News, May 21: “Shrek 2” Hits Record Number of Theaters, Vincent Gallo’s “Bunny” Comes to U.S., Online Bets Taken on Celeb Poker Players, More…

Top Story: The Green Ogre Takes Over Movie Theaters

Shrek 2 is set to play in a record 4,163 theaters domestically this weekend, marking the first time a film has surpassed the 4,000-theater mark in its debut and beating previous record holder, last year’s X2: X-Men United, Reuters reports. DreamWorks’ head of distribution Jim Tharp said the number of theaters had been raised from just over 3,700 since the film’s debut Wednesday, as more theaters were able to open screens for the release “This is unprecedented … I’ve never seen a movie open in that many theaters,” Paul Dergarabedian, president of Los Angeles-based audience tracking service Exhibitor Relations Co. Inc. told Reuters. With an increase in theaters, Shrek 2 looks to rake in the box office booty over the weekend as well. Dergarabedian declined to predict just how big a success the sequel might be, but said $50 million in ticket sales for the three-day weekend “would not be out of the question.”Bunny Comes to U.S.

Actor/director Vincent Gallo‘s highly controversial film Brown Bunny, which was jeered at the Cannes Film Festival, will be released in U.S. theaters in late August, Reuters reports. Bunny follows a road trip by a motorcycle racer obsessed with a past relationship, and included an on-screen fellatio scene between its stars, Gallo and Chloe Sevigny. The film not only was poorly received at the French Riviera festival but also became the center of a media maelstrom after the eccentric and furious Gallo took on unenthusiastic critics. Picked up by the indie distributor Wellspring, however, the U.S. release has been edited from the original version.Bet for Your Favorite Celeb Poker Player

Place your bets! Online bettors have a chance to prognosticate which of their favorite actors or pros will win at the prestigious 35th World Series of Poker (WSOP) in Las Vegas, which runs May 22-28. Leonardo DiCaprio is near the head of the celebrity pack at 425-to-1 odds. Matt Damon is holding at 450-to-1, besting good friend Ben Affleck and actors Lou Diamond Phillips and Ed Norton, all with 500-to-1 rankings. James Woods recently pulled slightly ahead of that trio at 490-to-1. On the other end of the spectrum, long-time player Larry Flynt, stuck in a 700-to-1 long shot, is ranking lowest among the entire list of players. You’ve got until midnight to ante up at, an online betting Web site. Seinfeld, Superman Make Second Online Film

Jerry Seinfeld and his favorite superhero Superman have made another online short film for American Express, The Associated Press reports. Titled Hindsight is 20/20, the film is once again co-written by Seinfeld and directed by Barry Levinson, in which Superman and Seinfeld go on a road trip to Death Valley, Calif., in one of the comedian’s classic cars. Hindsight can be viewed on the American Express Web site along with the duo’s first short A Uniform Used to Mean Something, which debuted in March.Minnelli Closes AIDS Benefit With Garland Tribute

Liza Minnelli closed her star-studded AIDS benefit at the Cannes film festival Thursday night with an a cappella rendition of the classic “You Made Me Love You” in a touching tribute to her mother Judy Garland. Reuters reports the event, emceed by Sharon Stone, raised more than $1.8 million for the American Foundation for AIDS Research (amFAR). Guests included jury president Quentin Tarantino; rocker Rod Stewart; actors Ashley Judd, Kevin Kline, Chris Tucker; Mexican heartthrob Gael Garcia Bernal and Miramax studio chairman Harvey Weinstein. “I screened Fahrenheit 911 and I got my first unemployment check from Disney,” Weinstein said in reference to Michael Moore‘s anti-Bush documentary. “My resume is outside. Hopefully somebody needs domestic help.”Sotheby’s To Auction Johnny Cash Items

More than 650 pieces from the estate of country music legend Johnny Cash and his wife, June Carter Cash, will be auctioned by Sotheby’s Sept. 14 and 15, the AP reports. The collection, valued at about $1.5 million, includes guitars, banjos, handwritten lyrics, photographs, vintage black leather clothing, Grammy Awards and other keepsakes. The sale also features more than 50 instruments owned and played by both June Carter, who died in May 2003, and Cash, who died Sept. 12. Expected to fetch top dollars is a guitar that Cash designed estimated at $15,000 and seven of Cash‘s Grammy awards, which range in value from $5,000 to $10,000. A 1950s notebook handwritten lyrics to songs like “Cry, Cry, Cry,” is estimated at $6,000.Amid Summer Reruns, Fox To Debut New Series

The Fox network is bucking the age-old tradition of premiering new TV series in the fall and will instead launch new shows in June, August, November and January. According to the AP, the network’s new year-round strategy comes out of necessity since Fox series have gotten off to rough starts the past two years because its schedule is pre-empted for baseball in October. Next month, when rival networks are in reruns, Fox will feature five new series, including Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie reality show The Simple Life 2 and Method Man and Redman new hip-hop comedy Method & Red. Next summer, Seth MacFarlane will start making new episodes of Family Guy, a cartoon Fox canceled then was stunned to see it become enormously popular on DVD.UPN Announces Three New Fall Series

UPN, meanwhile, unveiled a trio of new original series for the fall TV season during its “upfront” presentation to advertisers Thursday in Manhattan, the AP r

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