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Entertainment Today: Showbiz news

By United Press International   |   Nov. 19, 2001 at 4:40 AM   |   Comments

BOX OFFICE

It was a big harry deal. The opening of "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" smashed the nation's box office records with an estimated $93.5 million at 3,672 theaters during the Friday-Sunday period.

The weekend debut for the heavily promoted Warner Bros. fantasy about a young English wizard easily topped the previous three-day record of $72.1 million, set in 1997 by "The Lost World: Jurassic Park."

Friday's opening -- punctuated by long lines and sold-out showings -- set a new one-day record with $29.5 million, besting by $1 million the mark set two years ago by the first day of "Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace." Saturday's final figure was expected to top Friday's.

Cost estimates on the movie, starring newcomer Daniel Radcliffe, have come in at $125 million. Warner is expected to begin shooting a sequel this week.

Meanwhile, the third weekend of computer-animated comedy "Monsters Inc." came in second, lifting its 17-day total to $156.7 million. "Monsters" is already the 78th highest grosser of all time, topping "Fatal Attraction."

20th Century Fox's second weekend of romantic comedy "Shallow Hal" came in third, followed by Paramount's third weekend of "Domestic Disturbance" and Warner's second weekend of "The Heist."

Rounding out the top 10 were "The One," "K-Pax," "The Wash," "Life As A House," and "Thirteen Ghosts."


YASMINE BLEETH

Former "Baywatch" babe Yasmine Bleeth has pleaded innocent to charges of cocaine possession and operating a vehicle under the influence of narcotics.

Bleeth crashed a rental car into a highway median in Romulus, Mich., on Sept. 12. The actress, 33, had been stranded in suburban Detroit when flights were grounded in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.

Police said they found syringes in her purse and cocaine in her car. A search of her hotel room allegedly turned up more cocaine and syringes.

Bleeth had been in the Detroit area to visit her boyfriend's parents. She portayed one of lifeguards on the syndicated television series "Baywatch" and currently stars on the TBC series "Witchblade."

The actress is due back in court Nov. 30.


BRUCE LEE: RISING FROM THE GRAVE?

If you've seen "Shrek," you know how nearly perfect the human face can be "drawn" by digital animators; e.g., the would-be-king voiced by John Lithgow. Well, a Korean movie production house thinks it's now possible to fully replicate a person. In this case, a dead one ... Bruce Lee.

Variety is reporting that the late martial arts star will be "digitally resurrected" to star in "Dragon Warrior." Lee's final movie was made nearly 30 years ago. The $50 million kung-fu epic is being funded by a company that recently purchased the rights to Lee's image and voice from his estate, overseen by his wife and daughter. If the project is successful, it will mark the first time that a dead celebrity is brought back from the grave to do a new film.

Unfortunately, with the short attention span of many movie patrons and the production studio's thirst for money, it will likely be recently departed modern-day stars who will see new life -- not Chaplin, or Keaton or Stewart. Come to think of it, that's not a bad thing after all. Where is Elvis when you need him?

(Thanks to UPI Feature Reporter Dennis Daily)


'COLLATERAL DAMAGE'

Warners Bros. has rescheduled the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie that it took off the release schedule following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks out of sensitivity over the tragedy.

"Collateral Damage" -- in which the big guy plays a Los Angeles firefighter whose wife and son are killed by a terrorist bomb -- had been on the schedule for an October release. It'll now open Feb. 8.

Studio executives said a test audience at a recent screening had a positive reaction to the picture, suggesting that sufficient time has passed to allow for a theatrical release without running the risk of offending the public.

(Thanks to UPI Hollywood Reporter Pat Nason)


FESTIVUS

The classic "Seinfeld" episode that introduced America to Festivus -- "the holiday for the rest of us" -- will air in syndication on Monday, the same day Ben & Jerry's brings back its own classic Festivus ice cream for a limited run.

Festivus the ice cream -- brown sugar cinnamon ice cream spiced with gingerbread cookie chunks and a swirl of ginger caramel -- made its debut in Fall 2000 as one of Ben & Jerry's Special Batches and response was so phenomenal the company decided to revive it again for the holiday. "It's another Festivus miracle", said Ben & Jerry's Rob Douglas.

In the episode, one of the series' most popular and titled "The Strike," George Costanza's cantankerous father Frank gets the Festivus aluminum pole out of the crawlspace (aluminum because "It's got a very high strength to weight ratio"), minus decorations ("I find tinsel distracting"). He then begins the Costanza traditions of performing feats of strength and telling each other all the ways they've disappointed him over the year.

© 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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