TWILIGHT TAKES A SMALLER BITE
After the teen vampire flick Twilight opened with a sensational $35 million box-office take on Friday, some analysts were predicting a flood of repeat business over the weekend and a final total of $75-80 million. However, when Saturday's gross declined to $21 million, they revised their weekend estimate to $70.6 million. But Sunday's ticket sales came to only $12 million, bringing the actual total to $69.6 million -- still, the fourth-best November opening in history (behind the Harry Potter movies) and the fourth best opening of the year. Bolt, the Disney animated film that was supposed to give Twilight a run for the money, couldn't bolt out of the gate, winding up with just $26.2 million for third place. Several analysts expected it to improve over the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. Last week's winner, the James Bond thriller Quantum of Solace also performed well below expectations, falling 60 percent to $26.7 million, to capture second place. Two films in limited release performed solidly, however. Miramax's The Boy in the Striped Pajamas landed in eighth place with $1.65 million, despite playing in only 406 theaters. And Fox Searchlight's Slumdog Millionaire placed eleventh with $947,795 in just 32 theaters. Overall, the top 12 films earned $156,677,936, up 4 percent from last year's total of $150,603,712.
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. Twilight, Summit Entertainment, $69,637,740, (New); 2. Quantum of Solace, Sony/MGM, $26,707,945, 2 Wks. ($108,790,786); 3. Bolt, Disney, $26,223,128, (New); 4. Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, Paramount, $15,661,936, 3 Wks. ($137,109,390); 5. Role Models, Universal, $7,324,445, 3 Wks. ($48,133,020); 6. Changeling, Universal, $2,695,450, 5 Wks. ($31,665,332); 7. High School Musical 3: Senior Year, Disney, $2,049,144, 5 Wks. ($86,864,082); 8. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, Miramax, $1,647,514, 3 Wks. ($2,628,053); 9. Zack and Miri Make a Porno, Weinstein Co. $1,605,579, 4 Wks. ($29,256,029); 10. The Secret Life of Bees, Fox Searchlight, $1,264,991, 5 Wks. ($35,638,795).
STRIKE OPPOSITION GROWS
Even while the Screen Actors Guild was engaged in talks with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers under the aegis of a federal mediator, its leaders were meeting secretly with high-profile actors urging them to support a possible strike, entertainment journalist Sharon Waxman reported on her website, waxword.com, on Monday. One of the meetings was attended by "about 20 of Hollywood's great stars from the past 30 years," Waxman wrote, citing one person who was present, including Warren Beatty, Jack Nicholson, Meryl Streep, Nick Nolte, and Annette Bening. They were given slips of paper and asked to vote on whether they would support a strike. A SAG spokeswoman confirmed the meetings. Nevertheless, the fact that prominent actors were being asked to vote on a strike while mediation was taking place could backfire, Waxman indicated. An online petition against a strike had already gathered some 7,500 signatures within two days after the latest negotiations broke off.
TAXI DRIVER WRITER ARRIVES IN INDIA
Calling Hollywood, "a barren, barren place -- in terms of the financial community, in terms of audiences, in terms of distribution," writer-director Paul Schrader is pulling up stakes and heading for India, where he says he plans to write and direct his next film. In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Schrader, whose films include Taxi Driver, Raging Bull (as a writer) and Affliction and the upcoming Adam Resurrected (as a writer-director), said his new film, Extreme City, is an action-adventure film that will be spoken in English and Hindi. He indicated that he intends to remain there. "Old Bollywood will never go away," he told the Reporter, "but it's changing. Movies can be shorter than two hours. There doesn't need to be singing and dancing."
DE NIRO TO BRIDGE GULF, TAKES TRIBECA TO DOHA
The Tribeca Film Festival, which was launched as a response to the attack by Arab terrorists on the World Trade Center located in the Tribeca area of Manhattan, will now have a counterpart in an Arab land. Qatar said Monday that it is teaming up De Niro to host a film festival in Doha next year. "We hope that film will not only be used as a form of entertainment at Tribeca Film Festival Doha but play a role in bridging cultures closer together," De Niro said in a statement. "By learning each other's stories, we can see how much we share in common as well as explore and better understand our differences."