THE X FACTOR: TICKET-SALES FALL-OFF
Ticket sales for X-Men Origins: Wolverine fell off more steeply on Sunday than 20th Century Fox executives had expected. The result was that the movie ended up with a total of $85.1 million versus the $87 million that the studio had estimated. The result also meant that the overall box-office finished a tad behind the comparable week last year, when Iron Man opened with $98.6 million, making it only the third week this year that sales were not significantly above last year's. Coming in second was the debuting romantic comedy Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, starring Matthew McConaughey, which took in $15.4 million. The only other film to open wide, Battle for Terra 3-D, took in just $1.1 million, to open twelfth.
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. X-men Origins: Wolverine, 20th Century Fox, $85,058,003, (New) ); 2. Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, Warner Bros., $15,411,434, (New) ); 3. Obsessed, Sony, $12,052,151, 2 Wks. ($46,854,485); 4. 17 Again, Warner Bros., $6,361,358, 3 Wks. ($48,503,817); 5. Monsters Vs. Aliens, Paramount, $5,803,429, 6 Wks. ($182,407,971); 6. The Soloist, Paramount, $5,654,558, 2 Wks. ($18,162,696); 7. Earth, Disney, $4,340,235, 2 Wks. ($22,004,284); 8. Hannah Montana: The Movie, Disney, $4,164,185, 4 Wks. ($70,946,323); 9. Fighting, Universal, $4,011,465, 2 Wks. ($17,344,805); 10. State of Play, Universal, $3,715,980, 3 Wks. ($30,944,180).
ANGELS AND DEMONS PREMIERES NEAR VATICAN
In what some saw as a direct challenge to the Vatican, Sony's Angels and Demons, the prequel to The Da Vinci code, had its world premiere Monday night in Rome in a theater located within walking distance to St. Peter's. And while the movie had earlier generated widespread condemnation by leading church figures in the Holy City as well as censure by the Catholic League, the largest organization of lay Catholics in the U.S., the church was conspicuously silent about its premiere, apparently in the belief that condemning the film would only bring it further publicity. Daily Variety quoted Father Federico Lombardi, the Pope's press secretary as saying, "I'll comment only if the film production buys 1,000, 10-year subscriptions to our official newspaper." And Father John Wauck, who teaches history and literature at Holy Cross University in Rome, told CNN. "I think the church's attitude has been, from the beginning, 'hands off' ... especially, I think, after what happened with The Da Vinci Code [when the controversy over the movie served to publicize it]. ... In the Da Vinci Code, there were serious issues, such as who Jesus Christ was or the nature of church in the course of history, but none of them is taken in Angels and Demons. It's simply a thriller."
TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL: THE PHOENIX GROWS
The Tribeca Film Festival, born in the wake of the 9/11 attacks on the Twin Towers in lower Manhattan, has continued to show extraordinary growth, with an estimated 348,000 people attending screenings, discussions and other events at this year's festival, organizers said Monday, a day after this year's festival, which opened on April 22, closed. "Audiences responded overwhelmingly to the festival this year, and that is reflected in our numbers," Nancy Schafer, the festival's executive director, said in a statement. "Theaters were packed, even during weekday matinees, and we are ecstatic at the response to the films and conversations, as well as the great turnout at the Family Festival Street Fair."
CAR CHASE FOR TIMES SQUARE SHOOT ENDS BADLY
A car-chase sequence being shot in New York's Times Square for Nicolas Cage's latest film, The Sorcerer's Apprentice, failed to follow the plot line early Monday morning as one of the stunt vehicles being used in the scene crashed into a Sbarro pizza parlor, injuring two persons outside. Reports indicated that the film chase involved a Mercedes and a Ferrari. The New York Post quoted one witness as saying, "The Ferarri took a sharp right to the left and lost it, swerving across the lanes, taking out a lamppost and a newsstand" before crashing into the pizza parlor. The production company used its own staff medics to treat the injured persons at the scene and sent for an ambulance to take them to a local hospital. "All safety regulations were followed and second-unit filming will continue as planned," a statement from producer Jerry Bruckheimer said.