DREAMWORKS ANIMATION HAS A DREAM QUARTER
"We had our strongest first quarter ever," DreamWorks Animation founder and CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg said Tuesday as the Glendale, CA-based studio reported net income of $62.3 million, up from $26.1 million during the same quarter a year ago. The results far exceeded analysts' expectations and sent shares in the company soaring in early trading today (Wednesday). After closing at $19.07 before the release of quarterly results on Tuesday, DWA stock was trading at $23.64 at noon today, up 24 percent. The company attributed the strong performance to solid ticket and DVD sales of Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa. However, Katzenberg said that the company's current movie, Monsters vs Aliens, is underperforming in key markets overseas, where, he said, "it hasn't delivered the level of performance that we've come to expect from our films. ... We're genuinely surprised."
FOX SPOKESMAN SHOULDERS BLAME FOR FALSE WOLVERINE REPORT
Fox spokesman Chris Petrikin is attempting to deflect criticism over the handling of the X-Men Origins: Wolverine bootleg controversy aimed at studio Co-Chairman Tom Rothman. Rothman had been the object of much derision after claiming that the workprint of: Wolverine that had been uploaded onto the Internet last month was 10 minutes shorter than the final version. Several bloggers on entertainment websites soon discovered that the pirated copy and the final print being sent to theaters this weekend are the exact same length and accused Rothman of lying. But in an interview with today's (Wednesday) Los Angeles Times, Petrikin conceded that he had given the wrong information about the movie's length to Rothman. "There was no 'fibbing' involved -- that would imply that we were so on top of things that we anticipated having one of our biggest films of the year stolen and had time to concoct a plan to purposefully 'spin' wrong information," Petrikin told Times columnist Patrick Goldstein. "In fact, I think I told Tom that there might be 10 minutes missing from the stolen version, based -- obviously -- on misinformation I was given or misinterpreted. The real issue is the scale of this crime and that the film was not finished when it was stolen." Investigators have yet to learn who uploaded the Wolverine print or how it was obtained.
STONE RETURNING TO WALL STREET
The current recession and scandals on Wall Street have had an unexpected consequence: a decision by director Oliver Stone to revive plans to mount a sequel to his 1987 drama Wall Street. Stone had previously said in interviews that he had abandoned the project because he "couldn't come up with the right way to go about it." However, published reports said today (Wednesday) that Stone had changed his mind after seeing a rewrite of the sequel by Allan Loeb. The reports also indicated that Michael Douglas had agreed to reprise his role as Gordon Gekko and that Shia LaBeouf would play his assistant in the new movie, currently titled Wall Street 2 (after previously being titled Money Never Sleeps). "We need to keep the story line under wraps, but it's literally ripped from today's headlines," 20th Century Fox spokesman Gregg Brilliant told the Associated Press. "It's going to be very big and very cool."
KIDS IN SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE STILL LIVING IN SLUMS
"Eight Oscars and $326 million in box office receipts have so far done little to improve the lives of [Slumdog Millionaire's] two impoverished child stars," the Associated Press reported from Mumbai Tuesday. A reporter for the wire service visiting the home of nine-year-old Rubina Ali found it "flooded with sewer water" and infested with scorpions, rats and insects. A representative of a trust set up for the children said that the families have been shown several apartments in Mumbai but turned them down. "They said it's too far from where they are now living. We are going to do a second round. We hope they will like what we are offering," he said.