U.K. TOO EXPENSIVE FOR JAMES BOND

Despite lucrative tax incentives offered by the British government, the next James Bond movie may not be shot in Britain because of the high costs of doing so, producer Michael Wilson has told the British trade publication Screen Daily. Every Bond movie has been filmed at Pinewood Studios near London beginning with Dr. No in 1962. "London is the most expensive city in the world right now," he said, adding that in producing Casino Royale, the latest Bond film, it had been difficult "to bring talent here and put them up here for long periods of time. ... The cost of doing business here is a factor." Wilson's comments came as final preparations were being made for the London premiere tonight (Tuesday) of Casino Royale attended by Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip.

20TH CENTURY FOX TRIES NEW TACTIC TO HALT PIRACY IN CHINA

Hoping to counter rampant DVD piracy in China, 20th Century Fox said Monday (Tuesday) that it had signed an agreement with the Chinese video distributor Zoke Culture Group, allowing it to sell its video releases there. The studio had previously indicated that it might begin selling movies in China on the same day that they were released theatrically in the U.S. as a way of heading pirates off at the pass. There was no indication whether the studio also intended to offer films at prices comparable to those at which bootlegs are offered.

BORAT'S NIIIIIICE OVERSEAS, TOO

As it turned out, Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan translated as well overseas as it did domestically. In the 20 countries where it was shown, it was No. 1 in all of them, taking in $15.4 million to bring its overseas total over two weeks to $43.2 million. In the U.S. and Canada, it raked in $28.3 million, bringing its two-week total to $67.1 million. That puts the film's worldwide gross to date at over $100 million -- $110.3 million to be more precise. Meanwhile, The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause and Flushed Away continued to vie for second place at the North American box office, with Clause coming away with $16.9 million and Flushed with $16.6 million. Sony's Stranger Than Fiction, which many analysts had predicted would take top honors, settled for fourth place with $13.4 million.

The top ten films over the weekend, according to final figures compiled by Exhibitor Relations (figures in parentheses represent total gross to date):

1. Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, 20th Century Fox, $28,269,900, 2 Wks. ($67,111,765); 2. The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause, Disney, $16,927,004, 2 Wks. ($41,086,409); 3. Flushed Away, Paramount, $16,606,526, 2 Wks. ($39,827,295); 4. Stranger Than Fiction, Sony, $13,411,093, (New); 5. Saw III, Lionsgate, $6,984,377, 3 Wks. ($70,263,820); 6. Babel, Paramount, $5,558,095, 3 Wks. ($7,395,357); 7. The Departed, Warner Bros., $5,164,480, 6 Wks. ($109,702,938); 8. The Prestige, Disney, $4,778,175, 4 Wks. ($46,185,205); 9. The Return, Focus Features, $4,479,621, (New); 10. A Good Year, 20th Century Fox, $3,721,526, (New).

TIVO TAKES NEXT STEP TO CONVERGE TV AND PC

Besides recording programs off broadcast and cable TV, TiVo owners will soon be able to download movies and other video off the Internet and show them directly on their TV sets, the San Jose-based company said Monday. "Broadband video is growing rapidly on the Web, but the television will continue to be the key way viewers want to watch video," TiVo CEO Tom Rogers told the Associated Press. "Our overall goal is to provide as many types of content in as many formats to be displayable on the television through TiVo." Earlier Microsoft said that users of its Xbox game system would be able to download movies and view them on TV. And Apple said that it plans to introduce a device, tentatively called iTV, early next year that will do the same thing.

Brian B. at Movieweb
Brian B.