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Hollywood Digest

By PAT NASON, UPI Hollywood Reporter   |   May 9, 2003 at 2:32 PM   |   Comments

BOX-OFFICE PREVIEW

The new Eddie Murphy comedy "Daddy Day Care" is the only major new release at the U.S. box office this weekend.

Box-office analysts expect the movie to open strong -- perhaps grossing in the neighborhood of $25 million to $30 million. However, to do that, the picture would have to overcome generally poor-to-mediocre reviews.

"X2: X-Men United" is expected to finish at No. 1 for a second straight weekend. Following last week's $85 million opening, the sequel to "X-Men" performed so strongly during the week that it went over $100 million by Wednesday.

Holdovers such as "The Lizzie McGuire Movie," "Holes" and "Identity" are expected to continue to draw well this weekend, as the movie business searches for a way to turn disappointing spring numbers into more robust summer grosses.

Many movie fans are just marking time this weekend, waiting for next week's release of "The Matrix Reloaded" -- which is expected to join "X2: X-Men United" in the top tier of movies with the highest-grossing opening weekends of all-time.


MARK YOUR CALENDAR

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts has rescheduled the 2004 Orange British Academy Film Awards to avoid a conflict with the new Oscars schedule.

The BAFTA Awards have been moved from Feb. 8 to Feb. 15. The Feb. 8 date would have posed a scheduling dilemma for filmmakers nominated for both BAFTAs and Oscars, since the traditional Oscar nominees' luncheon was recently announced for Feb. 9 in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Duncan Kenworthy OBE, Chair of The British Academy's Film Committee said the BAFTA schedule change was intended to allow nominees to attend both events.

"We feel that to put nominees in this situation would quite simply be unfair," he said. "We hope that this date change will make it more likely that every BAFTA nominee will attend our awards ceremony."

The BAFTA Awards -- which will be presented at London's Odeon Leicester Square and televised on BBC ONE -- used to be held after the Academy Awards, but were moved to February in 2001. BAFTA officials said the telecast has become "the largest globally recognized international film awards ceremony outside of the U.S." -- with a worldwide TV audience of more than 1 billion viewers.


CONAN O'BRIEN WORKING IN CLAY

NBC announced Friday that "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" will broadcast an entire episode in clay animation on Thursday, May 15.

"This may be the best show we've ever done ... in clay," said O'Brien in a statement released by the network.

The show has been in production for months. It features a clay animated recreation of an October 2002 episode of "Late Night" -- including the opening, the monologue, comedy sketches, guest interviews and even the bumpers that lead in and out of commercials.

The show's guests were "Jackass" star Johnny Knoxville, comedian Richard Lewis and musical guest David Bowie. The episode also featured O'Brien's recurring look into the future, "In the Year 2000," with surprise guest Mr. T.


KIEFER SUTHERLAND'S NEXT

Kiefer Sutherland will co-star with Angelina Jolie and Ethan Hawke in the mystery-thriller "Taking Lives," according to a report in Daily Variety.

Sutherland ("24") will play a man who encounters a serial killer who assumes the identifies of his victims. Jolie will play the FBI profiler assigned to catch up with the serial killer. D.J. Caruso ("The Shield," "Smallville") is directing.


QUEEN LATIFAH'S NEXT

Queen Latifah is close to a deal to star in a remake of the South Korean action-comedy "My Wife Is a Gangster," according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Latifah would play a mob boss who gets married to fulfill the wish of her dying sister. She tries to keep her husband in the dark about her profession, but he figures it out eventually and, of course, she starts to really go for him.


KELLY ROWLAND FOR MARTHA REEVES

Grammy-winning and multi-platinum R&B artist Kelly Rowland will play Martha Reeves on an upcoming episode of NBC's Sunday night drama "American Dreams."

Rowland -- a member of Destiny's Child who also has a hit solo album, "Simply Deep" -- will sing the Martha Reeves and the Vandellas hit "Nowhere to Run" in the show's season finale on May 18.

The show will also feature pop star Stacie Orrico ("Stuck") as Peggy Santiglia of the '60s girl group The Angels. Orrico will sing the pop classic "My Boyfriend's Back."

"American Dreams" is set in Philadelphia in the 1960s, with Dick Clark's legendary TV show "American Bandstand" providing not just a backdrop, but also a cultural context for the story of a family coping with dramatic change in American life.

Rowland's acting resume includes guest appearances on "The Hughleys" and "Smart Guy." She is set to make her feature film debut in the upcoming slasher picture "Freddy vs. Jason."

© 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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