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'Oblivion' cruises to top spot. U.S. movies down in China.

April 22, 2013|By Joe Flint
  • "Oblivion" was anything but at the box office.
"Oblivion" was anything but at the box office. (Universal Pictures )

After the coffee. Before trying to avoid talking about Reese Witherspoon.

The Skinny: "Mad Men" has developed an annoying habit of introducing a character without providing any background, which leaves viewers wondering whether it's a friend or relative of a main character. If you thought Trekkies were obsessed, you haven't seen anything until you see "Mad Men" watchers dissecting minutiae on Twitter. Monday's headlines include the box office recap and how Hollywood is having a tough year in China.

Daily Dose: Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz (Big Papi) let an F-bomb fly while addressing fans before the start of Saturday's game. Ortiz was emotional as it was the team's first game since the massive manhunt for the Boston Marathon bombers had concluded. Federal Communications Commission Chairman (and Harvard Law grad) Julius Genachowski tweeted, "David Ortiz spoke from the heart at today's Red Sox game. I stand with Big Papi and the people of Boston." Since the game was on cable (which the FCC doesn't oversee), only the local Boston radio stations carrying the game could potentially get heat for Ortiz, although that seems unlikely given the circumstances. 

PHOTOS: Hollywood backlot moments

Cruising. "Oblivion," the sci-fi thriller starring Tom Cruise, took in almost $40 million in its opening weekend. That was in line with expectations and good news for Cruise, who was coming off a somewhat disappointing 2012. Finishing in second place was "42," the Jackie Robinson biopic, which continues to be a solid performer. I went to see "The Place Beyond the Pines," which was good but not great. I may be tiring of Ryan Gosling's minimalist style. Box office recaps from the Los Angeles Times and Hollywood Reporter.

Are they on to us already? There was a lot of excitement in Hollywood last year when the movie industry got the green light to release more of its big-budget action movies in China. But through the first quarter of 2013, the box office is actually way down for American movies in China. The New York Times notes that "Iron Man 3" is no lock to open in first place there. The paper said there may be a "rapid evolution in the tastes of Chinese audiences, which are quickly turning away from the spectacles American companies have assumed they crave."

Cleaning out the closet. Since DVDs and Blu-rays for new movies aren't selling, Hollywood is hoping that their libraries can generate new revenue. Warner Bros. is prepping a Blu-ray version of "Rebel Without a Cause" while 20th Century Fox is offering up "Cleopatra." The Wall Street Journal looks at the movie industry's attempt to make money off of leftovers. 

PHOTOS: Celebrity mug shots

Be my guest. It's hard to watch TV lately and not come across veteran actor Gerald McRaney. He's had guest roles this season on TNT's "Southland," FX's "Justified" and CBS's "Mike and Molly." He even popped up on the Netflix series "House of Cards." Actors such as McRaney are finding plenty of work as guest stars. The good part is work is work. The bad part is guest stars don't get the same rates as recurring characters. Variety on the pros and cons of being on the guest list.

Stop passing the password. Netflix could help its bottom line by getting tough on customers who share their passwords for using the streaming service, a Wall Street analyst says. Netflix has no limit on the number of people who can use the same identity. Bloomberg on Wall Street's desire to see a crackdown.

Inside the Los Angeles Times: Mary McNamara on the new Sundance Channel drama "Rectify."

Follow me on Twitter. I'll never abandon you. @JBFlint.

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