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'Thor' will roar. Comcast to sell movies. John Oliver jumps to HBO.

November 15, 2013|By Joe Flint
  • "Thor" will again dominate the box office.
"Thor" will again dominate the box office. (Walt Disney Co. )

 After the coffee. Before figuring out this whole life thing.

The Skinny: Thursday I worked from 5:30 a.m. until about 8:10 p.m. and unfortunately I won't be able to mail it in today. But to paraphrase Hyman Roth, this is the life I have chosen. Friday's roundup includes the box office preview and Comcast's plans to sell movies through its cable boxes. Also, John Oliver is jumping from Comedy Central to HBO.

Daily Dose: On Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission clarified its rules on foreign ownership of broadcast television and radio properties. Currently, the cap for foreign ownership is 25%. While that's not officially changing, the FCC said it was not a hard cap and that it would be willing to approve deals that would result in foreign ownership of more than 25%. So what is the current state of foreign ownership? Oh, well that little detail the FCC can't provide.

Thor's roar. "Thor: The Dark World" will again be a bright spot at the box office. Industry observers anticipate that the second "Thor" movie will take in $40 million or so, which will be more than enough for a first-place finish. Last week, it took in more than $80 million. Also opening is "The Best Man Holiday," a sequel to the 1999 African American comedy "The Best Man," which is expected to make about $20 million. Box office previews from the Los Angeles Times and Variety.   

PHOTOS: Billion-dollar movie club

Why rent when you can buy? Cable giant Comcast Corp. is going to start selling downloads of movies through its cable boxes, a move that will likely inspire other pay-TV distributors to follow suit. Since pay-TV distributors already rent movies, selling is really just the next logical step and indeed, Verizon FiOS is already doing it. This doesn't mean movies will be available to buy while they are still in the theaters. This is about competing with iTunes and Amazon in the so-called electronic sell-through window. Details from the Wall Street Journal.

From spokesman to newsman? Gary Ginsberg, who oversees corporate communications for Time Warner, is in talks for a senior role at CNN, according to the New York Post. Ginsberg, who previously ran communications for Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., would in essence become the No. 2 executive behind CNN chief Jeff Zucker, the Post said.

Oliver's twist. John Oliver is jumping ship from Jon Stewart's "Daily Show" to HBO, where he'll host his own weekly talk and satire show starting next year. Oliver became a hot property after he filled in for Stewart as host over the summer and won rave reviews and solid ratings. More from the Associated Press.  

PHOTOS: Celebrities by The Times

A look back. With the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy approaching, television is gearing up with a slew of specials. The death of Kennedy and the intense coverage around it that brought a nation to its television screen is often seen as the birth of modern media. In other words, not only is this a chance for the networks to rerun the Zapruder film a hundred times, but also do a lot of navel gazing as well. The New York Times takes a look at all the hoopla surrounding this anniversary.

Inside the Los Angeles Times: Robert Lloyd on the new Amazon Prime political comedy "Alpha House." Kenneth Turan on Alexander Payne's new movie "Nebraska."

Follow me on Twitter. I don't stop at 5 p.m. @JBFlint.


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