It was a sad Memorial Day weekend, with the passing of Dennis Hopper this Saturday and the death of Diff’rent Strokes actor Gary Coleman. MSNBC reported Saturday that the 74-year-old Hopper died in Venice CA. from prostate cancer. On Friday, MSNBC also reported the death of former child star Gary Coleman, 42, from a brain hemorrhage in Provo, Utah. Both actors were iconic for not only the stardom but for their troubled pasts.
So long, Gary Coleman
Coleman’s trouble began after the end of six-year run of Diff’rent Strokes, first on NBC and then the final year on ABC. Due to kidney failure causing his short height, neither a dwarf nor a midget, Coleman found it hard to get steady work on TV. Always on the fringe of Hollywood, he made his way by guest appearances on 15 TV series, appeared in nine movies, over 60 talk shows, and TV retrospectives, and in 2004 Coleman appeared on an episode of The Surreal Life.
Good-bye, Dennis Hopper
Dennis Hopper started his film career in 1955 on the set of Rebel Without a Cause, before moving on to roles like Billy Clanton in John Sturgis’s Gunfight at the O.K. Corral in 1957. It wasn’t until Hopper made his mark in the 1969 classic Easy Rider, playing opposite Peter Fonda. Easy Rider is a slice of America during one of its most turmoiled points in the 20th century, a representation of the change in American society as the country slipped into a new decade. Hopper’s next venture was The Last Movie, a film, he wrote direct, and starred in, however, the film was not well received by investors and the Hollywood crowd. Then in the mid to late seventies Hopper starred in foreign films until director Francis Ford Coppola casted Hopper as the insane photojournalist in Apocalypse Now. Hopper peaked again as the Keanu Reeves’s antagonist in 1994s Speed. Hopper has stayed busy throughout the years with small parts in two to three or four parts a year. If not on the big screen, Hopper was doing television commercials for Ameriprise Financial starting in 2006. Memorial services are pending
In the News
On Thursday, the Harvard Gazette reported that actor Meryl Streep received an honorary degree as a Doctor of Arts during the morning exercises. The Boston Herald reports that Ashley Judd received her Mid-Career Master in Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government; she was one in 204 who received that degree this year.
Memorial Day Weekend Wrap-up
Last Friday the Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time jumped onto the box office charts with opening day in 3,346 theaters and with ticket sales of $10,200,000. Continuing through the Memorial Day weekend, Prince of Persia picked up another estimated $10,300,000 in sales on Saturday and $9,670,000 on Sunday placing it squarely in second place behind Shrek Forever After in daily sales. Monday’s estimated ticket sales added to the Prince of Persia’s Memorial Day weekend takes, another $9,600,000, bringing the weekend estimate to $37,800,000. In comparison to a regular Friday through Sunday weekend, and as far as films adapted from video games have done opening weekend, Prince of Persia comes in third in opening weekend sales, right behind Pokemon: The First Movie, which brought in $31,036,678 in 1999. 2001’s Lara Croft: Tomb Raider is in first place grossing $47,735,743 in its opening weekend. Adjusting for ticket price inflation, in 2010 dollars Tomb Raider would have made $67,049,300 in domestic weekend sales.
Sex and the City 2, getting a day’s head start on the Prince, opened strongly with 14 million, and gaining another estimated 13 million on Friday. Saturday’s estimated total of $10,065,000 puts in third place behind Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, but with a one-day head start Sex and the City 2 is still 14 million ahead of Prince of Persia in total domestic box office sales. Over the weekend, ticket sales for Sex and the City 2 declined from 8.6% on Friday’s showing to declining 22.6% on average each consecutive day after.
Shrek Forever After falls behind on the daily charts gaining only 11.4 million dollars while overall is bringing in $133,095,000 domestically so far in the summer season, placing it in the number two position behind Iron Man 2. Bringing in only $4,393,000 on Friday Iron Man 2 gained momentum as the long weekend progressed and picked up another $16,035,000 in weekend sales. Robin Hood picked up in ticket sales over the weekend, going from $71,177,845 to $83,024,000 domestically and from $196,177,845 to $237,624,000 in worldwide sales.
Box Office Mojo