Entertainment Today: Showbiz news

By United Press International  |  May 6, 2002 at 12:17 PM
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To put "Spider-Man's" record opening weekend box-office haul into perspective, look at it this way -- its $114 million gross was more than three times as much as the combined grosses of the rest of the Top 12 movies, and it accounted for more than 75 percent of tickets sold over the weekend.

Going into the weekend, box-office analysts expected big numbers from "Spider-Man," but few projected that the Marvel Comics-inspired picture would smash the three-day record of $90.3 million -- set in November 2001 by "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone."

"Spider-Man" broke all kinds of box-office records -- most of them set by Harry Potter -- including biggest one-day take ($43.7 million on Saturday to $33.5 million for Potter), fastest to reach $100 million (three days, to five for Potter), and $31,535 per theater, a record for films exhibited at more than 3,000 outlets.

"Spider-Man" also set new box-office records in Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.

"The Scorpion King" took in $9.6 million to runs its 17-day total to $74.8 million and finish second, followed by "Changing Lanes" ($5.6 million) and "Murder by Numbers" ($3.8 million). "The Rookie" and "Life or Something Like It" were tied for fifth with $3.3 million.

The new Woody Allen comedy "Hollywood Ending" opened with $2.2 million, tied for 10th place with "Panic Room."

"Spider-Man" led the overall box office to a $165 million weekend, 49 percent better than the same weekend in 2001, when "The Mummy Returns" opened with $68.1 million. So far, the U.S. box office is running 16 percent ahead of last year's pace.


Hollywood is mourning the death of two-time Academy Award winner George Sidney, who died Sunday of complications from lymphoma. He was 85.

Sydney graduated from directing screen tests to shorts -- including "Our Gang" comedies -- and won Oscars for the live action shorts "Quicker 'n a Wink" (1940) and "Of Pups and Puzzles" (1941).

He went on to become one of the leading musical comedy directors at MGM, directing Esther Williams in "Bathing Beauty," Gene Kelly in "Anchors Aweigh" and Judy Garland in "The Harvey Girls." He is probably best remembered for directing the movie versions of the Broadway hits "Annie Get Your Gun," "Show Boat" and "Kiss Me Kate."

Sidney directed Ann-Margret in the movie version of "Bye Bye Birdie." He directed Ann-Margret and Elvis Presley in "Viva Las Vegas."

He also served as president of the directors guild for 16 years.

"The Directors Guild is extremely saddened by the passing of our former president, George Sidney," said DGA President Martha Coolidge in a statement. "His distinguished career as a director, along with his years of service and dedication to the DGA, were in an inspiration to us all. He will be greatly missed."


MTV has announced that Sarah Michelle Gellar and Jack Black will host this year's MTV Movie Awards.

Gellar is the star of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" on UPN, and one of the stars of the upcoming big-screen version of the classic TV cartoon "Scooby-Doo."

Black recently starred with Gwyneth Paltrow in the Farrelly Brothers' comedy "Shallow Hal," and shared the screen in 2000 with John Cusack in "High Fidelity." He is also one-half of the folk-rock recording act "Tenacious D."


Woody Allen wants New York to "metabolize" the tragedy of Sept. 11 on get on with its future.

Speaking with TV Guide to promote "Hollywood Ending" Allen said his beloved hometown has what it takes to get over the terrorist attacks.

"It was a terrible tragedy," he said, "but the city is still a thriving, exciting, romantic city full of great stories. New York has had tragedies, and every country has had famines, earthquakes and wars. These are facts of life that are terrible, but you metabolize them and that's it."

However, he said he got the impression during a recent trip to Europe that some folks on the other side of the Atlantic seem to think that it will be impossible to overcome Sept. 11 -- judging by the questions they asked him.

"'Mr. Allen, is this the death of New York?" they asked and "Can you ever show the New York skyline again?"

Allen said those kinds of questions are absurd.

"It's like saying, 'Can you ever see a Humphrey Bogart film after he died of cancer?'"

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