Tattle: New "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" unseats "Django" at the box office

Posted: January 07, 2013

WHAT DOES IT TAKE to take down a killer ex-slave?

A chainsaw.

Movie-studio estimates Sunday show the horror sequel "Texas Chainsaw 3-D" at No. 1 with a $23-million debut. The follow-up to 1974's "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" has masked killer Leatherface on the loose again.

Quentin Tarantino's revenge saga "Django Unchained" held on at No. 2 for a second-straight weekend with $20.1 million, raising its domestic total to $106.4 million.

After three weekends at No. 1, part one of Peter Jackson's "The Hobbit" trilogy slipped to third with $17.5 million. That lifts the domestic haul to $263.8 million for "The Hobbit," which also has topped $500 million overseas to raise its worldwide total to about $800 million.

Viva la Russia

French actor Gerard Depardieu has received a Russian passport after flying to Russia for a late-night dinner with President Vladimir Putin.

Depardieu sought Russian citizenship as part of his battle against a proposed super tax on millionaires in France, and Putin granted his request last week.

Coincidentally, Depardieu starred with Andie MacDowell in the 1990 romantic comedy "Green Card," in which he tried to get American citizenship.

Russian television showed Putin embracing the actor as he arrived late Saturday at the president's residence in Sochi, the host city of the 2014 Winter Olympics. The two men were then shown chatting over supper, discussing a soon-to-be-released film in which Depardieu plays Russian monk Grigory Rasputin.

* Sex symbol-turned-animal-rights activist Brigitte Bardot is threatening to join Depardieu in Russian exile, but not because of France's aggressive tax rates.

She wants the country to halt the scheduled euthanasia of two sick circus elephants.

The 1960s screen diva says that authorities have ignored her "numerous proposals" to save Baby and Nepal, a pair of 42-year-old elephants dying of tuberculosis at a Lyon zoo.

In a statement on her foundation's website, Bardot says that if the elephants are killed, she will request Russian citizenship "to flee this country that is now just a graveyard for animals."

It is unclear to Tattle if Bardot is upset that the zoo is choosing to euthanize the elephants or refusing to treat their tuberculosis. We're not in favor of wholesale euthanasia, but we're guessing that caring for two dying elephants could be problematic.

The 'Critics' speak

The National Society of Film Critics selected "Amour" as the best picture of 2012 during its annual meeting Saturday.

The critics chose the star of "Amour," Emmanuelle Riva, as the best actress, and Daniel Day-Lewis was chosen best actor for "Lincoln."

The group of 60 prominent movie critics from around the country made its picks at Lincoln Center, so the fix was probably in.

Austrian director Michael Haneke won best director for "Amour." The French-language movie depicts the slow deterioration of the elderly woman played by Riva. It has been praised as an unflinching look at old age and death.

Good times.

Playwright Tony Kushner won best screenplay for "Lincoln."

Amy Adams was chosen best supporting actress for "The Master," and Matthew McConaughey was selected best supporting actor for "Magic Mike" and "Bernie."

The prize for best nonfiction film went to "The Gatekeepers," director Dror Moreh's exploration of intelligence operations by Israel's Shin Bet security agency.

Mihai Malaimaire was honored for best cinematography for "The Master."

This year's awards were dedicated to the late Village Voice critic Andrew Sarris, a founding member of the society, who died last year.


* Unpublished early color photographs of The Beatles' first U.S. tour will be sold at a U.K. auction.

The photos were taken during the moptops' 1964 visit, when color film was expensive and most images of the group were in black and white.

The images were taken by Dr. Robert Beck, who died in 2002 and left them in an archive of photographs and slides in his Hollywood home.

Omega Auctions said Sunday that the images will be sold March 22 - exactly 50 years after The Beatles released their first album.

* The producers of Feb. 24's Oscars telecast say the show will feature a celebration of James Bond.

Producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron announced Friday that the show will pay tribute to the 50th anniversary of the James Bond film franchise, which they describe as "the longest-running motion picture franchise in history and a beloved global phenomenon."

The most recent Bond film, "Skyfall," was released in November and has made more than $1 billion worldwide - a franchise record.

Jenny McCarthy says that she's looking to Hugh Hefner's old "Playboy After Dark" as an inspiration for her new talk show.

Jenny's first guests will be Sammy Davis Jr. and Buddy Rich.

Daily News wire services contributed to this report.

Email gensleh@phillynews.com.

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