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Box office top-10 lineup little changed in week

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Robert De Niro and Ben Stiller's "Little Fockers" remained the top draw at the weekend box office with $26.3 million, according to studio estimates Sunday.

It was closely followed by Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon's Western, "True Grit," which was No. 2 for the second straight weekend with $24.5 million.

"Little Fockers," released by Universal, raised its domestic haul to $103.2 million. Paramount's "True Grit" lifted its total to $86.8 million, becoming the top-grossing film ever from directors Joel and Ethan Coen, whose previous best was $74.3 million for "No Country for Old Men."

With no new wide releases out over New Year's weekend, the Hollywood top 10 lined up largely the same as it did over the Christmas holiday.

Bridges also had the No. 3 film with Disney's sci-fi sequel "Tron: Legacy" at $18.3 million, while Dan Aykroyd's family flick "Yogi Bear," from Warner Bros., was fourth with $13 million.

After a sluggish fall and holiday season, Hollywood is off to a slow start in 2011. Overall revenues came in at $158 million, down 28 percent from New Year's weekend a year ago, according to box-office tracker


Internet users paying up

NEW YORK (AP) -- The Web may seem like the land of something for nothing. Free video. Free news. Even free tools such as word processing and spreadsheets.

But almost two-thirds of adult Internet users in the U.S. have paid for access to at least one of these intangible items online, according to a new survey from the Pew Internet and American Life Project.

As people shift their attention to the Internet from more traditional ways of enjoying media, the companies that provide everything from movies to mystery novels want to make sure they can still get paid for what they do. The big TV networks want viewers to pay for full access to episodes of their favorite shows. Newspaper companies want readers to pay for news. Book publishers want higher prices for digital editions of new releases.


Ethics code considered

A professional association of U.S. economists is considering establishment of an ethics code, a move that could require members to disclose their ties to financial firms and potential conflicts of interest.

The American Economic Association, the world's largest organization for economists, is set to take up a proposal Jan. 6 that would attempt to codify ethics guidelines for economists. The Nashville, Tenn.-based group says about half of its 18,000 members are academic economists.

"The topic is on the agenda for the executive committee meeting next Thursday," Robert Hall, AEA president and an economics professor at Stanford University, said in an e-mail Sunday. "More info may be available after the meeting."

Criticism of the dual role of economists came to the fore after the October release of "Inside Job," a documentary that features economists being interviewed by the film's director about their ties to financial firms.


Ford touts audio block

DETROIT -- Ford is planning to give parents even more power over teenagers with technology that can block out explicit satellite radio channels such as Howard Stern and Playboy Radio.

The new feature will debut next year as standard equipment on the Ford Taurus and Ford Explorer, and will eventually be available across most Ford and Lincoln vehicles.

"Ford wants to give parents peace of mind that their kids are following practical household rules in the car," Graydon Reitz, Ford's director of electrical and electronic systems engineering, said in a statement.

The technology works by screening out more than a dozen channels labeled by Sirius Satellite Radio as "explicit" and will be part of Ford's MyKey system.

Sirius XM Radio could not be immediately reached to comment. According to its Web site, the company already allows customers to block channels with explicit programming by calling a toll-free number and requesting a family plan.

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