BOX OFFICE REMAINS ON A TEAR
Even with a film that was not even screened for critics coming in at No. 1, the box office's hot streak continued uninterrupted over the weekend -- as overall gross was projected to be about $112 million, 24 percent ahead of the comparable weekend a year ago, according to Media by Numbers. "We have never been in this strong a position heading into the summer season, ever," Media by Numbers President Paul Dergarabedian told the Associated Press. The summer season kicks off next weekend with 20th Century Fox's X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which has received much positive buzz, possibly intensified by the online release of a pirated workprint late last month. Also opening is Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, which has also been tracking well. The following weekend brings the return of Star Trek.Still, it seemed like summer last weekend as the Beyoncé Knowles/Idris Elba thriller Obsessed, which reportedly cost $20 million to make,opened with a whopping $28.5 million in ticket sales, or about $11,300 per theater. But perhaps even more surprising was the strong debut for the nature documentary Earth.Playing on 1,804 screens, the Disney release took in $8.55 million -- the highest weekend gross ever for a nature documentary and the third highest for any sort of documentary. It has earned $14.2 million since its opening on Wednesday, Earth Day. Meanwhile, last weekend's champ, 17 Again and Universal's new Fighting were in a close race for second place, with early estimates giving the Zac Efron starrer a slight edge -- $11.66 million to $11.44 million for Fighting.Coming in fourth was the well-reviewed drama The Soloist, starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jamie Foxx, with $9.71 million.
1. Obsessed, $28.5 million; 2.17 Again, $11.7 million; 3. Fighting, $11.4 million; 4. The Soloist, $9.7 million; 5. Earth, $8.6 million; 6. Monsters vs. Aliens, $8.5 million; 7.State of Play, $6.9 million; 8.Hannah Montana: The Movie, $6.4 million; 9. Fast & Furious, $6.1 million; 10. Crank: High Voltage, $2.4 million.
The reviews for Obsessed turned out to be about as negative as Sony thought they would be when the studio decided not to screen it for critics, who had to stand in line for tickets and watch it with regular crowds. "Ah, the joys of watching a movie like "Obsessed" at a public showing on a Friday afternoon at the Regal Gallery Place multiplex," wrote Dan Zak in the Washington Post. "If ever a movie deserves to be talked back to, it's this one." Nearly all of the critics compared the movie -- unfavorably -- to Fatal Attraction. "A clanking, low-rent imitation," is how Stephen Holden described it in the New York Times. Noting that Beyoncé Knowles's one big scene doesn't come until halfway into the movie, Joe Neumaier wrote in the New York Daily News, "The result is more like Delayed Frustration than Fatal Attraction." And Steven Cole in the Toronto Globe and Mail wrote: "At least the earlier film had the courage of its perversions. The new film is a safe, dull morality play."
SHATNER "SAD" NOT TO BE INCLUDED IN STAR WARS
William Shatner claims that the producers of the upcoming Star Trek movie are so determined to keep the plot under wraps that even his friend Leonard Nimoy, who, unlike Shatner, has a cameo role in the movie, won't tell him what it's about. In an interview with the syndicated The Insider TV gossip show., Shatner said, "[He] is maybe my dearest friend, so I'm so happy for him -- but he wouldn't tell me what the plot was." About not being asked to participate in the film, the former Captain James T. Kirk said, "It's peculiar, and I'm sad about it, but that's the way they did it." Nevertheless, Shatner indicated that he is anxious to see whether the movie can achieve success given its reported $150-160-million budget. He noted that the earlier Star Trek movies "peaked out at anywhere between $80-100 million in box office grosses. ... so they've got to make four times that" to become profitable, he said.
MORRIS, ENDEAVOR TO MERGE
Two of Hollywood's top talent agencies, the William Morris Agency and Endeavor are expected to announce today (Monday) that they are merging into a new company called WME Entertainment, published reports said over the weekend. In reporting on the long-anticipated merger, the Los Angeles Times, which described it as "the most talked about hook-up in town since Angelina and Brad," commented editorially that it is expected to put the two companies into a better position "to survive the shrinking economy of the entertainment industry, in which fewer films and scripted television shows are being made and studios are squeezing the salaries paid to talent. Reliant on commissions and fees for income, Hollywood's talent agencies are competing for scarcer top clients in a contracting market."