Nicky Hilton's marriage to Todd Meister annulled
To think they had appeared so happy. Hotel heiress Nicky Hilton's flash-in-the-pan marriage is officially over--after less than three months. Hilton, 21, married New York hedge fund manager Todd Meister, 33, in an unexpected shotgun wedding in Las Vegas on August 15. Reuters reports a judge granted the annulment Monday. Representatives for the couple have been quoted as saying: "Both parties have ended their marriage amicably, and they remain good friends." Us Weekly reported first Hilton was seeking an annulment last month. The magazine quoted unnamed friends as saying Hilton thought she was too young to be married and her relationship with Meister had been essentially platonic. But in the November issue of Stuff magazine, Hilton claimed that her August wedding was planned and that her sister "Paris orchestrated everything."
Zellweger plans break from acting
Renee Zellweger, who stars in the upcoming Bridget Jones sequel, said she is taking an extended break from acting. Zellweger told Reuters in a recent interview she wants to step away from the limelight and learn what it is like to be just a regular person. "I don't see myself climbing into a makeup chair any time soon and taking another role. I feel like I need to take a minute and have a little bit of life experience," she said. The 35-year-old star, who won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar earlier this year for her role as farm girl Ruby Thewes in U.S. Civil War drama Cold Mountain, declined to say how long her break from filming would last. She next appears in Ron Howard's The Cinderella Man, which opens June 3, 2005.
Minnelli sues former chauffeur
Liza Minnelli filed a breach-of-contract suit Tuesday in Manhattan Supreme Court against her longtime personal assistant, Reuters reports. The lawsuit comes one month after M'hammed Soumayah, Minnelli's former chauffeur, reportedly accused the entertainer of beating him during alcohol-fueled rampages. Minnelli is seeking at least $250,000 in damages and a court order against Soumayah and accuses him of breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty. Soumayah, 56, filed suit against Minnelli last month but the case that was immediately sealed by a judge.But according to media reports at the time, his attorney was quoted as saying Soumayah was repeatedly assaulted by Minnelli when she was drunk.
Cat Stevens receives apologies form Americans
Yusuf Islam, the singer formerly known as Cat Stevens, says he has received numerous apologies from Americans who are embarrassed the U.S. government deported him over potential terrorism links. "I have got more apologies from Americans since that time than you can count," Islam, 57, said in an interview with Reuters Wednesday. "So, I'm quite satisfied with the spirit of most people and probably it was a mistake." Islam, who received a peace award in Rome from a group of Nobel Prize winners, was traveling on a commercial plane from London to Washington when it was diverted to Bangor, Maine. U.S. Homeland Security deported him after his name turned up on U.S. "no fly" lists because of activities they said could be potentially linked to terrorism.
ABC looking good in TV sweeps
Backed by Desperate Housewives, Lost and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, ABC won the coveted 18-49 year old demographic in the first ratings "sweeps" month of the new season, the AP reports. CBS won the week, averaging 12.9 million viewers followed by NBC (11.3 million); ABC (11 million); Fox (6.3 million); the WB (4.1 million); and UPN (3.6 million). The top 10 shows were: CSI: Crime Scene Investigation CBS; Desperate Housewives, ABC; Without a Trace, CBS; Survivor: Vanuatu, CBS; Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, ABC; Lost, ABC; Cold Case, CBS; 60 Minutes, CBS; ER, NBC; The Apprentice 2, NBC.
Douglas, Lewis earn medal for blacklist fight
Their courageous stand against the Hollywood blacklist has earned veteran actor Kirk Douglas and producer Edward Lewis the Freedom of Expression Medal from the Institute of Modern Letters. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the pair received a standing ovation Monday when they accepted the honor in recognition of their decision to let blacklisted writer Dalton Trumbo use his real name in the screenplay credits for Spartacus in 1960, which, at the time, was a serious risk for Douglas, who starred in the film and helped produce it with Lewis. "The most precious thing in our land is freedom," Douglas told a receptive audience at UCLA's School of Theater, Film and Television.
Patty Duke recovering from heart surgery
Actress Patty Duke, who won a best-supporting Oscar in 1963 for her portrayal of Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker, was released from an Idaho hospital after undergoing single heart bypass surgery earlier this month, the AP reports. Hospital spokeswoman Lisa Johnson said Duke, 57, was released on Tuesday--six days after the Nov. 3 surgery. "She's looking forward to recuperating at home for a few weeks," a message posted on Duke's Web site said. Duke, who was married to John Astin from 1973 to 1985, is the mother of Lord of the Rings star Sean Astin.
Kit Bowen contributed to this report.
New Line Cinema's The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, the third and final installment in director Peter Jackson's fantasy epic, continued its reign at the box office in its third week with a courtly $30.7 million* over the New Year's weekend.
That's definitely good news for New Line's year-end totals. With the help of the successful The Return of the King, the studio crossed the billion mark in 2003.
With no new wide releases this week, the rest of the box office list was an almost exact repeat of last week's top 10. The comedy Cheaper by the Dozen maintained its second place status with a respectable $21.8 million, followed by the romantic Something's Gotta Give, which moved up a spot to third place with $12.5 million.
The nippy Cold Mountain dropped a spot to fourth with $11.7 million, while Ben Affleck sci-fi thriller Paycheck rounded out the top five once again with $10 million.
The Top 12 films this weekend grossed an ESTIMATED $124.5 million, down 24.92 percent from last weekend's $165.8 million take but up 14.47 percent from the same weekend last year's $108.7 million.
THE TOP TEN
New Line Cinema's PG-13 rated fantasy epic The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King kept its No. 1 stronghold in its third week of release with an ESTIMATED $30.7 million (-39%) at 3,703 theaters (unchanged; $8,304 per theater). Its cume is approximately $291.9 million.
Directed by Peter Jackson, it stars Elijah Wood, Viggo Mortensen, Orlando Bloom, Ian McKellen, Sean Astin, Liv Tyler, Miranda Otto, Billy Boyd and Dominic Monaghan.
Twentieth Century Fox's PG rated comedy Cheaper by the Dozen stayed in second place in its second week with an ESTIMATED $21.8 million (-21%) in 3,307 theaters (+9 theaters; $6,607 per theater). The family comedy's cume is approximately $86 million.
Directed by Shawn Levy, it stars Steve Martin, Bonnie Hunt, Hilary Duff and Tom Welling.
Sony Pictures' PG-13 rated romantic comedy Something's Gotta Give moved up one spot to third in its fourth week with an ESTIMATED $12.5 million (-10%) at 2,808 theaters (+99 theaters; $4,452 per theater). Its cume is approximately $43.8 million.
Directed by Nancy Meyers, it stars Jack Nicholson, Diane Keaton, Keanu Reeves, Amanda Peet and Frances McDormand.
Miramax Films' R rated Civil War drama Cold Mountain dropped a spot to fourth place with an ESTIMATED $11.7 million (-19%) in 2,216 theaters (+53 theaters; $5,297 per theater). The romantic Civil War drama has taken in approximately $43.8 million so far.
Directed by Anthony Minghella, it stars Jude Law, Nicole Kidman and Renee Zellweger.
Paramount Pictures' PG-13 rated sci-fi thriller Paycheck maintained its fifth position in its second week with an ESTIMATED $10 million (-25%) in 2,762 theaters (unchanged; $3,621 per theater). The sci-fi thriller's cume is approximately $38.8 million.
Directed by John Woo, it stars Ben Affleck and Uma Thurman.
Sony Pictures' PG-13 rated drama Mona Lisa Smile kept smilin' steady at No. 6 in its third week with an ESTIMATED $8.7 million (-23%) in 2,714 theaters (+37 theaters; $3,206 per theater). Its cume is approximately $50.2 million.
Directed by Mike Newell, it stars Julia Roberts, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Kirsten Dunst and Julia Stiles.
*Box office estimates provided by Exhibitor Relations, Inc.
Universal Pictures' PG rated family pic Peter Pan stayed in seventh place in its second week with an ESTIMATED $8.4 million (-24%) at 2,813 theaters (unchanged; $3,010 per theater). The live-action film, based on the J.M. Barrie classic children's story, has taken in approximately $33.8 million so far.
Directed by P.J. Hogan, it stars Jeremy Sumpter, Jason Isaacs and Ludivine Sagnier.
Warner Bros.' R rated period actioner The Last Samurai held onto eighth place in its fifth week with an ESTIMATED $7.4 million (-10%) in 2,401 theaters (-156; $3,109 per theater). Its cume is approximately $90.1 million.
Directed by Edward Zwick, it stars Tom Cruise, Ken Watanabe, Tony Goldwyn and Timothy Spall.
With an expanded release, Buena Vista's PG-13 rated British comedy Calendar Girls broke into the top 10 list at No. 9 in its third week with an ESTIMATED $4.6 million in 745 theaters, averaging $6,174 per theater. Its cume is approximately $7.1 million.
Based on a true story, the film is about a group of older women who pose for a charity pinup calendar, become instant celebrities, and learn life lessons on their journey from England's Yorkshire Dales to Hollywood and back again.
Directed by Nigel Cole, it stars Helen Mirren and Julie Walters.
Miramax Films' R rated dark comedy Bad Santa dropped a spot to round out the top 10 in its sixth week with an ESTIMATED $3 million (-33%) at 1,710 theaters (unchanged; $6,174 per theater). Its cume is approximately $57 million.
Directed by Terry Zwigoff, it stars Billy Bob Thornton, Bernie Mac, Tony Cox and John Ritter.
Last year, New Line's PG-13 rated The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers stayed at No. 1 in its third week with $25 million in 3,622 theaters (unchanged; $6,907 per theater); DreamWorks' biopic Catch Me If You Can held onto second place in its second week with $21.4 million 3,170 theaters ($6,670 per theater); Warner Brothers' PG-13 rated romantic comedy Two Weeks Notice followed in third place in its third week of release with $11.1 million in 2,755 theaters (unchanged; $4,039 per theater).