SAG MEMBERS DIVIDED OVER STRIKE TALKS

Screen Actors Guild President Alan Rosenberg has expressed frustration over dissension within his union over bargaining strategy with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. In an interview with Broadcasting & Cable, Rosenberg said that he wished the members of his union stood behind their negotiators the way the members of the Writers Guild of America did theirs. The WGA, he said, "didn't get the kind of resistance from their members that we get from ours." The dissension, he indicated, is the reason that the union leadership has not called for a strike authorization vote -- despite the fact that the current contract with the AMPTP expires in two weeks. Asked when he might decided to ask SAG members to authorize a strike, Rosenberg replied, "I really don't know. ... It depends on our assessment of whether we can get it or not. I think we'd get it." In fact, the AMPTP noted Friday that if a contract is not locked in by June 30, the current "de facto strike" will simply be extended with TV and movie producers delaying production on new films and television shows until an agreement is reached.

BOX OFFICE TURNS GREEN

Movie theaters across North America saw a lot of green inside and out over the weekend as The Incredible Hulk debuted with an estimated $54.5 million. It marked the second superhero movie from Marvel Entertainment to open at No. 1 at the box office in just over a month. Iron Man hauled in over $100 million in its debut on May 2. Although most critics agreed that the latest film version of the Marvel classic was an improvement over Ang Lee's Hulk three years ago, the new film actually earned less than its predecessor, which took in $62.1 million. Meanwhile, M. Night Shyamalan's The Happening, starring Mark Wahlberg, opened with a better-than-expected $30.5 million, according to Media by Numbers. Most box-office forecasters had predicted an $18-22-million opening for the thriller. Last week's top film, Kung Fu Panda, fell to second place with $34.3 million, while You Don't Mess With the Zohan, the latest Adam Sandler comedy plunged to $16.4 million.

The top ten films for the weekend, according to studio estimates compiled by Media by Numbers:

1. The Incredible Hulk, $54.5 million; 2. Kung Fu Panda, $34.3 million; 3. The Happening, $30.5 million; 4. You Don't Mess With the Zohan, $16.4 million; 5. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, $13.5 million; 6. Sex and the City, $10.2 million; 7. Iron Man, $5.1 million; 8. The Strangers, $4.1 million; 9. The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, $3 million; 10. What Happens in Vegas, $1.7 million.

IN-THEATER BOOSTING PAYING OFF

Over the past year, movie theaters in the U.S. earned $540 million from on-screen advertising shown prior to movie screenings, according to the accounting firm Miller, Kaplan, Arase & Co. and released by the Cinema Advertising Council on Friday. The figure is up 18.5 percent from the $455.7 million earned a year earlier. CAC chief Stu Ballatt said that currently 74 percent of the total comes from national and regional advertisers, although theaters are now targeting more local advertisers, since digital production technology and digital projection now permit ads to be produced and screened relatively cheaply.

BOLLYWOOD PRODUCER TO MAKE MOVIE IN HOLLYWOOD

Bollywood film producer Sajid Nadiadwala says his next film will be shot at Universal Studios in Hollywood and that he has signed Sylvester Stallone to appear in it as himself, according to published reports in India. Nadiadwala said earlier that California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Beyonce had also agreed to appear in the film, Kambakkth Ishq. The film stars Akshay Kumar as a body-double and stuntman in Hollywood films.

BUDGET SLASHED AT BANGKOK FILM FESTIVAL.

The Bangkok Film Festival, which for a time seemed destined to become the Cannes festival of Asia, will apparently become a shadow of its former self. The Federation of National Film Associations of Thailand and the Thai Directors' Association announced that they plan to keep the festival alive this year with an event to take place during the week of Sept. 23-30 that has a budget of just $750,000. The last Bangkok Film Festival held before the 2006 coup d'etat had a budget of $5 million, while last year's, a drastically scaled back version presented by Thailand's Tourism Authority, was budgeted at $2 million.

Brian B. at Movieweb
Brian B.