News Roundup, Dec. 5: VH1 Honors Memorable Moments of the Year

Top Story

The VH1 Big in 2002 awards honored some of the most memorable entertainment moments of the year Wednesday night at the Grand Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles. The offbeat awards honor such achievements as most ubiquitous song and most unexpected standout movie performance. Honorees including Ice Cube and Vin Diesel accepted their trophies–gold submarines–with puzzlement. “Whatever this is,” Ice Cube told the audience, “This is for you.” Ice Cube won the category Shakespeare in Da Hiz-House, which honored rappers in the movies. Diesel, who took the You Can’t Spell Bald Without Bad category, joked, “What can you say when you’re bald and bad and bewildered by such an original award.” The ceremony is scheduled to air at 9 p.m. Dec. 15.

Celebs

Sharon Osbourne will deliver an alternative holiday season message on Britain’s Channel 4 on Christmas Day–at exactly the same time Queen Elizabeth II is scheduled to give her traditional message on the British Broadcast Corp., The Associated Press reports. Other celebs who have delivered alternative addresses include actor Quentin Crisp and Brit comedian Ali G.

Movies

A federal court Wednesday dismissed a copyright case brought by director William Friedkin and author William Peter Blatty against Warner Bros., stemming from the 2000 version of The Exorcist, Variety reports. Friedkin and Blatty claim they owned the copyright to the 2000 version of the film and that Warner Bros. had no right to re-release it. But U.S. District Court Judge Lourdes Baird held that the studio had the exclusive right to create a new version of the 1973 classic.

Miramax has hired Kevin Smith, whose credits include Clerks and the upcoming Jersey Girl, to executive produce and co-write Scary Movie 3, with Airplane! helmer David Zucker aboard to direct. The latest addition boosts the spoof rivalry between Miramax-based Dimension Films and Sony-based Revolution Studios, where Scary Movie originators Keenen Ivory and Shawn and Marlon Wayans are currently developing a spoof project based on the sci-fi genre, Variety reports.

DVD

Disney’s animated feature Lilo and Stitch made its way into the hands of 3 million DVD and VHS customers on its first day (Tuesday, Dec. 3) of release, the studio announced Thursday. The estimated $45 million in revenue did not break any records but the studio ranks it as one of the biggest opening days for a video title this year. According to Variety, it represented nearly three times the money generated at the box office last weekend on the studio’s Treasure Planet.

Internet

RealNetworks Inc. and the Starz Encore Group are teaming up to offer movie subsciptions over the Internet, the AP reports. The new service will give subscribers with high-speed Internet connections access to more than 100 movies a month at the same time they are available on the Starz cable channel. The service, which will cost about $10 a month, is expected to launch in spring 2003.

Tube

The Sci Fi Channel’s 20-hour, 10-night planned programming of Steven Spielberg Presents Taken has paid off by generating the best ratings in the network’s history on its first two nights. The show, which follows the saga of three generations of alien abductions and government conspiracies, attracted 6.14 million viewers for its two-hour premiere. According to Variety, the Sci Fi Channel and DreamWorks are considering a regularly scheduled series.

The UPN network has partnered with Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith to create a family comedy loosely based on the Hollywood couple’s home life that will focus more on the aspects of family life than on their celebrity status. Neither celebs are expected to appear in the series, though both will executive produce. Friends and Roseanne scribe Betsy Borns will co-write the script with Pinkett Smith.

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