Bill Joel weds 23-year-old cooking student
Billy Joel married his fiancée, 23-year-old Kate Lee, in an afternoon ceremony Saturday at his Long Island home. According to Newsday.com, guards dressed in black patrolled the sprawling estate on Oyster Bay Harbor while Nassau County police patrolled the surrounding waters and a police helicopter flew overhead. Lee, a native of Huntington, W.Va., recently graduated from Ohio's Miami University and works as a restaurant correspondent for the PBS show George Hirsch: Living It Up! She and Joel began dating about a year ago. For the ceremony, Lee wore an Oscar de la Renta gown and a pair of custom-made Jimmy Choo shoes, Joel's publicist said. This is the singer-songwriter's third wedding. He was previously married to supermodel Christie Brinkley, the mother of Joel's 18-year-old daughter Alexa Ray. Brinkley, who graced the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine's famed swimsuit issue from 1979 through 1981, arrived at the ceremony in a silver van and offered kind words to the couple. "Congratulations to Billy and Katie," she told throngs reporters and curious onlookers clogging the road in front of the house. "We wish you every happiness." Joel, a member of the Rock and Roll hall of fame, received a star on Hollywood Boulevard last month in front of the Pantages Theatre, where Movin' Out, the Tony Award-winning musical based on his songs, is playing through Oct. 31.
Spears buys home in Malibu
Britney Spears, who "married" dancer Kevin Federline in Studio City, Calif., last month, bought a house in Malibu for just under $6.9 million. According to the Los Angeles Times, the traditional-style 9,000-square-foot home features eight bedrooms, eight bathrooms, a tennis court, pool, spa, gym and an outdoor kitchen. The validity of the 22-year-old singer's impromptu marriage to Federline, 26, was questioned a day after the Sept. 18 ceremony when it was widely reported the couple had not yet filed a marriage license--as they are required to do within 90 days under California law. At the time, Spears told People magazine they would file for the license the following week. A draft of the couple's prenuptial agreement obtained by Us Magazine estimates Spear's worth to be about $32 million.
SNL unveils all-female "Weekend Update"
Saturday Night Live unveiled the newest face of Weekend Update on its 30th season premiere Saturday when cast member Amy Poehler joined Tina Fey for the first all-female team in the show's history. Poehler, a regular cast member since Jan. 2001, replaces Jimmy Fallon, who exited the NBC comedy show in May after six years of reading the fake news with Fey. Past Weekend Update anchors have included Chevy Chase, Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, Dennis Miller, Kevin Nealon and Norm Macdonald. SNL's debut, hosted by Ben Affleck, scored the highest season-premiere ratings in the show's past three years--up 15 percent over last year's debut with Jack Black. The telecast featured surprise guest appearances by Alec Baldwin and James Gandolfini, who editorialized on gay New Jersey governor James McGreevey during the Weekend Update segment.
Gibson obtains restraining order against stalker
Mel Gibson obtained a temporary restraining order against a man who allegedly showed up at his Malibu estate and the chapel he attends, demanding they pray together. The AP reports Zack Sinclair, 34, was arrested Sept. 20 for investigation of disorderly conduct and loitering and remained jailed last Friday on $5,000 bail pending an Oct. 6 court hearing. The restraining order, which was issued a day after his arrest, bars him from coming within 150 yards of Gibson, his wife or their seven children. According to court documents, Sinclair went to Gibson's estate twice in September and interrupted his worship Sept. 19 at a chapel and "demanded that I pray with him." The man also allegedly sent letters to Gibson and his family, which recounted his prayers for the actor, cited biblical verse and praised his film The Passion of the Christ.
Sharpton turns 50
Rev. Al Sharpton celebrated his 50th birthday in style. At Harlem's Apollo Theater Sunday, artists including James Brown, Sean "P. Diddy" Combs and rappers Doug E. Fresh and Foxy Brown paid tribute to the preacher and former presidential candidate, including a rousing rendition of "Happy Birthday," AP reports. "He says what he feels, he means what he says, and he acts on it," Foxy Brown said. "He has marched, has been jailed, and many times maligned in his fight for recognition of the downtrodden." Sharpton used the occasion to ask for donations for the civil rights organization he founded, the National Action Network, whose headquarters were damaged by an electrical fire last year.
Legendary photographer Avedon dies
Fashion photographer Richard Avedon, who turned fashion and portrait photography into art forms and found new faces of women later dubbed supermodels, died Friday, a spokeswoman for the New Yorker magazine told Reuters. He was 81. Avedon, who captured unforgettable images of some of the world's most famous figures, died in San Antonio, Texas, almost a week after he suffered a brain hemorrhage while working on a photo essay on democracy for the magazine, spokeswoman Perri Dorset said.
Get Carter tops best British films
The 1971 cult hit Get Carter starring Michael Caine as a London gangster investigating the mysterious death of his brother topped Total Film magazine's list of the 50 best British films, AP reports. Carter bested other classics such as Monty Python's Life of Brian and Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange. Notable absences from the list include Oscar-winners Chariots of Fire and Gandhi.
Reported by Kit Bowen.
Moviegoers fell in love with "Heartbreakers" this weekend, giving MGM its second straight first place opening this year.
The PG-13-rated romantic comedy from MGM and Davis Entertainment captured the top spot with a frisky estimated $12.3 million at 2,750 theaters ($4,468 per theater).
Directed by David Mirkin, "Heartbreakers" stars Sigourney Weaver, Jennifer Love Hewitt and Gene Hackman.
"Two in a row," MGM worldwide distribution president Larry Gleason said Sunday morning, referring to the studio's Number One openings for "Hannibal" in February and now "Heartbreakers." "The last time (MGM had two consecutive first place openings) was 1995 with 'Get Shorty' and 'GoldenEye,' which were back to back pictures. The Lion is back again!
"This is right where we wanted ('Heartbreakers') to be. We're happy for it. The plan that we had of aggressively screening this picture (with sneak previews two consecutive Saturday nights) and showing that it was fun also helped us get an audience that's a little bit younger. Jennifer Love Hewitt was a key to that. The fact that we have her in this movie has enabled us to get more young people in."
Looking at the film's audience composition, Gleason noted it was, "60-40 female-male. It got a 68% definite
recommend against a norm of 50% and that's great. It was pretty evenly older women-younger women, males were a
little bit lighter. The Top Two Boxes (excellent and very good) are 83%. It bodes well for the future."
Sony's Screen Gems division opened its R-rated urban appeal comedy "The Brothers" in second place with a
muscular estimated $10.7 million at 1,378 theaters ($7,765 per theater).
"Brothers" had the highest per-theater average for any film playing in wide release last weekend.
Written and directed by Gary Hardwick, "Brothers" stars Morris Chestnut, D.L. Hughley, Bill Bellamy and Shemar Moore.
"This is a very focused release with half the prints of the other top pictures this week and has an incredibly strong screen average," Sony Pictures Entertainment worldwide marketing & distribution president Jeff Blake said Sunday morning. "It has an A CinemaScore, which really makes you believe that those 1,378 runs are going to be playing for a long time."
"Brothers" should be nicely profitable for Sony. "It's a $6 million negative," Blake said. "We always had our eye on Universal's release of 'Best Man,' which was similar certainly (in being an) African-American romantic comedy. They opened Oct. 22, 1999, in 1,346 screens to $9,031,660 and did $34.1 million. So we always have had our eye on that one, and the fact that we've beat it pretty significantly really gives us hope that this is definitely a picture we can get into the mid-$30 millions or $40 millions. At a $6 million cost, that's a terrific piece of business."
Sony's Screen Gems label, he said, "is really on a bit of a roll here after 'Snatch.' Their next release is (the horror genre drama) 'The Foresaken' on April 27 (directed by J.S. Cardone and starring Kerr Smith and Brendan Fehr), and then they have 'John Carpenter's Ghosts of Mars' (directed by Carpenter and starring Ice Cube, Jason Statham and Natasha Henstridge) this summer. It's a very wonderful, focused marketing job by the Screen Gems group. You can give the credit to Valerie Van Galder, who's the head of marketing, and Clint Culpepper, who's the head of production. They really teamed up for a good one here."
Warner Bros. and Village Roadshow Pictures' R-rated action drama "Exit Wounds" slid two pegs to third place in its second week with a less-penetrating estimated $9.23 million (-50%) at 2,830 theaters (theater count unchanged; $3,260 per theater). Its cume is approximately $32.6 million.
Directed by Andrez Bartkowiak, "Exit" was produced by Joel Silver and Dan Cracchiolo. It stars Steven Seagal and DMX and was executive produced by Bruce Berman.
Paramount's R-rated World War II drama "Enemy at the Gates" from Mandalay Pictures added theaters in its second week but still fell two rungs to fourth place with a quieter estimated $8.4 million (-39%) at 1,677 theaters (+168 theaters; $5,009 per theater). Its cume is approximately $26.2 million.
Produced and directed by Jean-Jacques Annuad, "Enemy" stars Joseph Fiennes, Jude Law, Rachel Weisz, Bob Hoskins and Ed Harris.
"I was a little disappointed in the Friday figure, but Saturday came back real strong. We were down 29% on
Saturday, and I'm figuring about 40% today (Sunday) because the Academy Awards will impact us a little more than it will some of the other films, (because 'Enemy' is) more adult and a little more upscale," Paramount distribution president Wayne Lewellen said Sunday morning.
Sony Pictures Classics' Oscar-contending, PG-13-rated action adventure "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" rose one peg to fifth place in its 16th week, still basking in the glow of its 10 Oscar nominations with an estimated $4.65 million (+15%) at 2,027 theaters (+167 theaters; $2,295 per theater). Its cume is approximately $106.3 million.
"Tiger's" nominations include Best Picture, Best Foreign Language Film and Best Director. Director Ang Lee won the Directors Guild of America's award and is favored to win the Best Director Oscar.
Directed by Ang Lee, "Dragon" stars Michelle Yeoh and Chow Yun-Fat.
Asked where "Tiger" goes from here, Sony Pictures Classics sales vice president Tom Prassis said Sunday morning, "We'll know tonight. I have a goal in mind if it wins, but I'm not going to tell you what that is. It's a significant number."
Have the nominations been a big help to "Tiger" at the box office? "They have," Prassis replied, "but I think the film has really done it on its own, as well. I'm not sure if it would have done $100 million (without its Oscar attention). But there are people who are going to see it over and over again. A lot of them are kids, and those aren't the people who pay attention to the Academy Awards. Right now we're reaching the people of my generation, who do follow the awards, I think more than before. That's who we're going after now. There's a lot of them."
DreamWorks' R-rated drama "The Mexican" skidded three notches to sixth place in its fourth week with a dull estimated $4.3 million (-46%) at 3,043 theaters (-119 theaters; $1,419 per theater). Its cume is approximately $57.7 million.
Directed by Gore Verbinski, "Mexican" stars Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts.
USA Films' R-rated, Oscar-contending drama "Traffic" rose three pegs to seventh place in its 13th week, still making the most of the Oscar nominations spotlight with an estimated $3.9 million (+14%) at 1,684 theaters (+2 theaters; $2,320 per theater). Its cume is approximately $107.6 million, heading for about $120 million if it does not win Best Picture and about $140 million if it does.
"Traffic" is nominated for five Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director.
Directed by Steven Soderbergh, "Traffic" stars Michael Douglas, Don Cheadle, Benicio Del Toro, Dennis Quaid and Catherine Zeta-Jones.
Miramax's PG-13-rated, Oscar-contending romantic comedy drama "Chocolat," which was ninth last week, tied for eighth place in its 15th week, still holding very well on the eve of the Oscars with an estimated $3.3 million (-4%) at 1,781 theaters (-120 theaters; $1,852 per theater). Its cume is approximately $60.6 million.
"Chocolat" is nominated for five Oscars, including Best Picture.
"It'll probably work its way to just about $70 million," Miramax senior vice president, marketing David Kaminow
said Sunday morning of the film, which only cost around $15 million. "This is definitely a profitable situation."
Directed by Lasse Hallstrom, "Chocolat" stars Juliette Binoche, Judi Dench, Alfred Molina, Lena Olin and Johnny Depp.
Warner Bros.' G-rated family appeal comedy "See Spot Run" from Village Roadshow Pictures, which was fourth last week, tied for eighth place in its fourth week with a slower estimated $3.3 million (-33%) at 2,605 theaters (-51 theaters; $1,282 per theater). Its cume is approximately $29.2 million, heading for $40 million in domestic theaters.
Directed by John Whitesel, "Run" stars David Arquette.
Rounding out the Top Ten was 20th Century Fox's opening of "Say It Isn't So" with a disappointing estimated $3.1 million at 1,973 theaters ($1,572 per theater).
Directed by J.B. Rogers, "Say" stars Heather Graham and Chris Klein.
There were no other noteworthy openings this weekend.
20th Century Fox held 189 sneak previews Saturday night of Fox 2000's PG-13-rated comedy "Someone Like You." The film opens March 30 at about 2,000 theaters.
"The reports I've gotten back are fabulous," Fox domestic distribution president Bruce Snyder said early
Sunday morning as he was starting to get details about the sneaks. "All the reports so far are sell-outs. I haven't
gotten all of them in, but they're very encouraging, very pleasing. It played wonderfully. It's a date night movie."
Directed by Tony Goldwyn, "Someone Like You" stars Ashley Judd, Greg Kinnear and Hugh Jackman.
On the expansion front, this weekend saw Sony Pictures Classics go wider with its R-rated drama "Pollock" in its seventh week, grossing a still colorful estimated $0.85 million (+13%) at 271 theaters (+42 theaters; $3,119 per theater). Its cume is approximately $4.9 million.
"Pollock" received Oscar
nominations for Best Actor (Ed Harris)
and Best Supporting Actress (Marcia Gay Harden).
Directed by Ed Harris, "Pollock"
stars Ed Harris and Marcia Gay Harden.
"Very respectable. In an ordinary year, this would be a big film (for the company)," Sony Pictures Classics sales vice president Tom Prassis said Sunday morning, after discussing the blockbuster success of "Crouching Tiger."
Newmarket's R-rated film noir thriller "Memento" added a theater in its second week and continued to look very promising with an estimated $0.24 million (even) at 12 theaters (+1 theater; $19,627 per theater). Its cume is approximately $0.6 million.
Directed by Christopher Nolan, it stars Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss and Joe Pantoliano.
USA Films' R-rated reality TV satire "Series 7" added a theater in its fourth week with a slow estimated $0.026 million (-28%) at 11 theaters (+1 theater; $2,320 per theater). Its cume is approximately $0.15 million.
Written and directed by Daniel Minahan, "Series" stars Brooke Smith, Glenn Fitzgerald, Mary Louise Burke, Richard Venture, Michael Kaycheck and Merrit Wever.
Key films -- those grossing more than $500,000 -- took in approximately $76.40 million, down about 3.98% from
the comparable weekend last year when key films grossed $79.57 million.
This weekend's key film gross was down about 2.48% from last weekend this year when key films did $78.34 million.
Last year, Universal's second week of "Erin Brockovich" was first with $18.55 million at 2,851 theaters ($6,505 per theater); and Warner Bros.' opening week of "Romeo Must Die" was second with $18.01 million at 2,641 theaters ($6,821 per theater). The top two films one year ago grossed $36.5 illion. This year, the top two films grossed an estimated $23.0 million.