The latest James Bond movie took in far less at the box office on Sunday than its distributor, Sony, had expected. After earning $27 million on Friday and $25.8 million on Saturday, the box-office take fell to just $14.7 million on Sunday. As a result the movie ended the weekend with a total of $67.5 million, well below the $70.4 million that had originally been estimated. Nevertheless, it remained the highest-grossing Bond flick in history, well above the record of 2002's Die Another Day, which debuted with $47.1 million. In its second week, Paramount/DreamWorks' Madagascar roared back with $35 million and crossed the $100 million mark to bring its 10-day gross to $116.91 million. And, continuing to surprise, the low-budget comedy Role Models took third place with $11.15 million to bring its two-week total to $37.58 million. In limited release Danny Boyle's critically praised Slumdog Millionaire opened with $360,018 at 10 theaters, or $36,002 per theater (compared with $19,568 for Quantum). Overall, the top 12 films at the box office earned $137.69 million, 48.6 percent above the total for last year's top 12.
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. Quantum of Solace, Sony/MGM, $67,528,882, 0, (New); 2. Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, Paramount, $35,017,301, 2 Wks. ($116,905,195); 3. Role Models, Universal, $11,150,030, 2 Wks. ($37,577,245); 4. High School Musical 3: Senior Year, Disney, $5,656,162, 4 Wks. ($84,169,216); 5. Changeling, Universal, $4,254,080, 4 Wks. ($27,631,772); 6. Zack and Miri Make A Porno, Weinstein Co. $3,146,312, 3 Wks. ($26,465,482); 7. Soul Men, MGM, $2,350,141, 2 Wks. ($9,370,925); 8. The Secret Life of Bees, Fox Searchlight, $2,338,279, 4 Wks. ($33,627,359); 9. Saw V, Lionsgate, $1,767,405, 4 Wks. ($55,380,488); 10. Beverly Hills Chihuahua, Disney, $1,579,080, 7 Wks. ($90,878,127).
SAG, STUDIOS TO MEET AGAIN ON THURSDAY
Federal mediator Juan Carlos Gonzalez has set up the first face-to-face meeting between negotiators for the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers and the Screen Actors Guild on Thursday, November 20. However, neither side has given any indication that it is willing to budge from its positions on new media that have stalemated the negotiations since last June. If Gonzalez is unable to mediate the dispute effectively, SAG is likely to call for a strike authorization vote by its members. And while some have noted that if the members authorize their leadership to call a strike, it is by no means certain that they will do so. In any case the two sides appear to be heading for a denouement around the time of the Golden Globes and Oscar ceremonies next year.
BOX OFFICE TO BECOME TWILIGHT ZONE
The $35-million Twilight may be given the kind of treatment at the box office ordinarily reserved for films costing three or four times that amount: midnight and Friday early-morning screenings. Summit entertainment has reportedly persuaded some of the major theater chains to add the wee-hour showings after online ticket sellers reported sold-out showtimes at hundreds of theaters for Friday-night screenings. "In the age of big, studio tentpole pictures, it's a surprise to find such encouragingly strong advance ticket sales for an independent film with no established box-office stars," Rick Butler, COO of online ticket seller Fandango told the Hollywood Reporter. On Monday night, some 600 screaming teenage girls packed a special holding area on each side of the red carpet at the Mann Village Theater in the Westwood area of Los Angeles to catch a glimpse of 22-year-old heartthrob Robert Pattison, the British actor who plays the vampire Edward in the movie. Others lined the sidewalk beyond, some holding hand-made signs.
HONG KONG PLANS TO REVIVE ITS FILM INDUSTRY
While at its peak in the 1990s, the Hong Kong film industry was churning out more than 300 movies a year. That number fell to 50 last year and is expected to be even lower still this year, Wellington Fung Wing, secretary general of the Hong Kong Film Development Council, told the South China Morning Post on Monday. The drastic decline of an industry that was once called "Hollywood of the Orient" has spurred the council to reach out to Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia to arrange co-productions that could appeal to their joint markets. It also plans to send a delegation to nearby Guangdong province on the mainland next month to explore the possibility of co-productions with studios there, the Morning Post said.