Columnist’s Note: Since some of the other columnists are staking their claim to #1 movie critic in America, I felt that I should throw my hat in the ring. So I am declaring myself the # 1 5/8 movie critic in America, right behind a midget in Missouri who has claimed the #1 1/2 position…

It was another week full of news bits from Hollywood. We got to see the new Batmobile from Batman Begins. Viggo Mortensen gets a little “violent”. And Woody Allen is taking his filmmaking efforts outside of the 5 boroughs of New York City. But a lot more than that happened in Hollywood this week. Let’s take a look, but first, lets check out the box office numbers for the weekend.

BOX OFFICE CORNER

It seems that not even a silver-eyed bald guy and a bunch of robotic wives could stop our favorite wizard. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban held on to the top spot at the box office this weekend. The third flick in the incredibly popular series grossed an estimated $35 million in its second weekend, although it did drop a huge 62.6% from its debut weekend. The Alfonso Cuaron movie is at $158.1 million overall, and, unless it gets a huge surge in the coming weeks, it looks like this might be the lowest-grossing Potter movie of the three so far.

It was a very close race for the silver medal at the box office this weekend, with The Chronicles of Riddick beating out Shrek 2 by a mere $600,000.

Riddick took in an estimated $24.6 million in its first weekend and Shrek 2 nabbed $24 million in its second weekend. With these movies so close to each other, they might end up switching places when the actual figures are released on Monday. But Riddick did secure a solid opening, showing in almost 900 fewer theaters than Potter and Shrek 2. And Shrek 2 gained more ground on The Passion of the Christ for the highest-grossing movie of the year. Shrek 2 is now at $354 million, only $15 million behind the Mel Gibson epic. The Passion is still in a few theaters, but Shrek 2 will likely pass The Passion next weekend.

The other two new releases this week were right behind Riddick and Shrek 2 in 4th and 5th place. The Stepford Wives took the 4th spot this weekend, with an estimated gross of $22.2 million. Garfield: The Movie took the 5th spot, grossing an estimated $21.6 million. Again, since these numbers are so close to each other, there may be some shifting of the 4th and 5th spot when the actual figures are released.

GOING LIVE

Wimbledon: (/www.wimbledonmovie.com) This site is up first and the main page shows Spider-Man’s squeeze (Kirsten Dunst) and the weird imaginary guy from A Beautiful Mind (Paul Bettany) in tennis white’s. There’s not a whole lot to the site, with a small photo gallery, the trailer and synopsis and you can download a wallpaper for your desktop. It’s not the worst site I’ve seen, but it’s certainly not the best either. Wimbeldon opens on September 24.

Friday%20Night%20Lights|Friday Night Lights: (www.fridaynightlightsmovie.com) The site for this football flick is up next, and there really isn’t much here either. All we get is a brief synopsis, a link to the trailer and a link called “Instant Replay” which is just a different way to reload the site. Retarded. Hopefully there is more to come for this site before the movie opens in theaters October 15.

The Clearing: (foxsearchlight.com/theclearing/) There is a little bit more to this site, and there’s even some creepy background music. But if you have a slower computer, like I do, it will take a while for all of this to load. You get links to the synopsis and production notes as well as a list of the cast and crew, a photo gallery, and some video and downloads. It’s a pretty decent site, for the material there, but whenever you click on one of the links, you have to wait for all these still photos to scroll through before you can see what you clicked on. The movie opens on July 2 in a limited release.

Collateral: (www.collateral-themovie.com) This site is up next, and this is one of the movies that I’m looking forward to the most this summer. Unfortunately, the site for this flick isn’t that great. On the main page, we get an intro that is basically footage from the trailer that was re-edited, and after that intro, you can view the real trailer and get a synopsis of the movie. The trailer is great, and I’m sure the movie will be too. But the site for this movie just isn’t great at all, but that may change as we near the movie’s August 6 release.

Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid: (sonypictures.com/movies/anacondas) This site is up last and while it might take forever to load, there is a lot on this site. There are links to the “Travelouge” which is really the trailer, “Campfire Tales” which is really the synopsis, “Victims” which is really the cast, “Supplies” which is really some downloadable wallpapers or AOL Instant Messanger icons and “Adventures” which is really some games you can play. This is a pretty busy site with a lot to do here, even though the movie looks like garbage. The movie opens on August 27.

TRAILER PARK

Wimbledon: Wow. A tennis romantic drama thing. This looks about a schmaltzy as you can get, although Kirsten Dunst and Paul Bettany don’t look too bad in it. But still, is anyone really going to want to see a movie about tennis? That doesn’t have Anna Kournikova in it? And it’s coming out in one of the worst movie months of the year, September. This movie will probably be a double fault serve instead of an ace.

Friday Night Lights: This new football flick looks a lot like Varsity Blues, only this is a true story about a football-crazy town in Texas. This could be a pretty good flick, but I’m not totally sure. The cast is pretty decent, with Billy Bob Thornton and Derek Luke (Antwone Fisher), and the football action doesn’t look too bad. But it depends on how dramatic they make it, which, in these types of movies, usually just ends up being more sappy and contrived than dramatic. We’ll have to wait until October 15 to see if this scores, or gets a penalty for unnecessary boredom.

Grand Theft Parsons:The trailer for this quirky little comedy is next, and this looks like it could be a winner. It’s based on the true story of the aftermath of musician Gram Parsons’ death, and Johnny Knoxville stars as Parsons’ road manager who seeks to put Parsons body to rest in the desert. The movie opens next weekend, June 18 in limited release, but hopefully this movie expands later, because this looks like a great indie hit.

Alien vs. Predator: An internet exclusive trailer was released this week, and if you’re a fan of both these monsters, this should whet your appetite for the movie even more. It’s just some creepy new footage strung together, but this does look like it could be a decent movie. The battle begins on August 13.

BEST NEWS OF THE WEEK

My pick for the best news of the week is the ultra-hot Dave Chappelle to possibly star as Rick James in a biopic of the singer. One of the best skits on Chappelle’s Show this past season was where Chappelle portrayed James. It was just absolutely hilarious, and gave us a new catch phrase in “I’m Rick James, bitch.” I’m assuming this movie will be a drama, and it’s a great opportunity for Chappelle to branch out some more. This movie is probably a long ways off, but it is definitely one to keep an eye on, especially if Chappelle is officially cast, which he should be.

WORST NEWS OF THE WEEK

My pick for the worst news of the week is Sylvester Stallone trying to muscle his way into 2 different sequels getting made: Rocky VI and Rambo IV. Sure, we loved both of these series, but lets face facts. Rocky V and Rambo III were both the worst movies in each series. His career is definitely in the dumps and he thinks he can win his way back into the spotlight by reprising his best two characters. Maybe it’s time to do something else, Sly, because obviously moviegoers just don’t want to see you anymore. He hasn’t had a hit since Cliffhanger, and that was in 1993, and even that failed to top $100 million. Maybe you should run for the mayor of Yorba Linda or something…

- Brian “The #1 5/8 Movie Critic in America” Gallagher