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'Die Hard' is soft. 'Safe Haven' is strong. UFC vs. Bellator.

The Morning Fix

February 19, 2013|By Joe Flint
  • It was a tough weekend for a "A Good Day to Die Hard."
It was a tough weekend for a "A Good Day to Die Hard." (20th Century Fox )

After the coffee. Before getting back into work mode.

The Skinny: I watched "The Following" last night and fear it has started to take a bad turn. I don't want to play spoiler but I do hate it when a character does something they never would do in the name of another plot twist. Tuesday's headlines include a recap of the holiday box office and a look at the battle over mixed martial arts TV supremacy.

Daily Dose: No, Al Pacino isn't doing voice-over ads for Jeep. But that is his voice you're hearing in the new commercial for Jeep. The car company is using the motivational speech Pacino delivered when he played football coach Tony D'Amato in the 1999 release "Any Given Sunday." Jeep is a sister company of Dodge, which used an old Paul Harvey speech about farmers for an ad during the Super Bowl. Seems kind of cheap to me.

Dying soft. "A Good Day to Die Hard" picked a bad time to open. Predicted to top $50 million in its first five days of release last week, the latest sequel to the long-running franchise took in $37.5 million. Doing better than expected was the romance thriller "Safe Haven," which made almost $35 million. Still going strong last weekend was "Identity Thief." Box office recaps from the Los Angeles Times and Hollywood Reporter.

Pay to play. We're not the only ones paying more to get into movie theaters these days. Theater chains are starting to charge Hollywood to run trailers for upcoming releases. A long time ago, a theater might run two trailers before a feature. Now people sit through five or six trailers before the main attraction starts. For theater owners, charging to run more trailers has allowed them to create a much-needed revenue stream. But not every production company can afford to pay for trailer exposure. More on trailer tolls from the Los Angeles Times.

Low blow. As mixed martial arts (otherwise known as cage fighting) grows in popularity, a TV battle is brewing between Ultimate Fighting Championship and Bellator Fighting Championship. The former is the champ of cage fighting while the latter is trying to make a name for itself. UFC has TV deals with News Corp. outlets Fox and FX while Bellator was bought by Viacom Inc. so it could offer fights on its Spike TV. It is similar to the time Turner Broadcasting started its own wrestling league to try to take on the WWE. The New York Times gets into the ring with the UFC and Bellator and measures up the fighters.

A league of their own. Older video game users looking to just play without having to hear a bunch of dumb jokes or smack talk are creating their own online communities such as Geezergamers.com. The Wall Street Journal looks at how the over 40-crowd has found a new way to get away from those pesky kids.

Silly strategy? Many broadcast networks have taken to releasing sneak peaks of their new shows online. While such an approach may sound cool, does it really work or are the networks undercutting their potential TV audience. TV blogger Marc Hilsenrath (a.k.a. BigTVfan) offers some analysis of the practice and decides there is little reward to the risk of online sneak peaks. I agree. 

Showtime! The passing of Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss marks the end of an era for the storied franchise. Like a studio boss, Buss knew that stars put people in the seats. Not only did the Lakers have an incredible run on his watch, he did it by making the games A-list events. Variety columnist Brian Lowry on the legacy of Buss.

Inside the Los Angeles Times: It's been a long strange trip through awards season for Zero Dark Thirty." Meet Heidi Pascoe, one of Hollywood's most fearless stuntwomen. A review of CW's "The Cult" by Mary McNamara.

Follow me on Twitter while you're still young. @JBFlint.

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