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Oct. 25, 2009 at 3:07 PM
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'Paranormal' takes over at No. 1

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 25 (UPI) -- "Paranormal Activity" and "Where the Wild Things Are" swapped spots in the movie box office rankings this weekend, Box Office Mojo said.

"Paranormal" took over at No. 1 by pulling in an estimated $22 million in ticket sales, while "Wild Things" slipped from the top spot to No. 3 with $14.42 million.

The horror show "Saw VI," directed by Kevin Greutert, opened at No. 2 with $14.8 million in gross gate receipts.

"Law Abiding Citizen" slid from second to No. 4 at $12.71 million and "Couples Retreat" was down one spot to No. 5 with $11.1 million in estimated ticket sales.

"Astro Boy," an animated movie with Freddie Highmore providing the voice for the title character, debuted at No. 6 with $7.02 million, while "The Stepfather (2009)" moved down from fifth to No. 7 at $6.5 million.

"Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant," a blood-sucker flick from Paul Weitz, opened at No. 8 with $6.35 million.

Rounding out the Top 10 were "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" at $5.6 million and "Zombieland" at $4.3 million.

Dropping out of the Top 10 were "Toy Story/Toy Story 2 (3D)," "The Invention of Lying" and "Surrogates."

"Amelia," starring Hilary Swank as the famed aviatrix Amelia Earhart, opened just out of the top tier with $4.23 million.

The Coen brothers' "A Serious Man" continues its stealthy climb, moving up to No. 12 from 15th place, grossing $1.13 million in its fourth week despite showing in just 176 theaters.


Composer Webber diagnosed with cancer

LONDON, Oct. 25 (UPI) -- British composer Andrew Lloyd Webber has been diagnosed with prostate cancer, his spokesman said in a statement.

The unidentified spokesman confirmed Webber, known for works such as "Jesus Chris Superstar" and "Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat," is being treated for cancer, the BBC reported Sunday.

"Andrew is now undergoing treatment and expects to be fully back at work before the end of the year," the spokesman said.

Webber, 61, is to open his new musical "Love Never Dies," a sequel to "The Phantom of the Opera," in February.

The BBC said the famed composer also is to take part in a BBC talent show in 2010 aimed at filling the roles of Dorothy and Toto for a theatrical production of "The Wizard of Oz."


Prince caters to fans in his home state

CHANHASSEN, Minn., Oct. 25 (UPI) -- Hall of Fame pop singer Prince offered discounted tickets and free shuttle bus service to fans attending his recent show in his home state of Minnesota.

The 51-year-old Minneapolis-born singer even took to the stage just 10 minutes after the scheduled start time Saturday night, minimizing his habit of showing up late.

The show represented the first time Prince performed an announced show at Paisley Park in Chanhassen, Minn., since 2004.

Compared with the $50 ticket prices for Prince's Musicology Tour shows at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn., the Chanhassen concert tickets were $40, $31.21 for fan-club members.

Those attending the concert were also offered free shuttle bus service from a local park-and-ride site to make entering and leaving the concert easier for fans, the Star Tribune said.

Among the songs he performed were hits like "Purple Rain" and several covers of songs by Sly & the Family Stone.


Cancer claims life of novelist Mazer

MONTPELIER, Vt., Oct. 25 (UPI) -- Novelist Norma Fox Mazer, known for her books focusing on the dark aspects of adolescence, died of brain cancer in Montpelier, Vt., her daughter, Anne, said.

Mazer, 78, enjoyed a literary career spanning more than 30 books, including 1973's "A Figure of Speech" and 1987's "After the Rain," The New York Times reported Sunday.

The novelist earned a reputation for creating believable young characters facing troubling times ranging from separating families to the death of a parent.

In a 1988 interview, Mazer attempted to clarify the intent behind her stories, saying she hoped to offer a moral, not a lecture, to readers.

"I hesitate to say I'm delivering messages," she said. "I'm writing stories and novels. I hope there's an underlying feeling for the reader -- a hope, perhaps a moral. But I'm not preaching. I'm telling stories."

Mazer, who died Oct. 17, is survived by her husband, Harry; her daughters, Anne and Linda Fox; her son, Joseph; two sisters, Adele Machia and Linda Fox; and two grandchildren.

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