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Hollywood Digest

By PAT NASON, UPI Hollywood Reporter   |   Dec. 9, 2002 at 6:27 PM   |   Comments

'DIE' LIVES IT UP AT THE BOX OFFICE

"Die Another Day" took in an estimated $13 million to finish on top at the U.S. box office in its third weekend in release.

The 20th James Bond movie has now grossed $120.4 million.

"Analyze That," the new Robert De Niro-Billy Crystal comedy, came up short of analysts' expectations, opening with just $11.3 million. The sequel to the 1999 hit "Analyze This" still did well enough to finish at No. 2.

"Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" took a tumble to No. 3, grossing $10 million in its fourth week in release. It's overall total is $213.9 million -- well short of the $239.7 million that "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" had taken in after a comparable period in 2001.

The new urban drama "Empire," starring John Leguizamo ("Moulin Rouge") opened in fourth place with $6.3 million at just 876 theaters -- for an attention-getting per-theater average of $7,235. Several pictures playing in limited release put up fairly strong numbers.

In its second weekend in release, Disney's animated "Treasure Planet" managed to add just $5.7 million to its disappointing opening weekend gross, and has just $23.8 million in the bank after 10 days. The new George Clooney sci-fi "Solaris" took in just $2.3 million in its second weekend, and stands at just $13.9 million after 10 days in theaters.

"Adaptation" -- starring Nicolas Cage and Meryl Streep -- grossed $400,000 at seven theaters in New York, Los Angeles and Toronto, with an eye-popping per-site average of $57,143. "Adaptation" is expected to open nationwide on Dec. 20.

Overall, the U.S. box office was down 9 percent from the same weekend of 2001 with $80 million -- and down 46 percent from last week. Still, the box office is running 12 percent of last year's pace, with total grosses of $8.32 billion so far this year.


'SUPER' AD BUSINESS

Advance sales of ads for Super Bowl XXXVII provide a strong sign that advertising is making a strong comeback from last year's deep slump.

According to a report in Daily Variety, ABC could be headed for a new record of $130 million in revenues for the game, with 30-second spots reportedly selling for $2.2 million. Citing Madison Avenue sources, Variety said ABC has already sold something like 80 percent of the 61 available spots for the game, scheduled for Jan. 26 in San Diego, to advertisers including Anheuser-Busch, Pepsi, Cadillac and Levi's.

Variety also said the commercials on the next Super Bowl ought to be more entertaining than the ones that Fox showed during Super Bowl XXXVI last January -- when the annual tradition of funny, high-concept spots gave way to a more somber mood brought on by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

"You're going to see 30-second spots that spare no expense and will have the look and quality of a top Hollywood movie," said Mark DiMassimo, president of DiMassimo Brand Advertising.


CASTING NOTES

Jude Law and Gwyneth Paltrow will co-star in the upcoming sci-fi thriller "The World of Tomorrow," according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Law ("Cold Mountain," "Road to Perdition") and Paltrow ("Shallow Hal," "Bounce") previously worked together in 1999 drama "The Talented Mr. Ripley."

The new project is being produced by veteran filmmaker Jon Avnet ("Uprising," "Fried Green Tomatoes"). It's described as the story of a reporter (Paltrow) and pilot (Law) who team up for an adventure at the dawn of the 20th century.


HONORS FOR DENZEL

As Oscar buzz builds for his feature film directorial debut, Denzel Washington received the 17th annual American Cinematheque Award in Beverly Hills Friday.

The two-time Oscar-winning actor called the American Cinematheque Award "humbling, humiliating experience."

Washington, who won the best actor Oscar this year for "Training Day" and the supporting actor "Glory" in 1989, is getting terrific advance notices for his work on "Antwone Fisher." Based on a true story about a man who overcomes anger management problems, the movie is scheduled to open Dec. 20.

Tom Hanks, who co-starred with Washington in "Philadelphia" (1993), presented the award.

"There is only one actor in the course of his career thus far who can be appropriately and righteously compared to Henry Fonda, Robert Mitchum, Humphrey Bogart, Clark Cable -- as well as Sidney Poitier," said Hanks.

The ceremony will be televised by AMC in March.


JON STEWART'S NEW DEAL

Jon Stewart ("The Daily Show with Jon Stewart") will produce and write a new comedy series for NBC starring Stephen Colbert ("The Daily Show").

"This is a coup for NBC to be in partnership with such clever and creative writer-performers as Jon and Stephen," said NBC Entertainment President Jeff Zucker.

Stewart will continue as the host and executive producer of the popular, Emmy and Peabody Award-winning "Daily Show."

Colbert has been a writer and senior correspondent with "The Daily Show" since 1998.


WILLIAMS ON 'LAST CALL'

Robin Williams will be the special guest Tuesday evening when "Last Call with Carson Daly" holds its first outdoors taping open to the public.

Daly will tape two shows in front of the Rockefeller Christmas Tree -- one featuring Williams and hip-hop artist Talib Kweli, and the other featuring rock band Sum 41 and actor Stanley Tucci ("Maid in Manhattan," "Road to Perdition").

Williams and Talib Kweli will air on Dec. 23. Tucci and Sum 41 will air Dec. 19.

© 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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