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Monday, August 1, 2011

Cowboy back on top..out smurfing the Smurfs

'Cowboys & Aliens' narrowly beats 'Smurfs' to top the box office

It turns out that a legion of pint-sized blue cartoon characters didn't quite have enough strength to take down two big Hollywood stars at the box office this weekend after all.
On Sunday, the studios behind "The Smurfs" and "Cowboys & Aliens" estimated that the films would each collect $36.2 million by weekend's end. But when the actual numbers were reported Monday, "Cowboys," a sci-fi western starring Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig, narrowly claimed the No. 1 spot with $36.4 million in ticket sales, according to distributor Universal Pictures.
"The Smurfs," Sony Pictures' PG-rated computer-animated/live-action hybrid, ended up with a slightly lower tally of $35.6 million.
Aside from bragging rights, winning the weekend doesn't mean much for "Cowboys." The film, which financial backers Universal, Relativity Media and Dreamworks SKG said cost about $163 million to make, still has a long way to go before it recoups its production costs as well as its advertising costs, which also run in the tens of millions.
And "Cowboys" only received an average grade of B from those who saw the picture this weekend, according to market research firm CinemaScore, indicating that its word of mouth may not be great in weeks to come.
"The Smurfs," meanwhile, went over better with audiences. The 3-D film, which had a budget of about $110 million, garnered an average grade of A-. Its only competition in the kid-friendly category is next weekend's debut of the "Glee" 3-D concert film, which means "Smurfs" could continue to play well domestically for weeks to come.
-- Amy Kaufman

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords returned to U.S. House chamber to a standing ovation to cast vote in favor of debt ceiling deal. Then, she hit her head on the debt ceiling and was taken back to hospital where she remains in critical confusion.

Art Lynch for SAG National Board of Directors representing the Nevada Branch

Scott Bakula and Valerie Harper had anti-merger slate for SAG


Jonathan Handel has a post on what looks like an attempt to start a successor to Membership First. The anti-merger group calls itself Union Democracy Now and is endorsing a dozen or so candidates in Hollywood. Several of the candidates listed have been anti-merger for quite a while, including Valerie Harper, Scott Bakula and David Joliffe.

The group’s website is still incomplete and doesn’t officially list candidates – they’re “coming soon.” But it does complain about things like AFTRA paying a stipend to its president and SAG paying for new carpet for its offices, as well as the amount of rent SAG is paying.

According to the website the group was founded by Warren Berlinger.