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Entertainment Today: Showbiz news

By United Press International   |   Dec. 14, 2001 at 4:45 AM
'X-MEN 2'

Fox says it will release "X-Men 2" on May 2, 2003. The announcement will probably keep other studios from planning any major releases for that weekend, which still leaves the Memorial Day weekend slot up for grabs.

"X-Men 2" will reunite director Bryan Singer with "X-Men" stars Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman and Halle Berry, and will feature some new mutants from the "X-Men" comic book series.

The summer box-office season for 2003 also includes -- tentatively -- "The Hulk," "The Matrix Reloaded" and "Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines."

(Thanks to UPI Hollywood Reporter Pat Nason)


'LORD OF THE RINGS'

The director of the film version of J.R.R. Tolkien's epic "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy estimates it would've cost twice as much to shoot the movies in the United States.

"The biggest savings is (because) it's a New Zealand-based show," Peter Jackson told UPI during a recent interview at Manhattan's posh Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. "I think the fact that we're making them in New Zealand ... I think we're able to make them for about 50 percent of what they would cost (in the United States). If I look at something like 'Pearl Harbor,' which, if you believe what you read, was a $150 million budget and then compare to our movie what it's got in terms of (computer-generated special effects) and locations, which are very expensive, and just the size of the cast and things, I would imagine it would cost about $180 million to make 'The Fellowship of the Ring,' just the one movie, in the States, if you just do a comparison between those two movies. And so (the three movies cost about) $270 million, $280 million. So, we've made ours for about $90 (million), $92 (million), $93 million (each)."

Jackson said the main reasons he decided to film the three movies at the same time were the financial savings and the fact that his whole cast could appear in all three movies since they simply stayed on for the 15-month shoot instead of going away, making other movies and then coming back to the "Lord of the Rings" set. This technique also meant that the sets did not have to be rebuilt twice.

The first film in the trilogy, "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring," opens next week. The two sequels, the first of which is already being edited, will be released in 2002 and 2003. The films star Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Liv Tyler, Viggo Mortensen and Sean Astin.

(Thanks to UPI's Karen Butler in New York)


TOP-20 ENTERTAINERS

Nicole Kidman tops E!'s list as the year's leading entertainer, winning the network's 12th annual "Celebrity of the Year" award. The award was presented to Kidman during Wednesday night's episode of the new series "Rank."

E!'S List of "Top 20 Entertainers of 2001" (in order of "Rank"):

20. Jennifer Aniston

19. The Rock

18. Mel Brooks

17. Paul McCartney

16. Sarah Jessica Parker

15. Johnny Depp

14. Denzel Washington

13. Renee Zellweger

12. Madonna

11. Reese Witherspoon

10. Kelly Ripa

9. Ray Romano

8. Britney Spears

7. Eddie Murphy

6. Destiny's Child

5. James Gandolfini

4. Julia Roberts

3. 'N Sync

2. Jennifer Lopez

1. Nicole Kidman

E! Online voters also crowned Michael Jackson as the "Celebrity with the Biggest Comeback," Lopez's love affair with Chris Judd as the "Best Celebrity Romance of the Year," Julia Roberts as the "Celebrity with the Best Fashion Sense," David Letterman as the "Celebrity Host that Most Influenced Popular Culture," Harrison Ford the "Entertainer That We Missed Seeing the Most" and Rachel's pregnancy on "Friends" as the "Most Memorable Moment in Entertainment."

"Rank: Top 20 Entertainers of 2001" will be repeated Friday (at 10 p.m. ET/PT).


'AFI AWARDS 2000'

Dennis Franz, Steve Harris, Patricia Heaton, Allison Janney and James Woods have been added as presenters on "AFI Awards 2001," airing live Jan. 5 from the Beverly Hills Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif., (8-11 p.m. ET) on CBS-TV. They join previously announced presenter Michelle Pfeiffer.

The host, nominees and additional presenters will be announced shortly.

The American Film Institute awards honor the 10 most outstanding American films of the year. Several television awards in the categories of comedy series, drama series, movies and mini-series will also be presented.


PEOPLE'S CHOICE AWARDS

Carol Burnett, Tony Danza, David James Elliott, Heather Paige Kent and Reba McEntire will be among the presenters on "The 28th Annual People's Choice Awards," which will air live on Jan. 13 from the Pasadena Civic Auditorium in Pasadena, Calif., on CBS-TV (9-11 p.m. ET).

Additional presenters will be announced shortly.

The winners in 18 categories will be announced on the show, hosted for the second consecutive year by Kevin James ("The King of Queens"). The broadcast honors America's favorites in the fields of television, motion pictures and music, as determined by a public opinion poll of thousands of Americans conducted by The Gallup Organization.

© 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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