Beliefnet
Faith, Media & Culture

Weekend box office: A hammer, fast cars and an outperforming broom sweep up
1. Thor
Marvel’s Norse god of Thunder hammers down $66 million over its domestic debut his opening weekend. (No, being about a Norse god doesn’t necessarily make a movie “faith-based.”)
2.Fast Five
Business remains fast and furious as the action sequel rakes in over $32 1/2 million.
3. Jumping the Broom
Marketed to faith audiences, Jumping leapt over industry expectations to garner over $15 million in its opening weekend. The Sony Tristar film (which cost about $7 million to make) scored a rare A grade across all categories from audience members surveyed by CinemaScore.  The movie was produced by T.D. Jakes, pastor at the nondenominational  Christian church Potter’s House. He’s also a Beliefnet board member.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=laofDF745bM

Meanwhile…

Christian movies continue to gain industry respect. Good storytelling and box office success take their toll on Hollywood resistance. The tide is turning.

People in the News

The Beaver bombs. Mel Gibson’s comeback vehicle tanked at the weekend box office.

Tom Cruise honored by Simon Wiesenthal Center. The Jewish group bestowed its Humanitarian Award on the actor for his work in support of the Museum of Tolerance.

Network Upfronts: NBC has found its Voice but can it find new hits in the fall? Next week is the week when the five broadcast networks announce their fall schedules. NBC starts things off next Monday (May 16). Fox will also be chiming in on the same day.

The perennially struggling Peacock Network (which has fallen a long way from its “Must-See TV” day) recently turned up a much needed hit with the singing competition show The Voice. But is it a flash in the pan for the network or its news A-Team (the show that sparked NBC’s golden era of hits in the 1980’s, also after years of bottom-feeding ratings).

Stay tuned (or not). In the meantime, here’s a list of NBC’s pilots. Some of the titles are tentative.

Dramas

A. Mann’s World
Don Johnson is a Hollywood hair stylist named Alan Mann in a drama that examines one man’s struggle to remain relevant in an ever-changing culture.

Grimm
A dark crime drama with characters inspired by Grimm’s fairy tales.

Metro
Jimmy Smits (LA Law, NYPD Blue) is the mayor of Los Angeles in a drama said to have Traffic-like overtones.

The Playboy Club
A sexy soap set in a Chicago Playboy Club in the 1960’s that  “explores the lives of working-class Playboy bunnies and the men who loved them.” The fact that actors (and, of course, actresses) in the show are being asked to sign contracts with nudity clauses has set off alarm bells at the conservative Media Research Center.

Prime Suspect
An American adaptation of the British series about a tough female police detective.

Reconstruction
A post-Civil War western about a Civil War vet and his attempt to start a new life in “a complicated town where he is welcomed as its savior — whether he likes it or not.”

REM
An Inception-esque thriller about a cop living two different realities.

17th Precinct
Excelsior P.D. (which, BTW, would be a better title) solves crimes in a city where “magic and supernatural elements rule over science.”

Smash
Will Steven Spielberg’s musical drama about a Broadway show live up to its title? Debra Messing (Will & Grace), Katherine McPhee (American Idol) and Anjelica Huston star.

Wonder Woman
David E. Kelley’s updated version of the original feminist superhero.

Comedies

Alpha Mom (Single-cam)
A working mother must deal with her stay-at-home husband and opinionated parents.

Are You There Vodka? It’s Me Chelsea (Multi-cam)
Sitcom inspired by the “raucous” life of Chelsea Handler.

Bent (Single-cam)
A single mother falls the the surfer dude who renovates her kitchen (so to speak?).

Best Friends Forever (Single-cam)
Following a divorce, a woman moves in with her best friend who is now living with a guy.

Brave New World (Single-cam)
Wacky doings at a theme park that recreates the New England of 1637.

Family Practice (Multi-cam)
A young doctor joins his parents’ medical practice.

Free Agents (Single-cam)
Two PR agents on the rebound (one from a divorce, the other from a broken engagement) fall in love.

Help Wanted (Multi-cam)
Workplace comedy about friends helping each other through a period of unexpected career transitions corporate downsizing.

I Hate That I Love You (Single-cam)
Two couples (one straight, one lesbian), one pregnancy.

LoveLives (Multi-cam)
A sitcom about young married couples.

My Life as an Experiment (Single-cam)
A sitcom about an immersion journalist and his family.

Whitney (Multi-cam)
Relationship sitcom starring Whitney Cummings.

Reality

The Boss is Coming to Dinner
Job applicants seek to impress potential employers by throwing a successful dinner party.

Fashion Star
Elle Macpherson hosts a design competition.

Off Their Rockers
Betty White heads up a Candid Camera-type show in which senior citizens pull pranks on young whipper-snappers.

Game Shows

High Stakes
Big rewards for risk-taking contestants.

That’s a Record
Contestants seek to set unusual world records.

Tomorrow: Fox pilots.

BTW, speaking of Jimmy Smits (Metro), here’s a memorable scene from NYPD Blue. It’s a reminder of how good TV can be.

Encourage one another and build each other up – 1 Thessalonians 5:11

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