WAS CONSERVATIVE COMEDY SABOTAGED?

The producers of the liberal-bashing satire An American Carol claimed Tuesday that they had received reports of "ticket fraud," and suggested that it could be the reason why the film's weekend box-office figures were so low. On the film's official website, a notice asked those who attended the movie, "Please check your ticket. If you were in fact one of those people that were "mistakenly" sold a ticket for another movie please fill out the form below. Hold on to your ticket so we can have proof." The notice continued: "If you have noticed other irregularities with the theaters in your area please let us know in the comment section below. For instance, Rated R film rating (when in fact we are rated PG-13), posters not being up, not being listed on the marquee, image or focus problems, sound issues, etc." By today (Wednesday), the notice had been removed from the site but remained cached on Google.

DVD-COPYING SOFTWARE PUT ON HOLD AGAIN

A federal judge in San Francisco on Tuesday extended a restraining order against RealNetworks barring it from selling its RealDVD software, which allows users to make copies of DVDs on their personal computers. U.S. District Judge Marilyn Hall Patel said she wanted to hear from technical experts on both sides of the issue before deciding on whether to issue a temporary injunction. A notice on the RealDVD website says that while the software is currently unavailable for downloading, "we will continue to work diligently to provide you with software that allows you make a legal copy of your DVDs for your own use."

OPERA GOERS GOING TO THE MOVIES

Despite little promotion, screenings of New York's Metropolitan Opera being beamed live via satellite to 466 theaters this season are expected to be viewed by 1.2 million people, paying about $22 per ticket, the New York Times reported today (Wednesday). Such event screenings, the newspaper observed, also help exhibitors sell tickets and concession items during midweek nights and weekend afternoons. Producers of other stage shows have also been able to increase ticket sales substantially with the satellite screenings, which have included Cirque du Soleil's Delirium and the closing-night performance of Rent, without incurring the substantial costs of film prints and distribution, the Times observed.

MOVIE REVIEWS: ROCKNROLLA

Director Guy Ritchie (aka Madonna's husband) has returned to making the kind of films that once earned him a reputation as a movie wunderkind (or whatever the Cockney version of that word is). RocknRolla, being given a limited release today (Wednesday), is receiving wildly mixed reviews. Kyle Smith in the New York Post calls the film "bloodily entertaining ... a sharp comedy as well as a punk-pulp spree." But Manohla Dargis in the New York Times comments that "Ritchie reshuffles a worn-out deck" with this movie. Elizabeth Weitzman in the New York Daily News describes the plot as "so uselessly convoluted, you'd get a headache just reading it." Liam Lacey in the Toronto Globe & Mail takes a middle position. The movie, he says, "is both a welcome return to form and a concession to Ritchie's limitations." Lacey is joined by Bob Strauss, who writes in the Los Angeles Daily News: "Sure, RocknRolla is overplotted, icky violent at times, and self-indulgent through and through. But it's clever, well-played and confidently presented." And Peter Howell in the Toronto Star concludes his review by noting that Ritchie "ends the picture by announcing a sequel -- but is that a threat, a boast or a faint hope? With Ritchie these days, you never can tell."