MONSTER WEEKEND AT BOX OFFICE
Monsters vs. Aliens reanimated the box office over the weekend. After three down weeks, the 3D animated feature helped push total revenue up 54 percent above the same weekend a year ago, as its $59.3 million take accounted for 46 percent of the total weekend gross. It was the best opening for any film thus far this year, helped in great measure by the premium charged for 3D films, according to box-office trackers Media by Numbers. ($33.2 million -- or 56 percent -- came from 3D screens that represented 28 percent of the 4,000 theaters showing the movie.) Opening in second place was the horror tale The Haunting in Connecticut, which took in a better-than-expected $23 million. A third newcomer, 12 Rounds, however, was down for the count with just $5.3 million.
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. Monsters vs. Aliens, Paramount/DreamWorks Animation, $59,321,095, (New); 2. The Haunting in Connecticut, Lionsgate, $23,004,765, (New); 3. Knowing, Summit Ent. $14,702,187, 2 Wks. ($46,217,199); 4. I Love You, Man, Paramount, $12,671,533, 2 Wks. ($37,078,306); 5. Duplicity, Universal, $7,672,485, 2 Wks. ($25,754,865); 6. Race to Witch Mountain, Disney, $5,801,775, 3 Wks. ($53,459,752); 7. 12 Rounds, Fox, $5,329,240, (New); 8. Watchmen, Warner Bros, $2,732,439, 4 Wks. ($103,273,462); 9. Taken, Fox, $2,695,342, 9 Wks. ($137,068,886); 10. The Last House on the Left, Universal, $2,644,295, 3 Wks. ($28,492,330).
MONSTERS MAY AID DIGITAL 3D IN THEATERS
DreamWorks Animation chief Jeffrey Katzenberg said Monday that the success of the 3D screenings of Monsters vs. Aliens may help theater owners secure funding to upgrade their theaters to digital 3D projection. "It's going to go a long way to unstick the credit markets in support of the digital rollout," Katzenberg said Monday in an interview with Bloomberg News at the ShoWest exhibitor convention in Las Vegas. He said that he expected bankers to loosen up loans to underwrite the equipment upgrade by June. Speaking at the convention, Jim Gianopulos, co-chairman of Fox Filmed Entertainment, urged theater owners to push for digital conversion. "Even in the toughest times money finds its way to the right ideas," Gianopulos said. "Tough times make for a great incentive to change the way we think."
TWILIGHT BECOMES BIGGEST DVD SELLER OF YEAR
Summit Entertainment's Twilight took a big bite out of the DVD market last week as teenage fans of the movie grabbed up most of the 5.2 million copies of the movie that were sold, making it the year's top seller, according to Nielsen VideoScan First Alert. Some 3.1 million copies were sold on the first day, with many of the movie's stars and the director showing up at parties staged by retailers in key markets. Video Business magazine reported that Wal-Mart, the nation's biggest DVD retailer, set a company-wide single-day DVD sales record, and that parties at some of its stores attracted more than 1,000 fans.
NETFLIX TO CHARGE MORE FOR BLU-RAY
Netflix is increasing its inventory of high-definition Blu-ray titles while at the same time increasing the price it charges subscribers for them. The amount of the increase, which is set to go into effect on April 27, varies by subscription plan, with the Blu-ray premium for its cheapest plan (one DVD at a time; a maximum of two DVDs permitted per month) costing an additional $1.00 per month; an extra $4 per month for its most popular plan (three DVDs at a time; unlimited rentals per month); and $9 per month for its most expensive plan (eight DVDs at a time; unlimited rentals). Netflix observed that Blu-ray discs cost the company as much as 30 percent more than standard-definition DVDs. News of the price increase boosted shares of Netflix by 6 percent to $42.03 on a day when the overall market suffered another sharp downturn.