Top Story: Another Screener Surfaces on Web
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced that a second movie sent to Oscar voters has turned up on the Internet--the Tom Cruise epic The Last Samurai, The Associated Press reports. According to the Academy, Warner Bros. had not identified the source of the Internet copy of the film, which opened in theaters Dec. 5. The finding comes a day after the MPAA announced a probe into an unauthorized copy of Something's Gotta Give, which surfaced on the Internet some time last week.
Nugent's Texas Chainsaw Accident
Was Leatherface lurking somewhere on the set of rocker Ted Nugent's new reality series? The hard-driving guitarist received 40 stitches to mend a gash in his leg that resulted from a chainsaw accident on the Texas set of his new show and has been fitted with a leg brace, the AP reports. Nugent, 55, is currently taping the reality series Surviving Nugent: The Ted Commandments for VH1. In the show, Nugent invites a group of city slickers to live in the woods outside his sprawling, multi-acred compound just outside of Waco and become rugged outdoorsmen. The top prize is $100,000. Nugent didn't miss any time on the series, which is scheduled to air in April.
Rosie: Do You Really Want To Hurt My Career?
Taboo, the Boy George musical brought to Broadway by Rosie O'Donnell, will close Feb. 8, the AP reports. The show opened Nov. 13 to largely negative reviews and has since struggled to reach its weekly break-even point, reportedly more than $400,000. According to the League of American Theatres and Producers, Taboo grossed $281,333 last week, filling only half the seats at the Plymouth Theatre. The show also lost all of O'Donnell's $10 million investment.
Brittany Murphy Gets Engaged
Brittany Murphy and talent manager Jeff Kwatinetz became engaged Jan. 9 at a silent movie theater in Los Angeles, People reports. According to the magazine, the two started dating after Murphy's breakup with her Just Married co-star Ashton Kutcher. The 26-year-old actress also appeared in Girl, Interrupted and Uptown Girls.
Sundance Film Festival Kicks Off
The Sundance Film Festival, which is backed by actor Robert Redford and his Sundance Institute for movies, kicks off Thursday in Park City, Utah. Organizers expect some 40,000 attendees at the fest, which will feature 255 short and feature-length films--including the premiere of Ashton Kutcher's supernatural thriller The Butterfly Effect and the smaller-budget pic November, starring Courteney Cox. Sundance 2004 will also feature several films from black directors such as Vondie Curtis Hall's Redemption and Mario Van Peebles' Baadasssss!, which recounts the making of his father's landmark 1971 film, Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song. Sundance's increasing popularity over the years is attracting big names to the festival, with Nelly, Jason Mraz and Macy Gray expected to perform. Filmmakers, celebrities and industry VIPs in attendance will receive a gift bag valued at $5,000 that includes a Nautica woman's puffy jacket with fur-lined hood, a Microsoft wireless mouse, Junkfood Heather vintage T-shirts and a one-year membership to Crunch Fitness. The 2004 Sundance Film Festival ends Jan. 25.
OutKast, White Stripes To Perform at Grammys
OutKast, Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera and the White Stripes are among the first performers confirmed for the 46th annual Grammy Awards ceremony, which will take place in Los Angeles Feb. 8. According to Billboard.com, OutKast's Big Boi and Andre 3000 will take part in a segment dedicated to funk, which will include George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic, Earth, Wind & Fire and Robert Randolph & the Family Band. The Grammys will be broadcast live from Staples Center on CBS beginning at 8 p.m. ET (tape delayed on the West Coast).
Deadline for Oscar Ballots Looming
The deadline is looming for Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences Oscar nomination ballots to be submitted. According to Variety, ballots must be received by PricewaterhouseCoopers, the company that will tabulate the ballots, in Los Angeles by 5 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 17. Nominations will be announced Jan. 27. The 76th Annual Academy Awards will be presented at the Kodak Theatre in L.A. and will be televised live on ABC beginning at 5:30 p.m. (PST), with a half-hour arrivals program preceding the presentation ceremony.
CBS Rules in Ratings Again
Once again, CBS ruled in the ratings last week, according to primetime viewership numbers compiled by Nielsen Media Research for the week of Jan. 5-Jan. 11. The Top Ten shows, their networks and viewerships were: CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CBS (27.5 million); NFC Playoff Postgame, Fox (27.1 million); AFC Divisional Playoff: Tennessee at New England, CBS (25.9 million); Friends, NBC (25.5 million); ER, NBC (22.8 million); CSI: Miami, CBS (20.4 million); Everybody Loves Raymond, CBS (19.1 million); The Apprentice, NBC (18.5 million); Without A Trace, CBS (18.2 million); and Law and Order, NBC (18 million).
Role Call: Ledger, Gyllenhaal Play Gay Cowboys; Columbus Eyes Dead
Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal are in negotiations to play gay cowboys in director Ang Lee's Brokeback Mountain for Focus Features. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the film revolves around two men who meet one summer in Wyoming and form a loving bond that spans 20 years ... Harry Potter director Chris Columbus is in talks to helm The Brief History of the Dead for Warner Bros. The project is based on Kevin Brockmeier's unfinished supernatural love story. The novel tells the story of a blind man who arrives in a new city and tells a story of having traveled across a desert after his death.
Queen Latifah and Steve Martin's romantic jailbreak comedy Bringing Down the House locked up the box office this weekend with a cool $31.7 million* take--the third best ever March opening.
Bringing Down the House stole the No. 1 spot from this week's other new release, the war actioner Tears of the Sun, which debuted in second place with a spartan $17.2 million.
After holding on to the No. 2 spot for two weeks in a row, the laffer Old School dropped a notch to third place with a still chugging $9.2 million. Best Picture Oscar nominee Chicago gained some ground, placing fourth with a tuneful $6.9 million, while the romantic comedy How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days continued its Top Five reign with a still gallant $6.7 million.
THE TOP TEN
Buena Vista's PG-13 rated comedy Bringing Down the House won the box office crown in its debut weekend with an ESTIMATED $31.7 million at 2,801 theaters. Its $11,317 per theater average was the highest of this week's Top 10 grossing films.
In the film, a convict from the 'hood asks an uptight lawyer to help her clear her name. When he refuses, however, she turns his perfectly ordered life upside down.
Directed by Adam Shankman, it stars Steve Martin and Queen Latifah.
Sony Pictures' R rated war actioner Tears of the Sun premiered in second place with an ESTIMATED $ 17.2 million at 2,973 theaters ($5,785 per theater).
The film revolves round a Navy SEAL lieutenant and his elite band of soldiers, who are dispatched to retrieve an American doctor from Nigeria after the country's democratic government collapses.
Directed by Antoine Fuqua, it stars Bruce Willis and Monica Bellucci.
DreamWork's R rated buddy comedy Old School fell a notch to No. 3 in its third week of release with an ESTIMATED $9.2 million (-34%) at 2,707 theaters (-35 theaters). Its cume is approximately 50.8 million.
Directed by Todd Phillips, it stars Luke Wilson, Will Farrell and Vince Vaughn.
In its 11th week of release, Miramax's PG-13 rated musical Chicago continued to expand and gained a spot, coming in fourth with a still strong ESTIMATED $6.9 million (-12%) at 2,600 theaters (+153 theaters, $2,672 per theater). Its cume is approximately $114.5 million.
Directed by Rob Marshall, it stars Renee Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Richard Gere.
Paramount Pictures' PG-13 rated How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days dropped from fourth to fifth position in its fifth week of release with an ESTIMATED $7.1 million (-34%) at 2,897 theaters (-26 theaters), with a $2,330 per theater average. Its cume is approximately $86.9 million.
Directed by Donald Petrie, it stars Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey.
*Box office estimates provided by Exhibitor Relations, Inc.
Last weekend's box office champ, Warner Bros.' R-rated martial arts actioner Cradle 2 the Grave, plummeted to sixth place in its second week with an ESTIMATED $6.5 million (-60%) in 2,625 theaters (unchanged) with a $2,509 per theater average. Its cume is approximately $27 million.
Directed by Andrzej Bartkowiak, it stars DMX, Jet Li, Gabrielle Union, Anthony Anderson and Tom Arnold.
Twentieth Century Fox's PG-13 live-action comic book adaptation Daredevil fell from third to seventh place in its fourth week with an ESTIMATED $5.1 million (-54%) at 2,728 theaters (-456 theaters, $1,854 per theater). Its cume is approximately $91.4 million. The film could become the first movie this year to pass the $100 million mark.
Directed by Mark Steven Johnson, it stars Ben Affleck, Jennifer Garner, Colin Farrell and Michael Clarke Duncan.
Buena Vista's G rated animated feature The Jungle Book 2 fell two notches in its fourth week with an ESTIMATED $4.2 million (-40%) at 2,553 theaters (-261 theaters, $1,645 per theater). Its cume is approximately $39.5 million.
Directed by Steven Trenbirth, it features the voices of Haley Joel Osment, John Goodman, Bob Joles and Tony Jay.
Buena Vista's PG-13 rated buddy actioner Shanghai Knights fell from seventh to ninth place in its fifth week with an ESTIMATED $2.7 million (-46%) at 1,905 theaters (-610 theaters, $1,417 per theater). Its cume is approximately $54.7 million.
Directed by Tom Dey, it stars Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson.
Rounding out the Top 10 is Universal's R rated drama The Life of David Gale, which fell two notches to eighth place in its third week of release with an ESTIMATED $2.1 million (-54%) at 1,872 theaters (-131 theaters) with a $1,122 per theater average. Its cume is approximately $17.1 million.
Directed by Alan Parker, the film stars Kevin Spacey and Kate Winslet.
The Top 12 films this weekend grossed an ESTIMATED $95.4 million, up 10.4 percent from last week when they totaled $86.4 million.
The Top 12 were up 14.81 percent from last year when they totaled $83.1 million.
Last year, DreamWorks' PG-13 rated The Time Machine debuted at the top of the box office with $22.6 million at 22,944 theaters ($7,680 per theater); Paramount's R rated We Were Soldiers came in second with $14.2 million at 3,143 theaters ($4,521 per theater); and New Line's R rated All About the Benjamins debuted in third with $10 million at 2,399 theaters ($2,932 per theater).
Five years ago, “Waterworld” threatened to destroy Kevin Costner’s career, what with all the negative press surrounding its budget overruns, logistical filming problems and on-set rifts. And the film reportedly did destroy Costner’s working relationship with Kevin Reynolds, the director who had previously worked with the star on "Fandango" and "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves." (Remember that, after Reynolds finished shooting "Waterworld," Costner fired him and edited the picture himself -- and threw in some CGI effects to enhance his own receding hairline.)
But now that’s all water under the bridge (pardon the pun). According to Variety, Costner and Reynolds are seriously thinking about working together again and -- get this -- the movie they want to make takes place mostly at sea.
Reynolds and Costner would reteam for "Okracoke," a historical drama written by "Shakespeare in Love" co-screenwriter Marc Norman. It’s the story of a disgraced British naval captain who redeems himself by hunting down the pirate Blackbeard.
MORE MOORE: The classiest 007 is back! Roger Moore will return to the big screen playing a spy in “The Enemy,” according to Reuters. “I need to make a film occasionally, otherwise people say, 'He must be retired,'” the 72-year-old erstwhile James Bond said.
SEAFOOD DIET: John Travolta will play the villain in "Swordfish," a new movie by "Kalifornia" director Dominic Sena, which starts shooting in July, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
ON THE VERGE: The Reporter also notes that Faye Dunaway plans to make a movie with Oscar-winning director Pedro Almodovar. Nothing is lined up yet, but Dunaway likes the Spaniard’s way with women. "He’s one of the few directors with the sensitivity to direct actresses," she says.
NOT SO CONGENIAL: Matt Dillon has backed out of a starring role in "Miss Congeniality," in which he was set to play an FBI agent opposite Sandra Bullock. Variety says that Dillon was attached to the film for a mere four days, from April 11 to April 14.
SUMMER STOCK: As a warm-up to his upcoming stint on "Spin City," Variety reports that Charlie Sheen will star in a romantic comedy "Good Advice," which shoots this summer.
SEE YOU ON CABLE: Nick Nolte, Neve Campbell and Robin Tunney have signed to star in the low-budget comedy-drama “Investigating Sex.” Nolte will play a researcher leading a sex study, while Campbell and Tunney will play stenographers transcribing "erotically charged discussions," according to the Reporter. One thing leads to another and, you guessed it, the researchers and the stenographers soon have more than a working relationship.