BOX OFFICE FLUNKS INTELLIGENCE TEST

Giving further evidence -- if it were ever needed -- that teenage boys rule the box office, Paramount's gross-out stunts movie Jackass Number Two raked in an estimated $28.1 million at the box office over the weekend, almost three times as much as another film aimed at the same audience -- Jet Li's Fearless, which came in second with $10.6 million. Yet another film aimed principally at teenage males came in third, Gridiron Gang, which took the top spot last week, this week earned an additional $9.7 million. A third new release, Flyboys, featuring handsome young actors in uniform aiming to charm young girls, finished fourth with $6 million. Rounding out the top five was the animated Everyone's Hero, which earned $4.8 million. A fourth new film, All the King's Men, with a cast headed by Sean Penn, became not only a critical disappointment but an even bigger box-office failure, earning just $3.8 million and winding up in seventh place. Meanwhile, overseas, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest recorded its 11th week at the top of the box office, registering $7.6 million. Somewhat surprisingly, Oliver Stone's World Trade Center, which had not been expected to perform well abroad, made a strong showing to take second place with $6.1 million.

The top ten films for the weekend, according to studio estimates compiled by Exhibitor Relations:

1. Jackass Number Two, $28.1 million; 2. Jet Li's Fearless, $10.6 million; 3. Gridiron Gang, $9.7 million; 4. Flyboys, $6 million; 5. Everyone's Hero, $4.75 million; 6. The Black Dahlia, $4.4 million; 7. All the King's Men, $3.8 million; 8. The Covenant, $3.3 million; 9. The Illusionist, $3.28 million; 10. Little Miss Sunshine, $2.9 million.

DA VINCI CODE YEAR'S MOST PROFITABLE MOVIE

Pirates of the Caribbean may have made more money at the box office this year, but the most profitable film was The Da Vinci Code, according to a study by Monterey, CA-based Kagan Research. The report observed that while Disney's Pirates took in $418.8 million at the domestic box office -- nearly $200 million more than Sony's Code, the Sony movie had a budget that was $75 million lower than Disney's and had a far lower marketing budget. Kagan concluded that revenue for Code will be 3.2 times its cost to produce and market, while Pirates' will be 3.1 times its costs.

AMAZON MAY JOIN TIVO TO BRING DOWNLOADED MOVIES TO TV SETS

Amazon may ally itself with TiVo to deliver movies, downloaded from the Internet, to TV sets, the New York Post reported today (Monday), citing two sources familiar with the discussions. Earlier this month Apple unveiled a device that can do the same thing wirelessly. However, it only has a deal in place with Disney, while Amazon has signed up every other major studio. Analysts are predicting the newest versions of Microsoft and Sony's respective video game devices will also act as bridges to deliver downloaded movies to TV sets.

WAL-MART DENIES TRYING TO IMPEDE MOVIE DOWNLOADS

Wal-Mart has denied a report that appeared in the New York Post last week that it has told the major studios that it will retaliate against them if they begin selling their films on Apple's iTunes Store. Only Disney has thus far agreed to do so. The retail giant, which reportedly sells more than 40 percent of all DVDs sold in the U.S., had already begun returning "cases and cases" of DVDs to Disney, according to the Post. Wal-Mart called the report "a rehashing of misinformation" A spokeswoman for the company added, "Customers want to watch movies and they want to be able to make the choice when and how they want to view them. ... While we recognise there are various current and potential providers of this service, we are not dissuading studios from conducting business with other providers."

GIBSON, IN DISGUISE, ATTENDS SNEAK PREVIEWS OF APOCALYPTO

In an elaborate effort to head off the press, Mel Gibson attended screenings of his new movie Apocalypto in two Oklahoma towns wearing a disguise and after first issuing a press release saying that the screenings had been canceled. The Hollywood Reporter said that at one of the screenings Gibson compared the collapse of the Mayan civilization depicted in the film with what is occurring now in the U.S. "What's human sacrifice," he asked, "if not sending guys off to Iraq for no reason?" Gibson, who has lent his name to Republican causes and candidates in the past -- an effort aimed at drafting him to run for president was launched last year -- has reportedly become increasingly critical of the Bush administration's conduct of the war in Iraq. Apocalypto is scheduled for release on Dec. 8.

Brian B.