i>SPEED RACER A WRECK ON FIRST LAP

Warner Bros.' Speed Racer was barely able to go from zero to 20 -- $20 million, that is -- and could turn out to become one of the biggest box-office wrecks in history. Most analysts low-balled their predictions at around $30-40 million, a conservative figure in itself given industry estimates that it cost as much as $300 million to produce and market. Warner Bros. estimated that it would actually end up with $20.2 million, putting it in second place behind Paramount/Marvel Studio's Iron Man, which grossed $50.5 million in its second week. That extra $200,000 may have been tacked on in a face-saving effort to put it ahead of What Happens in Vegas, which opened with an estimated $20 million to place third. Some box office trackers forecast that Speed Racer might well trade places with Vegas when final figures are released later today (Monday).

The top ten films for the weekend, according to studio estimates compiled by Media by Numbers:

1. Iron Man, $50.5 million; 2. Speed Racer, $20.2 million; 3. What Happens in Vegas, $20 million; 4. Made of Honor, $7.6 million; 5. Baby Mama, $5.8 million; 6. Forgetting Sarah Marshall, $3.8 million; 7. Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantánamo Bay, $3.2 million; 8. The Forbidden Kingdom, $1.9 million; 9. Nim's Island, $1.3 million.

SPEED RACER A SLOW STARTER OVERSEAS, TOO

Speed Racer hit the overseas market with all gaskets blowing. It earned just $12.8 million in 30 countries, to place third at the international box office, behind Iron Man, which remained the top film with a gross of $39 million in its second week. (It has now grossed $165 million overseas. With its domestic gross, its worldwide total has reached $342.1 million after two weekends.) Twentieth Century Fox's What Happens in Vegas actually earned more overseas than it did in the U.S., drawing an estimated $23 million in 36 countries.

SINATRA OFFSPRING DEBATE WHETHER TO MAKE A FILM ABOUT HIM

The three children of Frank Sinatra are at odds over a proposal to produce a theatrical documentary about the late singer's life, the Los Angeles Times reported on Sunday. The newspaper said that 59-year-old daughter Tina has been in discussions about a Sinatra film that would be directed by Martin Scorsese, who previously has helmed documentaries about The Band, Bob Dylan, and The Rolling Stones. He's also, like Sinatra, Italian-American. "He's really the only one to do it, isn't he?" Tina Sinatra remarked in an interview with the Times. Sister Nancy Sinatra, 67, however, is opposing the documentary venture, telling the Times that she is concerned that it would "dwell on the negative and ugly moments" of her father's life, to quote the newspaper. She said that she would prefer an eight- to 10-hour documentary that presumably would be shown on television as a miniseries. Brother Frank Sinatra Jr., 64, complained that he had been kept out of the loop by his sisters about the film and other matters related to his father's estate. "I'm not party to all those decisions, not like I would like," he said. The dispute came to light as the Times prepared a feature article about the singer, who died 10 years ago on May 14, 1998 and who is being honored with a postage stamp featuring his image this week.

MASSACHUSETTS REVVING UP FILM BUSINESS

With film making in Massachusetts accelerating since the state enacted a new package of tax breaks for producers, the citizens of Plymouth voted overwhelmingly on Saturday to build a full-scale studio in the town. As reported by the Plymouth Patriot Ledger, 88 percent of voters approved the plan. It noted that the town also faces competition from Weymouth, where plans are afoot to convert a former air base into a studio, and a Quincy legislator has introduced a bill that would grant tax incentives to developers of a studio in that city.

LUCAS SAYS HE REASSURED SPIELBERG ABOUT INDY LEAKS

Director Steven Spielberg was "depressed" over the number of leaks about the plot of the upcoming Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull that appeared in the press and online and had to be reassured by George Lucas that they would not affect the film's box office, Lucas disclosed in an interview with the London Sunday Times. The producer told the newspaper that he told Spielberg that audiences would not be "coming to see the plot. They're coming to see Steve Spielberg interpret a story. You can't get that any other way than by seeing the movie."
Cinemark Movie Club

Brian B.