How would you like Elvis Presley's 1976 blue Cadillac El Dorado Biarritz parked inside your garage? Lovely thought isn't it? Dream no further--the car can be yours if you bid on eBay, and you have enough money in the bank.
The online auction house eBay Motors is offering a stable of celebrity-touched cars to the highest bidder in the "Cars of the Stars" auction, which closes on Thursday.
"The eBay Motors category is the fastest growing category on eBay," said Kevin Purseglove, a PR representative for eBay. "People who have sold their cars online have gotten more traffic than anywhere else."
Along with Presley's Caddie, John Lennon's 1970 Mercedes-Benz limousine, Tim Allen's 1960 Chrysler 300F convertible, Reggie Jackson's 1970 Chevrolet Nova and Jerry Garcia's custom 1994 Dodge van are also on the auction block.
Other auction houses are jumping on the celebrity bandwagon. According to the Associated Press, the Barrett-Jackson auction house in Los Angeles also auctions celebrity cars. Currently on auction are Wonder Woman Linda Carter's 1984 Jaguar XJ6, a 1975 Lincoln Continental once owned by Elvis Presley and a 1999 Chevrolet Suburban driven by The Sopranos' Tony Soprano during the first series of the HBO mobster series.
Elton John auctioned off 20 classic cars from his personal collection last Wednesday at Christie's auction house in London. The singer received $2.75 million dollars for his cars and released a statement claiming he was surprised at the results. "When the bidding kept going up and up way above the estimates, I was both thrilled and surprised. There's obviously a lot of money to be made from second-hand cars!" John said in the statement.
"Bidders have the chance to drive away in a car from some of our most beloved icons," Simon Rothman, vice president of eBay Motors told the Associated Press.
Purseglove adds that most of the cars auctioned off are listed on eBay by the estate, the celeb's next of kin, or automobile collectors who buy cars because of the individual who owned it or because of their passions for cars.
Since the birth of eBay in 1996, users have found themselves bidding on items ranging from clothing to music to antiques. Three years ago, cars were included on eBay.
According to Purseglove, celebrities are finding that they can get a great deal of attention by selling their items on eBay, simply because it's a flexible marketplace. It's easy to sell merchandise, and it attracts a lot of media attention.
Many sell their goods for a charitable cause. Tiger Woods is auctioning a 2001 Buick Regal he drove during the week of his Masters golf win. According to the Associated Press, the buyer will also receive an autographed plaque, a Buick Nike golf bag and clubs. All proceeds benefit the Tiger Woods Foundation.
Talk show host Rosie O'Donnell, who regularly sells her show memorabilia to benefit the For All Kids Foundation, has gained significant recognition for her organization, Rosie's Charity Auctions, founded in 1997 to help support the intellectual, social and cultural development of at-risk children across the U.S. According to O'Donnell's Web site, the Foundation has awarded over 500 grants to nonprofit organizations for children and families across the country.
" [eBay] has a pretty good relationship with Ms. O'Donnell," Purseglove said. "Sometimes guests that go to her show will bring autographed items for her to sell online."
O'Donnell, whose eBay seller name is "4allkids," is currently selling a pair of size 9½ Nike sneakers, an I-Zone camera, autographed pictures of herself and guest Martin Short, and her notes from Thursday's show.
The National Trust in London is selling off the house where ex-Beatle John Lennon lived with his aunt for 18 years before he achieved stardom in 1963. The four-bedroom property, valued at 150,000 British pounds is expected to sell for a higher sum. Ron Burkey, the son of Ernest Burkey, who owned the house, told London's Sunday Mirror on June 11 that the house was for sale because his father hated the fans who turned at the gates of his home. "We'll advertise it on the Internet," he told the publication. "There are a lot of fans in Japan and America who are incredibly passionate about John Lennon."
Universal launched "U-571" to over $20 million, sinking its Easter Weekend box office competition.
Hollywood had anticipated big action from the PG-13 World War II submarine drama given its 17% first-choice tracking score going into the weekend.
"U-571" sailed full speed ahead into 2,583 theaters with a killer ESTIMATED $20.28 million ($7,850 per theater). Its per theater average was the highest for any film playing in wide release this weekend.
Directed by Jonathan Mostow, "U-571" stars Matthew McConaughey, Bill Paxton, Harvey Keitel and Jon Bon Jovi.
"This is a tremendous opening for a film of its nature," Universal distribution president Nikki Rocco said Sunday morning. "It's the biggest submarine film (opening ever). It's bigger than 'Crimson Tide.' It's bigger than 'Hunt For Red October.' Jonathan Mostow is a very talented director, who was able to give audiences a thrill ride. The exit polls were all outstanding, indicating that audiences are going to embrace this film for weeks to come."
New Line's kick off of "Love & Basketball" was a high-scoring number two with a winning ESTIMATED $8.38 million at 1,237 theaters ($6,770 per theater).
The PG-13 rated drama is targeted to under-25 African-Americans.
Written and directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood, it stars Omar Epps and Sanaa Lathan.
Referring to last week's 15% first-choice tracking scores, which had suggested an even stronger opening, New Line distribution head David Tuckerman said Sunday morning, "Before all this started with the tracking, we thought we'd be between $8-9 million. The tracking got us hyped up.
"Also, almost everybody's down from Friday to Saturday. We should have a big Sunday. Traditionally, African-Americans like to go to the movies on Sunday."
Facing direct competition from "U-571" for adult male moviegoers, Paramount's R rated military trial drama "Rules of Engagement" fell two notches in its third week but held its own very well with an ESTIMATED $8.0 million (-27%) at 3,220 theaters (+30 theaters; $2,484 per theater). Its cume is approximately $43.0 million.
Directed by William Friedkin, it stars Tommy Lee Jones and Samuel L Jackson.
"Frankly, I thought we'd be down a minimum of 35%," Paramount distribution president Wayne Lewellen said Sunday morning. "Our mid-weeks last week were exceptionally strong. So I think we're (heading for) $60-65 million."
Columbia's PG-13 rated dramatic comedy "28 Days" skidded two rungs to fourth place in its second week, holding nicely with an ESTIMATED $7.4 million (-28%) at 2,523 theaters (theater count unchanged; $2,933 per theater). Its cume is approximately $22.2 million.
Directed by Betty Thomas, "Days" stars Sandra Bullock and Viggo Mortensen.
"I think down 28% is a nice drop," Sony Pictures releasing president Jeff Blake said Sunday morning. "Probably, we'll have over $25 million in by the end of the second week. So certainly it seems on course to do over $40 million. That'll make us some money. We'll be a little ahead of our production costs. I think Sandra Bullock really remains very reliable (as a star whose movies audiences want to see)."
Buena Vista/Touchstone's PG-13 rated romantic comedy "Keeping the Faith" dipped two slots to fifth place in its second week, holding strongly with an ESTIMATED $7.3 million (-10%) at 2,158 theaters (+6 theaters; $3,386 per theatre). Its cume is approximately $18.7 million.
Directed by Edward Norton, it stars Ben Stiller, Jenna Elfman and Norton.
Universal's "Erin Brockovich" fell one notch to sixth place in its sixth weekend, still holding nicely with an ESTIMATED $5.55 million (-21%) at 3,056 theaters (-14 theaters; $1,815 per theater). Its cume is approximately $107.4 million.
The R rated dramatic comedy was co-financed by Universal, which is distributing it domestically, and by Columbia, which is releasing it internationally. The two studios are 50-50 partners in the picture.
Directed by Steven Soderbergh, it stars Julia Roberts, Albert Finney and Aaron Eckart.
DreamWorks' PG rated animated comedy "The Road To El Dorado" dropped two rungs in its fourth week to seventh place with a still colorful ESTIMATED $5.1 million (-17%) at 3,170 theaters (-53 theaters; $1,609 per theater). Its cume is approximately $41.8 million.
Directed by Eric "Bibo" Bergeron and Don Paul, it features the voices of Kevin Kline, Kenneth Branagh, Rosie Perez, Armand Assante and Edward James Olmos.
MGM's PG rated romantic comedy "Return to Me" slid two slots in its third week to eighth place with a quiet ESTIMATED $3.8 million (-24%) at 2,320 theaters (theater count unchanged; $1,640 per theater). Its cume is approximately $21.0 million.
Directed by Bonnie Hunt, "Return" cost only about $24 million to make. It stars David Duchovny and Minnie Driver.
Universal's PG-13 rated thriller "The Skulls" slipped one notch to ninth place in its fourth week with a slow ESTIMATED $2.83 million (-30%) at 2,047 theaters (-362 theaters; $1,380 per theater). Its cume is approximately $30.4 million.
Directed by Rob Cohen, it stars Joshua Jackson and Paul Walker.
Rounding out the Top Ten was New Line's R rated suspense thriller "Final Destination," down one peg in its sixth weekend and holding well with an ESTIMATED $2.78 million (-9%) at 1,305 theaters (-204 theaters; $2,126 per theater). Its cume is approximately $42.8 million.
Directed by James Wong, it stars Devon Sawa.
Last weekend also saw the arrival of Warner Bros.' R rated youth appeal drama "Gossip" with little to talk about in 12th place with a disappointing ESTIMATED $2.34 million at 1,525 theaters ($1,534 per theater).
Directed by Davis Guggenheim, it stars James Marsden, Lena Headey, Norman Reedus, Kate Hudson, Marisa Coughlan and Joshua Jackson.
Paramount Classics' R rated drama about teen suicide, "The Virgin Suicides" went into limited release, placing 20th with a sexy ESTIMATED $0.24 million at 18 theaters ($13,460 per theater).
Written and directed by Sofia Coppola, it stars James Woods, Kathleen Turner, Kirsten Dunst and Josh Hartnett.
Saturday night saw two rounds of national sneak previews. New Line held 1,200 sneaks of its PG-13 rated time travel thriller "Frequency." It was the film's second set of Saturday sneaks, following 800 well-attended showings one week earlier.
"They were better than last week. We're trying to figure out exactly how much better," New Line distribution head David Tuckerman said. "My fax broke down this morning and (with the opening of 'Love & Basketball') that's why I'm running so late."
Directed by Gregory Hoblit, it stars Dennis Quaid and Jim Caviezel.
"Frequency" opens Apr. 28 at about 2,500 theaters.
There also were Saturday night sneaks of 20th Century Fox's comedy drama "Where the Heart Is." No details were available Sunday morning.
Directed by Matt Williams, it stars Natalie Portman, Ashley Judd, Stockard Channing and Joan Cusack.
"Heart" opens wide Apr. 28.
On the expansion front, Miramax's R rated comedy "East Is East" went wider in its second week, placing 21st with an encouraging ESTIMATED $0.22 million at 18 theaters (+14 theaters; $12,111 per theater). Its cume is approximately $0.3 million.
Produced by Leslee Udwin and directed by Damien O'Donnell, "East" stars Om Puri and Linda Bassett.
"It will go into about 35 runs next Friday," Miramax senior vice president, marketing, David Kaminow said Sunday morning.
USA Films went wider with its R rated drama "Joe Gould's Secret," placing 22nd in its third week with a slow ESTIMATED $0.089 million at 26 theaters (+10 theaters; $3,430 per theater). Its cume is approximately $0.3 millio .
Directed by Stanley Tucci, it stars Ian Holm and Stanley Tucci.
Key films -- those grossing more than $500,000 for the weekend -- took in approximately $84.41 million, up about 47.49% from the comparable weekend last year when key films grossed $57.23 million.
This weekend's key film gross was up about 10.67% from this year's previous weekend, when key films grossed $76.27 million.
Last year, Warner Bros.' fourth week of "The Matrix" was first with $12.64 million at 2,903 theaters ($4,355 per theater); and Universal's second week of "Life" was second with $11.26 million at 2,597 theaters ($4,335 per theater). The top two films one year ago grossed $23.9 million. This year, the top two films grossed an ESTIMATED $28.6 million.
STUDIO MARKET SHARES
Based on business by key films (those grossing $500,000 or more), last weekend's top six distributors were:
Universal was first with three films ("U-571," "Erin Brockovich" and "The Skulls"), grossing an ESTIMATED $28.65 million or 33.9% of the market.
Buena Vista (Disney, Touchstone) was second with three films ("Keeping the Faith," "High Fidelity" and "Fantasia 2000"), grossing an ESTIMATED $11.60 million or 13.7% of the market.
New Line was third with two films ("Love & Basketball" and "Final Destination"), grossing an ESTIMATED $11.15 million or 13.2% of the market.
Paramount was fourth with one film ("Rules of Engagement"), grossing an ESTIMATED $8.00 million or 9.5% of the market.
Sony Pictures Releasing (Columbia, TriStar, Screen Gems) was fifth with one film ("28 Days"), grossing an ESTIMATED $7.40 million or 8.8% of the market.
DreamWorks was sixth with two films ("The Road To El Dorado" and "American Beauty"), grossing an ESTIMATED $6.50 million or 7.7% of the market.
(11)American Psycho/Lions Gate: Theaters: 1,242 (+5) Gross: $2.7 million (-45%) Average per theater: $2,176 Cume: $9.7 million
(12)Gossip/Warner Bros.: (see OTHER OPENINGS above)
(13)High Fidelity/BV/Touchstone: Theaters: 1,231 (+2) Gross: $2.3 million (-14%) Average per theater: $1,869 Cume: $21.2 million
(14)Fantasia 2000/BV/Disney: Theaters: 53 (-1) (all IMAX) Gross: $2.0 million (+36%) Average per theater: $38,632 Cume: $45.9 million (domestic)
(15)Romeo Must Die/Warner Bros.: Theaters: 1,439 (-385) Gross: $1.42 million (-47%) Average per theater: $983 Cume: $52.2 million
(16)American Beauty/DreamWorks: Theaters: 1,130 (-337) Gross: $1.4 million (-30%) Average per theater: $1,239 Cume: $127.0 million
(17)Where the Money Is/USA Films: Theaters: 1,538 (0) Gross: $1.33 million (-47%) Average per theater: $865 Cume: $4.7 million
(18) Ready to Rumble/Warner Bros.: Theaters: 1,672 (-913) Gross: $1.01 million (-63%) Average per theater: $601 Cume: $11.3 million
(19)My Dog Skip/Warner Bros./Alcon Ent.: Theaters: 937 (-86) Gross: $0.59 million (+3%) Average per theater: $630 Cume: $32.4 million
(20)Mission to Mars/BV/Touchstone: Theaters: 508 (-254) Gross: $0.4 million (-40%) Average per theater: $795 Cume: $58.8 million
(21)THE VIRGIN SUICIDES/Paramount Classics: (see OTHER OPENINGS above)
(22)East Is East/Miramax: (see EXPANSIONS above)
(23)Joe Gould's Secret/USA Films: (see EXPANSIONS above)