Top Story: "Chicago" Becomes Miramax's Top Grossing Pic
Miramax Films announced Tuesday that Chicago, which last month picked up six Academy Awards, including Best Picture, is now the highest domestic grossing film in the studio's history. The hit musical's box office take reach the $157.1 million mark Monday night, passing previous record holder Scary Movie, which grossed $157 million in 2000 and was distributed by Miramax's genre arm, Dimension Films. Prior to that, Miramax's top grosser was Good Will Hunting, which took in $139 million in 1997. Chicago, directed by Rob Marshall, stars Renee Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Richard Gere.
Bob Hope's 100th Birthday Bash
Celebs, including Kelsey Grammer and Dennis Miller, showed up at the first of several events to celebrate Bob Hope's 100th birthday next month, but the legendary entertainer himself was in poor health and was not able to attend. Hope's birthday is May 29, but Hollywood got a head start with Universal Studios Home Video release of The Bob Hope 100th Birthday Tribute Collection, the NBC special 100 Years of Hope and Humor and the unveiling of a plaque on one of the actor's four Walk of Fame stars, Reuters reports.
Steve Bing Wins Libel Damages
Film producer Steve Bing won libel damages Wednesday against the UK tabloid Daily Mail over an article claiming he had tried to tarnish the reputation of his former lover, actress Elizabeth Hurley, Reuters reports. The article, titled "Private eyes and sexual slurs--how Bing is trying to destroy Liz," said the producer and his co-claimant, Los Angeles lawyer Martin Singer, had "orchestrated a vicious campaign" to destroy Hurley's reputation. The Mail apologized for the embarrassment and distress it caused and agreed to pay substantial but undisclosed damages to British children's charities chosen by Bing.
Melissa Ethridge To Wed Girlfriend
Rocker Melissa Ethridge plans to marry her companion of two years, actress Tammy Lynn Michaels, at the end of this year, The Associated Press reports. Etheridge's publicist, Marcel Pariseau, declined to reveal plans for the ceremony but said it would take place in Los Angeles. Ethridge and her former partner Julie Cypher share custody of their two children. The two revealed in 2000 that musician David Crosby was the sperm donor for their children.
More Money for "Will & Grace" Cast
Will & Grace stars Debra Messing, Eric McCormack, Megan Mullally and Sean Hayes will stay on board the NBC comedy at least through the 2004-05 season under a new salary pact. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the stars are due for hefty salary bumps under the deal that will carry them through the show's seventh season. McCormack and Messing will reportedly increase the $250,000-$275,000 they earn per episode for the current season to about $400,000 per episode by the seventh season. Mullally and Hayes are set to receive only slightly less than the two leads under their revised deals.
TNN Rebrands Itself
Viacom will call the TNN network Spike TV beginning June 16. The move reflects the cable channel's intent to recast itself as a programming source for young men. TNN president Albie Hecht told the The Hollywood Reporter that adopting the male name Spike is intended to evoke the aggressive, irreverent tone the network is taking on. The network will launch a multimillion-dollar advertising campaign that will encompass on-air, outdoor and print to spread awareness for the name change and the channel's new logo, currently in the works.
Zahn Out of CNN's "American Morning"
Paula Zahn, anchor of CNN's American Morning With Paula Zahn, is getting the boot to primetime, Reuters reports. The network is moving Zahn in a 7-9 p.m. ET show titled American Evening With Paula Zahn, the time slot formerly belonging to Connie Chung's tabloid-style interview program. CNN did not name a morning replacement for Zahn but sources confirmed reports that CNN has interviewed CBS News' Jane Clayson for Zahn's slot. For the time being, Bill Hemmer will anchor the show by himself
The Dead, Dylan, Hit the Road
Bob Dylan will co-headline the second leg of The Dead and Summer Getaway Tour, set to kick off July 29 in a yet-to-be-announced location, Billboard.com reports. The two last hit the road together in 1987 on a co-headlining stadium tour that spawned the critically acclaimed 1989 live album Dylan & the Dead, which featured collaborative versions of such Dylan classics as "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" and "All Along the Watchtower."
Role Call: Scorsese Embarks on Western Epic, Aniston Joins Dark Comedy
Martin Scorsese will direct the feature adaptation of Thomas Eidson's Western epic St. Agnes' Stand for DreamWorks. The novel, which revolves around a reluctant hero who saves a nun and a group of children from Apache Indians in the 1860s, will adapted by Life of David Gale scribe Charles Randolph ... Jennifer Aniston is set to star and produce a dark comedy for New Line Cinema. The Friends star would play the wife of a wealthy politician who is confronted with her past when the 10-year-old son she gave up for adoption resurfaces in her life.
Rocker Melissa Etheridge has finally revealed the identity of the man who fathered her two children -- and it's not Brad Pitt.
Etheridge has long talked about her crush on good friend Pitt, whom she once said was good-looking enough to make any woman switch teams. (Etheridge outed herself in 1992.) Anyway, the Pitt connection fueled rumors that the actor's DNA was involved when Etheridge's partner, Julie Cypher (ex-wife of Lou Diamond Phillips) became pregnant.
But alas, Pitt has not passed along his good-looking genes to Etheridge-Cypher. Surprisingly, Etheridge reveals to this month's Rolling Stone that the biological father is sorta the anti-Brad Pitt -- David Crosby, the balding, pudgy folkie best known for his hard-livin' days with 1960s stalwarts Crosby, Stills & Nash.
"He's musical, which means a lot to me," Etheridge says of Crosby in Rolling Stone, "and I admire his work."
Cypher became pregnant through artificial insemination and gave birth to daughter Bailey, now 3, and son Beckett, who's 1. The entire, extended family appears on the cover of the new Rolling Stone, including Crosby, 58, and wife Jan, who recommended him for the paternity job.
"No kitchen implements were involved,'' assures Cypher.
Well, that's a relief.
EXODUS: Woody Allen leaving "Manhattan"?!?
The notorious New Yorker has decided to leave the Big Apple for London -- at least for a year, according to reports. Manhattan is, of course, the city in which nearly all Allen's films are set -- and not just the ones named after Manhattan ("Manhattan Murder Mystery", "Manhattan").
Allen, 65, wife Soon-Yi, 29, and their baby daughter, Bechet Dumaine, plan to move to Britain so Allen can direct one-act plays in the foggy city's fashionable "boutique" theaters, according to Sunday's London Times. Producers rejected a similar plan in New York because it was deemed too expensive.
OBLIGATORY DOUGLAS/ZETA-JONES ITEM OF THE DAY: Yes, the wedding is still on for Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones, -- in fact, Britain's Sun reports that the two will tie the knot in Majorca, a Spanish resort island.
Douglas owns a remote mountain villa there, and an unnamed source tells the tab, "They want to keep the wedding private. Michael's estate in Majorca is perfect because it is so isolated."
But not too private: The Welsh actress reportedly was considering holding the wedding in a chapel near her hometown but nixed it because the venue was too small.
The Sun, by the way, says the Douglas/Zeta-Jones nuptials will go down Sept. 25, which also happens to be the couple's shared birthday (he'll be turning 56, she'll be turning 31).
That would prove convenient; Douglas would only have to remember one date out of the year.
STUPID, BUT OK: Paul Newman suffered bruised ribs after crashing his racecar into a tire barrier at Daytona International Speedway on Thursday.
"I got overconfident on a fresh set of tires," Newman, 74, said. "The tires weren't warm enough, and I slipped."
Newman, an avid and accomplished racecar driver, was examined on the scene by a doctor and further evaluated at Hallifax Medical Center.
"I'm angry at myself," Newman said. "It was a stupid thing to do."
But it's not slowing him down: Newman still plans to run the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona race next month.
GLOBAL PRESENCE: Steven Spielberg, who won a best director Golden Globe (and later the Oscar) for "Saving Private Ryan," and Gwyneth Paltrow, who scored a Globe and an Oscar for "Shakespeare in Love," have been tapped as presenters for the 57th Annual Golden Globes on Jan. 23 in Beverly Hills.
Also presenting awards are Catherine Deneuve, Winona Ryder and the (very) aforementioned Michael Douglas.
THE WRITE STUFF: Michael Caine, currently seen in "The Cider House Rules," has decided to do a little John Irving of his own.
The Oscar-winning actor ("Hannah and Her Sisters") has completed his debut novel -- a thriller -- but says he must go back for rewrites after realizing he killed off one of his characters, er, twice.
"I've got to the end in a mad dash. Now I've got to go back and do it properly," Caine told reporters.