ZOMBIELAND KILLS

It was the weekend in which Zombieland made a killing at the box office. The comedy/horror film, which on the whole received positive reviews, piled up $25 million in ticket sales. Two other new movies, however, which also received generally favorable reviews, flopped. Ricky Gervais's The Invention of Lying managed to bring in $7.4 million, while Drew Barrymore's Whip It landed in sixth place with just $4.9 million, tying with Michael Moore's documentary, Capitalism: A Love Story, which widened its release to about 1,000 theaters. The re-release of the first two Toy Story movies (a third in the works), this time in 3D, did OK with a third-place $12.5 million, but, as the New York Times observed on Sunday, it failed to demonstrate that there was a gold mine in re-releasing past hit films in 3D. The Toy Story double feature was topped by the third week of Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, another 3D animated flick, that came in second with $16.7 million, putting its total after three weekends at $82.4 million.

The top ten films for the weekend, according to studio estimates compiled by Box Office Mojo:

1. Zombieland, $25 million; 2. Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, $16.7 million; 3. Toy Story/Toy Story 2, $12.5 million; 4. The Invention of Lying, $7.4 million; 5. Surrogates, $7.3 million; 6. Whip It, $4.9 million (tie); 6. Capitalism: A Love Story, $4.9 million (tie); 8. Fame, $4.8 million; 9. The Informant!, $3.8 million; 10. Love Happens, $2.8 million.

LOTS OF ACTIVITY FOR PARANORMAL ACTIVITY

Paramount's Paranormal Activity, which has been playing only at midnight in a handful of theaters for the past two weeks, averaged $16,000 per theater over the weekend, a figure that about equals what it cost to make. Today's (Monday) Los Angeles Times observed that the figure is particularly impressive because it represents the take from just one screening at each of the 33 theaters that showed it. Paramount now plans to show the film at regular times starting Friday and add 10 more theaters. Most of the theaters showing it so far have been located in college towns. "Next weekend," the newspaper observed, "will test whether the studio's carefully cultivated online and media buzz is reaching beyond the young, late-night horror crowd."

GERMAN THEATERS MUST WARN PATRONS OF ANTI-PIRACY MEASURES

The German federal state of Sachsen-Anhalt has placed restrictions on the use of night-vision goggles by theater employees hoping to capture potential pirates using camcorders. Authorities, acknowledging that they were concerned that such pirate-busting activities represented an invasion of privacy, ruled that theater patrons must be warned in advance that they will be watched during screenings. Reporting on the German ruling, the website TorrentFreak observed that such measures have proved to be ineffective in curbing piracy. "Nearly every new blockbuster still leaks onto the Internet, though often in poor quality," the website said, noting that "just one unsecured theater is enough to pirate a film." Despite its fruitless efforts, however, "the film industry treats millions of paying moviegoers as potential criminals and acts surprised when the public complains about it," TorrentFreak commented.

IN REELECTION CAMPAIGN, MAYOR BOASTS HE ATTRACTED MOVIEMAKERS

Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez is being touted as the man who brought Hollywood to his city. "The film industry has brought $250 million in direct spending in to the Albuquerque economy from 2003 through 2008 under Mayor Martin Chavez's administration with $150 million in direct spending in 2008 alone," publicist Bob Nuchow said in a statement on behalf of the mayor on Saturday. Nuchow said that he himself had moved to Albuquerque last year "to join a vibrant and growing creative community here." Meanwhile, on Saturday, the cast and crew of the Starz TV series Crash helped raise funds to feed 300-400 homeless people at an Albuquerque shelter on Saturday, a day when the shelter is ordinarily closed.

Cinemark Movie Club