WHOVILLE COMES IN LOUD AND CLEAR
The sound of $24.6 million being plunked down at the box office greeted theater owners showing Horton Hears a Who! over the Easter weekend. According to final figures released by Media by Numbers, the animated Fox film based on the Dr. Seuss (Theodore Geisel) children's book, the movie has taken in $86 million since it opened on March 14. Coming in second was Tyler Perry's Meet the Browns, which opened with $20.1 million. But from those two leaders, the box office dropped off sharply. The horror film Shutter placed third with $10.4 million, about $100,000 ahead of Drillbit Taylor, starring Owen Wilson. Rounding out the top five was 10,000 B.C., which took in $8.9 million. Also making the top-ten was the Spanish-language Under the Same Moon from Fox Searchlight and The Weinstein Co. Playing in just 266 theaters, the film earned $2.8 million, the biggest opening ever for a Spanish-language movie.
The top ten films over the weekend, according to final figures compiled by Media by Numbers (figures in parentheses represent total gross to date):
1. Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears A Who!, 20th Century Fox, $24,590,596, 2 Wks. ($86,010,517); 2. Tyler Perry's Meet the Browns, Lionsgate, $20,082,809, (New); 3. Shutter, 20th Century Fox, $10,447,559, (New); 4. Drillbit Taylor, Paramount, $10,309,986, (New); 5. 10,000 B.C., Warner Bros., $8,934,064, 3 Wks. ($76,401,302); 6. Never Back Down, Summit Entertainment, $4,827,250, 2 Wks. ($16,790,361); 7. College Road Trip, Disney, $4,697,683, 3 Wks. ($32,073,003); 8. The Bank Job, Lionsgate, $4,191,773, 3 Wks. ($19,521,672); 9. Vantage Point, Sony/Columbia, $3,805,541, 5 Wks. ($65,300,784); 10. Under the Same Moon (La Misma Luna), Fox Searchlight/Weinstein Co. $2,770,000, 1 Wk. ($34,967,10 -- Since Wednesday).
NETFLIX EXPERIENCES OUTAGE, SHARE HIKE ON SAME DAY
On the same day that shares in online DVD renters Netflix rose to a record high, the company suffered its second-worst outage in its history, going offline at about 7:00 a.m. Pacific Time and not coming back until about 7:00 p.m. The company did not disclose the cause of what it called an "unanticipated, unplanned outage" but did acknowledge that it would not be able to send out discs to many of its customers until today. Netflix experienced a similar system crash last July, which lasted more than 18 hours. On that day, however, the company's shares fell 7 percent; in Monday's trading, shares of the Los Gatos, CA-based company rose 5 percent following a note to clients by Piper Jaffray analyst Michael Olsen saying that his earlier guidance -- he had estimated that Netflix shares would rise to $36 -- was too conservative and that he now believed they would hit $40. They closed Monday up $1.93 at $38.17.
WEINSTEIN CO. BUYS MARLEY STORY -- BUT CAN'T GET HIS MUSIC
Although The Weinstein Company purchased the movie rights to Rita Marley's book about her late husband, reggae singer Bob Marley, rights to his music did not come along with it, the company learned Monday. Marley's family issued a statement saying that while it had received numerous requests to license his music over the years, "all of them have been declined," including the latest from The Weinstein Company. It made an exception in the case of Martin Scorsese's planned documentary, Marley's son Ziggy said. And in an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Marley's music publisher, Chris Blackwell, suggested that Scorsese may have put the kibbosh on the Weinsteins' film project. "Martin Scorsese doesn't want to go out with a competing project," Blackwell said.
STAR WARS FANS CALL FOR SUPERHERO MOVIE BOYCOTT
An announcement by The Weinstein Co. that it now plans to release two versions of its comedy Fanboys -- one featuring the original cut; the other the cut ordered by Harvey Weinstein -- has failed to mollify supporters of the original version, who are threatening to boycott and picket the Weinstein's Superhero Movie, which opens on Friday. "This [the Weinstein announcement] is more about avoiding picket lines at Superhero than it was about making a decision about the release of our movie," Kevin Mann, one of the producers, told the Hollywood Reporter. The movie concerns a group of Star Wars fans who break into George Lucas's studios to see an advance screening of The Phantom Menace. In the original version, one of the fans is battling cancer. In the revised one, references to cancer have been removed. "The original reason we wanted to get involved with this script was because it was a comedy with heart," Mann told the trade paper. "In my opinion, when the cancer was taken out, the heart went with it." On their website, http://committed.to/stopdarthweinstein, fans who had seen the rough cut of the movie and/or clips at Star Wars conventions, vowed that their protest "will continue until the Weinstein Co. announces that they are returning control of Fanboys to the Star Wars fans who made it, releasing the original version in theaters and doing away with their anti-fan version of the film altogether."
LUCAS: DON'T GET YOUR HOPES UP ABOUT INDY
George Lucas is clearly concerned that Indiana Jones fans may have built up unrealistic expectations for his upcoming Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. "When you do a movie like this, a sequel that's very, very anticipated, people anticipate ultimately that it's going to be the Second Coming," Lucas told USA Today. "And it's not. It's just a movie. Just like the other movies. You probably have fond memories of the other movies. But if you went back and looked at them, they might not hold up the same way your memory holds up." In fact, he added, when expectations rise to such heights, "You're not going to get a lot of accolades. ... All you can do is lose."