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3 items from 2007

'Phoenix' remains hot overseas in second week

23 July 2007 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix mopped up on the international circuit for the second consecutive weekend, towering over the competition with an estimated boxoffice of $100.8 million from more than 13,000 screens in 58 markets.

Distributor Warner Bros. International estimated that about 14 million moviegoers went through the overseas turnstiles during the weekend, hoisting the 12-day foreign gross for the fifth episode in the fantasy franchise to a mighty $351.3 million, $143.8 million more than the title's North America gross total.

Strong holdover action and three powerful No. 1 market bows propelled Phoenix to several records for the Harry Potter series. In Japan, the opening-weekend estimate is $18.6 million from 951 screens, eclipsing all other market openings for the series.

In Russia, the weekend tally is $7 million from 528 situations, the distributor's biggest opening day ever, WBI said. In Israel, the per-screen average was nearly $20,000 as Phoenix opened with $655,000 from 33 screens. Again, it was the biggest market opening of any title in the franchise and the fourth-biggest market opening of all time.

Holdover action remained strong, particularly the U.K., where Phoenix generated an estimated $14.2 million in its second weekend at 1,390 sites for a market cume of $61.1 million. Second-weekend drops in the U.K., Germany, France and Brazil were all less than 50%, which is considered positive given the level of boxoffice business Phoenix is generating.

The only substantial newcomer overseas is the weekend's No. 5 title, New Line Cinema's Hairspray, which made its overseas debut in just one market, the U.K. The John Waters-inspired musical comedy grossed an estimated $4 million from 350 screens, finishing No. 2 in the territory behind Phoenix. Early Hairspray worldwide cume stands at $31.8 million. »

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Shankman Blasts Proposed 'Hairspray' Boycott

17 July 2007 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Hairspray director Adam Shankman has hit back at a journalist who is proposing a boycott of the film because its star John Travolta has "no business" playing an iconic gay character. The Pulp Fiction actor stars as super-sized woman Edna Turnblad in the latest adaptation of the kitsch musical, angering the editor of gay newspaper Washington Blade, Kevin Naff. Naff claims Travolta should never have been cast in the role because his religion Scientology is "homophobic." But Hairspray filmmaker Shankman is astonished by Naff's claims, insisting Travolta has "no problem with people being gay." He says, "I am stunned this has gotten that far. He (Naff) has made the dumbest claims on the entire planet. Everybody involved in Hairspray - all the creators are gay. So John has no problem with people being gay - me, the writers, composer, John Waters - all gay. John's personal beliefs never walked onto my set. I never heard the word Scientology." »

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Travolta Slammed by Gay Rights Activists Over 'Hairspray'

14 June 2007 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

John Travolta has been branded a hypocrite by gay rights activists furious his cross-dressing role in cult musical Hairspray is at odds with his religious beliefs. The star dons womenswear to play Edna Tumblad in the film, originally played by drag queen Divine in John Waters' 1988 adaptation. But Kevin Naff of gay website Blade believes the Pulp Fiction actor's involvement with the movie is disingenuous. He says, "Travolta, a prominent Scientologist, has no business for reprising an iconic gay role. It's well known that Scientology rejects gays and lesbians as members and even operates reparative therapy clinics to 'cure' homosexuality. Divine is spinning in his grave." »

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