BOX OFFICE SUPER DURING SUPER BOWL
Although 147 million people spent at least part of Sunday night in front of their TV sets watching the Super Bowl game, there were nevertheless enough moviegoers left over to give the box office its biggest Super Bowl weekend ever. The top 12 films collected $103,002,446, beating the previous record set last year of $101,870,302. Particularly surprising was the $24.7 million gross of the No. 1 film, Taken, a thriller. Ordinarily, studios attempt to counter-program the Super Bowl weekend with kids fare and so-called chick flicks. They did so with two other new releases, with poor-to-mediocre results. The PG horror film The Uninvited took in $10.3 million to place third, while the romantic comedy New in Town couldn't get a date with just $6.7 million to place eighth. Last year's Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert 3-D, which grossed $31.1 million, still holds the record as the biggest money maker on a Super Bowl weekend, but it is something of an anomaly, since it played on just 683 screens that carried premium ticket pricing for a brief run in 3-D.
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. Taken, Fox , $24,717,037, (New); 2. Paul Blart: Mall Cop, Sony/Columbia, $13,872,751, 3 Wks. ($83,247,655); 3. The Uninvited, DreamWorks/Paramount, $10,325,824, (New); 4. Hotel For Dogs, Paramount, $8632740, 3 Wks. ($48,156,061); 5. Gran Torino, Warner Bros., $8, 232,278, 8 Wks. ($11,017,8990); 6. Slumdog Millionaire, Fox Searchlight, $7,628,713, 12 Wks. ($67,193,169); 7. Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, Sony/Screen Gems, $7,581,272, 2 Wks. ($33,165,746); 8. New in Town, Lionsgate, $6,741,530, (New); 9. My Bloody Valentine 3-D, Lionsgate, $4479662, 3 Wks. ($44,827,233); 10. Inkheart, Warner Bros., $3,721,492, 2 Wks. ($12,813,023).
POLANSKI SUFFERS A NEW LEGAL SETBACK
Director Roman Polanski has lost a legal bid to have a Los Angeles hearing on whether rape charges against him should be dismissed moved to a different county. Polanski had claimed he could not receive a fair hearing in Los Angeles because, as alleged in his complaint, the Los Angeles judge at his 1977 trial, together with the L.A. district attorney's office, had acted improperly. A California appeals court did not state the reasons for its decision. Polanski claims that the HBO documentary Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired, validates his contention that the Los Angeles D.A. and the original trial judge engaged in a series of improper written communications before the sentencing. He has indicated that he fled the country before the sentence was handed down because he believed that the judge was going to disregard a plea bargain and impose a long sentence on him.
THEATERS HALTING SWITCH TO DIGITAL, SAYS IMAX CHIEF
The conversion of movie theaters from film to digital projection "has virtually come to a halt," IMAX CEO Rich Gelfond has told the London Financial Times. While studios and exhibitors have reached an agreement under which the theater owners would receive a "virtual print fee" for every film they run from digital media to cover the costs of the equipment, the economic slowdown has made it difficult for the exhibitors to borrow money. Gelfond, however, said IMAX plans to open 100 digital 3-D screens worldwide in 2009. The FT said that by next month, there will only be a total of 1,500 digital 3-D screens in the U.S., far fewer than the 5,000 that DreamWorks Animation had counted on for the release of Monsters vs. Aliens. Gelfond said that the movie will appear on 200 IMAX screens.
BALE RANT HITS THE WEB
A recording of actor Christian Bale "going ballistic" after a director of photography walked into a Terminator Salvation scene during a take hit the Internet Monday, thanks to the TMZ website. The recording, in which Bale lets fly a trash-barrel of four-letter expletives at the DP over a solid four-minutes and threatening to quit unless the man is fired, had reportedly been sent to the insurance company that insured the film in case Bale made good on his threat.