SOME ENCHANTED THANKSGIVING
As expected, Disney's Enchantedappears to be proving as popular as turkey and cranberry sauce over the Thanksgiving Day holiday. The first two days of the holiday at the box office were reportedly dominated by the Disney animated/live production, according to analysts, with the movie earning an estimated $8.2 million on opening day. Its closest rival was Fox's Hitman, which earned $4.5 million. Making a surprising showing in third place was Sony's family flick This Christmas,with $4.3 million on Wednesday. Last week's top film, Beowulf, placed fourth with $3.8 million. Two other new films made the top ten: The Weinstein Co.'s The Mist opened with $2.1 million, while Warner Bros.' August Rushdebuted with $1.9 million.
STUDIOS, CLAIMING PIRACY, HIT CHINESE ONLINE SERVICE
The five major studios, Fox, Disney, Paramount, Sony, and Universal, have joined in a lawsuit against the Chinese online service Beijing Jeboo and the Shanghai East Cybercafe, accusing them of providing illegal downloads of their movies. The studios, represented by the MPAA, claims that Jeboo provides the means for illegally downloading and/or streaming content to Internet cafes in China, which then charge users to watch them. The lawsuit says that among the movies illegally downloaded were Pirates of the Caribbean 2, Charlie's Angels 2, X-Men 2, and Night at the Museum.
CHINESE PIRACY EXAGGERATED, SAYS STUDY
A study published by the Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego has claimed that the notion that China and East Asian countries account for a substantial percentage of piracy is a "misperception," confirmed by a not-well-publicized 2006 report by L.E.K. Consulting for the MPAA: "Mexico, the United Kingdom, and France accounted for over $1.2 billion in lost revenues, or 25% of the non-U.S. total -- and slightly less than the U.S. total of $1.3 billion," the TJSL study pointed out. China, in fact, is sixth on the list. The study concludes: "The gap between the perception and reality of international IP [piracy] matters because it affects U.S. policy. Incorrect understanding of the problem may influence trade laws and foreign relations, and law enforcement resources may be misallocated. And if the U.S. fails to appreciate the efforts already made by developing countries to address IP piracy issues, those countries may have little incentive to continue those enforcement efforts."
WGA STRIKE TO COST U.K. STUDIO $6 MILLION -- MAYBE MORE
The decision to halt production of The Da Vinci Codesequel, Angels & Demons, is likely to cost Pinewood Shepperton Studios, where the movie was to be shot, more than $6 million, the company said Thursday. It warned that it was not likely to offset the loss given the continuing strike of the Writers Guild of America. Sony, which is producing the film, has indicated that postponement of the production was made necessary because the screenplay was in need of certain revisions -- which the writer is barred from accomplishing under strike rules. Shares of Pinewood Shepperton dropped 7.55 percent on news of the postponement and fears that other productions might follow suit.
CONSERVATIVE SINGAPORE PRODUCES RAP VIDEO
The Singapore government, which has attracted considerable notoriety for strict censorship of movies and other media, has surprisingly produced a hit rap video that it has posted on YouTube. According to Reuters, the video, posted at www.youtube.com/watch?v=qjLw28UVWEU&feature=related by Singapore's Media Development Authority, had received 11,000 hits by Thursday. The video features a number of corporate-executive types using rap-video gestures and "singing" lyrics extolling the advantages of doing business in Singapore. It cuts away to a number of actual corporate executives who contribute their own verses to the "song." Virtually all the public comments (72 were posted as of today) on the YouTube site are negative, some angrily so. One blogger described the video as "pathetic, disgusting, abhorrent, atrocious, revolting, repulsive, shameless!" Another remarked: "This should be banned and the advertising agency fired." Another suggested, "If you want something to appeal to youngsters or whatever target groups you have in mind, get the relevant people to do the job."