Big weekend at the box office: Twi-Hards turn out; proof that young men don’t listen (to critics)

This week, most of whatever suspense there was was not at all about which movie will be #1 or, as it turns out, #2 (not quite a 100% sure thing earlier). It had to do with what actually matters when the show business rubber meets the audience road: how much cash did the movies generate from the summer’s biggest holiday weekend but amid gloomy news and gloomier punditry regarding the economy? The answer seems to be what Joel McCrea learned at the end of “Sullivan’s Travels,” people in dire straights need entertainment and fantasy more, not less. I only wish they were getting something as thoughtful as “Ants in Your Plants of 1939.”

Edward and Bella...ooooohhhhhhhhhOver the three day Friday-Sunday weekend, Summit’s “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse” earned an estimated $69 million according to the Box Office Mojo chart. For the broader and potentially confusing numbers covering the extended movie weekends for the two new major new releases this week, I’ll rely on Anne Thompson’s pal Anthony D’Alessandro. He tells us “Eclipse” earned an estimated $175 million and change, just a few million bucks below the similar six-day frame of 2004’s “Spiderman 2,” though not adjusted for ongoing movie-ticket inflation.

This is the point in the series ordinarily where some might wonder if interest is starting to flag, but this is a long-running movie/book soap opera and a continuing tale similar to the Harry Potter in terms of fan interest/involvement. Also, this entry overall got significantly better reviews than the second film in the series, which might indicate the film itself is more boyfriend friendly for this very female-driven franchise.

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“Bone structure”

As I mentioned in my post below, veteran screenwriter Alvin Sargent is said to be hard at work on the latest draft of “Spiderman 4.” Prior to working on “Spiderman 2,” Sargent was best known for his work on more small-scale films from the late sixties, seventies, and eighties including his Oscar-winning work on “Ordinary People” and “Julia.”

Below is an example of Sargent at his tragicomic best from his merely Oscar-nominated screenplay for Peter Bogdanovich’s retro 1973 comedy, “Paper Moon,” based on the novel by Joe David Brown. As Mlle. Trixie Delight, the late, great Madilyn Kahn does all the talking in this scene . She was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her work, but it was Tatum O’Neal who was the youngest person to ever win a competitive Oscar for the role, winning the Best Actress award at age 10.

  

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