Vampire warrior Selene didn't just slay werewolves on the big screen; she executed Underworld's competition and helped the supernatural thriller suck $22 million* from box office patrons this weekend.
Underworld becomes Sony Pictures' eighth No. 1 opener this year. The thriller also replaces Remember the Titans as the fifth best September opening of all time, after Sweet Home Alabama, Rush Hour, Once Upon a Time in Mexico and Double Jeopardy.
The new drama Secondhand Lions came in second with a tame $12.1 million, while the gospel-inspired musical The Fighting Temptations came in third to the tune of $11.7 million.
Last week's box office champ, Once Upon a Time in Mexico, lost half its audience in its second week to place third with a so-so $11.5 million, while Cold Creek Manor rounded out the Top Five with a frosty $8.3 million.
Meanwhile, Woody Allen's latest comedy Anything Else, which opened in just over 1,000 theaters, failed to register in the Top Ten with its paltry $1.7 million. Making its mark, however, was Sofia Coppola's Lost In Translation, which raked in a notable $2.8 million at only 183 theaters, comfortably taking the No. 10 spot.
THE TOP TEN
Sony Picture's R rated supernatural thriller Underworld vanquished the competition at the box office in its debut weekend, taking the No. 1 spot with an ESTIMATED $22 million at 2,915 theaters with a per theater average of $7,547.
In the film, vampire warrior Selene finds herself at odds with the rest of her clan when she encounters a mysterious young man who may hold the secret to the war that has raged between vampires and werewolves for a thousand years.
Directed by Len Wiseman, it stars Kate Beckinsale and Scott Speedman.
New Line's PG rated family drama Secondhand Lions opened in second position with an ESTIMATED $12.1 million in $3,013 theaters ($4,273 per theater).
In the film, a sullen teen is forced to spend the summer with his grumpy old uncles, but life on their rundown Texas farm gets interesting after the eccentric seniors decide to make a man out of their nervous nephew.
Directed by Tim McCanlies, it stars Haley Joel Osment, Robert Duvall and Michael Caine.
Paramount Picture's PG-13 rated musical The Fighting Temptations premiered in third place with an ESTIMATED $11.7 million in 2,026 theaters ($6,516 per theater).
The film revolves around a slick-talking, city-dwelling ad exec who travels to his small hometown of Monte Carlo, Ga., to claim an inheritance.
Directed by Jonathan Lynn, it stars Cuba Gooding, Jr., Beyonce Knowles, Mike Epps and Steve Harvey.
Sony Pictures' R rated sequel Once Upon a Time in Mexico came in fourth place in its second week with an ESTIMATED $11.5 million (-51%) in 3,289 theaters (+ 7 theaters; $3,497 per theater). Its cume is approximately $41.4 million.
Directed by Robert Rodriguez, it stars Antonio Banderas, Johnny Depp, Salma Hayek and Willem Dafoe.
Buena Vista's R rated thriller Cold Creek Manor premiered in fifth place with an ESTIMATED $8.3 million at 2,035 theaters ($4,081 per theater).
In the film, a family moves into their country dream house to get away from the city but neglects to find out the sordid history of the house's former owner.
Directed by Mike Figgis, it stars Dennis Quaid, Sharon Stone, Stephen Dorff and Juliette Lewis.
*Box office estimates provided by Exhibitor Relations, Inc.
Warner Bros.' PG-13 rated drama Matchstick Men dropped four places in its second week to take the No. 6 position with an ESTIMATED $7.8 million (-40%) in 2,711 theaters (unchanged; $2,877 per theater). Its cume is approximately $24.4 million.
Directed by Ridley Scott, it stars Nicolas Cage, Sam Rockwell and Alison Lohman.
Lions Gate's R rated gore fest Cabin Fever slid four notches in its second week to place seventh with an ESTIMATED $3.9 million (-55%) in 2,105 theaters (+18 theaters; $1,853 per theater). Its cume is approximately $14.7 million.
Directed by Eli Roth, it stars Rider Strong, Jordan Ladd, Joey Kern, Cerina Vincent and James Debello.
Paramount Picture's PG-13 rated comedy Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star also slipped four positions in its third week to place eighth with an ESTIMATED $3.8 million (-24%) in 2,083 theaters (unchanged; $1,831 per theater). Its cume is approximately $17.3 million.
Directed by Sam Weisman, it stars David Spade, Jon Lovitz, Alyssa Milano, Doris Roberts, Craig Bierko and Mary McCormack.
Buena Vista Pictures' PG-13 rated hit Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl fell four spots to ninth in its 11th week with an ESTIMATED $3.4 million (-23%) at 1,746 theaters (-283 theaters; $1,998 per theater). Its cume is approximately $292.5 million.
Directed by Gore Verbinski and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, it stars Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley.
Focus Features' R rated dramatic comedy Lost In Translation rounded out the Top Ten in its second week with an ESTIMATED $2.8 million (+203%) in 183 theaters (+160 theaters; $15,337 per theater average). It cume is approximately $4.1 million.
Gaining remarkable word of mouth from favorable reviews, the film follows the unlikely friendship between a bored young wife and an aging movie star, both staying in a hotel in Tokyo.
Directed Sofia Coppola, it stars Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson.
DreamWorks' R-rated comedy Anything Else premiered with a soft ESTIMATED $1.7 million at 1,033 theaters, with a $1,646 per theater average.
The film revolves around an aspiring writer in New York who falls in love at first sight with a free-spirited younger woman.
Directed by Woody Allen, it stars Christina Ricci, Jason Biggs, Allen, Danny DeVito, Jimmy Fallon and Stockard Channing.
The Top 12 films this weekend grossed an ESTIMATED $93.7 million, up a noteworthy 29.19 percent from last weekend, when they grossed $72.7 million. The Top 12 movies were also up 36.99 percent from this time last year when they took in $68.5 million.
Last year's top three included: MGM's riotous PG-13 rated Barbershop came in at No. 1 in its second week with $12.8 million in 1,894 theaters (+ 289 theaters; $6,767 per theater); Fox Searchlight's comedy The Banger Sisters premiered in second place with $10 million in 2,738 theaters ($3,666 per theater average); and the indie sleeper My Big Fat Greek Wedding, came in third in its 23rd week of release with $9.7 million at 1,853 theaters (+89 theaters; $5,261 per theater).
Top Story: More Absences on Raymond Set
As production for the season premiere of CBS' Everybody Loves Raymond got under way Monday, two more co-stars--Peter Boyle and Doris Roberts--called in sick, while Brad Garrett remained on strike asking for an increase in salary, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Patricia Heaton, however, returned to work on Monday after calling in sick last week and delaying production. Dale Olson, a spokesman for Roberts, told The Reporter the actress was still grappling with pain from a knee injury she sustained Aug. 7 during a photo shoot for Glamour magazine at her Hollywood Hills home. "She has nothing to do at all with what else is going on there," Olson said. "It is just unfortunate timing." The trade paper reports a source close to the show said that Boyle has been struggling in recent months with adverse reactions to a prescription drug.
Azaria Wins Emmy in Animation
The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences announced Monday winners of the 55th annual Primetime Emmy Awards in selected animation categories, also called juried awards, which do not have nominations and may include more than one winner in each category judged by members of ATAS' animation peer group, Reuters reports. Hank Azaria won his third Emmy for his voiceover work on Fox's The Simpsons. Other winners included technical awards for Cartoon Network's Samurai Jack and HBO's Through a Child's Eye: September 11, 2001 . The juried animation awards will be presented Sept. 13 at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards ceremony at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, Reuters reports. The remaining Emmy Awards will be handed out Sept. 21.
Mystic Kicks Off New York Film Festival
Clint Eastwood's mystery/drama Mystic River will open the 41st annual New York Film Festival Oct. 3. Reminiscent of the Cannes Film Festival, other films in competition at the NY Film Fest includes Gus Van Sant's Elephant, which won the Palme d'Or at Cannes, Lars Von Trier's Dogville and Denys Arcand's The Barbarian Invasions. The festival runs Oct. 3-19.
Ferrell Honored by ShowEast
Former Saturday Night Live alum Will Ferrell will received the comedy star of the year award at ShowEast 2003, Variety reports. His upcoming film Elf, co-starring James Caan, Ed Asner and Bob Newhart, will be also shown at ShowEast. "Will Ferrell has proven to be one of the most exciting, versatile talents in comedy, and Elf represents a major step in his career, making it the ideal linchpin for this much-deserved award," ShowEast co-director Mitch Neuhauser told Variety. ShowEast is scheduled for Sept. 29-Oct. 2 in Orlando, Fla.
ABC Family has pulled the plug on Roseanne Barr's upcoming cooking show Domestic Goddess due to the actress's health problems, The Associated Press reports. The 50-year-old Barr is scheduled to undergo a planned hysterectomy on Wednesday and had only recently begun production on the new show, which was to begin airing Sept. 20. The reality show The Real Roseanne Show, which chronicled the development of Goddess, has been playing on ABC since Aug. 6. Despite low ratings, the reality show will run through Sept. 17.
Actor Max Baer Jr., who played Jethro on the popular '60s TV show The Beverly Hillbillies, is planning to capitalize on the show's theme by building a $54 million Hillbillies-style hotel-casino resort in Reno, Nevada, called appropriately Jethro's Beverly Hillbillies Mansion and Casino, AP reports. Some of the highlights will include a 200-foot-tall, flame-belching oil derrick, a "Granny's Shotgun Wedding Chapel," "Uncle Jed's Gift Shop," "Jethro's Buffet" and "Elly May's Buns Bakery." Baer also envisions a nine-screen movie theater and a dancehall-show lounge, AP reports.
T3 DVD Release To Follow Schwarzenegger's Political Run
Whether he'll be governor of California or not, the two-disc DVD of Arnold Schwarzenegger's Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines will be released Nov. 11, a month after California's gubernatorial recall election, AP reports. Schwarzenegger and director Jonathan Mostow recorded a commentary for the Warner Home Video version, which includes additional scenes, an on-set gag reel and four visual effects labs that allow viewers to build their own action scene, AP reports.
Rock Singer Gets Three Years Probation
Scott Weiland, lead singer for the band Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver, was sentenced last Thursday to three years' probation on two felony drug possession charges, Reuters reports. Weiland, 35, was arrested in May during a traffic stop in Burbank, Calif., when police found drug paraphernalia inside the car. Weiland went to prison in 1999 on similar drug charges after he repeatedly violated his probation and failed to complete a rehab program. This time the singer is required to continue counseling and rehab sessions, as well as submit to random drug testing.
Mika Muller marries renowned pianist Andre Polonski in beautiful Lausanne Switzerland after his wife dies. Soon after 18-year-old pianist Jeanne Pollet learns that she and Polonski's son Guillaume were momentarily switched at birth at the hospital where they were born. When Jeanne's curiosity is further piqued by the coincidence that she not Guillaume shares Andre's gift for the piano she pays an unexpected visit to the Polonskis' lovely Lausanne home. There she meets the polite but detached Mika the somewhat aimless Guillaume and the pianist himself. Andre is taken with Jeanne's skill at the piano and offers to instruct her while Mika feigns tolerance. But Mika has other distractions: As head of her family's chocolate business she struggles to keep it on firm economic ground. Also on a more sinister note she tampers with the hot chocolate she often serves to the extent that it dangerously sedates those who drink it. After Mika clumsily spills the drink Jeanne's suspicions are aroused and her boyfriend Axel--a budding scientist--confirms that the hot chocolate is tainted. A tragic auto accident in which Andre's second wife was killed provides further clues. On a subsequent fateful night when Jeanne and Guillaume are driving together Mika is finally revealed to be the stone-cold monster that she is.
Once again Isabelle Huppert here starring as Mika takes on and owns the role of a totally repugnant person. Other examples include the recent The Piano Teacher and The Ceremony this latter also a collaboration of Nightcap's director Claude Chabrol and screenwriter Caroline Eliacheff. Huppert an amazing actress who is a vet of dozens of films has a challenge on her hands with Nightcap mainly because her villainous character is so Swiss bourgeois cold and abstruse. Still absenting the fact that Huppert doesn't spill chocolate very convincingly her performance mesmerizes. As Andre Jacques Dutronc familiar to French film fans convinces as the largely clueless pianist focused solely on his art. Others including Anna Mouglalis as Jeanne and Brigitte Catillon as her mother Louise are fine in their roles. Foreign film buffs will also welcome the participation of vet Swiss actor Michel Robin portraying one of Mika's pesky executives.
Vet French director Chabrol delivers beautiful Lausanne settings elegant music and mostly flawless bourgeois characters in a soapy melodrama that is easier to watch than believe. With scores of films to his credit Chabrol is a master of the kind of cool elegant ironic suspense that informs Nightcap but his problem here is that he doesn't have a terribly credible story. Still he elicits interesting performances from his actors and delivers a cool elegant style that befits the refined upper-class Swiss settings. As for irony Chabrol lays on a multitude of elegant music pieces (both from the classical repertoire and composed by his son Matthieu) that are an ironic counterpoint to the evil bubbling at the film's nasty core.
NEW YANKED MAGAZINE? New York Magazine is a very popular read in Los Angeles, especially because so many homesick ex-New Yorkers have relocated to the Left Coast.
So it came as quite a blow when the native sons and daughters couldn't find their weekly Gotham fix — the Nov. 29 issue of New York Magazine -- on L.A. newsstands.
What makes it doubly annoying is the fact that the issue carried a highly unusual L.A.-centric article, a scathing profile by Nikki Finke of ex-CAA superagent, drug addict and Mike Ovitz protege Jay Moloney, whose recent suicide shocked the entertainment community.
Finke's allegations were stinging: Dubbing Moloney a "gangsta" agent, she also suggested that the former CAA "Young Turk" was a racketeer whose death may have been more karma than tragic. She recounted his rise in the Biz, thanks to mentor Ovitz, who had him do double duty as nanny and driver on the Ovitz homestead before moving Moloney into the CAA mailroom.
In no particular order, Moloney, alleged Finke, snitched on fellow workers as Ovitz's spy, spread vicious and harmful rumors about competitors, probably stole at least one screenplay idea from friends, lied to at least one major client (Sean Connery), used Ovitz's name to get perks (a lounge chair at the posh Hotel du Cap in Antibes, France) and flaunted his drug usage in hip clubs, etc.
Not completely certain that there was no hanky-panky involved in the curious absence of the Nov. 29 issue of New York Magazine in L.A., we made some calls. Alex, who manages the popular Santa Monica World News newsstand in West Hollywood, said that this was the first time that New York Magazine didn't show up. At Anderson News, New York Magazine's L.A. distributor Robin Dorn said that the issues arrived on time. But Nat Dortch, Anderson's assistant operations manager, said that the magazine went out late, that "something got messed up with the ground carrier" also known as the "break-up agent.'
Mike Gural, director of newsstand sales for the magazine, is investigating the matter. He said that, according to New York's production director, "everything went out fine and on schedule" from the printing plant in Illinois to Anderson News in L.A.
GIRLS, ERUPTED: How to explain the amazing number of strong female characters and even stronger female performances hitting screens this fall and winter. Already, even wise old King Solomon wouldn't be able to choose between Hilary Swank, star of Fox Searchlight's "Boys Don't Cry," and Janet McTeer, star of Fine Line Features' "Tumbleweeds," for the upcoming Best Actress Oscar award.
Even their co-stars are being touted for nominations: Chloe Sevigny for her role as Brandon Teena's girlfriend in "Boys Don't Cry" and the debuting Kimberly J. Brown as McTeer's daughter in "Tumbleweeds." And let's not forget the strong performances of Annette Bening and even Thora Birch and Mena Suvari in "American Beauty."
This week will find Julianne Moore, sporting a very acceptable British accent, as the hypotenuse of a love triangle in Columbia's period romance "The End of the Affair." On Dec. 17 and also speaking veddy British, Jodie Foster, as the eponymous Anna in 20th Century Fox's extravagant epic "Anna and the King," portrays an awfully upright English teacher to the royal family in 1860s Siam (now Thailand).
And there are already whispers of Oscar nominations for Winona Ryder and Angelina Jolie, co-stars in the psychological drama "Girl, Interrupted," which opens Dec. 21.
Two-time Oscar nominee Kate Winslet has won some boosters and Oscar whispers for "Holy Smoke!" and Gwyneth Paltrow, for the upcoming "The Talented Mr. Ripley," might turn out to be the actress to beat. You go, girls!
SUNDAY IN NEW YORK: It was unseasonably balmy Sunday in New York, with spring and more than a little love in the air. So maybe we should forgive writer/director/boulevardier James Toback, appropriately known for films such as "The Pick-Up Artist," for taking to the streets and doing what he does best.
On Sunday, moviedom's second most infamous womanizer (Warren Beatty retains the No. 1 position in an emeritus capacity) did some picking up on New York's tony Upper West Side hub at 72nd Street and Broadway, chatting up at least one surprised young woman and taking her to a nearby coffee shop in an effort to get her to commit to a date.
Of course, it wasn't just the springlike weather that drove Toback into pick-up mode. His conversation, aiming to get the woman to commit to a rendezvous, oftentimes returned to the word "testosterone." But the "girl, interrupted" turned down Toback, who sported casual clothes, topped off by a Yankees cap and enough beard for two St. Nicks (it's that testosterone, he told her).
Because of action and motives so brazen, it occurred to us that Toback, with appropriately titled films under his belt such as "Fingers," "Love and Money," "Two Girls and a Guy" and "The Big Bang" might also have been trolling for ink. On that front, we're happy to accommodate by also reminding that Toback's "Black and White," which Screen Gems will release in March, opens with what one journalist calls a "filthy" Central Park scene involving two high school girls and a hip-hop artist.
Meanwhile, Friday in New York, at a much more formal evening gathering on the much more formal Upper East Side, a group of TV news biggies, including Peter Jennings and Dan Rather, downed caviar and other delicacies with their drinks. The lavish food offerings were no doubt given careful scrutiny by restaurant guide mogul Tim Zagat, also in attendance.
BUZZ CUTS ...
Tragic and Lowdown: Two tremendously disparate events that happened Friday are nonetheless related. Woody Allen's latest film "Sweet and Lowdown," a mockumentary starring Sean Penn as a flawed 1930s jazz guitarist, opened nicely in three New York theaters. This and Allen's other recent films probably would not have been possible without the fortune generated by the Safra banking family. Allen's producing partner, Jean Doumanian, is the longtime companion of Jaqui Safra, nephew of Edmond Safra, the billionaire banker and scion of the financial dynasty. Last Friday, Edmond Safra died in a mysterious fire in his Monte Carlo penthouse, where two hooded men apparently were attempting a burglary ...
Sharon a New Formula: Don't ever say Sharon Stone doesn't know how to promote a movie. Talking to journalists about her upcoming HBO movie "If These Walls Could Talk 2," Stone, who co-stars with Ellen DeGeneres in a segment about a lesbian couple who become moms, says that she's never experienced greater on-screen chemistry with a co-star than she did with DeGeneres.