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Hollywood Digest

By PAT NASON, UPI Hollywood Reporter   |   Nov. 18, 2002 at 3:48 PM   |   Comments

'POTTER'S' MAGIC NUMBER -- $87.7 MILLION

"Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" opened with an estimated $87.7 million at the U.S. box office -- taking the No. 1 spot in its opening weekend and zipping past "Star Wars: Episode II -- Attack of the Clones" to record the third biggest opening in U.S. box-office history.

The top two openers are "Spider-Man," which cleared $114.8 million when it opened in May, and "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone," which grossed $90.3 million in its opening weekend last November.

Box-office analysts project the new Harry Potter movie will gross more than $300 million. The first Potter movie grossed $317.6 million at the U.S. box office and landed at No. 8 on the list of all-time U.S movie hits.

In its second weekend, Eminem's "8 Mile" finished second with $21.3 million, and a 10-day total of $86.4 million. "The Santa Clause 2" took in $15.1 million in its third weekend, for a 17-day total of more than $82 million.

"The Ring" took fourth place with $11 million in its fifth weekend, to run its total to $101.1. The new Steven Seagal release "Half Past Dead" opened at No. 5 with just $8.2 million, while "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" kept partying with $4.8 million in its 31st weekend, and a running total of $199.6 million.

The top 10 movies this weekend took in more $161 million -- an improvement of more than $10 million over the same weekend last year. Year-to-date, the U.S. box office is running 12 percent ahead of last year's pace.


DENZEL IN 'MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE' REMAKE

Denzel Washington will star in a remake of the 1962 political thriller "The Manchurian Candidate," playing the character that Frank Sinatra played in the original.

Tina Sinatra -- who will produce the project with Scott Rudin ("Wonder Boys," "Sleepy Hollow") -- told Daily Variety earlier this year that her father gave his blessing to a remake of the movie, which was based on Richard Condon's 1959 novel "Candidate."

"He believed, as we do, that premises can be brought into the future," she said.

No director has been named for the remake, which was written by Dan Pyne -- who wrote the screenplay for "The Sum of All Fears" with Paul Attanasio. John Frankenheimer directed the 1962 picture, from a screenplay by George Axelrod.

Frank Sinatra co-starred with Angela Lansbury and Laurence Harvey in the movie, the story of a Korean War hero-turned-politician who turns out to be a threat to U.S. national security.


SALLY FIELD'S NEXT

According to The Hollywood Reporter, two-time Oscar-winning actress Sally Field is in talks to co-star with Reese Witherspoon in "Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde" -- the sequel to Witherspoon's 2001 hit "Legally Blonde." The sequel has fashion plate-turned-law school graduate Elle Woods heading for Washington to pursue her new profession. Field would play a member of congress who becomes a mentor to the political neophyte until they clash over the issues of animal rights. Field -- who reprises her Emmy-winning role as Maggie Wyczenski on "ER" Thursday -- is currently appearing on Broadway in Edward Albee's Tony-winning play "The Goat." Plans call for her to leave the production in December, when she would start filming on "Legally Blonde 2."


CASTING NOTES

Three-time Emmy-winning actress Alfre Woodard ("Miss Evers' Boys," "L.A. Law," "Hill Street Blues") will guest-star in two upcoming episodes of ABC's legal drama "The Practice."

Woodard -- known to movie fans for roles in "K-Pax," "Passion Fish" and "Down in the Delta" -- will play a death-row inmate with little time left to live.

Sabrina Lloyd ("Sports Night") will join the cast of NBC's comedy-drama "Ed" for four episodes, playing a woman who convinces the title character to hire her as a lawyer at the law practice he runs out of the bowling alley he operates. The episodes are scheduled to begin airing in January.


JERRY LEWIS' PAIN-FREE 'MIRACLE'

Jerry Lewis says it's a "miracle" that he is pain-free for the first time in 37 years, but the pain was so excruciating earlier this year that he contemplated suicide.

In an interview with TV Guide, the legendary comic actor-writer-director ("The Nutty Professor," "The Bellboy") said the pratfalls of his profession caused the pain. He said he managed the pain with cortisone shots -- until the cortisone lost its effectiveness.

"I was getting shots of cortisone, but they didn't work anymore," Lewis said. "I was so down in February, I was thinking about where my gun is, how I'll do it, when I'll do it."

Lewis said his 10-year-old daughter Danielle saved his life.

"She said, 'Daddy, I don't think you're going to get better unless you use your courage,'" Lewis recalled. "I got my head screwed on right and called the doctor."

Lewis said he received a neurostimulator implant in April. A battery-powered device sends electronic impulses to his spinal cord, and he is now pain-free.

"It's a miracle," he said.

Lewis' medical troubles still include a case of pulmonary fibrosis -- an increase of fibrous tissue in his lungs. He said it has been tough, but he insists he will get through it.

"I'll be fine. I have to be," said the 76-year-old Lewis. "I still have a lot of silliness left in me."


ABC PICKS UP 'SPEED'

ABC has struck a deal with movie producer Mark Gordon ("The Patriot," "Saving Private Ryan") to develop a TV drama that will be a prequel to Gordon's 1994 hit "Speed" -- which made a star of Sandra Bullock and a superstar of Keanu Reeves.

The TV series would be set five years before Reeves' Jack Traven and Bullock's Annie teamed up to prevent a disaster on a transit bus rigged to explode if it slowed down to less than 50 mph. Plans call for the TV series to center on the relationship between Traven and his partner, Harry Temple -- played in the movie by Jeff Daniels ("Dumb & Dumber," "Pleasantville").

Graham Yost, who wrote the screenplay for the hit movie, will serve as an executive producer on the TV project.

© 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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