22 August 2005
'Virgin' on Top of the Box Office
The 40-Year-Old Virgin
experienced an ecstatic initiation over the weekend, taking in an estimated $20.6 million to top the box office. The Universal film was the second R-Rated comedy in a month to top the box office. The first, New Line's Wedding Crashers
, remained on the top-ten list after six weeks, adding $8.3 million to its total and bringing its gross to $178 million. Another newcomer also performed strongly. DreamWorks' thriller Red Eye
opened in second place with $16.5 million, but the Disney-distributed Valiant
brought in only $6.1 million, winding up in seventh place, while 20th Century Fox's Supercross
tanked with just $1.3 million. Last week's top film, Paramount's Four Brothers
, dropped to third place with $13 million. Continuing to impress, March of the Penguins
pulled in another $6.7 million in its ninth week, good enough for sixth place. Its total now stands at $48.6 million. With the top 12 movies grossing $98.8 million, the box office remained below last year's for the comparable weekend -- but not by as much as some previous weeks. The figure for the weekend was about 3 percent lower than last year -- but the overall box office for the year is about 8 percent behind 2004's gross.
The top ten films for the weekend, according to studio estimates compiled by Exhibitor Relations: 1. The 40-Year-Old Virgin, $20.6 million; 2. Red Eye, $16.5 million; 3. Four Brothers, $13 million; 4. Wedding Crashers, $8.3 million; 5. The Skeleton Key, $7.4 million; 6. March of the Penguins, $6.7 million; 7. Valiant, $6.1 million; 8. Dukes of Hazzard, $5.7 million; 9. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, $4.5 million; 10. Sky High, $4 million.
Audience Tests Resulted in Many 'Virgin' Changes
Numerous test screenings of The 40-Year-Old Virgin
resulted in many scenes being reworked in the editing room, the Los Angeles Times
reported today (Monday). The newspaper said that director and co-writer Judd Apatow
, who was making his feature-film debut, recorded the reaction of audiences at the test screenings, then, in the editing room, synchronized the recording with the film in order to hear which scenes failed to produce laughs. For example, a scene featuring an encounter between the title character and a transvestite was trimmed to only a few seconds after audiences responded negatively to it. Another scene in which the character watches a porn movie was also trimmed. Co-writer/star Steve Carell
told the Times
: "It was way too graphic. It pulled people out of the movie."
MPAA Sees 'Saw II' Ads, Nixes Them
The MPAA's Advertising Administration board on Friday rejected ads for the upcoming horror film Saw II
that distributor Lions Gate had already sent to some websites. The ads had shown dismembered fingers, which the board said violated its standards. The MPAA also demanded that Lions Gate recall all advertising material that it had sent out to theaters until the Advertising Administration board appraises its suitability. (The film has not received a rating, although the advertising material reportedly displays an R rating.) Marilyn Gordon, director of the Advertising Administration, said in a statement: "It is essential that film distributors comply with the rules of the Advertising Administration so that parents retain the confidence they have in the ratings."
Menage Scene Draws NC-17 Rating for Egoyan Film
Canadian director Atom Egoyan
's latest film, Where the Truth Lies
, starring Kevin Bacon
and Colin Firth
, has received an NC-17 rating by the MPAA's ratings board, presumably because of a menage á trois scene featuring the two actors and Rachel Blanchard
, the film's distributor, ThinkFilm, said Friday. In an interview with Reuters, producer Robert Lantos
said that the scene in question cannot be edited since it was filmed with a single mastershot with no cut-away shots. He called it the movie's "pivotal scene" He said, "It cannot be cut without compromising the central scene of the narrative and thus rendering the mystery of the film incomprehensible." Lantos, the chairman of ThinkFilm, said that the company will appeal the rating.
What Box Office Slump? Asks IMAX
Toronto-based IMAX is defying the general downward trend of the box office, disclosing that ticket sales per screen for mainstream movies converted to the giant screen format has more than doubled in the first seven months of the year, Barron's magazine is reporting in its current issue. It also observed that the company's core business, installing giant-screen systems in multiplex theaters, has tripled over the past year. "We have only just begun to scratch the surface of our potential market," co-CEO Brad Wechsler told Barron's.
Costas Bails Out of 'Larry King Live'
reportedly bailed out of hosting Larry King Live
on CNN Wednesday after balking at covering the Natalee Holloway story, according to the New York Post
's "Page Six" column. He was replaced by Atlanta defense attorney Chris Pixley. On Tuesday, the previous night, during a discussion of the BTK case, Costas also expressed discomfort with his subject matter. At one point, he asked reporter Larry Hatteberg of Wichita TV station KAKE-TV whether he believed serial murderer Dennis Rader was enjoying the media attention he was receiving. Hatteberg replied, "Bob, he absolutely loves it," then added: "A lot of people have said the best thing can happen to Dennis Rader is to put him in a cell and turn the light off and not give him access to any radio or any television and that would be a terrible punishment for Dennis Rader." Seemingly stung by Hatteberg's remarks, Costas remarked, "I have serious misgivings about this program right here, right now." Hatteberg: "True." Costas: "Do we contribute to an atmosphere which is not so much informative as it is voyeuristic. What's the positive purpose of this?" Today's Hollywood Reporter
said that Costas also declined to front Thursday's Larry King
show because it, too, would have focused on Rader. "I didn't think the subject matter of Thursday's show was the kind of broadcast that I should be doing," Costas told the trade paper. "I suggested some alternatives, but the producers preferred the topics they had chosen."
CNN Moves 'American Morning' Off the Street
CNN's American Morning
aired its first program this morning (Monday) from its new digs in the Time Warner Center in New York City after vacating the street-front studio in the Time Life building. "Good to be here. We've closed the window," CNN co-anchor Miles O'Brien
remarked at the opening of today's broadcast, then added "And opened a new door." The move brings all of CNN's New York-based programming under one roof. Earlier this month, CNN President Jonathan Klein remarked that the move was part of an effort to distinguish CNN from its competitors -- to set itself "apart from the dreary me-tooism of morning news programming."
Will 'CBS Evening News' Clone '60 Minutes'?
CBS is likely to borrow liberally from the 60 Minutes
format to revamp the CBS Evening News
, presenting a brief newscast at the opening of the program, followed by in-depth reports, features, and a humorous "capper" -- all from an ensemble of five regular reporters, several TV-related websites said over the weekend, citing CBS insiders. The five regulars, the reports said, are likely to be Sharyn Alfonsi, Jim Axelrod, Mika Brzezinwski, Trish Regan, and Byron Pitts. Most of the Internet reports forecast an October debut of the new format.
Sony To Be Sole Sponsor of 'Nip/Tuck' Season Opener
The 90-minute season premiere of FX network's hit series Nip/Tuck
will have a single sponsor -- Sony Pictures -- and commercial content will be limited to just 11 minutes, TV Week
reported today (Monday). The trade publication estimated that Sony probably paid FX more than $1.8 million for the package, which also includes a custom opening and close, vignettes and thank-you messages in addition to the spots, which will air on the Sept. 20 telecast.
Salt Lake City TV Station Refuses To Air Cindy Sheehan Ad
A Salt Lake City station has refused to air an ad featuring Cindy Sheehan, the mother of a slain Iraqi war soldier who has been staging a vigil near President Bush's ranch in Crawford, TX demanding that the president meet with her. The ads were placed on other Salt Lake City stations by Gold Star Families for Peace in advance of President Bush's speech tonight (Monday) at the national convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. In a statement Saturday, KTVX said that Sheehan's remarks "could very well be offensive to our community in Utah, which has contributed more than its fair share of fighting soldiers and suffered significant loss of life in this Iraq war."
Who Wants To Be AaCapitalist?
In what would have been unimaginable in the world's largest communist country only a few years ago, Chinese television is joining up with Donald Trump
to present a local version of The Apprentice
, the Hong Kong newspaper South China Morning Post
reported Sunday. According to the newspaper, Trump will exec produce the Chinese show, which will be hosted by a property mogul based in Beijing. The winner, however, will receive a job not with the Chinese mogul but with the Trump organization.
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