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ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
November 4

Entertainment News November 4 - TOP 3 Stories for Sunday

ALSO ON SITE

READ THE BOOK OF POSSIBILITIES

READ WHAT MATTHEW TOFFOLO LEARNED YESTERDAY

'GANGSTER' BEATS OUT 'BEE' AT BOX OFFICE

In a battle between bees and gangsters at the Friday box office, Universal-Imagine’s “American Gangster” won out among moviegoers.

The Russell Crowe-Denzel Washington R-rated topliner gunned down $16 million at 3,054 theaters – the highest opening day for both actors respectively at the domestic box office and the second best opening day for a November drama.

According to Rentrak, Crowe’s previous top opening day title was “Gladiator” which reaped $11 million on May 5, 2000, while Washington’s best first Friday was for “Inside Man” which grossed $9.4 million on March 24, 2006.

U-Imagine’s Eminem headliner “8 Mile,” which unspooled during the second frame of November 2002, holds the top opening day for a November drama at $19.6 million and a 3-day take of $51.2 million.

Yesterday’s haul for “Gangster” also reps the third best opening day for a fall R-rated release.

Flying in second, DreamWorks Animation’s “Bee Movie” distributed by Paramount, collected $10.2 million from 3,928 hives. Among previous November animated fare, the opening day figure for the Jerry Seinfeld outing ranks behind the first day B.O. of Disney’s 2005 toon “Chicken Little” which generated $10.6 million and went on to gross $40 million for its opening weekend. The month’s top first Friday for a feature toon still belongs to Pixar’s “The Incredibles” which grossed $20.5 million in 2004.

While “Gangster” is currently grossing ahead of “Bee” for the top spot at the weekend box office, Saturday and Sunday matinees could ultimately work in favor for the DreamWorks animated pic.

Coming in third yesterday was last weekend’s champion “Saw IV” with $3.7 million from 3,183 locales, repping a 75% drop from last Friday and a current cume of $43.7 million. Pic’s Friday-to-Friday decline is steeper than that registered by its previous chapter “Saw III” which fell 64% in its second Friday receipts.

In fourth place, Disney’s “Dan in Real Life” grossed $2.6 million on 1,925; down 38% for a current cume of $17.4 million.

Sony’s “30 Days of Night” scared up $1.2 million for fifth place on Friday in 2,627 hardtops; down 48% from a week ago, and a current cume of $31.4 million.

Friday’s third wide bow, New Line’s John Cusack drama “Martian Child” abducted $1.1 million off 2,020 engagements, falling outside of yesterday’s top five B.O. rankers.

Among specialty fare this weekend, ThinkFilm’s second weekend expansion of “Before the Devil Knows Your Dead” surged four fold from its first Friday, collecting $95,000 off 43 engagements and a gross to date of $209,000.

Warner Independent’s doc “Darfur Now” collected a mere $7,000 in its opening day from three theaters in New York and Los Angeles.

MGM-Sidney Kimmel’s “Lars and the Real Girl” touted a modest dip in its fourth Friday of 17%, grossing $234,000 from 321 playdates and a current cume of $1.9 million.

Fox Searchlight’s “The Darjeeling Limited” wound up being Friday’s highest grosser for a studio classic label title in under 800 runs, drinking up $381,000 from 615 for a current cume in its sixth frame of $7.2 million. In its seventh Friday, Par Vantage’s “Into the Wild” was right behind with $376,000 from 660 and a current haul of $10 million.

FALL BOX OFFICE NUMBERS DOWN

There were some big surprises at the fall box office.

The films that worked were surprises. The ones that didn't were even more so, considering their pedigree.

It's hard to remember such a maze of high-profile titles in September and October, so hopes were high heading into the season. After all, aren't intelligent, serious films from top-flight directors and actors what moviegoers want to see in the fall?

So observers were surprised when the box office started heading south after the record-breaking summer, but head south it did, defying conventional wisdom and claiming plenty of victims.

All in all, it was a strange convergence of events.

  • October bore the first casualty in the raunchy comedy boom. It was widely assumed that Ben Stiller starrer "The Heartbreak Kid" would be the early fall tentpole, seeing as the project reunited Stiller with "There's Something About Mary" helmers the Farrelly brothers, not to mention Stiller's stellar box office record.

    Crude laffer debuted to a disappointing $14 million on Oct. 5, abruptly ending DreamWorks' box office winning streak and reminding everyone that auds can turn dour on a genre just like that.

  • Instead, the crown went to an unlikely suspect: Disney's family laffer "The Game Plan," starring Dwayne "the Rock" Johnson. Film, which opened Sept. 28, was supposed to be a relatively small player; instead, it has gone on to gross more than $77 million, by far the highest-grossing title of the fall to date.

    Similarly, before its bow on Sept. 7, many discounted the chances for James Mangold's Western remake "3:10 to Yuma," based on the fact that the project had languished for years in development and eventually been put in turnaround by Sony. The Lionsgate-Relativity Media pic, starring Russell Crowe and Christian Bale, has grossed $53.2 million since its debut, the second-best number after "Game Plan."

    Warner Bros.' moody legal thriller "Michael Clayton," starring George Clooney, also is hanging in there. Film, hardly a broad title like "Erin Brockovich," has grossed just over $30 million to date, a solid number considering the film cost under $25 million to produce.

    VES HONORS SPIELBERG

    Steven Spielberg has been selected to receive the Visual Effects Society's Lifetime Achievement Award for 2008. Kudo is the VES' highest honor.

    Org's board of directors cited the contribution of Spielberg's films, both as a director and a producer, to the art and science of visual effects.

    "Steven Spielberg is the first director that to comes to mind when you think of amazing visual effects due to his enormous body of creative groundbreaking work," VES chair Jeff Okun said.

    His next film as helmer is "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull," produced by another VES lifetime achievement honoree, George Lucas.

    The sixth annual Visual Effects Society Awards will be presented Feb. 10 at the Kodak Theater Grand Ballroom in Hollywood.

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