MOVIEGOER TO DREAMWORKS: I KID YOU NOT

Final figures confirmed Monday that Paramount/DreamWorks' The Heartbreak Kid, which had been expected to win the box-office race hands-down, was thrown for a loss by the football-themed family movie The Game Plan. Heartbreak opened in second place with $14 million, while the second week of Game Plan remained in first with $16.6 million. The Jamie Foxx-starring thriller The Kingdom slipped to second place with $9.7 million. Two other new films tanked in their debuts. The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising opened in fifth place at $3.7 million, ahead of the dance flick Feel the Noise, which opened in eighth place with $3.1 million. Surprisingly Lionsgate's 3:10 to Yuma had the smallest drop of any film in wide release -- just 28 percent -- as it took in an additional $3.2 million in its fifth week and landed in seventh place. It has now earned $48.7 million, the highest gross for any film thus far in the fall season. In reporting on the Yuma results, Baltimore Sun movie writer Michael Sragow commented that they prove "that even in a lowest-common-denominator marketplace, talent, sometimes, will win out."

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. The Game Plan, Disney, $16,609,377, 2 Wks. ($43,158,823); 2. The Heartbreak Kid, Paramount, $14,022,105, (New); 3. The Kingdom, Universal, $9,722,940, 2 Wks. ($31,746,270); 4. Resident Evil: Extinction, Sony, $4,521,301, 3 Wks. ($43,695,477); 5. The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising, 20th Century Fox, $3,745,315, (New); 6. Good Luck Chuck, Lions Gate, $3,657,516, 3 Wks. ($29,255,442); 7. 3:10 to Yuma, Lions Gate, $3,215,469, 5 Wks. ($48,728,753); 8. Feel the Noise, Sony, $3,187,153, (New); 9. Mr. Woodcock, New Line, $2,331,445, 4 Wks. ($22,613,590); 10. The Brave One, Warner Bros., $2,321,359, 4 Wks. ($34,380,387).

MOVIE GALLERY SHARES PLUMMET ON REPORT OF IMPENDING BANKRUPTCY

Shares in Movie Gallery, the second-largest home-video renter (behind Blockbuster), plummeted more than 40 percent to 26 cents Monday, following a report by the Wall Street Journal that the company would likely be compelled to file for bankruptcy this month. Shares had risen only $.017 cents by midday trading today (Tuesday). The company has been struggling under a heavy debt load since it acquired Hollywood Video for $1.1 billion in 2005. It is currently in the process of closing down hundreds of underperforming and unprofitable stores.

BITTORRENT TO OFFER HIGH-QUALITY STREAMING

BitTorrent, the San Francisco company whose file-sharing technology has frequently been condemned by film studios and TV networks for "facilitating" Internet piracy, is expected to unveil today (Tuesday) a new system for streaming video over the Internet in high quality. The Delivery Network Accelerator will reportedly rely on users' computers essentially acting as multiple streaming servers, thereby cutting costs and making it possible for users to view videos over their entire computer monitors with quality approaching that of HDTV.

NO SABOTAGE SUSPECTED IN LOSS OF CRUISE FOOTAGE

A spokesperson for United Artists said Monday that the company does not suspect sabotage in a film-lab accident that resulted in the destruction of footage shot in Germany for the Tom Cruise movie Valkyrie. According to reports, key scenes filmed at the Bendlerblock memorial in Berlin, where German officers involved in an assassination plot against Hitler were executed in 1944, were ruined by lab chemicals at the Arri Munich processing plant. Although they had initially dragged their feet in issuing permits for filming at the memorial -- presumably because of protests over Cruise's affiliation with Scientology -- German authorities promptly agreed to allow the memorial to be used a second time so that the scenes could be reshot.

U.K. THEATER CHAIN TO INSTALL 3-D PROJECTORS

U.K. exhibitor Cineworld, which has already converted 72 of its screens to digital projection, announced today that it will convert 30 of those screens to 3-D in time for the release of Warner Bros.' Beowulf on November 16. The company said that it will employ the REAL D 3-D system. Cineworld CEO Steve Wiener said in a statement that the deal "will revolutionize the cinema experience for our moviegoers across the country. ... The impact of 3-D on the film industry can be compared to the move from black and white to color."

Brian B. at Movieweb
Brian B.