Abnormal activity. Paramount's "Paranormal Activity 3" took in $54 million at the box office this past weekend, easily blowing away even the most optimistic estimates. No surprise that "The Three Musketeers" and "Johnny English Reborn" were bombs. Several days ago, "Three Musketeers" star Milla Jovovich criticized the promotional push behind the movie. I saw plenty of previews and ads for it and that's what kept me away from the theater. Of course, her husband directed the movie so it's not like she's unbiased here. Box office coverage from the Los Angeles Times, Variety, and Movie City News.
Advertising Age has released its annual chart of prices for commercials on prime-time TV. Lots of interesting information here. Fox for example, sold the Wednesday edition of "The X Factor" at an average of more than $300,000 per 30-second spot. No way is the show delivering the ratings the network promised advertisers. Most surprising observation to me: I could afford a spot on NBC on Saturday night!
Protecting the franchise? Johnny Depp is out promoting "The Rum Diary," but don't look to catch him on any ABC stations. According to one ABC station, KHOU-TV Houston, Depp is not allowed to do any interviews with ABC stations. ABC is owned by Walt Disney Co., which makes the "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise. Without knowing the specifics, perhaps this is a misguided attempt by Disney to avoid having its franchise hurt by an association with Depp's more out-there projects. I assume Depp's contract with Disney allows it to do this, because I'm not sure how the company could tell TV stations it doesn't own what celebrities they can and can't interview. More from the KHOU website.
Low-hanging fruit. There are certain go-to stories reporters can always count on and the decline of NBC has been on the top of the list for more than five years. Even new owner Comcast Corp. hasn't been able to change the fortunes of the Peacock network, whose ratings have tumbled again this season. In fairness, new entertainment chief Bob Greenblatt and his team have little to do with the shows currently failing. Still, anyone who thinks years of decline can be turned around in one season doesn't know much about the broadcast television business. More from the Wall Street Journal.
They have good schools there. NBC Sports is moving out of New York and heading to Connecticut. The move is not to be closer to ESPN, but for tax breaks. However, the sales staff will stay at NBC's midtown headquarters. The building NBC Sports is moving into used to be a Clairol hair dye factory, which could come in handy for the on-air talent. More on the relocation from Sports Business Journal.
When do I audition? It's a new week so it must be time for a new co-host on CBS's "The Talk," the CBS daytime show that goes through talent the way the Redskins go through quarterbacks. Now on board, according to Deadline Hollywood, is Aisha Taylor. Hope she negotiated a good severance package.
Inside the Los Angeles Times: While there was some bickering between News Corp. and shareholders at Friday's annual meeting, in the end little changed at the company. Kal Penn went from Hollywood to the White House and back.
— Joe Flint
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