November 12, 2001 11:44am EST
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone raked in a record breaking $5 million in limited Sunday previews, Variety reports. Warner Bros. claims the Sunday sneaks were the highest single-day grosses in U.K history. The movie opens in the U.K. and North America Nov.16. Meanwhile, a special screening of Harry Potter on Sunday in Washington was greeted by protesters from the Center for Science in the Public Interest. The group opposes Coca-Cola's $150 million partnership with Warner Bros., accusing the soft drink giant of peddling junk food to children. The deal, signed in February, makes Coca-Cola the sole global marketing partner for Harry Potter.
R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck is set to appear in court Monday for an alleged air rage incident on a British Airways flight from Seattle to London in April, Reuters reports. Buck has been charged with common assault on cabin crew, criminal damage, being drunk on an aircraft and disobeying an aircraft captain. The trial is expected to last five days.
Fleetwood Mac is back in the studio to record its first album since its 1997 reunion. The group, however, will be one member short. Singer/keyboardist Christine McVie has reportedly retired from rock 'n' roll and is living in an English castle. The four-piece band will include drummer Fleetwood, bass player John McVie, and songwriters Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks. Fleetwood has denied rumors that Sheryl Crow will help out, Reuters reports.
Brian Dennehy will portray former Indiana Hoosiers coach Bob Knight in a made-for-TV movie, The Associated Press reports. The movie, based on John Feinstein's A Season on the Brink: A Year with Bob Knight and the Indiana Hoosiers, will air on ESPN March 10.
Jay Leno led the 18th annual charity Love Ride on Sunday in Glendale, Calif. The 50-mile ride, followed by a barbecue and a concert, is expected to have raised $1 million for the Muscular Dystrophy Association and other charities. According to AP, riders included X-Files star Robert Patrick, Ian Ziering of Beverly Hills 90210 and daredevil Robbie Knievel.
Clive Barker (Hellraiser) and Todd McFarlane (Spawn) have signed a deal with Universal Pictures to produce a picture based on Barker's action figures. McFarlane Toys marketed the six action figures, Clive Barker's Tortured Souls-Animae Damnatae, in limited numbers last July and promptly sold out, Variety reports.
Forest Whitaker is in talks with Twentieth Century Fox to direct aFat Albert live-action picture, Variety reports. The feature film is based on Bill Cosby's cartoon Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids that ran on CBS for more than a decade. The film is slated for a 2003 summer release.
Paul Newman will reprise his role as Battler in the teleplay The World of Nick Adams, based on Ernest Hemmingway's collection of short stories. According to Variety, the teleplay will also feature Alec Baldwin, Matt Damon, Brian Dennehy, Morgan Freeman, Julia Roberts and Gwyneth Paltrow and will be presented at Avey Fisher Hall in New York on Nov. 19.
Sylvester Stallone is working on a new script for a fourth Rambo movie, PageSix.com reports. The story would pit Rambo against leaders of the Taliban in Afghanistan. Rambo IV could be ready by next year.
A set of old teeth belonging to Jack Nicholson will be auctioned off on the British TV show Auction World on Dec. 10, the BBC reports. Nicholson is reportedly upset that his teeth are to be sold this way and plans on buying the back. The set consists of a mix of small baby teeth and adult molars.
Arthur Kriticos (Tony Shalhoub) is trying to keep his small family together after losing his wife and the mother of their kids Kathy (Shannon Elizabeth) and Bobby (Alec Roberts) in a tragic fire that left them homeless. Out of nowhere one enigmatic Uncle Cyrus (F. Murray Abraham) wills Arthur a bizarre yet dazzlingly beautiful mansion made almost entirely of glass and filled with priceless antiques. There's not much that could go unseen behind the transparent walls except for perhaps 12 pesky ghosts of disturbed folks like onetime mental patients and a kid whose head got in the way of an arrow. It just so happens old Cyrus with the help of his psychic phantom-wrangler Rafkin (Matthew Lillard) has been summoning up a few restless spirits so he can open the Eye of Hell and take over the world or something. They just need one more spirit to finish the job.
All right who's blackmailing Oscar-winner Abraham into taking roles like this? The man should have thrown the script out sight-unseen and then fired his agent. Rah Digga yet another rapper-turned-wanna-be-actress is there to offer some sassy comic relief as the kids' nanny--she's fun in a usual sort of way. Shalhoub-ho hum. Elizabeth? Yawn. She's not even in half the movie. Lillard it can be said is about the only bright spot in this otherwise not-silly-enough not-cheesy-enough not-funny-or-scary-enough horror movie. He's got the right idea as he tries to camp it up as a borderline hysterical psychic who has guilt issues about being able to see everyone's secrets with his "gift." But worst of all is the usually great Embeth Davidtz (um Schindler's List?!) as a--get this--ghost's rights activist who thinks she's channeling Zelda Rubenstein from Poltergeist as she hisses the obvious: "This house is not a house!"
The only thing scarier than F. Murray Abraham taking a role in this movie is that it ever got made at all--then again we have the Dark Castle folks (the same ones who brought us that masterpiece remake The Haunting a few years ago) to thank. They forgot to hire a director and a scriptwriter instead putting visual effects guy Steve Beck behind the camera to show us some semi-interesting special effects (it is a ghost movie after all and you better score some points there). Unfortunately the movie is uneven makes little sense and strives for both laughs and scares but achieves neither with cornball dialog and silly stereotypes; it's wildly gory to boot. Everyone's gonna say the ultra-modern haunted house is the star of Thirteen Ghosts and with good reason. The production design in this movie is amazing and the idea of ghosts hiding behind clear walls is an intriguing if ultimately wasted concept.
The good, bad and the ugly on the tube:
Connie vs. Condit
We were worried about fluff. We cringed at the thought of Connie Chung pussy-footing around Gary Condit. We tuned in Thursday to watch the circus begin.
We were relieved.
Chung held her own against the California congressman, asking point-blank questions that tore away at Condit and his frightening hair. It's a shame that Condit didn't answer a damn thing--reminding us several times that he's "not perfect" and that he "makes mistakes." What mistakes? Well, he couldn't tell us that. He couldn't be truthful out of respect for the Levy family--the parents of the girl he'd been "close" with.
Chung looked ready to wring Condit's neck right there on national TV, but she kept her cool and politely left ... empty-handed. But not to worry: PrimeTime Thursday should garner enough ratings to make ABC execs quite happy. Isn't that the point?
Livin' L.A. vida loca
So the Latin Grammys are moving to La La Land. Sure, Miami's the big loser in the deal, but L.A. isn't the true winner. Who is?
This controversy will intrigue viewing audiences---people who may not have been planning to watch the show. The move also allows for diva Jennifer Lopez to attend the festivities (she hadn't planned on flying to Miami for the event, but reportedly plans on attending the L.A. soiree). A little controversy mixed in with some extra T&A: CBS execs couldn't have planned it better.
Bill O'Reilly: Manson fan?
Marilyn Manson on Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor. You can just see the carnage. Bill O'Reilly ripping Manson's very tattoos off. Ugly.
But that wasn't the case on Monday night.
Instead, Manson---defending his recent lewd conduct on stage---argued eloquently with TV's toughest interviewer. When grilled about his sexually charged performances, Manson calmly reminded O'Reilly that a guy named Elvis once sat through such accusations, and O'Reilly was soon won over. Toward the end of the interview, O'Reilly humbly called Manson "a well-spoken guy." Perhaps Manson should run for public office? He's already cleared one of the media's toughest hurdles---an accomplishment most politicians never even attempt.
HBO hits hard
HBO Sports' newest series, Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Baltimore Ravens, has proven to be an utterly fascinating--and unflinching--look at pre-season NFL conditioning. The most recent episode, which dealt heavily with the overbearing heat and exhaustion on the field, may have seemed a bit insensitive to some (considering the rash of heat-related deaths on the gridiron this summer), but ultimately, it made you understand why these men push themselves so hard.
The camera catches everything: men desperate for honor, validation, respect and ---and yes---money. Head coach Brian Billick sometimes comes off as a tyrant, but that's why he makes the big bucks. However, a camera in Billick's room reveals he's not as fierce as he appears, catching little glimpses of anxiety, compassion and concern.
CBS: going ga-ga
It was announced on Wednesday that CBS' newest spokesperson will be---are you sitting down?---a seven-month-old baby who can talk like an adult. The "spokesbaby," named Baby Bob, will promote the network's programming this fall throughout the day and night, before he receives his own mid-season sitcom, aptly named Baby Bob, starring Joely Fisher and Jonathan Silverman.
This would be an innovative concept if Fox's Family Guy and Pepsi's The Joy of Pepsi ad campaign hadn't already numbed us to the idea. Pretty unoriginal these days. But the kid is damn cute.