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NEWS
February 20, 2016 | By Bob Fernandez, Staff Writer
Admitting a 20-year whiff in bringing competition to the $20 billion cable-TV box industry, federal regulators voted Thursday to open cable-box standards for Google and other technology companies. The goal is for them to devise new ways for consumers to search TV channels and on-demand streaming on television. The Federal Communications Commission voted along partisan lines, with three Democrats voting for the proposal and two Republicans voting against it. The measure, if ultimately successful, could undermine a longtime profit center for Comcast and pay-TV companies that have a monopoly on the business of leasing tens of millions of cable, or set-top, boxes to consumers.
BUSINESS
February 18, 2016 | By Bob Fernandez, Staff Writer
The pay-TV industry lobbied Tuesday against a proposal to open cable set-top box standards, blasting it as a giveaway to West Coast technology companies that could take years to implement and burden consumers with extra costs. The Federal Communications Commission is expected to take its first vote on new set-top rules in Washington on Thursday. At stake for Comcast Corp. and others in the cable- and satellite-TV industries is control over a $20 billion-a-year business and how consumers search for TV shows and movies in their living rooms.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 9, 2016 | By Howard Gensler
G EORGE CLOONEY may be a movie star. But he ain't a panda. "Kung Fu Panda 3" showed its might again by beating Clooney's "Hail, Caesar!" and "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" at the Super Bowl weekend box office. The "Panda" sequel earned an estimated $21 million in its second weekend of release, according to studio estimates yesterday. Joel and Ethan Coen 's '50s Hollywood satire "Hail, Caesar!" opened in second place with an estimated $11.4 million. The Nicholas Sparks ' romance "The Choice" debuted with $6.1 million for Lionsgate.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 2, 2016 | By Howard Gensler
"KUNG FU PANDA 3" chopped all competitors down to size this past weekend, dominating the North American box office with a respectable $41 million, according to Rentrak estimates. The animated sequel fared much better than the weekend's other new openers: "The Finest Hours" debuted in fourth place with $10.3 million, "Fifty Shades of Black" earned a modest $6.2 million, "Jane Got a Gun" brought in only $803,000. Someone's getting a write-off. "The Revenant" and "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" took second and third place with $12.4 million and $10.8 million, respectively.
BUSINESS
January 31, 2016 | By Jonathan Takiff, Staff Writer
Set-top box rentals - a major profit center for cable and satellite TV companies and sore point with consumers - may finally be going the way of "Ma Bell" compulsory phone rentals. (Remember them?) That's if Federal Communications Commissioner Thomas Wheeler's proposal to "unlock the box" wins favor from his fellow commissioners. Wheeler's proposal, set for full FCC vote Feb. 18, aims to pave the way for "software, devices, and other innovative solutions to compete with the channel-tuning boxes that a majority of consumers lease today.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 28, 2016
Rank/Title/Studio Last Week   Total    Weeks Out   Per Location    1. The Revenant (Fox) $16.0   $119.2   5   $4,314    2. Star Wars (Disney) 14.1   879.1   6   $4,184    3. Ride Along 2 (Universal) 12.5   58.6   2   $3,902    4. Dirty Grandpa (Lionsgate) 11.1   11.1   1   $3,816    5. The Boy (STX Entertainment) 10.8   10.8   1   $4,035    6. The 5th Wave (Sony) 10.3   10.3   1   $3,551    7. 13 Hours (Paramount)
NEWS
January 22, 2016 | Staff Report
Six Philadelphia police districts will get drop boxes where residents can safely dispose of unwanted prescription drugs under a pilot program announced Wednesday. More than 100 drop boxes have already been installed in suburban counties. Prescription drugs can pollute water systems if dumped down drains and unused medicines - particularly powerful pain killers - can be abused if they fall into the wrong hands. Nearly half of the 650 people who died of overdoses in Philadelphia in 2014 had prescription opioids in their system.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 21, 2016 | By Terri Akman, For The Inquirer
The Queen Village Neighborhood Association said it had these ugly electrical junction boxes on every street. What could be done about them? On a recent Wednesday, Ryan Psota was the 15th artist to transform the nearly six-foot-tall metal boxes into works of art. Using brushes, a roller, a beaded paddle, and cardboard coffee-cup sleeve, Psota, 26, created a background texture for his line drawings at a box at Seventh and South Street - with the...
ENTERTAINMENT
January 20, 2016 | Howard Gensler
Kylo Ren was no match for Kevin Hart . "Ride Along 2," also starring Ice Cube , topped the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend in North America with an estimated $41.5 million over four days, according to studio estimates Monday. The box office-topping performance of "Ride Along 2" lent a timely reminder to Hollywood of the power of diversity at the multiplex, even when there's no diversity at the Oscars. In second was "The Revenant," which earned $39 million over four days, capitalizing on its leading 12 Oscar nominations Thursday.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 9, 2016 | By Tirdad Derakhshani, Inquirer Staff Writer
'Star Wars' No. 1 in history Look, I warned you this would happen, but you went to the movie anyway. Star Wars: The Force Awakens has become the highest-grossing movie in North America since the Declaration of Independence. On Wednesday, the pic, which stars Daisy Ridley, John Boyega , Harrison Ford , Carrie Fisher, and Adam Driver , surpassed Avatar 's $760.5 mil lifetime gross, and did it in a mere 20 days (now, that's really using the force). EntBiz bits HBO prez Michael Lombardo tells John Horn , host of NPR's The Frame , that the second season of True Detective failed because he rushed writer-creator Nic Pizzolatto . The author, he said, needs time to gestate ideas naturally.
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