Top Story: "Chicago" Becomes Miramax's Top Grossing Pic
Miramax Films announced Tuesday that Chicago, which last month picked up six Academy Awards, including Best Picture, is now the highest domestic grossing film in the studio's history. The hit musical's box office take reach the $157.1 million mark Monday night, passing previous record holder Scary Movie, which grossed $157 million in 2000 and was distributed by Miramax's genre arm, Dimension Films. Prior to that, Miramax's top grosser was Good Will Hunting, which took in $139 million in 1997. Chicago, directed by Rob Marshall, stars Renee Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Richard Gere.
Bob Hope's 100th Birthday Bash
Celebs, including Kelsey Grammer and Dennis Miller, showed up at the first of several events to celebrate Bob Hope's 100th birthday next month, but the legendary entertainer himself was in poor health and was not able to attend. Hope's birthday is May 29, but Hollywood got a head start with Universal Studios Home Video release of The Bob Hope 100th Birthday Tribute Collection, the NBC special 100 Years of Hope and Humor and the unveiling of a plaque on one of the actor's four Walk of Fame stars, Reuters reports.
Steve Bing Wins Libel Damages
Film producer Steve Bing won libel damages Wednesday against the UK tabloid Daily Mail over an article claiming he had tried to tarnish the reputation of his former lover, actress Elizabeth Hurley, Reuters reports. The article, titled "Private eyes and sexual slurs--how Bing is trying to destroy Liz," said the producer and his co-claimant, Los Angeles lawyer Martin Singer, had "orchestrated a vicious campaign" to destroy Hurley's reputation. The Mail apologized for the embarrassment and distress it caused and agreed to pay substantial but undisclosed damages to British children's charities chosen by Bing.
Melissa Ethridge To Wed Girlfriend
Rocker Melissa Ethridge plans to marry her companion of two years, actress Tammy Lynn Michaels, at the end of this year, The Associated Press reports. Etheridge's publicist, Marcel Pariseau, declined to reveal plans for the ceremony but said it would take place in Los Angeles. Ethridge and her former partner Julie Cypher share custody of their two children. The two revealed in 2000 that musician David Crosby was the sperm donor for their children.
More Money for "Will & Grace" Cast
Will & Grace stars Debra Messing, Eric McCormack, Megan Mullally and Sean Hayes will stay on board the NBC comedy at least through the 2004-05 season under a new salary pact. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the stars are due for hefty salary bumps under the deal that will carry them through the show's seventh season. McCormack and Messing will reportedly increase the $250,000-$275,000 they earn per episode for the current season to about $400,000 per episode by the seventh season. Mullally and Hayes are set to receive only slightly less than the two leads under their revised deals.
TNN Rebrands Itself
Viacom will call the TNN network Spike TV beginning June 16. The move reflects the cable channel's intent to recast itself as a programming source for young men. TNN president Albie Hecht told the The Hollywood Reporter that adopting the male name Spike is intended to evoke the aggressive, irreverent tone the network is taking on. The network will launch a multimillion-dollar advertising campaign that will encompass on-air, outdoor and print to spread awareness for the name change and the channel's new logo, currently in the works.
Zahn Out of CNN's "American Morning"
Paula Zahn, anchor of CNN's American Morning With Paula Zahn, is getting the boot to primetime, Reuters reports. The network is moving Zahn in a 7-9 p.m. ET show titled American Evening With Paula Zahn, the time slot formerly belonging to Connie Chung's tabloid-style interview program. CNN did not name a morning replacement for Zahn but sources confirmed reports that CNN has interviewed CBS News' Jane Clayson for Zahn's slot. For the time being, Bill Hemmer will anchor the show by himself
The Dead, Dylan, Hit the Road
Bob Dylan will co-headline the second leg of The Dead and Summer Getaway Tour, set to kick off July 29 in a yet-to-be-announced location, Billboard.com reports. The two last hit the road together in 1987 on a co-headlining stadium tour that spawned the critically acclaimed 1989 live album Dylan & the Dead, which featured collaborative versions of such Dylan classics as "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" and "All Along the Watchtower."
Role Call: Scorsese Embarks on Western Epic, Aniston Joins Dark Comedy
Martin Scorsese will direct the feature adaptation of Thomas Eidson's Western epic St. Agnes' Stand for DreamWorks. The novel, which revolves around a reluctant hero who saves a nun and a group of children from Apache Indians in the 1860s, will adapted by Life of David Gale scribe Charles Randolph ... Jennifer Aniston is set to star and produce a dark comedy for New Line Cinema. The Friends star would play the wife of a wealthy politician who is confronted with her past when the 10-year-old son she gave up for adoption resurfaces in her life.
Moviegoers ate more Pie than anything else at the box office for a third straight weekend.
Universal's R rated youth appeal comedy hit sequel American Pie 2 held on to first place in its third week with a mouth-watering ESTIMATED $12.8 million (-39%) at 3,157 theaters (+85 theaters; $4,055 per theater). Pie 2, which cost about $30 million to make, has a cume of approximately $109.6 million, heading for $125-135 million in domestic theaters.
Directed by J B Rogers, it stars Jason Biggs, Shannon Elizabeth, Alyson Hannigan, Chris Klein, Natasha Lyonne, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Tara Reid, Sean William Scott, Mena Suvari, Eddie Kaye Thomas and Eugene Levy.
"It hasn't been done since Spy Kids," Universal distribution president Nikki Rocco said Sunday morning, pointing to Pie's three weeks atop the chart. Spy Kids, from Miramax's Dimension Films label, nailed down the top spot for three weeks from March 30 through April 15.
"It's a fitting way to end a great summer season for Universal," Rocco noted. "Plus, we broke $100 million with American Pie 2. With this kind of hold (it will go) past $125 million, that's for sure."
New Line Cinema's PG-13 rated action comedy blockbuster sequel Rush Hour 2 held on to second place in its fourth week with a still solid ESTIMATED $11.43 million (-40%) at 3,001 theaters (-79 theaters; $3,807 per theater). Its cume is approximately $183.3 million, heading for $210-215 million in domestic theaters.
Directed by Brett Ratner, it stars Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker.
"If it gets to $210 million, it will be the second biggest gross of the year after Shrek," New Line distribution president David Tuckerman said Sunday morning.
DreamWorks' animated summer blockbuster Shrek has grossed about $261.4 million to date. Universal's The Mummy Returns has done about $201.5 million through this weekend.
Dimension Films' R rated youth appeal comedy Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back kicked off in third place to a solid ESTIMATED $11.1 million at 2,765 theaters ($4,014 per theater).
Jay's average per theater was the highest for any film playing in wide release this weekend.
Jay had been flying high on Hollywood's advance radar screen, suggesting to some observers that it would open to a noisier $15 million or more. While the film was number one Friday with about $4.5 million, it fell by about 23 percent on Saturday to about $3.5 million, a clear sign that it was not going to hold on to the top spot.
Written and directed by Kevin Smith, it stars Smith, Ben Affleck, Shannon Elizabeth, Will Ferrell, Jason Lee, Jason Mewes and Chris Rock.
"Jay and Bob had a solid opening," David Kaminow, senior vice president, marketing for Dimension's parent company Miramax Films, said Sunday morning. "We were number one on Friday and obviously Kevin Smith has his diehard fans, who went out (to see it immediately). That's his core (audience) and I don't know how much he necessarily crosses over. We also snuck the picture last weekend and that gave his fans an opportunity to get in early. And that might have played a role in the (results this) weekend."
Asked who was on hand opening weekend, Kaminow replied, "It was young males. Young women and females (in general) weren't as strong as the males."
Dimension Films' PG-13 thriller The Others held on to fourth place as it continued to expand in its third week, still showing good legs with an ESTIMATED $8.6 million (-21%) at 2,436 theaters (+283 theaters; $3,530 per theater). Others, which cost only $17 million to make, has a cume of approximately $46.2 million.
Directed by Alejandro Amenabar, it stars Nicole Kidman.
"The Others is doing terrifically and it's holding terrifically," Miramax's Kaminow said.
Paramount's PG-13 comedy Rat Race fell two rungs in its second week to fifth place, still running hard with an ESTIMATED $8.3 million (-29%) at 2,551 theaters (+1 theater; $3,254 per theater). Its cume is approximately $25.6 million.
Directed by Jerry Zucker, it stars Rowan Atkinson, John Cleese, Whoopi Goldberg, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Seth Green, Jon Lovitz, Breckin Meyer and Amy Smart.
Warner Bros.' PG-13 baseball theme romantic comedy Summer Catch got on base in sixth place, opening to an ESTIMATED $7.54 million at 2,335 theaters ($3,227 per theater).
Directed by Mike Tollin and produced by Tollin, Brian Robbins and Sam Weisman, it stars Freddie Prinze, Jr., Jessica Biel and Matthew Lillard.
"I'm pleased with that opening," Warner Bros. Distribution president Dan Fellman said Sunday morning.
"The film had a very modest production cost (reportedly only about $19 million) and the exits with our core audience, which is females under 25, are very favorable. They scored 80 percent in the Top Two Boxes (excellent and very good) and the definite recommend is 66 percent."
Looking ahead, Fellman noted, "Next weekend, Labor Day weekend, the only two movies opening are R rated (MGM's suspense horror film Jeepers Creepers and Lions Gate Films' drama O). I think we'll hold well. We don't need a lot of money to make money on this movie and we should excel in the ancillary markets as his movies do."
Buena Vista/Disney's G rated family comedy hit The Princess Diaries slid two notches to seventh place in its fourth week, still holding well with an ESTIMATED $6.7 million (-30%) at 2,749 theaters (+23 theaters; $2,441 per theater). Its cume is approximately $82.5 million, heading for about $95 million in domestic theaters.
Directed by Garry Marshall, it stars Julie Andrews and Anne Hathaway.
Universal's Captain Corelli's Mandolin dropped two rungs to eighth place in its second week with an unexciting ESTIMATED $3.88 million (-46%) at 1,612 theaters (+17 theaters; $2,405 per theater). Its cume is approximately $14.0 million.
Directed by John Madden, it stars Nicolas Cage and Penelope Cruz.
Screen Gems' R rated sci-fi thriller John Carpenter's Ghosts of Mars opened quietly in ninth place to an ESTIMATED $3.8 million at 2,048 theaters ($1,855 per theater).
Directed by John Carpenter, it stars Ice Cube and Natasha Henstridge.
Rounding out the Top Ten was 20th Century Fox's PG-13 sci-fi action adventure Planet of the Apes, down three pegs in its fifth week with a slow ESTIMATED $3.53 million (-51%) at 1,927 theaters (-1,133 theaters; $1,832 per theater). Its cume is approximately $167.8 million, heading for $175-180 million in domestic theaters.
Directed by Tim Burton and produced by Richard D. Zanuck, it stars Mark Wahlberg, Tim Roth, Helena Bonham Carter and Michael Clarke Duncan.
This weekend also saw the arrival of DreamWorks Pictures' PG-13 rated comedy The Curse of the Jade Scorpion with a not-so-funny ESTIMATED $2.5 million at 903 theaters ($2,769 per theater).
Written and directed by Woody Allen, it stars Allen, Dan Aykroyd, Helen Hunt and Charlize Theron.
"It's very close to our expectations based on the mixed reviews, especially in Woody's core markets of New York and other large cities," DreamWorks distribution head Jim Tharp said Sunday morning.
Last summer DreamWorks released Allen's Small Time Crooks, which performed much better than the filmmaker's movies have done in recent years. "It opened to $3.8 million," Tharp said. "The reviews were good in the major markets."
Crooks, which opened May 19-21, 2000 to $3.88 million at 865 theaters ($4,486 per theater), wound up doing about $17.1 million in domestic theaters. "So this one will probably be more in line with the average of $8-10 million, which is what most of his films do," Tharp explained.
Buena Vista/Touchstone's PG-13 comedy Bubble Boy floated into theaters with a disappointing ESTIMATED $2.0 million at 1,605 theaters ($1,230 per theater).
Directed by Blair Hayes, it stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Swoosie Kurtz.
USA Films' R rated comedy Maybe Baby checked in with a quiet ESTIMATED $0.09 million at 2 theaters ($4,455 per theater).
Directed by Ben Elton, it stars Hugh Laurie and Joely Richardson.
There were no national sneak previews this weekend.
On the expansion front, this weekend saw Fox Searchlight Pictures R rated thriller The Deep End go wider in its third week with a still encouraging ESTIMATED $1.23 million at 208 theaters (+150 theaters; $5,890 per theater). Its cume is approximately $2.6 million.
Written produced and directed by Scott McGehee and David Siegel, it stars Tilda Swinton, Goran Visnjic and Jonathan Tucker.
"It was an excellent expansion," Fox Searchlight distribution president Stephen Gilula said Sunday morning. "We will be expanding further this weekend to over 250 theaters."
Gilula said he is, "thrilled at this expansion because to go this much wider we quadrupled our number of theaters and held very respectable screen averages. We've gone fairly deep into the country. We're in a lot of smaller cities (such as) Tucson, Syracuse and Tulsa, Oklahoma. And a lot of those cities actually did quite well. I'm very pleased with that."
Miramax's R rated Apocalypse Now Redux widened in its fourth week with a still promising ESTIMATED $0.39 million (-20%) at 62 theaters (+12 theaters; $5,863 per theater). Its cume is approximately $2.0 million.
Directed by Francis Ford Coppola, it stars Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall, Martin Sheen, Laurence Fishburne, Dennis Hopper and Harrison Ford.
MGM's release of United Artists' R rated youth appeal comedy Ghost World widened in its sixth week with a still lively ESTIMATED $0.35 million (-23%) at 64 theaters (+10 theaters; $5,525 per theater). Its cume is approximately $2.5 million.
Directed by Terry Swigoff, it stars Thora Birch, Scarlett Johansson, Brad Renfro, Illeana Douglas and Steve Buscemi.
Artisan's R rated comedy Made widened in its seventh week with a soft ESTIMATED $0.21 million (-44%) at 167 theaters (+6 theaters; $1,280 per theater). Its cume is approximately $4.1 million.
Written and directed by Jon Favreau, it stars Favreau, Vince Vaughn, Sean Combs, Famke Janssen, Faizon Love and Peter Falk.
On the international front, Universal celebrated a milestone as its Bridget Jones's Diary cracked $100 million. Bridget is only playing in 22 countries now and still has 60 percent of the international territories in which to open.
Bridget's opening this weekend in Germany gave it a terrific $1.4 million with 494 playdates. In the U.K., where it's now in its 20th week, Bridget's cume is $59.5 million, making it the sixth highest grossing movie ever in the U.K.
Bridget's next openings are Sept. 1 in Korea and Sept. 29 in Japan.
In its domestic theatrical run via Miramax, which made the $26 million film with Universal, Studio Canal and Working Title Films, Bridget grossed about $71.4 million.
Universal also saw its international release of Jurassic Park III hit $130 million. The film still has 18 countries in which to open, including Australia and Italy this coming weekend. With its domestic theatrical cume now at $172.6 million, JP III's worldwide cume is already at $302.6 million.
Key films -- those grossing more than $500,000 -- took in approximately $93.27 million, up about 8.94 per cent from the comparable weekend last year when key films grossed $85.62 million.
This weekend's key film gross was down about 15.49 per cent from last weekend this year when key films took in $110.37 million.
Last year, Universal's opening week of Bring It On was first with $17.36 million at 2,380 theaters ($7,295 per theater); and Warner Bros.' opening week of The Art of War was second with $10.41 million at 2,630 theaters ($3,959 per theater). The top two films one year ago grossed $27.8 million. This year, the top two films grossed an ESTIMATED $24.2 million.
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Professor Brody (Jeff Goldblum) is a mad scientist type who spends his days locked in the test tube-filled basement of his upper middle-class home in hopes of developing a potential cure for dog allergies. A group of vigilante felines led by Persian cat Mr. Tinkles sets out to sabotage the professor's work in a bid to take over the world. The dogs in order to protect their standing as man's best friend decide to send out their best undercover agent to protect the professor's lab and the Brody household but a barnyard snafu results in them sending Lou an unsuspecting and clumsy beagle instead. Rather than replace the unskilled pup the dogs decide to make do with what they have and attempt to train Lou to be a cutthroat agent. Lou's greatest challenge however is that he is not allowed to develop a bond with the Brody's which would interfere with his mission and the greater good of dogs all over the world. It's a cute story that unfortunately gets boring really quickly which is not a good thing for a film marketed to kids with short attention spans.
Golblum plays the role of Professor Brody as well as such a one-dimensional role can be played. His character spends a little too much time in the basement emerging sporadically to test his vaccines by sniffing or at times licking the family pet. It's difficult to drum up sympathy for him and his family when they get kidnapped by Mr. Tinkle's henchmen in exchange for the professor's research. The part just seems too ridiculous for an actor like Goldblum and too sharp a contrast from his past roles like Seth Brundle in The Fly or David Levinson in Independence Day. Elizabeth Perkins as Carolyn his wife and Alexander Pollock as their son Scott have minimal and unmemorable roles. There were several impressive names in the voice cast including Tobey Maguire Alec Baldwin Sean Hayes Susan Sarandon Michael Clarke Duncan Jon Lovitz and Charlton Heston but none were distinctive enough to add anything special to their animal counterparts. Hayes is entertaining enough as Mr. Tinkles but a cat can only object to wearing a bonnet and getting bathed so often.
Boone Narr who was the animal trainer and stunt coordinator on the set does a mind-boggling job with the real-life animals and the Jim Henson Creature Shop which received an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects for the film Babe created the puppets so you know they're fantastic. The different visual effects used throughout the film-including puppets animatronics and computer-generated imagery (CGI)--morph together so well it is difficult to discern where the real animals end and the puppets begin. The sets are interesting enough visually especially the Flocking Factory with its industrial revolution machinery and the dog's secret headquarters (though one has to wonder why the dogs used a human keyboard made for bony fingers rather than a more ergonomically designed one for fluffy paws). Despite all the visuals the film lulls after the first 30 minutes and doesn't regain its momentum not even at the climax. The concept is great and while everyone loves a good turf war especially between dogs and cats there just isn't enough substance to pull this film together.
Nominations for the 7th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards were announced today in Los Angeles at L.A.'s Pacific Design Center.
The unique show, honoring performers from 13 movie and TV categories, will air on TNT, Sunday, March 11 from the Los Angeles Shrine Exposition Center.
The nominations in the movie categories aren’t surprising, with frontrunners Russell Crowe’s from “Gladiator” and Golden Globe winner Julia Roberts from “Erin Brockovich” easily making the list. Golden Globe winners Tom Hanks for “Cast Away” and Kate Hudson for “Almost Famous” snag nominations as well.
Several nominees in the television categories are returning to try their luck again, namely James Gandolfini and Edie Falco from “The Sopranos,” who both won in their respective categories last year. Also, die-hard dramas, such as “ER” and “Law & Order,” are back for their superior ensemble cast performances. But the newest kid on the block, “The West Wing,” may give them a run for their money. Also, the fresh comedy series “Will & Grace” and “Sex in the City” makes a strong showing against other returning champs, such as “Fraiser” and “Ally McBeal.”
The 37th S.A.G. Lifetime Achievement Award will be awarded to longtime acting couple Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee, for their acclaimed body of work and their philanthropic endeavors with their fellow actors.
Here is the complete list of nominations:
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Lead Role
Jamie Bell -- “Billy Elliot”
Russell Crowe -- ”Gladiator”
Benicio Del Toro -- ”Traffic”
Tom Hanks -- ”Cast Away”
Geoffrey Rush -- ”Quills”
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Lead Role
Joan Allen -- ”The Contender”
Juliette Binoche -- ”Chocolat”
Ellen Burstyn -- ”Requiem for a Dream”
Laura Linney -- ”You Can Count on Me”
Julia Roberts -- ”Erin Brockovich”
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
Jeff Bridges -- ”The Contender”
Willem Dafoe -- ”Shadow of the Vampire”
Albert Finney -- ”Erin Brockovich”
Gary Oldman -- ”The Contender”
Joaquin Phoenix -- ”Gladiator”
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
Judi Dench -- ”Chocolat”
Kate Hudson -- ”Almost Famous”
Frances McDormand -- “Almost Famous”
Julie Walters -- “Billy Elliot”
Kate Winslet -- ”Quills”
Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Theatrical Motion Picture
For Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries
Alec Baldwin - “Nuremberg” (TNT)
Brian Cox - “Nuremberg” (TNT)
Brian Dennehy - “Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman” (Showtime)
Danny Glover - “Freedom Song” (TNT)
John Lithgow - “Don Quixote” (TNT)
James Woods - “Dirty Pictures” (Showtime)
For Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries
Stockard Channing - “The Truth About Jane” (Lifetime)
Judi Dench - “The Last of the Blonde Bombshells” (HBO)
Sally Field - “David Copperfield” (TNT)
Elizabeth Franz - “Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman” (Showtime)
Vanessa Redgrave - “If These Walls Could Talk 2” (HBO)
For Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series
Tim Daly - “The Fugitive” (CBS)
Anthony Edwards - “ER” (NBC)
Dennis Franz - “NYPD Blue” (ABC)
James Gandolfini - “The Sopranos” (HBO)
Martin Sheen - “The West Wing” (NBC)
For Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series
Gillian Anderson - “The X-Files” (Fox)
Edie Falco - “The Sopranos” (HBO)
Sally Field - “ER” (NBC)
Lauren Graham - “The Gilmore Girls” (WB)
Allison Janney - “The West Wing” (NBC)
Sela Ward - “Once and Again” (ABC)
For Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series
Robert Downey Jr. - “Ally McBeal” (Fox)
Kelsey Grammer - “Fraiser” (NBC)
Sean Hayes - “Will & Grace” (NBC)
Peter MacNicol - “Ally McBeal” (Fox)
David Hyde Pierce - “Frasier” (NBC)
For Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series
Calista Flockhart - “Ally McBeal” (Fox)
Jane Kaczmarek - “Malcolm in the Middle” (Fox)
Debra Messing - “Will & Grace” (NBC)
Megan Mullally - “Will & Grace” (NBC)
Sarah Jessica Parker - “Sex in the City” (HBO)
For Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series
“Law & Order”
“The West Wing”
For Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series
“Sex in the City”
“Will & Grace”