BOX OFFICE TUMBLES

If movie fans were not sitting at home watching the Oscars on television Sunday, they were not going out to the movies, either. Movie attendance on Sunday was even lower than studios had expected, with the top film, Sony's Vantage Point, winding up with more than $1 million below expectations on the final day of the weekend. The movie's weekend gross came to $22.87 million. The real shocker was that last week's winner, Fox's Jumper, jumped to third place, beaten out by the third week of Paramount's The Spiderwick Chronicles. Spiderwick took in $13.10 million versus Jumper's $12.71 million. Disney's Step Up 2 the Streets placed fourth in its second week with $9.61 million. Three other new films that debuted over the weekend performed disastrously. The best performer of the lot was New Line Cinema's Be Kind Rewind, which wound up with $4.05 million. But Witless Protection did not even make the top-ten list, earning only $2.11 million, and U2 3D was mostly DOD, as it debuted with just $1.03 million.

The top ten films over the weekend, according to final figures compiled by Media by Numbers (figures in parentheses represent total gross to date):

1. Vantage Point, Sony, $22,874,936, (New); 2. The Spiderwick Chronicles, Paramount, $13,100,192, 2 Wks., ($44,076,043); 3. Jumper, Fox, $12,708,768, 2 Wks., ($56,264,386); 4. Step Up 2 the Streets, Disney, $9,605,703, 2 Wks. ($41,238,093); 5. Fool's Gold, Warner Bros., $6,554,284, 3 Wks. ($52,717,413); 6. Definitely, Maybe, Universal, $5,217,775, 2 Wks. ($21,814,805); 7. Welcome Home, Roscoe Jenkins, Universal, $4,158,700, 3 Wks. ($35,667,115); 8. Juno, Fox Searchlight, $4,154,502, 12 Wks. ($130,431,948); 9. Be Kind Rewind, New Line, $4,050,655, (New); 10. There Will be Blood, Paramount Vantage, $2,687,229, 9 Wks. ($35,112,557).

INDY 4 TO DEBUT AT CANNES?

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is likely to have its official worldwide premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in May, FoxNews.com columnist Roger Friedman reported Monday, citing several unnamed sources. Friedman said that Spielberg's representatives are currently in negotiations with officials of the festival for the Indiana Jones sequel to open the week-long festivities, with Spielberg, George Lucas, Harrison Ford, Cate Blanchett, Shia Leboeuf, Karen Allen, and others making appearances on the red carpet at Cannes's Palais.

THAI REPORT ON BANGKOK FILM FESTIVAL GRAFT CHARGES COMING

A special investigator in Thailand said Monday that he expects to submit to authorities the results of his probe into allegations that the country's former director of tourism took $1.7 million in bribes from a Los Angeles couple seeking to operate the Bangkok Film Festival. Col. Piyawat Kingket of the Dept. of Special Investigations, said that his findings will enable the National Counter Corruption Commission to decide whether to file anti-graft charges against former Tourism Authority of Thailand Governor Juthamas Siriwan. His announcement comes days after the trial of Gerald and Patricia Green on charges of bribing foreign officials was postponed until September.

CHINA CLAIMS HUGE GROWTH IN FILM BIZ

The government of China reported today (Tuesday) that annual revenue of the country's motion picture industry has risen 25 percent each year since 2002, far surpassing the rise in the country's gross national product of 10 percent annually during the same period. The announcement was made by Han Sanping, president of the state-owned China Film Group Corporation, in an interview with Xinhua, the official government news agency. "The growth is exciting, and proves the success of China's movie development strategy," Han was quoted as saying. He referred specifically to several blockbusters that were released since the start of China's New Year in December, which together have earned $111 million. That figure was described as "striking" by Zhang Hongsen, a senior official of State Administration of Radio, Film and Television, who added that it shows that "Chinese film makers have found the key to satisfying Chinese filmgoers." He pointed out that "foreign" movies earned less than 10 percent of that amount during the same period. However, some Hollywood studios have pointed out that they were not allowed to compete with Chinese films during that period.

Brian B.