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Sox driving down 'Gone' box office?

Could Ben Affleck's beloved Red Sox be taking a bite out of the box office take for his directorial debut, "Gone Baby Gone," which pulled in a lackluster $3.9 million in its second weekend in theaters? The film - starring Casey Affleck and Amy Ryan - cost an estimated $19 million to make and box office numbers available yesterday show it's brought in $11.3 million since opening on Oct. 19. One official from Miramax, which made the Boston-set "Gone," told the Globe that because the film's opening coincided with the Sox's playoff run, that may have contributed to its low box office receipts. "Boston fans are not going to choose going to a Boston movie over watching their team," the official said, requesting anonymity because he was not authorized to speak about the film. "There's a real belief that people will catch up with it once the Sox are done playing." Meanwhile, Affleck and his wife, Jennifer Garner, were the honorary chairs of a fund-raiser Saturday night for the Boston Children's Museum, but were no-shows at the swanky event. (She's performing in "Cyrano de Bergerac" on Broadway and he was in Germany to promote his film.) As for the rest of the box office returns, "Saw IV" led with $32.1 million, maintaining the horror franchise's position as a Halloween perennial, according to studio estimates yesterday. Debuting at No. 2 was "Dan in Real Life," which took in $12.1 million. The romantic comedy, which was filmed in Rhode Island last year, stars Steve Carell, Juliette Binoche, and Dane Cook. Another movie filmed in Boston last year, "The Game Plan," earned $6.3 million in its fifth weekend. The comedy, starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, has earned $77.1 million to date. (AP, Reuters, and staff reports)

Pavarotti widow denies rumors
Luciano Pavarotti's widow has broken her silence to denounce Italian media reports alleging financial and family problems, saying she never imagined she and the late tenor would be so publicly insulted. Nicoletta Mantovani (inset) said she appeared on television to set the record straight for the sake of the couple's 4-year-old daughter, Alice. She chose the RAI state television talk show, "Che tempo che fa," conducted by a longtime friend of the family, to speak publicly for the first time since the Sept. 6 death of the great Italian tenor. She denied Pavarotti left her in debt, or that she was squabbling with his daughters from his first marriage over the terms of his will. Pavarotti left half of his estate to Mantovani and half to his four daughters. (AP)

Ford buys rights
Fashion designer Tom Ford has bought mineral rights beneath his New Mexico ranch southeast of Santa Fe in an attempt to protect his land from possible oil exploration in the region. Ford paid the state Land Office about $84,000 earlier this year to purchase the mineral rights to more than 1,400 acres, according to Land Office records. "We are protecting our land by holding these rights," said Ford's attorney, Janet McKay, who declined further comment. The purchase came in response to Tecton Energy's controversial proposal to drill eight exploratory wells on 65,000 acres, or 101 square miles, in the Galisteo Basin where it has acquired mineral rights. Ford's spread includes a working cattle ranch and an Old West movie set that has been used for several films, including the recent "3:10 to Yuma." (AP)

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