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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Velentines Movie Going. Twilight still selling strong. This Means War mostly action flick. Grammys not aired live. Who owns "The Wizard of Oz" story and title? Silicon Valley flips the bird on journalist.




From the LA Times Company Town blog. Click here for the latest industry news.



The Skinny: It's Valentine's Day, when guys try to figure out what gift won't get them smacked, lead to tears or break their bank account. I'm open to suggestions. Tuesday's headlines include a look at the BBC's effort to build a Hollywood presence, a review of Reese Witherspoon's "This Means War," and how a tweet from Oprah Winfrey got her in hot water with Nielsen.


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Photo:Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart in "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn -- Part 1." Credit: Andrew Cooper / Summit Entertainment

'Twilight: Breaking Dawn' DVD sales top 'Eclipse,' trail 'New Moon' "Twilight" movie sold more DVDs on its opening weekend than the prior installment, but Bella, Edward and Jacob are still well behind their record.

"The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn -- Part 1," the fourth picture in the hit teen vampire series, sold an estimated 3.2 million DVD and Blu-ray copies from its Saturday morning debut through Sunday night, according to Lionsgate's recently acquired Summit Entertainment unit, which released the film theatrically in November.

That's about 18% more than the home entertainment bow of the last "Twilight" picture, "Eclipse."
However, it's 20% behind the debut sales of "New Moon," the second "Twilight" movie, which sold 4 million copies it first weekend. The original "Twilight" sold 3.8 million copies on its first weekend.
"Eclipse" was the only "Twilight" movie to launch on DVD in December, as it was also the only one to hit theaters in the summer. The first two debuted on DVD in March of 2009 and 2010, respectively, closer to the February date for the latest installment.

Summit charged a higher wholesale price for "Breaking Dawn -- Part 1" than previous "Twilight" movies, meaning revenue per copy sold was higher than in the past.

"Breaking Dawn" also sold 50,000 digital copies and was rented 80,000 times via video-on-demand. Those figures are up 47% and 142%, respectively, over "Eclipse," according to Summit.

The final "Twilight" movie, "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn -- Part 2," is due in theaters Nov. 16.



The Daily Dose: While "Modern Family" gets all the love from critics, "The Middle" -- ABC's other Wednesday night family sitcom -- has gradually been growing its audience. This season the show is averaging more than 9 million viewers, up 33% from two seasons ago when it premiered. Within the next few weeks, Warner Bros., which makes the show for ABC, will look to cash in on its growth by selling the reruns. Cable networks as well as broadcast stations will be pitched. Don't be surprised if TBS and USA go after "The Middle."

Reese Witherspoon hopes for a hit
 Photo: "This Means War." Credit: Kimberly French / Associated Press

It's a hit-and-miss affair as CIA agents/BFFs Chris Pine and Tom Hardy launch highly targeted competing covert love-ops in "This Means War," both aiming for the heart of a consumer products tester played by Reese Witherspoon. Smart, blond, beautiful but unable to get a guy, Witherspoon's Lauren Scott is as perky and perfect as she seems, but this lovely is not what gives the movie its kick.

So if you are in the mood for action, there is a whole lot of it here. If you're in the mood for love, of the swooning, weak-in-the knees sort, there's not so much. But this is war after all, a bromance, not a romance, muscle, not mush.

The relationship that truly sizzles — from the sentiment to the satire — is the one between FDR (Pine) and Tuck (Hardy), with Pine and Hardy pulling off one of the better bromances in recent memory.


Bruce Springsteen wows them at the Grammy Awards
Why were the Grammy's on Tape Delay? CBS is going with the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" approach when it comes to airing the Grammys on a tape delay on the West Coast.

Although the Oscar telecast has historically aired live across the country and now the Golden Globes and Emmy awards shows are also live, CBS is not ready to follow suit with the Grammys.

The network's rationale is simple: more viewers are available to watch the show between 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. than they are in the late afternoon.

Given that Sunday night's show drew almost 40 million people -- its second-biggest audience ever behind the 1984 telecast that saw Michael Jackson sweep the awards -- it is hard to argue with CBS' logic. The ratings no doubt got a boost from people tuning in to see how the show would handle the passing of pop superstar Whitney Houston on Saturday.

But the audience for the Grammys has been on the rise for the past three years. The 2011 show had almost 27 million viewers. In other words, for now the tape delay does not seem to be hurting the numbers.

With social networking connecting the country in ways that didn't exist even a decade ago, a case could be made that CBS should air the Grammys live across the nation. West Coast folks who were online when the Grammys were being shown back East may have been frustrated about having to wait to see Adele win six Grammys and Bruce Springsteen's opening performance.

CBS doesn't think airing the awards between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. on the West Coast would give it as big an audience. Advertisers paid about $800,000 for a 30-second commercial. CBS is worried that if it aired the show live, its audience could shrink and hurt its ad revenue.

The British are coming! When Jane Tranter moved to Los Angeles from England to become head of BBC Worldwide Productions, she had to do more than learn which side of the road to drive on. She also had to figure out which BBC shows that were successes back in London could be adapted to U.S. television networks. So far, she has had five shows on the air and put another eight in production. A look at Tranter from the Los Angeles Times.


News Corp. is consolidating its worldwide government affairs activities under its chief Washington lobbyist, Michael Regan. The move will give Regan, executive vice president of government affairs, authority over News Corp.'s lobbying and policy efforts around the globe. This could become crucial in the months and years ahead in Britain where News Corp. is currently under investigation for phone hacking and bribery by staff members of the London tabloid the Sun and the now-closed News of the World.

Reporting to Regan will be Fredric Michel, senior vice president of government affairs and public policy for Europe, and Joe Welch, who holds the same title for News Corp.'s Asian operations.
In making the announcement, James Murdoch, News Corp.'s deputy chief operating officer and chief executive of international operations, said: “This move will ensure that we have a clear, coordinated focus on legislative and regulatory issues across all the territories in which we operate .... It makes perfect sense as we continue to navigate the challenges facing the media industry on a global scale."
Although Michel and Welch used to report up the chain of command to James Murdoch, Regan will continue to report to News Corp. President Chase Carey.

Was there any doubt? Big surprise out of Paramount. Michael Bay has signed on for another "Transformers" movie. The fourth in the franchise is part of a new deal the director made with the studio. Details from Variety.

This doesn't look like Kansas anymore. Warner Bros. and Disney may get caught up in a legal battle over the latter's plans to make a movie inspired by "The Wizard of Oz." Warner, of course, made the original and now a little copyright spat is developing. More from the Hollywood Reporter.

He shoots, he scores! Jeremy Lin has become the flavor of the day in the NBA. The Harvard grad has come out of nowhere to boost the New York Knicks. But is he big enough to bring Time Warner Cable to its knees? Some analysts and media watchers think the attention Lin is getting could lead the cable company back to the negotiating table with MSG, the cable home of the Knicks, which pulled the channel from TWC's New York City systems. The two have been unable to strike a new deal and now many Knicks fans who are TWC subscribers are missing all the fun. The Associated Press examines whether Lin's rise could put pressure on the cable company to cut a deal. My hunch is that the answer is no.

I am sorry. As if Oprah Winfrey didn't have enough headaches trying to get her struggling cable network OWN going in a positive direction, now the queen of talk has been chastised for trying to encourage homes with Nielsen ratings boxes to watch her channel. That's a no-no as far as the folks from Nielsen are concerned. The New York Times on Oprah's troublesome tweet.

So much for fight the power. The Morning Fix strays a little bit from our wheelhouse to offer you a piece from technology writer Dan Lyons about the type of journalism often practiced by those supposedly covering Silicon Valley. It is both disturbing and enlightening.

Inside the Los Angeles Times: Betsy Sharkey on "This Means War." A look at whether Whitney Houston's passing will translate to iconic status along the lines of Michael Jackson or Kurt Cobain or if the current obsession over her will fade when the next celebrity tragedy rolls along.

-- Joe Flint

Follow me on Twitter. I'm the Jimmy McNulty of media reporters. Fans of "The Wire" will get the reference. Twitter.com/JBFlint


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