POTTERMANIA CONTINUES TO MOUNT
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix has continued to pile up huge receipts at the box office following its record-breaking debut last week. On its seventh full day of release on Monday, the movie grossed $10.4 million, bringing its total to $150.1 million. Meanwhile, photographs of the pages of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the final Potter novel,were appearing on the Internet Tuesday, apparently upsetting elaborate security precautions aimed at preventing details of the book from being revealed before its July 21 publishing date. Chicago Sun-Times critic Richard Roeper remarked in his column today, "Maybe they should retitle this one Harry Potter and the Leaky Goblet." Roeper also noted: "We read and hear a lot about movie piracy -- not so much about bootlegged books. But according to one publishers' group quoted by MSNBC, piracy costs booksellers some $600 million a year." In yet another development, the British publishers of the new Harry Potter book canceled shipments of 500,000 copies to the supermarket chain Asda, claiming that it had not been paid. Previously Asda had complained about the suggested retail price of the book -- more than $36 -- saying that the publisher was "attempting to hold children to ransom." It said that it would sell the book for half that amount. And in yet another development, several Orthodox Jewish politicians in Israel have complained about the decision to release the book on Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath, a day when most businesses, including bookstores, are required by law to remain closed.
WARNER BROS. MAKES FEEBLE ATTEMPT TO HIDE CHICAGO BATMAN SHOOTING
In an apparent effort to throw off paparazi, Warner Bros. has posted a casting notice in Chicago looking for extras to appear in "Rory's First Kiss ... directed by Christopher Nolan, starring Christian Bale and Gary Oldman." The notice caught the eye of Chicago Sun-Times columnist Richard Roeper, who wrote: "Is there a Bat[man] fan in the world that doesn't know Rory's First Kiss is actually The Dark Night, which has been filming in Chicago for weeks? ... When you identify the studio, director and stars, even the most casual movie fan is an imdb.com click away from determining the movie's real title."
NEW EDITION OF CONTROVERSIAL CALIGULA TO BE RELEASED
Caligula, the 1976 film that featured such respected actors at Malcolm McDowell, Peter O'Toole, Hellen Mirren, and the late John Gielgud -- all of whom were blindsided when producer Bob Guccioni of Penthouse magazine fame cut x-rated scenes into the movie -- is due to be released on DVD as the "Four-Disc Imperial Edition" by Image Entertainment on October 2nd, the distributor announced Tuesday. The film has previously been released in versions that were as short as 98 minutes and as long as three hours. In a statement, the company said that the DVD set will include newly recorded, no-holds-barred commentary tracks by McDowell and Mirren. In addition, the set includes two versions of The Making of Caligula, one of which includes deleted and alternate scenes. (The movie was also the subject of the book Ultimate Porno: The Making of a Sex Colossal by Piernico Solinas, a first assistant director on the film.)
DEVASTATING WEATHER FAILS TO DAMPEN JAPANESE BOX OFFICE
Neither typhoon nor earthquake could keep Japanese moviegoers away from the box office last weekend as Fuji-TV-produced Monkey Magic raked in $6.5 million from just 461 screens -- or an average of $14,100 per screen, Daily Variety reported today (Wednesday). The trade publication forecast that the movie, based on a popular Fuji miniseries, would go on to earn $50 million at the Japanese box office.