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Entertainment Today: Showbiz news

By United Press International   |   April 8, 2002 at 4:45 AM   |   Comments

BOX OFFICE

The second weekend of Jodie Foster's "Panic Room" led the nation's box office with an estimated $18.5 million at 3,053 theaters during the Friday-Sunday period, studio sources said.

Sony's thriller -- which set an Easter weekend record during its first three days -- has now taken in close to $59 million overall as moviegoers have responded favorably to the tale of a mother and daughter outwitting home-invading villains. It was the first back-to-back victory for a movie since "Black Hawk Down" won the last two weekends of January and the first weekend of February. And it marked the first weekend that the box office leader has not topped $20 million since "Queen of the Damned" opened with $14.8 million on the last weekend in February.

"Panic Room" easily topped 20th Century Fox's opening of courtroom drama "High Crimes," which finished a solid second with $15 million at 2,717 theaters. The film stars Ashley Judd and Morgan Freeman.

Fox's fourth weekend of animated comedy "Ice Age" followed closely in third with an impressive $14.3 million at 3,200 theaters. "Age" has now taken in $141.4 million overall, making it the first major success of 2002 and placing it at 106th on the all-time domestic grosser list ahead of "A Few Good Men."

Disney's second weekend of "The Rookie" finished in fourth place with $11.7 million at 2,524 theaters, followed by Artisan's opening of campus comedy "National Lampoon's Van Wilder" in fifth with $7.5 million at 2,022 theaters.

Rounding out the top 10 were "Clockstoppers," "Blade 2," "Big Trouble," "E.T. 20th Anniversary," and "A Beautiful Mind."


SPIDEY WILL BE BACK

According to a report in Daily Variety, Columbia Pictures has signed most of the creative team behind "Spider-Man" for a sequel.

That includes stars Tobey Maguire and Kirstin Dunst, director Sam Raimi and producers Laura Ziskin, Avi Arad and Ian Bryce. Plans calls for the second installment to begin shooting early next year.

Columbia executive vice president Matt Tolmach told Variety the studio doesn't need to see how "Spider-Man" performs in the marketplace next month -- it's ready to commit now to the sequel.

"All of this because of our complete belief in the movie," said Tolmach.

Alfred Gough and Miles Millar -- who wrote the Jackie Chan-Owen Wilson hit "Shanghai Noon" and went on to create and produce the WB TV series "Smallville" -- will write the "Spider-Man" sequel. Gough and Millar also wrote the Eddie Murphy-Robert De Niro comedy "Showtime," now playing in theaters.

(Thanks to UPI Hollywood Reporter Pat Nason)


MARY AND THE GANG GETTING TOGETHER AGAIN

CBS will present a "Mary Tyler Moore Show" reunion special next month -- with appearances by Moore and her co-stars on the 29-time Emmy-winning comedy -- Ed Asner, Valerie Harper, Betty White, Gavin MacLeod, Cloris Leachman and Georgia Engel.

Daily Variety reports the special is part of a growing trend at the networks to capitalize on past glory -- following the unexpected success last November of a "Carol Burnett Show" reunion special, also on CBS.

ABC has announced that it will present one-hour specials reuniting the gangs from "Laverne & Shirley" and "That's Incredible!" -- and a 50th anniversary tribute to "American Bandstand."

Also in the works, an hour-long 50th anniversary celebration of "The Honeymooners" on CBS.

For her reunion special, Moore will interview her former co-stars and introduce a segment of highlights featuring the late Ted Knight as the pompous TV news anchor Ted Baxter. Knight was nominated for Emmys every year from 1972-77 -- and took home the prize in 1973 and 1976.

(Thanks to UPI's Dennis Daily)

© 2002 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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