LOS ANGELES – Young wizard Harry Potter fended off fairy-tale princess Rapunzel at the weekend box office.
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1" took in $49.1 million over Thanksgiving weekend to remain the No. 1 movie.
The animated musical "Tangled," an update of the Rapunzel fairy tale, debuted in second-place with $48.8 million.
The top 20 movies at U.S. and Canadian theaters Friday through Sunday, followed by distribution studio, gross, number of theater locations, average receipts per location, total gross and number of weeks in release, as compiled Monday by Hollywood.com are:
1. "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I," Warner Bros., $49,087,101, 4,125 locations, $11,900 average, $219,056,129, two weeks.
2. "Tangled (3-D animated)," Disney, $48,767,052, 3,603 locations, $13,535 average, $68,706,298, one week.
3. "Megamind," Paramount/DreamWorks Animation, $12,575,778, 3,411 locations, $3,687 average, $130,218,934, four weeks.
4. "Burlesque," Sony/Screen Gems, $11,947,744, 3,037 locations, $3,934 average, $17,300,213, one week.
5. "Unstoppable," Fox, $11,432,903, 3,183 locations, $3,592 average, $60,442,621, three weeks.
6. "Love and Other Drugs," Fox, $9,739,161, 2,455 locations, $3,967 average, $13,901,532, one week.
7. "Faster," CBS Films, $8,523,153, 2,454 locations, $3,473 average, $12,002,840, one week.
8. "Due Date," Warner Bros., $7,167,885, 2,555 locations, $2,805 average, $84,861,008, four weeks.
9. "The Next Three Days," Lionsgate, $4,683,123, 2,564 locations, $1,826 average, $14,392,072, two weeks.
10. "Morning Glory," Paramount, $3,910,058, 2,441 locations, $1,602 average, $26,340,571, three weeks.
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Irvin Kershner, Director "The Empire Strikes Back", "The Eyes Of Laura Mars", "Robocop 2". 1923-2010
LOS ANGELES – When George Lucas needed someone to direct the sequel to "Star Wars," he turned to veteran filmmaker Irvin Kershner.
Under Kershner's direction, Luke Skywalker learned that Darth Vader was his father and Han Solo delivered one of his most memorable lines, responding to Princess Leia's "I love you" with "I know."
Lucas and others in Hollywood on Monday mourned the death of "The Empire Strikes Back" director. Kershner died Saturday at his Los Angeles home after a 3 1/2-year battle with lung cancer. He was 87.
Kershner had already made several well-received movies when Lucas tapped him to direct "Empire," the second "Star Wars" film to be released but the fifth in the overall "Star Wars" chronology.
Lucas, the "Star Wars" creator, said he didn't want to direct the sequel himself.
"I needed someone I could trust, someone I really admired and whose work had maturity and humor. That was Kersh all over," Lucas said in a statement. "I didn't want 'Empire' to turn into just another sequel, another episode in a series of space adventures. I was trying to build something."
Lucas said he considered Kershner a mentor and called him "a great director and one of the most genuine people I've had the pleasure of knowing."
Released in 1980, "Empire" was a darker story than the original. It initially got mixed reviews but has gone on to become one of the most critically praised.
Kershner told Vanity Fair in October that he tried to give the sequel more depth than the 1977 original.
"When I finally accepted the assignment, I knew that it was going to be a dark film, with more depth to the characters than in the first film," he said. "It took a few years for the critics to catch up with the film and to see it as a fairy tale rather than a comic book."
Kershner said he had only one sharp disagreement with Lucas. The script originally called for the heroine, Princess Leia, to tell space pilot Han Solo "I love you" and for him to reply "I love you, too."
"I shot the line and it just didn't seem right for the character of Han Solo," Kershner said.
Instead, actor Harrison Ford improvised the reply: "I know."
Lucas wanted the original line but after test previews agreed to leave in Ford's reply.
The Philadelphia-born Kershner studied music, painting and photography before turning to film. He attended the University of Southern California film school and in the 1950s made U.S. government documentaries in Greece, Iran and Turkey.
He was a director and cameraman for a television documentary series called "Confidential File" in Los Angeles before getting his first movie break in 1958 when Roger Corman helped finance his first feature, "Stakeout on Dope Street," which Kershner wrote and produced with colleague Andrew Fenady, said longtime friend and Hollywood publicist Dick Guttman.
Kershner went on to direct a number of noted features in the 1960s and 1970s, including "A Fine Madness" with Sean Connery, Joanne Woodward and Jean Seberg; "The Flim-Flam Man" with George C. Scott; "Loving" with George Segal and Eva Marie Saint; and "The Eyes of Laura Mars" with Faye Dunaway.
The 1976 television movie "Raid on Entebbe" earned him an Emmy nomination for direction.
Along with "Empire," his big-budget work included the 1983 James Bond film "Never Say Never Again" with Connery and "Robocop 2" in 1990.
Kershner also was an occasional actor. He played the priest Zebedee in Martin Scorsese's "The Last Temptation of Christ."
In recent years, Kershner taught screenwriting at the University of Southern California while continuing to produce, write and create still photographs, Guttman said.
Francis Ford Coppola said in a statement, "We all enjoyed knowing Kersh, learning from him and admired his creative spirit and indomitable will."
Barbra Streisand, a friend who worked with Kershner on 1972's "Up the Sandbox," said, "He had the most incredible spirit, an exuberance for life. Always working, always thinking, always writing, amazingly gifted and forever curious."
At the time of his death, Kershner was working on a documentary about his friend, writer Ray Bradbury, and a musical called "Djinn" about the friendship between a Jewish immigrant and an Arab sheik in Palestine before it became Israel.
Kershner is survived by two sons, David and Dana.
"My father never really retired. He had a powerful drive to create — whether it be through film, photography or writing," David Kershner said.
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Leslie Nielsen - Actor, "Forbidden Planet", "Poseidon Adventure", "Airplane", "The Naked Gun" 1926-2010
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Leslie Nielsen, who went from drama to inspired bumbling as a hapless doctor in "Airplane!" and the accident-prone detective Frank Drebin in "The Naked Gun" comedies, has died. He was 84.
His agent John S. Kelly says Nielsen died Sunday at a hospital near his home in Ft. Lauderdale where he was being treated for pneumonia.
The Canadian-born Nielsen came to Hollywood in the mid-1950s after performing in 150 live television dramas in New York. With a craggily handsome face, blond hair and 6-foot-2 height, he seemed ideal for a movie leading man.
He quickly became known as a serious actor, although behind the camera he was a prankster. That was an aspect of his personality never exploited, however, until "Airplane!" was released in 1980 and became a huge hit.
YEONPYEONG ISLAND, South Korea – A U.S. supercarrier and South Korean destroyer took up position in the tense Yellow Sea on Sunday for joint military exercises that were a united show of force just days after a deadly North Korean artillery attack.
As tensions escalated across the region, with North Korea threatening another "merciless" attack, China belatedly jumped into the fray. Beijing's top nuclear envoy, Wu Dawei, called for an emergency meeting in early December among regional powers involved in nuclear disarmament talks, including North Korea.
Seoul responded cautiously to the proposal from North Korea's staunch ally, saying it should be "reviewed very carefully" in light of North Korea's recent revelation of a new uranium-enrichment facility, even as protesters begged President Lee Myung-bak to find a way to resolve the tension and restore peace.
The troubled relations between the two Koreas, which fought a three-year war in the 1950s, have steadily deteriorated since Lee's conservative government took power in 2008 with a tough new policy toward nuclear-armed North Korea.
Eight months ago, a South Korean warship went down in the western waters, killing 46 sailors in the worst attack on the South Korean military since the Korean War. Then, last Tuesday, North Korean troops showered artillery on Yeonpyeong, a South Korean-held island that houses military bases as well as a civilian population of 1,300 — an attack that marked a new level of hostility.
Two South Korean marines and two civilians were killed and 18 others wounded in the hailstorm of artillery that sent residents fleeing into bunkers and reduced homes on the island to charred rubble.
North Korea blamed the South for provoking the attack by holding artillery drills near the Koreas' maritime border, and has threatened to be "merciless" if the current war games — set to last until Dec. 1 — get too close to its territory.
As U.S. and South Korean ships, including the nuclear-powered USS George Washington, sailed into the waters off Korea's west coast Sunday, China began launching its diplomatic bid to calm tensions.
Washington and Seoul had been pressing China, North Korea's main ally and benefactor, to help defuse the situation amid fears of all-out war.
China, slow at first to react, has quickened its diplomatic intervention in recent days. Chinese state councilor Dai Bingguo made a last-minute visit to Seoul to confer with Lee.
Lee pressured China to contribute to peace in a "more objective, responsible" matter, and warned Sunday that Seoul would respond "strongly" to any further provocation, the presidential office said.
The strong words were Lee's first public comment in days. He was due to address the nation Monday morning amid calls from his people to take stronger action in dealing with the defiant North.
North Korea has walked a path of defiance since launching a rocket in April 2009 in violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions and abandoning the disarmament process in protest against the condemnation that followed.
However, in recent months Pyongyang has shown an eagerness to get back to the talks, and has appeared increasingly frustrated by U.S. and South Korean reluctance to restart the negotiations.
Seoul has said it wants an acknowledgment of regret for the sinking of the Cheonan warship in March as well as a concrete show of commitment to denuclearization.
North Korea, which cites the U.S. military presence in South Korea as a main reason behind its drive to build atomic weapons, routinely calls the joint exercises between the allies a rehearsal for war.
Washington, which keeps 28,500 troops in South Korea to protect the ally, insists the routine drills were planned before last Tuesday's attack.
The exercises will take place over four days, but no live-fire drills are planned, said Cmdr. Jeff Davis, spokesman for the 7th Fleet in Japan.
Along scenic Mallipo Beach on the west coast, about 50 South Korean soldiers were laying down an aluminum road to prepare for an amphibious landing drill Monday. Barbed wire and metal staves ran the length of the beach for about 2 miles (3 kilometers). Military ships hovered in the distance.
North Korea expressed renewed outrage over the Yellow Sea drills.
The war games are a "pretext for aggression and ignite a war at any cost," the National Peace Committee of Korea said in a statement carried Sunday by the official Korean Central News Agency.
Hours earlier, the rattle of new artillery fire from North Korea sent residents, journalists, police and troops scrambling for cover on Yeonpyeong Island. None of the rounds landed on the island, military officials said, but the incident showed how tense the situation remains.
Saying they could not guarantee the journalists' safety, South Korea's Defense Ministry sent a ship to ferry them off the island but bad weather forced them to cancel the evacuation. About 380 people, including 28 islanders and 190 journalists, remained on Yeonpyeong on Sunday, officials said.
A similar burst of artillery fire Friday occurred just as the U.S. military's top commander in the region, Gen. Walter Sharp, was touring Yeonpyeong Island. No shells landed anywhere in South Korean territory.
Calls for tougher action made way Sunday for pleas for peace among about 150 South Koreans who turned out for a vigil Sunday evening in a Seoul plaza, huddling with candles in paper cups and chanting, "Give us peace!"
"It was very shocking," said Kang Hong-koo, 22, a student. "I'm here to appease the souls of the people who were killed in the North Korean attack. I hope the current tense situation is alleviated quickly."
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
SEOUL, South Korea – North and South Korea exchanged artillery fire Tuesday after the North shelled an island near their disputed sea border, killing at least two South Korean marines, setting dozens of buildings ablaze and sending civilians fleeing for shelter.
The skirmish began when Pyongyang warned the South to halt military drills in the area, according to South Korean officials. When Seoul refused, the North bombarded the small South Korean-held island of Yeonpyeong, which houses military installations and a small civilian population.
South Korea returned fire and dispatched fighter jets in response, and said there could be considerable North Korean casualties as troops unleashed intense retaliatory fire. The supreme military command in Pyongyang threatened more strikes if the South crossed their maritime border by "even 0.001 millimeter," according to the North's official Korean Central News Agency.
Government officials in Seoul called the bombardments "inhumane atrocities" that violated the 1953 armistice halting the Korean War. The two sides technically remain at war because a peace treaty was never signed.
The exchange was a sharp escalation of the skirmishes that flare up along the disputed border from time to time, and come amid high tensions over North Korea's claim that it has a new uranium enrichment facility and just six weeks after North Korean leader Kim Jong Il unveiled youngest son Kim Jong Un as his heir apparent.
Columns of thick black smoke could be seen rising from homes on the island in footage aired by YTN cable television. Screams and shouts filled the air as shells rained down on the island for about an hour.
"I thought I would die," Lee Chun-ok, 54, told The Associated Press after being evacuated to the port city of Incheon, west of Seoul. "I was really, really terrified, and I'm still terrified."
She said she was watching TV when the shelling began, and a wall and door in her home suddenly collapsed.
The United States, which has more than 28,000 troops stationed in South Korea, condemned the attack. in Washington, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs called on North Korea to "halt its belligerent action," and said the U.S. is "firmly committed" to South Korea's defense, and to the "maintenance of regional peace and stability."
China, the North's economic and political benefactor, which also maintains close commercial ties to the South, appealed to both sides to remain calm and "to do more to contribute to peace and stability on the peninsula, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said.
Yeonpyeong, famous for its crabbing industry and home to about 1,200 civilians as well as South Korean military installations, is west of the Korean mainland within sight of North Korean shores. There are about 30 other small islands nearby.
North Korea fired dozens of rounds of artillery in three separate barrages that began in the mid-afternoon, while South Korea returned fire with about 80 rounds, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said. The entire exchange lasted about an hour.
Two South Korean marines were killed and 16 injured, the Joint Chiefs of Staff said. Island residents escaped to some 20 shelters on the island and sporadic shelling ended after about an hour, according to the military.
The skirmish occurred a day after the South Korean military began holding drills in the area, exercises that North Korea's military demanded an end to early Tuesday, the JCS said.
South Korean marines participating in the drill had been shooting artillery during those drills, but toward southern waters, away from North Korea, a military official said, speaking on condition of anonymity due to military rules.
President Lee Myung-bak ordered officials to "respond sternly" but to refrain from allowing the situation to escalate, according to a presidential official. He asked not to be identified, citing the issue's sensitivity.
Lee was convening an emergency security meeting, the official said.
The Koreans have remained in a technical state of war for decades because their three-year conflict ended in a truce, not a peace treaty, in 1953.
However, North Korea does not recognize the western maritime border drawn unilaterally by the United Nations at the close of the conflict, and the Koreas have fought three bloody skirmishes there in recent years.
In March, a South Korean warship went down in the waters while on a routine patrolling mission. Forty-six sailors were killed in what South Korea calls the worst military attack on the country since the Korean War.
Seoul blamed a North Korean torpedo, but Pyongyang denied responsibility.
This might mean a renewed conflict that remained dormant for 60 years. The Korean war ended in the longest cease fire in history. This might renew the war.
More as it comes in.
SEOUL, South Korea – North Korea is threatening to continue launching strikes against South Korea if it violates their disputed sea border "even 0.001 millimeter."
North Korea's supreme military command said Tuesday that it would "launch merciless military retaliatory strikes."
The warning was carried by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency.
The comments followed North Korea's bombardment of a South Korean island near their disputed western border Tuesday. South Korean officials said the barrage set buildings ablaze and killed at least one marine after the North warned the South to halt military drills in the area.
Monday, November 22, 2010
LOS ANGELES – Harry Potter has cast his biggest box-office spell yet with a franchise record $125.1 million domestically over opening weekend, according to studio estimates Sunday.
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1" also added $205 million in 54 overseas countries, bringing the film's worldwide total to $330.1 million.
In terms of domestic revenue, "Deathly Hallows: Part 1" came in ahead of the series' best previous debut of $102.7 million for 2005's "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire."
But factoring in today's higher admission prices, the latest movie had roughly the same size audience as the franchise's best previous draws — "Goblet of Fire" and 2001's "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone," which launched the series. "Deathly Hallows" and those two earlier movies each sold around 16 million tickets in their first weekend.
Overseas markets for "Deathly Hallows" were led by a $28 million opening in Great Britain, $21.8 million in Germany, $14.8 million in Australia, $14 million in Japan and $12.3 million in Russia.
The movie audience has grown up along with young wizard Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) and his friends Hermione (Emma Watson) and Ron (Rupert Grint). Distributor Warner Bros. reported that 25 percent of the audience for the new movie was between 18 and 34, compared with only 10 percent for "Sorcerer's Stone" nine years ago.
"When we started `Harry Potter,' basically, the audience was driven to theaters by their parents. Today, those same kids are driving to the midnight shows themselves," said Dan Fellman, head of distribution for Warner Bros.
DreamWorks Animation's "Megamind," the No. 1 movie the previous two weekends, fell to second-place with $16.2 million, raising its three-week total to $109.5 million.
Russell Crowe's thriller "The Next Three Days," the weekend's only other new wide release, debuted weakly at No. 5 with $6.8 million. Crowe plays a college instructor who plots a jail break to free his wife (Elizabeth Banks) after she's convicted of murder.
Playing in 4,125 theaters domestically, "Deathly Hallows: Part 1" averaged an enormous $30,332 a cinema. That compared with a $2,633 average in 2,564 theaters for "The Next Three Days."
The huge opening bodes well for next July's "Deathly Hallows: Part 2," the eighth and final movie based on J.K. Rowling's seven "Harry Potter" novels. The franchise so far has taken in more than $5.5 billion worldwide.
Warner Bros. plans to release "Deathly Hallows: Part 2" in 3-D, which should give it a big box-office boost, since theaters charge a few dollars more to see movies projected in 3-D compared with 2-D.
"This is kind of the warmup to the potentially 3-D supercharged finale, and that could really take these `Potter' numbers to another level," said Paul Dergarabedian, box-office analyst for Hollywood.com.
The studio had hoped to release "Deathly Hallows: Part 1" in 3-D, but the filmmakers ran out of time to convert the film, which was shot in 2-D, for 3-D projection.
"Deathly Hallows: Part 1" landed at No. 6 on the domestic revenue chart for biggest opening weekends, a list headed by 2008's "The Dark Knight" with $158.4 million. It also was this year's second-biggest debut, behind "Iron Man 2," which is No. 5 on the all-time chart with $128.1 million.
With $61.2 million Friday, "Deathly Hallows: Part 1" had the fifth-biggest opening day ever.
The film took in $12.4 million, just over 10 percent of its weekend domestic revenue, in huge-screen IMAX theaters. That broke the previous IMAX record debut of $12.1 million set in March by "Alice in Wonderland."
"Harry Potter" was not able to lift Hollywood's total weekend receipts above last year's. Overall revenue came in at an estimated $197 million, down 24 percent from the same weekend a year ago, when the industry had a one-two punch with debuts of $142.8 million for "The Twilight Saga: New Moon" and $34.1 million for "The Blind Side," according to Hollywood.com.
Hollywood is poised for big business over Thanksgiving, one of its busiest weekends.
Revenues should remain strong for "Harry Potter," while studios are delivering a broad range of newcomers with Disney's animated musical "Tangled," featuring the voice of Mandy Moore; Sony's song-and-dance tale "Burlesque," starring Christina Aguilera and Cher; 20th Century Fox's romance "Love & Other Drugs," with Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway: and CBS Films' action thriller "Faster," featuring Dwayne Johnson.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Hollywood.com. Final figures will be released Monday.
1. "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1," $125.1 million.
2. "Megamind," $16.2 million.
3. "Unstoppable," $13.1 million.
4. "Due Date," $9.2 million.
5. "The Next Three Days," $6.8 million.
6. "Morning Glory," $5.2 million.
7. "Skyline," $3.4 million.
8. "Red," $2.5 million.
9. "For Colored Girls," $2.4 million.
10. "Fair Game," $1.5 million.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Talk about TV Rage!
MADISON, Wis. – A rural Wisconsin man blasted his television set with a shotgun after watching Bristol Palin's "Dancing with the Stars" routine Monday night, saying he was fed up with politics and Palin wasn't a very good dancer, according to court documents.
Steven Cowan, 67, of the town of Vermont, about 15 miles west of Madison, then pointed the gun at his wife, 66-year-old Janice Cowan, who escaped and called police, authorities said. A SWAT team surrounded the couple's farmhouse, and officers were able to talk Cowan out Tuesday morning after an all-night standoff.
Cowan had been drinking before he sat down to watch "Dancing with the Stars" and suffers from bipolar disorder, his wife told officers. He was charged Tuesday with second-degree reckless endangerment, and could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison if convicted.
Cowan was expected to make his initial court appearance Wednesday in Madison. Online court records show that the state public defender's office was appointed to represent him, however the office said it had no record of him as of Wednesday morning.
Dane County Sheriff's Department spokeswoman Elise Schaffer said Cowan works as a landlord, but that she didn't know where he owned property. He has a clean criminal record, she said.
"It's kind of sad, actually," Schaffer said.
Janice Cowan told police her husband came home around 6:30 p.m. Monday after drinking at a bar, but that she didn't know if he was drunk, a sheriff's detective wrote in a criminal complaint.
She said her husband drank a bottle of beer during dinner and they settled down to watch "Dancing with the Stars."
When Palin, the daughter of former vice presidential candidate-turned-GOP celebrity Sarah Palin, began her routine, Cowan jumped up and began swearing, saying something like "The (expletive) politics." His wife said he was upset that a political figure's daughter was dancing on TV even though he felt she didn't have talent.
She told officers her husband left the living room and reappeared 20 minutes later with his shotgun, "raging" with his face bright red, and blasted the TV.
"He scared the bejebees out of me," Janice Cowan told police.
She said her husband pointed the gun at her and told her to go get his pistols. She said he threatened to kill himself if she returned with anyone else.
She left the home and called police from a nearby lawyer's office, according to the complaint.
The criminal complaint said Steven Cowan's daughter recently took away his handguns for safekeeping. It did not elaborate.
Janice Cowan told officers that about 15 years ago her husband had threatened her with a machete when he couldn't find some ammunition and has threatened to shoot one of their cows.
She added he was under stress because of financial reasons, saying a doctor helping him with his mental health problems had suggested he temporarily turn over control of his rental properties to the family's attorney. Calls Wednesday morning to a number listed as the Cowans' could not be connected.
The Internet has been abuzz in recent days about how Bristol Palin, who has consistently landed at the bottom of the judges' leaderboard, has been able to remain on the ABC show. Some have suggested that voters — particularly supporters of her mother — have been voting in blocs and manipulating the system.
Both Palins have denied any organized vote-getting tactics. Bristol Palin, 20, says voters support her despite lackluster performances because she started the show with no dancing experience.
I'm putting Bristol Palin's performance. But please, don't shoot any TV's over it!
BTW...doesn't that guy looks like Yosemite Sam?
Sunday, November 14, 2010
LOS ANGELES – Will Ferrell's dastardly schemes continue to succeed, with the animated "Megamind" staying at the top of the box office.
The DreamWorks Animation 3-D comedy, featuring Ferrell as the voice of a super villain, made just over $30 million in its second week in theaters, according to Sunday studio estimates. It's now made nearly $90 million total. "Megamind" also features the voices of Brad Pitt, Tina Fey and Jonah Hill.
Opening in second place is the 20th Century Fox action thriller "Unstoppable," starring Denzel Washington and Chris Pine as railroad workers trying to stop a massive runaway train. It made $23.5 million. The movie is based on a 2001 Ohio incident in which a train carrying hazardous cargo traveled 66 miles without a crew.
Last week's No. 2 film, "Due Date," fell to the third spot with $15.5 million. The Warner Bros. comedy features Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifianakis as opposites stuck together on a cross-country road trip. It's now made $59 million in two weeks.
Among the weekend's other new releases, "Skyline" opened in fourth place with $11.7 million. The Universal Pictures sci-fi thriller depicts aliens invading and destroying Los Angeles. And "Morning Glory," a Paramount comedy set in a network morning show starring Rachel McAdams, Harrison Ford and Diane Keaton, opened at No. 5 with about $9.6 million.
Anne Globe, head of worldwide marketing for DreamWorks Animation, said positive word of mouth helped "Megamind" remain on top.
"It's exciting because audiences are clearly responding very well to the movie," said Globe. "This was a decided No. 1 again. We were only down 35 percent, which is a pretty terrific hold for the movie."
But "Megamind" is the rare family movie in theaters these days, which also helps, said Hollywood.com analyst Paul Dergarabedian. Next week, the feverishly anticipated first half of the "Harry Potter" finale, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1," debuts.
"Up until 'Megamind' the marketplace was virtually devoid of any family films," Dergarabedian said. "The R-rated films were dominating: You had 'Paranormal Activity 2,' 'Saw 3-D,' 'Jackass 3D.' Then there was a plethora of adult-oriented dramas: 'Secretariat,' 'The Social Network,' 'Hereafter,' all those films. Then there were movies for older audiences like 'Red.'"
The fact that "Megamind" is in 3-D is also a draw to younger audiences, he said: "Kids love 3-D. Kids love the gimmicky thing."
"Unstoppable," the fifth film Washington has made with director Tony Scott, debuted slightly better than the $21.4 million average opening of their collaborations. Previously, they'd worked on "Crimson Tide," "Man on Fire," "Deja Vu" and "The Taking of Pelham 123."
The movie had surprisingly good reviews for an action picture — 86 percent positive on Rotten Tomatoes — and the audience was evenly divided between men and women, said Bert Livingston, general sales manager for 20th Century Fox
"It doesn't happen very often, but when you get reviews like that and people like the movie so much, and they come out and tell their friends, it's the first weekend but it's just a beginning," Livingston said.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Hollywood.com. Final figures will be released Monday.
1. "Megamind," $30 million.
2. "Unstoppable," $23.5 million.
3. "Due Date," $15.5 million.
4. "Skyline," 11.7 million.
5. "Morning Glory," $9.6 million.
6. "For Colored Girls," $6.75 million.
7. "Red," $5.1 million.
8. "Paranormal Activity 2," $3 million.
9. "Saw 3-D," $2.75 million.
10. "Jackass 3-D," $2.3 million.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
ROME (Reuters) – Oscar-winning Italian film producer Dino De Laurentiis, who brought to the big screen nearly 500 films including "Serpico," "Three Days of the Condor" and "King Kong," died in Los Angeles aged 91, Italian media said on Thursday.
De Laurentiis produced several Italian classics in collaboration, including Federico Fellini's "La Strada," for which he won an Oscar in 1957.
He moved to the United States in the 1970s after the failure of his film studios in Rome, and turned to a string of big international productions, including a few flops.
He was behind the legendary King Kong remake of 1976, the killer whale film "Orca," several adaptations of Stephen King's novels, and most recently "Hannibal," the sequel to "The Silence of the Lambs."
Apart from his film career, he was also the loving grandfather of The Food Network's star Giada De Laurentiis.
May he Rest in Peace
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
I really don't believe in conspiracies. But weird it is!
Pacific Ocean (CBS 8)- A mysterious missile launch off the southern California coast was caught on video Monday evening by a KCBS news helicopter.
The spectacular contrail could easily be seen up in Los Angeles, but who launched this missile and why, remain a mystery for now.
The magnificent images were captured from the KCBS chopper around 5pm. The location of the missile was described as west of Los Angeles, north of Catalina Island, and approximately 35 miles out to sea.
A Navy spokesperson tells News 8, this wasn't its missile. He said there was no Navy activity reported in that part of the region.
On Friday, November 5, Vandenberg Air Force Base launched a Delta II rocket, carrying the Thales Alenia Space-Italia COSMO SkyMed satellite, but a sergeant at the base tells News 8, there have been no launches since then.
News 8 showed the video to Robert Ellsworth, former U.S. Ambassador to NATO and a former Deputy Secretary of Defense.
He said it didn't appear to be a Tomahawk missile and said it would be safest to wait for definitive answers to come from the military.
Based on pure speculation, however, Ambassador Ellsworth said, with President Obama in Asia, perhaps this could have been a show of our military muscle.
"It could be a test firing of an intercontinental ballistic missile from an underwater submarine, to demonstrate mainly to Asia, that we can do that," he said, stressing that it was just a theory.
I think it's...The New World-Freemason-Lizard-Alien-Moon Hoax-Jewish Banking-Denver Airport-Mayan Calendar-conspiracy group!!!!!
Saturday, November 6, 2010
Jill Clayburgh, whose Broadway and Hollywood acting career stretched through the decades, highlighted by her Oscar-nominated portrayal of a divorcee exploring her sexuality in the 1978 film "An Unmarried Woman," died Friday. She was 66.
Her husband, Tony Award-winning playwright David Rabe, said she died after a 21-year battle with chronic lymphocytic leukemia. She was surrounded by her family and brother when she died at her home in Lakeville, Conn., he said.
She dealt with the disease courageously, quietly and privately, Rabe said, and conducted herself with enormous grace "and made it into an opportunity for her children to grow and be human."
Clayburgh, alongside peers such as Anne Bancroft, Shirley MacLaine and Jane Fonda, helped to usher in a new era for actresses in Hollywood by playing women who were confident and capable yet not completely flawless. Her turn as a mother dealing with life after 16 years of marriage in "An Unmarried Woman" earned Clayburgh her first Oscar nod.
"There was practically nothing for women to do on the screen in the 1950s and 1960s," Clayburgh said in an interview with The Associated Press while promoting "An Unmarried Woman" in 1978. "Sure, Marilyn Monroe was great, but she had to play a one-sided character, a vulnerable sex object. It was a real fantasy."
The next year, Clayburgh was again nominated for an Academy Award for "Starting Over," a comedy about a divorced man, played by Burt Reynolds, who falls in love but can't get over his ex-wife.
Clayburgh came from a privileged New York family. Her father was vice president of two large companies, and her mother was a secretary for Broadway producer David Merrick. Her grandmother, Alma Clayburgh, was an opera singer and New York socialite.
Growing up in a such a rich cultural mix, she could easily have been overwhelmed. Instead, as she said in interviews, she asserted herself with willful and destructive behavior — so much so that her parents took her to a psychiatrist when she was 9.
She escaped into a fantasy world of her own devising. She was entranced by seeing Jean Arthur play "Peter Pan" on Broadway, and she and a school chum concocted their own dramatics every day at home. She became serious-minded at Sarah Lawrence College, concentrating on religion, philosophy and literature.
Clayburgh also took drama classes at Sarah Lawrence. She and her friend Robert De Niro acted in a film, "The Wedding Party," directed by a Sarah Lawrence graduate, Brian DePalma. After graduating with a bachelor of arts degree, she began performing in repertory and in Broadway musicals such as "The Rothschilds" and "Pippin."
Alongside Richard Thomas, she headed the 2005 Broadway cast of "A Naked Girl on the Appian Way," Richard Greenberg's comedy about one family's unusual domestic tribulations.
Director Doug Hughes, who directed her in a production of Arthur Miller's "All My Sons" at the Westport Country Playhouse two years ago, called her for "Naked Girl."
"That she has the time to do a run of a play is just an extraordinary boon because I've had the pleasure of seeing her play a bona fide tragic American role beautifully, and I have had the pleasure of directing her in a very, very smart light comedy and be utterly brilliant in that," he said in 2005.
During an interview that year, Clayburgh explained the unglamorous side of acting.
"One of the funny things about actors is that people look at their careers in retrospect, as if they have a plan," she said.
"Mostly, you just get a call. You're just sitting there going, 'Oh, my God. I'm never going to work again. Oh, God. I'm too old. Maybe I should go and work for Howard Dean.' And then it changes."
Besides appearing in such movies as "I'm Dancing As Fast As I Can," "Silver Streak" and "Running With Scissors," Clayburgh's Broadway credits include Noel Coward's "Design for Living," the original production of Tom Stoppard's "Jumpers," and the Tony Award-winning musicals "Pippin" and "The Rothschilds."
Clayburgh's work also stretched across TV. She most recently played the matriarch of the spoiled Darling family on ABC's "Dirty Sexy Money." She was nominated for two Emmys: for best actress in 1975 for portraying a prostitute in the TV film "Hustling" and for her guest turn as a vengeful plastic surgery patient on "Nip/Tuck" on FX in 2005. She also had a recurring role on "Ally McBeal" as McBeal's mother.
Clayburgh will next be seen playing the mother of Jake Gyllenhaal's character in the upcoming film "Love and Other Drugs."
She is survived by three children, including actress Lily Rabe, Michael Rabe and stepson Jason Rabe.
There will be no funeral, Rabe said. The family will have a memorial in about six months, though plans have not been finalized.
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Are 3D holograms in our future? Read on...
NEW YORK – Scientists say they have taken a big step toward displaying live video in three dimensions — a technology far beyond 3-D movies and more like the "Star Wars" scene where a ghostly Princess Leia image pleads, "Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi."
In that classic movie, the audience sees her back before a new camera perspective shows her face. Such a wraparound view of a moving image was just movie-trick fantasy in the 1977 film, but now?
"It is actually very, very close to reality. We have demonstrated the concept that it works. It's no longer something that is science fiction," said Nasser Peyghambarian of the University of Arizona.
Actually, the results he and colleagues report in Thursday's issue of the journal Nature look more like a slide show than a video. In experiments, the technology displayed a new image only every two seconds. That's only about one-sixtieth as fast as the system would need to produce true video.
In addition, the image allowed only a 45-degree range of viewing angles because of how the experiments were done. The researchers are working toward providing a full, 360-degree view.
In fact, Peyghambarian figures that his team could produce a true 3-D video screen that might reach living rooms in perhaps a decade. And you wouldn't need those funny glasses to enjoy it.
Apart from the possibilities for entertainment, it might allow doctors in multiple places around the world to collaborate on live surgery, he said. If the screen were placed flat on a table, they could get a 360-degree view by walking around, just as if the patient were lying there.
While the 3-D image would not actually be projected into the air, that's how it would appear to a person looking into the screen.
Other possibilities, Peyghambarian said, including eye-catching ads at shopping malls and a technique to enable designers of cars or airplanes to make changes more quickly. Live 3-D video could also help the military train troops, he said.
We see objects by perceiving the light that bounces off them. Peyghambarian's technology uses holograms, two-dimensional images that reconstruct the light that would have bounced off a physical object, making it look 3-D.
In contrast, technology used for 3-D movies like "Avatar" or the election-night "hologram" of a CNN reporter in 2008 produces images that don't show different views from different angles, as a genuine hologram or a real object does, Peyghambarian said.
Many people have seen holograms of still images. The Arizona group is one of maybe half a dozen around the world that are trying to move that technology into 3-D video, said V. Michael Bove Jr. of the MIT Media Lab.
Bove said several groups, including his own, have in fact produced such videos, achieving the magic rate of 30 frames a second. But those displays are only about the size of a postcard or smaller, he said, and one big challenge is how to make the display bigger.
The Arizona group uses a plastic plate that stores and displays an image until another image is "written" electronically on it. That approach might someday allow for much bigger images, said Bove, who is collaborating with the Arizona researchers but did not participate in the new study.
Peyghambarian said he now gets an image every two seconds on a 4-by-4-inch device. His team also has a 1-foot-square plate, but that takes longer to replace images.
He would like to scale up to plates about 6 or 8 feet square to show people at full size, so they could appear at meetings without having to actually show up.
His work was sponsored by the National Science Foundation and the military.
Bove compared the state of holographic video research to that of developing television about 80 years ago. Different groups are taking different approaches, and it is not clear which technology will prove best, he said.
In any case, he said, the Arizona system "produces bright, sharp holographic images. ... This thing is beautiful."
Monday, November 1, 2010
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – The "Saw" horror franchise is not as sharp as it used to be, but the seventh -- and reportedly -- final entry in the annual Halloween franchise managed to take the top spot at the weekend box office in North America, according to studio estimates issued on Sunday.
"Saw 3D" earned $24.2 million during the three days beginning on Friday, in line with muted expectations, but still the series' third-lowest opening.
Last year's disappointing "Saw VI" launched to just $14.1 million, crushed by the "Paranormal Activity" chiller. The four entries before that all opened at No. 1 with more than $30 million each. The first film in distributor Lionsgate's lucrative series, opened at No. 3 in 2004 with $14.1 million.
Last weekend's champion, "Paranormal Activity 2," slipped to No. 2 with $16.5 million, taking the 10-day haul for Paramount Pictures' scary movie sequel to $65.7 million.
Summit Entertainment's Bruce Willis-led crime ensemble "Red" held at No. 3 with $10.8 million, giving it a $58.9 million total after three weekends.
The only other new entry in the top 10 was Fox Searchlight's Hilary Swank legal drama "Conviction," which jumped 15 places to No. 10 with $1.8 million in its first weekend of wide release.
Lionsgate is a unit of Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. Paramount Pictures is a unit of Viacom Inc. Summit Entertainment is privately held. Fox Searchlight Pictures is a unit of News Corp.