Hollywood Digest

By PAT NASON, UPI Hollywood Reporter  |  Oct. 14, 2002 at 5:38 PM
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According to a report in Daily Variety, MGM has signed the producers and director of "Barbershop" to do a sequel.

The studio is said to be still in talks with Ice Cube and other actors to return, but director Tim Story is definitely on board.

"We had so much fun the first time," said Story, "I can't wait to figure out what these barbers are going to do next."

The movie touched off some controversy over some dialogue that poked fun at civil rights icons including Rev. Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks. But it also made a ton of money -- generating more than $65 million at the U.S. box office while appealing a racially diverse audience.


A spokeswoman for DreamWorks confirmed that Steven Spielberg will appear at Lincoln Center on Nov. 25 to talk about his work and preview his upcoming movie "Catch Me if You Can," starring Leonard DiCaprio and Tom Hanks.

DiCaprio plays Frank Abagnale, the youngest man ever to make the FBI's most-wanted list. He posed at various times as a doctor, a lawyer, and even as an FBI agent, passing millions of dollars worth of rubber checks.

Eventually, the FBI turned Abagnale into a consultant -- specializing in helping to solve white-collar crime.

At his November appearance at Lincoln Center, Spielberg will preview about 20 minutes of the new movie and show clips from several of his other movies.


American moviegoers went back for seconds of Hannibal Lechter's latest dish, making "Red Dragon" No. 1 at the box office for a second straight week, with $17.6 million.

The fourth feature about novelist Thomas Harris' grisly monster-hero has now taken in $63.2 million in 10 days.

Reese Witherspoon's comedy "Sweet Home Alabama" was No. 2 with $14.1 million, while the new romance "Brown Sugar" opened in third with $11.1 million. Another new release, the action-thriller "Transporter," opened at No. 4 with $9.2 million, while "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" stayed in the top five with $7.9 million -- bringing its six-month total to $158.4 million and giving it 87th place on the list of all-time U.S. blockbusters.

The new Adam Sandler romantic comedy "Punch-Drunk Love" grossed $380,000 on just five screens in New York, Los Angeles and Toronto -- an astonishing $76,000 per site -- suggesting that the writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson ("Boogie Nights," "Magnolia") may have a blockbuster on his hands.

"Bowling for Columbine" the pro-gun control documentary by Michael Moore ("Roger and Me") took in $206,000 at eight theaters in Los Angeles and New York -- averaging an impressive $25,750 per venue. "Swept Away" only managed $375,000 at 196 theaters, suggesting that the new Madonna movie will be carried out with the next tide.

The top 10 films took in about $90 million -- 20 percent more than the same weekend last year when "Training Day" led with $13.4 million. Year-to-date, the U.S. box-office has taken in $6.9 billion -- about 12 percent ahead of last year's pace.


Business analysts looking for signs of an economic recovery might take a look at an item in The Hollywood Reporter suggesting that TV advertising has rebounded from the recent dark days when a business turndown resulted in an ad slump of major proportions.

Broadcasters have recently begun to report scarce inventory of commercial time. Richard Gagnon -- media director at Foote, Cone & Belding in New York -- told The Reporter that top cable networks are experiencing a similar flood of advertising bucks.

"Cable is looking very healthy," said Gagnon, "and it's fundamentally driven by the overwhelming demand on the broadcast side."

Lynn Picard, the head of Lifetime's sales operation, said cable channels in general are scrambling to find available ad time for would-be sponsors.

"A lot of the cable networks are running out, so it's been really chaotic," said Picard. "Across the board, we've written so much money in the past few weeks, we're definitely going downhill in terms of inventory."


While Hollywood plays a guessing game about the future of "Friends" following its ninth -- and ostensibly last -- season on NBC, there's word that one of the series' stars would consider doing a spin-off of the show once it ends its run on NBC.

Matt LeBlanc told "Extra" he would entertain the idea -- and suggested that his "Friends" cast mates do the same.

"There could be six spin-offs," he said.

LeBlanc also said he is rooting for Ross (David Schwimmer) to win Rachel's (Jennifer Aniston) love over Joey, LeBlanc's character on the Emmy-winning comedy.

"Joey would probably mess it all up," he said. "I don't know that Joey ultimately could be a one-woman man, and Rachel deserves someone who can do that -- who Ross is."

LeBlanc was less willing to talk about how the rest of the show's storylines should turn out when the end comes.

"That's the one thing we are all very reluctant to talk about, is the end," he said. "You know, it's going to be sad, it's going to suck when it's over, but all good things come to an end."

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