HANNAH IS FASTER THAN FAST
The batting average of the box-office seers dropped further over the weekend as Disney's Hannah Montana: The Movie bested the second week of Universal's Fast and Furious. Indeed, the Miley Cyrus film earned more on Friday alone than it was expected to earn over the entire Easter weekend. Disney estimated that it took in $34 million -- the studio's best Easter weekend ever. On the other hand, Fast and Furious dropped nearly 60 percent in its second weekend, winding up with about $28.8 million. Overseas, however, it made $46 million to pass the $200-million mark in worldwide ticket sales in just 10 days. The biggest disappointment was the performance of Warner Bros.' Observe and Report, which box-office prognosticators figured would duke it out with Hannah for second place. Instead it wound up in fourth place with just $11.1 million. Also debuting below expectations was Fox's Dragonball: Evolution, which placed eighth with $4.6 million. The film, which was not screened in advance for critics, got a pasting from them over the weekend, although Nathan Lee in the New York Times allowed that it "has been perfectly designed to blow the mind of a 10-year-old boy." Faring even worse with the critics was Royal Kill, which opened in limited release. Washington Post writer Dan Zak began his review by writing: Royal Kill needs to be seen to be believed, but don't see it, under any circumstances. Don't even read this review."
The top ten films for the weekend, according to studio estimates compiled by Media by Numbers:
1. Hannah Montana: The Movie, $34 million; 2. Fast & Furious, $28.8 million; 3. Monsters vs. Aliens, $22.6 million; 4. Observe and Report, $11.1 million; 5. Knowing, $6.7 million; 6. I Love You, Man, $6.4 million; 7. The Haunting in Connecticut, $5.7 million; 8. Dragonball: Evolution, $4.7 million; 9. Adventureland, $3.4 million; 10. Duplicity, $3 million.
ANOTHER ENTERTAINMENT AD IGNITES L.A. TIMES FURY
The executive editor of the Los Angeles Times claims he was blindsided when the newspaper ran an advertisement in the form of a news article on its front page last week. John Arthur told TheWrap.com that he was away on vacation last week when the ad appeared. "I'd been told an ad like that was coming, and before my trip I'd complained about it," he told TheWrap. "But I was told it was not imminent, that an ad of this shape was weeks or months away -- May or June was mentioned to me." (He described the ad as "horrible" and a "mistake.") Arthur said that he was also unaware that a four-page ad for Paramount's The Soloist would be running in Sunday's edition of the newspaper. But Lynne Segall, head of entertainment advertising for the Times, was quoted as saying that Times editor Russ Stanton -- "his boss" -- approved both ads. Meanwhile, the ads are touching off heated debate outside the Times. Geneva Overholser, director of the USC school of journalism, told the LAObserved website that the ads represented a fundamental "act of deception."
ABBA COMPOSER FIGHTS MAMMA MIA! SEQUEL
Former Abba member Björn Ulvaes is resisting efforts to mount a movie sequel to the hit musical Mamma Mia!, the London Telegraph reported on Saturday. "It wouldn't work," Ulvaes, who co-wrote the Abba songs that were used in the musical, told the newspaper. Nevertheless, virtually everyone else who was involved in the film is pushing for a sequel, the Telegraph observed, including Universal execs, screenwriter Catherine Johnson, and Meryl Streep, who starred in the film. "Oh, I'm up for it," she told the newspaper, "as long as you can get those fabulous boys back," referring to her male co-stars in the original.