In an otherwise lackluster weekend, Paramount/DreamWorks' Disturbiaproved to be a standout, earning $22.2 million, nearly twice what analysts had forecast it would take in, according to final figures released by Media by Numbers on Monday. Blades of Glory, also from Paramount/DreamWorks, slipped to second place with $13.8 million after spending the previous two weeks at the top of the list. Meanwhile Warner Bros.' 300 added another $4.5 million to its gross, putting it past the $200-million level.

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. Disturbia, Paramount, $22,224,982, (New); 2. Blades of Glory, Paramount, $13,826,386, 3 Wks. ($89,956,404); 3. Meet the Robinsons, Disney, $12,467,155, 3 Wks, 72,367,907); 4. Perfect Stranger, Sony, $11,206,163, (New); 5. Are We Done Yet?, Sony, $8,952,686, 2 Wks. ($32,756,340); 6. Pathfinder, 20th Century Fox, $5,001,214, (New); 7. Wild Hogs, Disney, $4,676,734, 7 Wks. ($152,280,821); 8. The Reaping, Warner Bros., $4,567,478, 2 Wks. ($19,765,297); 9. 300, Warner Bros., $4,454,355, 6 Wks. ($200,965,135); 10. Grindhouse, Weinstein Co. $4,331,372, 2 Wks. ($19,792,200).


Sony today (Tuesday) is releasing Spider-Man 2.1: Extended Cut, with eight minutes of scenes added by director Sam Raimi to the original version, improved video and audio, and a preview of Spider-Man 3, due to be released theatrically on May 4. The DVD carries a suggested retail price of $20. In an interview with USA Today,Rafe Telsch, assistant editor of Cinemablend.com, said that one of the added scenes in which the character J. Jonah Jameson is seen wearing the Spider-Man suit after Peter Parker throws it in the trash "might be the funniest addition of the movie and makes [the new DVD] completely worth it."


Angry protests by Hindu fundamentalists erupted all over India Monday after actor Richard Gere jokingly embraced Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty during a televised HIV/AIDS event in New Delhi on Sunday and kissed her several times. In Mumbai, members of the group Shiv Sena, which has succeeded in shutting down production of several Bollywood films that they objected to, burned effigies of Gere and set fire to posters of Shetty. In the northern town of Meerut, crowds chanted "Down with Shilpa Shetty." In January, Shetty was the center of another controversy after she was subjected to racist comments by a fellow contestant on the U.K. television show Celebrity Big Brother. In an interview with the Indian website Our Bollywood, Shetty said that the incident had been "blown out of proportion on TV. I am not allowed to work. My entire shooting [schedule] has been disrupted." She defended Gere, saying that he was unfamiliar with Hindu traditions. (Gere converted to Tibetan Buddhism in 1984.) "Richard Gere called me three times since the morning to apologize and said that he didn't want to hurt the sentiments of Indian people. And if he did, he is sorry," Shetty said.


Producers of an $80-million Chinese historical epic film claim that Chow Yung-fat, who was to have starred in it, made excessive demands that were rejected by the movie's Hollywood insurer. Chow later announced that he was withdrawing from the film because he had received the script too late for him to prepare adequately for his role. The film, Red Cliff,is to be directed by John Woo. Woo's business partner, Terrence Chang, told Sina.com, a Chinese news website, that Chow had demanded the addition of 73 clauses. "Many exceed industry standards," Chang added. Chow later told the Associated Press that the contractual provisions were based on a "Hollywood-style contract," and remarked, "Maybe everyone hasn't gotten used to Hollywood contracts."


China today (Tuesday) responded to a U.S. complaint to the World Trade Organization that it has failed to crack down on copyright piracy. Yi Xintian, a spokesman for the State Intellectual Property Office, said that his country "has made tremendous efforts and taken a lot of steps to protect intellectual property rights." Yi argued that piracy is an international issue that affects many countries. He pointed to studies indicating that Canada is responsible for the production of the greatest number of bootleg DVDs. China, he maintained, destroyed 73 million illegally copied DVDs, CDs, software, and books in 2006

Brian B. at Movieweb
Brian B.