i>GET SMART LOOKS SMART WITH $39.2 MILLION

Would you believe that Warner Bros.' Get Smart, starring Steve Carell, took in an estimated $39.2 million at the box office over the weekend? That was about $10 million more than what most box-office forecasters had predicted. On the other hand, Paramount's The Love Guru, starring Mike Myers, took in just $14 million, about $10 million less than what forecasters had predicted. Two holdover films were almost too close to call. Paramount said that the DreamWorks' Animation-produced Kung Fu Panda took in $21.7 million, while Universal claimed that The Incredible Hulk took in $21.6 million. While box-office trackers Media by Numbers listed them as the No. 2 and No. 3 film in its top-ten chart, their positions could change when final figures are released later today (Monday). Overall, the top 12 movies took in about $136.9 million, up 10 percent over the comparable weekend a year ago.

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

1. Get Smart, $39.2 million; 2. Kung Fu Panda, $21.7 million; 3. The Incredible Hulk, $21.6 million; 4. The Love Guru, $14 million; 5. The Happening, $10 million; 6. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, $8.4 million; 7. You Don't Mess With the Zohan, $7.2 million; 8. Sex and the City, $6.5 million; 9. Iron Man, $4 million; 10. The Strangers, $1.9 million.

STRIKE LOOMS AS SAG/AMPTP TALKS STALL

The Screen Actors Guild and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers are expected to return to the bargaining table again today, but many observers are suggesting that the two sides are barely going through the motions of bargaining. On Friday, SAG leaders claimed once again in an update to members that the AMPTP had refused to match the union's concessions. The AMPTP, in turn, accused SAG of stalling so it could devote all of its energy to persuading AFTRA members to vote down a separate deal with the AMPTP negotiated by their leaders. The AFTRA vote is due to be announced on July 8, more than a week after the current SAG and AFTRA contracts expire on June 30. On Friday AFTRA National Executive Director Kim Roberts Hedgpeth called SAG's efforts "a disgrace" and took issue with SAG's notice to AFTRA members that rejection of the contract would not mean a strike. "The notion that one can reject a hard-fought contract, which exceeds industry 'pattern,' without backing it up with the courage of your convictions, is absurd," Hedgpeth said. Meanwhile, Tom Hanks, who SAG recently identified as an opponent of the AFTRA contract, added his name to a letter by other prominent AFTRA members who also are members of SAG calling for ratification of the agreement. The letter called it "a very good deal."

3-D FILMS JUMPING AT BOX OFFICE

Movie theaters showing films in 3-D are likely to see ticket sales jump an average of 65 percent over similar theaters showing the same movie in 2-D, according to a study by Nielsen PreView, unveiled at an exhibitors' conference in Amsterdam today (Monday). The study compared theaters with a strong track record in attracting audiences for action/adventure movies. This "like-to-like comparison," Nielsen said, demonstrated that "consumers when given a choice, will choose 3-D." Moreover, the study found that when theatres simultaneously exhibit two movies in 3-D their ticket sales double, "indicating that one 3-D screen per theater may not be enough to satisfy consumer demand." It also discovered that 48 percent of consumers are generally unaware that a movie may be playing in both 3-D and 2-D at separate theaters in their area.

CLOSING THE WINDOW

Twentieth Century Fox will join Warner Bros. in making some films available for rental on cable and the Internet on the same day they are released on DVD, the Los Angeles Times reported today (Monday). Meanwhile, two other studios, Disney and Universal, are shortening the period between DVD and cable/Internet release, the Times observed, with Disney now releasing some films to cable and the Internet just two weeks after their DVD debut.

Cinemark Movie Club
Brian B.