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Hollywood Digest

By DENNIS DAILY, United Press International   |   Nov. 12, 2001 at 3:51 PM   |   Comments

ANOTHER 'MONSTER' WEEK AT THE BOX OFFICE

Preliminary box office figures show that the Buena Vista/Pixar animated feature "Monsters, Inc." was tops again at the American box office. It took in an estimated $42.6 million.

That means that it lost only about 26 percent of its opening week audience. And, according to The Hollywood Reporter, it is the first animated feature to reach the $100 million mark in nine days. "Shrek," "Toy Story 2" and "The Lion King" needed 11 days, respectively, to do that. There is speculation that "Monster" will be a $300 million movie when worldwide receipts are in.


'CUCKOO'S NEST' AUTHOR, POP ICON KESEY DIES

Author Ken Kesey is best known to many as the man who wrote the book that became the award-winning movie "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest." MSNBC says that the novelist who became a "psychedelic prankster" has died in Grants Pass, Ore.

Kesey's greatest critical acclaim came for his book "Sometimes a Great Notion." But it was "Nest" that made him internationally famous. Ironically he never much liked the way his book was turned into a Hollywood classic. Even though the 1974 Milos Foreman movie was a big winner at the Oscars -- winning best picture, best director and both the best actor and best actress honors -- Kesey sued the producers of the film, claiming that it failed to properly portray the viewpoint of one of the book's main characters.

His 1960s cross-country bus trip with his band of drug-taking Merry Pranksters became the right stuff for Tom Wolfe's book "The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test."

Kesey died of complications from liver surgery. He was 66.


NEW HOME FOR OSCAR DEDICATED

To the strains of "Hooray for Hollywood," Los Angeles city officials cut the ribbon to open the new Hollywood and Highland project, a massive retail center surrounding the high-tech theater that will be the permanent home for the Oscars. KNX radio is reporting that actor-director Rob Reiner opened the complex with the words: "Hollywood is back!"

On hand was a cadre of well-known faces, including third-generation Hollywood luminary Angelica Huston who told the station that Oscar should be proud of his new digs.

Although security was tight, the opening went off without incident with about 3,000 first-day visitors.

The shopping complex features more than 70 stores on three levels. The state-of-the-art Kodak Theater will host the Oscars, beginning next year. The return of the Oscars to the neighborhood means a return to Oscar's roots. The first awards were handed out at the nearby Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in the 1930s.


HOLLYWOOD BIGGIES TALK 'PROPAGANDA' WITH BUSH REP.

A group of Hollywood "movers and shakers" lunched over the weekend with Pres. Bush's senior advisor, Karl Rove. The Los Angeles Times says that in "broad strokes, the White house has said it wants the involvement of the entertainment industry in the campaign against terrorism."

The involvement, though, won't be in the same vein as the jingoistic stuff cranked out during the Second World War where the Japanese, the Germans and the Italians were called names that make watching those films embarrassing to today's audiences.

The publication notes, though, that although no pro-American, anti-terrorism film has yet to be produced, many Hollywood stars have already jumped on the concert and fundraising bandwagon. By the way, every major studio sent a top-level representative to the meeting -- including several chairmen and CEOs.


'WILL & GRACE' CREATORS BRANCHING OUT

Look for a new TV series from the creators of the immensely popular "Will & Grace" sitcom. The Hollywood Reporter says that producers David Kohan and Max Mutchnick have come up with a new show with four main characters, all quirky. Warner Bros. has given the project its OK and production will begin soon. The initial run is for 13 episodes -- a far cry from the 39 producers used to crank out before the days of costly production and even costlier stars. The publication describes the plotline as "two couples involved in three relationships." In the words of P.D.Q. Bach, it may be a kind of "Hansel and Gretel and Ted and Alice." The series is part of the promised output for Kohan and Mutchnick written into their 1999 $16 million contract.


'LOST' KARLOFF SHOWS A DISAPPOINTMENT

In the 1950s classic horror actor Boris Karloff hosted and starred in a pioneering TV series called "The Veil." Now, in his most-recent daily reviews for radio stations, veteran Hollywood reporter Leonard Maltin says that the shows are being released on DVD. But, according to Maltin, for the most part the episodes are a disappointment. Karloff was tapped to do the broadcasts after a successful run in an anthology series called "Thriller." The "Veil" shows promised to delve into unexplained mysteries. Unfortunately, Maltin says there is no mystery as to why the series was never released after its 10 episodes were produced. "It just isn't any good," he reports. Historically, it fleshes out the Karloff library. Artistically, except for the fun of watching the master at work, the shows were a flop.


MAKE WAY FOR HARRY

It won't be long before American audiences will get to see the long-anticipated initial Harry Potter movie. The film has already opened in the U.K. to rave reviews. The only real question about the future success of the series seems to be whether or not its young star -- 12-year-old Daniel Radcliffe -- can avoid puberty long enough to fulfill his commitment for a second film and retain his boyish charm and voice. Movie theaters are reporting that advance ticket sales for "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" are already brisk, even though the U.S. debut is a week away. The $125 million film is set to open here in the States on Friday (11/16).

© 2001 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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