UNIVERSAL TO BUILD $3.1 BILLION PARK IN KOREA
Universal Studios and partners plan to build a $3.1-billion theme park south of Seoul in South Korea, the provincial government of Gyeonggi said today (Tuesday). As reported by Bloomberg News, the park, located near Hwaseong, will also include hotels, a golf course and a shopping mall. There was no indication whether, like its U.S. counterparts in California and Florida, it will also include a working film studio. It is due to open in 2012, the announcement said. Universal, a unit of General Electric, is partnering with Korea Development Bank, Shinhan Bank and Korea Investment & Securities Co. in the project. However, it did not indicate the size of each partner's investment in the project or its stake.
ENCHANTED CHARMS BOX OFFICE
A traditional Disney movie that some critics said seemed to have been guided by the spirit of Walt himself became a big hit at the domestic box office over the Thanksgiving holiday, according to final figures released Monday. Enchanted earned $34.4 million over the weekend and $49 million over the five-day holiday period, box office trackers Media By Numbers said. In second place was Sony/Screen Gems's This Christmas, which raked in $17.96 million over the weekend and $26.34 million over the holiday. In fact the movie earned more on a per-theater basis than Enchanted, averaging $9,665 per theater versus $9,233 for the Disney film. Also scoring strongly was the critically praised No Country for Old Men, playing in only 830 theaters. It earned $7.78 million and averaged $9,043 per theater. Last weekend's top film, Beowulf dropped 40 percent to third place with $16.53 million ($23.6 million for the holiday), but saw only a 15-percent drop-off in business at 3-D IMAX houses.
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 Enchanted, Disney, $34,440,317, 1 Wk. ($49,060,281 -- From Wednesday); 2. This Christmas, Sony, $17,958,183, 1 Wk. ($26,341,492 -- From Wednesday); 3. Beowulf, Paramount, $16,538,666, 2 Wks. ($56,633,821); 4. Hitman, 20th Century Fox, $13,180,769, 1 Wk. ($21,094,148 -- From Wednesday); 5. Bee Movie, Paramount, $11,813,502, 4 Wks. ($111,860,810); 6. Fred Claus, Warner Bros., $10,575,400, 3 Wks. ($52,869,835); 7. August Rush, Warner Bros., $9,421,369, 1 Wk. ($13,243,069 -- From Wednesday); 8. American Gangster, Universal, $9,013,925, 4 Wks. ($115,550,290); 9. The Mist, MGM, $8,931,973, 1 Wk. ($12,861,800 -- From Wednesday); 10. Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium, 20th Century Fox, $7,936,035, 2 Wks. ($22,179,439).
REDBOX SAYS IT'S BIGGER THAN BLOCKBUSTER
Redbox says it now has more DVD kiosks installed in McDonald's and other restaurants, grocery stores, drug stores, and other retail sites, than Blockbuster has stores. It said in a statement on Monday that it now has more than 6,000 kiosks in 46 states versus Blockbuster's 5,200 locations. The company automatically charges $1 per night to rent a movie, which can be returned to any Redbox location. If the movie is not returned within 25 days, no further charges are added. The company has said that between June of last year and June of this year, it rented 11 million movies. McDonald's owns a majority stake in Redbox; Coinstar owns 47.3 percent.
DYLAN'S "MR. JONES" IS DEAD
Rochester Institute of Technology film professor Jeffrey Owen Jones, who reputedly was immortalized as the "Mr. Jones" whom Bob Dylan referred to in "Ballad of a Thin Man," died on Nov. 10 of lung cancer, it was reported on Monday. Jones had interviewed Dylan as a summer intern for Time magazine at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965, shortly before Dylan wrote his song, which begins, "You walk into the room/With your pencil in your hand/You see somebody naked/And you say, 'Who is that man?'" and which ends, "Something is happening her/But you don't know what it is/Do you, Mr. Jones?" Later, in an article in Rolling Stone, Jones wrote: "I resented the caricature but had to admit that there was something happening there at Newport in the summer of 1965, and I didn't know what it was." In its obituary, the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle reported that Jones later worked for the paper as a copy editor and later went on to become editor of Psychology Today, work at CBS, and ten years ago win a New York Emmy for Outstanding Fine Arts Programming.
COSTA-GAVRAS TO HEAD BERLINALE JURY
Calling his films "both social critique and high art," the Berlin Film Festival has named 74-year-old director Constantin Costa-Gavras to head the jury at next year's festival. His 1989 film Music Box won the Berlinale's top Golden Bear award the following year. In 1969, his Z won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. Most of his films have political themes and several have concerned repressive regimes all over the world.