KOEPP KEEPS INDIANA JONES ALIVE

Screenwriter David Koepp (Spider-Man, Jurassic Park, War of the Worlds) has succeeded in pulling off what several other top screenwriters had failed at: provide an Indiana Jones sequel that would satisfy the three principals -- George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, and Harrison Ford. The three confirmed on Monday that they plan to begin filming Koepp's script -- a title was not disclosed -- for the fourth Indiana Jones film in June, with a May 2008 target for worldwide release. The last Indiana Jones move, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, was released by Paramount in 1989. Spielberg told reporters, "We feel that the script was well worth the wait. We hope it delivers everything you'd expect from our history with Indiana Jones. ... George, Harrison and I are all very excited."

MUSEUM COMES ALIVE WITH $46.7 MILLION

In a weekend that saw no new films offered in wide release, holdovers performed solidly. Night at the Museum remained the No. 1 movie at the box office, taking in $46.7 million over the four-day New Year's holiday. Sony's The Pursuit of Happyness remained in second place with $42.7 million, which put it over the $100-million mark (to $103.4 million). But the real sensation was produced by the Paramount/DreamWorks' musical Dreamgirls, which landed in third place with a four-day take of $18.7 million. It played, however, on just 852 screens,while Museum was screened at 3,768. And while Museum produced an impressive per-screen average of $12,394, Dreamgirls came away with a sensational per-screen average of $21,948. Also significantly improving performance was We Are Marshall. which performed poorly in its opening but which saw its take rise 19 percent over the holiday weekend. The film, which describes the aftermath of the 1971 plane crash that took the lives of a West Virginia university football team, has now earned $27.3 million after two weeks.

The top ten films over the four-day holiday weekend, according to estimates compiled by Media by Numbers:

1. Night at the Museum, $46.7 million; 2. The Pursuit of Happyness, $24.7 million; 3. Dreamgirls, $18.7 million; 4. Charlotte's Web, $15.5 million; 5. The Good Shepherd, $14.5 million; 6. Rocky, $13.7 million7. Eragon, $10.5 million; 8. We Are Marshall, $10.2 million; 9. Happy Feet, $9.7 million; 10. The Holiday, $8.5 million.

CURSE IS ANYTHING BUT AT CHINESE BOX OFFICE

It took Zhang Yimou's Curse of the Golden Flower just two weekends to become the biggest box-office hit in China for 2006. Daily Variety reported that the film earned $6.4 million in its second weekend, about half the $12.5 million it earned in its premier. Adding mid-week results, the film has thus far grossed a record $24.73 million, the trade publication said. China's Oscar entry for best foreign-language movie also performed well in the U.S., where it debuted midweek and went on to earn $859,000 by Sunday. It is playing in just 60 theaters. Meanwhile, Jackie Chan said on his website today (Tuesday) that he has launched a film company in China and intends to produce 10 films.

HOW DOES IT FEEL?

With lawyers for Bob Dylan moving forward with legal action against the producers of Factory Girl for the way he is depicted in the movie (the producers have changed his name and insist it is a composite character), the New York Post has published excerpts from a videotaped interview with Jonathan Sedgwick, whose sister Edie is the subject of the movie, confirming its claims about Dylan. (Sedgwick reportedly fell into deep depression and heavy drug use after the Dylan character dumped her.) On the tape, Jonathan Sedgwick says: "One day, she called me up, and she said, 'I've met someone.' She didn't tell me who it was, but, 'He's a folk singer. He's fabulously talented, and he's full of conviction' ... Later on, Edie explained to me it was Bob Dylan. She told me she was totally in love with him ... she also explained ... she lost a child which she claims was Bob Dylan's child. She had gotten into an insane asylum, and she was so wacked out on drugs that they aborted her because the child would've been just strung out. ... She said that was the saddest moment of her life."

Cinemark Movie Club
Brian B.