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Hollywood Digest

By PAT NASON, UPI Hollywood Reporter   |   April 25, 2003 at 2:50 PM   |   Comments

BOX-OFFICE PREVIEW

"Confidence," "Identity," "It Runs in the Family" and "The Real Cancun" open in U.S. theaters Friday, on the last weekend before the summer blockbuster season.

"Confidence" stars Edward Burns, Rachel Weisz and Dustin Hoffman in a story about a team of conmen operating in a world where no one is to be trusted because no one really is who they seem to be.

"Identity" stars John Cusack and Ray Liotta in a new twist on the Agatha Christie staple -- a group of strangers is stranded at a remote motel, when they start dying one by one during a raging storm.

"It Runs in the Family" is a comedy starring three generations of the Douglas family -- Michael, his screen legend father Kirk, and his son Cameron -- in a story about a dysfunctional family trying to reconcile.

"The Real Cancun" -- from the producers of MTV's "The Real World" -- pushes the boundaries of taste as it tracks a group of healthy, attractive young people on spring break with an apparently endless supply of tequila.

Holdovers "Anger Management" and "Holes" are expected to generate decent numbers -- but beginning next weekend, the box office will belong to a succession of 800-pound gorillas.

"X-2: X-Men" -- the sequel to the 2000 comic book hit "X-Men" -- arrives next week. May will also see major releases including "The Matrix Reloaded" (May 15), "Down with Love" (May 16), "Bruce Almighty" (May 23) and the newest animated feature from Disney, "Finding Nemo" (May 23).

June brings "2 Fast 2 Furious" (June 6), "Rugrats Go Wild" (June 13), "The Hulk" (June 20) and "Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle" (June 27).


'BULL DURHAM' ANNIVERSARY NEWS

The 15th anniversary screening of "Bull Durham" may have been benched by the National Baseball Hall of Fame, but it will get two other special celebrations.

Hall of Fame President Dale Petroskey canceled the anniversary screening a few weeks ago, expressing concern that two of the movie's stars, Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon, would turn the occasion into a forum to express their political views.

Sportscaster Bob Costas subsequently booked Robbins, Sarandon, actor Robert Wuhl and "Bull Durham" writer-director Ron Shelton to appear on his HBO show -- "On The Record With Bob Costas" -- on May 2.

Now there is word that the Brooklyn Academy of Music will host a 15th anniversary screening of the movie on April 30 -- featuring appearances by Robbins, Sarandon, Robert Wuhl and Shelton.


WESTERNS ON THE COMEBACK TRAIL

Hollywood's recent rediscovery of the Western now includes an updated remake of "The Wild Bunch," according to a report in Daily Variety.

David Ayer ("Training Day," "The Fast and the Furious") is writing the new take on the 1969 original -- which was written by Walon Green, Roy N. Sickner and Sam Peckinpaugh, who also directed the ultra-violent story about a band of aging outlaws coping with changing times and the passing of the Old West.

Ayer told Variety the story is as relevant now as it was three decades ago.

"Old issues are new issues; violence is ancient, and that was something Peckinpah was getting into," he said. "These are crazy, violent, transitional times, and 'The Wild Bunch' was about change about and modernism, and we're -- in the turn of this century -- hitting our own world of change."

Peckinpaugh's "The Wild Bunch" was set in the months leading up to World War I. The remake will be set in present-day Mexico, with a story that takes place amid the corruption of the drug trade. The project joins a growing list of Westerns in development or in production.

Ron Howard is directing "The Missing." John Lee Hancock, who wrote the screenplay for "The Rookie," is directing "The Alamo." David Milch ("NYPD Blue") is producing "Deadwood" for HBO. Kevin Costner has finished filming on "Open Range," a Western in which he stars and directs.


SARS SCARE AFFECTING TORONTO ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY

The World Health Organization's warning on travel to Toronto is affecting the city's entertainment industry, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

After the WHO urged travelers to avoid unnecessary visits to Toronto to avoid the risk of contracting the SARS virus, so many people canceled plans to attend the Canadian Cable Television Association's annual convention that sponsors have decided to postpone the gathering. The convention had been scheduled for this Sunday through next Tuesday.

Toronto film and TV commissioner Rhonda Silverstone tried to reassure the public that the SARS scare will not disrupt the area's film and TV production business.

"The general population is not at risk," said Silverstone. "Toronto remains a safe filming destination."

The Reporter said Ontario government officials plan to run ads in trade papers on Monday, reinforcing the message that Ontario is "safe for film and television production."

Silverstone said no productions that are now filming in Toronto -- or are scheduled to start shooting soon -- have changed their plans. But she said she had been taking calls from producers who are concerned about the situation.

© 2003 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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