After its $60.6 million debut on Wednesday, Paramount's Transformers: Revenge of the Fallenfell to $27 million on Thursday -- not nearly so impressive as the Wednesday result but impressive for a Thursday nonetheless. With $67.2 million already accumulated, box-office analysts are predicting that it could wind up with one of the heftiest five-day grosses ever. The movie is packing them overseas as well. Daily Varietyreported on its website Thursday that the Michael Bay movie earned a whopping $59 million on Wednesday. "This is the best opening number I can ever remember," Andrew Cripps, Paramount's head of international distribution, told Variety.It's expected to dwarf the competition at the box office this weekend as it tries to unseat The Dark Knight,the current record holder with $203.8 million over five days. Its principal competition this weekend will come from two romantic comedies, the holdover The Proposal from Disney and the Warner Bros./New Line drama My Sister's Keeper, starring Abigail Breslin and Cameron Diaz. Also opening in limited release -- but in most of the major markets -- will be the Stephen Frears costume drama Cheri, starring Michelle Pfeiffer.


Warner Bros.' My Sister's Keeper, directed by Nick Cassavetes,could very well prove to be a bigger contender against the Transformerssequel (the New York Post's Lou Lumenick calls it "sacrificial counter-programming") at this weekend's box office than many analysts had anticipated -- if word-of-mouth echoes the opinions of several of the major critics. The film has an intriguing premise: one child, we learn, was genetically designed to become a source of organs for her dying sister. When the younger one discovers the awful truth, she sues her parents. Roger Ebert in the Chicago Sun-Times, who gives the film 3 1/2 stars, calls the premise "an immediate audience-grabber." Joe Morgenstern in the Wall Street Journal indicates that he, too, became intrigued when child actress Abigail Breslin announces in the prologue, "I'm a designer baby. I was made in a dish to be spare parts for Kate." And Roger Moore in the Orlando Sentinelsuggests that it all results in "a horror movie for parents and a righteous weeper that earns its tears." Adds Bruce DeMara in the Toronto Star: "As wrenching as this film is, there is nary a false moment of contrivance or emotional manipulation." But Claudia Puig in USA Todaysays that the movie "takes a compelling ethical dilemma and turns it into formulaic pap." A.O. Scott in the New York Timessays that the movie "takes on a very tough subject -- and has, in Anna and Kate, two pretty tough characters played by strong young actresses -- but ultimately it is too soft, too easy, and it dissolves like a tear-soaked tissue." And clearly Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chroniclewas left with dry tear ducts as he watched the film. "The movie is really about how awful it is that Kate is sick," he writes, "And you know what? It is awful, truly, horribly, painfully awful. But so is the movie."


A decision hasn't even been rendered in the Motion Picture Association of America's lawsuit against Real Networks over its DVD-copying software, RealDVD, but already the MPAA appears to be appealing it. In a filing on Thursday, the MPAA accused RealDVD of attempting to mislead the court in its filings connected with the case. Real Networks fired back that it was the studio group that was misleading the court with what one company spokesman called "a regurgitated argument." He added, "Hollywood is once again trying to use a sleight of hand to distract the court and the press from the real issue in this case: whether the studios should be allowed to take away consumers' fair use rights [and] sell it back to them."