Pop star Elton John will auction off 20 of his private stash of luxury and sports cars at Christie's on June 5, the auction house announced Wednesday.
The cars include John's Rolls Royce Silver Cloud named "Daisy" and an Aston Martin called "The Beast," according Christie's. Passengers of the cars, other than the ostentatious singer, include Sting, Hugh Grant, Gianni Versace and George Michael. Christie's estimates the cars will bring in approximately $1.4 million.
This is just the latest in a quite lengthy string of celebrity auctions to hit the block. A selection of Madonna memorabilia is currently up for sale online through Leland's auction house. Leland's is more noted for its sports collectibles, but has recently gained more exposure and credibility with the entertainment industry.
Leland's auction, only online, also includes Jimi Hendrix's personal stash box, Jim Morrison's humidor, Elton John's Elvis-like jumpsuit and a saxophone signed by former president Bill Clinton and band members of Fleetwood Mac. Sotheby's, not to be outdone, last week sold a bed and underwear belonging to British pop star Robbie Williams, with proceeds going to his charity, Give It Sum. Williams' undies may have been purchased for a cool $3,200, but Madonna's bra-and-panties set is already priced above $8,000 on Leland's Web site.
"Celebrity auctions are very popular," said Christie's spokesperson Patricia Clark, "especially Elton John, who's incredibly popular here in England.
"There is generally more interest in celebrity auctions. People love the idea of owning a bit of a star, a piece of history. It makes their lives a little more interesting."
Marty Appel, spokesperson for Leland's, agrees.
"Buying the items is a connection to someone they appreciate, someone whose performances they've enjoyed," Appel said. "The entertainment items draw a lot of press and attention to the auctions, which contain many, many lots other than those select items."
Sometimes, celebrity castoffs are bought as an investment, Appel said.
" People think they'll be even more valuable in 30 to 40 years," he said. "Madonna figures to be a 'forever' icon. Anything associated with her has value for a long time, as she's become a legitimate Hollywood icon."
Clark and Appel cited increased international interest in entertainment industry items over interest in more mundane pieces. Leland's claims that its "online only" strategy to auctions makes it even easier for the international buyer to bid and purchase an item, by leveling the auction playing field for everyone.
Christie's has held numerous auctions for Hollywood and the entertainment industry, including a James Bond-theme auction - Ursula Andress' famous bikini from Dr. No was sold - and Marilyn Monroe and Princess Diana auctions.
John recently lost a court battle with his former manager and accountant. Christie's, however, insisted that The Rocket Man is selling his cars because he doesn't get a chance to enjoy them anymore because of his travel and other time commitments.
John also put his vast record collection on the market last year through Christie's.
To no one's big surprise, Buena Vista/Disney scored big this weekend with their football drama, Remember The Titans. Taking first place with an impressive ESTIMATED $21.2 million at 1,865 theaters ($11,383 per theater), it's a touchdown for producer, Jerry Bruckheimer and star Denzel Washington.
Titans had the highest per-theater average for any film playing in wide release last weekend and finally marks the first $20 million-plus opener since Columbia's Hollow Man last August 4th. It also stands as Denzel Washington's biggest opening since his $18.6 million release with Crimson Tide in May 1995.
Warner Bros.' reissue of its R-rated 1973 horror classic "The Exorcist", directed by William Friedkin and starring Ellen Burstyn, Linda Blair and Max von Sydow, expanded in its second week, strongly holding on to second place with an ESTIMATED $7.43 million (-9%) at 1,150 theaters (+486 theaters; $6,457 per theater). Its accumulative so far is approximately $17.9 million.
DreamWorks' R-rated dramatic comedy "Almost Famous", directed by Cameron Crowe and starring Kate Hudson, Billy Crudup and Frances McDormand, continued to expand in its third week, holding on to third place with a solid ESTIMATED $5.6 million (-20%) at 1,635 theaters (+442 theaters; $3,402 per theater). Its accumulative is approximately $17.8 million, heading for about $60 million in domestic theaters.
Columbia's R-rated horror sequel "Urban Legends: Final Cut", directed by John Ottman and starring Jennifer Morrison, from Phoenix Pictures fell three pegs to fourth place in its second week with a less lively ESTIMATED $4.7 million (-45%) at 2,539 theaters (theater count unchanged; $1,851 per theater). Its accumulative is approximately $15.0 million.
However, even though Remember The Titans did well and gave the box office a much needed kick in the pants, overall, the marketplace is down over 27% from last year and the films being released are under-performing. But look out for the studios to release their big Oscar guns.
Alpine University film student Amy Mayfield (Jennifer Morrison) needs to start her senior project but she's stymied by a case of screenwriter's block. Then a chance encounter with the new campus cop (Loretta Devine the only link to the original "Urban Legend") gives her an idea: She'll make a film about a serial killer who slays college students in ways related to urban legends. Needless to say her cast and crew members (Joseph Lawrence Eva Mendez Jessica Cauffiel) start to disappear in a series of bizarre and mysterious incidents. And yes the killer is the person you would least suspect but only because he/she lacks a plausible motive.
Morrison ("Stir of Echoes") never finds the right mix of vulnerability naïveté and attitude to play the slasher flick damsel-in-distress-turned-heroine. (And she's never in any real peril.) Sorely missing are the outrageous performances that Rebecca Gayheart Danielle Harris and Julian Richings provided in the original "Urban Legend" -- the supporting players shackled to tired Hollywood clichés and a lackluster story never get to exercise their dramatic talents.
Freshman director John Ottman struggles with an already sputtering script by Paul Harris Boardman and Scott Derrickson. Apparently the muse of over-the-top schlock horror blessed the first 15 minutes of the film then succumbed to spontaneous human combustion. With the exception of a mildly amusing "Blair Witch" cinéma-vérité parody the balance of the film generates neither thrill nor swill.