'SWIMFAN' DROWNS BOX OFFICE RIVALS
The psycho-thriller "Swimfan" drowned competition when it debuted at the box office this weekend, finishing in first place with a surprise $12.4 million. The film stars Erika Christensen, best-known for her heart-wrenching performance as government drug czar Michael Douglas' junkie daughter in "Traffic" two years ago. This time out, she is the dangerous teen temptress who comes between a high school swim champ and his girlfriend.
According to studio estimates Sunday, the sleeper hit, "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," which has kept audiences in stitches for 21 weeks, held fast to its No. 2, raking in another $10.6 million. Coming in third was Robert DeNiro's latest cop drama, "City by the Sea," the story of a New York police detective investigating his own son for murder. Based on true events as they were related to former New York Daily News columnist Mike McAlary, the film co-stars Frances McDormand and James Franco, and earned a disappointing $9.1 million.
M. Night Shyamalan's 6-week-old, crop-circle drama "Signs" was fourth this weekend and earned $8 million, pushing it over the $200 million mark and making it one of the year's highest-grossing films. Rounding out the top five was the Vin Diesel spy flick "XXX," which brought in $5.5 million.
PATTY DUKE FRACTURES SKULL IN HORSE ACCIDENT
Actress Patty Duke was listed in fair condition at an Idaho hospital Sunday, two days after she fractured her skull, reportedly while trying to apply fly spray to a horse in her barn.
Details about the accident were sketchy, but Michael Pearce, husband of the 55-year-old star of "The Miracle Worker," says his wife was injured while she was working alone in their barn with a 2-year-old filly. A loud noise, followed by his wife's cry, brought him back to the stable, where he found Duke lying on the ground.
She is at the Kootenai Medical Center's Intensive Care Unit and her husband described her prognosis as "excellent."
GORDON LIGHTFOOT HOSPITALIZED
Canadian crooner Gordon Lightfoot has been hospitalized in Ontario for an undisclosed illness.
The 63-year-old singer/songwriter was flown to McMaster University Medical Centre in Hamilton over the weekend after checking into a hospital in his hometown of Orillia. Best known for his hit "If You Could Read My Mind," the balladeer was scheduled to perform in Orillia Saturday night, but canceled due to illness.
A spokesman for McMaster would not disclose the singer's condition or any of the circumstances surrounding his illness, noting Lightfoot's family has requested no information be released.
VENICE FILM FEST WINNERS
"The Magdalene Sisters," a film about women brutalized by nuns in a Catholic convent, nabbed the top prize, the coveted Golden Lion for best picture, at the Venice Film Festival Sunday.
Stefano Accorsi won the best-actor award for his role as an Italian poet in "A Journey Called Love," while Julianne Moore earned the best-actress prize for her performance as a suburban housewife in "Far From Heaven" and Lee Chang-dong was named best director for "Oasis."