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The Morning Fix: 'Puss in Boots' roars! Brian Williams' 2nd job

October 31, 2011 |  7:12 am

After the coffee. Before hoping DirecTV and Fox resolve their dispute before the midnight deadline.

The Skinny: Once again a distributor and programmer have set a midnight deadline to resolve a contract dispute. This time it is News Corp.'s Fox and satellite broadcaster DirecTV. Next time, set the deadline for 6 p.m. and make life easier on all of us. Monday's headlines include the box office recap, a look at Brian Williams' "Rock Center" news magazine and a profile of Dawn Hudson, the new head of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

King of the litter box."Puss in Boots" didn't let a little wacky weather on the East Coast stop it from clawing the competition. The DreamWorks Animation movie took in $34 million. The movie proved to have too much power for the other new openings. "In Time" took in $12 million while Johnny Depp's "The Rum Diary" took in a watered-down $5 million. Box office recaps from the Los Angeles Times and Movie City News.

Learning curve. The New York Times profiles Dawn Hudson, the new chief executive of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. She's ruffled a few feathers in the thankless job, but no one questions her tenacity. “If you don’t want to say yes, don’t take her phone call,” said Michael Donaldson, the general counsel at Film Independent, the nonprofit Hudson ran before joining the academy.

End of cinema. The New Yorker weighs in on the controversy over Universal Pictures' now-aborted attempt to offer "Tower Heist" on video-on-demand just three weeks after its theatrical debut. Writes Anthony Lane: "There’s only one problem with home cinema: It doesn’t exist. The very phrase is an oxymoron. As you pause your film to answer the door or fetch a Coke, the experience ceases to be cinema."

One born every minute. Almost 20 years ago, the telephone companies invaded Hollywood. Money was tossed at executives and producers with dreams of new content giants being created. Other than a few executives getting even richer, nothing really happened. Now Google is coming to Hollywood with an open checkbook in the hopes of turning YouTube into a competing platform to traditional television. Maybe it will work, but if not, some folks will get overpaid trying! Coverage from the Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times and New York Post.

Wither the mogul. Rupert Murdoch is under siege and other media toppers are in hiding. That's the take from Variety columnist Peter Bart. I might argue that other than Murdoch, there are no other chief executives of media giants with nearly the personality to speak without requiring three focus group assessments first. Also, his family history is tied to that company. Not true for most everyone else.

The blame game.So Hilary Swank takes a ton of cash to show up at Chechnya President Ramzan Kadyrov's birthday and then there is a backlash against her for it since he's not exactly on the Nobel Peace Prize shortlist. Her next move? Fire her advisors of course! That's the word from The Independent. Swank was clearly a believer in the W.C. Field's line "it's only a crime if you get caught."

Inside the Los Angeles Times: NBC News anchor Brian Williams starts his second job as host of "Rock Center," the network's new news magazine. OWN Presidents Erik Logan and Sheri Salata are prepared to take the long road to success. Why Fox is fighting so hard with Dodgers owner Frank  McCourt.

-- Joe Flint

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