TV series The Simpsons has beaten 99 TV shows and movies to top the
U.K.'s greatest cartoon poll.
The long-running comedy show--now in its 16th year--topped the list of
animations unveiled on British TV network Channel 4 Feb. 27.
Veteran cat and mouse duo Tom and Jerry claimed second place followed by
controversial show South Park and computer generated movies Toy Story and Toy
The Simpsons' creator Matt Groening says, "It had to be The Simpsons. It was
voted the greatest TV show of the 20th Century, and unless Jesus Christ made
any shows I'm not aware of, that makes it the best of all time."
The Top Ten Winners are:
1. The Simpsons
2. Tom and Jerry
3. South Park
4. Toy Story/Toy Story 2
5. Family Guy
6. Shrek/Shrek 2
7. The Lion King
8. Spirited Away
9. The Incredibles
10. Bugs Bunny
Article Copyright World Entertainment News Network All Rights Reserved.
Gibson deems stem cell research unethical
Actor Mel Gibson appeared on Good Morning America this morning to discuss his concern about ballot measure Proposition 71, which promotes embryonic stem cell research, the AP reports. If Proposition 71 is supported at the polls, $3 billion of state bonds would be sold for use in this controversial research method. Gibson said that his concern with using embryos to do research is an ethical decision he has made, based on his Roman Catholic religion. Recently California state governor Arnold Schwarzenegger announced his support for the ballot measure to President Bush, who is against the research. Gibson called the governor yesterday to discuss the ballot measure, but is still waiting for a call back. Gibson admits that at first he was happy about the measure, but once all of the information was revealed, he changed his mind. "I found that the cloning of human embryos will be used in the process and that, for me, I have an ethical problem with that," said Gibson. Gibson is no stranger to publicly stating his religious beliefs. His film, The Passion of the Christ got international attention; some felt the film was moving, while others thought that Gibson's depiction of Christ's crucifixion went too far.
Lindsay Lohan released from hospital
Actress Lindsay Lohan was released from the hospital today after six days of bed rest, the AP reports. Lohan was checked into the Los Angeles county hospital on Thursday after she was reportedly suffering from headaches and a high fever. Lohan has a busy schedule ahead of her, though, having postponed a number of jobs until she felt better. This week Lohan will shoot her guest appearance on Fox's That 70's Show opposite her boyfriend, Wilmer Valderrama, and also has three upcoming films to focus on, in addition to the completion of her first debut album said to hit stores December 7th.
Jolie describes her eye-opening visit to Sudan
Actress Angelina Jolie took a three-day to Sudan's Darfur region only to come home with a better appreciation for her freedom. "I'd say this is the worst situation I've seen and what's happening to the people here...is unbelievably horrible. The fact is it is just one of the worst things that has happened on the planet to a people," she told Reuters. As a goodwill ambassador for the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR, the Tomb Raider star has visited and donated money to many broken countries where violence and abuse are a part of their daily lives. Violence and hatred in Sudan has caused over 1.6 million people to live on the streets, while the U.N. says it is doing everything it can to aid in relief.
Latifah was cut from Monster's Ball script
Singer turned actress Queen Latifah had been part of the original script for the low-budget 2001 film Monster's Ball, the AP reports. Halle Berry was chosen to replace Latifah, which won Berry the Oscar Award for Actress of the year in 2002. Berry was the first African American to ever win the Oscar in that category. "I actually had that role before Halle. But they couldn't set it up," said Latifah. Latifah was nominated for the best supporting actress Oscar in 2003 for her role in Chicago.
Miramax kicks off screener season with movie mailings
It's Oscar screener season, and Miramax is getting a head start by sending out DVDs of Kill Bill Vol. 2 to Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences voters, Variety reports. Since Kill Bill Vol. 2 is already available on video, these discs are not watermarked; however, future mailings for the upcoming films Finding Neverland and The Aviator will be sent out watermarked. Screener floods generally run from Thanksgiving to January, so Miramax is hoping to impress Academy voters before the season begins next month.
Film critic exchanges words with former CEO
Chicago Sun Times film critic Roger Ebert and Conrad Black, former CEO of the Sun's parent company, exchanged words in a number of letters published yesterday in the paper's commentary section. The AP reports that the letters included Ebert's opinion on the unsatisfactory working conditions of the Chicago Sun Times and how the former CEO was squandering company money. Each letter included personal attacks to one another offering up personal salary information of Ebert and other Sun Times employees. Company workers have been threatening to go on strike if the working conditions do not improve. Black was ousted as CEO of Hollinger International Inc. for looting more than $400 million in company money from 1997 to 2003.
Bush voted "top villain" in British magazine
For his role in Michael Moore's documentary film, Fahrenheit 9/11, President Bush won the honor of this years "top screen villain" on Wednesday, the AP reports. Over 10,000 people voted in the poll conducted by Total Film magazine in London. President Bush beat out the competition, consisting of Doctor Octopus in Spider-Man 2 and creepy Gollum from Lord of the Rings, to name a few. "It is possible that people have been a little bit tongue in cheek here, but they are also saying that Bush was very scary in Fahrenheit 9/11," said the magazine's editor, Matt Mueller.
OutKast tops Internet music awards
Hip-Hop duo sensation OutKast took home top honors Wednesday as the Recording Industry Association handed out a total of 45 prizes to various musical artists in their first awards for most Internet-based downloads, Reuters reports. OutKast won a multi-platinum award for getting more than 400,000 downloads of their hit song "Hey Ya," and two other platinum awards for "The Way You Move" and "Roses". Rock groups Hoobastank, Maroon 5 and the hip-hop artists of D12 also received platinum awards. Although downloading music still makes up a small portion of total music sales, the recording industry expects the numbers to continue to increase with the popularity of portable recording devices like the Apple iPod. The Recording Industry Association handed out a total of 45 awards to various musical artists.
Max Spielberg, the 17-year-old son of director Steven Spielberg, recently completed work on Snap Shot, a short film he wrote, produced, directed, shot and edited. Adam Schiff, a spokesman for the New York Film Academy, said the project was part of a four-week workshop held on the back lot of Universal Studios in Los Angeles, which the young Spielberg attended. The film, according to Reuters, is about a tourist couple drawn into a string of homicides after their instant camera accidentally gets switched with the camera of a serial murderer. There are no immediate plans for the short to receive a public exhibition. Either way, it looks like Max is following his father's footsteps right into Tinseltown.
Disney has begun negotiations with Billy Bob Thornton to star as Davy Crockett in the $75 million period drama The Alamo, Variety reports. The film will be directed by The Rookie's John Lee Hancock. Ron Howard was originally set to helm the pic, but quit over a difference of opinion about budget and rating. Howard wanted to make a gritty, R-rated film with a budget of more than $125 million. Shooting will begin in January and is expected to hit theaters for the 2003 holiday season.
Director Quentin Tarantino has inked a deal with Vivendi Universal's Black Label Games to serve as the creative consultant on a video game based on his upcoming long-awaited film Kill Bill, Variety reports. The film stars Uma Thurman as a former assassin, who, after four years in a coma, seeks revenge on her former boss, played by David Carradine. The film is slated for release Oct. 10, 2003, with the video game set to debut in spring 2004.
It's time to get ill. In an attempt to lure younger viewers, cable network CNN Headline News is looking to incorporate words like "whack," "fly" and "freak" into its newscast. According to the New York Daily News, a network manager e-mailed a copy of a slang dictionary to headline writers. "Please use this guide to help all you homeys and honeys add a new flava to your tickers and dekkos," the message said, referencing Headline News screen graphics.
Sony Pictures Television International's acquisition of the international format rights to a reality show from Argentina called Human Resources has got the AFL-CIO up in arms. The show features unemployed people competing for actual jobs as well as cash prizes and employee benefits. Chris Owen, AFL-CIO's public policy director, told The Hollywood Reporter, "We think the nation needs a real economic policy that gets people back to work as opposed to a game show that plays on tragedy for so many unemployed people."
Saturday Night Live will feature two new performers--Fred Armisen and Will Forte--when the comedy-variety show makes its season premiere Saturday, Reuters reports. The season opener will be hosted by Matt Damon with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band appearing as musical guests.
Bono, the frontman of Irish rock group U2, has been rated the most powerful man in music, according to a poll of top music industry executives to be published in the British music magazine Q next week. The 42-year-old singer was chosen not only for his vocals, but for his high-profile involvement on political issues, including Third World debt relief and expansion of the European Union, Reuters reports.
RCA Records' Elvis 30 No. 1 Hits topped the Billboard 200 charts this week with 500,325 units sold. The album of remastered classics by Elvis Presley also debuted at No. 1 in the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Australia and Brazil, according to The Hollywood Reporter. This is the first time an album from the King has ever debuted at the top of the U.S. charts.
Horror was the word this weekend, both on screen and off as Hollywood suffered yet another under-performing weekend.
Columbia's R-rated horror sequel "Urban Legends: Final Cut" from Phoenix Pictures took the biggest slice of box office pie, placing first with an energetic estimated $8.8 million at 2,539 theaters ($3,466 per theater).
Insiders had anticipated a double-digit launch by "Urban." It was the third consecutive weekend in which the film placing first did not gross $10 million or more.
"The original opened to $10.5 million and went on to do $38 million. We certainly hope we can get to the $25-30 range, which would make it very profitable for us. It's a $14.6 million production cost, so we make money for sure," Sony Pictures Releasing president Jeff Blake said Sunday morning.
Asked about pre-weekend industry talk that "Urban" would open to over $10 million, Blake replied, "Our hoped-for figure was $10 million. I thought it would be very difficult to do any more than that, but we would have liked to have done $10 million. Look, I think 'Exorcist' didn't help our cause any, but the (core audience) for our picture is really 17-25, people who weren't born when 'The Exorcist' came out.
"I think, in a way, at least having three movies doing reasonably well invigorated the market a little bit. It was up about 15 percent from last week. We came pretty close to what we should have hoped for and, as I say, it's never bad to be Number One."
Directed by John Ottman, "Urban" stars Jennifer Morrison.
Warner Bros.' reissue of its R-rated 1973 horror classic "The Exorcist" enjoyed a livelier return than insiders had expected, taking second place with a head-spinning estimated $8.53 million at 664 theaters ($12,839 per theater). Its cume (including about $256,000 from 10 test runs that began last March 17) is approximately $8.8 million. One of those test runs in Austin, Texas, is still playing and is in its 17th week now.
Directed by William Friedkin, "Exorcist" stars Ellen Burstyn, Linda Blair and Max von Sydow.
"This movie is 27 years old. It's done about $150 million to date," Warner Bros. Distribution president Dan Fellman said Sunday morning, explaining that there are no records at the studio from 27 years ago showing what it grossed in its original theatrical run. "Over the years, it's never stopped playing. People pick it up for Midnight shows and things like that. So there's always something happening with that movie."
How did the reissue come about? "I had read a People magazine story after 'The Blair Witch Project' opened. They took a poll of the scariest movie ever made and it came back 'The Exorcist' - even after 'Blair Witch.' Then Entertainment Weekly did a similar thing and it came out the same way. I called Bill Friedkin and talked to him about maybe putting in some additional footage and doing a director's cut. He felt that he had made his director's cut. It was a classic and extremely well reviewed. (But he) decided it was an interesting thought and that we should sit down and talk about it.
"So I got (writer-producer) Bill Blatty and Bill Friedkin and we sat down. I had no idea, (but) Bill Blatty had always had a version of the book and screenplay that was different from the cut that Billy Friedkin had delivered to the studio. He wanted to have more of a spiritual version. Billy had changed things a little bit. Over the years, (Blatty) had been talking to Billy about cutting the movie the way that he had envisioned his story being told. Billy never wanted to do it.
"Twenty-seven years has passed and they've had great success. I was interested in bringing it back. Billy said to me, 'The only reason I'll do it is if I can add footage and cut it the way that Blatty wanted it done. I'll do Blatty's version.' I was fine with that. Bill (Blatty) was thrilled with it and was so excited that Bill Friedkin would do it. There's never been a movie this old re-released that has had this phenomenal success."
Fellman pointed out, "Our plan on this movie was to test it, which we did in March. We had satisfactory results and looked for (the right release) date. We found the date. We went with major markets - 664 theaters. We had success this weekend, and we're going to bring in about another 400 theaters this weekend. We're going to do the balance of the country on Friday the 13th - Oct. 13. Maybe another 400-800 (theaters)."
DreamWorks' R-rated dramatic comedy "Almost " went wide in its second week, finishing third with a still-encouraging estimated $7.0 million (+202 percent) at 1,193 theaters (+1,062 theaters; $5,860 per theater). Its cume is approximately $10.3 million, heading for about $60 million in domestic theaters.
Written and directed by Cameron Crowe ("Jerry Maguire"), "Almost" stars Billy Crudup, Frances McDormand, Kate Hudson, Jason Lee, Patrick Fugit, Anna Paquin, Fairuza Balk, Noah Taylor and Philip Seymour Hoffman.
"Famous" had the highest per-theater average for any film playing in over 1,000 theaters last weekend.
"I think it worked very well," DreamWorks distribution head Jim Tharp said Sunday morning about the film's expansion. "It's the kind of movie you have to get into the marketplace to show people (in order) for word to get out. We had a 55 percent increase from Friday to Saturday night on the movie. It plays extremely well, and word gets out very quickly now. It's still playing older. More than half the people are still over 25. We're pleased with the expansion, and we're going to continue that this weekend, adding another 400-500 runs."
Asked where it could wind up domestically, Tharp replied, "It could be in the $60 million range if it continues to hold. 'American Beauty' was a $75 million movie before it got to nominations and awards time. It ended up at $130 million. This would be slightly under that (going into the awards season). Gross-wise, it's actually running slightly ahead, but we went with a few more runs the second week than we did with 'American Beauty.'"
"Famous" is being released internationally by Sony's Columbia Pictures, which co-financed the production and will share equally with DreamWorks in its success. Columbia will kick off "Famous" in November at the London Film Festival.
Universal and Beacon Pictures' PG-13-rated comedy "Bring It On" fell one peg to fourth place in its fifth week with a still upbeat estimated $4.17 million (-18 percent) at 2,457 theaters (+30 theaters; $1,695 per theater). Its cume is approximately $55.9 million, heading for $60 million in domestic theaters.
Having an investment of only about $10 million in "Bring," Universal is already in profit on the picture.
Directed by Peyton Reed, "Bring" stars Kirsten Dunst, Eliza Dusku, Jesse Bradford and Gabrielle Union.
Universal's R-rated psychological thriller "The Watcher" slid four slots to fifth place in its third week with a less exciting estimated $3.6 million (-38 percent) at 2,777 theaters (+32 theaters; $1,295 per theater). Its cume is approximately $22.7 million, heading for $25-30 million in domestic theaters.
Universal reportedly picked "Watcher" up from Interlight for only $5 million, so the studio is clearly turning a profit on its investment.
Directed by Joe Charbanic, "Watcher" stars James Spader, Marisa Tomei and Keanu Reeves.
Warner Bros. and Castle Rock Entertainment's R-rated action comedy "Bait" sank four rungs to sixth place in its second week with a calm estimated $3.38 million (-38 percent) at 2,352 theaters (theater count unchanged; $1,435 per theater). Its cume is approximately $10.6 million.
Directed by Antoine Fuqua, "Bait" stars Jamie Foxx.
USA Films' R-rated dark comedy "Nurse Betty" fell three notches to seventh place in its third week with less robust estimated $3.31 million (-26 percent) at 1,491 theaters (+22 theaters; $2,220 per theater). Its cume is approximately $18.1 million, heading for $21-25 million in domestic theaters.
"Betty" actually is owned by Universal, which acquired it as part of its takeover of PolyGram and then brought in USA to handle its domestic release.
Directed by Neil La Bute, "Betty" stars Morgan Freeman, Renee Zellweger, Chris Rock and Greg Kinnear.
DreamWorks PG-13-rated supernatural thriller "What Lies Beneath" dropped one slot to eighth place in its 10th week, still holding well with an estimated $2.2 million (-6 percent) at 1,819 theaters (-188 theaters; $1,200 per theater). Its cume is approximately $148.5 million.
"Beneath" is a co-production of DreamWorks, which is releasing it domestically, and 20th Century Fox, which is distributing it internationally.
Directed by Robert Zemeckis, "Beneath" stars Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer.
Warner Bros. PG-13 sci-fi action adventure "Space Cowboys" fell four rungs to ninth place in its eighth week with an okay estimated $2.17 million (-14 percent) at 2,170 theaters (-291 theaters; $998 per theater). Its cume is approximately $85.1 million, heading for $90-100 million in domestic theaters.
Directed by Clint Eastwood, "Space" stars Eastwood, Tommy Lee Jones, James Garner and Donald Sutherland.
Rounding out the Top Ten was Fox Searchlight Pictures' opening of its R-rated romantic comedy "Woman On Top" with a soft estimated $1.91 million at 1,085 theaters ($1,765 per theater).
Directed by Fina Torres, "Woman" stars Penelope Cruz.
"It's a little disappointing, but we knew we had a challenge," Fox Searchlight distribution president Stephen Gilula said Sunday morning. "In the smaller cities, it was not nearly as good. We actually had some very solid performances in some of the larger cities - New York, Miami, Los Angeles and San Francisco. So it was stronger in the larger cities and not as good in the more regional areas. As it turns out, because it's an international subject matter, it's a stronger big city film. It went up very nicely on Saturday night, so we're hopeful on word of mouth on this."
OTHER OPENINGS This weekend also saw the arrival of Lions Gate Films' R-rated drama "Under Suspicion" in New York and L.A., placing 26th with an okay estimated $0.11 million at 19 theaters ($6,277 per theater).
Directed by Stephen Hopkins, "Suspicion" stars Morgan Freeman and Gene Hackman.
MGM's release of United Artists' PG-rated musical drama "The Fantasticks" arrived exclusively in New York, L.A. and San Francisco, placing 30th with a quiet estimated $0.024 million at 6 theaters ($4,000 per theater).
Directed byMichael Ritchie, it stars Joel Grey and Barnard Hughes.
SNEAK PREVIEWS Universal held sneaks Saturday night of its PG-13 rated comedy "Meet the Parents" at 185 theaters in the top 10-14 markets.
Details of the sneaks were not available early Sunday morning, but other distributors said they believed they were well attended based on Saturday night business for Universal's "The Watcher" and "Bring It On," the films with which the sneaks were held.
"Parents" opens Oct. 6 at 2,000-plus theaters.
Directed by Jay Roach, it stars Robert De Niro and Ben Stiller.
EXPANSIONS Lions Gate Films' R-rated drama "Urbania" went wider in its second week, placing 27th with a dull estimated $0.066 million at 14 theaters ($4,719 per theater). Its cume is approximately $0.1 million.
Directed by Jon Shear, "Urbania" stars Dan Futterman and Matt Keeslar.
WEEKEND COMPARISONS Key films -- those grossing more than $500,000 for the weekend -- took in approximately $56.68 million, down about 21.64 percent from the comparable weekend last year when key films grossed $72.35 million.
This weekend's key film gross was up about 19.69 percent from this year's previous weekend, when key films grossed $47.36 million.
Last year, Paramount's opening week of "Double Jeopardy" was first with $23.16 million at 2,547 theaters ($9,094 per theater); and Sony's second week of "Blue Streak" was second with $12.55 million at 2,735 theaters ($4,588 per theater). The top two films one year ago grossed $35.7 million. This year, the top two films grossed an estimated $17.3 million.
STUDIO MARKET SHARES Based on business by key films (those grossing $500,000 or more), last weekend's top six distributors were:
Warner Bros. was first with six films "The Exorcist," "Bait," "Space Cowboys," "The Art Of War," "The Perfect Storm" and "The Replacements"), grossing an estimated $16.78 million or 29.6 percent of the market.
DreamWorks was second with two films ("Almost Famous" and "What Lies Beneath"), grossing an estimated $9.2 million or 16.2 percent of the market.
Universal was third with three films ("The Watcher," "Bring It On" and "Nutty Professor 2: The Klumps"), grossing an estimated $8.83 million or 15.6 percent of the market.
Sony Pictures Releasing (Columbia and TriStar) was fourth with one film ("Urban Legends: Final Cut"), grossing an estimated $8.8 million or 15.5 percent of the market.
USA Films was fifth with one film ("Nurse Betty"), grossing an estimated $3.31 million or 5.8 percent of the market.
New Line Cinema (New Line and Fine Line Features) was sixth with two films ("The Cell" and "Saving Grace"), grossing an estimated $2.3 million or 4.0 percent of the market.
ADDITIONAL ESTIMATES (11)The Cell/New Line: Theaters: 1,678 (-319) Gross: $1.65 million (-33 percent) Average per theater: $864 Cume: $57.5 million
(12)Scary Movie/Dimension Films: Theaters: 1,678 (-319) Gross: $1.33 million (-356 percent) Average per theater: $795 Cume: $154.1 million
(13)The Replacements/Warner Bros.: Theaters: 1,365 (-348) Gross: $1.21 million (-13 percent) Average per theater: $885 Cume: $42.6 million
(14)The Original Kings of Comedy/Paramount: Theaters: 1,082 (+42) Gross: $1.11 million (-28 percent) Average per theater: $1,025 Cume: $35.5 million
(15)Nutty Professor II: The Klumps/Universal: Theaters: 1,210 (-192) Gross: $1.07 million (-13 percent) Average per theater: $880 Cume: $119.8 million
(16)The Art of War/Warner Bros.: Theaters: 1,085 (-620) Gross: $0.96 million (-38 percent) Average per theater: $885 Cume: $28.9 million
(17)Duets/Buena Vista: Theaters: 583 (+2) Gross: $0.92 million (-54 percent) Average per theater: $1,580 Cume: $3.5 million
(18)Coyote Ugly/BV/Touchstone: Theaters: 883 (-221) Gross: $0.8 million (-21 percent) Average per theater: $900 Cume: $57.8 million
(19)Autumn in New York/MGM: Theaters: 1,182 (-390) Gross: $0.72 million (-24 percent) Average per theater: $610 Cume: $36.5 million
(20)Highlander: Endgame/Dimension Films: Theaters: 1,331 (-215) Gross: $0.68 million (-39 percent) Average per theater: $510 Cume: $11.9 million
(21)Saving Grace/Fine Line: Theaters: 706 (-168) Gross: $0.65 million (-28 percent) Average per theater: $920 Cume: $10.8 million
(22)The Perfect Storm/Warner Bros.: Theaters: 602 (-62) Gross: $0.55 million (+1 percent) Average per theater: $915 Cume: $180.1 million
(23)Gladiator/DreamWorks: Theaters: 522 (-215) Gross: $0.42 million (-19 percent) Average per theater: $805 Cume: $185.6 million
(24)X-Men/Fox: Theaters: 524 (-57) Gross: $0.4 million (-16 percent) Average per theater: $765 Cume: $155.2 million
(25)The Way of the Gun/Artisan Ent.: Theaters: 822 (-743) Gross: $0.39 million (-68 percent) Average per theater: $480 Cume: $5.1 million
(26)UNDER SUSPICION/Lions Gate: (see OTHER OPENINGS above)
(27)Urbania/Lions Gate; (see EXPANSIONS above)
(28)Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle/Universal: Theaters: 167 (-38) Gross: $0.050 million (-30 p ercent) Average per theater: $300 Cume: $25.9 million
(29)Into the Arms of Strangers/Warner Bros: Theaters: 5 (0) Gross: $0.029 million (-10 percent) Average per theater: $5,766 Cume: $0.075 million
(30)THE FANTASTICKS/MGM/United Artists: (see OTHER OPENINGS above)