25 March 2008
Whoville Comes In Loud and Clear
The sound of $24.6 million being plunked down at the box office greeted theater owners showing Horton Hears a Who!
over the Easter weekend. According to final figures released by Media by Numbers, the animated Fox
film based on the Dr. Seuss
(Theodore Geisel) children's book, the movie has taken in $86 million since it opened on March 14. Coming in second was Tyler Perry
's Meet the Browns
, which opened with $20.1 million. But from those two leaders, the box office dropped off sharply. The horror film Shutter
placed third with $10.4 million, about $100,000 ahead of Drillbit Taylor
, starring Owen Wilson
. Rounding out the top five was 10,000 B.C.
, which took in $8.9 million. Also making the top-ten was the Spanish-language Under the Same Moon
from Fox Searchlight and The Weinstein Co. Playing in just 266 theaters, the film earned $2.8 million, the biggest opening ever for a Spanish-language movie.
The top ten films over the weekend, according to final figures compiled by Media by Numbers (figures in parentheses represent total gross to date): 1. Horton Hears A Who!, 20th Century Fox, $24,590,596, 2 Wks. ($86,010,517); 2. Meet the Browns, Lionsgate, $20,082,809, (New); 3. Shutter, 20th Century Fox, $10,447,559, (New); 4. Drillbit Taylor, Paramount, $10,309,986, (New); 5. 10, 000 B.C., Warner Bros., $8,934,064, 3 Wks. ($76,401,302); 6. Never Back Down, Summit Entertainment, $4,827,250, 2 Wks. ($16,790,361); 7. College Road Trip, Disney, $4,697,683, 3 Wks. ($32,073,003); 8. The Bank Job, Lionsgate, $4,191,773, 3 Wks. ($19,521,672); 9. Vantage Point, Sony/Columbia, $3,805,541, 5 Wks. ($65,300,784); 10. Under the Same Moon (La Misma Luna), Fox Searchlight/Weinstein Co. $2,770,000, 1 Wk. ($34,967,10 -- Since Wednesday).
Netflix Experiences Outage, Share Hike On Same Day
On the same day that shares in online DVD renters Netflix rose to a record high, the company suffered its second-worst outage in its history, going offline at about 7:00 a.m. Pacific Time and not coming back until about 7:00 p.m. The company did not disclose the cause of what it called an "unanticipated, unplanned outage" but did acknowledge that it would not be able to send out discs to many of its customers until today. Netflix experienced a similar system crash last July, which lasted more than 18 hours. On that day, however, the company's shares fell 7 percent; in Monday's trading, shares of the Los Gatos, CA-based company rose 5 percent following a note to clients by Piper Jaffray analyst Michael Olsen saying that his earlier guidance -- he had estimated that Netflix shares would rise to $36 -- was too conservative and that he now believed they would hit $40. They closed Monday up $1.93 at $38.17.
'Star Wars' Fans Call for 'Superhero Movie' Boycott
An announcement by The Weinstein Co. that it now plans to release two versions of its comedy Fanboys
-- one featuring the original cut; the other the cut ordered by Harvey Weinstein
-- has failed to mollify supporters of the original version, who are threatening to boycott and picket the Weinstein's Superhero Movie
, which opens on Friday. "This [the Weinstein announcement] is more about avoiding picket lines at Superhero
than it was about making a decision about the release of our movie," Kevin Mann, one of the producers, told the Hollywood Reporter
. The movie concerns a group of Star Wars
fans who break into George Lucas
's studios to see an advance screening of The Phantom Menace
. In the original version, one of the fans is battling cancer. In the revised one, references to cancer have been removed. "The original reason we wanted to get involved with this script was because it was a comedy with heart," Mann told the trade paper. "In my opinion, when the cancer was taken out, the heart went with it." On their website, http://committed.to/stopdarthweinstein, fans who had seen the rough cut of the movie and/or clips at Star Wars
conventions, vowed that their protest "will continue until the Weinstein Co. announces that they are returning control of Fanboys
to the Star Wars
fans who made it, releasing the original version in theaters and doing away with their anti-fan version of the film altogether."
Weinstein Co. Buys Marley Story -- But Can't Get His Music
Although The Weinstein Company
purchased the movie rights to Rita Marley
's book about her late husband, reggae singer Bob Marley
, rights to his music did not come along with it, the company learned Monday. Marley's family issued a statement saying that while it had received numerous requests to license his music over the years, "all of them have been declined," including the latest from The Weinstein Company. It made an exception in the case of Martin Scorsese
's planned documentary, Marley's son Ziggy said. And in an interview with the Hollywood Reporter
, Marley's music publisher, Chris Blackwell
, suggested that Scorsese may have put the kibbosh on the Weinsteins' film project. "Martin Scorsese doesn't want to go out with a competing project," Blackwell said.
Lucas: Don't Get Your Hopes Up About Indy
is clearly concerned that Indiana Jones fans may have built up unrealistic expectations for his upcoming Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
. "When you do a movie like this, a sequel that's very, very anticipated, people anticipate ultimately that it's going to be the Second Coming," Lucas told USA Today
. "And it's not. It's just a movie. Just like the other movies. You probably have fond memories of the other movies. But if you went back and looked at them, they might not hold up the same way your memory holds up." In fact, he added, when expectations rise to such heights, "You're not going to get a lot of accolades. ... All you can do is lose."
Anger Follows Strike, Says Variety
The aftermath of the writers' strike has seen a striking downturn in the number of scripted television shows and pilots ordered by the television networks, affecting not only the number of jobs for writers but also the number for actors and crew members who would ordinarily have appeared on them, Daily Variety
reported today. In its lead story, headlined "Anger Management," the trade paper commented, "The wave of euphoria that swept over Hollywood following the end of the WGA strike has been replaced by a whole new set of emotions: anxiety, depression, fear, nervousness -- and anger." It quoted Basil Iwanyk
of the production company Thunder Road as calling the television business "a complete catastrophe" for TV workers since the strike. Variety
also noted that blame-calling has heightened. One unnamed agent was quoted as saying, "The studios are punishing writers for going out. ... They want to take their pound of flesh." But Hart Hanson
, creator of Fox
, commented, "I don't get the sense of the companies 'taking revenge.' The strike hurt their bottom line, and they are trying, as corporations, to mitigate the financial hit they endured."
Fox Refuses To Pay Indecency Fine
Calling the FCC's decision to fine it $91,000 for indecency "arbitrary and capricious, inconsistent with precedent and patently unconstitutional," Fox
Television has notified the agency that it will not pay the fine and asked it to reconsider. In its report of the Fox action, the Washington Post
described it as "an unusually aggressive step." While the network stands little chance of seeing the FCC's decision withdrawn, its decision moves the case closer to a court review. Last month, the FCC fined 13 Fox-owned stations and affiliates $7,000 each for a 2003 episode of the now-defunct reality show Married by America
that featured a bachelor party in which naked participants were shown with their breasts and buttocks blurred out by pixelation. Although the commission held that the pixelation made the scene "less explicit and graphic," than it would have been otherwise, it nevertheless found that "the material is still sufficiently graphic and explicit to support an indecency finding."
Supreme Court Rejects Appeal on Ads for Anti-Hillary Film
The Supreme Court has refused to hear an appeal by a conservative group that claims that its free speech rights were violated by recent laws requiring that political ads include a political disclaimer and disclosure of those paying for them. The group, Citizens United, had produced a film about Hillary Clinton
called Hillary: the Movie
that it wanted to show on television and reportedly is working on a follow-up film about Barack Obama
. It had taken the matter directly to the high court after a three-judge panel in January ruled that their movie "is susceptible of no other interpretation than to inform the electorate that Senator Clinton is unfit for office, that the United States would be a dangerous place in a President Hillary Clinton world, and that viewers should vote against her." The movie already is being distributed on DVD and ads for it are posted online at www.hillarythemovie.com.
'Dancing' Wins More Ratings Stars
's Dancing With the Stars
danced away predictably with ratings honors Monday night, scoring a 12.7 rating and a 20 share in the 8:00 p.m. hour, rising to a 13.2/20 at 9:00 p.m. An appearance by Britney Spears
's How I Met Your Mother
gave that show a ratings boost as it posted a second-place 6.3/10 at 8:30 p.m. NBC
continued to struggle with a minuscule 2.7/4 for its My Dad Is Better Than Your Dad
in the same half hour. CBS took over the lead at 10:00 p.m. with the first new episode of CSI: Miami
since the writers' strike posting a 10.2/16.
Minghella's Final Film Draws Big Ratings in U.K.
's last film, a TV movie titled The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency
, was watched by 27 percent of the British television audience Sunday night, Britain's Guardian
newspaper reported today (Tuesday) citing unofficial overnight ratings. The film drew 6.3 million viewers, airing on the BBC
less than a week after the director's death following cancer surgery.
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