i>21 ACES NO. 1

Box office forecasters crapped out over the weekend as the film they had bet on to lead the competition came in third and a film they had expected to flop wound up at the top. In fact, Sony's gambling movie 21 far surpassed predictions, taking in $24.1 million over the weekend. Fox's Horton Hears a Who!, meanwhile, continued to take advantage of the kids' Easter break from school and slid just $27 percent to $17.4 million, putting its three-week total well above the $100-million mark. But Superhero Movie clearly did not have the kind of muscle analysts thought it did, winding up with just $9.5 million in its debut -- a far cry from the $15-20 million that had been predicted for it. Paramount's Stop-Loss -- despite generally strong reviews -- was not expected to do well, and it didn't. It came in eighth with just $4.6 million.

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. 21, Sony/Columbia, $24,105,943, (New) ); 2. Horton Hears a Who!, Fox, $17,740,106, 3 Wks. ($117,589,254); 3. Superhero Movie, MGM/The Weinstein Co., $9,510,297, (New) ); 4. Tyler Perry's Meet the Browns, Lionsgate, $7,481,508, 2 Wks. ($32,549,825); 5. Drillbit Taylor, Paramount, $5,713,585, 2 Wks. ($20,487,226); 6. Shutter, Fox, $5,221,016, 2 Wks. ($18,998,604); 7. 10,000 B.C., $4,947,174, 4 Wks. ($84,992,525); 8. Stop-Loss, Paramount, $4,555,117, (New) ); 9. College Road Trip, Disney, $3,457,756, 4 Wks. ($38,322,829); 10. The Bank Job, Lionsgate, $2,780,168, 4 Wks. ($19,521,672).

SUPERMAN VS. SPIDER-MAN

Following a court decision giving certain copyright rights to the heirs of Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel, Siegel's widow Joanne has reportedly signed a deal with Marvel Studios that will bring a Superman vs. Spider-Man movie to the screen by 2012, according to Daily Variety. According to the trade publication, the film will have two directors, Bryan Singer and Sam Raimi, with Singer directing the Superman sequences and Raimi, the Spider-Man ones. The website JoBlo.com, citing three unnamed studio sources, said that Jake Gyllenhaal will replace Tobey Maguire as Spider-Man. (The item may be an April Fool's spoof.) As for Superman -- speculation is that CGI animation may be used to give the character the looks of the late Christopher Reeves. (That too may be an April Fool's spoof.)

STONES DOCUMENTARY TO SET IMAX RECORD

Martin Scorsese's Shine a Light, a documentary featuring a concert performance by the Rolling Stones, will open on 93 IMAX screens Friday -- the largest number of the giant-screen venues ever to exhibit a movie, edging out Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, which opened on 91 IMAX screens. The Paramount Classics film will also be shown in about 177 conventional theaters. Tickets for the IMAX screenings will go for $13. In a statement, Scorsese remarked, "I've always loved looking at IMAX, but to see these images of the Rolling Stones on the biggest canvas is something else altogether." Greg Foster, head of IMAX Filmed Entertainment, added, "Audiences will feel as if they are literally in the front row at the concert." The concert was filmed at the Beacon Theatre in New York in the fall of 2006.

PARIS HILTON: MOST "OVEREXPOSED"

Paris Hilton is the most "overexposed" celebrity in America, according to a survey by Los Angeles-based E-Poll Market Research and reported by Forbes magazine on its website Monday. She is followed on the list by Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan and the Olsen twins. Forbes observed that the exposure such stars receives keeps them among the ranks of top celebrities -- even when their movie, TV, or recording work is unnoticeable. Forbes cites the example of Pamela Anderson, who ranks fourth on the list. "Without the acting career she hoped would take off," it writes, "it's her tabloid presence care of multiple marriages (and divorces) and provocative ways that continues to open doors for her celebrity."

SARAH MARSHALL CAMPAIGN TURNING HEADS

The teaser billboard campaign to promote Universal's upcoming Forgetting Sarah Marshall, produced by Judd Apatow, is drawing much praise from advertising executives, considerable comment from bloggers, and even some viral parodies. In an item headlined "You Win This Round, Advertising," Condé Nast's Portfolio reported that the campaign, which includes ads like "You Suck Sarah Marshall" covering placards and billboards around several cities, has aroused the curiosity -- and bemusement -- of tourists in New York. On the website /Film, writer Peter Sciretta reported last week that a backlash has developed in San Francisco. "It's actually a very cool campaign, maybe too good," Sciretta wrote. "Last week, flyers that look like the Sarah Marshall advertisements have started appearing on trees around the city reading, "I'm So Over You Tree."

DIRECTOR JULES DASSIN DEAD AT 96

Connecticut-born director Jules Dassin, who achieved his greatest fame after being blacklisted in the U.S. in the 1950s and becoming an exile abroad, has died in Athens at the age of 96. After leaving the U.S., he initially moved to Paris where he met and later married Greek actress Melina Mercouri. She starred in his most celebrated film, 1960's Never on Sunday, which he wrote and directed. He became such a part of European cinema in the years that followed that many Americans pronounced his name as if it were French. He and Mercouri settled in Greece following the overthrow of the military junta there in 1974, where they became one of the country's best loved couples. Mercouri eventually became the country's culture minister and Dassin became a Greek citizen. Mercouri died of lung cancer in 1994.

Brian B.