DISUNION OVER SAG "SOLIDARITY"
Although it was scheduled to hold a "solidarity" rally in Los Angeles this morning (Monday), the Screen Actors Guild was being accused of disruptive tactics aimed at dominating union affairs in the industry in general and those of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists in particular. "SAG Goes to War Against AFTRA," headlined Daily Variety, citing SAG's efforts to encourage members who hold joint membership in AFTRA to vote down the recent pact signed by AFTRA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. Reporting on SAG's strategy the Los Angeles Times accused the union of "attempting to throw a monkey wrench" into the agreement with AFTRA. The newspaper quoted Paul Christie, a former president of SAG's New York local and a current member of the union's national board, as saying, "Asking dual cardholders to vote down a contract for one of the unions that they work under is possibly the most idiotic course to date." Today's Hollywood Reporter said that AFTRA President Roberta Reardon is planning to discuss SAG's reported decision to spend $75,000 to "educate" dual members about the AFTRA deal. Reardon and AFTRA national executive director Kim Roberts Hedgpeth called SAG's tactics "unprecedented interference" and warned "that we would view any attempt by SAG or its leadership to undermine or interfere with our ratification process as a violation of both the law and the AFL-CIO constitution." Summing up SAG's recent course of action, veteran industry journalist Alex Ben Block, wrote on his Hollywood Today website, "The Screen Actors Guild is becoming the Hillary Clinton of the Hollywood labor movement. ... Like Hillary Clinton, SAG won't give up even though it has become clear it can't win the battle on the terms it has laid out. Instead of looking for a graceful exit, and a deal that will keep its members working and the industry going, SAG leaders still beat the war drums."
PANDA MESSES WITH THE ZOHAN
Although DreamWorks Animation's Kung Fu Panda and Sony's You Don't Mess With the Zohan were expected to run neck-and-neck at the box office over the weekend, the results weren't even close. The panda did in fact mess with Zohan as it attracted an estimated $60 million in ticket sales to $40 million for Zohan. The figure for Panda was about twice what box-office prognosticators had predicted it would earn. The two films together, combined with solid holdover performances by Warner Bros.' Sex and the City and Paramount's Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull boosted the overall box office some 30 percent above the comparable weekend a years ago.
The top ten films for the weekend, according to studio estimates compiled by Media by Numbers:
1. Kung Fu Panda, $60 million; 2. You Don't Mess With the Zohan, $40 million; 3. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, $22.8 million; 4. Sex and the City, $21.3 million; 5. The Strangers, $9.3 million; 6. Iron Man, $7.5 million; 7. The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, $5.5 million; 8. What Happens in Vegas, $3.4 million; 9. Baby Mama, $780,000; 10. Made Of Honor, $775,000.
LEE NOT ABOUT TO SHUT HIS FACE
Spike Lee has refused to back down from his criticism of Clint Eastwood for not including black soldiers in his two films about the battle of Iwo Jima in World War II. Eastwood had responded that the film was about the men who raised the flag at Mt. Suribachi and that none of them was black. He advised Lee to "shut his face." In an interview with ABCNews.com, Lee said, "First of all, the man is not my father and we're not on a plantation either. ... And a comment like 'a guy like that should shut his face' -- come on Clint, come on. He sounds like an angry old man right there." Meanwhile, Thomas McPhatter, a black Marine sergeant who fought at Iwo Jima has told Britain's Guardian newspaper that he had provided the pipe that was used as the makeshift flagstaff for the flag hoisted by the men seen in the historic Iwo Jima photo.
YOUNG "GEORGE BAILEY" ACTOR DIES
Bob Anderson, who played the young George Bailey in the Jimmy Stewart classic It's a Wonderful Life (1946), has died of cancer at his home in Palm Springs, CA at age 75.