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Hollywood Digest

By PAT NASON, UPI Hollywood Reporter   |   May 5, 2003 at 3:04 PM   |   Comments

'X' MARKS THE SPOT AT U.S. BOX OFFICE

"X2: X-Men United" brought moviegoers together in its debut weekend, grossing an estimated $85.5 million.

The opening fell considerably short of the $114.8 million dollar opening for "Spider-Man" over the comparable weekend of 2002, but it was the biggest opening of 2003 so far -- and the fourth largest debut in U.S. box-office history.

The leaders are "Spider-Man," "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" ($90.3 million) and "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" ($88.4 million).

"The Lizzie McGuire Movie" opened at No. 2 with an estimated $17.1 million. The murder mystery "Identity" dropped from No. 1 to No. 3 with $9.5 million in its second weekend. "Anger Management" took in $8.5 million to finish at No. 4 and run its four weekend total to $115.4 million. "Holes" was No. 5 with $6.5 million.

The top 10 movies took in an estimated $138.4 million -- down 7 percent from the comparable weekend in 2002, when "Spider-Man" stunned box-office analysts with its record opening.

The immediate future looks bright for "X2," with no serious competition next weekend. "The Matrix Reloaded" is expected to dominate when it opens on Thursday, May 15.


MORE 'GREASE'?

Plans are under way in Hollywood for another sequel to the 1978 blockbuster musical "Grease," according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The paper said Paramount Pictures is working on the project with long-time TV hit-maker Carsey-Werner-Mandabach ("Grounded for Life," "That '70s Show," "3rd Rock from the Sun") and Laurence Mark Productions. The story line would focus on the lives of the children of the original characters.

Producers reportedly are trying to get stars from the original movie -- including John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John -- interested in participating in the project, which does not yet have a finished screenplay.


SOMETHING OLD, SOMETHING NEW FROM DISNEY

Disney is planning a sequel to "Bringing Down the House" and a new, cutting-edge zombie horror movie, according to Daily Variety.

The paper said screenwriter Jason Filardi is on board to write the sequel to the Steve Martin-Queen Latifah hit, and the studio is hoping that Martin, Latifah and director Adam Shankman will join the project.

Also, Disney is developing "Thrilla" with music video director Hype Williams -- about a group of young people in Jamaica who disturb some zombies and have to fight for their lives. Mark "Crash" McCreery of Stan Winston Studio ("The Lost World: Jurassic Park, "Terminator 2: Judgment Day") will design the zombies for what is being billed as Disney's first all-digital feature release.


HONORS FOR LATINO 'ICONS'

The California Latino Legislative Caucus honored 11 leading Latinos Monday -- including Carlos Santana and Rita Moreno -- with its Latino Spirit Award.

The presentation in the Assembly Chamber of the California State Capitol was intended to celebrate the caucus' 30th anniversary and the Cinco de Mayo holiday.

The Latino Spirit Award was created in 2002 to recognize "exceptional individuals who exemplify the Latino community in the United States."

This year's recipients also include actors Andy Garcia and George Lopez, singer Vikki Carr, filmmaker Gregory Nava, Olympic champion Derek Parra, football coach Tom Flores and author Valerie Menard. Community activist Nativo Lopez and decorated military veteran Alejandro R. Ruiz also received the Latino Spirit Award, along with three businesses -- HBO, Nickelodeon and Carmona Productions.


HONORS FOR MOTOWN LEGENDS

BMI -- the performing rights organization -- will honorary three legendary Motown songwriters with one of its top awards in Beverly Hills, Calif., next week.

Eddie and Brian Holland and Lamont Dozier -- best known to readers of recording credits as Holland-Dozier-Holland -- turned out Motown classics such "Baby Love," "Stop! In the Name of Love" and "Where Did Our Love Go" for the Supremes. They also wrote "Baby I Need Your Loving" for the Four Tops and "How Sweet It Is to Be Loved by You" for Marvin Gaye.

They will receive the 2003 BMI Icon award on May 13. The first Icon was presented last year, to rock 'n' roll pioneers Chuck Berry, James Brown, Bo Diddley and Little Richard.

On May 12, Holland-Dozier-Holland will be inducted into RockWalk -- a museum on Hollywood Boulevard dedicated to honoring top musicians of the rock era.


TOM ARNOLD WANTS TO SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT

Tom Arnold wants to set the record straight -- he was not charged with sexual harassment, published reports to the contrary notwithstanding.

The star of "The Best Damn Sports Show, Period" told "Access Hollywood" the widely circulated story last week that he was accused of sexual harassment in a lawsuit was based on a misreading of court documents by the wire service that originally published the report.

Lisa Brescher, a former hairstylist on "The Best Damn Sports Show, Period," accuses former Los Angeles Lakers star John Salley of sexual harassment and claims that others -- including Arnold -- contributed to an "environment of unrestrained" sexual harassment.

"They printed it, and it got out to all the newspapers, and by the time they printed a retraction, it was kind of too late. So it's a little frustrating," said Arnold. "What I am being accused of is being insensitive and someone coming to me and saying there's a problem and me not taking care of it. None of that is true."

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