Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Woman “imprisoned” on Scientology cruise ship for 12 years

Yahoo News


For most people, an extended stay aboard a luxury cruise liner sounds like a dream vacation.
But Valeska Paris says she was held against her will aboard the Scientology cruise ship "Freewinds" for more than a decade. During her stay on the vessel, she alleges, she was forced into hard labor and never allowed to leave the ship without an escort.
In an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's (ABC News) Lateline program, Paris claims that Church of Scientology leader David Miscavige sent her to the ship when she was 18 in order to prevent her family from pulling her out of the organization.
"I was basically hauled in and told that my mum had attacked the church and that I needed to disconnect from her because she was suppressive," she said. "He decided the ship, and I found out two hours before my plane left, I was woken up in the morning and I was sent to the ship for 'two weeks.' "
Paris was born into a Scientology family, but her mother quit the group after her husband committed suicide, blaming Scientology for coercing him out of a self-made personal fortune of more than a million dollars.
Instead of the promised two week stay, Paris found herself unable to leave the ship without an official Scientology escort and was often forced into hard labor on the lower levels of the ship for stretches as long as two full days. "It's hot, it's extremely loud, it's smelly, it's not nice. I was sent down there at first for 48 hours straight on almost no sleep and I had to work by myself," she said.
So, why didn't Paris simply escape from the ship when it would take port? The Freewinds has a relatively small sailing route, traveling throughout the Caribbean and occasionally docking at small islands.
"I did not want to be there, I made it clear I did not want to be there and that was considered bad ethics, meaning it was considered not right," she said. "They take your passport when you go on the ship and you're in the middle of an island. So it's a bit hard [to escape] and by that time I was 18, I'd been in Scientology my whole life, it's not like I knew how to escape," she said.
The Church of Scientology calls Paris' claims false but declined ABC requests to make church officials available for interviews for the story. The church, which has a well-known litigious history, threatened Lateline with legal action for taking part in an alleged breach of confidentiality between Paris and the church. In a statement, the Church of Scientology said Ms Paris' claims were false.
"She certainly wasn't 'forced' to be there. She was also never forced to perform labor in the engine room," the statement said. "The Freewinds is a wonderful place, as even Valeska said on numerous occasions. Her allegation that she could only leave the ship with an escort is totally false."

Adam Levine: Yoga Sculpts My Body & Is Investment in Happiness for the Rest of My Life

**Thanks to the Gods that made him;-)


By MindBodyGreen



32-year-old Maroon 5 frontman, Adam Levine, has previously said that yoga had "revolutionized" his life. But now in a new interview with Detailsmagazine, Adam talks more about his practice and how he got started on the mat.
Adam says he was 'aware of the yoga scene but initially kept his distance, turned off by what he calls "the cheesy clich├ęs."' 

But then after experiencing lower-back pain and tight hips, Adam decided to give yoga a try.

It's been five years since he began practicing, and he hasn't lifted a weight since!

Adam on why he ditched the gym and took up yoga: 
"Weights made my neck thick, and I would be like, 'I'm turning into a monster! Yoga takes what you have and molds and sculpts it, which is a much more natural way to look and feel." 
If you don't think yoga has physical benefits, Adam disagrees: 
"I don't like how people bullshit about how yoga is not about vanity." 
He also sees the spiritual benefits of his daily yoga practice:
"Playing a show before thousands of people is a highly unnatural state.. and when I get on the mat to do an hour of yoga before the show, I come out physically relaxed. For me, that's a form of meditation."
Adam calls his yoga practice "an investment in happiness for the rest of my life."

Namaste to that! Go dudes yoga!

Here's a video of Adam talking more about yoga and even practicing:


Indy V: Harrison Ford Coming Back As Indiana Jones At Age 70

Perez Hilton Filed under: Film Flickers > Harrison Ford > Steven Spielberg > Daniel Craig > Olivia Wilde
harrison-ford-to-star-in-fifth-indiana-jones-flick-at-70-web.jpg
Fedora? Check. Whip? Check. Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones? Big Check.
The 69 year old actor is set to return as the daring archaeologist for a fifth Indiana Jones film.
Filiming is set to begin in 2012 and Ford will be 70 by the time filming starts.
In 2008, Ford was 66 when he filmed the fourth flick, Indiana Jones: Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. George Lucas is currently writing the story and Steven Spielberg is set to collaborate.
Ford recently appeared in Cowboys and Aliens with Daniel Craig andOlivia Wilde and shows no signs of slowing down.
He also married Ally McBeal Calista Flockhart, 22 years his junior in 2010.
What's next for Indiana Jones and Harrison Ford?
[Image via WENN.]

Stevie Nicks Supports The Troops, Touched By Experiences Visiting Veterans' Hospitals

Stevie Nicks supports the troops.
Stevie has been visiting hospitals of wounded soldiers and says she was moved by the soldiers.
Stevie said the following about her experiences:
I have been (to visit wounded soldiers) many times. It’s something I do now because many are very injured, and they need help, and they need people
They need people to send money to the USO and to the Wounded Warriors, and they need people just to be aware of what these kids (have sacrificed).
Nicks would write a poem on a particular experience when over 20 naval soldiers were rushed to a hospital she visited.
She would spend the next four years converting it into song.
Stevie chronicles her experience writing Soldiers' Angel:
I went back to my motel and wrote the poem… it took me four years to put it to music. I’ve now given that poem out to hundreds and hundreds of soldiers and their families, their sisters, brothers, moms, dads, grandmothers, nieces, godchildren, everybody. I always told them one day it will be a song.
Soldiers Angel appears on her latest albumIn Your Dreams.
[Image via WENN.]

'Evenings spent reading your suggestions': Aishwarya and husband choose baby name from fans' tweets

Hello Magazine30 NOVEMBER 2011

Two weeks after Aishwarya Rai and her husband Abhishek Bachchan welcomed a baby daughter, the couple are still to come up with a name. 

They're not lacking in ideas, however.




The emerald-eyed star's husband invited fans to help, and was flooded with thousands of responses. 

"Suggestions for names are very welcome guys. Something with "A"," the actor posted on Twitter, four days after the baby was born. 

Now, Abishek, says: "Evenings are spent reading out all your suggestions in front the family and trying to decide." 

The little girl has been nicknamed 'Beti B' in the meantime – a moniker offered by one of the actor's co-stars. 

"Till we find a suitable name for the little lady a dear friend @ShahanaGoswami gave me a great one. We have Sr B and Jr B already so Beti B," he wrote, referring to himself and his father Amitabh Bachchan (pictured holding the baby above), another famous Bollywood actor. 

Sr B, every inch the proud grandfather, is delighted that fans have taken such an interest in naming his granddaughter. 

"It is so lovable that they do this and I wish to thank the efforts that they make," he wrote on his blog. "Soon a name shall come about and we shall share it with all." 

The baby will reportedly be named at a private family ceremony in December.

George Harrison: 10th anniversary of ‘quiet Beatle’s’ death

One decade ago, George Harrison, “the quiet Beatle,” died.


Harrison died at age 58 of cancer, and many critics thought he got the short shrift in the Beatles’ story. Though he wrote a few of the Beatles’ hits, his work was often overlooked in favor of his more outspoken bandmates, John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Once Harrison died, talk immediately turned to his songwriting. Ten years later, his legacy is still being debated.


According to his Post obituary, by Adam Bernstein, Harrison was an impulsive songwriter: “Mainly the object has been to get something out of my system, as opposed to ‘being a songwriter.’ ”


Harrison’s songs, which included “Within You, Without You,” “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” “Here Comes the Sun” and “Something,” were “among the gentlest and most meditative of the Beatles’ output,” Bernstein wrote.


“Here Comes the Sun,” for example, was written on a beautiful spring day in 1969 when Harrison left the Beatles business office feeling frustrated by nitty-gritty accounting details. He walked over to his friend Eric Clapton's house and strolled around the garden with a guitar. The result was one of the most buoyantly joyful of his songs: “Little darling, it’s been a long, cold, lonely winter/Little darling it feels like years since it’s been here/Here comes the sun. Here comes the sun/And I say ... It’s alright.”


In October, Martin Scorcese released his documentary, “George Harrison: Living in the Material World.” Though the long-awaited examination of Harrison gave the slighted artist his due, it may have been too kind, says TV critic Hank Stuever:


Certainly no one is clamoring for a George Harrison movie that seeks dirt or shakes the Beatle firmament. But we do like organization and clarity, even if the subject was prone to such nonlinear acts as running off with a maharishi. Strangely, on the matter of Harrison’s spiritual quests, the movie becomes less inquisitive.
For his reputation as a maker of unflinchingly tough feature films about dark-hearted men, Scorsese makes documentaries as one would pet a kitty.


As for Harrison’s nickname? Although Harrison might have been less outspoken than his bandmates, he was hardly quiet, his sister Louise revealed in an interview.


“The weekend they flew into New York to do ‘Ed Sullivan,’ George was very sick. They were staying at the Plaza Hotel, and we got him to see the hotel doctor, Dr. Gordon. Dr. Gordon said, ‘This is a very sick kid. He’s got a 104-degree temperature and has strep throat.’
“He was given some shots and vaporizer treatments, and I was in charge of watching over him. George was told to use his voice as little as possible. That’s why at all the press conferences he was so quiet, and so the press thought he was the quiet one. George used to have a good laugh about it.”


Today, Liverpool celebrates Harrison’s legacy with two concerts, and Hollywood will light candles in his honor (in another, less-auspicious tribute, the musician’s amp is being auctioned off for as much as $109,000). Fans are also invited to a ceremony at Liverpool Anglican Cathedral and are invited to bring a paper flower or dove, or another symbol of peace, which would have suited Harrison. He wrote in his autobiography, “I, Me, Mine”: “I don’t want to be in the business full-time, because I’m a gardener. I plant flowers and watch them grow. I don’t go out to clubs and partying. I stay at home and watch the river flow.”




By Maura Judkis Washington Post

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Andy Serkis In 'Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes': Could A Monkey Win An Oscar?

Huffington Post


Could a monkey win an Oscar? Save your sarcastic remarks about the state of Hollywood -- this is a very pressing question.
The monkey at hand, of course, is not a real life primate, which is why it's a real debate in the first place. Unlike many summer blockbusters, "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" delivered not only breathtaking special effects but a well-received and effective narrative as well. And while James Franco was the film's above-the-line star, the real emotional heart of the film was Caesar, the hyper-intelligent chimp played, with the help of groundbreaking digital technology, by Andy Serkis.
The British actor has become something of a test subject for Peter Jackson's Weta Digital, the special-effects house that has perfected motion capture technology. That's the process of digitally replacing an actor with stunningly real computer graphics -- think "Avatar" and "Lord of the Rings." Serkis had achieved modest success on British television in his merely human form, but it was a meeting with Jackson ahead of the first "LOTR" movie that would change his life, as well as revolutionize our expectations for what film can achieve.
"Apes" moved the ball further forward, placing new demands on both the technology and the performers. After all, even the biggest JRR Tolkien fan couldn't say precisely what a Gollum looked or acted like. Apes, on the other hand, would demand striking accuracy.
Visually, the film is unparalleled, with the apes' faces conveying subtle emotion and strands of fur dancing on wind while swinging from branch to branch. But ask those involved in the process about the technology it took to achieve such effects, and you're instantly pushed toward the conversation about the man beneath the stunning digital fur.
Sure, Weta Digital director Joe Letteri acknowledges, there are aspects of performance that needed to be adjusted, given the physical differences. But Letteri insists that, without the hard work and talent of his star, no amount of special effects could create such a convincing primate.
""It really comes down to, forget you're wearing a suit, forget you're in this situation where everything is trying to record your performance," Letteri recently told The Huffington Post. "Before the audience could believe that Caesar was real, James and [co-stars] Freida [Pinto] and John [Lithgow] and everyone in the scene had to believe that Andy was Caesar."
That, Serkis said, didn't require just studying chimpanzees, though he spent an extensive amount of time doing so. The true challenge was finding a way to be a super-smart monkey, not just some hairy beast swinging from a tree.
"Apart from the ape movements and behavior, chimpanzee behavior, for my journey in this movie, it was only a part of it," he said. "Because it was more about his emotional development, his physical, his kind of cognitive development, I was studying as well as apes, I was studying gifted children, children who played piano in church at the age of four, who were advanced beyond their years."
So, the question becomes, is studying chimp behavior that much different from studying human behavior? And if the answer is no, does that make Serkis, as the heart of "Rise of the Planet of the Apes," worthy of Oscar consideration in a major acting category?
"I think a lot of people don't really understand how much that performance comes through," Letteri said, "and what the idea of performance really means, but it does cause you to start questioning it: what exactly is a performance? And to me, it's the physical and emotional force that drives the character, and at some point you just have to say, I'm moved by it, so that's a good performance."
There will soon be a large crop of stars hoping to make the similar argument with help from Weta's labs. Sam Worthington will reprise his blue alien role in two coming "Avatar" sequels, while Jackson and Spielberg are co-helming a two-part "Tintin" adaptation that sees major stars such as Daniel Craig and Simon Pegg climbing into digi-suits that render them a strange blend of life-like and cartoonish on screen.
As for Serkis himself, he's less concerned with the award for his past achievements than the brave new future that the technology -- his technology -- offers to filmmakers and actors.
"When I was a theater actor, when I started acting, that's what I loved about the art of acting, is that you could totally inhabit the mindset, the physicality of the human being or creature," he said. "So this enables you to do that to the nth degree."
That's just about as technical as Serkis is willing to go in casual conversation; he's hoping the performance speaks for itself.

Monday, November 28, 2011

British film director Ken Russell dies at 84

AP



LONDON (AP) — Ken Russell, an iconoclastic British director whose daring films blended music, sex and violence in a potent brew seemingly drawn straight from his subconscious, has died at age 84.


Russell died in a hospital on Sunday following a series of strokes, his son Alex Verney-Elliott said Monday.
"My father died peacefully," Verney-Elliott said. "He died with a smile on his face."


Russell was a fiercely original director whose vision occasionally brought mainstream success, but often tested the patience of audiences and critics. He had one of his biggest hits in 1969 with "Women in Love," based on the book by D.H. Lawrence, which earned Academy Award nominations for the director and for writer Larry Kramer, and a "Best Actress" Oscar for the star, Glenda Jackson.


It included one of the decade's most famous scenes — a nude wrestling bout between Alan Bates and Oliver Reed.
Reed said at the time that the director was "starting to go crazy."


"Before that he was a sane, likable TV director," Reed said. "Now he's an insane, likable film director."


Born in the English port of Southampton in 1927, Russell was attracted by the romance of the sea and attended Pangbourne Nautical College before joining the Merchant Navy at 17 as a junior crew member on a cargo ship bound for the Pacific. He became seasick, soon realized he hated naval life and was discharged after a nervous breakdown.


Desperate to avoid joining the family's shoe business, he studied ballet and tried his hand at acting before accepting he was not much good at either. He then studied photography, for which he did have a talent, and became a fashion photographer before being hired to work on BBC arts programs, including profiles of the poet John Betjeman, comedian Spike Milligan and playwright Shelagh Delaney.


"When there were no more live artists left, we turned to making somewhat longer films about dead artists such as Prokofiev," Russell once said.


These quickly evolved from conventional documentaries into something more interesting.


"At first we were only allowed to use still photographs and newsreel footage of these subjects, but eventually we sneaked in the odd hand playing the piano (in 'Prokofiev') and the odd back walking through a door," Russell said. "By the time a couple of years had gone by, those boring little factual accounts of the artists had evolved into evocative films of an hour or more which used real actors to impersonate the historical figures."


Music played a central role in many of Russell's films, including "The Music Lovers" in 1970 — about Tchaikovsky — and 1975's "Lisztomania," which starred Roger Daltrey of The Who as 19th-century heartthrob Franz Liszt.


"The Boy Friend," a 1971 homage to 1930s Hollywood musicals starring supermodel Twiggy, and Russell's 1975 adaptation of The Who's psychedelic rock opera "Tommy," were musicals of a different sort, both marked by the director's characteristic visual excess.


Russell's darker side was rarely far away. "Dante's Inferno," a 1967 movie about the poet Dante Gabriel Rossetti, played up the differences between Rossetti's idealized view of his wife and her reality as a drug addict.


Russell was even more provocative in his 1970 film "The Dance of the Seven Veils: A Comic Strip in Seven Episodes." It presented the composer Richard Strauss as a crypto-Nazi, and showed him conducting Rosenkavalier waltzes while SS men tortured a Jew.


"The Devils," a 1971 film starring Vanessa Redgrave as a 17th-century nun in the grip of demonic possession, was heavily cut for its U.S. release and is due to be released on DVD in Britain for the first time in 2012.
Russell told The Associated Press in 1987 that he found such censorship "so tedious and boring." He called the American print of "The Devils" ''just a butchered nonsense."


Critics were often unimpressed by Russell's work. Alexander Walker called him a master of "the porno-biography which is not quite pornography but is far from being biography." Pauline Kael said his films "cheapen everything they touch."
But admirers luxuriated in his Gothic sensibility — on display once again in "Gothic," a 1987 film about the genesis of Mary Shelley's horror tale "Frankenstein" replete with such hallucinatory visuals as breasts with eyes and mouths spewing cockroaches.


Russell said his depiction of a drug-addled Percy Bysshe Shelley was an accurate depiction of the time.
"Everyone in England in the 19th century was on a permanent trip. He must have been stoned out of his mind for years," Russell said. "I know I am."


Russell's fascination with changing mental states also surfaced in 1980 film "Altered States," a rare Hollywood foray for him, starring William Hurt as a scientist experimenting with hallucinogens. It was poorly received.
Later films included the comic horror thriller "The Lair of the White Worm" in 1989, which gave an atypical early role to Hugh Grant as a vampire worm-battling lord of the manor.


Russell also directed operas and made the video for Elton John's "Nikita."
Married four times, Russell is survived by his wife Elise Tribble and his children.
Funeral details were not immediately announced.
___
Associated Press writer Meera Selva contributed to this report.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

It's Official: Batman Is Hanging Up His Tights

For over 70 years, the criminals of Gotham City -- widely regarded as a superstitious and cowardly lot -- have been kept in check by the vigilante known as Batman. But that's about to come to a stop, as the Caped Crusader has officially announced his retirement.


At least, this version of Batman: Confirming long-standing rumors, Christian Bale revealed in an interview with The Philippine Daily Enquirer that "The Dark Knight Rises" will be the final Batman movie for both himself and director Christopher Nolan.
Even the Joker is shedding a tear.


Not that the announcement is unexpected; after all, with "the Dark Knight Rises," which just finished shooting for a July 20, 2012 release, Bale and Nolan will have made their third Batman film in the past seven years. Still, considering how successful the franchise has been -- 2008's "The Dark Knight" earned over a billion dollars worldwide by itself -- both fans and executives at Warner Bros. can be forgiven for hoping they would keep at it for a long time to come.


No such luck, according to Bale.


"I wrapped a few days ago so that will be the last time I'm taking that cowl off," Bale said "I believe the whole production wrapped yesterday, so it's all done. Everything's finished. It's me and Chris - that will be the end of that Batman era."


Of course, just because Bale and Nolan are done with Batman doesn't mean the two won't collaborate further in the future on a different project, as once Nolan gets in bed with a star (metaphorically) he likes to keep them around. Look no further than "The Dark Knight Rises" co-star Tom Hardy, who was previously featured in Nolan's sci-fi blockbuster "Inception," for proof. Not that Nolan went easy on Hardy just because they're old pals, as the role of Bane forced the up and coming star to face his greatest challenge yet: His childhood adoration of Batman.


"There's a three-year-old in me that's going, 'Oh my God that's Batman! That's Batman and he’s going to hit me! But I love Batman!,'" Hardy told Empire. "Then I look in the mirror. And I hit him back. Twice as hard."'


Which means that Bale knows exactly how fans around the world feel right now: Punched in the gut. We'll miss you, Batman.

Doctor Who News -

Doctor Who News
Tom Baker appeared at the launch of Elisabeth Sladen’s autobiography which took place on Saturday at the Doctor Who Experience in London. Baker said that meeting Sladen changed the direction of his life as it made him so happy in the role of The Doctor that her realised he could play the character for the rest of his life and didn’t need to act any more. He spoke of how they adored each other and how he fondly remembered standing arm in arm with her inside the TARDIS, giggling while they waited for their cue.

Baker was joined at the launch by former Script Editor Terrance Dicks and by Sladen’s daughterSadie Miller. Dicks remembered Sladen’s qualities of self possession, dignity and independence, qualities he drew on when writing scripts for the character of Sarah Jane, while Miller said the family were keen to have the autobiography published as a thank you to the fans of Elisabeth. 



Click here for a small gallery.

'Breaking Dawn' Wins Box Office, 'Muppets' Makes Big Cash

Huffington Post



LOS ANGELES — The latest "Twilight" movie has plenty of daylight left with a second-straight win at the weekend box office.
"The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1" took in $42 million domestically over the three-day weekend and $62.3 million in the five-day Thanksgiving boom time from Wednesday to Sunday. That raised its domestic total to $221.3 million, while the Summit Entertainment release added $71.5 million overseas to lift the international total to $268 million and the worldwide take to $489.3 million.
Debuting at No. 2 was Disney's family flick "The Muppets," with $29.5 million for the three-day weekend and $42 million over the five-day holiday haul.
Three other family films rounded out the top-five: the Warner Bros. sequel "Happy Feet Two" at No. 3 with a three-day total of $13.4 million and $18.4 million for five days; Sony's animated comedy "Arthur Christmas" at No. 4 with $12.7 million for three days and $17 million for five days; and Paramount's epic adventure "Hugo" at No. 5 with $11.4 million for three days and $15.4 million for five days.
Between "Breaking Dawn" and the blitz of family films, analysts thought Hollywood had a shot at record revenue over Thanksgiving, one of the year's busiest weekends at movie theaters. But viewers did not come in anywhere close to record numbers.
"I was pretty surprised by this. I just thought this was the perfect combination of films in the marketplace," said Paul Dergarabedian, analyst for box-office tracker Hollywood.com. "Maybe there was just too much out there."
Domestic revenue totaled $234 million from Wednesday to Sunday, well below the $273 million record set two years ago, when "The Twilight Saga: New Moon" led the Thanksgiving weekend, according to Hollywood.com. Receipts also fell short of last Thanksgiving's $264 million haul, when "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1" finished on top.
Studio executives concede it's growing harder to lure fans into theaters given all the portable games, devices and other electronics people have to fill up their entertainment time. A so-so Thanksgiving on a weekend with such a good variety of movies could be a sign that Hollywood simply has to live with diminished expectations.
"I don't know that choice is ever a bad thing, and in terms of a weekend for families, this is one of the best," said Dave Hollis, head of distribution for Disney, which brought "The Muppets" back to the big-screen after a 12-year absence. "The challenge is breaking through and being relevant and meaningful and fresh enough to take the more finicky customers and have them choose you."
Disney reported that "The Muppets" drew a good mix of families and couples without children who fondly remember Kermit, Miss Piggy and the rest of the gang on "The Muppet Show." The film stars Jason Segel and Amy Adams as fans helping to reunite the Muppets for a telethon to save their decaying studio.
"Breaking Dawn" was holding close to the pattern set by "New Moon" two years ago, though domestic revenues were off slightly. Factoring in higher ticket prices since "New Moon," the audience shrank even further for "Breaking Dawn."
"I think the audience has changed a bit. Everybody's grown a little older, and I guess we lose a few of our patrons to age," said Richie Fay, head of distribution for Summit.
With no big new releases coming next weekend, though, "Breaking Dawn" has a shot at making up some ground, Fay said.
"Happy Feet Two" has failed to live up to its Academy Award-winning predecessor, a blockbuster that took in nearly $200 million domestically. The sequel about dancing penguins has managed just $43.8 million since opening Nov. 18, a 10-day total that barely matches the opening-weekend gross of the 2006 original.
"Arthur Christmas," from the British animation unit Aardman that made "Chicken Run" and the "Wallace and Gromit" films, has long-haul potential because of its good reviews and holiday story line. The voice cast includes James McAvoy, Hugh Laurie and Jim Broadbent in a Christmas Eve romp about a child's present that falls through the cracks in Santa Claus' high-tech delivery operation.
"To have the one picture that really is kind of carrying the torch as a Christmas picture really bodes well for the future," said Rory Bruer, head of distribution for Sony.
Distributor Paramount has similar long-term hopes for Martin Scorsese's "Hugo," which also has great reviews. Based on a children's book, "Hugo" follows the adventures of an orphan boy who tends the clocks in a Paris train station and becomes caught up in unraveling a mystery that connects a surly old man (Ben Kingsley) and a mechanical automaton the youth is trying to repair.
Paramount scaled back "Hugo" from a full wide release over Thanksgiving, opening it in 1,277 theaters, about a third the number for most other top movies. The studio plans to roll the film out more gradually, spreading its marketing budget over the coming weeks to capitalize on the critical word of mouth and potential awards buzz leading up to the Jan. 24 Oscar nominations.
Critics have praised "Hugo" for Scorsese's dazzling use of 3-D. Unlike 3-D fatigue that set in for some other recent movies, whose 3-D business dipped below half of total revenues, "Hugo" audiences have been willing to pay an extra few dollars to see it in three dimensions. About 75 percent of the film's revenue came from 3-D screenings, according to Paramount.
"People are reading the reviews that say, `You've got to see it in 3-D,' and they're going out and voting with their dollars," said Don Harris, head of distribution at Paramount.
In narrower release, the Marilyn Monroe drama "My Week with Marilyn" opened solidly with a $1.8 million weekend and $2.1 million since opening Wednesday. The Weinstein Co. release stars Michelle Williams as Monroe during her tumultuous time filming Laurence Olivier's "The Prince and the Showgirl."
Playing in 244 theaters, "My Week with Marilyn" had a weekend average of $7,266 a cinema, compared with a $10,330 average in 4,066 locations for "Breaking Dawn."
Another Weinstein release, the black-and-white silent film "The Artist," had a big opening in limited release with a three-day haul of $210,414 in just four New York City and Los Angeles theaters. That gave the film an average of $52,604 a theater.
"The Artist" traces the fall of a silent-film star (Jean Dujardin) and the rise of a new screen sensation (Berenice Bejo) as talking pictures take over in the 1920s and `30s. The acclaimed film gradually expands to nationwide release during the buildup to the Oscar nominations.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Hollywood.com. Where available, latest international numbers are also included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.
1. "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1," $42 million ($71.5 million international).
2. "The Muppets," $29.5 million ($1.6 million international).
3. "Happy Feet Two," $13.4 million ($10 million international).
4. "Arthur Christmas," $12.7 million ($11.9 million international).
5. "Hugo," $11.4 million.
6. "Jack and Jill," $10.3 million.
7. "Immortals," $8.8 million ($8 million international).
8. "Puss in Boots," $7.5 million ($9 million international).
9. "Tower Heist," $7.3 million ($7.3 million international).
10. "The Descendants," $7.2 million.
___
Estimated weekend ticket sales at international theaters (excluding the U.S. and Canada) for films distributed overseas by Hollywood studios, according to Rentrak:
1. "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1," $71.5 million.
2. "Arthur Christmas," $11.9 million.
3. "The Adventures of Tintin," $11.5 million.
4. "Happy Feet Two," $10 million.
5. "Puss in Boots," $9 million.
6. "Immortals," $8 million.
7. "Tower Heist," $7.3 million.
8. "In Time," $6 million.
9. "Real Steel," $5.1 million.
10. "Moneyball," $3.3 million.