LESS GOLD FOR PRINCE

Like last week, the top film at the box office, having already brought in less than analysts had predicted on Sunday, when the studio announced its weekend estimate, earned even less than that when the actual ticket-sales figures were finally disclosed on Monday. Although The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian was not the unmitigated disaster that Speed Racer was last week, the movie's $55.03 million take was $1.6 million below Sunday's estimate. By contrast, the No. 2 film, Iron Man earned $31.84 million, somewhat more than the $31.20 million that the studio had calculated. Overall, the weekend's top 12 films grossed $125.8 million, 28 percent below last year's $173.6 million for the comparable weekend.

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. The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, Disney, $55,034,805, (New) ); 2. Iron Man, Paramount, $31,838,996, 3 Wks. ($223,124,385); 3. What Happens in Vegas, Fox, $13,883,874, 2 Wks. ($40,341,516); 4. Speed Racer, Warner Bros., $8,117,459, 2 Wks. ($30,284,073); 5. Made of Honor, Sony, $4,702,950, 3 Wks. ($33,903,519); 6. Baby Mama, Universal, $4,680,610, 4 Wks. ($47,343,255); 7. Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Universal, $2,786,220, 5 Wks. ($55,313,405); 8. Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay, Warner Bros., $1,997,450, 4 Wks. ($34,098,389); 9. The Forbidden Kingdom, Lionsgate, $1,073,856, 5 Wks. ($50,368,985); 10. The Visitor, Overture Films, $672,448, 6 Wks. ($3,388,821).

EASTWOOD SHOOTS DOWN DIRTY HARRY RUMORS

Clint Eastwood fired his .44 Magnum point blank at rumors that he is planning to star in a sixth and final Dirty Harry movie. Appearing today (Tuesday) at a news conference at the Cannes Film Festival, Eastwood said that the rumors, which first appeared in the London tabloid The Sun and spread quickly on the Internet, were "untrue." The actor-director who was in Cannes to promote his latest film, The Changeling, which is competing for the Palme d'Or award, said that he had "no intention" of ever making another Dirty Harry film. "There are certain things you have to be realistic about," Eastwood said, and one of those things is that "Dirty Harry wouldn't be on a police department at my age." (Eastwood turns 78 on May 31.) Asked why he agreed to allow The Changeling to be presented as part of the competition -- many producers take the position that the competition is a risky business -- Eastwood, who himself presided over the Cannes jury in 1994, remarked that playing a film out of competition "is like playing it safe." Eastwood's jury selected Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction for the Palme d'Or, leading some French critics at the time to accuse him of boosting an American film. But Eastwood said today that the Tarantino film was not his first choice, "but it was collectively the choice of the jury."

NETFLIX UNVEILS ANOTHER SETTOP BOX

Online movie renter Netflix has chosen a settop box by the little-known startup Roku for its online streaming service. The box will cost $99 with no additional monthly fees. Reviewers on tech sites have generally applauded the device, saying it can be set up in a few minutes and produces a picture that compares favorably with that of a DVD player. (High-definition streaming is reportedly on the horizon.) Several have complained, however, that only about 10 percent of Netflix's total library of 100,000 features are available via the service and few newer films. They also question whether consumers will be willing to add yet another settop box to the clutter of boxes that they have already accumulated.

HIGH COURT UPHOLDS PORNO LAW

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday upheld a law barring selling child pornography even when no real children are used in the actual material. Prosecutors had claimed that if the law was not sustained, they would have to prove that real children had been used and not generated on a computer. Opponents had contended that the law could be applied to legitimate Hollywood movies, depicting, say, child rape. "The average person understands that sex scenes in mainstream movies use nonchild actors, depict sexual activity in a way that would not rise to the explicit level necessary under the statute, or, in most cases, both," the majority (7-2) opinion said. But in his dissent, Justice David Souter observed that the Justice Department successfully prosecuted 1,209 child pornography cases in 2006. "Without some demonstration that juries have been rendering exploitation of children unpunishable, there is no excuse for cutting back on the 1st Amendment," Souter said.

Cinemark Movie Club
Brian B.