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Published: Mon, November 5, 2012 @ 12:00 a.m.

newsmakers

Not wrecked by Sandy, ‘Ralph’ tops box office

NEW YORK

The weekend box office was not only undeterred by aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, it was buoyed by it.

Disney’s “Wreck-It Ralph” opened strongly with $49.1 million and Robert Zemeckis’ “Flight,” starring Denzel Washington, soared to a $25 million debut. Both opened above expectations, capitalizing on East Coast audiences looking for distraction amid the recovery from the storm.

“Wreck-It Ralph,” a 3-D animated family film about a video game villain who tries to break free of his role, is the largest box-office opening ever for Walt Disney Animation, which has produced countless cartoon classics (though doesn’t include Disney’s lucrative Pixar Animation).

Though the hurricane had forced the closure of hundreds of movie theaters in the New York, New Jersey area, most were open for business by the weekend. As many as 100 theaters were still closed on Friday, but many of those were restored during the weekend.

Paramount’s “Flight,” which had a smaller opening — 1,884 theaters, or about half the number of “Wreck-It Ralph” — might have been expected to be more harmed by Sandy, considering adult dramas generally depend heavily on the New York City market. But the film, which has found critical raves and Oscar buzz, proved particularly enticing to moviegoers, many of whom were surely pulled in by the star power of Washington, who plays an airline pilot of both heroic skill and debilitating alcoholism.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Hollywood.com:

1. “Wreck-It Ralph,” $49.1 million.

2. “Flight,” $25 million.

3. “Argo,” $10.2 million.

4. “The Man With the Iron Fists,” $10.2 million.

5. “Taken 2,” $6 million.

Lucas plans ‘little personal films’

NEW YORK

George Lucas is done with “Star Wars” but not with filmmaking.

The “Star Wars” creator says he’s looking forward to making his “own little personal films” that he doubts will be for the theater crowd.

Lucas spoke Friday night at Ebony magazine’s Power 100 Gala, days after announcing the sale of his storied Lucasfilm to Disney for $4.05 billion. The deal would allow for more “Star Wars” films.

Lucas was “very sad” let Lucasfilm go but excited about his educational foundation, which will benefit from the sale. He also plans to make more movies. His last one was this year’s “Red Tails,” about the Tuskegee Airmen, but he said he barely got it in theaters. He said the movies he’s working on now “will never get into theaters.”

Foxx, Wonder among stars honoring Murphy

LOS ANGELES

Jamie Foxx, Stevie Wonder, Arsenio Hall, Martin Lawrence and Tracy Morgan were among the stars who paid tribute to Eddie Murphy for a Spike TV special.

The entertainers joined Tyler Perry, Samuel L. Jackson, Russell Brand and Keenan Ivory Wayans for the taping of “Eddie Murphy: One Night Only” Saturday at the Saban Theater in Los Angeles.

The elusive comedian, who was nominated for an Academy Award for his supporting role in 2006’s “Dreamgirls,” said he was touched by the tribute. The 51-year-old star said he’s “a very, very bitter man.”

“I don’t get touched easily,” he said. “This is a really touching, moving thing and I really appreciate it.”

The Murphy tribute is set to air on Spike TV on Nov. 14.

Associated Press


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