Morning Fix: Hulu sale! Box-office preview. World's oldest pirate.
After the coffee. Before making my second-round draft picks.
The Skinny: I've decided soy sauce is to vegetables what ketchup is to meat. Friday's headlines include a weekend box-office preview, a partner in Hulu wanting to cash out, and a look at a most unusual movie pirate. Also, a big break-up at Warner Bros. and a review of "The Five-Year Engagement."
Daily Dose: Later this morning the FCC will vote on whether to require broadcasters to put detailed financial information about politicians' advertising on the Web. The broadcasters have been lobbying hard to keep the actual costs of their commercials out of view. It appears they will lose that fight. However, the FCC will throw broadcasters a bone and agree to review, a little way down the road, whether putting specific unit rates for commercials on the Web had negative ramifications for their bottom line.
Start throwing rice. The road to the altar should be paved with box-office gold for the Jason Segel comedy "The Five-Year Engagement." The movie is expected to take the top spot this weekend with between $18 million and $20 million in sales. Also opening this weekend are the horror movie "The Raven," the action flick "Safe" and the 3-D family film "The Pirates! Band of Misfits." I can't explain it, but there's something about the marketing for "A Five-Year Engagement" that makes it seem like it has been sitting on the shelf for a while. Box office previews from the Los Angeles Times and Hollywood Reporter.
Time to sell. Private investing firm Providence Equity Partners is looking to cash out of Hulu, the online video platform co-owned by News Corp., Walt Disney Co. and Comcast Corp. Providence had invested $100 million in Hulu and is taking away about twice that, according to Bloomberg. Earlier this week Providence invested $200 million in former News Corp. President Peter Chernin's media company Chernin Group. That seems to be more than a coincidence. Additional coverage from the Los Angeles Times and Wall Street Journal.
The break-up. Warner Bros. and mega-producer Joel Silver are parting ways after a quarter-century together, according to Deadline Hollywood. Silver's deal will not be renewed by the studio when it expires later this year. Clashes between Silver, who's known for his temper, and Warner Bros. apparently finally reached the point of no return.
The face of piracy. Meet Hyman Strachman, a 92-year-old World War II vet who spends much of his time making bootlegs of Hollywood hits and sending them to soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq. The New York Times profiles Strachman, who by his estimate has sent hundreds of thousands of pirated DVDs to the troops for free. Although what he is doing is illegal, Hollywood has not come down on Strachman yet. My public relations advice to the movie industry is to tell him to stop, and then start doing his work for him.
Superhero summer. "The Avengers," "Batman" and "Spider-Man" are just some of the big-budget superhero blockbusters coming out this summer. USA Today looks at Hollywood's big bets for the months ahead. I just want to know who came up with "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter."
-- Joe Flint
Follow me on Twitter. I'm a No. 1 pick. Twitter.com/JBFlint
Photo: "The Five-Year Engagement." Credit: Glen Wilson / Universal Pictures