i>IRON MAN FIRST TO CROSS $300-MILLION MARK

Iron Man has become the golden boy for Marvel Studios, becoming the first picture of the year to cross the $300-million mark at the domestic box office. According to Media by Numbers, the film had grossed $299.3 million through Tuesday and was a sure bet to blow past $300 million on Wednesday or today (Thursday). Three films grossed more than $300 million in 2007: Spider-Man 3 ($336.5 million); Shrek the Third ($322.7 million), and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End ($309.4 million).

GEEZER FLICK TOPS DVD SALES AND RENTAL CHARTS

Demonstrating that there remains a substantial market for films aimed at older demographics, The Bucket List, starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, topped both the Nielsen VideoScan sales chart and Home Media Magazine's video rental chart in its debut during the week ended June 15. In the film, Nicholson and Freeman play two elderly men determined to live it up after they are diagnosed with terminal cancer.

PRODUCERS CRY OVER DEMISE OF CRY BABY

John Waters' second attempt to transpose one of his quirky movies into a Broadway musical has failed. Producers of Cry Baby announced Wednesday that they plan to shut down the show on Sunday after 113 performances. The production had been unable to report a profit for any week since its opening in April. Bloomberg News indicated that the musical will likely lose its entire $10-million-plus capitalization. While personnel connected with the production said that word of mouth was positive, the show never was able to overcome dreadful reviews. Referring to Waters' earlier success with Hairspray, Bloomberg's John Simon had concluded, "Lightning does not strike twice." Ben Brantley in the New York Times dismissed it as "tasteless."

LOVE GURU -- WORST FILM OF THE YEAR?

Mike Myers's The Love Guru, which is being released on Friday, is receiving so many blistering early reviews that Los Angeles Times writer Tom O'Neil, who tracks films up for major awards in his column "Gold Derby," is predicting that the film may be a shoo-in for the Razzie for worst film of the year. For example, Moira Macdonald in the Seattle Times calls it "preadolescent humor with a few sitars thrown in." But Kirk Honeycutt in the Hollywood Reporter observes that Guru will have competition for the worst-film title from Get Smart, which also opens on Friday. Honeycutt concludes: "Quite possibly Love Guru will out-awful Get Smart."

MARIO PUZO'S SON SUES PARAMOUNT

Mario Puzo's son Anthony has filed suit in Los Angeles against Paramount Pictures, claiming that his father's estate has not received royalties from a 2006 Electronics Arts video game based on The Godfather's book and movie. The lawsuit claims that a deal between Mario Puzo and Paramount signed in 1992 called for Puzo to receive a "significant share" of revenue from any products that included elements of The Godfather films. Paramount had no comment on the lawsuit.

NEW MOVIE GOING TO DVD WITH A STOP ON INTERNET FIRST

The phrase "straight to DVD" may have to be altered somewhat to take into consideration the circuitous route Sony Film is planning for some future productions. The studio said Wednesday that it is planning to release its forthcoming movie Angel of Death first as a series of eight-minute installments on the Web beginning in 2009. While each "webisode" will have its own beginning and end, the company indicated that all of the installments will eventually be coalesced into a full-length movie that can be released on DVD or on TV.

YOUTUBE PLANNING TO SHOW FULL-LENGTH INDIES

For the first time, YouTube plans to allow full-length movies to be presented on its website. Saying that it hopes to act as a showcase for films from independent producers who have been unable to find distributors, YouTube announced that beginning next week it will present four new films a week on its "screening room," many of them spotted at film festivals. Filmmakers will be able to attach a "buy-now" button to the presentations and will receive a percentage of profits from all films presented on the website.

Brian B. at Movieweb
Brian B.