By Joe Flint
10:36 AM EDT, May 30, 2013
After the coffee. Before figuring out where the month of May went.
The Skinny: I've got a pile of pilots to watch, but I just can't find the energy right now. Instead, all I want to do is watch baseball and take naps. Thursday's headlines include a look at the marketing campaign behind Sony's "After Earth" and an amusing tale about Grumpy Cat.
Daily Dose: HBO's new movie "Behind the Candelabra," starring Michael Douglas as Liberace and Matt Damon as his young lover, has landed theatrical distribution deals across Europe, Australia and Japan. The movie, which HBO got after U.S. movie studios passed for fear of limited box-office appeal, scored solid numbers in its U.S. TV premiere last weekend and was the talk of Cannes.
Whose movie is this anyway? Sony's "After Earth" hits theaters this weekend, and viewers may be in for some surprises after they buy their popcorn and take their seats. Though the film's marketing suggests that Will Smith is the star and his son Jaden the costar, it's more like the other way around. Also noteworthy is the lack of attention director M. Night Shyamalan is getting in the promotional push for the movie. The Los Angeles Times looks at Sony's marketing strategy for "After Earth," which will face tough competition from "Fast & Furious 6" and "The Hangover III."
No pay, no play. Johnny Depp is dropping out of "Black Mass," director Barry Levinson's movie about Boston mobster Whitey Bulger, according to the Hollywood Reporter, which said lukewarm response to the project at Cannes led producers to reassess the budget. That meant trying to persuade Depp to lower his salary substantially, but the actor apparently passed on that suggestion.
Mr. Inside heading out. Martin Franks, who for 25 years has guided CBS' lobbying efforts and is something of a consigliare for CEO Leslie Moonves, is retiring at the end of September. Franks played key roles in several regulatory changes that aided broadcast television. They include the elimination of financial-interest and syndication rules, which cleared the way for networks to own their own shows. More on Franks from the Los Angeles Times and TVNewsCheck.
The people have spoken. Amazon, which last month offered 14 pilots on its subscription service Amazon Prime, has ordered five of the shows to series based on viewer reaction and comments. The shows include "Alpha House," a political comedy starring John Goodman and executive produced by Garry Trudeau, creator of the Doonesbury comic strip. Details on Amazon's pickups from the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times.
What does she get paid in? Internet sensation Grumpy Cat, whose perpetual frown has made her a star, now has an agent and a movie deal. The Wall Street Journal profiles Grumpy Cat's agent, Ben Lashes, and the feline's rise from small-town Arizona to Hollywood royalty. If Lashes is looking for more cats, I have two brothers deserving a sitcom.
Follow me on Twitter and keep my company on my journey. @JBFlint.
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