Late news from Tinseltown

By PAT NASON, UPI Hollywood Reporter  |  Oct. 9, 2001 at 5:29 PM
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According to a report in the New York Daily News, director Steven Soderbergh is making some changes in his upcoming movie, "Ocean's Eleven" -- reshooting a scene that depicts an explosion at the New York New York hotel and casino in Las Vegas.

The location features a replica of the World Trade Center, which was destroyed in the Sept. 11 terrorist attack.

The explosion in the movie was not an act of terrorism -- rather, it was part of the story of a major casino heist. Still, the paper said Warner Bros. confirmed the Oscar-winning director of "Erin Brockovich" will replace the New York New York location with a fictional casino.

"Ocean's Eleven" -- with an all-star cast that includes George Clooney, Julia Roberts and Brad Pitt -- is scheduled to have its world premiere Dec. 7 at the Bellagio in Las Vegas.


Jay Leno's 2001 Harley-Davidson -- festooned with autographs from the likes of Tom Cruise, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Denzel Washington, John Travolta, Nicolas Cage and Nicole Kidman -- is on the eBay auction block to raise money for The Twin Towers Fund.

Between now and Oct. 17, visitors to eBay's Auction for America ( can bid on the bike, which Leno just bought in July. It's black, with a custom black leather seat, has only about 200 miles on it, and is described as "in perfect condition."

Leno has also collected signatures on the bike from Sylvester Stallone, Cuba Gooding Jr., Salma Hayek, Pamela Anderson, Magic Johnson, Terry Bradshaw and other celebrities. A publicist for NBC said that, by the time the bidding ends, Drew Carey, Billy Bob Thornton, Britney Spears and others are expected to sign the bike.


As expected, the early weekend box-office estimates announced by studios on Sunday turned out to be overly optimistic, as large numbers of moviegoers stayed away from theaters Sunday afternoon and evening.

Box-office analysts said most of that lost business was attributable to people deciding to stay home and watch TV for news updates on the U.S and British attacks on military and terrorist targets in Afghanistan. At the same time, many people avoided movie theaters because they didn't want to be in a crowded public place, for fear of ending up as targets of terrorism at home during the air strikes abroad.

Even with the new, lower, box-office numbers, Denzel Washington's turn as a rogue cop showing a rookie the ropes in "Training Day," finished at No. 1 with $22.6 million in its opening weekend -- not the $24.2 million originally estimated. Despite the downward revision, it was still Washington's biggest opening ever, surpassing the $20.9 million for "Remember the Titans."

John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale finished second in the opening weekend of their new romantic comedy, "Serendipity," with $13.3 million, down from a Sunday estimate of $14 million. Michael Douglas' thriller, "Don't Say a Word," fell from the top spot to No. 3 with $9.8 million, down from a Sunday estimate of $10 million.

Ben Stiller's high-fashion satire, "Zoolander," was fourth with $9.5 million, down from an earlier estimate of $9.9 million. The new thriller, "Joy Ride," opened in fifth place with $7.3 million, while the new Disney family comedy, "Max Keeble's Big Move," was No. 6 with $5.4 million -- both pictures finishing officially within $100,000 of the early Sunday estimates.


Ben Stiller is attached to star in a movie version of "Starsky and Hutch," the action-drama starring Paul Michael Glaser and David Soul that ran on ABC from 1975-79.

Stiller is also a producer on the project, through his production company, Red Hour Films. "Road Trip" director Todd Phillips will direct.

Presumably, Stiller will play the streetwise Detective Dave Starsky, the role originated by Glaser. There's no word on who will play his better educated, more soft spoken partner, Detective Ken Hutchinson, better known as "Hutch."


According to a report in Daily Variety, the director of last year's action-comedy hit, "Charlie's Angels," has struck a deal with Fox-TV to develop a drama series about undercover cops.

McG -- whose real name Joseph McGinty Mitchell -- developed a flamboyant directing style working on music videos, which he brought to "Charlie's Angels," starring Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz and Lucy Liu.

The TV project, which has a working title of "Fast Lane," is described as a multi-ethnic drama about two L.A. cops who investigate confidential cases -- sort of a cross between "Miami Vice" and "Starsky and Hutch."

"We're going to try to maximize the intelligence, take every aspect of what makes a great TV show and crank it to 11," McG told Variety. "This is the antithesis of what's on the air right now, a lot of color, a lot of energy. We want to reintroduce some of the fun that's been absent on TV for a long time."


CBS has announced the first series cancellation of the 20001-02 season, giving the ax to "Danny," starring Daniel Stern as a divorced dad who hangs out at a neighborhood rec center.

The show only lasted for two weeks. For the time being, CBS will fill its 8:30 p.m. Friday time slot with reruns of other comedies.

More cancellation announcements are expected before long, as networks try to weed out weak performers on their primetime schedules before the next major ratings sweeps in November.


The Coca-Cola Company has announced a $150-million marketing and ad campaign to promote the upcoming holiday movie, "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone," based on the first book of author J.K. Rowling's phenomenally successful "Harry Potter" series.

The movie is scheduled to hit U.S. theatres Nov. 16.

Officials at Coca-Cola headquarters in Atlanta said the campaign will feature TV ads and in-stores promotions, as well as a number of efforts to promote literacy. More than 850 million packages of Coca-Cola, Minute Maid and Hi-C will carry images from the movie -- but neither Potter nor the other characters from the books will appear on any Coke products.

The campaign will also feature a giveaway of almost 30 million free Coca-Cola products and about 9 million cash certificates good for free admission to see the movie. In addition, 100 U.S. families can win trips to England from Coca-Cola, while 700 more can win trips through their local retailers.

The campaign also includes an $18 million donation from Coca-Cola to Reading Is Fundamental, a nonprofit organization that promotes literacy. RIF expects the donation to help it deliver 100,000 books to schools and community centers in the United States.

Coca-Cola will also sponsor a three-year cross-country reading tour.

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