeholder.
Oops? Did NBC blow an opportunity to have "Downton Abbey," the British import that has been a hit in the U.S. on PBS? The Philadelphia Inquirer notes that the show is produced by NBC sister company Britain's Carnival Films, and says the network passed on it, "believing that American audiences wouldn't have the appetite for a very British historical drama set in a country manor in Edwardian England." That said, the story offers little evidence that NBC ever considered the show. A spokesperson at NBC told the Inquirer that the decision not to air the show was made by a previous administration. Beyond that there are no comments in the story -- on the record or on background -- from anyone from the previous administration or at Carnival saying it had been shopped to NBC at all.
Another once-hip event goes mainstream. Like Comic-Con, the South by Southwest conference was once a cool little gathering for geeks. Over the last few years, the music event has been overwhelmed by tech and media companies. So who better to offer a story about the once too-cool-for-the-room gathering than USA Today.
Bill who? Longtime historians of the television business got a chuckle out of a recent regulatory filing by CBS Corp. that listed its Chairman Sumner Redstone as the "founder" of the company. That will be news to the family of Bill Paley, the man who acquired a few radio stations in the 1920s and then built it into a radio and television giant. The Wall Street Journal on Redstone's revisionist history.
Inside the Los Angeles Times: Movie theater owners are finding ways to make friends with technology. "Gravity Falls," a new cartoon, represents a change in approach in programming at the Disney Channel.
-- Joe Flint
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Photo: "John Carter." Credit: Associated Press/Disney.