'Shark Tale' nets second No. 1

Los Angeles -- "Shark Tale" remained the big fish at the box office, with the animated comedy taking in $31.7 million to hold the No. 1 spot for a second straight weekend.

Billy Bob Thornton's "Friday Night Lights," based on the real-life fervor for high school football in small-town Odessa, Texas, debuted in second place with $20.6 million, according to studio estimates Sunday.

Another holdover, the firefighting drama "Ladder 49," came in third with $13.3 million, while the Queen Latifah and Jimmy Fallon action comedy "Taxi" had a so-so opening weekend of $12.05 million to place fourth.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at North American theaters, according to Exhibitor Relations Co. Inc.:

5. "The Forgotten," $7.5 million.

6. "Raise Your Voice," $4.6 million.

7. "Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow," $2.3 million.

8. "Shaun of the Dead," $1.6 million.

9. "The Motorcycle Diaries," $1.4 million.

10. "Resident Evil: Apocalypse," $1.25 million.

Elway's doggone fines

Cherry Hills Village, Colo.-- Former NFL quarterback John Elway's Alaskan malamute has gotten him in trouble -- again.

Elway, who's been cited at least six times for the family dog's escapades, appeared in court Thursday and was fined $200 because the dog, Kimo, got loose in Elway's neighborhood while Elway was being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in August.

Elway told the judge he was dog-sitting the 150-pound pet, who normally lives with his former wife, Janet.

He also said he would never dog-sit again, said Michelle Edwardson, a Cherry Hills animal control officer.

"I'm a football fan, and I'm an Elway fan, but I honestly believe in pet responsibility, and everybody should be treated the same," Edwardson said.

Merchant, Ivory plan new film

Shanghai, China -- Famed for their high-minded dramas set in exotic locales, the producing-directing team of Ismail Merchant and James Ivory are taking on Shanghai for their 47th movie.

Set in the vibrant, cosmopolitan city of the 1930s, "The White Countess" portrays the relationship between a blind, disillusioned former American diplomat played by Ralph Fiennes and an exiled Russian noblewoman portrayed by Natasha Richardson.

The movie marks a return to the pair's trademark period dramas after a detour into modern farce with last year's "Le Divorce." Vanessa Redgrave, Lynn Redgrave, John Wood and Madeleine Potter also appear in the film.

Royal designs

Copenhagen, Denmark -- Denmark's Queen Margrethe will design the costumes and scenery for an upcoming play based on the fairy tale "Thumbelina," written by Hans Christian Andersen.

The popular 64-year-old monarch has done this kind of work before. In 2001, she designed the outfits and scenery for a play inspired by three of Andersen's fairy tales.

"It is a great honor and privilege to be able to work with another show," she said.

The play will be performed next year in Tivoli gardens.


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