31 October 2006
No Brainer: 'Saw IV' Set for Next Year
It didn't take long for Lionsgate to announce that it plans to release yet another Saw
sequel next Halloween weekend. Word came as final figures indicated that the latest one, Saw III
, had earned $33.61 million during its three-day opening, Lionsgate's biggest opening ever. Other newcomers got lost in the shuffle, failing even to make the top ten. Focus Features' Catch a Fire
opened in 12th place with a scant $2.08 million. Death of a President
bombed as it earned just $281,778 at 143 theaters. On the other hand, Paramount Vantage's Babel
proved to be a weekend sensation as it took in $389,351 on just seven screens for a per-screen average of $55,621. (By contrast, Saw III
took in $10,621 per theater.)
The top ten films over the weekend, according to final figures compiled by Exhibitor Relations (figures in parentheses represent total gross to date): 1. Saw III, Lionsgate, $33,610,391, (New); 2. The Departed, Warner Bros., $9,848,258, 4 Wks. ($91,098,431); 3. The Prestige, Disney, $9,573,215, 2 Wks. ($28,780,742); 4. Flags of Our Fathers, Paramount, $6,346,856, 2 Wks. ($19,923,069); 5. Open Season, Sony, $5,862,674, 5 Wks. ($7,7120,167); 6. Flicka, 20th Century Fox, $4,728,261, 2 Wks. ($13,891,482); 7. Man of the Year, Universal, $4,727,960, 3 Wks. ($28,884,500); 8. The Grudge 2, Sony, $3,264,336, 3 Wks. ($35,980,317); 9. Marie Antoinette, Sony, $2,845,815, 2 Wks. ($9,752,091); 10. Running With Scissors, Sony, $2,531,760, 2 Wks. ($2,865,340).
'Halo' Won't Shine
Although Microsoft's Wingnut Films and director Peter Jackson
's Weta studios had said that they would continue pre-production work on Halo
, a movie based on the video game, after Universal and 20th Century Fox backed out of co-financing it, Jackson and Microsoft announced today (Tuesday) that they had changed their minds and were shutting down the film -- at least temporarily. In a statement, they said that they had agreed to wait until backing was in place that would enable them to "fulfill the promise we made to millions of Halo
fans throughout the world that we would settle for no less than bringing a first class film to the big screen." They nevertheless held out hope that the film would eventually be made. "While it will undoubtedly take a little longer for Halo to reach the big screen, we are confident that the final feature film will be well worth the wait," they said.
Redstone In Yet Another Blast at Cruise
has resumed his attack on Tom Cruise
, charging in an interview with Vanity Fair
that Cruise "was embarrassing the studio. And he was costing us a lot of money." The Viacom chairman peremptorily cut off ties between his Paramount studios and Cruise's production company last August without apparently discussing his decision to do so with then-Viacom chief Tom Freston
or Paramount Chairman Brad Grey. However, according to the Vanity Fair
interview, he did consult with his wife Paula. "Paula, like women everywhere, had come to hate him. The truth of the matter is, I did listen to her," he said. "His behavior was entirely unacceptable to Paula and to the rest of the world. He just didn't turn one [woman] off. He turned off all women, and a lot of men." Redstone estimated that Cruise's controversial appearances on the Today
show, when he chastised interviewer Matt Lauer
for being "glib" and on Oprah
, when he jumped on Winfrey's couch, cost Paramount "$100 million, $150 million on Mission: Impossible III
.It was the best picture of the three, and it did the worst." Redstone concluded that his decision to axe Cruise "sent a message to the rest of the world that the time of the big star getting all this money is over. And it is! I would like to think that what I did, or what we did, has had a salutary effect on the rest of the industry."
New "Kubrick Film" To Be Made
The son-in-law of Stanley Kubrick
is shepherding a film treatment titled Lunatic at Large
to the screen after he discovered it among Kubrik's storage trunks, the New York Times
reported today (Tuesday). According to the newspaper, Kubrick had commissioned the treatment from noir pulp novelist Jim Thompson
in the 1950s, but it had become lost until the son-in-law, Philip Hobbs
, discovered it after Kubrick's death in 1999. Hobbs told the Times
, "I knew what it was right away, because I remember Stanley talking about 'Lunatic.' He was always saying he wished he knew where it was, because it was such a great idea." Veteran producer Edward R. Pressman
(Phantom of the Paradise
, Conan the Barbarian
, Wall Street
, The Crow
) and London media company Finch & Partners are expected to announce today that the film will be directed by British TV director Chris Palmer from a finished script by Stephen R. Clarke.
The future of Friday Night Lights
looked increasingly dim after the NBC show failed to attract much attention from viewers when, as a test, it was moved to the 10:00 p.m. time period Monday night. Although its competition was a rerun of CSI: Miami
drew only a 5.7 rating and a 10 share. (The CSI: Miami
repeat registered a 10.4/17.) The figure was particularly disappointing considering the fact that Lights
, perhaps the biggest new hit of the current season, as its lead-in. (Heroes
scored a 9.7/14 in the 9:00 hour.) Moreover, the previous occupant of the spot, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip
, also believed to be on the verge of cancellation, pulled a 6.3/10 in the same time period last week.
Big-Three Networks Draw Big Sunday Audiences
NFL football continued to generate solid ratings for NBC Sunday night, as the contest between Dallas and Carolina produced a 12.4 rating and a 19 share, roughly the average rating that the football telecasts have produced over the first eight weeks of the season. Still, CBS and ABC had much to boast about on Sunday, too. CBS scored the overall highest average of any network for the night, with 60 Minutes
drawing a 13.2/21 in the first hour. And ABC nailed the highest rating of any network for the night with Desperate Housewives
, which scored a 13.9/20.
Couric Says CBS Newscast Undergoing Adjustments
is maintaining that neither she nor anyone else at CBS is disappointed with her current third-place ranking in the ratings. In an interview with today's (Tuesday) USA Today
, Couric said, "Rome wasn't built in a day and neither will The CBS Evening News
. It's a process, and being in the middle of the process, while it's sometimes challenging and can be frustrating, that's really in many ways the fun part." As for dropping the daily Free Speech feature last Thursday, Couric maintained that it was not being dropped -- that it was suspended for one day only to allow additional time for her interview with Michael J. Fox
. "We never said it was going to run every night," Couric said. "We said from the outset that we're going to try new things and we may adjust and reevaluate."
Brokaw To Return for Election Coverage
Former NBC Nightly News
anchor Tom Brokaw
will return to the live TV news beat next Tuesday when he becomes a "special correspondent" during NBC's "Decision 2006" coverage of the midterm elections. A news release from the network on Monday did not specify how Brokaw would be contributing to the coverage on election day. It did indicate that he would be returning to his old stomping grounds, the Today
show on Wednesday to provide analysis of the results with Meet the Press
moderator Tim Russert
Comedy Central Clips Return to YouTube
Despite reports that YouTube had taken down thousands of clips of Jon Stewart
and Stephen Colbert
after receiving a demand to do so from Comedy Central, thousands of other clips still remained, Reuters reported on Monday. The wire service said that Viacom, Comedy Central's corporate parent, was continuing to hold discussions with YouTube about a deal that could see the purged clips restored on the site. Indeed, today's (Tuesday) New York Post
said that all but the longer clips from the Stewart and Colbert shows were now being allowed. CBS, which had been part of the Viacom family until the company split in half earlier this year, already has a deal in place with YouTube, allowing the website to offer some of the network's most popular programs. Meanwhile, the social-networking site MySpace said Monday that it will not wait to hear from copyright owners before removing unauthorized material and would use a "file filtering application" from a company called Gracenote to hunt down such material and pull it off.
Fox News Using TV-Camera-in-a-PDA
Fox News Channel has been working with Mayfield Heights, OH-based Comet Video to develop PDA-sized video cameras capable of providing broadcast-quality news coverage, Broadcasting & Cable
reported on its website Monday. According to the trade publication, Fox became intrigued with the devices after they were demonstrated at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last January using the Palm Treo Smartphone. Since then, FNC's director of field operations, Ben Ramos, has been working with Comet to refine the specifications of the unit's transmitters and receivers to raise them to broadcast acceptability.
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