i>FRACTURE FAILS TO DISTURB DISTURBIA
New Line's Fracture, starring Anthony Hopkins and Ryan Gosling, couldn't break Disturbia's hold on the top spot at the box office over the weekend. Disturbia, starring Shia LaBeouf, dropped a relatively moderate 39 percent in its second week to $13.5 million, while Fracture opened with $11.2 million. But the most successful film over the weekend was the low-budget British spoof Hot Fuzz, which opened in only 825 theaters but grossed $5.8 million -- an average of $7,062 per theater. Another new horror film, Vacancy, fell far short of expectations, taking in just $7.6 million to open in fourth place. Even worse was the debut of In the Land of Women, starring Adam Brody and Meg Ryan, which tanked with just $4.9 million. Meanwhile, Blades of Glory, starring Will Ferrell, topped the $100-million mark, placing third in its fourth weekend with $7.1 million. Overall, ticket sales at the North American box office were down 22 percent from the comparable weekend a year ago.
The top ten films for the weekend, according to studio estimates compiled by Media by Numbers:
1. Disturbia, $13.5 million; 2. Fracture, $11.2 million; 3. Blades of Glory, $7.8 million; 4. Vacancy, $7.6 million; 5. Meet the Robinsons, $7.1 million; 6. Hot Fuzz, $5.8 million; 7. Are We Done Yet?, $5.2 million; 8. In the Land of Women, $4.9 million; 9. Perfect Stranger, $4.1 million; 10. Wild Hogs, $2.9 million.
EBAY TO MOVIE PRODUCER: ITEM NOT SOLD
An independent film producer who attempted to auction distribution rights to his film on eBay instead of taking it to the traditional film markets has acknowledged he received not a single bid. Neil Schulman had placed his film, Lady Magdalene's, starring Nichelle Nichols of Star Trek fame, on eBay with a starting bid of $1 million. However, Schulman said in a statement, no producer even asked to view the complimentary DVD screener, "and who's crazy enough to bid a million bucks based on a plot synopsis and a YouTube trailer?" Schulman said that his tactic did generate "a publicity bonanza" for his film that he hopes to capitalize on at future film markets.
SINGAPORE FILM YANKED FROM SINGAPORE FILM FESTIVAL
A Singaporean film was withdrawn from the Singapore International Film Festival (SIFF) after the country's censors demanded that graphic homosexual lovemaking scenes be cut. A festival spokesman said that under SIFF rules, only uncensored films may be shown. The film, Solos, was to have been screened on Wednesday. In an interview with the Associated Press, producer Florence Ang said that she had expected that the Singapore government would require some cuts when it is released commercially in the country but that she had not expected that the censors would require them for a film festival, which caters to a limited audience. The A.P. observed that in Singapore, sex between consenting homosexual men is punishable by imprisonment of up to two years. Princess, an animated Danish film, was also withdrawn from the festival after Singapore censors deemed it religiously offensive.
THAI CENSORS DEMAND CUTS IN CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED FILM
The decision by Thai director Apichatpong Weerasetthakul not to allow his critically praised Syndromes and a Century to be screened in Thailand after censors there demanded that four scenes be removed could lead to changes in the law that would replace the censorship board with a ratings system, published reports in Bangkok said today (Monday). Apichatpong said in a statement Sunday that the censorship board had refused to return the print of the film he had submitted and that it would make the cuts itself. As a result, the Thai Film Foundation, the Thai Film Directors Association and Bioscope magazine posted a petition online demanding "the complete overhaul" of the 1930 law that established the censorship board. The controversy arose as Apichatpong was touring the U.S. to promote his film, which David Ansen of Newsweek said "sent me out into the streets in a state of euphoria I couldn't properly explain." In a review posted on the Newsweek website Saturday, Ansen wrote: "For those seeking a palette cleanser after a steady diet of Hollywood 'product,' it's as invigorating as a perfect sorbet."
BRITISH AIRWAYS CUTS FILM SHOWING RIVAL'S PLANES AND FOUNDER
For its in-flight movie presentation, British Airways has removed a scene showing Virgin boss Richard Branson passing through an airport security scanner in the James Bond flick Casino Royale and also obscured the tail fin of a Virgin Airlines plane in another scene, the BBC reported Saturday. BA and Virgin compete on several air routes. The cuts were confirmed by British Airways, which said through a spokesman, "We do reserve the right to edit films, and many films are edited in some way on board."
MOVIE AWARDS PRESENTER REFUSES TO NAME WINNER
In what was regarded as a first at a movie-awards ceremony, the presenter of the best film at the MTV Russia Movie Awards Thursday night refused to announce the winner. Director Vladimir Menshov, a onetime winner of the Oscar for best foreign film, opened the envelope with the name of the film, gasped, then declared, "I'm not going to hand over an award to a film that discredits my country. Let Pamela Anderson do it instead." (Anderson had also participated in the awards show.) The winning film, the World War II drama Svolochi (Bastards), directed by Alexander Atanesyan, had set off a national controversy when it was released last year. The film tells of a group of teenage prisoners who are sent on a suicide mission behind German lines. The director had initially claimed that the film was based on actual events but was later forced to admit it was invented after critics demanded that he produce evidence that the Soviet Union willingly sacrificed children in order to win the war.