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‘Up’ maintains No. 1 box-office altitude with $44M

June 8th, 2009 Posted in Entertainment | No Comments »

By DAVID GERMAIN
Two live-action comedies were unable to bring down the animated adventure “Up.” Disney and Pixar Animation’s “Up” reeled in $44.2 million to remain on top of the box office for the second weekend in a row, according to studio estimates Sunday.

The Warner Bros. bachelor-bash comedy “The Hangover” came in a close second with a $43.3 million debut. Will Ferrell’s action comedy for Universal, “Land of the Lost,” had to settle for a distant third with a $19.5 million opening.

“Up” was the first movie of Hollywood’s busy summer season to take the No. 1 spot for two straight weekends. But overall revenues fell for the second weekend in a row, putting the brakes on what has been shaping up as a record revenue year for the movie business.

The top 12 movies took in $164 million, down 6 percent from the same weekend last year, when “Kung Fu Panda” opened on top with $60.2 million, according to box-office figures compiled by Hollywood.com.

For the year, Hollywood has taken in $4.3 billion, up 12.5 percent from 2008 revenues. But studios have been unable to maintain the red-hot pace of the year’s first four months.

“Definitely, things have slowed,” said Paul Dergarabedian, box-office analyst for Hollywood.com. “But there are some potential saviors on the horizon.”

Three big sequels — “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen,” “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs” and “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” — open within three weeks of one another starting June 24.

With $137.3 million in the bank after just 10 days, “Up” is streaking toward the $200 million mark achieved by such previous Pixar hits as “WALL-E,” “Ratatouille,” “Cars” and “Toy Story 2.”

Revenues for most big movies typically drop 50 percent or more in the second weekend, but the audience for “Up” was down only 35 percent from its opening. That puts it in line with “Finding Nemo,” the top-grossing Disney-Pixar animated tale, said Chuck Viane, head of distribution for Disney.

“Up” likely will finish in the top three among Pixar flicks, Viane said. Leading the Pixar slate now are “Finding Nemo” with $339.7 million, “The Incredibles” with $261.4 million and “Monsters, Inc.” with $255.8 million.

David Carradine’s Camp Says His Death Was Accidental

June 4th, 2009 Posted in Breaking News | No Comments »

–Elizabeth Thompson

Although Thai police say they suspect his death to be a suicide, David Carradine’s reps are denying reports that the 72-year-old actor took his own life in a Bangkok hotel room Thursday morning.
Carradine’s manager told People “I can tell you 100 percent that he would have never committed suicide. He was too full of life.”

His spokesperson, Chuck Binder, also told the Daily Mail that Carradine’s death was “accidental.”

It’s unclear why the actor’s reps think this wasn’t a suicide, but a maid found Carradine hanging naked in a closet. Bangkok police told the BBC there was rope tied around the his neck and parts of his body.

Despite Carradine’s reps’ comments, however, the actor has admitted to suffering from depression and was quoted in a 2007 interview as saying he’s considered taking his own life before:

“Look, there was a period in my life when I had a single action Colt 45, loaded, in my desk drawer. And every night I’d take it out and think about blowing my head off, and then decide not to and go on with my life. Put it back in the drawer and open up the laptop and continue writing my autobiography or whatever. But it was just to see.”

David Carradine is known for his work in the 1970s television series Kung Fu and more recently in the movie Kill Bill. He appeared in more than 100 feature films and was nominated four times for a Golden Globe Award.

Allwine, voice of Mickey Mouse for 32 years, dies

May 21st, 2009 Posted in Breaking News | No Comments »

Wayne Allwine, the actor who voiced Mickey Mouse for more than 30 years, has died.

The Walt Disney Co. says Allwine died Monday of complications from diabetes, with Russi Taylor, his wife of 20 years and the voice of Minnie Mouse, by his side. He was 62.

“Wayne dedicated his entire professional life to Disney,” chief executive Robert Iger said in a statement Wednesday. “Over the last 32 years, (he) gave so much joy, happiness and comfort to so many around the world by giving voice to our most beloved, iconic character, Mickey Mouse.”

A Southern California native, Allwine joined Disney in 1966 when he took a job in the mail room. He went on to work in the sound effects department and began voicing the company’s main mouse in 1977.

His falsetto can be heard in 1983’s “Mickey’s Christmas Carol,” 1988’s “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” and at Disney theme parks around the world. He won an Emmy Award in 1986 for his sound editing on the NBC series “Amazing Stories.”

Allwine was the third man behind Mickey’s voice. The first was Disney himself, then Jimmy MacDonald, who became Allwine’s mentor and passed him the reins after voicing the mouse for 30 years.

“He said, ‘Just remember kid, you’re only filling in for the boss,’” Allwine once recalled. “And that’s the way he treated doing Mickey for years and years.”

“Mickey’s the real star,” Allwine continued. “You know you just have to love the little guy while you have him, because he won’t be yours forever.”

Roy E. Disney, director emeritus for The Walt Disney Co., said Allwine did more than give Mickey a voice. He “gave him a heart and soul as well.”

“He did an incredible job of bringing emotion, humor and appeal to the character, and superbly carried on the tradition originated by my Uncle Walt, and later by sound-effects wizard Jimmy Macdonald.”

Besides Taylor, Allwine is survived by five children from a previous marriage: Erin, Alison, Peter, Christopher and Joshua.