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'Need for Speed' hopes to cruise. Liberty has Sirius change.

March 14, 2014|By Joe Flint
  • "Need for Speed" hopes to race away from the competition.
"Need for Speed" hopes to race away from the competition. (MCT )

After the coffee. Before finding my winter coat.

The Skinny: Friday's roundup includes the box-office preview and John Malone's latest financial maneuverings. Also, a look at DreamWorks, which hopes "Need for Speed" can be a hit. I'm out of town this weekend, so behave yourself and beware the Ides of March.

Daily Dose: The regular season starts for the Dodgers a week from Saturday, with games against the Diamondbacks in Australia. While much of the country will be able to catch the action from down under, the majority of Angelenos will likely be shut out. Time Warner Cable, which is distributing the new Dodger channel, SportsNet LA, for the team, still has no deals with distributors other than itself. DirecTV and others are balking over price. Though hardly a scientific study, I talked to a few fans this week who have dropped their providers for Time Warner Cable so they don't miss the games.

Can't drive 55. The car-chase movie "Need for Speed" (described by some as "Fast and Furious" lite) is expected to cruise into first place at the box office this weekend with a take of $25 million to $30 million. It is the first starring role in a movie for "Breaking Bad's" Aaron Paul. Also opening this weekend is Tyler Perry's "Single Moms Club," which should make $18 million. Last week's champ, "300: Rise of an Empire," is projected to take in $20 million. Also opening is "Veronica Mars," based on the cult TV series, and "Bad Words," a dark comedy starring Jason Bateman. Box-office previews from the Los Angeles Times and the Hollywood Reporter.

PHOTOS: Box office top 10 of 2013 | Biggest flops of 2013

A dream deferred. Remember when DreamWorks SKG -- the entertainment company founded by Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen -- was going to revolutionize the movie industry? Instead the studio has struggled and Katzenberg and Geffen have since moved on. Will DreamWorks' latest effort, "Need for Speed," put it back on the right track? The Wall Street Journal looks at the ups and downs of DreamWorks.

Not so Sirius after all. Liberty Media is shelving its plans to acquire all of satellite radio broadcaster Sirius XM. Liberty, which already owns 53% of Sirius XM, wanted the rest of the company and its cash to help the expansion plans of Charter Communications, in which Liberty has a 27% stake. That became unnecessary when Comcast beat Charter to the punch in acquiring Time Warner Cable. Now Liberty, whose chairman is cable pioneer John Malone, will issue a tracking stock that will include its Charter stake. Confused yet? I know I am. Details from Bloomberg.

A medium-sized chuckle. Big, broad comedy hits appear to be a thing of the past. Yes, "Big Bang Theory" and "Modern Family" are still strong, but it's been a while since a new comedy broke through. Is that bad? Well, hits are nice but Vulture thinks there is some lemonade to be made out of these comedy lemons and tries to make the case that maybe niche comedies with small but loyal audiences aren't such a bad thing after all. 

No surprises. If you're planning to attend the event, you'll probably be able to squeeze in a Broadway play and a movie the day CBS presents its fall schedule to advertisers this May in New York. That's because there will be very little change. On Thursday, CBS announced renewals for the bulk of its current shows including dramas "Elementary" and "The Good Wife" and comedies "Mom" and "The Millers." More on CBS from the New York Times.

Inside the Los Angeles Times: Betsy Sharkey on "Need for Speed" and "Veronica Mars."

Follow me on Twitter and watch me annoy people. @JBFlint.


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