"Twilight" scored big. (Summit Entertainment )
After the coffee. Before packing for Thanksgiving in D.C.
The Skinny: I'm heading home for Thanksgiving tomorrow and can't decide whether to take the new Bruce Springsteen biography or an old Pete Maravich biography with me. While I decide that, you can read today's headlines, which include a look at the weekend box office, how sports is driving the cost of your pay-TV bill and what is at stake with the new movie "Life of Pi."
Daily Dose: The exclusive window Fox Sports has to strike a new TV deal with the Dodgers is starting to wind down. The window closes at the end of November and if an agreement isn't reached, it will likely clear the way for rival Time Warner Cable to make a play for the baseball franchise. Whatever happens, rest assured your cable bill will go up (see item below).
Bright "Twilight." "Breaking Dawn — Part 2," the last chapter of the "Twilight" franchise (or so I've been promised) blew away the rest of the competition this past weekend with a take of more than $140 million. That figure is just short of the "Twilight" record held by "New Moon," which took in $142 million in its first weekend. Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln" made $21 million and is expected to have "Argo"-like staying power in the weeks ahead. Almost 70% of its audience was over the age of 35. Apparently their money is just as green as that of people under 35. Weekend box office recaps from the Los Angeles Times and Movie City News.
Let them eat pie. Director Ang Lee's "Life of Pi" opens Wednesday and if it does well Hollywood will have to rethink its resistance to sophisticated material that isn't inspired by a comic book or old TV show or released along with a toy product. And if it doesn't do well, get used to more of the same junk the studios throw at us every weekend. No pressure here people. "It can't always be about the bottom line," Fox Chairman Jim Gianopulos told the Los Angeles Times. "It has to be about the art and the value of cinema that we all got into this business for."
Where your money goes. If you are a pay-TV subscriber, and can't figure out why your monthly bill is so big, here's a hint: it has to do with those folks running around the football field, basketball court and baseball diamond. Sports is the biggest cost to cable subscribers and many consumers and industry executives think it is out of control. One potential solution is to offer sports only to consumers who want them. That sounds simple but isn't. The broadcast and cable networks pay big bucks for sports rights because their channels reach the majority of TV households. If suddenly those channels were available in only half or two-thirds of those homes the subscriber fees would go up or the leagues would have to accept taking less money (good luck with that). More on the sports mess from the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Don't let facts get in the way. "Spartacus," the drama on pay cable channel Starz is adding Julius Caesar to the show's characters. History buffs may have an issue with this given that there's no proof that Caesar and Spartacus ever crossed paths. "I had to take a look at history and move some events around," the show's creator Steven S. DeKnight told the Wall Street Journal. Maybe if that fails, the show can add an Audie Murphy character. And if you don't know who Audie Murphy was, look it up.
Take away his smartphone! News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch again found himself backing away from one of his tweets over the weekend. This time it was a shot at Israeli media that got the mogul in hot water. On the one hand, Murdoch is refreshingly candid in an era of corporate-speak and executives who spend all their hours coming up with new ways to say nothing. On the other hand, he may want to read his tweets after writing them and maybe waiting 10 minutes before pushing send. Variety looks at the unfiltered Murdoch.
Now this is a trial I want to cover. Ever see the classic Funny or Die skit about legendary sports broadcaster Jim Brockmire starring Hank Azaria? Now Azaria is suing another actor -- Craig Bierko -- over who has rights to the voice. According to the suit, Bierko is claiming that he created the voice of the announcer. And people say our legal system is bogged down with silly cases. More on the spat from Bloomberg.
Inside the Los Angeles Times: Former News Corp. and Discovery Communications executive Peter Liguori is near a deal to become the next chief executive of Los Angeles Times parent Tribune Co. Someone let him know I'm due for a raise. Chris Lee on the new Michael Jackson biography "Untouchable."
Follow me on Twitter. You'll be thankful for it. @JBFlint.