With the Vince Vaugh-Jennifer Aniston romantic comedy “The Break-Up” leading the way with a $39.2 million opening last weekend – $1 million more than originally estimated – movie ticket sales have exceeded last year’s totals for 10 out of the last 11 weekends. Add that to four out of the current top five films, “X-Men: The Last Stand,” “Over the Hedge,” “The Da Vinci Code” and “Mission: Impossible III” all having reached the $100 million mark domestically, and it would seem that the industry is rebounding from its historic box office slump of 2005. But is there really that much to celebrate? A year ago, the industry was mired in a record losing streak in which weekend revenue fell behind 2004 totals for an unprecedented 19 consecutive weekends. So this year’s crop of films has not exactly had to live up to very lofty comparisons. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE11 theater productions to see in Southern California this week, Dec. 27-Jan. 2“It’s a little bit encouraging but not something we should jump for joy over,” warned Gitesh Pandya, editor of BoxOfficeGuru.com. “We have more films this year and they are better films from the standpoint that they are what people want to pay money to see.” Pandya said that for most weekends this year, the box office revenue is still not matching overall grosses from 2004 when Hollywood had a record summer ($3.96 billion). Compared with 2005 totals, year-to-date revenue is up by 4.65 percent but attendance is up 1.5 percent. And when 2006 is compared with 2004, 8.18 percent fewer people have bought movie tickets so far this year and revenue is 2.27 percent lower despite average ticket prices being 40 cents higher. While 2002 still holds the all-time record for movie attendance, 2004 was the year of record revenue ($9.4 billion). By this time in 2004, “The Passion of the Christ” had earned most of its $370.3 million take domestically, “Shrek 2” was on its way to a $436.5 million finish and “The Day After Tomorrow” ended up grossing $186.7 million overall. Last year’s big hits were far fewer by the time June had rolled around although “Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith” had the second-biggest opening weekend in history and went on to gross $380.3 million domestically. Other $100 million-plus hits during the first five months of 2005 were “Madagascar,” “The Longest Yard” and “The Pacifier,” but there were far more disappointments. “Compared to 2004, we may not look so great but we are certainly in a better place than we were a year ago,” said Paul Dergarabedian, president of the box office tracking firm Exhibitor Relations Co. The optimism will continue this week with Friday’s release of the Pixar Animation Studios release “Cars” while the fright flick “The Omen” opens today and could enjoy significant success, according to several box office pundits. email@example.com (818) 713-3758160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!
OTTAWA — The referee of the House of Commons has given MPs a stern warning about their use of overheated partisan rhetoric lest they find themselves in a parliamentary penalty box.Speaker Geoff Regan says he’ll cut off MPs if their comments are couched in wording that veers into pointed, personal accusations during the daily question period.For days, the Opposition Conservatives have referred to the trust fund and personal wealth of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, as well as of Finance Minister Bill Morneau, in attacking the Liberals over the deep deficits they’ve run while in office.The attacks sharpened after Trudeau remarked this week that low-income Canadians don’t pay taxes, which the Conservatives argued showed how out of touch he is with everyday Canadians.Before the start of Thursday’s question period, Regan took two minutes to let MPs known he was going to start putting his foot down.Regan said anyone who skirts the line between legitimate question and personal attack may be cut off and find their turn to question the government is passed along to another MP.“I have listened carefully and patiently — perhaps too patiently — to questions put forward this week, some of which clearly fell outside of the scope of permissible questions since they had little to do with the administrative responsibility of the government,” Regan said.“I will not allow such questions or such personal attacks. I will interrupt any member who asks a question that raises a matter that does not properly deal with public policy.”His words drew heckles from the Tory benches and applause from the Liberals.Regan chided both sides for their responses.Later on, he cut off Liberal MP Matt DeCourcey when he accused the Conservatives and their leader, Andrew Scheer, of “Scheer-mongering” over immigration.When question period ended, DeCourcey told the Commons he would retract the comment, and asked to insert the word “fear mongering” instead, drawing a round of jeers from the Tory benches.“Order,” Regan shouted, before counselling DeCourcey to “apologize unconditionally.”DeCourcey agreed. He said he would “retract my use of the word” — and then added a “but.”Regan cut him off — again.“Just to be clear,” Regan said, “unconditionally doesn’t mean including the word ‘but.’ There are no ‘buts.’ Now that’s enough.”NDP MP Nathan Cullen was up next.“Sunny ways, Mr. Speaker,” he said, using Trudeau’s oft-quoted mantra. Jordan Press , The Canadian Press