UP GOES DOWN; HANGOVER HANGS OVER
In a final result that no one saw coming, Warner Bros.' The Hangover edged out Disney/Pixar's Up over the weekend. Final figures indicated that The Hangover raked in $44,979,319 to take the No. 1 position in the box-office rankings. Up fell to second place with $44,138,266. While The Hangover performed better than the studio had estimated, Universal's Land of the Lost lost even more ground than the studio had thought, winding up with only $18,837,350.
The top ten films over the weekend, according to final figures compiled by Box Office Mojo (figures in parentheses represent total gross to date):
1. The Hangover, Warner Bros., $44,979,319, (New); 2. Up, Disney, $44,138,266, 2 Wks. ($137,210,701); 3. Land of the Lost, Universal, $18,837,350, (New); 4. Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, 20th Century Fox, $14,634,988, 3 Wks. ($127,326,188); 5. Star Trek, Paramount, $8,310,480, 5 Wks. ($222,712,175); 6. Terminator Salvation, Warner Bros., $8,248,387, 3 Wks. ($105,568,008); 7. Drag Me to Hell, Universal, $7,040,550, 2 Wks. ($28,233,230); 8. Angels & Demons, Sony, $6,550,282, 3 Wks. ($116,174,931); 9. My Life in Ruins, Fox Searchlight, $3,223,161, (New); 10. Dance Flick, Paramount, $1,958,725, 3 Wks. ($22,625,733).
NEW IPHONE CAN DOWNLOAD MOVIES
A new version of Apple's iPhone unveiled Monday will allow users to download movies and TV shows directly, without first having to download them onto a computer. The iPhone 3G S, which is scheduled to go on sale on June 19 (two days after Apple introduces a new operating system for its mobile smartphone), will also allow users to edit video clips and post them directly on YouTube (or email them to friends). In addition the iPhone permits streaming, allowing users to "rent" movies wherever wi-fi service is available -- including several airlines.
The latest contrivance to alert BitTorrent downloaders to new movies and television shows online is called TorrentTwitter -- a message service that allows "followers" to read posts from their friends who share their BitTorrent links with them. The website TorrentFreak.com described the service as a "niche Twitter" and predicted that "with enough users TorrentTwitter will become a user generated meta-search engine for torrent files." The website also allows groups to be formed that focus on a particular subject -- such as a particular director or TV series.
PRELUDE TO BATTLE AT LIONS GATE?
Stealth maneuvering for control of Lions Gate studios appears to be continuing following word that corporate raider Carl Icahn has increased his stake in the studio to 15.6 percent from 14.5 percent. Citing an SEC filing, TheStreet.com reported today (Tuesday) that Icahn bought about 1.36 million Lions Gate shares between May 1 and June 5. At the same time, the Los Angeles Times reported that Lions Gate board member Mark Amin has sold three-quarters of his stake, paving the way for Lions Gate to nominate Mark Rachevsky to the board. Rachesky is the largest Lions Gate shareholder, with a 20-percent stake, but although he once worked as Icahn's chief investment adviser, he has said that he backs Lions Gate's management against Icahn.
NEW DIGITAL SYSTEM MAY CHALLENGE IMAX
IMAX may soon have a new competitor in the field of supersize movie exhibition, according to the website NewTeeVee.com. A high-definition digital projection system boasting a whopping 8,000x4,000 pixels has reportedly been developed by Evans & Sutherland, providing twice the resolution of current digital theatrical systems. The Salt Lake City company has estimated that its projectors will each cost about $750,000 -- ten times the cost of conventional digital projectors. But Evans & Sutherland, which currently provides projectors mostly to planetariums, noted that some of their venues have installed optical star balls that can cost $1.5 million or more to achieve the same resolution and that some planetariums could now use its digital equipment "to move beyond niche content to offer more big-time, blockbuster Hollywood movies."