IS THE BOX-OFFICE HOT STREAK OVER?
Box office analysts are starting to ask whether the movie business has run out of steam after the four-day Memorial Day holiday performed no better than a year ago -- despite numerous high-budget films highlighting theater marquees. The top film, Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian won the weekend battle with a take of $70.1 million, beating Terminator Salvation, which delivered $51.9 million. Their total take, however, was slightly below what Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull earned during the same weekend a year ago. The difference is that each of the two cost as much as the Indian Jones movie to produce -- just under $200 million, according to most estimates. The IMAX factor was at play in the weekend results. Star Trek lost its IMAX screens and its take dropped 47 percent. Night at the Museum II picked them up, where they generated $5.4 million in ticket sales -- or 8 percent of the total from fewer than 2 percent of the screens.
The top ten films over the four-day Memorial Day weekend, according to final figures compiled by Box Office Mojo (figures in parentheses represent total gross to date):
1. Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, Fox, $70,052,004, (New); 2. Terminator Salvation, Warner Bros., $51,943,726, 1 Wk. ($65,316,217 -- from Thursday); 3. Star Trek, Paramount, $29,380,384, 3 Wks. ($191,014,403); 4. Angels & Demons, Sony/Columbia, $27,413,992, 2 Wks . ($87,524,618); 5. Dance Flick, Paramount, $12,622,450, (New); 6. X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Fox, $9,910,686, 4 Wks. ($165,164,423); 7. Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, Warner Bros., $4,767,809, 4 Wks. ($46,906,154); 8. Obsessed, Sony/Screen Gems, $2,424,470, 5 Wks. ($66,332,824); 9. Monsters vs. Aliens, Paramount, $2,060,680, 9 Wks. ($193,706,544); 10. 17 Again, Warner Bros., $1,292,506, 6 Wks. ($60,601,427).
FEUDING SAG MEMBERS STEP UP ATTACKS
Members of the Screen Actors Guild on Tuesday began receiving recorded telephone messages from national board member Adam Arkin, urging them to approve the union's contract with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. Leaders of the group opposed to rati fication told Daily Variety that they are unable to respond in kind because they do not have access to the members' telephone numbers. On Monday they voiced complaints about a strongly worded message distributed by the union accusing them of "trying to take our union down" by circulating "misinformation" about the deal. The opponents received support from influential blogger Nikki Finke who called the union's message part of a "smear campaign."
BAN LIFTED ON CANNIBAL FILM
A German court has lifted the ban against a horror movie based on the real case of Armin Meiwes, who was sentenced to life in prison for killing a man who asked him to "obliterate" his life. After killing him, Meiwes reportedly dismembered him and ate parts of the body. In 2 0006 the movie, titled Rohtenburg in its worldwide release and Grimm Love in English-speaking countries, was banned in Germany following a court ruling that held that it infringed on Meiwes's personal rights. However, on Tuesday an appeals court ruled that the rights to artistic freedom, as well as Meiwes's own efforts to market his case, trumped his personal rights. The film, which features American actress Keri Russell in a leading role, has received mostly art-house and festival releases internationally. There are no current plans to show it in Germany.
BOYLE RETURNS TO MUMBAI TO REASSURE CHILD STARS
Director Danny Boyle has attempted to defuse a public uproar in India over the continued difficulties faced by two of the children who had significant roles in his Slumdog Ȳ Millionaire. Appearing with the children, Rubina Ali, 9, and Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail, 10, at a news conference in Mumbai today (Wednesday), Boyle insisted that he and the producers of the Oscar-winning film have been trying to move them into "legal accommodation." Both children lost their shanty homes when authorities demolished parts of their slum earlier this month. The Associated Press reported that a new home has been found for Azhar, but not yet for Rubina. Her father, Rafiq Qureshi, told AP that Boyle and the film's producers have not done enough. "It's no big deal for them, this kind of money. It's been five or six months we've been living in such difficulty. They should help us. ... After the Oscar s they forgot about us."