If you want to see a film both Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire starred in together four years ago, you’ll have to travel to Berlin to see it.
The actors both appeared in “Don’s Plum” before they became household names in America. Now the film, by first-time director R.D. Robb, will be screened at the Berlin Film Festival (Feb. 7-18).
But don’t expect to ever see it in the United States. The two stars took the filmmakers to court, saying that they never agreed to appear in the film with the intent of a theatrical release.
Under a settlement, the filmmakers agreed not to sell or release the picture in the United States or Canada. The film is a raw improvisational picture centering on group of 20-somethings hanging out in an L.A. diner.
SLAMDANCE LINEUP ANNOUNCED: Organizers of the seventh annual Slamdance Film Festival, the Jan. 20-27 event that rivals Sundance in Park City, Utah, have announced their lineup for this year. Out of 2,326 submissions, 12 features were selected, four from abroad, as well as 12 shorts. Organizers have also set aside $50,000 for cash awards to winners.
Some of the highlights include “Paul Is Dead” by German filmmaker Hendrik Handloegten. The film centers on a 12-year-old boy who believes that Paul McCartney was murdered in 1966, and searches for his killer. Last year's Grand Jury Prize winner, Frank Novak's "Good House Keeping,'' went on to Cannes and will be distributed by the Shooting Gallery this spring.
AN HONOR FOR CAGE: Oscar-winning actor Nicolas Cage will be honored next month at the Nortel Networks Palm Springs International Film Festival, The Associated Press reports.
The star of the upcoming "Family Man" will receive the Charles A. Crain Desert Palm Award for his work in films. Past recipients include John Travolta, Richard Dreyfuss, Susan Sarandon and Sophia Loren.
Planet of the Apes proved to be the 400 pound box office gorilla insiders anticipated, opening to nearly $70 million.
20th Century Fox's PG-13 sci-fi action adventure inspired by the studio's 1968 classic of the same name landed in first place with an out of this world record setting ESTIMATED $69.55 million at 3,500 theaters ($19,871 per theater).
Apes' average per theater was the highest for any film playing in wide or limited release this weekend.
Directed by Tim Burton and produced by Richard D. Zanuck, it stars Mark Wahlberg, Tim Roth, Helena Bonham Carter and Michael Clarke Duncan.
"This is as good as it gets," Fox distribution president Bruce Snyder said Sunday morning. "It's the best non-holiday weekend opening ever. Mummy Returns had that position at $68.139 million and we're going to blow past that with $69.55 million. It's the second best weekend (of any type) ever. Lost World: Jurassic Park's three day -- they had a four day of $90 million -- was $72.132 million. So we are the highest non-holiday and the second highest (for any weekend)."
An indication of the enormous expectations theater owners had for the film is that its theater count continued to rise right down to the wire. With a count of 3,494 theaters going into the weekend, Snyder said that as of Sunday morning, "It's actually 3,499. Call me crazy -- I'm calling it 3,500 now! They kept adding them. I swear, every time I saw (the total) it was like, here's another one."
Looking back, Snyder noted, "The original Apes from which the whole franchise sprang did $32.5 million (in its domestic theatrical run). I think we had that by noon yesterday!"
Asked why the new Apes has worked so well, Snyder replied "I think it's the concept. We're somewhat older audience-wise, so this isn't just about being driven by kids. This is being driven by you and I and 35-year-olds. Sixty-two percent (of those on hand opening weekend) were over 25 years of age. So we've still got some young people to get, which is terrific. That really bodes well."
Snyder did not have detailed exit poll data in hand yet early Sunday morning, but said, "I've just gotten it read to me over the phone and it played fabulously. It's a people picture."
Faced with the arrival of Apes, Universal and Amblin Entertainment's PG-13 rated action adventure fantasy sequel Jurassic Park III took a predictably sharp drop second weekend drop, falling one peg to second place with a still larger than life ESTIMATED $22.49 million (-56 percent) at 3,439 theaters (+5 theaters; $6,540 per theater). Its cume is approximately $124.8 million, heading for $175-200 million in domestic theaters.
Directed by Joe Johnston, JP III stars Sam Neill, William H. Macy, Tea Leoni, Alessandro Nivola, Trevor Morgan, Michael Jeter, John Diehl and Bruce A. Young.
Revolution Studios and Columbia Pictures' PG-13 rated romantic comedy America's Sweethearts slid one slot to third place in its second week with a still attractive ESTIMATED $15.7 million (-48 percent) at 3,011 theaters (theater count unchanged; $5,214 per theater). Its cume is approximately $59.4 million.
Directed by Joe Roth, it stars Julia Roberts, Billy Crystal, Catherine Zeta-Jones and John Cusack.
"Listen, in today's world down 48 percent is above average," Sony Pictures Entertainment worldwide marketing & distribution president Jeff Blake said Sunday morning.
"We certainly would hope even better holds lay ahead. We have survived against two of the biggest openings in history (with Jurassic III and Apes) in the last two weeks. While Rush Hour 2 lays ahead, it's pretty different (in terms of core audience) and we would hope for even better holds ahead. But off a $30 million opening and what's been going on this summer (in terms of second weekend drops in the 50 percents), this is not bad at all. I think this still points us towards $100 million and that would be a very nice target to aim at."
MGM's PG-13 rated comedy hit Legally Blonde fell two rungs to fourth in its third week, still showing good legs with an ESTIMATED $9.0 million (-19 percent) at 2,725 theaters (+30 theaters; $3,304 per theater).
Blonde, which cost only $18 million to produce,has a cume of approximately $59.8 million and is on its way to a very profitable $75-80 million in domestic theaters.
Directed by Robert Luketic, the Marc Platt production stars Reese Witherspoon, Luke Wilson, Selma Blair, Matthew Davis, Victor Garber and Jennifer Coolidge with a special appearance by Raquel Welch.
Paramount's R rated crime drama The Score dropped two notches to fifth place in its third week with an okay ESTIMATED $7.3 million (-32 percent) at 2,211 theaters (+51 theaters; $3,305 per theater). Its cume is approximately $49.4 million.
Directed by Frank Oz, it stars Robert De Niro, Edward Norton, Angela Bassett and Marlon Brando.
Cats & Dogs, the PG rated family appeal comedy from Warner Bros., Village Roadshow Pictures and NPV Entertainment, fell one peg to sixth place in its fourth week with a calm ESTIMATED $4.52 million (-34 percent) at 2,816 theaters (-224 theaters; $1,603 per theater). Its cume is approximately $81.5 million, heading for $100 million in domestic theaters.
20th Century Fox and Davis Entertainment's PG rated comedy sequel Dr. Dolittle 2 rose one notch to seventh place in its sixth week, holding very well with an ESTIMATED $4.18 million (-13 percent) at 2,190 theaters (-244 theaters; $1,906 per theater). Its cume is approximately $100.8 million, heading for $110 million in domestic theaters.
Directed by Steve Carr and produced by John Davis, it stars Eddie Murphy.
"We have a second piece of good news," Fox's Bruce Snyder said Sunday morning after talking about the studio's success with Apes. "Dr. Dolittle hit $100 million this weekend. It and Shrek were the only movies that were impervious to the [huge Apes] opening. We were only off 13 percent. I think we should scratch to $110 million."
Universal's PG-13 action drama The Fast and the Furious dipped two rungs to eighth place in its sixth week, still holding well with an ESTIMATED $3.78 million (-29 percent) at 2,415 theaters (-317 theaters; $1,565 per theater). Fast, which cost a modest $38 million, has a cume of approximately $132.2 million.
Directed by Rob Cohen and produced by Neal H. Moritz, it stars Paul Walker, Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez and Jordana Brewster.
Dimension Films' R rated horror film spoof sequel Scary Movie 2 fell two rungs to ninth place in its fourth week with a quiet ESTIMATED $2.6 million (-43 percent) at 2,179 theaters (-623 theaters; $1,193 per theater). Its cume is approximately $67.0 million, heading for $70 million in domestic theaters.
Directed by Keenen Ivory Wayans, it stars Shawn Wayans, Marlon Wayans, Anna Faris, Regina Hall, Christopher Masterson and Kathleen Robertson.
Rounding out the Top Ten was DreamWorks' PG rated computer animated blockbuster Shrek, up one notch in its 11th week and still showing good legs with an ESTIMATED $1.7 million (-24 percent) at 1,439 theaters (-112 theaters; $1,209 per theater). Its cume is approximately $255.5 million on its way to $260 million or more.
Directed by Andrew Adamson and Vicky Jenson, its voice talents include Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz and John Lithgow.
This weekend also saw the arrival of USA Films' R rated comedy Wet Hot American Summer with a hopeful ESTIMATED $0.021 million at 2 theaters ($10,397 per theater).
Directed by David Wain, it stars Janeane Garofalo and David Hyde Pierce.
Buena Vista/Disney held very well attended sneak previews at 1,150 theaters this weekend of its G rated family appeal comedy The Princess Diaries.
Directed by Garry Marshall, it stars Julie Andrews and Anne Hathaway.
Disney said Sunday morning that 45 percent of the theaters were sold out and the rest played to 80-90 percent of capacity. Those on hand covered the entire age spectrum and scored the film 91 percent in the Top Two Boxes (excellent and very good.)
Diaries opens wide this Friday (Aug. 3).
On the expansion front, this weekend saw Artisan's R rated comedy Made widen in its third week with a still encouraging ESTIMATED $0.63 million at 195 theaters (+86 theaters; $6,005 per theater). Its cume is approximately $1.3 million.
Written and directed by Jon Favreau, it stars Favreau, Vince Vaughn, Sean Combs, Famke Janssen, Faizon Love and Peter Falk.
Miramax's R rated French comedy The Closet went wider in its fifth week with an okay ESTIMATED $0.37 million (+9 percent) at 98 theaters (+33 theaters; $3,775 per theater). Its cume is approximately $1.8 million.
Directed by Francis Veber, it stars Daniel Auteuil, Gerard Depardieu, Thierry Lhermitte and Michele Laroque.
Fox Searchlight's R rated critically acclaimed British crime thriller Sexy Beast added a few theaters in its seventh week, still holding well with an ESTIMATED $0.34 million (-17 percent) at 193 theaters (+5 theaters; $1,780 per theater). Its cume is approximately $5.1 million.
Directed by Jonathan Glazer, it stars Ray Winstone and Ben Kingsley.
Lions Gate Films' PG-13 rated drama Songcatcher continued to widen in its seventh week with a soft ESTIMATED $0.18 million (-19 percent) at 104 theaters (+13 theaters; $1,750 per theater). Its cume is approximately $1.6 million.
Directed by Maggie Greenwald, it stars Janet McTeer and Aidan Quinn.
MGM's release of United Artists' R rated youth appeal comedy Ghost World widened in its second week with a lively ESTIMATED $0.13 million (+29 percent) at 8 theaters (+3 theaters; $16,000 per theater) in Los Angeles, New York and Seattle. Its cume is approximately $0.3 million.
Directed by Terry Zwigoff, it stars Thora Birch, Scarlett Johansson, Brad Renfro, Illeana Douglas and Steve Buscemi.
MGM said that this Friday (Aug. 3) Ghost will add 7 more markets and 14 theaters, bringing its total for the weekend to 22 theaters and 10 markets.
Fine Line Features' R rated rock musical drama Hedwig and the Angry Inch added a few theaters in its second week with a still hopeful ESTIMATED $0.11 million (-30 percent) at 11 theaters (+2 theaters; $9,924 per theater). Its cume is approximately $0.4 million.
Directed by John Cameron Mitchell, who also wrote adapted his hit Off-Broadway play to the screen, Hedwig stars Mitchell in its title role.
Key films -- those grossing more than $500,000 -- took in approximately $148.47 million, up about 18.04 percent from the comparable weekend last year when key films grossed $125.78 million.
This weekend's key film gross was up about 5.86 percent from last weekend this year when key films took in $140.24 million.
Last year, Universal's opening week of Nutty Professor II: The Klumps was first with $42.52 million at 3,242 theaters ($13,115 per theater); and DreamWorks' second week of What Lies Beneath was second with $22.86 million at 2,825 theaters ($8,093 per theater). The top two films one year ago grossed $65.4 million. This year, the top two films grossed an ESTIMATED $92.1 million.
Like it or not, a superstar maintains the right to be busy. And like it or not, Leonardo DiCaprio is a busy superstar.
The "Titanic" superstar has temporarily dropped out of his next project, DreamWorks' "Catch Me If You Can," The Hollywood Reporter says. The studio has yet to decide on whether to recast the role or to wait for a possible change of mind from the actor.
The project, which co-stars "The Sopranos'" James Gandolfini, is based on the life of Frank Abagnale Jr., a scam artist/impersonator who successfully committed frauds in 26 foreign countries.
DiCaprio is currently shooting Martin Scorsese's big gangster flick "Gangs of New York," which is running two weeks over schedule.
POETIC MUSING: Actor Johnny Depp is about to add poet Christopher Marlowe to his career of playing eccentric characters. The Reporter says that Depp, along with Jude Law, will co-star in the film "Marlowe," based on the life of the 16th century poet and playwright. Depp will assume the title role.
MEETING OF THE FISTS: Daily Variety reports that Ving Rhames and Wesley Snipes are in talks to star in "Undisputed." The prison drama follows an imprisoned heavyweight boxing champ (Rhames) who finds his match in the slammer's own boxing champ (Snipes).
KATIE 'ABANDONED': "Dawson's Creek's" Katie Holmes might star in the psychological horror film "Abandoned," according to Variety. In the film, Holmes is slated to play a university undergrad tormented by ghostly visions of her ex-lover.
Surprise, surprise ... Leo is a wanted man. Daily Variety reports today that the 25-year-old global heartthrob is in final talks to star in DreamWorks’ "Catch Me If You Can," a flick based on the life of Frank Abagnale Jr., whose prolific criminal record landed him the infamous title of being the only teenager to ever grace the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted List in the mid-1960s.
DiCaprio is expected to make the young fugitive tale after his next project, Martin Scorsese's "Gangs of New York," wraps.
Scripted by Jeff ("Rush Hour") Nathanson, the flick is slated to go in front of the cameras in March 2001. Gore ("The Mexican") Verbinski and David ("Fight Club") Fincher are front-runners to helm the film.
Can you picture pretty Leo DiCaprio as a gangsta? DreamWorks hopes so. The Hollywood Reporter says the studio is courting DiCaprio to star in "Catch Me If You Can," a biopic about real-life criminal Frank Abagnale, the youngest man ever to make the FBI Most Wanted list.
Here's a twist: The movie would probably be directed by Gore Verbinski, who made "Mousehunt" and just finished a flick called "The Mexican" with Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts.
COUNTING TO ELEVEN: Confirming a weeks-old rumor, Pitt has joined the increasingly expensive cast of the forthcoming "Ocean's Eleven" remake, to be directed by Steven Soderbergh. Also confirmed for the flick are George Clooney, Julia Roberts and Mark Wahlberg. Word has it that Clooney's taking the Frank Sinatra role, while Pitt's playing the Dean Martin character. But who'll be the new Norman Fell?
NO SPRING CHICKENS: Elizabeth Taylor will go back in front of the camera again, to shoot two "campy scenes" for the ABC-TV movie "Those Old Broads." It also stars Debbie Reynolds, Shirley MacLaine and Joan Collins, according to Variety. It's Taylor's first film work since 1994's "The Flintstones."
William H. Macy WHITHER FONZIE? Sometimes even a cool guy like The Fonz can't get a break. Or can he?
Henry Winkler's Emmy nomination in the comedy guest actor category, for his appearance on "Battery Park," was rescinded because the episode that he appeared in didn't air until June, after the Emmy eligibility period. Instead, William H. Macy was nominated for an appearance on "Sports Night."
Not to fret, Fonz fans: Winkler's also nominated in the drama guest actor category for an appearance on "The Practice."
It's not easy being the most famous man in the world. Nasty rumors about you are circulated on the Internet. The press watches your every move. Make one stinkin' movie in a third-world country and all of a sudden you're an environmental terrorist.
It's enough to drive a guy to punch a photographer, Frank Sinatra-style. Or, in the case of Leonardo DiCaprio, it's enough to drive a guy to hire his own media. (Heck, at $20 mil per movie, he can afford it).
And when "The Beach" premiered at Mann's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood last week, that's pretty much what happened.
Leonardo DiCaprio, you see, isn't just the most-tracked star on the movie universe -- he's the most "innovative." (Hey, even his own camp says so.)
To be sure, the guy does know a thing or two about the power of, well, power. Word around the campfire was that unless Leo personally OK'd a TV crew, newspaper, magazine or Web site for the red-carpet festivities at the Chinese, the outlet's requisite reporter types weren't invited. (Neither were the environmentalist protesters, of course, but they came anyway.)
Although some media types were shut out of the premiere, the crew from the Official Leonardo DiCaprio Homepage (www.leonardodicaprio.com) was there in full force. Deemed "DiCaprio's personal media" by Variety, the site beamed out live streaming video coverage of the event.
Forget all that silly environmental nonsense, or those stories of barroom fights and late-night carousing with his homeboys, bodyguards roughing up photographers and his friend (rapper Q-Tip) smashing a paparazzo's camera. The Official Leo Homepage people gave the teen-age girls what they want: the baby-faced superstar.
A sample of the hard-hitting coverage: "A football field length of red carpet turned sidewalk into catwalk in front of the entrance to the theater as the press, standing three deep along the rope line, screamed, yelled, cajoled, flashed, filmed, taped and recorded the arrivals of celebrity, cast and crew. ... Appearing relaxed and happy, Leonardo emerged from his limousine dressed in a navy blue Armani suit, dark silk shirt and matching tie. [He] was all smiles and spent a little moment with just about every journalist who shrieked for a little bit of his time."
Manipulative? Perish the thought. Chuck Smith, a rep of DiCaprio's Birken Studios, says the players of Team Leo are "innovators" in movie-star spin control. "We're trying to gain some control over Leonardo's image because of the complete saturation during the 'Titanic' run," he told Variety, failing to mention all the other stuff that's happened since the big-boat movie. DiCaprio's people have been handling the star's hype ever since Leo fired his big-name PR firm, Baker Winokur Ryder, last year.
On the opposite side of the ideological spectrum, the owner of "The Anti Leonardo DiCaprio Revolution" Web site (http://gladstone.uoregon.edu/~mberglan/antileo.html), one of more than a dozen DiCaprio-bashing sites on the Net, thinks the star's media games are a joke.
"Journalism coverage should be unbiased, and his power over the coverage obviously compromises that," says Michael Bergland. "To have the actual subject of coverage pick and choose who writes the story is a step too far. They might as well ban the media all together and have Leo issue a press release."
Actually, the most interesting press release issued after "The Beach" premiere at the Chinese wasn't from DiCaprio, or from 20th Century Fox, which released the film, but from the premiere-crashing environmentalists and their group Justice for Maya Bay International Alliance (JUMBIA). Their dispatch not only railed about the environmental crimes allegedly perpetrated by what they call "the bulldozer movie," but took potshots at DiCaprio fans and the Fox spin doctors, as well.
"The premiere attracted only a small crowd of about 150 DiCaprio fans," the bean counters at JUMBIA declared. "Fox agents led them in practice squeals before the heartthrob himself arrived. When the protesters began chanting, distributing flyers, and holding out their signs, every television camera not controlled by Fox agents scurried to film them, and print media reporters asked for interviews."
For the uninformed, the protestors allege that Fox, DiCaprio and makers of "The Beach" illegally filmed on a beach in Phi Phi Leh Island, Thailand, that's designated as a national park, desecrating the local ecosystem. During production of the movie, environmentalists on the Thai island wore DiCaprio masks with bloody fangs in protest.
To be sure, environmental havoc is nothing to pooh-pooh, but Leo's latest publicity snafu seems tame compared to some of his other tabloid-fodder escapades and publicity missteps. He hasn't made a movie in two years, yet he's made so many (oft-unflattering) headlines that it's perhaps understandable if he hates reporters (he does).
It makes a guy want to take a page from Sinatra's book and give those parasites a knuckle sandwich. Oh, wait, Leo's the world's biggest celebrity. He has bodyguards and sidekicks for that.