The Fraser factor (or lack thereof)

Judging from News Corp’s quarterly report announced Wednesday, Brendan Fraser may wind up starring not only in the biggest hit of the year — last weekend’s box-office smash The Mummy Returns — but also the biggest flop of the year, February’s Monkeybone. The computer-animated feature, starring Fraser as a cartoonist battling a character that he created, reportedly cost $70 million and earned only $5 million. (In a remarkable comment, News Corp President Peter Chernin said during a telephone press conference Wednesday that Monkeybone “was left over from the previous administration [of ex-studio chief Bill Mechanic] … and we’ve seen that loss coming for a long time.”) The studio also took a big hit with the Farrelly brothers-produced Say It Isn’t So, starring Heather Graham and Chris Klein, which, while not so costly as Monkeybone — about $29 million — nevertheless also earned just $5 million. News Corp said that operating income for its filmed entertainment unit was $46 million for the quarter, down from $95 million for the year-ago period.