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The Morning Fix: 'Avengers' to rule again; bye-bye commercials

May 11, 2012 |  8:40 am

After the coffee. Before setting my DVR to never watch any commercials again.

The Skinny: I was at the "Battleship" premiere last night and although I don't do reviews, I will note two things: The crowd went crazy for Rihanna (more than even star Taylor Kitsch), and "Fortunate Son" by Creedence Clearwater Revival is an odd song to play at the end of a pro-military movie. Today we've got a box-office preview that looks kind of like last week's, commercials going away with the click of one button, and more upfronts-mania.

After the record-busting opening of "The Avengers" last weekend, it's sure to be No. 1 again this weekend, when it will likely drop by 50% or 60% to between $80 million and $100 million
The Daily Dose
: Opening a movie overseas first means the story of its commercial fate is largely told before it even comes to the U.S. With "The Avengers," we already knew it would be a blockbuster. With "Battleship," which is at a tad over $200 million and will likely end up totaling about $250 million internationally, blockbuster status looks all but impossible. Assuming the film has a decent domestic showing of between $100 million and $200 million, Universal is likely looking to roughly break even on its most expensive film of the year. Not exactly what studio executives were hoping for, but it could be worse.

"Avengers" fans to assemble again: Usually when one big budget movie opens right after another in the summer movie season, there's a rapid shuffling in the rankings. But after the record-busting opening of "The Avengers" last weekend, it's sure to be No. 1 again this weekend, when it will likely drop by 50% or 60% to between $80 million and $100 million. Tim Burton's and Johnny Depp's "Dark Shadows," meanwhile, will debut at a distant No. 2 around $40 million. Box-office predictions from the Los Angeles Times and Variety.

A skip and a hop: Skipping commercials has become standard practice for most of us who have a DVR and don't watch television live anymore. But at least we have to put a little work into it, pushing the fast forward button and trying to estimate when the commercial break will end (an art I've become quite good at). Now satellite TV provider Dish Network has added an "auto hop" feature to its state-of-the-art Hopper DVR (which I, by the way, have) that allows the viewer to automatically skip all commercials on broadcast network shows without fast forwarding. The networks haven't spoken up yet, but lawsuits may be on the way, say the Wall Street Journal and the Los Angeles Times.

Ahead of upfronts: It's that magical time of the year when a tradition started before DVRs and mass viewing of cable, the network upfronts, turns our eyes to what's coming on TV in the new fall season. Next week, advertisers, networks and journalists will gather in New York for the official announcement of which pilots are getting series orders, which existing programs are coming back, and which have reached their end. A key priority for the networks will be trying to get more 18-49 year-old viewers, after losing ground in that key demographic this past season, reports the Los Angeles Times. Meanwhile, there was a lot of news Thursday on pickups at NBC, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Those who live in... CBS is suing rival ABC, alleging that the latter's upcoming series "Glass House" is a rip-off of the former's long-running show "Big Brother." The snarky comments about someone in Hollywood accusing someone else of being unoriginal write themselves, but this suit could test if there's a legal line that can't be crossed with reality-show concepts. It doesn't help that many of the "Glass House" producers allegedly used to work on "Big Brother." Details from the New York Times and Bloomberg.   

It wasn't just about the traffic: President Obama's much-hyped $15-million fund-raiser at George Clooney's house featured some expert glad-handing by a leader of the free world whose new stance on same-sex marriage has won him even more fans in the entertainment industry. Here's the Los Angeles Times report from the scene. Deadline has the pool report from journalists allowed to hang out and observe, one of whom notes that "As LA/Hollywood fundraisers go, the trappings of this one didn't put it in the top 10."

Sony's struggles: Sony's new CEO, Kaz Hirai, warned us that turning around the company wouldn't be easy, and its most recent financials prove things will get worse before they get better. The Japanese electronics and media giant reported a $5.6-billion loss in its most recent fiscal year as its electronics and television businesses struggled. Things weren't so bad at the movie and TV studio, though. Details from the Los Angeles Times.

Also in the Los Angeles Times: Video game sales plunge in April. Kenneth Turan reviews "Dark Shadows." Silicon Valley types are trying to engineer their own health.

-- Ben Fritz (who's on Twitter)

Photo: Jeremy Renner and a digital hulk in "The Avengers." Credit: Marvel