WILD THINGS MAKES EVERYTHING GROOVY AT BOX OFFICE
Where the Wild Things Are wound up with $32.7 million over the weekend -- $3.1 million from IMAX locations -- slightly higher than Warner Bros.' original estimate. The big haul for the PG-rated movie helped lead the box office to one of its biggest October weekends in history. Overall, the top 12 films grossed $127.60 million, 50.54 percent more than they did during the comparable week a year ago. Also performing solidly was Overture Films's Law Abiding Citizen, starring Gerard Butler and Jamie Foxx, which racked up $21 million, to place second. But the most impressive box-office performance came from Paramount's Paranormal Activity, which drew $19.6 million from just 760 theaters. The film, which reportedly cost just $15,000 to make, has now grossed $33.2 million. For the year, revenue for all films stands at $8.28 billion, up 7.94 percent above last year. Attendance is up 4.02 percent.
The top ten films over the weekend, according to final figures compiled by Box Office Mojo (figures in parentheses represent total gross to date):
1. Where the Wild Things Are, Warner Bros., $32,695,407, (New); 2. Law Abiding Citizen, Overture Films, $21,039,502, (New); 3. Paranormal Activity, Paramount, $19,617,650, 4 Wks. ($33,171,743); 4. Couples Retreat, Universal, $17,227,390, 2 Wks. ($62,617,735); 5. The Stepfather, Sony, $11,581,586, (New); 6. Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, Sony, $8,017,871, 5 Wks. ($108,201,645); 7. Zombieland, Sony, $7,616,939, 3 Wks. ($60,640,317); 8. Toy Story/Toy Story 2, Disney, $3,016,580, 3 Wks. ($28,554,678); 9. Surrogates, Disney, $1,917,315, 4 Wks. ($36,327,650); 10. The Invention of Lying, Warner Bros., $1,907,398, 3 Wks. ($15,497,164).
ACTOR CASSEL SUSPENDED FROM SAG
Actor Seymour Cassel, who garnered 18 percent of the vote when he ran for president of the Screen Actors Guild last month, had his membership suspended for two years Sunday. The union announced on Monday that its national board voted to suspend Cassel and remove him from the board following charges by staff members of sexual harassment and "conduct unbecoming a member." Cassel had been a member of the national board since 2001. It was uncertain whether the suspension will also bar Cassel from employment in the industry. Daily Variety quoted his attorney, James Talbott, as saying that he is considering filing for "fi-core" status, in which he would resign from the union but continue paying union dues and other fees, allowing him to work on union jobs.
TMZ FOUNDER SAYS HE'LL TAKE ACTION AGAINST L.A. SHERIFF
Harvey Levin, the attorney who founded the tabloid website TMZ, has indicated that he plans to take action against the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Office for obtaining his personal telephone records in their investigation of TMZ's story of Mel Gibson's anti-Semitic tirade after he was arrested on drunk driving in 2006. Speaking to the Radio and Television News Association of Southern California at UCLA Monday, Levin called the sheriff's action "a brutal assault on freedom of the press." The TMZ report, he told the group, demonstrated that the arresting deputy, James Mee, had been ordered to rewrite his original arrest report, removing all mention of Gibson's remarks. That demand, said Levin, "was indefensible. It was corrupt." But even more ominous, he suggested, was the sheriff's attempt to discover the source of TMZ's information by obtaining his phone records. "It breaks federal law. It breaks state law," he declared, indicating that he has reason to believe that he is not the only journalist whose phone records have been obtained by the sheriff's department. "We have met with lawyers and we are charting our course of action," Levin said. "I can only imagine the Pandora's Box that will open up."
FILM ABOUT CHINA'S FOUNDING BREAKS RECORDS
The Founding of a Republic , a movie about the victory of Mao Tse-Tung's Communist forces over Chiang Kai-Shek's Nationalist army 60 years ago, has broken the box-office record for a Chinese film, according to the Xinhua News Agency. The film has earned about $59 million, putting it third on the all-time list in China, behind Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and Titanic. Several major Hong Kong and mainland film stars reportedly worked without compensation in the movie, including Jackie Chan, Jet Li, Stephen Chow and Zhang Ziyi. In reporting on the film's success, the Hollywood Reporter pointed out that the movie "has enjoyed release on the largest number of screens in Chinese film history, no competition from Hollywood product, an extended national holiday period and massive promotion, including a trailer for the film running before every movie in the country prior to its release."