Pop oddity Michael Jackson has a not-so-new bouncing baby boy. In its latest issue, People magazine reports that Jackson brought the 6-month-old baby backstage at Siegfried and Roy's Las Vegas show on July 30, along with his two other children, Prince Michael, 5, and daughter Paris, 4. The mother's identity remains a mystery, but a source tells the magazine the child was conceived the old-fashioned way, and added, "(Jackson) said, 'This is my third child." Jackson, 43, has reportedly been introducing the tot as "Prince Michael II" and "No. 3." Friends of the singer told People that Jackson's ex-wife Deborah Rowe, a former dermatologist's assistant and mother of his two other children, is possibly the baby's mother. The two were married in 1996 and divorced three years later.
The 2002 Venice Film Festival, which runs Aug. 29 through Sept. 8, is shunning the paparazzi. According to The Associated Press, celebs will no longer have to strut past photographers and eager fans when heading to premieres and will instead arrive by car. Organizers say they did away with the 60-yard walk because it proved embarrassing for lesser-known film figures, plus the festival has a new sponsor providing spiffy cars for the new entrance.
Hugh Grant really does have a soft side, after all. In an interview with Hello! magazine, Liz Hurley said her ex-boyfriend and one of several godfathers to her son Damian has been a regular visitor to her home in South Kensington, west London. "Hugh has never really been familiar with any children," she said, "But yeah, he does a little bit of coochy-cooing, and he tickles him. He's great with him. He's sweet."
Veteran metal rocker Ozzy Osbourne said he feels like his "spirit's dead" since learning that his wife and manager, Sharon, has cancer, Reuters reports. Osbourne recalled feeling apprehensive after the success of his MTV show The Osbournes in an interview on On the Record with Greta Van Susteren. "I remember saying to Sharon, 'This is too good right now, we're getting so much good stuff, nothing gets that high without coming down with a bang,'" he said. The interview airs this week on the Fox News channel.
Taye Diggs has been added to the ensemble cast of A Midsummer Night's Rave, Variety reports. The film, a Shakespeare-based romantic comedy about twentysomethings influenced by a drug dealer named Puck, also stars Andrew Keegan, Sunny Mabrey, Corey Pearson, Chris Owen, Jason London, Greg Zola, Ted Stryker, Carrie Fisher, Lauren German, Chad Lindberg, Matt Czuchry and Will McCormack.
Producers of ABC's upcoming remake of the TV cop show Dragnet said Wednesday actor Danny Huston will play the lead character--a Los Angeles police detective, Reuters reports. Huston, 40, is the son of John Huston, who directed film noir classics like The Maltese Falcon, and the half-brother of actress Anjelica Huston.
CBS said Wednesday that 60 Minutes reporter Lesley Stahl will replace Dan Rather as anchor for 48 Hours Investigates. According to Reuters, Rather will focus more time on 60 Minutes II and his current position as anchor for the CBS Evening News.
Singer Cyndi Lauper tripped onstage and fell about 5 feet while performing to a sell-out crowd in Oklahoma City, hurting her shin and ankle. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Lauper--opening for Cher's farewell tour--continued with her set but later had to be carried off by a stagehand. She was taken to a hospital, where she was treated and released a few hours later.
Hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons has joined forces with the NAACP and the Rock the Vote campaign to relaunch Rap the Vote, a project aimed at getting people ages 18 to 24 to vote, the AP reports. Developed two years after Rock the Vote was launched in 1990, Rap the Vote is aimed at reaching those more into hip-hop than rock. The public-service announcements, featuring Sean "P. Diddy" Combs and Rosie Perez, are intended to increase voter registration for the 2004 presidential race.
Actor Kyle MacLachlan is engaged to his girlfriend of two years, fashion publicist Desiree Gruber, the Associated Press reports. The two will tie the knot April 20 in Miami, Gruber's hometown. The couple met at a chiropractor's office. MacLachlan, 42, currently stars in HBO's hit series Sex and the City as the husband of Kristin Davis's character Charlotte.
Singer Jill Scott won three awards at Tuesday night's Seventh Annual Soul Train Lady of Soul Awards, including Entertainer of the Year, AP reports. Destiny's Child took home an award for best single for their hit "Survivor" while 3LW captured Album of the Year with 3LW. Singer Aaliyah, who was killed in a plane crash on Saturday, was nominated for rhythm and blues, soul or rap song of the year but lost to Yolanda Adams. The Lena Horne Award for outstanding career achievement went to Patti LaBelle.
Morris the Cat handler Bob Martwick died Sunday at the age of 75, according to AP. Martwick found the original Morris, famous for his star appearances in Starkist Seafood TV ads, at an animal shelter in Hinsdale, Illinois, in the '60s. Though the original Morris died in 1970, Martwick served as a handler for the second Morris. He also helped discover and worked with Spuds MacKenzie, the onetime bull terrier mascot for Anheuser-Busch.
Trouble looms for HBO's hit mob drama The Sopranos. Makers of the series are heading to a Chicago court on Wednesday to ask a judge to dismiss a claim that the series is offensive to Italian-Americans. According to the BCC, the move follows a suit brought on by the American Italian Defense Association (AIDA), claiming the show's depiction of Italian Americans in murders and extortion is "racist." The BBC also reports the network will argue that the claim infringes on their rights to free speech and that the judge will make his ruling based on an obscure Illinois state law that protects individual dignity.
In other Sopranos news, 70-year-old singer and actor Dominic Chianese, who plays Uncle Junior on the show, has canceled a Sept. 19 concert with real soprano Cynthia Lawrence. The concert was called off after civil rights groups complained that The Sopranos perpetuates all the wrong stereotypes about Italian Americans.
Former NBA forward Dennis Rodman is in trouble with the law again. Rodman allegedly sprayed patrons at a Newport Beach, Calif., Hooters restaurant with a fire extinguisher after someone said something to him he didn't like. Police told AP that Rodman got into a shoving match with the customer before leaving the restaurant. He then headed to his boat, which was docked near the restaurant, where police questioned him. Rodman has not been arrested but the case is under investigation. According to AP, the police have visited Rodman's oceanfront home more than 70 times for noise complaints.
PageSix.com has apparently obtained a copy of a Sex and the City script entitled "I Heart NY" set to air in February. The script reveals that Sarah Jessica Parker's character Carrie breaks up with her fiancé Aidan. In another story line, Cynthia Nixon's character Miranda fakes going into labor to stop Carrie from having sex with Mr. Big (Christopher Noth). The show is on hiatus until January, when HBO will air the season's final six episodes.
Sandra Bullock and Hugh Grant will be starring in a Castle Rock/Warner Bros. romantic comedy due out in December 2002, Variety reports. Bullock will reportedly play a neurotic attorney with Grant as her wealthy boss. The film will be produced by Bullock's Fortis Films and directed by Marc Lawrence.
Michael Jackson will be presiding over the opening of Nasdaq trading on Thursday, Reuters reports. Media coverage is being restricted to giant video screens outside of the Nasdaq in New York. Jackson, who went on a private tour of the New York Stock Exchanges in January, is currently in New York for a concert honoring his 30 years as a solo performer.
David Bowie and Sean Combs have paired up for a remake of Bowie's song "This is Not America," ABC News reports. The project will be included in the soundtrack to the upcoming film Training Day starring Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke. Combs described the song as a fusion of techno, hip-hop, funk and soul rock.
A syndicated TV series based on the online auction site eBay is set to launch in fall 2002, Variety reports. Columbia TriStar Television Distribution and LMNO Prods. will partner on the series, which would take a magazine-style look at the stories behind eBay users. The half-hour episodes would be a cross betweenAntiques Roadshow and Real People. No pilot has been shot yet.
British tabloids are ridiculing Victoria "Posh Spice" Beckham's plans to create a new image for herself. Posh was pictured on the cover of British papers Tuesday sporting a ring in her lower lip, causing legions of avid Posh fans to do the same. By Wednesday, however, the ring was gone. According to Reuters, fans were furious after discovering that the piercing was a clip-on. "She is a real cow," one fan was quoted as saying after she spent $43 on a piercing. Posh apparently had no idea the ring would cause such a fuss.
Sara Evans leads the list of Country Music Assn. Awards nominees which were announced in Nashville Tuesday, according to People magazine. Other nominees include Brooks & Dunn, Alan Jackson and the soundtrack to the film O Brother, Where Art Thou?. The 35th annual CMA ceremony will be hosted by Vince Gill at Nashville's Grand Ole Opry House Nov.7. CBS will air the live broadcast of the event from 8-11 p.m. ET.
Moviegoers celebrated "Mummy"'s Day this weekend with a record setting $70 million opening.
Universal's PG-13 rated adventure sequel The Mummy Returns kicked off Hollywood's pre-summer season with a staggering ESTIMATED $70.11 million at 3,104 theaters ($20,615 per theater). Mummy accounted for about 65% of the weekend's total key films gross of $107.5 million.
Mummy is well on its way to what looks like it could be a $200 million gross in domestic theaters. That would be about $45 million more than the first Mummy did domestically in 1999.
Mummy goes into the record books as the biggest three day non-holiday opening ever, beating the record set by 20th Century Fox and Lucasfilm's Star Wars: Episode One -- The Phantom Menace with $64.81 million the weekend of May 21-23, 1999, at 2,970 theaters ($21,822 per theater). Having opened on a Wednesday, Phantom Menace's cume for five days was $105.7 million.
The 1999 original The Mummy opened to $43.4 million the weekend of May 7-9 at 3,209 theaters ($13,515 per theater). In its second weekend it fell 43% to $24.86 million at 3,226 theaters ($7,705 per theater). Its cume after 10 days was $80.6 million. Mummy went on to do $155.2 million domestically and $258.1 million internationally for a worldwide total of $413.3 million. In its third weekend, Mummy was knocked down to second place by the blockbuster arrival of Phantom Menace.
Mummy Returns's average per theater was the highest for any film playing in wide or limited release this weekend.
Written and directed by Stephen Sommers, Mummy stars Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz. It also features an appearance by wrestling star The Rock. The Alphaville Production was produced by James Jacks and Sean Daniel and executive produced by Bob Ducsay and Don Zepfel.
"Except for Lost World, which was a holiday weekend, it's the greatest opening ever," Universal distribution president Nikki Rocco said Sunday morning. Universal's The Lost World: Jurassic Park opened in 1997 to $74.7 million for the three day weekend portion of the four day Memorial Day holiday (May 23-26) weekend.
"What we did was we went into the history of Universal and we created a franchise that we truly believed could dominate the marketplace," Rocco explained. "We took a piece of Universal's history and created an unbelievable franchise. With appropriate sequel management, we brought back the cast, we brought back the director, we managed the cost and we had a great story. That's what made this so unique.
"Our exit polls are 90% in the Top Two Boxes (excellent and very good) and a 70% Definite Recommend. That's huge."
The film's PG-13 rating, she added, "broadened the base. Because of the fact that it's a bit fantasy, parents and kids alike can enjoy it. There's no blood. It's part of comic book fantasy. This is a picture that's an absolute thrill ride that will certainly have tons of repeat business."
Universal's 1932 classic The Mummy, directed by Karl Freund and starring Boris Karloff, was a horror film. So were the studio's continuation of the Mummy story in the 1940s in such films as The Mummy's Hand, The Mummy's Tomb, The Mummy's Ghost and The Mummy's Curse.
"They were horror films," Rocco noted. "That's what's so unique about how we built the franchise. We took a piece of the history and created this whole new thing."
Assessing the film's impact in the marketplace, Rocco observed, "We kicked off summer early. We reinvigorated the marketplace to record breaking numbers (of about $107.5 million for key films). Last year was a record (for this weekend) of $82.2 million. We also hold the biggest Friday opening with $23.4 million and the biggest Saturday opening with $26.8 million." Those are the biggest ever for any Friday or Saturday, she said, adding that "Lost World did $21.9 million on Friday."
Warner Bros. and Franchise Pictures' PG-13 rated action drama Driven fell one notch in its second week to a slower ESTIMATED $6.06 million (-50%) at 2,905 theaters (theater count unchanged; $2,084 per theater). Its cume is approximately $21.6 million.
Directed by Renny Harlin, Driven stars Sylvester Stallone. It was produced by Elie Samaha, Stallone and Harlin and written by Stallone.
Bridget Jones's Diary, the R rated romantic comedy co-financed by Miramax Films, Universal Pictures and StudioCanal and produced by Britain's Working Title, slid one peg to third place in its fourth week with a still attractive ESTIMATED $6.0 million (-20%) at 2,547 theaters (+15 theaters; $2,355 per theater). Its cume is approximately $44.7 million, heading for $55-60 million in domestic theaters.
Directed by Sharon Maguire, Bridget stars Renee Zellweger, Colin Firth and Hugh Grant.
Having only cost about $25 million to produce, Bridget will be profitable for its financing partners.
Dimension's PG rated family appeal thriller Spy Kids fell one rung to fourth place in its sixth week with a less playful ESTIMATED $4.0 million (-31%) at 2,815 theaters (-290 theaters; $1,420 per theater). Its cume is approximately $98.5 million, heading for $105-110 million in domestic theaters.
"It should hit $100 million by next weekend," Miramax senior vice president, marketing David Kaminow said Sunday morning.
With a production cost of only $35 million, Spy Kidswill be very profitable for Dimension.
Written and directed by Robert Rodriguez, Spy Kids stars Antonio Banderas and Carla Gugino.
Paramount Pictures' R rated suspense thriller Along Came A Spider dropped one slot to fifth place in its fifth week with a quieter ESTIMATED $3.8 million (-32%) at 2,573 theaters (theater count unchanged; $1,477 per theater). Its cume is approximately $60.0 million, heading for $65-70 million in domestic theaters.
Directed by Lee Tamahori, Spider stars Morgan Freeman and Monica Potter.
"It's where we had it pretty much targeted," Paramount distribution president Wayne Lewellen said Sunday morning.
"I had it in the low $60 millions originally. I think it has a shot to get into the higher $60 millions (like) $67 or $68 million. If it continues to hang on at this level, it could get even closer to $70 million."
Spider is the prequel to the 1997 hit Kiss the Girls, which did $60.5 million in domestic theatrical release.
Paramount's PG rated sequel Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles skidded one rung to sixth place in its third week with a dull ESTIMATED $3.2 million (-31%) at 2,141 theaters (+17 theaters; $1,495 per theater). Its cume is approximately $18.0 million.
Directed by Simon Wincer, Crocodile stars Paul Hogan.
New Line Cinema's R rated drama Blow fell one step to seventh place in its fifth week with a quiet ESTIMATED $2.4 million (-28%) at 1,558 theaters (-155 theaters; $1,540 per theater). Its cume is approximately $44.2 million, heading for $50 million in domestic theaters.
Directed by Ted Demme, Blow stars Johnny Depp and Penelope Cruz.
Columbia Pictures PG-13 rated youth appeal comedy Joe Dirt, which was ninth last week, tied for eighth place in its fourth week with a slow ESTIMATED $1.5 million (-45%) at 1,783 theaters (-701 theaters; $841 per theater). Its cume is approximately $24.7 million.
Directed by Dennis Gordon, Joe stars David Spade.
Sony's Screen Gems division's R rated vampire tale The Forsaken, which was eighth last week, tied for eight place in its second week with a calm ESTIMATED $1.5 million (-50%) at 1,514 theaters (theater count unchanged; $991 per theater). Its cume is approximately $5.2 million.
Written and directed by J.S. Cardone, Forsaken stars Kerr Smith and Brendan Fehr.
There was a close race for tenth place based on studio ESTIMATES Sunday morning.
USA Films' R rated comedy drama One Night at McCool's, which was 11th last week, in its second week did a slow ESTIMATED $1.33 million (-47%) at 1,814 theaters (-4 theaters; $734 per theater). Its cume is approximately $4.7 million.
Directed by Harald Swart, McCool's stars Liv Tyler, Matt Dillon, John Goodman, Paul Reiser and Michael Douglas.
New Line Cinema's R rated comedy drama Town & Country, which was seventh last week, in its second week did a depressing ESTIMATED $1.3 million (-58%) at 2,222 theaters (theater count unchanged; $576 per theater). Its cume is approximately $5.2 million.
Directed by Peter Chelsom, Town stars Warren Beatty, Diane Keaton, Andie MacDowell, Garry Shandling, Jenna Elfman, Nastassja Kinski and Goldie Hawn.
This weekend also saw the arrival of Universal's Pavilion of Women, arriving quietly to an ESTIMATED $0.016 million at 7 theaters ($2,312 per theater).
Directed by Yim Ho, Women stars Willem Dafoe and Luo Yan.
Columbia held 766 national sneak previews Saturday night of its PG-13 rated pre-summer youth appeal adventure A Knight's Tale.
The studio said Sunday morning that the sneaks were 75% full and generated very encouraging exit polls. Those on hand scored the film 85% in the Top Two Boxes (excellent and very good) with an 80% Definite Recommend. Columbia said the audience was divided evenly between males and females and those under and over the age of 25.
Tale opens May 11 at 2,800-plus theaters.
Written and directed by Brian Helgeland, Tale stars Heath Ledger.
On the expansion front, this weekend saw Newmarket's R rated film noir thriller Memento widen in its eighth week, still holding well with an ESTIMATED $1.29 million (+1%) at 410 theaters (+86 theaters; $3,140 per theater). Its cume is approximately $8.4 million.
Directed by Christopher Nolan, it stars Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss and Joe Pantoliano.
Columbia went wider with its R rated thriller The Tailor of Panama, continuing to hold well in its sixth week with an ESTIMATED $1.0 million (+7%) at 436 theaters (+77 theaters; $2,249 per theater). Its cume is approximately $9.4 million.
Directed by John Boorman, Tailor stars Pierce Brosnan and Geoffrey Rush.
Lions Gate Films' R rated drama Amores Perros went wider in its sixth week with a quiet ESTIMATED $0.3 million (-41%) at 184 theaters (+11 theaters; $1,610 per theater). Its cume is approximately $3.4 million.
Directed and produced by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Perros stars Emilio Echevarria and Gael Garcia Bernal.
Warner Bros.' PG-13 rated comedy The Dish added theaters in its eighth week, continuing to hold well with an ESTIMATED $0.16 million (+5%) at 82 theaters (+22 theaters; $1,951 per theater). Its cume is approximately $1.3 million.
Directed by Rob Stich, The Dish stars Sam Neill and Kevin Harrington.
Miramax's R rated French thriller With a Friend Like Harry... continued to widen in its third week with a still encouraging ESTIMATED $0.16 million at 25 theaters (+13 theaters; $6,400 per theater). Its North American cume is approximately $0.6 million.
Harry is being released under Miramax's French film banner Miramax Zoe.
Directed by Dominik Moll, it stars Laurent Lucas, Sergi Lopez, Mathilde Seigner and Sophie Guillemin.
Artisan Entertainment's controversial unrated The Center of the World added theaters in its third week with an okay ESTIMATED $0.12 million at 32 theaters (+24 theaters; $3,885 per theater). Its cume is approximately $0.3 million.
Directed by Wayne Wang, it stars Molly Parker and Peter Sarsgaard.
Key films -- those grossing more than $500,000 -- took in approximately $107.46 million, up about 30.7% from the comparable weekend last year when key films grossed $82.22 million.
This weekend's key film gross was up about 71.67% from last weekend this year when key films did $62.60 million.
Last year, DreamWorks' opening week of Gladiator was first with $34.82 million at 2,938 theaters ($11,851 per theater); and Universal's third week of U-571 was second with $7.77 million at 2,701 theaters ($2,875 per theater). The top two films one year ago grossed $42.6 million. This year, the top two films grossed an ESTIMATED $76.2 million.