Top Story: Alamo's Performance Bad for Eisner
The Walt Disney Co. might as well forget about The Alamo bolstering their second-quarter earnings estimate. The glorified epic, which cost the Mouse House about $140 million to make, lost the battle at the box office this weekend, taking in a paltry $9.1 million. According to Reuters, the film's luckless ticket sales have left many observers wondering if embattled CEO Michael Eisner will suffer the brunt of the shareholders' ire and possibly pave the way for Comcast Corp. to take over Disney. The Alamo was supposed to be one of be Disney's big tentpole releases of 2004, but shares of the company were down 34 cents to close at $25.70 yesterday on the New York Stock Exchange after final studio figures were released. The studio also saw disappointing numbers for its animated feature Home on the Range, which earned $8.1 million in its second week of release, bringing its take to date to $27.5
million. Eisner's survival as Disney's chief executive is contingent on the company meeting its goal of 30 percent earnings per share growth this year, as well as double-digit growth through 2007.
Britney Shopping Reality TV Series
Reps for Britney Spears are reportedly shopping a reality series featuring backstage footage of the pop princess' life on tour. According to Reuters, OnTourage, described as a cross between MTV's The Real World and Madonna's 1991 tour documentary Truth or Dare, would follow the lives of Spears and her dancers on the upcoming six-week European leg of the Onyx Hotel Tour, which kicks off April 27 in London. The shoot would produce six episodes to air as early as this summer, but the budget--projected to run north of $1 million per show--may prove too hefty by unscripted standards.
NBC Gives Trump a Raise
Real estate tycoon-turned-reality TV star Donald Trump has negotiated a big pay raise for the next two editions of his NBC series The Apprentice. The Los Angeles Times reported Monday that Trump would "at least" double the $50,000 per-show salary he gets for the current series, which follows a group of aspiring young executives vying for a job running one of his companies. The raise does not include his cut of merchandising or producing fees for the The Apprentice, which is scheduled to return for two 16-episode runs in the 2004-2005 season.
Woman Posing As Reba Aide Arrested
A woman who supposedly posed as Reba McEntire's tour manager and persuaded a 77-year-old man to pay her $2,000 for a security job with the country singer was arrested Saturday for investigation of fiduciary abuse of an elderly person, The Associated Press reports. According to officials with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, Michelle Greene, 38, allegedly told the man he should leave his job to go work for McEntire. He called authorities after Greene failed to pick him up in the tour bus. The man, who quit his job as a community aide for the sheriff's department, was allowed to resume his job with the county. According to the AP, authorities fielded calls Monday from nearly a dozen other people who said they were potential victims of the scam.
Lauren Hutton Hospitalized
Lauren Hutton, who lives in Taos, N.M., was rushed to a local hospital Monday when she began experiencing chest pain and was later airlifted to a heart hospital in Albuquerque. Dr. Harvey White, the Heart Hospital of New Mexico's medical director, told the AP Monday night that the 60-year-old actress and model underwent diagnostic tests that showed her heart is strong, adding that the symptoms "were most likely the result of a case of indigestion." Hutton, who has graced numerous Vogue magazine covers and starred in nearly 50 films, including 1980's American Gigolo alongside Richard Gere, said in a statement released by the hospital that it is important to understand the heart risk factors for women and seek treatment immediately.
Murphy Brown Actor Died From Overdose
The coroner's office said Monday that actor Murphy Brown Robert Pastorelli, who was found dead last month in a bathroom at his Hollywood Hills, Calif., home, died of a heroin overdose. Los Angeles County coroner's spokesman David Campbell also told the AP a syringe, a spoon and a plastic bag with white powder were discovered on the scene. The 49-year-old actor played the eclectic housepainter on the Candice Bergen series. He had recently finished work with John Travolta on the Get Shorty sequel, Be Cool.
Beckham Infidelity Allegations Continue
The media frenzy enveloping English soccer captain David Beckham and his wife, former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham, is growing by the minute. Reuters reports Sarah Marbeck, one of two women claiming to have had affairs with Beckham, told the UK's The News of the World tabloid Tuesday she met him in Singapore in July 2001 during a Manchester United tour--two years after the couple were married. "He said he loved me and I slept with the phone by my bed waiting for it to ring," Marbeck, 29, said. "Finally, I accepted that my relationship with Beckham was over and I decided to move forward with my life." The allegation has reignited speculation about the Beckhams' five-year marriage.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill said he was pleasantly surprised after meeting U2 lead singer Bono, initially fearing Bono would be just another rock star who wanted to use him for something. The two met during a scheduled half-hour session that lasted more than 90 minutes to discuss such issues as development aid for Africa, The Associated Press reports. "He's a serious person," O'Neill said of Bono. "He cares deeply about these issues and you know what? He knows a lot about them." Bono has become the main spokesman for Drop the Debt, a campaign for developing countries debt cancellation, and the fight against HIV/AIDS in the world's poorest countries.
Filmmaker Robert Altman (Gosford Park), who received a lifetime achievement award at this year's Berlin Film Festival, told reporters at a news conference Sunday that the coveted Silver Bear may be premature. "It's a great honor, but I hope it doesn't mean--lifetime. I have plans."
Supermodel Naomi Campbell is seeking damages for invasion of privacy from London's The Mirror over a story it published in February 2001, the AP reports. The tabloid newspaper printed a picture of Campbell leaving a Narcotics Anonymous meeting with the headline "Naomi: I'm a Drug Addict."
Although rumors of the Spice Girls' split have been circulating since Geri "Ginger Spice" Halliwell left the group in 1998, Victoria Beckham, aka Posh Spice, has just driven the final nail in the band's coffin. Beckham told Sky News Monday, "If we came out and said to everybody we've split up, everybody would say 'we knew that anyway and what do we care.' What we're saying is the truth."
First lady Laura Bush, pop princess Britney Spears and the rock group Foo Fighters will appear on a special edition of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno Monday, February 11. The Olympic Tonight Show with Jay Leno kicked off Friday with Leno checking in with Olympic correspondents Katie Couric and Bob Costa from Utah.
Author Jack Henry Abott was found dead Sunday in his single cell at Wende Correctional Facility in New York, having hanged himself with a bed sheet and a shoelace, the AP reports. Abbott, 58, gained famed when he turned his letters from prison to Norman Mailer (written between 1978 and 1981) into the best-selling book In the Belly of the Beast. At the time, Abbott was serving time for a bank robbery and for fatally stabbing a fellow inmate. Six months after his parole in 1981, which Mailer supported, Abbott stabbed and killed a 22-year old aspiring actor, resulting in Abbott's current incarceration.
Pop superstar Elton John raised $1.4 million Thursday in the fight against AIDS when he hosted his annual celebrity studded party White Tie and Tiara Ball at his mansion in Windsor, west of London.
One anonymous guest reportedly donated $420,000 to Elton John AIDS Foundation and actor Kevin Spacey paid $120,000 for a classic Mini Cooper in an auction.
Other guests at the bash included actress Kate Winslet, models Naomi Campbell and Elle Macpherson, Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, and soccer star David Beckham and his wife, Spice Girl Victoria Beckham.
"I am completely bowled over at the amount raised and would like to thank everyone for making this possible," John told The Associated Press. "It was a great party and it's so fantastic to know that the monies raised are already committed to international projects helping people affected by HIV and AIDS."
The charity funds direct care and preventative services around the world.