MEMORIAL DAY NOT MEMORABLE AT BOX OFFICE
Despite a glut of $100-million+ movies filling movie houses over the Memorial Day weekend, the base of ticket-buying customers did not expand to accommodate them. The number of tickets sold was substantially the same as it was for the comparable week a year ago. And most of the moviegoers wanted to see Fox's Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, which took in an estimated $70 million over the four-day weekend. That turned out to be bad news for Warner Bros.' $200-million Terminator Salvation, which took in $53.8 million. Last year at this time Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull had virtually no serious competition and raked in $126 million -- close to the combined total of Museum and Terminator. Paramount's Star Trek was perhaps the brightest star on the top-ten list as it added $29.4 million to its gross, which now stands at $191 million, and is set to become the top-grossing film of the year this week.
The top ten films for the four-day Memorial Day weekend, according to studio estimates compiled by Box Office Mojo:
1. Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, Fox, $70 million; 2. Terminator Salvation, Warner Bros./Halcyon, $53.8 million; 3. Star Trek, Paramount, $29.4 million; 4. Angels & Demons, Sony, $27.7 million; 5. Dance Flick, Paramount, $13.1 million; 6. X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Fox, $10.1 million; 7. Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, Warner Bros./New Line, $4.8 million; 8. Obsessed, Sony/Screen Gems, $2.5 million; 9. Monsters vs. Aliens, Paramount/DreamWorks Animation, $1.9 million; 10. 17 Again, Warner Bros./New Line, $1.3 million.
ANGELS & DEMONS TOPS OVERSEAS
Overseas, Angels & Demons continued to dominate, particularly in Catholic countries. In its second week, it took in $60.4 million in 99 countries. Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian was not much of a contender as it opened with $50.1 million in 93 countries. Museum, however, opened strongly in the U.K., where it took in $6.8 million. (In an expensive promotion on Saturday, Fox, in cooperation with local merchants, closed down most of Oxford Street, one of London's principal thoroughfares, for a "traffic free" street fair that included characters dressed like the museum figures in the movie, bands, jugglers, face painters -- and many giveaways. It reportedly drew half a million visitors.) Angels & Demons also finally made its debut in Mexico, where its premiere hand been stalled by the swine-flu scare. It took in a strong $4.1 million.
IMAX MAY TELL MOVIEGOERS DIMENSIONS OF SCREENS
Responding to the recent flap over the smaller size of IMAX screens in new locations, IMAX CEO Richard Gelfond says that he has asked a Hollywood market-research firm to determine how serious an issue the matter is. In an interview with Los Angeles Times columnist Patrick Goldstein, Gelfond says that he expects the study to determine, "Is it just a few bloggers or is there really a bigger adverse audience reaction?" Asked by Goldstein why the company doesn't simply put up a sign outside IMAX theaters specifying the size of the screen, Gelfond responded, "We're thinking about doing that kind of thing," then said more emphatically later, "We're going to do something about disclosing information. Period. The market-research survey is really just to help figure out what to do, not if we should do something."