Say what you will about her script choices and off-screen behavior of late, but Lindsay Lohan has never been a slouch when it comes to getting her name in the news — and to prove it, we’ve got not one, not two, but three Lindsay-riffic news items for you.

Last week was just packed with Lindsay news, starting with the starlet’s nude photo shoot for New York magazine. The photos, taken by Bert Stern, were meant to recreate Marilyn Monroe‘s “Last Sitting,” the series shot by Stern in 1962, six weeks before Monroe’s death. Skeevy? Morbid? Perhaps. But hey, with Lindsay in her birthday suit, all parties involved had to know where most of the attention would be focused. (The link’s at the bottom of the article, and if you somehow haven’t seen the photos yet, here’s your warning: Obviously NSFW.)

In and of itself, the Lohan shoot isn’t the sort of thing we’d normally talk about here — but it sparked a flurry of interest in (surprise!) the starlet’s acting career, which many assumed to be in suspended animation after Georgia Rule and I Know Who Killed Me (more on the latter later). One of the bits of information that bobbed to the surface in the photoshoot’s wake was the announcement — exclusively confirmed to E! News — that Lohan has signed on to star opposite Jack Black in a comedy titled Ye Olde Times. From the article:

A source at Patriot Pictures, which is producing the yukfest, told E! News that the film follows two rival Renaissance Faire troupes as they make their way through the competitive circuit. It’s unclear whether Lohan will be one of Black’s repertory players or a member of a competing Ren Faire faction.

It sounds — dare we say it? — like something worth seeing. Something rather like the opposite of I Know Who Killed Me, in other words, leading us to our third bit of Lindsay news, which is that the aforementioned flop was the unquestioned “winner” of this year’s Golden Raspberry Awards, held Saturday morning in Santa Monica. I Know Who Killed Me made Razzies history, actually, racking up an unprecedented eight trophies. View the carnage below:

Worst Picture:
I Know Who Killed Me

Worst Actor:
Eddie Murphy, Norbit

Worst Actress:
Lindsay Lohan, I Know Who Killed Me

Worst Supporting Actress:
Lindsay Lohan (as Aubrey), I Know Who Killed Me
Lindsay Lohan (as Dakota), I Know Who Killed Me

Worst Screen Couple:
Lindsay Lohan & Lindsay Lohan, I Know Who Killed Me

Worst Remake or Rip-Off:
I Know Who Killed Me (Rip-Off of Hostel, Saw, and The Patty Duke Show)

Worst Prequel or Sequel:
Daddy Day Camp

Worst Director:
Chris Siverston, I Know Who Killed Me

Worst Screenplay:
Jeffrey Hammond, I Know Who Killed Me

Worst Excuse for a Horror Movie:
I Know Who Killed Me

Source: E! Online
Source: Variety
Source: New York Magazine

It’s definitely a week for TV on DVD. With the exception of a few exceptional dramatic feature films (Stephanie Daley, The Wind That Shakes the Barley), today’s releases offer a wealth of stellar television shows new to home video — which means it’s time to make room on the shelf for the latest seasons of The Office, Robot Chicken, 30 Rock, Nip/Tuck, and our favorite sword-wielding Princess of Power!


Stephanie Daley


Tomatometer: 86%

Standout performances lend this Sundance award winner emotional heft in a story about a 16-year-old girl (Amber Tamblyn) accused of killing her newborn child and the pregnant psychologist (Tilda Swinton) giving her a pre-trial assessment. Writer-director Hilary Brougher won screenwriting honors at Sundance for her script, and Tamblyn earned an Independent Spirit nomination for her delicate and piercing turn as the titular teenager.


The Wind That Shakes The Barley


Tomatometer: 88%

Another film festival winner, Ken Loach‘s tale of brothers caught up in the Irish Civil War was a surprise pick that won the Palme d’Or award at Cannes. The fictionalized story was based on composite accounts of the turbulent, tragic events of 1920s Ireland; Cillian Murphy and Padraic Delaney star as the two brothers who become political enemies in the formation of the IRA. The DVD includes a featurette on director Loach’s work and a commentary track by Loach and University College Cork professor Donal O’Driscoll, who also served as historical advisor on the film.


In The Pit


Tomatometer: 70%

If you’re in the mood for a documentary, check out this up close and personal look at the laborers behind Mexico City’s Periferico Beltway. Juan Carlos Rulfo won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance for this often beautiful examination of a construction in progress and the colorful group of men who wax poetic on life as they work, though ironically they’ll never afford cars to drive over the bridge themselves.


The Office Season 3

Tomatometer: N/A

Yesss! Office fans rejoice, because Season 3 is now yours for the taking. Now, Season One was awesome, and Season Two ended with Casino Night, but Season Three had a number of its own memorable moments: the rise and fall of Jan, Phyllis’ wedding, and the most promising season finale yet for Jim & Pam hopefuls. Add to that a bonus menu overflowing with deleted scenes, commentaries, and special features like an interview with guest director Joss Whedon, the entire Lazy Scranton music video, and Kevin Cooks Stuff in the Office, and this is a must-have for any Michael Scott enthusiast!


30 Rock Season 1


Tomatometer: N/A

NBC’s backstage sitcom had viewers in stitches during its first season, and with good reason; created by and starring former Saturday Night Live writer Tina Fey, 30 Rock’s cast of comic talents include Judah Friedlander, Tracey Morgan, Jane Krakowski, and the inimitable Alec Baldwin as the eccentric people behind the scenes at the fictional SNL-like TGS sketch comedy show. Accordingly, the DVD set contains three discs of episodes, deleted scenes, a True Hollywood Story-style blooper reel, the in-character “An Evening with Kenneth” shorts, and more.


Other Safe Bets This Week

The Black Donnellys

Tomatometer: N/A

If you missed this short-lived NBC drama — about a foursome of Irish-American brothers in New York — then you’re in luck; the whole series is now available in its entirety on DVD.

Robot Chicken Season 2 Uncensored

Tomatometer: N/A

Season Two of Adult Swim’s runaway stop-motion sketch show hit is on DVD today, filled with all 20 episodes, Season One’s “Beavis and Butt-head meet the Teen Titans,” and the Robot Chicken Christmas Special.


Bosom Buddies Season 2

Tomatometer: N/A

If you long for the days when Tom Hanks didn’t take himself too seriously (as I do), check out Season Two of the best 1980s transvestite buddy situation comedy that ABC ever aired.


Nip/Tuck Season 4

Tomatometer: N/A

If you already watch Nip/Tuck, then you know why Season Four is so memorable. If not, I’ll give you a hint: Rosie O’Donnell sex scene. Rent it.


She-Ra: Princess of Power Season 2

Tomatometer: N/A

Because just one season wasn’t enough to satisfy your retro ‘toon girl power needs, here is the second and final installment of the She-Ra saga! A must-have for, well, anyone who had to own She-Ra: Princess of Power Season One (or those lucky shoppers who nabbed the Jem and the Holograms DVD before it went out of print!), this six-disc volume boasts all 28 digitally remastered episodes, two commentary tracks, a character gallery, She-Ra trivia, trailers, two collectible cards, an episode guide, a filmmaker documentary, and a packed-to-the-gills DVD-ROM featuring 28 scripts, storyboards, and more!

Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You…


I’m Reed Fish

Tomatometer: 50%

A sweet coming-of-age character study set in a rural town that’s also…a meta-film? At fifty percent on the Tomatometer, it proved divisive, but count us among the viewers who’d give it a shot. Besides, they had us at Jay Baruchel (Undeclared) and Alexis Bledel (Gilmore Girls).


Wind Chill

Tomatometer: 43%

Emily Blunt‘s star has risen since The Devil Wears Prada, but perhaps not that high — she stars here as one of two college kids on a ride-share gone. Despite some solid creds (the flick is produced by Steven Soderbergh and George Clooney) critics say Chill lacks bite — but at least it’s not another run-of-the-mill gore fest.


Georgia Rule

Tomatometer: 19%

Lindsey Lohan as an out-of-control teen? Compelling in real life, not so much in this muddled dramedy from feel-good king Garry Marshall.


Delta Farce

Tomatometer: 3%

If you thought there was no way that Larry the Cable Guy could score lower on the Tomatometer than Health Inspector‘s six percent, you were wrong.

Until next week, happy renting!

Call it the weekend of the actor/producer. Three new films with stars that do double duty behind the scenes (or have good agents that can snag a free credit) enter a marketplace filled with big-budget tentpole pics quickly eroding away.

Seth Rogen headlines and executive produces the new comedy "Knocked Up," Kevin Costner stars and produces the crime thriller "Mr. Brooks," and Elisabeth Shue acts in and co-produces the sports drama "Gracie." Following an explosive May at the box office, the first weekend of June should see ticket sales calm down a bit before George and Brad usher in the next big wave of sequels.

For adult moviegoers sick of pirates, ogres, and webslingers, Universal has the answer – the raunchy romantic comedy "Knocked Up." The R-rated film from Judd Apatow ("The 40-Year-Old Virgin") stars Rogen and Katherine Heigl as a stoner loser and a just-promoted entertainment newswoman, respectively, who share a one night stand which leads to an unplanned pregnancy. Older teens, young adults, and couples make up the target audience here and the studio is hoping to bring back the same folks that opened "Virgin" to $21.4M on its way to a stellar $109.3M (five times its debut) two summers ago.

With mindless popcorn sequels dominating the marquees for the past month, "Knocked Up" brings a breath of fresh air into the multiplexes. Moviegoers looking for new characters and new situations will be pleased. The marketing push has been strong but television spots are not too funny, mostly because the bulk of the humor is too racy to feature on broadcast television. But when opening weekend audiences find out how much funnier the actual film is compared to the trailer and commercials, red hot word-of-mouth will keep the pic playing week after week.

The public’s appetite for studio comedies has been healthy over the last six months with "Wild Hogs," "Night at the Museum," "Blades of Glory," and "Norbit" selling an amazing $626M worth of ticket stubs combined. "Hogs" even popped back into the top ten last weekend in its thirteenth session signaling the hunger in the marketplace right now for something good that will make people laugh. Universal enjoys going after adults on the weekend after Memorial Day. In 2005 it debuted the serious Russell CroweRenee Zellweger boxing pic "Cinderella Man" to $18.3M while last year the studio exceeded expectations with the $39.2M bow of the date flick "The Break-Up." "Knocked Up" should play to much of the same audience as the Jennifer Aniston film, although with less starpower and no tabloid gossip about the star’s personal lives, the grosses won’t soar as high.

Critics have been praising "Knocked Up" and its strong cross-gender appeal will make it a hit with the date crowd. A unique concept and a great title will also help sell the film. "Pirates" will only be in its second weekend and will still be pulling in a broad audience so there will be some competition. But "Knocked Up" has great buzz and will start selling itself after people begin pouring out of the Friday night shows. Opening in 2,873 theaters, the Universal release may gross about $24M this weekend and witness small declines in the weeks ahead.


"Yay, pregnancy."

Less than a year after co-starring with Ashton Kutcher in "The Guardian," Kevin Costner teams up with the "Punk’d" star’s gal pal Demi Moore in the new psychological thriller "Mr. Brooks." In the R-rated film, the former bodyguard plays a family man who moonlights as a serial killer while the ex-G.I. Jane stars as a detective hot on his trail. The MGM release should play to the oldest audience of any major release out now. That’s a good thing since direct competition will not be too fierce. But despite some moderately good reviews, Brooks is anchored by two aging actors who were bulletproof box office stars fifteen years ago, but are not all that reliable at the turnstiles nowadays.

"Knocked Up" has much more buzz around it and will take away much of the thirtysomething crowd, but the forty-plus audience might give "Mr. Brooks" a try. Older adults did little for "Georgia Rule" which bowed to just $6.8M but April’s "Fracture" had a decent $11M opening. Costner should draw an audience more like the one that came out for the Anthony Hopkins thriller. The marketing push has not been too forceful so a large turnout is not likely. Invading 2,453 theaters, "Mr. Brooks" may generate a $9M debut.


Where Dane Cook gets his career advice.

Picturehouse targets the Lady Foot Locker crowd with its new drama "Gracie" which tells the true story of a teenage girl in the late 1970s who fought to play competitive soccer when the sport did not open its doors to her gender. The PG-13 flick stars Dermot Mulroney, Elisabeth Shue, and Carly Schroeder and has been marketed squarely to its core audience of teenage girls. "Gracie" is unlikely to score any goals with other audience segments and is not being released in too many theaters so a modest opening is likely. Reviews have been mixed. Kicking its way into about 1,000 locations, "Gracie" might find itself with an opening weekend take of around $3M.


The mullet-headed heckler is always an important training component.

Fox Searchlight invades the arthouses once again with its Russian fantasy epic "Day Watch," the sequel to Timur Bekmambetov‘s "Night Watch" which became a mammoth blockbuster in its home country in 2004. Last year, "Night Watch" bowed in the U.S. to a sturdy $35,475 average from only three theaters and eventually collected $1.5M from 158 sites. "Day Watch" continues the battle of Light vs. Darkness in an adventure set in Moscow with digital effects that could rival any $200M-budgeted Hollywood tentpole pic. The R-rated film debuts on Friday in New York and Los Angeles with two theaters in each city plus a solo house in San Francisco. More markets across the country will be added in the weeks ahead.


"Day Watch"

None of the newbies looks like first-place material so "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End" should easily retain its box office crown. However, a substantial fall is likely. As a third part of a franchise coming off of a big holiday bow, the drop would of course be large. "Dead Man’s Chest" fell by 54% in its sophomore frame. Add in the fact that fan reaction isn’t exactly stellar and the ship should sink by a large amount. Don’t expect the latest "Pirates" to suffer the 67% crash that the third "X-Men" flick saw a year ago when it came off of the Memorial Day frame. Instead, it could perform more like 2004’s "The Day After Tomorrow" which fell 60% coming off of the same holiday weekend. Luckily for Johnny Depp and pals the competition is not too fierce this weekend. A similar 60% tumble would give "At World’s End" about $46M worth of weekend loot which would boost the ten-day cume to $218M.

"Shrek the Third" will also not have much in the way of competition for its family audience, but comedy fans will certainly abandon ship and head for "Knocked Up." The ogre franchise makes a sizable portion of its money from teens and young adults and those folks are going to be moving on. Last weekend’s 56% drop was affected by the arrival of "Pirates." This weekend, it could stabilize and fall by 45%. That would give "Shrek the Third" around $29M for the weekend and $256M after 17 days.

"Spider-Man 3," the only May threequel with the actual number three in its title, has also been fading away. A 45% drop would give the Sandman saga roughly $8M boosting the cume to $319M.

LAST YEAR: Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn proved more popular than super heroes as their romantic comedy "The Break-Up" knocked "X-Men: The Last Stand" out of the number one spot in only its second weekend. The Universal comedy opened to $39.2M on its way to a better-than-expected $118.7M. The mutant sequel tumbled 67% to $34M in its sophomore frame for the runnerup position. Paramount’s toon sensation "Over the Hedge" held up well in third with $20.6M followed by "The Da Vinci Code" with $18.6M and "Mission: Impossible III" with $4.7M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

Movie fans came out in droves this weekend to see their favorite green ogre’s newest adventure as "Shrek the Third" easily captured the box office crown and broke the record for the biggest opening ever for an animated film.

That sent the super hero saga "Spider-Man 3" down to the runnerup spot but the overall marketplace once again beat last year’s levels for the third straight weekend giving the summer movie season an explosive start.

Executives at DreamWorks Animation and Paramount were drinking green champagne this weekend thanks to "Shrek the Third" which debuted to an astounding $122M, according to estimates, over the Friday-to-Sunday period and $122.9M since its early launch at 10pm on Thursday night in about 1,000 theaters. Invading 4,122 total locations, the PG-rated toon averaged a stunning $29,597 per cinema and surpassed the $108M bow of 2004’s "Shrek 2" which previously held the record for the biggest animated opening. That film, which was the first in history to break the 4,000-theater threshold, debuted on a Wednesday and captured $129M over its five-day premiere period. The next biggest toon opening is $70.5M for the 2004 Disney/Pixar vehicle "The Incredibles" which just shows how different the league that the "Shrek" franchise lives in is.

"Third" also set new opening weekend records for both DreamWorks and Paramount beating "Shrek 2" and "War of the Worlds" ($64.9M), respectively. The ogre sequel also generated the third best opening of all-time trailing only "Spider-Man 3"’s $151.1M from earlier this month and "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest’s" $135.6M from last July. That ranking should slip another spot next weekend after the new "Pirates" film sets sail.

The new ogre sequel grossed $907,000 on Thursday from night-before showings beginning at 10pm, hauled in $38.5M on Friday (its true opening day), surged 22% to $47M on Saturday, and is estimated to dip 22% on Sunday to $36.5M. "Shrek 2," which opened on the same exact weekend three years ago, also suffered a 22% Saturday-to-Sunday dip in its debut frame. The production budget on the new installment is estimated to be $160-170M.

Reuniting the voice talents of Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, and Antonio Banderas, "Shrek the Third" adds some new characters including a teen would-be king voiced by Justin Timberlake. The slender 92-minute film was not very well-liked by critics and earned the worst reviews for the franchise just as "Spider-Man 3" did a couple of weeks ago. However, moviegoers again disregarded the critics and came out for some early summer fun dropping some mighty big bags of cash at multiplexes nationwide. "Shrek" dominated the attention of ticket buyers and accounted for about 70% of all sales for the Top 20.

Studio research showed that Fiona’s hubby appealed to all audience segments becoming a true four-quadrant pic. Females made up 51% of the crowd and those over and under the age of 25 were evenly split. Teens, young adults, and families all came out in strong numbers. Those polled by CinemaScore gave the toon a B+ grade which is decent, but not spectacular. A fourth chapter of "Shrek" is already in development for a planned 2010 release.

Dropping 51% in its third weekend was two-time box office champ "Spider-Man 3" with an estimated $28.5M. Sony’s webslinger sequel flew to $281.9M (including Imax grosses) from North America and averaged $6,591 from a record high 4,324 theaters. After 17 days, the Venom pic shot up to number 28 on the list of all-time domestic blockbusters just ahead of "The Matrix Reloaded" which grossed $281.5M in 2003. Given its rate of erosion and upcoming competition from Captain Jack, the third webcrawler still looks on a course to conclude its domestic run with $340-350M.

"Spider-Man 3" continues to rank number one in most international territories and grossed $49.6M overseas this weekend pushing its offshore cume to a scorching $465M and the global gross to a towering $747M. The latest Peter Parker tale has now become the top-grossing "Spidey" film overseas surpassing the $418M for the first film in 2002 and the $410M of "Spider-Man 2" in 2004. The third chapter has really taken off internationally as overseas box office accounts for 62% of the global tally. The first two super hero installments saw about 52% of their worldwide groesses come from outside of North America.

Fox’s horror sequel "28 Weeks Later" dropped one spot to third place with an estimated $5.2M bringing the ten-day total to $18.6M. The well-reviewed virus thriller declined by 48% which is impressive for a fright flick. Still, "Weeks" looks to finish with about $30-32M or about one-third less than the $45.1M of 2003’s "28 Days Later."

Only scraps were left for the other films playing at multiplexes as the rest of the movies in the top ten attracted weekend ticket sales of less than $4M each. Three-time chart-topper "Disturbia" took in an estimated $3.7M, off only 22%, for a $71.3M cume for Paramount. The sleeper hit should find its way to around $80M.

Universal’s Jane FondaLindsay Lohan pic "Georgia Rule" dropped 48% to an estimated $3.5M in its second weekend pushing its ten-day total to a weak $12.6M. Look for a disappointing $20-22M final for the R-rated film which few have been showing interest in. New Line’s "Fracture" dipped just 17% to an estimated $2.5M putting the sum at $34.7M. A final tally of roughly $40M should result.

The Lionsgate comedy "Delta Farce" followed its dismal bow with a troubling 46% fall to an estimated $1.8M this weekend for a miniscule total of $6.1M in ten days. It will try to limp to a $10M overall gross. Following in eighth place was Buena Vista’s "The Invisible" with an estimated $1.3M, down 44%, putting the cume at $17.7M. The supernatural thriller will probably end up with about $21M. British import "Hot Fuzz" continued to have good legs dipping only 27% to an estimated $1.3M pushing the total to $21.1M. Focus will try to get to $25M.

Two very different films tied for tenth place with estimates of $1.1M a piece. Fox Searchlight enjoyed continued success with the expansion of the Keri Russell starrer "Waitress" which widened from 65 to 116 theaters for a solid $9,784 average serving up moviegoers in the top ten for the first time. That doubled the comedy’s cume to $2.2M. This Friday, "Waitress" will expand again to most markets across the country reaching over 500 theaters playing as an indie alternative to the mindless popcorn films of early summer. Paramount’s big-budget action flop "Next" fell 35% giving the Nicolas Cage actioner an embarrassing $16.6M to date. A $19M final seems likely.

Tumbling out of the top ten this weekend was Disney’s animated comedy "Meet the Robinsons" which fell a steep 71% thanks to the ogre’s arrival to an estimated $521,000. The G-rated toon has grossed $95.3M after its eighth weekend and may be headed for a $97M finish.

Meanwhile in just two theaters, Fox Searchlight saw a powerful debut for its musical romance "Once" which grossed an estimated $60,511 for a sizzling $30,256 per site. Showered with praise from critics, the R-rated film premieres in eleven new cities on Friday.

Yari Film Group had a mild debut for its ensemble drama "Even Money" which bowed to an estimated $26,013 from six playdates for a not-so-impressive $4,336 average.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $170.8M which was up 12% from last year when "The Da Vinci Code" opened at number one with $77.1M; and up 10% from 2005 when "Star Wars Episode III" debuted on top with $108.4M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

Attacking theaters on the same May 18 date as the original ogre toon from six years ago, "Shrek the Third" stomps into the marketplace this weekend ready to seize the box office crown.

No other studio dared to challenge this mid-May event film which has much of the scene all to itself. Add in the third weekend of "Spider-Man 3" and multiplexes will surely be active with ticket sales ready to surge from last weekend’s levels.

Mike Myers
, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, and Antonio Banderas all return to lend their voices to "Third" and are joined by old and new faces like John Cleese, Julie Andrews, Eric Idle, Rupert Everett, and Justin Timberlake. In the new PG-rated film, the not-so-jolly green giant embarks on a quest to find himself a replacement to become the heir to the throne of Far Far Away and finds all sorts of comedic misadventures along the way.

The first two "Shrek" pics also opened on the weekend before the lucrative Memorial Day holiday frame and went on to show terrific legs. "Shrek 2" bowed on a Wednesday and grossed a whopping $108M over its three-day period on its way to becoming the number three domestic blockbuster of all-time with $436.7M. It was so well-loved and interest in a new chapter began almost immediately with moviegoers of all ages. With its blend of colorful and zany antics for kids plus sophisticated humor for adults, the franchise has been able to stomp on all its animated competitors to become king of the toons. In fact the next biggest openings in history for animated films are claimed by "The Incredibles," "Finding Nemo," and "Ice Age: The Meltdown" which all launched in the $68-71M range.

In the much-talked-about ‘Battle of the Threes’ this month, each tentpole is trying to outdo the previous one and is slipping itself into theaters a couple of hours earlier each time. "Spider-Man 3" launched like most blockbusters do with Thursday night midnight shows, but "Shrek the Third" is offering its night-before showtimess at 10pm while next week "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End" will take it one step further on the plank by starting its first showings at 8pm on Thursday evening. Though uncommon, the practice has been seen before. Night-before showtimes for previous summer tentpoles included 10pm for 2003’s "The Matrix Reloaded," 10pm for 1997’s "The Lost World," and even 6pm for 1996’s "Independence Day" which practically gave it a whole new opening day.

With 4,122 theaters this weekend, "Shrek" should be able to dominate the marketplace with ease especially since the only real threat, "Spider-Man 3," is fading fast and summer movie fans are looking for something else to eat popcorn in front of. Competition should actually be less for "Third" than for its predecessor. The second chapter faced $53.8M from the rest of the top ten on its debut frame. This weekend, even with higher ticket prices, that figure will be hard to reach since most of the top ten will consist of feeble grosses. That gives "Third" a nice environment to enter, even if trailers and commercials are not as funny this time around.

Reviews have been weaker than last time and repeat business over the long-term should not be as strong for Paramount which hardly has its name anywhere on the new product. Its subsidiary DreamWorks still has its brand name everywhere on the film. Regardless, the marketing has been as powerful as ever with McDonalds coming on board as a promotional partner after years of being in bed with Disney exclusively. Comedies do so well at the box office and business should come from the family audience as well as from teens and young adults looking for fun weekend entertainment. Hoping to set a new benchmark for animated openings, "Shrek the Third" could haul in about $115M from Thursday night through Sunday.


Will the "Third" time charm?

Peter Parker busted onto the scene with a record-shattering opening weekend two weeks ago, but gravity has kicked in since. The second weekend drop of 62% showed that the film absorbed much of its potential upfront and that repeat business isn’t really a factor. This week, Monday sales were only $3.6M (down 65% from last Monday) while Tuesday stood at $3.5M (off 57%). With "Shrek" stepping in to steal away all the attention, "Spider-Man 3" is sure to suffer another large decline. Some multiplexes will open up those fifth and sixth Spidey screens and turn them into ogre auditoriums. Still, as the studio knew a year ago when tentpole release dates were set, a silver medal is guaranteed this weekend. "Spider-Man 3" may fall by more than 50% to about $27M and boost its 17-day cume to an impressive $280M.

Sophomores "28 Weeks Later" and "Georgia Rule" will get bumped down a notch this weekend. Like for all horror sequels, a second weekend drop of less than 50% would be shocking for the Fox zombie pic. A 55% tumble for "Weeks" would put it at $5M pushing the ten-day tally to a modest $18M. Universal’s multi-generational dramedy is playing to older women who do not exactly rush out on opening weekend so a smaller decline will result. "Georgia Rule" could dip by 40% to around $4M giving the Jane Fonda flop only $13M in ten days.

LAST YEAR: Sony shot to the top of the charts with the global launch of "The Da Vinci Code" which seized control of the number one spot with a massive $77.1M bow. The Tom Hanks smash went on to gross $217.5M domestically and a colossal $753M worldwide. Paramount debuted its DreamWorks toon "Over the Hedge" in the runnerup spot with $38.5M and went on to collect $155M from North America and $330M globally. Rounding out the top five were "Mission: Impossible III" with $11.3M, "Poseidon" with $9.2M, and "RV" with $5M. Lionsgate offered horror audiences "See No Evil" and was met with $4.6M on its way to a weak $15M total.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

Peter Parker suffered a massive sophomore slide, but "Spider-Man 3" still dominated the box office around the globe spending a second weekend at number one with no other film coming anywhere near its stellar numbers.

Among the frame’s four new releases, the zombie thriller "28 Weeks Later" fared best with a decent bow in the runnerup spot while the Jane FondaLindsay Lohan pic "Georgia Rule" was mostly ignored and opened with disastrous results. Two other new comedies "Delta Farce" and "The Ex" barely registered a blip on the radar.

Sony was still crushing its competitors this weekend with "Spider-Man 3" which tumbled 60% to an estimated $60M in its second try in theaters. After ten days, the PG-13 hit has amassed a stunning $242.1M from North America and is still running ahead of its two predecessors. Ten-day cumes for 2002’s "Spider-Man" and 2004’s "Spider-Man 2" were $223M and $225M, respectively. However the new Venom installment is eroding faster as is often the case with the third part of a franchise. After the first three days, "Spider-Man 3" was an impressive 32% ahead of the first webslinger pic which opened on the exact same weekend in 2002. After seven days the lead was cut to 20% and now after ten days the gap has been reduced to 9%.

For the weekend, "Spider-Man 3" accounted for a stellar 64% of the box office for the top ten and grossed $17.1M on Friday (down 72% from its record-shattering opening day last week), $25M on Saturday (down 51% from last Saturday), and is projected to gross $18M on Sunday (down 55% from a week ago). The 60% second weekend drop is not uncommon for high-profile tentpole sequels with mammoth debuts. Some other sophomore drops include 53% for "X2: X-Men United," 54% for "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest," 63% for "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban," and 67% for "X-Men: The Last Stand."

Where is part 3 headed in the long run? It would make sense to look at other action films that kicked off the summer movie season on the first weekend of May. The shares of the total cume collected in the first ten days were 64% for last year’s "Mission: Impossible III," 69% for 2003’s "X2," and 71% for 2004’s "Van Helsing." Based on its trajectory and the competitive road ahead, "Spider-Man 3" could be headed for a finish of about $340-360M domestically. That would make it the lowest-grossing Spidey film in North America, however the overseas markets are a different story.

"Spider-Man 3" grossed an estimated $85.4M internationally this weekend to boost its overseas haul up to a mammoth $379.6M for a colossal global gross of $622M. Next weekend, the Sandman entry will surpass the international takes of $418M and $410M for the first two Spider-Man flicks to become the top performer of the franchise outside of North America. With the "Spider-Man" fan base already maxed out domestically, Sony made a strategic move to grow the brand around the world by hosting several star-studded international red carpet premieres and opening the film in most countries days ahead of the United States leading to a substantial increase in moviegoer excitement in all markets. "Spider-Man 3" still stands a very good chance of becoming the biggest grossing film of the trilogy on a global scale with the North American shortfall being overshadowed by gains overseas. With a reported production budget of $258M, the super hero film should surpass the $900M mark worldwide this summer.

Flesh-eating zombies took control of second place this weekend as the horror sequel "28 Weeks Later" opened with an estimated $10M representing a solid, but somewhat weaker-than-expected debut. The R-rated gorefest averaged a decent $4,342 from 2,303 playdates and delivered a gross almost equal to the $10.1M that "28 Days Later" achieved in its opening frame in June 2003. That sleeper hit bowed in a thousand fewer locations with 1,260 theaters and scored a more potent $7,986 average. Adjust for four years of ticket price increases and "Weeks" generated an opening weekend average half that of "Days." The new chapter earned very high praise from most critics, but being the fourteenth horror film of 2007 probably hurt its cause as many genre fans have overdosed on frightfests. If the estimate holds (Fox estimated a rather slim 26% Saturday-to-Sunday drop), "Weeks" will become the first non-Spidey film to reach double digits on opening weekend since "Fracture" from mid-April.

The star-driven chick flick "Georgia Rule" was dead on arrival at the box office debuting to an estimated $5.9M from 2,523 theaters for a flimsy $2,330 average. The R-rated film stars Lindsay Lohan as a rebellious teen left with her no-nonsense grandmother (Jane Fonda) for the summer. Felicity Huffman plays the alcoholic middle mom in the family. "Georgia" played more to the Fonda crowd than to the Lohan audience. Studio research from Universal showed that a whopping 81% of the turnout was female, 79% was white, and 70% was over the age of 30.

"Georgia Rule" imploded at the box office since it repelled its two main consumer groups. Older women pay attention to reviews and critics were brutal in reviewing the dramedy. And younger teen girls who track Lohan obsessively couldn’t get in thanks to the harsh R rating. The opening was less than half the amount that the studio saw earlier this year when it targeted the same audience with the same number of theaters with the Diane KeatonMandy Moore pic "Becasue I Said So" which bowed to $13.1M over Super Bowl weekend. The Fonda flick was released over the Mother’s Day frame, but most daughters chose to give their moms the gift of not seeing "Georgia Rule."

Paramount’s hit teen thriller "Disturbia" enjoyed the best legs in the top ten dipping only 18% to an estimated $4.8M. Although in its fifth weekend, the Shia LaBeouf hit has the second largest theater count of any film and is playing in 3,106 locations that are still holding onto the durable thriller. Cume to date is $66.3M.

The military comedy "Delta Farce" bombed in its opening weekend grossing only $3.5M, according to estimates, landing in fifth place. The PG-13 pic averaged a dismal $1,813 from 1,931 locations for Lionsgate. Reviews were understandably pitiful.

New Line’s Anthony HopkinsRyan Gosling drama "Fracture" dipped only 22% to an estimated $2.9M in its fourth frame and upped its cume to $31M. The horror flick "The Invisible" dropped to seventh with an estimated $2.2M, down 33%, for a $15.5M total.

Sliding only 25% in its third round was the action-comedy "Hot Fuzz" with an estimated $1.7M for Focus putting the sum at $18.9M. Nicolas Cage followed with his sci-fi flop "Next" which took in an estimated $1.6M, down 45%, for a total of $14.6M. Rounding out the top ten with an estimated $1.6M as well was the Disney animated hit "Meet the Robinsons" which fell 39% for a sturdy $94.1M cume. The 3D comedy will enjoy its status as the year’s top-grossing toon for just one more week since "Shrek the Third," which opens on Friday, could march past it after only one weekend in theaters.

Debuting with miserable results outside of the top ten was the Zach BraffAmanda Peet comedy "The Ex" which opened to an estimated $1.3M from 1,009 locations for a pathetic $1,288 average. The PG-13 date flick was released by MGM and earned poor reviews. With "The Ex," Hollywood has now seen a disturbing twelve wide releases over the last eight weeks fail to open to at least $5M. Numerous movies with little to offer paying moviegoers are being slaughtered in an overcrowded marketplace.

Three star-driven vehicles dropped out of the top ten this weekend. Will Ferrell’s blockbuster comedy "Blades of Glory" grossed an estimated $1.4M in its seventh lap and boosted its cume to $113.8M. Off 41%, the $60M-plus DreamWorks/Paramount pic looks to skate to a $116-118M finish. Ice Cube’s comedy sequel "Are We Done Yet?" fell 46% to an estimated $950,000 giving Sony $47.4M to date. The family film looks to end with just under $50M putting it 40% behind its predecessor "Are We There Yet?" which pulled in $82.3M two years ago. Warner Bros. has collected a measly $5M in ten days for its Eric BanaDrew Barrymore poker pic "Lucky You" and will probably fold with an embarrassing $7M.

Arthouse darling "Waitress" starring Keri Russell expanded successfully in its second weekend serving up an estimated $636,000 from 65 sites for a solid $9,788 average. Fox Searchlight widened the acclaimed film from just four locations last weekend and pushed its cume to $788,000. A special Mother’s Day gift bag promotion across the country is expected to strengthen Sunday sales. This Friday, the comedy expands in its existing markets adding 57 theaters and on May 25 it will widen to 400-500 total theaters nationwide for the Memorial Day holiday weekend.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $94.1M which was up 16% from last year when "Mission: Impossible III" stayed at number one with $25M; and up a scant 3% from 2005 when "Monster-in-Law" debuted on top with just $23.1M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

In what must be a first at the box office, an aerobics queen takes on killer zombies in a vicious battle for the silver medal during what no doubt will be another mammoth weekend for "Spider-Man 3."

Fox unleashes its horror sequel "28 Weeks Later," Universal counters with its femme-driven star vehicle "Georgia Rule," Lionsgate tosses in the comedy "Delta Farce," and MGM releases yet another laugher with "The Ex." Meanwhile, back in New York City, the webslinger will attempt to swing to a massive quarter-billion-dollar cume by the end of its second weekend.

As the second of ten sequels hitting theaters over the May-June corridor, "28 Weeks Later" is the follow-up to the cult hit zombie chiller "28 Days Later" which lit up theaters four years ago. Danny Boyle shifts from the director’s chair to the executive producer’s office as Juan Carlos Fresnadillo takes the helm. "Days" was very well-received which explains why a sequel was greenlit. In the new installment, the killer virus infects people once again as London tries to repopulate and madness ensues. The built-in audience will help the R-rated "Weeks" right out of the gate.

Its predecessor bowed to $10.1M from only 1,260 theaters for a potent $7,986 average on its way to a solid $45.1M final. Through video and cable, it found an even larger fan base and many will give "Weeks" a try. However working against it is of course competition from "Spider-Man 3" which has a hold on fans of comics and sci-fi. Plus 2007 has seen 1,001 horror films flood theaters causing recent fright fatigue. Casual fans of scary movies may pass on "Weeks" if they’re trying to stay away from blood and gore. Fox’s marketing has been clever and effective and the target audience is excited. Plus reviews have been very positive which will help a bit too since most horror films nowadays are either not screened for critics in advance or earn poor marks. Attacking over 2,000 theaters, "28 Weeks Later" might scare up around $13M this weekend.


"28 Weeks Later"

For those looking to avoid zombies and super heroes in their weekend entertainment, Universal offers the dramedy "Georgia Rule" starring Jane Fonda, Lindsay Lohan, and Felicity Huffman. The R-rated story tells of a teenage girl dumped at her grandmother’s house for the summer by her alcoholic mother which leads to the uncovering of family secrets. Just in time for Mother’s Day weekend, "Georgia" will play almost exclusively to women as men will have to be dragged against their will. However, moviegoers from a broad age group should turn out since the cast boasts stars of different generations. The one troublespot could be the rating though. Lohan arguably still has pull with teenage girls who may be left out because of the MPAA’s tag. But the film’s two uses of the F word are essential to the story as are the adult themes so the R was unavoidable.

"Georgia Rule" should play to the same audience that the studio saw for previous chick flicks like Diane Keaton‘s "Because I Said So" ($13.1M opening, $5,195 average), Meryl Streep‘s "Prime" ($6.2M, $3,405), and Debra Messing‘s "The Wedding Date" ($11.1M, $6,566). Reaching the $23.1M debut of Fonda’s last film "Monster-in-Law" is not likely however since it won’t crossover into other demographic groups like the J. Lo pic did. The weekend’s new releases will not provide too much competition which means that the universal appeal of the webslinger sequel will be the main enemy. Bad reviews will eat into sales from mature adults, but many from the "Desperate Housewives" crowd will still make a trip out to this chick flick. "Georgia Rule" enters 2,523 theaters on Friday and could walk away with about $13M.


"Georgia Rule"

Larry the Cable Guy stars in the new military comedy "Delta Farce" which also hits theaters on Friday. The PG-13 film from Lionsgate finds three hapless men being mistaken for Army recruits who are sent to Iraq but mistakenly dropped in Mexico. Not since "Best Defense" has a film of this type been such an unwelcome entry in the marketplace. Young males are the only group likely to show interest and with Spidey in only his second swing, few will find this new comedy worth paying top dollar for. Plus starpower is lacking and none of the cast members are known for anchoring box office hits. Larry’s self-titled film last spring bowed to just $6.9M and this one will probably slump even lower. Opening in about 1,800 locations, "Delta Farce" will probably shoot up around $4M.


"Delta Farce"

Zach Braff and Amanda Peet play a thirtysomething New York couple with a new baby in the new romantic comedy "The Ex" marketed by The Weinstein Company and distributed by MGM. In the PG-13 pic, the likable duo moves to Ohio where Braff’s character gets a job at her father’s ad agency where he butts heads with his wife’s former fling from high school. Jason Bateman, Charles Grodin, and Donal Logue co-star. "The Ex" will be targeting the date crowd and young women, but will have rough sailing. "Georgia Rule" will already be tapping into the female moviegoing base and Spidey is attracting his share of women and young adults too. The promotional push has not been too forceful either so the film may end up with just the die-hard "Scrubs" fans. Mixed reviews won’t help either. Also, Braff and Peet are not box office anchors who sell lots of tickets. Sure "Garden State" was an indie hit with $26.8M in 2004, but that was a word-of-mouth platform release that made its money over time and not a commercial Hollywood comedy. Debuting in 1,009 theaters, "The Ex" might gross roughly $3M this weekend.


"The Ex"

None of these new films will come close to defeating the mighty "Spider-Man 3" which will enjoy its second comfortable box office win in a row. But a steep fall is likely. The first webslinger flick opened at the beginning of May five years ago and dropped by only 38% on the second weekend which was phenomenal. But like most sequels, especialy third-parters, "Spider-Man 3" attracted so much of its total audience upfront that rapid erosion is assured. The previous record-holder for the biggest opening weekend, "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest," fell by 54% in its second adventure last July while its summer counterpart "X-Men: The Last Stand" tumbled by a troubling 67% in its sophomore frame. Of course that was coming off of a Memorial Day holiday opening so the decline was larger than normal.

"Spider-Man 3" has already been taking a hit during the week dropping to $10.3M on Monday and $8M on Tuesday. Those numbers come close to what "The Matrix Reloaded" took in on the same days after its colossal opening weekend in mid-May 2003. That sci-fi pic crashed 60% in its second weekend despite its sophomore frame being helped by a holiday. Luckily for the Sandman flick the competition this weekend will not be too menacing. "Spider-Man 3" could still fall by more than 55% to about $65M this weekend which would boost the domestic haul to a mammoth $247M in only ten days.

LAST YEAR: Tom Cruise topped the charts with "Mission Impossible: III" which dropped 48% in its second weekend to $25M. Opening in second place was the pricey disaster film "Poseidon" which debuted to $22.2M for Warner Bros. on its way to a disappointing $60.7M domestically. Worldwide, the Kurt Russell starrer grossed $182M. Robin Williams placed third with "RV" which eased by less than 10% to $10M in its third weekend. Lindsay Lohan stumbled into fourth with her new comedy "Just My Luck" which opened to a weak $5.7M on its way to $17.3M for Fox. Rounding out the top five was the horror flick "An American Haunting" with $3.6M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

This week at the movies we have zombies ("28 Weeks Later," starring Robert Carlyle), family conflict ("Georgia Rule," with Lindsay Lohan and Jane Fonda), office hijinks ("The Ex," starring Zach Braff and Amanda Peet), and military mishaps ("Delta Farce," starring Larry the Cable Guy). What do the critics have to say?

Taking place six months after the original, "28 Weeks Later" opens with American troops cleaning up England, positive all the zombies are dead and the rage virus is no more. Or is it…?! Though it lacks the humanism that made "28 Days Later" a classic, the scribes are giving high marks for "28 Weeks"’ fantastic atmosphere and Juan Carlos Fresnadillo’s punchy direction. At 69 percent Tomatometer (and a surprising 83 percent from the Cream of the Crop), horror buffs may want to make "Weeks" their weekend destination.


Panic on the streets on London!

Art imitates life once again: Lindsay Lohan stars in "Georgia Rule" as a rebellious teen heading towards trouble. But rehab and paparazzi are replaced with bucolic farmlands and Jane Fonda, who plays the tough grandmother who takes Lohan under her wing for some attitude readjustment. Critics concede Lohan does a fine job, but none of the characters emerge beyond stereotypes and the direction is pedestrian. With its uninviting 20 percent Tomatometer, stay out of "Georgia."


"I’m not adequite today."

Zach Braff stars in "The Ex" as a slacker relocating from New York to Ohio for a new job who’s then at the mercy of a sadistic boss (Jason Bateman) — who happens to be one of his wife’s old flames (Amanda Peet). The critics argue that the film is unbalanced, with not enough laughs to compensate for the dark elements. And Braff and his co-stars come off as either unsympathetic or plain unpleasant. At 24 percent Tomatometer, "Ex" does not mark the spot.


"Congratulations. You’ve just welcomed a beautiful, healthy movie prop into the world."

With no press screenings, critics were denied the graceful presence of Larry the Cable Guy and his new film, "Delta Farce." Mr. Cable Guy plays a military recruit who, with two other bumbling soldiers, is mistakenly cast off in Mexico en route to Fallujah, Iraq. Git-r-done and guess That Tomatometer.


Larry the Cable Guy, with hat on fire.

Also opening in limited release: "Brand Upon the Brain!," a bizarre autobiographical horror movie from Guy Maddin, is at 92 percent; "I Don’t Want to Sleep Alone," a neorealistic drama from Malaysia, is at 91 percent; "Day Night Day Night," "ShowBusiness: The Road to Broadway," a chronicle of the 2003-2004 Broadway season, is at 86 percent; a minimalist film about suicide bombers, is at 71 percent; "The Hip Hop Project," a documentary about a teens using hip-hop for social progress, is at 64 percent; "Allegro," an ambitious Danish sci-fi flick, is at 62 percent; "Provoked," the recent true story of a woman’s fight for civil rights, is at 50 percent, "The Salon," the oft-delayed comedy from "Barbershop" creator Mark Brown, is at 20 percent.


Scenes from "Leapfrog! The Musical!"

Recent Lindsay Lohan Movies:
———————————
27% — Chapter 27 (2007)
14% — Just My Luck (2006)
41% — Herbie: Fully Loaded (2005)
13% — Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen (2004)
85% — Mean Girls (2004)"

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