The opening of vampire thriller "Queen of the Damned" topped the box office with an estimated $15.2 million at 2,511 theaters during the Friday-Sunday period, studio sources said.
The Warner Bros. release, based on an Anne Rice story, stars the late singer Aaliyah, who died last year in a plane crash.
New Line's second weekend of "John Q" finished second with $12.5 million at 2,505 theaters. Universal's opening of "Dragonfly," a supernatural romance starring Kevin Costner, placed third with a lukewarm $10.4 million at 2,507 sites.
Disney's second weekend of animated sequel "Return to Never Land" finished a respectable fourth, followed by Paramount's second weekend of Britney Spears' "Crossroads."
Rounding out the top 10 were "Big Fat Liar," "A Beautiful Mind," "Hart's War," "Super Troopers," and "Collateral Damage."
Oscar-winning director Delbert Mann will be honored with the Directors Guild of America's Honorary Life Member Award at the upcoming DGA Awards on March 9.
Mann, 82, is one of a handful of people who won the best director Oscar for their first features. He won for "Marty" -- which also won for best picture, actor (Ernest Borgnine) and screenplay (Paddy Chayefsky) in 1955. He also won the DGA Award for "Marty."
The life member award is given to recognize "outstanding creative achievement, or contribution to the DGA or the profession of directing." Pervious recipients include D.W. Griffith, Frank Capra, Charlie Chaplin, Walt Disney, Elia Kazan, David Lean, Louis B. Mayer, Jack L. Warner and Robert Wise.
(Thanks to UPI Hollywood Reporter Pat Nason)
Recently we reported that filming on the latest James Bond movie had been halted because its star, Pierce Brosnan, had suffered a "mystery accident." At the time, some published reports thought he might have injured a knee during a stunt "in water."
Now come reports that it was indeed a knee injury and that the actor was hurt during a scene involving a hovercraft. The movie apparently takes place in North Korea, but a British coastal location was being used as a stand-in locale.
The movie, tentatively called "Bond 20," is being shot "around" Brosnan. The actor may need as much as two weeks to recuperate enough to resume shooting.
The film, unless there are further delays, has been set for a Thanksgiving release.
(Thanks to UPI's Dennis Daily)
CHUCK JONES DIES
Oscar-winning animator Chuck Jones -- who drew such classic cartoon characters as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd and Porky Pig -- died of congestive heart failure at his home in Corona del Mar, Calif., last Friday. He was 89.
Jones worked on more than 300 animated pictures -- winning three Oscars and receiving an honorary Oscar for lifetime achievement in 1996, the same year he was made an Honorary Life Member of the Directors Guild of America.
In addition to Bugs, Daffy, Elmer and Porky, Jones also drew the Road Runner and his relentless rival, Wile E. Coyote. He also drew Pepe le Pew, the hopelessly romantic skunk with the Charles Boyer accent, and Marvin Martian, the space creature with the Roman centurion style helmet and armor.
Jones produced, directed and wrote the screenplay for the 1966 animated TV version of "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas." He and the Grinch's creator, Theodore Geisel, were long-time friends and had collaborated on film projects for the U.S. government during World War II.
As something of an elder statesman in Hollywood in the 1980s, Jones mentored younger filmmakers -- leading to a cameo appearance in "Gremlins," made by Jones-fan Joe Dante.
Two of Jones' classic Warner Bros. animated shorts -- "What's Opera, Doc?" (1957) and "Duck Amuck" (1953) -- have been accepted into the U.S. National Film Registry. Other classic Jones titles included "Rabbit Seasoning" (1952), "Duck Dodgers in the 24th Century" (1953) and "One Froggy Evening" (1955). That picture introduced the character of Michigan J. Frog, which has since become part of the brand identification for the WB television network.