MTV kick-starts another spanking new season of "The Real World" on Tuesday. But besides the where (New Orleans), the who (see next graph) and the what (the roommates are supposedly asked to put together a public access TV show), the music channel has been decidedly tight-lipped about the ninth edition of the real-life soap. ROOMIE #1: Danny What we do know about the cast is this: There's the egomaniacal Ivy League alum Jamie (the cocky, privileged one), feisty Southern belle Kelley (the spoiled one), soul-searcher Danny (the sensitive, lost one), Mormon Julie (the devoutly religious one), Catholic hip-hopper Matt (the culturally paradoxical one), loudmouth Melissa (the Filipino-black biracial one) and the auspicious overachiever David (er, the black one).
ROOMIE #2: David And surprise, surprise, there's also the requisite gay one (who is among one of the said male cast, but who he really is has hitherto been kept a secret).
ROOMIE #3: Jamie Given the official hush-hushness, we decided to go right to the source for this one. We called on the denizens of New Orleans to see if they've got any "Real World" moments they're just dying to share with us. For easy reading, the responses have been divided in the following categories.
"The house was cool, but I don't really care"
ROOMIE #4: Julie "[Their house] is absolutely gorgeous, but the whole thing is set up for commercial shooting, with walls as thin as paper," Chuck Ferguson, an artist whose paintings were displayed in the New Orleans house, told Hollywood.com. "I saw them around in coffeeshops and stuff, and I'm not star-struck. I never went up to them and said, 'Hey, you got some of my stuff at your house.'"
"We saw the cast around a lot, but we don't really care"
ROOMIE #5: Kelly
"We saw them at various clubs and events, and some people would know who they were. But if you approach them, they're really evasive," the good folks at insideneworleans.com, a New Orleans-based news Web site, told Hollywood.com. "And once you see it and you see them in action, you're pretty much as impressed with the show." "We saw them around, and we like to make fun of them"
ROOMIE #6: Matt
The people at insiderneworleans.com also told us: "The best thing happened during Mardi Gras. A local news writer here assembled a fake 'Real World' cast with 10 of his friends, and he started marching them up and down the streets and during the festival. That got the MTV camera crew confused, and they started following them, instead of the real cast, with cameras." ROOMIE #7: Melissa "Then the 'Real World' producers told them to leave the premises and asked them if they had a permit. Of course they did. But when they asked "The Real World" people for theirs [the permit], they didn't have it."
Oh, and just to cover all the bases, we also contacted the New Orleans' Police Department to see if any of MTV's seven had done anything, um, noteworthy during their Big Easy stay. Perhaps mistaking our question for a request on their criminal records (if any), New Orleans' finest told us that they couldn't give us that info.
Guess we'll just have to tune in.
The hourlong "Real World"/"Road Rules" casting special airs on MTV at 10 p.m. EDT/PDT on Tuesday.
Hollywood should finally have something to scream about at the box office this weekend thanks to "Scream 3." "This weekend there's going to be 'Scream' -- and then everything else," observed one distribution executive.
After two consecutive weekends where all it took was a single-digit gross to top the chart, Hollywood is gearing up for some big numbers. Soaring ticket sales are anticipated as Dimension Films -- Miramax's genre label -- launches the third and concluding chapter of its blockbuster "Scream" series at 3,467 theaters.
"It's probably going to gross what the next four movies combined gross," one insider said, noting that at mid-week the thriller had a 24 percent first-choice tracking score. (Translation: Of moviegoers polled, 24 percent said they would see 'Scream 3' before any other film in release).
"That certainly puts it up in the realm of [the] high-$20 millions or beyond, depending on what [the score] is by [opening day]," the insider predicted.
Others, who are less cautious, see "Scream 3" cracking $30 million or, possibly, even more.
Tracking data available this morning showed even greater strength on the "Scream 3" front.
"It's a 31 percent first choice overall and a 37 percent first choice for males," another studio executive confided. The exec said the flick was a 62 percent first choice for males under 25 and a 40 percent first choice for females under 25 -- "which makes it huge."
How huge is huge?
"No one can predict the box office," the executive said, noting that in terms of those who said they would "go to see the movie right away," the tracking showed a 42 percent overall response and a 49 percent overall male response. "What you can figure out from that 42 percent is that, if the marketplace is going to have a $70 million weekend, take 42 percent of that and assume that it's going to do, at least, $29 million. And for the heat of a film like this, I'd say it could be anywhere from $25-30 million.
Directed by Wes Craven, "Scream 3" stars franchise players David Arquette, Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox Arquette and Liev Schreiber. It's the first film in the series not to feature a script by teen horrormeister Kevin Williamson. Instead, "Scream 3" was cranked out by the would-be all-new Kevin Williamson: 27-year-old Ehren Kruger ("Arlington Road").
Asked about "Scream 3's" ultra-wide release, one industry source commented: "I'm not sure there's that many [theaters] worth having, but whatever. They're as wide as you can go. The tracking is very strong. The last one opened to nearly $33 million and this one is within striking distance of that."
"Scream 2" opened on Dec. 12, 1997, pulling in $33 million in its opening weekend. The original "Scream" bowed on Dec. 20, 1996, earning $6.35 million in its first weekend en route to a $103 overall domestic gross.
"After 'Scream,' it's the battle of the single digits," a distributor said. "I'm betting 'Eye of the Beholder' takes a bigger drop than 'Hurricane' does because 'Hurricane's' been pretty steady since the Golden Globes."
The distributor predicted "The Hurricane," starring Globe-winner Denzel Washington, would be down 15 percent from last weekend, ending up in the "high $4 millions." He said the Ashley Judd-toplined "Eye of the Beholder" (last weekend's No. 1) and the comedy "Next Friday" would end up in the "low $4 millions," with "Stuart Little" rounding out the Top Five.
Look for the lower rungs of the weekend's chart to be filled out by "The Green Mile," "Galaxy Quest," "Down to You," "Girl, Interrupted" and "The Talented Mr. Ripley."
Two films are scheduled to open in limited runs this weekend, but insiders say neither is tracking particularly well. The black comedy/adventure "Gun Shy," starring Sandra Bullock, will open in 296 theaters in the Top 10 markets.
"It's not even being tracked because it's going so limited," an insider said.
Also arriving, at about 500 theaters, is Fine Line Features' R-rated suspense/dark comedy "Simpatico." Based on the play by Sam Shepard, Nick Nolte, Jeff Bridges and Sharon Stone star in a story of love, betrayal and money set in the world of thoroughbred horse racing.
This weekend also will see Warner Bros. go wider with writer/director Barry Levinson's acclaimed ensemble drama "Liberty Heights."
As for next weekend? One studio source said there already were encouraging signs. Leonardo DiCaprio's "The Beach" is "a 9 percent first choice right now, followed by 'The Tigger Movie' with 5 percent first choice, which is actually pretty good tracking for a kids' movie. [The family comedy] 'Snow Day' is at 3 percent."
The source also reported that "Hanging Up," the Diane Keaton-Meg Ryan-Lisa Kudrow comedy, is already tracking a 6 percent choice - and it doesn't open until Feb. 18. Said the source: "So maybe people are perceiving it as sort of another 'First Wives Club' type with the three actresses."
Tracking scores typically increase as a film grows closer to its release date.
It could only happen in New York.
Call it dedication to his art or just plain cuckoo, but magician David Blaine immersed himself in the middle of a six-ton block of ice Monday for what was the beginning of a three-day stunt in New York's Times Square, Reuters reports.
Wearing only pants, a beanie and boots, the 26-year-old Blaine is provided with only air and water from a tube hooked up to the outside until the event ends Wednesday night.
"This is by far the most painful thing I am ever going to go through physically, much more difficult than the buried alive," Blaine told Reuters Television.
"I have nothing to lean against. I can't sit, I can't move," Blaine said. "If I have an itch I can't scratch myself. ... If I fall asleep my face presses into the ice. It is a real danger."
For the record, this is not the first time the thrill-seeking magician has put himself in tight quarters for public display. Last year, he pulled a similar act by spending seven days buried in a glass-topped coffin.