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Archive for Monday, April 10, 2006

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April 10, 2006

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'Ice Age' continues box-office warming trend

Los Angeles - Score one for the prehistoric animals.

The 20th Century Fox family tale "Ice Age: The Meltdown" took in $34.5 million to remain the No. 1 movie for a second straight weekend, according to studio estimates Sunday.

The animated sequel fended off Sony's Rob Schneider-David Spade baseball comedy "The Benchwarmers," which debuted as runner-up with $20.5 million.

Premiering in third place was New Line's "Take the Lead," a ballroom dance tale starring Antonio Banderas that took in $12.8 million.

The Weinstein Co. crime romp "Lucky Number Slevin," starring Josh Hartnett, Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman and Ben Kingsley, debuted at No. 5 with $7.1 million. Fox Searchlight's comedy "Phat Girlz," starring Mo'Nique as a designer of plus-sized clothes, premiered at No. 9 with $3.1 million.

Fox Searchlight's "Thank You for Smoking" expanded to its widest release yet and broke into the top 10. The film expands to nationwide release this Friday.

"Ice Age: The Meltdown," with Ray Romano, Denis Leary, John Leguizamo and Queen Latifah providing the voices of prehistoric creatures on the run from global warming, raised its 10-day domestic total to $116.4 million.

It became the first movie released this year to cross the $100 million mark. While the first few months of the year are Hollywood's slowest, the industry usually has produced a $100 million hit by February or March.

Still, Hollywood had another big showing overall, with revenues soaring for a second straight weekend. The top-12 movies took in $105.1 million, up 33 percent from the same weekend in 2005.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Exhibitor Relations Co. Inc.:

1. "Ice Age: The Meltdown," $34.5 million.

2. "The Benchwarmers," $20.5 million.

3. "Take the Lead," $12.8 million.

4. "Inside Man," $9.2 million.

5. "Lucky Number Slevin," $7.1 million.

6. "Failure to Launch," $4.1 million.

7. "ATL," $3.75 million.

8. "V for Vendetta," $3.4 million.

9. "Phat Girlz," $3.1 million.

10. "Thank You for Smoking," $2.4 million.

Animal magnetism

New York - When someone picks up a pet from a shelter, it's not just the animal that gets rescued, Bernadette Peters said.

"They realize that you've saved them, and now they're there to maybe save you or connect with you," the actress said on ABC's "This Week" on Sunday. "They're very, very appreciative of being picked."

As the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals turns 140 today, the Broadway star said it's "sort of a sin" that animals are euthanized when no one will adopt them.

"The rescued animals come with a history," she said. "They know their life is different now. They know that something has changed. They say dogs don't have memories, but I really do think that they do, dogs and cats."

Peters, the proud owner of a mutt, Kramer, said she believes it's her job to help abandoned animals find homes.

"I think that the more and more people connect to them, then we'll realize what an invaluable spirit this is," she said.

Theron wins GLAAD award

Los Angeles - Charlize Theron was honored with a top prize Saturday from the country's leading gay organization that monitors the media.

The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation presented its Vanguard Award to Theron at the 17th annual GLAAD Media Awards for increasing "visibility and understanding in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community."

"This is very surreal for me because two years ago, I stood right here and won my Oscar for 'Monster,'" Theron said in ceremonies at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood. Her portrayal of lesbian serial killer Aileen Wuornos in "Monster" won her the 2003 Academy Award for best actress.

Last year, Theron told TV's "Extra" that she and her partner, Stuart Townsend, would not wed until gay and lesbian couples attained the legal right to marry.

"I feel so fortunate that I am in a relationship with a wonderful man," Theron said Saturday night. "I find it incredibly unfair that because of our sexual preference, we have the rights that we have, and that, because of someone else's sexual preference, they don't have those same rights."

Career makeover for 'Malcolm'

Long Beach, Calif. - Frankie Muniz is going to take a break from acting to be a professional race car driver. Muniz, the star of TV's "Malcolm in the Middle" for the past seven years, recently wrapped up the final episode of the hit show and turned his attention to driving race cars for at least the next two years.

The 20-year-old Muniz got fired up about racing in 2004 when he was invited to take part in the Toyota Pro-Celebrity Race that has been a part of the Grand Prix of Long Beach for 30 years.

He came back last year and won the race and is making his third appearance this year in the event on the streets of downtown Long Beach.

Muniz said Saturday he will race this season for Jensen Motorsport in Formula BMW and hopes to move up to the Atlantic Series, the steppingstone to Champ Car, in 2007.

"I'm going to make it my full-time deal right now because you kind of have to," Muniz said. "You can't really juggle both (acting and racing) because, if you do, you just don't get enough time in the car. And I really love racing and this is what I want to do right now and for the next two years, and potentially more."

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