MOON SHINES BRIGHTER
Everyone was wrong. That's the only conclusion one can draw from the actual box-office figures for The Twilight Saga: New Moon when compared not only with weekend forecasts but also with official estimates released on Sunday. Sunday's figures were based on actual results for Friday and Saturday and an educated guess as to how much the movie would earn on Sunday. In the end it turned out that Sunday's business exceeded Summit Entertainment's guesstimate by a whopping $2.1 million. In the end, the movie actually earned $142.8 million for the three days -- the most any film has ever made outside of summer and behind last year's The Dark Knight (with $158 million) and 2007's Spider-Man 3 ($151 million) on the all-time list. Before it opened on Friday, box-office fortune tellers had predicted it would earn $80-100 million, and those predicting it would cross the $100-million mark were dismissed as moon-blinded know-nothings. But while the domestic estimates seemed to have been conservatively lowballed, the international ones seemed downright off-base. Summit said late Monday that the film actually earned $132.1 million -- or $14 million more than Sunday projection. That brought the worldwide total to $274.9 million. Today's (Tuesday) Los Angeles Times explained the discrepancy by observing that, unlike the major studios, Summit does not have its own foreign distribution operation but instead relies on a number of smaller distributors who take their time reporting ticket sales. Indeed, some of them have yet to disclose weekend totals in some markets.
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. The Twilight Saga: New Moon, Summit, $142,839,137, (New); 2. The Blind Side, Warner Bros. $34,119,372, (New); 3. 2012, Sony, $26,410,206, 2 Wks. ($108,131,263); 4. Planet 51, Sony/Tri-star/Alliance, $12,286,129, (New); 5. Disney's A Christmas Carol, Disney, $12,275,024, 2 Wks. ($79,836,002); 6. Precious, Lionsgate, $10,881,772, 3 Wks. ($21,277,521); 7. The Men Who Stare At Goats, Overture, $2,829,031, 2 Wks. ($27,680,089); 8. Couples Retreat, Universal, $1,943,075, 7 Wks. ($104,992,030); 9. The Fourth Kind, Universal, $1,747,085, 3 Wks. ($23,359,890); 10. Michael Jackson's This Is It, Sony, $1,617,417, 4 Wks. ($70,258,545).
FOX CHIEF CALLS FOR "THREE STRIKES" LAW IN U.S.
Fox Filmed Entertainment Chairman Jim Gianopulos has urged the U.S. to pass a law similar to France's "three strikes" rule that would allow a judge to order Internet service providers to disconnect users who download copyrighted material. The British government has also signaled that it is ready to pass a three-strikes law as well. Gianopulos told a news conference in Athens Monday: "If we [the U.S.] can do that, it would be a big victory against piracy." In a separate interview with Reuters, Gianopulos also attempted to knock down reports that the James Cameron 3D epic Avatar will wind up costing $500 million, including production and marketing costs. "That's a ridiculous number," Gianopulos told the wire service. "It has actually no relationship to the actual cost of the movie." He declined to disclose how much the actual budget for the movie was, saying only that "the movie was quite expensive" but that it was "money well spent."
2012 MOST PIRATED MOVIE
The popularity of pirated movies on BitTorrent sites often seems at odds with their theatrical popularity. While -- as was to be expected -- 2012 was the most-downloaded movie on BitTorrent last week, according to the website TorrentFreak, the second-most-downloaded movie was Gamer, which flopped at the box office in September, taking in only $11.2 million in its opening and $20.5 million during its entire domestic run. Coming in third was the Judd Apatow film Funny People, which also flopped in theaters last August. It was the top downloaded movie on BitTorrent last week.
THAI FILM VOTED BEST OF DECADE
Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul's Syndromes and a Century, was selected as the best film of the decade in a poll conducted by the Toronto International Film Festival. Of some 60 film curators, historians and programmers polled by the festival, Syndromes received 53 votes. Coming in second was Chinese director Jia Zhangke's Platform, which received 49 votes by the panel. Jia also nabbed third place, with 48 votes going to his Still Life, which won the Golden Lion for best film at the Venice Film Festival in 2006. French filmmaker Claire Denis's Beau Travail took fourth place with 46 votes. And Hong Kong director Wong Kar-wai's In the Mood for Love rounded out the top five with 43 votes.
EPIX TO OFFER FREE INDIANA JONES MOVIES OVER THANKSGIVING
Epix, the recently launched pay-TV channel and online streaming site, is offering its own version of the Indy 500 over the Thanksgiving weekend. It said that it will offer 500 minutes of Indiana Jones movies, including Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. They will be followed by Iron Man and The Hunt for Red October. Epix says that it will offer the movies free to consumers who register for online access at EpixHD.com/invite.