Top Story: Emmy Fashions Sold Off to Charity
Emmy fashions worn by the likes of Jennifer Aniston and Edie Falco will be auctioned off on eBay for charity, The Associated Press reports. For the second year in a row, the "Clothes Off Our Back" fund-raiser, created by actress Jane Kaczmarek from Fox's Malcolm in the Middle, asks celebrities to donate their red-carpet outfits from such designs as Prada and Vera Wang, to benefit the Cure Autism Now Foundation and the Union of Concerned Scientists, AP reports. Last year, Friends star Aniston donated her dress after winning the award for best actress in a comedy series and it raised $50,000, Kaczmarek told AP. Stars participating this year besides Aniston and Falco include Cynthia Nixon, Sean Hayes, Dule Hill, Debra Messing, Ellen DeGeneres, Bernie Mac and Jennifer Garner. The auction is to begin Sunday evening and run for 10 days.
Sopranos Lead Internet Emmy Predictions
GoldDerby.com, considered to be the Internet's No. 1 award predictions website, has given the best odds to HBO's The Sopranos for the Emmys Sunday night, including the award for best drama series as well as the prizes for actor (James Gandolfini) and actress (Edie Falco). For best comedy series, odds are on CBS' Everybody Loves Raymond, with HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm a close second.
Man Held for Trespassing on Schwarzenegger's Property
A man was arrested Sunday after sneaking onto Arnold Schwarzenegger's estate in Brentwood, Calif., and stealing items from one of the family's vehicles, AP reports. Richard Sathianathan, 32, was charged with two counts of trespassing, and one count each of prowling, vehicle tampering and petty theft, authorities told AP. Sathianathan pleaded innocent and remained jailed on $50,000 bail.
Diaz Makes Small Screen Debut
Cameron Diaz will make a guest appearance in the television pilot Why Blitt? executive produced and directed by those wacky Farrelly brothers, Bobby and Peter. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the semi-autobiographical pilot centers on 5-foot-tall Ricky Blitt, an aspiring screenwriter who has a dismal love life and no-end job but hits the jackpot when his script for The Cameron Diaz Show is picked up and he heads to Hollywood.
Huppert, Penn Honored in San Sebastian
Isabelle Huppert, Sean Penn and Robert Duvall will be honored with lifetime achievement awards at Spain's 51st San Sebastian International Film Festival, AP reports. As well, films scheduled for competition include Joel Schumacher's Veronica Guerin, starring Cate Blanchett, and Jacques Rivette's The Story of Marie and Julien, starring Emmanuelle Beart.
Simon & Garfunkel Tour Selling Out
Looks like lots of fans are anxious to hear Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel sing "Bridge Over Troubled Waters" once again. Tickets to their first tour in 20 years are selling like hotcakes, Reuters reports. The opener Oct. 18 in Auburn Hill, Mich., is completely sold out, as are shows in Chicago; St. Paul, Minn.; and San Jose, Calif. Dates in Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio, and in Sacramento and Oakland, Calif., were at a 90 percent sellout, according to Reuters. "We just put Chicago and St. Paul on sale, and they both sold out within minutes," Jerry Mickelson, co-president of Chicago-based promoter Jam Productions told Reuters. "Tickets just blew out so quickly. Demand is huge."
Role Call: Bratt Pounces on Catwoman, Diaz Stung By W.A.S.P.S., Danes Shops 'Til She Drops
Benjamin Bratt has joined Halle Berry in Warner Bros.' Catwoman, a film based on the DC Comics' Batman foe. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Bratt will play Det. Tom Leone, a love interest to Berry's Catwoman. The film also stars Sharon Stone as a villainous cosmetics magnate…meanwhile Angels star Cameron Diaz has signed onto the war drama W.A.S.P.S, being co-produced by actress Mimi Rogers' Millbrook Farm Prods. Variety reports the film follows the first female pilots recruited during WWII…20th Century Fox is giving Steve Martin's novel Shopgirl is the big-screen treatment, with Martin, Claire Danes and Jason Schwartzman attached to star. The film centers on a girl (Danes) who sells gloves and other accessories at Neiman Marcus. Feeling useless in her job and unfulfilled by a romantic relationship, she is bowled over when a rich, divorced older man (Martin) enters her life.
Beware, evildoers: Ar-nuld's back and he's ready to kick some terrorist butt.
Postponed from its Oct. 5 release in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Collateral Damage arrives in theaters Friday as more than just another attempt by one of the world's biggest action stars to revive his flagging fortunes at the box office.
Suddenly, Collateral Damage represents a vicarious experience for audiences eager to punish those who dare to create terror on American soil. Arnold Schwarzenegger stars as a firefighter-is there a nobly profession these days?-who hunts down the Colombian terrorist responsible for planting a bomb that killed Schwarzenegger's wife and son. Accordingly, what unfolds as a tired and cliched throwback to the days of Commando should give Arnold Schwarzenegger his first No. 1 film since 1997's disappointing Batman & Robin. Given that Schwarzenegger faces competition in the action-oriented Rollerball remake, and Friday's opening night 2002 Winter Olympics ceremony, Collateral Damage should mirror the $18.7 million opening that the equally simplistic Behind Enemy Lines enjoyed in late November.
The controversy swirling around Collateral Damage's depiction of Colombians as terrorists and drug manufacturers ironically should help the film at the box office. Newspapers are devoting the kind of coverage to Collateral Damage that not even Schwarzenegger, who is famous for being doggedly devoted to promoting his films, could hope to generate.
Yet no effort seems to have been made during Collateral Damage's four months on the shelf to reflect what happened at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Thus dialogue about today's America not experiencing the horrors of war could result in audience dismissing Collateral Damage as irrelevant despite its timeliness.
Schwarzenegger has fallen somewhat out of favor since his rare villainous turn as Mr. Freeze in the unintentionally campy Batman & Robin ($107.3 million total). The gloomy horror yarn End of Days made a lackluster $66.8 million in 1999 while The 6th Day's $34.5 million in 2000 represented Schwarzenegger's worst haul at the box office since 1982's Conan the Barbarian heralded his arrival as a major action hero.
Schwarzenegger faces a few challenges in his bid to teach such whippersnappers as Vin Diesel and Jet Li a lesson or two in saving the day. Collateral Damage is the first Schwarzenegger offering since 1985's Commando to open outside of the summer and winter holidays, times when a big-budget thriller such as this would thrive. Also, the last time Schwarzenegger took on terrorists, he had Jamie Lee Curtis, Tom Arnold and director James Cameron by his side to turn True Lies into a $146.2 million smash.
All things considered, Collateral Damage will likely end up with about $70 million. Not bad, but not great for a man once considered the most bankable star in the world. Schwarzenegger will have to wait until next year's Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines celebrate his seventh $100 million smash.
Schwarzenegger's Collateral Damage debuts against Rollerball, from his Predator and Last Action Hero director, John McTiernan.
Without Schwarzenegger, McTiernan scored major hits in the 1980s and 1990s with Die Hard, Die Hard With a Vengeance and The Hunt for Red October.
Lately, though, McTiernan seems intent on remaking just about every film made by director Norman Jewison. McTiernan and MGM scored a steamy hit with their 1999 remake of Jewison's The Thomas Crown Affair. Now McTiernan and MGM reunite for Rollerball, a remake of Jewison's 1975 look at a world in which war has been replaced by a violent sport more popular than football.
Rollerball hardly rushes into theaters. MGM yanked the remake from its original Aug. 17 release date following terrible word of mouth. McTiernan is used to such delays. He directed The 13th Warrior before The Thomas Crown Affair. His adaptation of Michael Crichton's Eaters of the Dead remained on the shelf for so long that it ended up in theaters four weekends after the release of The Thomas Crown Affair.
The remake stars Chris Klein as Rollerball's very own Michael Jordan. His presence certainly will not lure too many spectators to Rollerball. Audiences do not display much interest in Klein unless he's wooing Mena Suvari in the American Pie series.
Also, the well-reviewed The Thomas Crown Affair tantalized audiences with the promise of Pierce Brosnan and Rene Russo getting hot and heavy in some exotic locales. Rollerball offers no such draw, and consequently will fail to make even half of The Thomas Crown Affair's $69.3 million total. Rollerball might not even have enough steam to push past The 13th Warrior's less-than-noble $32.6 million gross.
And perhaps that's not such a bad thing for McTiernan. Rollerball flopping might convince McTiernan to leave Jewison's classics alone before he does damage to In the Heat of the Night or Fiddler on the Roof.
Not interested in a shot of testosterone? Then try Big Fat Liar, a family comedy that could provide a welcome alternative to parents worn out by Cuba Gooding Jr.'s Alaskan adventure Snow Dogs. Teen TV stars Frankie Muniz (Malcolm and the Middle) and Amanda Bynes (The Amanda Show) unite to put greedy Hollywood producer Paul Giamatti in his place.
Malcolm in the Middle debuted on Fox in early 2000 to great reviews and ratings, a factor that no doubt helped Muniz's My Dog Skip to become a modest hit a few weeks later. Big Fat Liar should benefit from Muniz's Malcolm in the Middle antics to the point where it equals My Dog Skip's $34 million total. Big Fat Liar also faces little competition for the pre-teen market in the weeks to come, with the upcoming Disney Peter Pan sequel Return to Neverland aimed at preschoolers.
The triple threat of Collateral Damage, Rollerball and Big Fat Liar, plus the art house expansion of Billy Bob Thornton's Monster's Ball ($1.4 million through Sunday), should drive audiences to theaters this weekend. Football fans, of course, stayed at home last Sunday to watch the New England Patriots' Super Bowl upset over presumed winners the St. Louis Rams. The 2002 Winter Olympics will keep some people glued to their TVs, but not on the same scale of the Super Bowl.
As expected, the Super Bowl resulted in disastrous debuts for two delayed offerings, Birthday Girl and Slackers.
Birthday Girl failed to capitalize on Nicole Kidman's likely Oscar nomination for either Moulin Rouge or The Others. The messy mix of comedy and drama, with Kidman as an Internet-ordered bride with a shady past, opened with a less-than-celebratory $2.3 million at 1,000 theaters. Birthday Girl won't make much more than $6 million, or just under half of the $13.7 million that Moulin Rouge earned in its first weekend in wide release.
Teens wanted nothing to do with Slackers Devon Sawa, Jason Schwartzman and James King. The R-rated college comedy opened with a fittingly lazy $2.7 million from 1,893 theaters, and has amassed a lowly $3.4 million through Wednesday. Seems no one assumed that Slackers is a sequel to Slacker, which Richard Linklater, the director of the philosophically meandering Gen X classic, initially feared. Slackers will likely end up with about $8 million, proving once again that raunchy teen comedies are currently out of vogue.
The Super Bowl did not hurt Black Hawk Down, The Count of Monte Cristo, A Walk to Remember, I Am Sam and Snow Dogs.
Black Hawk Down will surrender the No. 1 spot to Collateral Damage after serving as the champ for three weekends. Ridley Scott's bloody account of a showdown between U.S. troops and Somalian warlords has made $77.8 million through Wednesday, with $100 million a certainty.
The Count of Monte Cristo continues to surprise. Director Kevin Reynolds' remake of the Alexandre Dumas literary classic declined by just 23 percent in its second weekend, from $11.3 to $8.7 million. It again ranked behind A Walk to Remember in the Top 10, but has made more money thanks to strong weekday business. With $25.2 million through Wednesday, The Count of Monte Cristo will ride past the lackluster $27 million that The Musketeer made in September and should make do with a booty of about $40 million.
Mandy Moore's fans clearly aren't interested in football. The pop singer's A Walk to Remember dropped 27 percent in its second weekend, from $12.1 million to $8.8 million. With Valentine's Day approaching, A Walk to Remember will clearly benefit this week from boyfriends willing to do anything for their loved ones, including seeing an unabashedly soppy teen romance starring Mandy Moore. A Walk to Remember, however, is set to take a big hit next weekend with the arrival of Britney Spears' Crossroads. With $24.3 million through Wednesday, A Walk to Remember will likely singto the tune of $40 million.
I Am Sam, hear me warble The Beatles. The critics hated it, but the Sean Penn drama continues to make audiences cry for all the right reasons. I Am Sam, starring Penn as a mentally challenge father fighting for custody of his 7-year-old daughter, dropped 24 percent in its second weekend, from $8.5 million to $6.3 million. Playing at only 1,303, I Am Sam has made an excellent $18.7 million through Wednesday.
There's no rest for Cuba Gooding Jr.'s Snow Dogs. The family comedy continues to run much of the competition ragged as it enjoyed a third weekend haul of $10.1 million, or 22 percent less than the previous weekend's $13 million. That was the smallest decline in earnings for any of the films in the Top 10. Snow Dogs now has $52.3 million through Wednesday. Even with competition arriving in the form of Big Fat Liar and Return to Neverland, Snow Dogs should run its way to $75 million.
Richard Gere's The Mothman Prophecies flew lower by a better-than-expected 34 percent in its second weekend, going from $11.2 to $7.3 million. With $22.6 million through Wednesday, The Mothman Prophecies could survive being dismissed as a substandard X-Files knockoff and end up making close to the $37.7 million that Gere's Autumn in New York made in 2000.
The Super Bowl sacked Kung Pow: Enter the Fist. The martial arts spoof tumbled 45 percent in its second weekend, from $7 million to $3.8 million, for a total of $12 million through Sunday. Kung Pow: Enter the Fist will be lucky to kick its way to $17 million.
Leading Oscar contenders A Beautiful Mind, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring and Gosford Park should continue to do strong business in advance of Tuesday's nominations announcement.
Director Ron Howard celebrated his fifth $100 million hit last weekend with A Beautiful Mind. The biography of mathematician John Forbes Nash Jr. has made $106.3 million through Wednesday. A slew of nominations, plus a win or two, will result in a possible $140 million total for A Beautiful Mind.
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring will vanquish Shrek this weekend to become the second-highest earner of 2001. Peter Jackson's epic has $267.5 million through Wednesday. Shrek ended its run with a $267.7 million. Securing a Best Picture nomination will help The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring climb to a $300 million total.
Robert Altman's classy murder mystery Gosford Park dropped by only 15 percent in its third weekend in wide release, from $2.7 million to $2.3 million. With its total standing at $19.9 million through Wednesday, Gosford Park will surpass The Player's $21.7 million this weekend to become Altman's biggest hit in more than two decades. A shot at Oscar gold would be the icing on the cake for an iconoclastic director who seems to be back at the peak of his creative powers.
And then there was 12. The Oscar camp has announced the dozen second-round qualifiers for the Best Documentary prize. And judging by the lineup, it doesn't look like the deciding committee is experiencing its usual "forgetfulness" when it comes to potential nominees.
The list is a virtual hit parade, including some of the year's most talked-about films -- from the absurd ("Mr. Death" ) to the sublime ("Buena Vista Social Club") and the farcical ("American Movie") to the serious "On The Ropes."
The following is the complete list:
"Amargosa" "American Movie" "Beyond the Mat" "Buena Vista Social Club" "Genghis Blues" "Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter, Jr." "On the Ropes" "One Day in September" "Pop & Me" "Smoke and Mirrors: A History of Denial" "The Source" "Speaking in Strings"
A committee of Academy members selected the docs. Final voting is currently taking place in Beverly Hills, New York and San Francisco where voters will screen the flicks before voting for five that'll earn official nominations. Overall, 55 feature-length docs were eligible for the 1999 competition.
Nominees for all 22 Academy Award categories - including Best Documentary -- will be announced Feb. 15 at 5:30 a.m. PST.
ALL HAIL NERDS: The unsung heroes of the movie business - tech heads, hardware geniuses, overworked engineers, etc. -- are getting their moment in the so-called limelight, too.
The Academy Awards folks are set to honor the behind-the-sceners for outstanding scientific and technical achievement in ceremonies March 4 in Beverly Hills. (Of course, unlike the movie-star types, the nerds will receive plaques and certificates, not shiny statues.)
Also, unlike the movie-star types, the nerds won't have to wait to find out if they've won. The Academy released its list of 12 techie awards Tuesday.
The following is a list of the recipients and their achievements.
Scientific and Engineering Awards:
Nick Phillips, for the design and development of the three-axis Libra III remote control camera head.
Fritz Gabriel Bauer, for the concept, design and engineering of the Moviecam Superlight 35mm Motion Picture Camera.
Iain Neil, Rick Gelbard and Panavision Inc., respectively, for the optical design, mechanical design and development of the Millennium Camera System viewfinder.
Huw Gwilym, Karl Lynch and Mark Crabtree, for the design and development of the AMS/Neve-Logic Digital Film Film Console for motion picture sound mixing.
James Moultrie, Mike Salter and Mark Craig Gerchman, for the mechanical design of the Cooke S4 Range of Fixed Focal Length Lenses for 35mm motion picture photography.
Marlowe A. Pichel, for development of the process for manufacturing Electro-Formed Metal Reflectors.
L. Ron Schmidt, for the concept, design and engineering of the Linear Loop Film Projectors.
Nat Tiffen of Tiffen Manufacturing Corporation, for the production of high-quality, durable, laminated color filters for motion picture photography.
Technical Achievement Awards:
Vivienne Dyer and Chris Woolf, for the design and development of the Rycote Microphone Windshield Modular System.
Leslie Drever, for the design and development of the Light Wave microphone windscreens and isolation mounts from Light Wave Systems.
Richard C. Sehlin, Dr. Mitchell J. Bogdanowicz and Mary L. Schmoeger of the Eastman Kodak Co., respectively for the concept, design and development of the Eastman Lamphouse Modification Filters.
Hoyt H. Yeatman Jr. of Dream Quest Images and John C. Brewer of the Eastman Kodak Company, for the identification and diagnosis leading to the elimination of the "red fringe" artifact in traveling matte composite photography.
NEW LOOK: The official poster for this year's Oscars has been unveiled -- and its so-called "exciting new look for the year 2000" is not as forward-thinking as one might expect.
The millennium-themed poster, designed by filmmaker/graphic artist Arnold Schwartzman for the fourth consecutive year, is based on the 1926 Fritz Lang classic "Metropolis," a flick set in the dystopian future (translation: bad days) of the 2000.
The inspiration for the poster (the encircling numerals, to be exact) can apparently be traced back to a sequence in the silent classic where a robot is brought to life by circles of electricity. No word from Schwartzman if the anti-authoritarian values of the Lang's film also informed his design.
Audiences can judge for themselves when 50,000 posters hit theaters and video retailers this week.