THRILLS, CHILLS COMING TO BOX OFFICE
DreamWorks is hoping its new scary movie "The Ring" will runs rings around the box-office competition this weekend, while Paramount is counting on Katie Holmes to deliver an audience for the new teen thriller "Abandon." Sony is putting its chips on the new Samuel L. Jackson action-thriller "Formula 51."
Box-office analysts expect "The Ring" will come out on top, even though it is playing at 1,981 theaters -- as opposed to the 2,341 theaters that will show "Abandon."
"The Ring" -- a remake of a Japanese box-office hit about people who die after watching a mysterious video -- is directed by Gore Verbinski ("The Mexican"), and features a largely unknown cast. The best-known name is Naomi Watts, who scored a breakthrough performance last year in David Lynch's "Mulholland Drive."
"Abandon" stars Holmes ("Dawson's Creek," "Wonder Boys") as a college student suspected of involvement in the disappearance of her boyfriend. It's written and directed by Stephen Gaghan, who won an Oscar for his screenplay for "Traffic."
"Formula 51" stars Jackson ("XXX," "Star Wars") as an American chemist who travels to England to make one more big drug score -- until his plans go awry. It's directed by Hong Kong action master Ronny Yu, whose next assignment is the upcoming movie monster showdown "Freddy vs. Jason."
'ROGER RABBIT' SPECIAL EDITION
The Walt Disney Co.'s home entertainment division will release a 2-disc, 15th anniversary edition of "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" -- the landmark 1988 movie that combined animation with live-action and brought most of Hollywood's leading animation players together in an unprecedented collaboration.
The action-comedy starred Bob Hoskins, Christopher Lloyd and the voice of Kathleen Turner in a fanciful tale in which a Toon, Roger Rabbit, beats a phony murder rap and saves Toontown from extinction at the hands of the evil Judge Doom. Most of Hollywood's best-known cartoon characters show up in the Steven Spielberg-Disney co-production.
Touchstone Home Entertainment plans a March 25 release for the DVD, which will include new footage for the menus, as well as all three Roger Rabbit theatrical shorts and a new 15-minute featurette, "Who Made Roger Rabbit."
'MACGYVER' IS BACK -- AND HE'S YOUNG
The WB has picked up a new series reviving the action-spy drama "MacGyver" (ABC, 1985-92) -- except the new version will be about a younger version of Angus MacGyver, the character that made Richard Dean Anderson a star.
Instead of the hero who refused to carry a gun -- using his wits and bountiful knowledge of science to solve cases -- "Young MacGyver" will be about Angus's nephew, who leaves college in his 20s and joins up with the Phoenix Foundation, the crime fighting outfit where Uncle Angus used to work.
ROSEANNE PLANS RETURN TO ABC
Roseanne and ABC are going back into business together, five years after her hit comedy "Roseanne" concluded a nine-year run on the network.
According to a report in Daily Variety, Roseanne has a deal to star in an unscripted reality comedy set in the workplace. She's also set to executive produce the project with documentarian R.J. Cutler ("American High," "The War Room"), who is also working on the upcoming Fox TV series "American Candidate."
Roseanne's conflicts with ABC toward the end of her show's run were well-chronicled, but Andrea Wong -- head of reality programming at the network -- said ABC is thrilled to have Rosanne back.
"With Roseanne, you're guaranteed funny," said Wong.
Those involved are not saying much about what kind of show Roseanne will come up with.
HEY, PRETTY MAMA!
Plans are under way in Hollywood for a live-action movie version of the Cartoon Network's "Johnny Bravo" -- an animated hit about a witless muscleman who comes on like Elvis Presley in a never-ending, and futile, pursuit of success with pretty women.
Warner Bros. Pictures is developing the project, reportedly with a notion of casting The Rock ("The Scorpion King," "The Mummy Returns") in the lead.
GEORGE LOPEZ GOING FOR MORE
ABC has picked up a full season of "The George Lopez Show," rewarding the show for delivering consistently high ratings in the first four weeks of the 2002-03 season.
The show benefits from a strong lead-in -- "My Wife and Kids," starring Damon Wayans -- but the prime time landscape is littered with canceled shows that frittered away strong lead-in numbers. "George Lopez" has found a way to hold 100 percent of adults ages 18-49 from the audience for "My Wife and Kids" for the last two weeks.