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'Oz' poised to find box-office gold. Horn has cool hand at Disney.

March 08, 2013|By Joe Flint
  • James Franco and Michelle Williams in "Oz the Great and Powerful."
James Franco and Michelle Williams in "Oz the Great and Powerful." (Walt Disney Co. )

After the coffee. Before deciding if I'll see 'Oz' this weekend.

The Skinny: After seeing "Being Flynn" on HBO last night, I've decided that "Silver Linings Playbook" was over-hyped. Friday's headlines include a preview of the weekend box office, a look at Alan Horn's first year at the helm of Walt Disney Studios and a review of "Oz: The Great and Powerful."

Daily Dose: Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. detailed plans for the spinoff of its publishing arm, which includes the Wall Street Journal and other newspapers around the globe as well as book publisher HarperCollins. The most important news is that the new unit will be debt-free and have $2.6 billion in cash to go after some big newspapers should any be on the market.

Will there be flying monkeys? Walt Disney Co.'s "Oz: The Great and Powerful," a daring prequel to the classic "The Wizard of Oz" is poised to follow the yellow brick road to box-office riches. Industry estimates have "Oz" taking in about $90 million. Hollywood could use a big hit given that box office has been down so far this year. Weekend previews from the Los Angeles Times and Variety.

No horn tooting. Walt Disney Studios chief Alan Horn has brought a sense of stability to the unit since joining last May. Horn, an industry veteran who doesn't seem motivated by power lists, trendy hires or Vanity Fair-like photo spreads, is keeping a low profile but has put a firm hand on the steering wheel at Disney. Besides keeping an eye on Disney's Pixar and Marvel units, he is also trying to pump some life into the company's own studio by beefing up production without making any big mistakes like "John Carter." The Wall Street Journal looks at Horn's first year at Disney.

What's my cut? It is coming up on two months since the Dodgers struck a $7-billion deal with Time Warner Cable for a new sports network for the team, but the contract still hasn't been submitted to Major League Baseball for approval. Guggenheim Partners, the new majority owner of the Dodgers, wants to make sure it keeps as much of the TV money as possible, while MLB wants a big chunk that it can share with the rest of the league. ESPN looks at how the agreement is set up and the work MLB may have to do to get its cut.

Don't do me any favors.  In its lawsuit against cable network programmer Viacom, Cablevision says the penalty for not carrying smaller channels in return for getting access to MTV, Comedy Central and other strong networks was more than $1 billion. The suit is over bundling, which is when a programmer offers big channels at a discount in return for carrying smaller networks. Cablevision says the practice as Viacom does it is illegal. Details from Bloomberg.

Tired of the view. Joy Behar, the longtime cohost of ABC's morning gabfest "The View" is leaving the show this summer. Behar has been branching out the last few years, getting work on Current TV and HLN (which used to be Headline News). There is speculation that Behar may end up with a new gig on CNN. More on Behar from Deadline Hollywood.

Inside the Los Angeles Times: Kenneth Turan on "Oz: The Great and Powerful."

Follow me on Twitter. I shouldn't have to keep telling you this! @JBFlint.


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