News from the entertainment capital

By PAT NASON, UPI Hollywood Reporter  |  Dec. 3, 2001 at 4:01 PM
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George Harrison's family requested a minute of silence in his memory -- to be observed at 4:30 p.m. EST Monday -- as the late music legend's ashes were headed for India, where plans called for commingling them with the waters of three rivers regarded as holy by Hindus.

"We are deeply touched by the outpouring of love and compassion from people around the world," said Harrison's widow, Olivia, and son Dhani in a statement. "The profound beauty of the moment of George's passing -- of his awakening from this dream -- was no surprise to those of us who knew how he longed to be with God. In that pursuit, he was relentless."

Harrison's body was cremated nine hours after he died of cancer in Los Angeles last Thursday -- well before the news of his death was made public. Leaders of the International Society of Krishna Consciousness said Harrison's ashes will be immersed Tuesday off Allahabad where the Ganges, Saraswati and Yamuna Rivers converge.

Harrison's widow and son planned to accompany the ashes to the site.


"Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" is still flying high at the U.S. box office, but with a 58 percent drop in ticket sales from its second weekend to its third, the picture came a bit closer to ground level -- and the competition.

With an estimated weekend take of $24.1 million, the movie version of J.K. Rowling's best-selling book has taken in $220.1 million in 17 days in release. Analysts think "Potter" could be headed for the second most exclusive club in the box-office world, joining "Star Wars" ($461 million) and "Star Wars: Episode One -- The Phantom Menace" ($431.1 million) on the short list of movies that have grossed more than $400 million domestically.

"Titanic" remains the top U.S. box-office attraction of all time with $600.8 million.

Based on its first three weekends, "Harry Potter" now looks like a long shot at best to outdo the grosses for either "Star Wars" picture. Some analysts think "Potter" could benefit from a surge of business when kids get out of school for the Christmas-New Year's holidays and finish ahead of "E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial," which grossed $399.8 million to take No. 4 on the all-time list. However, "E.T." will pad its all-time numbers with a 20th anniversary re-release in 2002.

"Potter" took in a record-smashing $90.3 million in its first weekend in theaters, and followed that performance with another $57.5 million over Thanksgiving weekend.

"Behind Enemy Lines" -- starring Gene Hackman and Owen Wilson -- opened in second place this weekend with $19.2 million. "Spy Game" was third with $11.2 million.

"Monsters, Inc." fell from second place to fourth with $9.4 million, but also became the fourth movie this year to go past $200 million, with a 31-day total of $204.3 million.


Michael Douglas, Warren Beatty, Jeremy Irons, Candice Bergen, Leontyne Price, Oprah Winfrey and Carol Burnett provided much of the show business candlepower -- and President Bush and Vice President Cheney and their wives appeared in public together for the first time since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks -- as this year's group of Kennedy Center award winners were honored in Washington Sunday night.

Julie Andrews, Jack Nicholson, Van Cliburn, Luciano Pavarotti and Quincy Jones shared a box tier with the Bushes and the Cheneys at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, to watch ceremonies that were taped for a Dec. 26 telecast on CBS.

Secretary of State Colin Powell regaled the honorees at a State Department dinner Saturday night.

"Fifty years from now the Taliban, Osama bin Laden and similar thugs will be no more than footnotes," said Powell. "You are the symbol of what is good and decent and uplifting in the world."

Recalling a visit to South Africa with Jones -- whose nickname is "Q" -- Powell said: "Every kid on every street knew who 'Q' was. I was mistaken as his bodyguard."

Speaking at the dinner, Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy quoted his late brother, President John F. Kennedy, in whose name the honors are given each year: "I look forward to an America that commands respect throughout the world not only for its strength but for its civilization as well."


In his new movie, "Ocean's Eleven," George Clooney reprises the role of Danny Ocean, originated by Frank Sinatra in the 1960 caper comedy, "Ocean's 11." Clooney, in interviews to promote the movie, has been telling the story of his one and only encounter with Old Blue Eyes.

He told the New York Daily News he got a phone call from Sinatra while he was leading a 1996 campaign to cut down on celebrity stalking by paparazzi. Clooney was boycotting Paramount because the studio's tabloid TV show, "Hard Copy," was a major buyer of paparazzi material.

"It was right when everybody thought Frank was dying, but a couple of years before he actually died," recalled Clooney. "I got a call on the set of 'ER.' I pick up the phone, and he goes, 'George?' I go, 'Yeah.' He says, 'It's Francis.' I thought it was a joke. He says, 'It's not working.' I go, 'What?' 'What you're doing with this boycott. It's not working. They are still outside my house, and there's a helicopter over my house.' I go, 'Well, I don't know that it was meant to ...' Before I can finish the sentence, he hangs up on me. It was really funny."

Clooney also told the paper that he and writer-director Steven Soderbergh had so much fun making the 1998 movie "Out of Sight" that they decided to work together again -- but that was before either of them became major box-office powers. Clooney hit the top rung in Hollywood with last year's blockbuster, "The Perfect Storm." Soderbergh won the best director Oscar for "Traffic," and was nominated for a directing Oscar for "Erin Brockovich."

"I said to him, 'Look, I have a little bit of clout, and you have a little bit of clout. Let's put it together and maybe we can get things done,'" Clooney said. "Then we had our amazing years and ours became one of the very few companies that gets the very best projects sent to it. People want to get involved with us because it's fun."

Clooney said he persuaded A-list actors to work in "Ocean's Eleven" for one-third their normal fee, so the movie could be made for $80 million.

"All these people have enough money already," he said, "and the truth is, they want to do good movies and work with good people."


According to a report in Daily Variety, major Hollywood studios are engaged in spirited, and potentially costly, competition for U.S. distribution and video rights to what is shaping up as one of the bigger movie releases of 2003 -- "Terminator 3."

The picture is expected to start shooting in April with "Terminator" star Arnold Schwarzenegger directed by Jonathan Mostow ("U-571," "Breakdown").

Citing industry sources, Variety said the project will be budgeted at "well-above $170 million." That wouldn't make it the most expensive movie ever made, but it would be the largest budget ever approved for starters.

The potential reward is measured against the grosses of "The Terminator" (1984) and "Terminator 2: Judgment Day" (1991), which have taken in a combined $560 million worldwide.

Fan interest in the project is keen. Variety reported that hundreds of Web sites have posted supposed bits of "T3's" plot.

In an attempt to keep the story under wraps, producers have allowed studio representatives to read the screenplay only under strict supervision.


Dave Matthews Band was the big winner Sunday at the second annual My VH1 Awards, picking up four trophies, including one for favorite group and song of the year -- presented in the form of the Damn I Wish I Wrote That award for "The Space Between."

DNB also won the Must Have Album award for "Everyday" and the coolest fan Web site honor for

Matthews told the audience he would not have chosen "Everyday" as top album.

"I feel a little but ridiculous," he said. "I've been listening to that 'No. 1' album by The Beatles and it kicks the crap out of our album."

"No. 1" -- a compilation of the Beatles' No. 1 hit singles -- was also nominated for Must Have Album.

Gwen Stefani -- No Doubt's lead singer -- won for favorite female artist. Lenny Kravitz won for favorite male artist.

"Lady Marmalade" -- featuring Christina Aguilera, Lil' Kim, Mya and Pink -- won for favorite video. It also won the Is It Hot in Here or Is It Just My Video? award for sexiest performance, but Britney Spears won the Navel Academy award for Best Bellybutton Appearance.

Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora -- whose band, Bon Jovi, was honored with the Best Live Show award -- opened the telecast with a performance of "Here Comes the Sun," a tribute to George Harrison three days after his death of cancer in Los Angeles.


Rosie O'Donnell will host a fund-raising event for former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno, who is running for the Democratic nomination for governor of Florida.

The campaign announced that tickets for the Dec. 30 reception will cost $250.

O'Donnell -- who owns a home on Miami Beach's Star Island -- is reportedly not making her place available for the fund-raiser because it is not available on that date.

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