Just three weeks before the scheduled annual Macworld Expo in San Francisco, Apple announced that the 2009 event would be the last in which it would participate and that Steve Jobs would not deliver the keynote address as he has done every year previously. The news immediately fueled new rumors about the health of Jobs, who is not only regarded as the principal architect of Apple's resurgence in recent years but also a major force in the restructuring of the Walt Disney Company, where he is the largest shareholder. Indeed, some analysts suggested that Apple's decision to pull out of the Macworld Expo may have been intended as a kind of cover story. By doing so, "Apple has changed the story from one about Steve Jobs's non-appearance into one about the death of Macworld Expo," wrote Jason Snell, editor of Macworldmagazine, a corporate cousin of the Expo. Shares in Apple tumbled nearly 8 percent in midday trading today (Wednesday) to $88.02, down from their 52-week high of $202.96. Disney shares were off 2 percent to $23.14, down from their 52-week high of $35.02.


Presumably believing that investing in Hollywood memorabilia is a safer bet than investing in real estate -- or even stashing money away in the bank, collectors plunked down an astonishing $7.8 million at a four-day auction by the Profiles in History firm on Monday. It was the most shelled out at an auction, the company said. Bringing the biggest bid was the light saber that Luke Skywalker, played by Mark Hamill, wielded in Star Wars, which went for $240,000. The helmet worn by Anthony Daniels as 3CPO was sold for half that amount. Marlon Brando's Superman costume went for $72,000.


In a surprise announcement, the Toronto Film Critics Association on Tuesday said that it had chosen Kelly Reichardt's Wendy and Lucy as the best film of the year. The film's star, Michelle Williams was named best actress. Mickey Rourke was named best actor for his role in The Wrestler. Jonathan Demme took directing honors for Rachel Getting Married,which also won for screenplay (Jenny Lumet) and supporting actress (Rosemary DeWitt). The late Heath Ledger was named best supporting actor for his performance in The Dark Knight.


The 10-year-old box-office record held by Titanicin the U.K. has been broken by the oddest of challengers, the Abba musical Mamma Mia!, starring Meryl Streep. As of Monday, the movie had earned $107.7 million, edging out the $107.5 million that Titanic walked away with. Titanic's worldwide record remains safe, however. It took in $1.8 billion versus $571.7 million forMamma Mia!


In the minds of many critics, Mickey Rourke has become the new Golden Boy of the movies. In reviewing Darren Aronofsky's The Wrestler, which opens today (Wednesday) in New York and Los Angeles, Claudia Puig in USA Todaywrites, "Mickey Rourke wallops us with a damaged hero who is full of pathos and poignant contradictions." Rafer Guzmán in Newsdaycomments, "Rourke has become a foregone conclusion for an Oscar nomination." Kyle Smith in the New York Postdescribes one high point of the movie which he calls, "Rourke's Oscar scene, except the whole movie is his Oscar scene." Rourke's appeal is obviously spiked by the fact that the movie's story and the actor's own life run parallel. It's about a washed-up wrestler who makes a comeback late in life. As Elizabeth Weitzman comments in theNew York Daily News: "Everybody loves a comeback, and Rourke is poised on the edge of a big one." And Richard Corliss concludes his review of the movie in Time magazine by writing, "The man from the past has a future again." Praise for the film is not unanimous. Kenneth Turan in the Los Angeles Timeswrites: "The Wrestler doesn't add up. It's constructed with great care around a lead performance that is everything it could possibly be, but the picture itself is off-putting and disappointing."