SOMETHING FOR EVERYBODY AT BOX OFFICE
Moviegoers, attracted by a variety of new films, including superhero action fare, fantasy kids flicks, comedy, and a spy thriller, flooded the box office in record numbers over the President's Day holiday. When the dust settled, the Marvel Comics superhero Ghost Rider was sitting at the top of the heap with $52.02 million, more than any film had ever earned over the holiday. The second-place film, Disney's Bridge to Terabithia, also performed better than had been expected, raking in $28.54 million.
The top ten films over the four-day President's Day weekend, according to final figures compiled by Media by Numbers (figures in parentheses represent total gross to date):
1. Ghost Rider, Sony, $52,022,908, (New); 2. Bridge to Terabithia, Disney, $28,536,717, (New); 3. Norbit, Paramount, $19,929,662, 2 Wks. ($62,011,840); 4. Music and Lyrics, Warner Bros., $15,875,471, (New); 5. Tyler Perry's Daddy's Little Girls, Lionsgate, $13,064,075, (New); 6. Breach, Universal, $12,261,835, (New); 7. Hannibal Rising, MGM, $6,255,564, 2 Wks. ($22,917,904); 8. Because I Said So, Universal, $6,053,850, 3 Wks. ($34,311,515); 9. Night at the Museum, Fox, $4,866,933, 9 Wks. ($238,500,531); 10. The Messengers, Sony Screen Gems, $4,341,827, 3 Wks. ($31,050,332).
DID YOKO PULL PLUG ON LENNON FILM BIO?
Yoko Ono has succeeded in yanking a revealing documentary about John Lennon even after the film's producers landed numerous TV and DVD deals for it. The film, Working Class Hero, narrated by actor/singer Gary Oldman, included never-before-seen home movies provided by Ono. But it also reportedly included an interview with Lennon's first wife, Cynthia, who complained on camera that drugs and Ono were responsible for the break-up of their marriage. Ono also was interviewed for the feature, providing what the producers described as "her most revealing interview to date." An unnamed source told the London Sun, "The film had been several months in the making but at the last minute Yoko withdrew support." It was produced by Double Jab Productions, which declined to comment on the Sun's report and shut down its website.
PIRATES SET TO DEBUT IN HIGH-DEFINITION
Disney plans to release the first two Pirates of the Caribbean movies, The Curse of the Black Pearl and Dead Man's Chest, on high-definition Blu-ray discs on May 22. Pearl will be packaged with an "interactive in-movie feature titled "Scoundrels of the Sea," while Chest will offer a single-player video game, "Liar's Dice," shot entirely in live-action high-definition video, the company announced Tuesday. Each title will carry a suggested list price of $34.95.
PARAMOUNT PLANNING PRODUCTION SLATE IN AUSTRALIA
Viacom's Paramount Pictures has opened offices in Sydney, Australia aimed at distributing Paramount and DreamWorks films in that country and also co-producing local film projects. Mike Selwyn, managing director of Paramount Australia, told today's (Wednesday) Sydney Morning Herald that the company plans to produce two to three films a year and will announce its first projects as early as June. "We also hope to work with films already in production." Selwyn suggested that Australian filmmakers could benefit from a Hollywood company that could provide "the assistance of a commercial eye." He told the newspaper: "Australia has so much talent in the industry and so many successful people, on both sides of the camera, it is surprising there have not been many bigger international successes."
ACTRESS JANET BLAIR DEAD AT 85
Janet Blair, who starred in more than two dozen movies and TV shows in the 1940s and '50s and who remained active in front of the cameras into the 1990s, died Monday in Santa Monica, CA at age 85. Among her films were My Sister Eileen, The Fabulous Dorseys, and The Fuller Brush Man.