Ticket sales for Sony's Angels & Demonsdipped far more steeply than expected on Sunday, resulting in a weekend gross that was nearly $2 million less than the studio had estimated. The movie's $46.2-million total was just $3.2 million more than the $43 million taken in by Paramount's Star Trekin its second week. In fact, the J.J. Abrams space prequel handily beat Ron Howard's Da Vinci Codesequel on both Saturday and Sunday. Opening with $16.5 million on Friday, it climbed to $17.6 million on Saturday. On Sunday, however, it dropped 31 percent to $12.1 million. Star Trek earned $11.8 million on Friday, then climbed to $18.3 million on Saturday, before falling off 28 percent to $13 million on Sunday. (Star Trek's total was boosted by premium-priced ticket sales in 138 theaters, where it earned $4.7 million, roughly 10 percent of its total. It is being forced out of the big-screen theaters next weekend by the arrival of Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian.) In third place, Fox's X-Men Origins: Wolverine collected $14.7 million in its third weekend. In limited release, the Jennifer Aniston comedy Management, opened with just $375,916 in 212 theaters. Overall, the top 12 films grossed $130.8 million, up 3.9 percent over the comparable weekend a year ago.

{@@@[email protected]@@}{@@@[email protected]@@}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. Angels & Demons, Sony, $46,204,168, (New); 2.Star Trek, Paramount, $43,034,547, 2 Wks. ($147,645,384); 3. X-Men Origins: Wolverine, 20th Century Fox, $14,702,425, 3 Wks. ($15,099,3169); 4.Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, Warner Bros., $6,653,384, 3 Wks. ($39,855,222); 5. Obsessed, Sony, $4,588,973, 4 Wks. ($62,610,148); 6. 17 Again, Warner Bros., $3,368,189, 5 Wks. ($58,363,111); 7. Monsters vs. Aliens, Paramount, $3,182,085, 8 Wks. ($19,073,3766); 8. The Soloist, Paramount, $2,402,801, 4 Wks. ($27,505,154); 9. Next Day Air, Summit Ent. $2,244,878, 2 Wks. ($76,132,21); 10. Earth, Disney, $1,697,956, 4 Wks. ($29,088,771).


In a deal that is certain to raise new questions about the rights to intellectual property claimed by the estates of prominent personalities, DreamWorks announced Monday that it had acquired the "life rights" to Martin Luther King Jr. as a first-step to bringing a biography of the civil rights leader to the screen. The King estate has frequently been embroiled in controversy over its rights claims. In 2003, Cynthia Tucker, a columnist for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution,wrote: These days it is increasingly difficult to remember that the King family was once held in such high esteem. They are mostly known now for their relentless profiteering. The heirs have converted King's legacy into a profit center -- I Have a Dream Inc." And on Saturday, May 16, just two days before the DreamWorks announcement, Charlotte Observerreporter Barry Saunders, wrote in a column that King's three children, Dexter, Bernice and Martin III, "have become not protectors of their father's prophetic image, but profiteers on it." Saunders reported that in April they "demanded and received $800,000 from the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation for the use of King's image and words on the planned King memorial on the National Mall." Terms of their deal with DreamWorks have not been disclosed.


Hollywood may not be well represented among the films showing in competition at the Cannes Film Festival this year, but its PR efforts are on almost daily display, with some stunts drawing crowds so large that they have halted traffic on the Croisette and even stalled it on roads leading to the festival. Last week, Disney/Pixar caused a sensation with a giant replica of the balloon blimp that figures prominently in the upcoming animated feature Up. Disney was at it again on Monday as Jim Carrey, who plays Scrooge in the studio's A Christmas Carol,set for release in November, rolled out of the Carlton hotel in a horse-drawn carriage through a man-made snow storm..


Danish director Lars von Trier has created a storm of controversy at Cannes over his latest film, Antichrist,a horror film that is competing at this year's festival and was screened on Monday. (It was greeted with derisive laughs and boos at a press screening.) Jonathan Romney in Britain's Screen Dailywondered "why a director this sophisticated would want to put his audience through the mill quite so crudely." And Todd McCarthy in Daily Varietyappeared to respond in kind to the film's tone by commenting, "Lars von Trier cuts a big, fat art-film fart with Antichrist."And, in arguably his oddest review ever, appearing in today's (Tuesday) Chicago Sun-Times, Roger Ebert, who has returned to Cannes after being sidelined for years by his battle with cancer, called Antichrist the equivalent to a "fork in the eye," and concluded: "Do I believe his film 'works?' Would I 'recommend' it? Is it a 'good' film? I believe von Trier doesn't care how I or anyone else would reply to those questions. He had the ideas and feelings, he saw into the pit, he made the film, and here it is."


Lee Solters, an old-school publicist who represented many of the most celebrated personalities in movies and popular music of the last half century, died in his sleep Monday in West Hollywood, CA at age 89. His clients included Frank Sinatra, Cary Grant, Gregory Peck, Barbra Streisand, Michael Jackson, and Paul McCartney.