THE PROPOSAL GRABS A BRASS RING
Movie audiences said "I do" to The Proposal over the weekend, bestowing an estimated $34.1 million dollars on it ‹ well above analysts' predictions ‹ and making it the weekend's best performer at the box office. For Sandra Bullock, who appeared in her first film in 1987, it was the best opening of her career, earning nearly twice the amount of her previous best, 2007's Premonition, which took in $17.6 million. Meanwhile, the only other film to open wide over the weekend, the Jack Black-Michael Cera comedy Year One took in about $20.2 million, -- at the high end of expectations -- to place fourth. At the same time, Warner Bros.' The Hangover hung in for a third week to place second with $26.9 million, only 18 percent below the previous weekend. And Disney's Up continued to float close behind in third place with $21.3 million, to bring its four-week total to $224.1 million, the second-best gross of the year, behind Star Trek. In limited release, Woody Allen's Whatever Works opened in nine theaters in New York and Los Angeles with $280,720 -- or a solid $31,191 per theater. Overall, the box office was up 3 percent above the comparable weekend a year ago, following three consecutive down weekends.
The top ten films for the weekend, according to studio estimates compiled by Box Office Mojo:
1. The Proposal, $34.1 million; 2. The Hangover, $26.9 million; 3. Up, $21.3 million; 4. Year One, $20.2 million; 5. The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3, $11.3 million; 6. Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, $7.3 million; 7. Star Trek, $4.7 million; 8. Land of the Lost, $4 million; 9. Imagine That, $3.1 million; 10. Terminator Salvation, $3.07 million.
TRANSFORMERS GETS OFF TO A SOLID START OVERSEAS
The opening of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen in Japan and the U.K. raked in an estimated $20 million -- beating the opening take for the original movie by 71 percent, according to Britain's Empire magazine. Reviewing the film in the London Independent, critic Nicholas Barber wrote that the movie "is the pretentious, nonsensical, sexist, jingoistic, militaristic, CGI-dependent, product-placement-packed, hectically edited, punishingly loud, wearyingly long, eye-wateringly expensive, and, I predict, phenomenally profitable exemplar of everything that is most repulsive about Hollywood today." In the Mirror, David Edwards wrote similarly, "Big, loud and definitely not clever, it's a giant, lumbering idiot of a movie that, were it not for all the explosions, would send the most devoted action fans to sleep." The movie, which opens domestically on Wednesday, had been greenlit by John Lesher and Brad Weston, who were ousted from their positions on Friday and replaced by Adam Goodman. Moreover, Paramount's Transformers release came at about the same time it was reported that director Michael Bay had sent a hotly worded letter to top Paramount executives, including Lesher and Weston, complaining about the publicity campaign for the movie. "I cannot figure if this is a cash issue with your company? Is there some clever idea why we are not spending? I'm not sure," he said. Meanwhile, Viacom, the corporate parent of Paramount, has denied increasing speculation that it is negotiating a sale of the studio -- possibly to competitor Universal. "Paramount is not for sale," a Viacom spokesman told the New York Post.
BRAD PITT MOVIE HALTED DAYS BEFORE PRODUCTION WAS SET
Just days before it was to go into production, Sony/Columbia Pictures has halted work on Moneyball, starring Brad Pitt and directed by Steven Soderbergh. According to reports Columbia head Amy Pascal was miffed by a reading of the Soderbergh's revised script. Reporting on the studio's decision, Daily Variety commented today (Monday): "Even in the climate of heightened studio caution, the turnaround news on Moneyball is surprising given that the project had reached the equivalent of third base."
NETFLIX POINTS A FINGER AT HIS BIGGEST COMPETITOR
Netflix chief Reed Hastings has indicated that his company's principal competitor is not likely to be Blockbuster or the other brick-and-mortar video rental stores, and not big-box stores like Best Buy and Walmart. Nor is it likely to be video-on-demand services from cable companies and Internet sites. "By the end of the year, kiosks will likely be our No. 1 competitor," MSNBC quoted Hastings as saying. "There are already more kiosks in America than video stores," he added. Russ Crupnick, an entertainment analyst for market researcher NPD Group, told MSNBC, that almost 90 percent of U.S. homes has a DVD player and that most still rent them from video stores. By contrast, the percentage of people who download movies from the Internet this year is estimated to be "a sliver" of that percentage, Hastings said. But Redbox, the largest operator of DVD-rental kiosks, with more than 15,400 vending machines set up, is now installing on average one new kiosk every hour of the day.
HUGE STUDIO PLANNED FOR THAILAND
Plans were announced Sunday for a massive 175-acre development in Thailand that will house a movie studio, animation facilities and special-effects labs, as well as a theme park, waterpark and residential units connected to the film facilities. Spearheading the development is Los Angeles-based Creative Kingdom, the architectural company involved in the creation of the Palm Islands development in Dubai. Details of what is being called Chiang Mai Wood -- Chiang Mai is the second largest city of Thailand, after Bangkok -- were sketchy. The company's announcement did not indicate when the development is scheduled to be completed, nor did it say who was financing the project.