The Morning Fix: Pressure on 'Green Lantern' to shine. Oprah says she's ready to work. NYT review gives 'Page One' thumbs down.
After the coffee. Before figuring out why I'm as cloudy as the sky these days.
The Skinny: This June gloom stuff is wearing me out. Your headlines heading into the weekend include box-office previews, Oprah Winfrey acknowledging OWN needs a lot of work, and reviews of "The Green Lantern" and TNT's "Falling Skies."
Will "Green Lantern" shine? Warner Bros. "Green Lantern" opens this weekend and has a lot of pressure on it. The Ryan Reynolds comic-book flick cost over $200 million to make, and anything less than $60 million in box office will be seen as a disappointment. The other big opening of the weekend is "Mr. Popper's Penguins," a Jim Carrey movie that looks more like a Christmas film than a summer release. Box-office projections from the Los Angeles Times and Variety and a look at "Green Lantern" from USA Today.
Don't call it a comeback! Mel Gibson is trying to rebound from personal turmoil and the disappointing box office performance of "The Beaver." The Hollywood Reporter says the industry is still eager to work with Gibson and blames the disappointment of "The Beaver," which was about a depressed man who starts to communicate through a hand puppet, on the script, not him. Perhaps, but I bet Tom Hanks could have pulled it off. The story contradicts itself on the subject of Gibson getting a new agent. Says THR: "Gibson hasn't had an agent since WME dropped him last summer, but several agencies are courting the actor, according to knowledgeable sources. UTA and ICM are said to be the most interested, though sources within both agencies tell THR they're not pursuing the actor." Personally, I think the odds of Gibson reclaiming even 25% of his former glory and prowess are long.
Now she's ready to work. Oprah Winfrey took center stage at the National Cable & Telecommunications Assn.'s annual convention in Chicago on Thursday and told attendees, "The vacation that I thought that I was going to have is over. ... I need to be engaged and involved." She was referring to the slow start of OWN, the cable channel she launched in partnership with Discovery Communications that has struggled to generate ratings since its debut in January. Winfrey blamed the poor start on her being distracted by the end of her daily talk show. Of course, the channel was planned years before the launch, so it's not quite clear why now, six months in, OWN is still trying to define itself. She did say her dream is to get O.J. Simpson to confess on OWN. More from the Los Angeles Times and the New York Post.
Thumbs down. While most of the media is fawning over "Page One," the documentary about the New York Times and its struggles to stay on top of the game in the midst of a digital revolution, Michael Kinsley slammed the movie in a review for the Gray Lady. "Like a shopper at the supermarket without a shopping list, 'Page One' careens around the aisles picking up this item and that one, ultimately coming home with three jars of peanut butter and no 2% milk," Kinsley wrote, adding that he found the movie, which focuses primarily on the media reporters at the paper, "boring to the point of irritation."
It's not you, it's me. J.J. Abrams, who continues to be red hot thanks to his new movie "Super 8" being a smash, has left his agency, WME. Deadline Hollywood calls it a "sabbatical," but the bulk of the site's usually adoring comments weren't buying the spin that Abrams hadn't fired the firm.
If they'd done this earlier, maybe Weiner would still have a job. Time Warner Cable is thinking about charging its broadband subscribers by usage instead of a monthly flat fee. That won't win them a lot of customer service awards. If they're going to do that, maybe they can charge for cable based on the hours of TV watched, too. Details from Bloomberg.
-- Joe Flint
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