News Nuggets: ‘The Hunger Games’ sets opening day box office record

Hunter Hayes follows Taylor Swift‘s lead by lobbying with kittens: “Hunter Hayes wants to win the 2012 ACM Awards New Artist of the Year honor so bad that the singer and his digital promotion team recruited a quartet of super cute kittens to aid him in his quest and to emotionally blackmail you into voting. They’re preying on your inability to ignore rampant cuteness.” TASTE OF COUNTRY

Downton Abbey” creator Julian Fellowes plans to improve of James Cameron‘s “Titanic”: “Whatever my reasons for distancing myself from James Cameron’s film, they’re certainly not the same as those of Julian Fellowes — who has rather bluntly lashed out at ‘Titanic’ (with or without 3D) on the basis of its factual inaccuracies. This isn’t an unmotivated statement: the Oscar-winning writer of ‘Gosford Park’ and recent TV hit ‘Downtown Abbey’ has his own dramatization of the Titanic story due to hit small screens later this year.” IN CONTENTION

The Hunger Games” sets a box office record in its opening day: “The dystopian action film ‘The Hunger Games’ posted the fifth-best opening day ever with a staggering $68.3 million (including $19.7 million from midnight showings). That’s by far the best opening day ever for a non-sequel. In fact, the next non-sequel in the opening-day record book sits all the way down in 18th place — 2010′s ‘Alice in Wonderland’ with $40.8 million.” EW.COM

ABC is close to announcing early renewals: “ABC is on the verge of issuing formal early renewals to nearly a dozen scripted series, including freshman hits ‘Once Upon a Time‘ and ‘Revenge‘ and established players ‘Modern Family‘ and ‘Grey’s Anatomy.’ Although an ABC rep declined to comment, TVLine has learned that the network’s prelim pickup list also includes ‘Castle,’ ‘Suburgatory,’ ‘Last Man Standing,’ ‘Happy Endings,’ ‘The Middle.'” TV LINE

The Drama League will honor Alan Menken, Rosie O’Donnell, and Diane Paulus on May 18: “Menken (‘Newsies,’ ‘Leap of Faith,’ ‘Sister Act’) will receive the Distinguished Achievement in Musical Theatre Award in ‘recognition of his contribution to the musical theatre’; stage, television and movie star Rosie O’Donnell (‘Fiddler on the Roof,’ ‘Seussical,’ ‘Grease’) will receive the Unique Contribution to the Theatre Award ‘for her continuing efforts in promoting live theatre’; and Drama League Directors Project alum Diane Paulus (‘Hair,’ ‘Porgy and Bess’), the artistic director of the American Repertory Theatre, will receive The Founders Award for Excellence in Directing (formerly named the Julia Hansen Award).” PLAYBILL

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