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ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
September 2

Entertainment News September 2 - TOP 3 Stories for Thursday

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HALLOWEEN SETS LABOUR DAY RECORD

Rob Zombie's "Halloween" shook up Friday moviegoers with a boffo $10.98 million from 3,472 venues.

The estimate for the MGM-distributed Dimension title reps the highest Friday ever for a Labor Day weekend entry or holdover. The last pic to post a Friday high over the Labor Day frame was 2005's "Transporter 2" which soaked up $5.6 million on its opening day.

Going into its third weekend, "Superbad" ranked second at yesterday's B.O. with $3.5 million off 3,002 engagements. The teen comedy's current cume is $80.3 million.

Rogue's ping-pong laffer "Balls of Fury" scored $3.4 million from 3,052 theaters for third. Pic's current haul since bowing Wednesday stands at $6.3 million.

"The Bourne Ultimatum" placed fourth Friday, with $2.6 million from 3,290 locales. Since its Aug. 3 opening, the sequel has grossed $192 million. "Rush Hour 3" took the fifth spot with $2.1 million off 3,008 playdates, bringing its domestic haul to $114 million.

Other new entries included Fox's "Death Sentence," which delivered an estimated $1.3 million on Friday off 1,822, and Lionsgate's Spanish-lingo heist pic "Ladron que roba a ladron," which grossed an estimated $468,000 from 340 theaters.

THAI GOVERNMENT BANS YOUtube BAN

A five-month ban of YouTube in Thailand was lifted by the government Friday after the Google-owned video-sharing site promised swift removal of any content considered offensive to the Thai king.

The popular site was blocked in April when a user posted a video making fun of Thailand's long-serving monarch, Bhumibol Adulyadej.

The Thai Ministry of Information and Communications Technology shut down access to the site in accordance with strict laws against insulting the king, a widely venerated figure in the predominantly Buddhist country.

Sittichai Pookaiyaudom, the ICT Minister, began promising the site's restoration in May, but it remained blocked until Friday morning, two days after he met with Google deputy general counsel Nicole Wong in Bangkok.

Pookaiyaudom said that Wong assured him that YouTube will be able to remove swiftly any videos disparaging the king.

"Technically they weren't able to do it before," Pookaiyaudom said. "We had been checking every day, and there was some confusion. Now they have solved the problem, so we opened it up."

Pookaiyaudom said his meeting with Wong lasted five minutes.

"There was nothing to negotiate. We had the agreement already, we were waiting for them to fix it, and really, we were sick of checking," he said.

KEN BURNS WWII DOC TO APPEASE FFC

Ken Burns' documentary about World War II will come in two flavors, one with curse words and one without, in the hopes that the PBS stations can avoid government fines for indecency.

There are four words in the 14 1/2-hour documentary that are causing the heartburn: two instances where the narrator says "fucked" when explaining the military acronyms "FUBAR" and "SNAFU," as well as when a former GIs interviewed in the film cuss as they describe combat experiences, saying "holy shit" and referring to an enemy trying to kill them as an "asshole."

A "clean" version of the film has those words silently wiped out on one feed, while another feed transmits a version that allows viewers to hear the words in the clear.

While PBS executives feel that the film avoids legal entanglement, they wanted to give the stations an option.

"We believe we are in a very defensible position," PBS spokeswoman Jan McNamara said.

McNamara said the FCC's ruling that the Steven Spielberg film "Saving Private Ryan" did not run afoul of the rules appear to protect "The War," but she added that the agency's inconsistencies has given the pubcaster pause.

While the FCC cleared "Private Ryan," it levied a $15,000 fine against KCSM, a small public station in San Mateo, Calif., for airing an episode of "The Blues." The FCC ruled that the language in the Martin Scorsese documentary about blues musicians was gratuitous. That fine was overturned in June by the federal appeals court in New York—which tossed out the key FCC indecency ruling that said a slip of the tongue can get broadcasters a fine for indecency—telling the commission that it failed to give a good reason for its decision and likely couldn't find a good reason if it had to.

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