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.
The U.S. Embassy in Honduras told Reuters Sunday that the body of Lisa Lopes, who died in a car crash last week, will be sent to back to the United States after an autopsy can be performed. "The autopsy needs to be completed, so it will be Tuesday or Wednesday when the remains of Lisa Lopes leave for the United States," embassy spokesman Gregory Adams told Reuters.
Lopes, known as the cute rapper "Left Eye" of the hit R&B trio TLC, was apparently driving a sport utility vehicle with eight passengers when the car flipped off the road in northern Honduras. The singer died of multiple internal injuries in the hospital, while the other passengers, some seriously injured, are still hospitalized. The investigators at the scene cited speeding as the cause of the accident.
The three previews to Madonna's new London play, Up for Grabs, have been canceled due to technical difficulties. "The production has developed into a complex synchronicity between moving set, sound, music and projection, and realizing it in an older-style theater has increased necessary technical time," a spokeswoman for the producers told Reuters. The show is still scheduled to premiere May 23.
Oprah Winfrey is looking for calmer surroundings. She and her former personal trainer, Bob Greene, are buying seven shoreline lots on Hamoa Bay, Hawaii, to build several homes, including an estate for the talk-show host.
In the Biz
Robert De Niro will produce a remake of the Japanese film Kaosu (Chaos) as a starring vehicle for Benicio Del Toro. The story centers on a young grifter who kidnaps the all-too-willing wife of a wealthy businessman. When he returns from making his ransom demands, he finds the woman has been killed. De Niro will produce the film for Universal Pictures and may also star as the businessman.
George Lucas promises that Indiana Jones will be facing ghosts of girlfriends past in the next Indiana Jones installment. "There is a scene where a lot of Indy's ex-girlfriends show up, but they are not major characters," Lucas told Entertainment Weekly. Harrison Ford should be able to handle that.
The ABC hit reality show The Bachelor is already accepting applications for the next round. According to The Associated Press, on the applications, men are asked why they'd make a great husband and women why they can't find the man of their dreams. Tough questions. The second Bachelor will tape from July through the end of the year.
Sean "Puffy" Combs is not one to shy away from a little publicity. Following on The Osbournes' bandwagon, MTV has signed up the music mogul for his own reality show, revolving around his professional career. One similarity? "I'm quite sure there will be a lot of bleeps," Combs told PageSix.com.
Now that Bryant Gumbel is leaving CBS' The Early Show, co-host Jane Clayson thinks David Letterman would make a great replacement. "He's on at 11:30 p.m. He could stick around for a couple more hours. He'd be fun," she told TV Guide.
Nanni Moretti's drama The Son's Room and British director Stephen Frears (Dangerous Liaisons, The Grifters, High Fidelity) were honored at the Istanbul Film Festival on Saturday. The festival's top honors went to the Dutch film Magonia.
Longtime Daily Variety columnist Army Archerd was honored Friday by 1,000 of his friends, celebrities and studio execs, celebrating his 50 years in the entertainment business.
San Franciscan rock band Train was the big winner at the California Music Awards, winning the outstanding songwriter award and best album for its Drops of Jupiter. Lead singer Pat Monahan also won outstanding male vocalist. Other winners included San Jose's Smash Mouth for outstanding group, No Doubt's Gwen Stefani for outstanding female vocalist and East Bay's Green Day for artist of the year.
Barbie is dressed elegantly in black, with a tasteful hat, shoes and bag to match today. Ruth Handler--the creator of the world's most popular doll--died Saturday of complications from colon surgery. She was 85. "My whole philosophy of Barbie was that through the doll, the little girl could be anything she wanted to be," AP reported Handler wrote in a 1994 autobiography. "Barbie always represented the fact that a woman has choices."