Monthly Archives: March 2004

Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Give Me One More Night…

Rough day….Updates tomorrow…even if I have to bleed to get them done! Sorry for the delay… Love, Mister D
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Billboard Concert Grosses

Bette’s concert grosses reported the week ending 04-03-04: =&0=& Boston, MA $1,155,641 =&1=& E. Rutherford, NJ $983,900 =&2=& Buffalo, NY $715,173 =&3=& Hampton, VA $698,180 =&4=& Grand Rapids, MI $618,824 Ya’ll can do the math! I never add up…:-) Love, Mister D
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Paramount Brings Out the Big Guns…

194393.jpg Paramount Sees Its Future in the Stars (Big Ones) NYT.com By SHARON WAXMAN AS VEGAS — There seemed no end to the parade of star power on display at the Paramount Pictures event at the movie industry’s annual ShoWest convention here. Jim Carrey, Nicole Kidman, Denzel Washington, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Law, Nicolas Cage, Bette Midler, Samuel L. Jackson, Meryl Streep: one after another they marched out from behind a curtain at the Paris Hotel on March 24, like some menagerie of old-time Hollywood glamour. The message, for those not inclined to subtlety, was clear: Paramount Pictures is back in the business of big, glitzy movies and is pulling out all the stops. It is a message the studio has been pushing tirelessly in Hollywood for the past two months in meetings with producers and agents and by courting the stars themselves. After many years of putting out formulaic, B-grade thrillers fueled by a philosophy of sticking to mid-range budgets and lesser-known stars, Paramount is on a mission to turn things around. “My model had to change,” explained Sherry Lansing, Paramount’s chairwoman, who runs the studio with Jonathan Dolgen, chairman of the Viacom Entertainment Group, the studio’s parent company. “I had to change the mix of pictures, the profile of the pictures,” she said. “We want to send a message to the creative community that we will pay $125 million for a movie. We’re not afraid of it. We’re starting to change the image of the studio, which was always thought of as playing it safe.” For ShoWest the studio chartered a 737 to fly in some two dozen stars from its coming line-up of movies, the sort of grand Hollywood gesture that Paramount had not undertaken for eight years. But it suited the studio’s message perfectly. Movie exhibitors from Omaha to Tuscaloosa lined the perimeter of the dias to take pictures. The stars took a few of their questions, and Mr. Carrey ended the session crouched on his haunches on the table, bellowing, “Look at me.” Then Paramount screened a 40-minute preview of this year’s releases, which include remakes of “Alfie,” “The Stepford Wives” and “The Manchurian Candidate.” In Hollywood Ms. Lansing pressed her studio’s case in recent days over lunch with Jennifer Aniston on the lot and by flying to Texas to convince the director Robert Rodriguez (“Spy Kids”) that he was the man to create “Princess of Mars,” a new science-fiction franchise for the studio. (He accepted.) Over the last decade Paramount has churned out clunkers like “Timeline” and “Paycheck” and Pauline-in-peril retreads starring Ashley Judd and Morgan Freeman. Producers and agents tell of Ms. Lansing’s promising an actor a fee, then calling a few days later to renegotiate. Or of agreeing to a particular budget for a film, then reducing the figure shortly before production. “I won’t say we didn’t have a problem of perception,” Ms. Lansing said of these reports without acknowledging their accuracy. “If there was that perception, we have to change it, and I think we have been.” There are signs of transformation. When Paramount began to develop the popular Lemony Snicket children’s book series with a sister division, Nick Movies, the studio balked at continuing until the veteran producer Scott Rudin became involved in 2001. Then, with sound stages reserved and locations scouted in Wilmington, N.C., the producers found themselves at budget loggerheads with the studio, according to published reports. The budget had already been brought down to $96 million from $110 million, but Ms. Lansing was insisting on $85 million, said an executive who worked on the project, speaking on condition of anonymity. Mr. Rudin bowed out, as did the director Barry Sonnenfeld, and the production lost millions in shut-down costs in 2002. The movie is now back on track, with Mr. Carrey starring, Brad Silberling directing and a budget of $140 million. “New-think Paramount is agreeing to a budget that makes sense for the film,” Julia Pistor, senior vice president of Nick Movies, said in an interview. “Doing it on location would have compromised the artistic integrity of the movie.” Sean Daniels, a producer based on the Paramount lot, described a new excitement even over movies made before the shift in attitude. One, “The Prince and Me,” will open on Friday. Market research has shown interest in the film, mainly among teenage girls, but probably not enough for a major hit. “There are high hopes that `The Prince and Me’ marks the start of a newly profitable year,” Mr. Daniels said. “That’s the feeling inside the studio.” In the 1970’s Paramount was the epitome of cutting-edge moviemaking, releasing era-defining classics like “Chinatown” and “The Godfather.” In the 1990’s the studio made the quirky hit “Forrest Gump” and co-produced “Titanic,” the biggest box office hit of all time. But as the decade wore on, executives who worked for Ms. Lansing, who as the creative head of a studio has the rare authority to green-light a project, said she ran her movie production slate like an actuary chart. One Paramount executive who asked not to be identified to protect his job said, “We went from getting notes from Sherry on the script, to sitting in a room with her saying to the producer, `This is a great financial model for us.’ ” The mantra on the lot was to “protect the downside,” executives say, by sharing production costs with other studios or foreign financiers. By last fall it was clear that that strategy was not working, even financially. The studio had had two years of mostly flops, though Ms. Lansing insists that it was still profitable. In the first three quarters of 2003 operating income at the entertainment unit of Viacom, which is dominated by Paramount, had fallen 32 percent, and revenue had risen by a scant 2 percent, to $2.8 billion. “I wasn’t happy,” Ms. Lansing acknowledged. The new Paramount has been on the launch pad since January. John Goldwyn, the president of Paramount Pictures, became a producer for the studio, as did Arthur Cohen, Paramount’s president of worldwide marketing. The producer Donald De Line, a Disney veteran, succeeded Mr. Goldwyn in January, and Gerry Rich was recently hired to direct marketing. “Since I’ve been here,” Mr. De Line said, “there hasn’t been a moment when I felt excited about a movie where I met with resistance or a no, from the deal side or the subject side. We’re walking the walk.” The producer Lynda Obst, based at Paramount, also praised the change in strategy. “The kind of material we’re encouraged to buy is passion material, the kind of stuff we went into the business to make,” she said. “The questions we’re asked are: `Do you love it? Would you die to make it?’ And the agents know it, and the writers know it.” But some say in its eagerness to change, Paramount has been overpaying for projects. Hollywood was recently buzzing with news that the studio had paid Charlize Theron $10 million to star in the new science fiction adaptation “Aeon Flux.” Studio officials said the correct figure was $8 million. Ms. Lansing wooed Ms. Theron over lunch a couple of days before Ms. Theron won the Oscar for best actress; she had previously earned about $3 million a role. Ms. Lansing also agreed to pay Mr. Law, not yet a proven box office star, $10 million to play the lead in “Dexterity,” a project still in development. And the studio paid Adam Sandler $25 million in acting and producing fees for a remake of “The Longest Yard.” “When you go through a difficult time, you either pull together, or it pulls you apart,” Ms. Lansing said. “I want to go back to being the studio that made `Forrest Gump,’ `Braveheart,’ `The Truman Show.’ I’m excited about the future.”
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Good Essay: Soemthing’s Amiss…Not Sure If It’s the Artists or the Patrons

Girls gone crazy $300 Madonna tickets, Britney’s ‘Hotel’ rip-off, Janet with nothing to say MELISSA RUGGIERI Richmond Times Dispatch MUSIC CRITIC Thursday, April 1, 2004 Every once in a while, I find myself asking, “What planet are these people living on?” That has happened a lot recently, from the announcement that Madonna will charge $300-plus for the good seats to Britney’s wretched display on Showtime this past weekend to Janet Jackson’s stilted, useless interview with David Letterman on Monday night. I’m also wondering who is going to play new John Mayer and Sheryl Crow songs (not to mention’80s acts such as Madness and Devo) now that B103 has morphed into Celine Dion Central (aka The Mix). But that’s another soapbox topic. Let’s start with Madonna. Her Re-invention tour, which launches May 24 in California and comes to D.C.’s MCI Center on June 13 (tickets go on sale Saturday), is already generating multiple sellouts in heavily populated markets such as New York, Boston and Philly. Maybe people in these cities – who are already paying more than $2 for a gallon of gas – make more money than the average worker bee. Maybe they think a $300 concert ticket for a pop icon is justified. After all, The Rolling Stones keep doing it. And look, if Madonna indeed breaks out the classics instead of the artsy crud that tainted 2001’s Drowned World tour, then it might be worth $100 to hear what she does with “Like a Virgin.” Maybe even $150. But no concert short of a reunited Beatles and Led Zeppelin double bill is worth $300. And that’s only with the inclusion of anyone named John. On one hand, Madonna is merely playing the marketplace. When Sting commands $150 for a cheap seat in Atlantic City, N.J., and Elton John gouges Wisconsin tourists for $100 to $250 in Vegas, why shouldn’t Madonna and fill-in-the-blank concert promoter benefit, too? Is she forcing any couple into a $700 evening, which it will be once you add in Ticketmaster fees and and a couple of burritos at the Chipotle at the base of the MCI Center? Of course not. But the better question is, why be greedy? Madonna is donating all of the profits from her children’s books to charities. She’s a millionaire at least 50 times over – a status she wouldn’t have attained without the die-hard affection of the same people she’s now asking to pony up hundreds of dollars. Yes, there are other ticket prices on this tour – $45, $90 and $150 – but everyone knows that the primo seats cost more than the average minimum credit-card payment. You’re better off waiting for the inevitable DVD than throwing away $45 to be in the last row of a four-tiered arena. No matter the spectacle she’s planning, Madonna could pull this off for a top ticket price of $100 or so. If she doesn’t think so, perhaps she should give Cher or Bette Midler a call. It seemed to work for them. Madonna’s one-time smooch buddy, Britney Spears, is in the midst of her Onyx Hotel tour, which scored a big cable blowout Sunday night on Showtime. I’ll tell you that the concert repeats Saturday, Tuesday, April 9-10 and 18 because I have a journalistic obligation to do so. But I also feel compelled to tell you that those 90 minutes of your life would be better spent trying to find a funny line in this season’s “Friends” or, perhaps, trimming the cat’s nails. Spears starts the show by murmuring, “Once you check in, you can’t check out.” Do you think The Eagles know about this? From there, the show’s a poorly planned, sound-impaired debacle – though by the repeats, Spears’ team might have found a way to sweeten the sound, which drifted in and out as if someone forgot to flip the channel on her backing vocal track. But the most surprising thing wasn’t that her microphone was deader than Keanu Reeves’ acting, but that for once, Spears looked best by toning it down. Her usual brassy platinum hair has been given a stunning ash blond rinse, and she used her longish locks to full effect. She whipped her hair frantically throughout her dance routines, but how odd (cue rolling of eyes) that it never made a sound as it smacked against her microphone. She managed to make “Oops . . . I Did It Again” and “Baby One More Time” more boring than ever by spinning them into cabaret-jazz – the favorite sound of all 16-year-old girls in Spears’ target demo – and sang, yes, sang, “Only a Shadow” in a key that only dogs would find tuneful. No matter how lavish this production, the songs – most of them from her uninspiring “In the Zone” – weakly crawled across a stage. It’s pitiful that so many people are willing to spend hard-earned money to watch Spears’ flub her lip-syncing while dancing to pedestrian songs. But this is the society that just bestowed a record contract on William Hung. Enough said. As for Janet Jackson, I was ready to hurl my TV across the room if she cooed at David Letterman one more time, “Why are we talking about this, David?” The “this” was, of course, the infamous Super Bowl flash. But Jackson apparently thought she had no reason to engage in conversation or explain what happened (which is all anyone really wanted to hear). By the time she whined for the umpteenth time, “Can we pleeeeease talk about something else?”, the canny Letterman – who already suffered enough with Courtney Love a few weeks ago – shot back, “What would you like to talk about?” Of course, Jackson had nothing to contribute. Does she think that anyone is interested in anything other than those few seconds at the Super Bowl that have spawned an overbearing crackdown on the way we view TV? Take a cue from Ben Affleck, honey. Poke a little fun at yourself,’fess up – completely – to any screw-ups, demonstrate some semblance of personality and call it a day. Logic. Apparently it isn’t a no-brainer.
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Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Sorry Dudes and Dudettes…Updates Coming Soon!

Sorry for the lack of new music and polls, etc….been doing maintenance and finding a new host which is all accomplished now…but I am beat… I plan on working out some new updates tomorrow afternoon so please be gentle!:-) In the meantime, visit Darrells Bette On The Boards for the Song of the Week, especially if you missed the Kiss My Brass tour. You’re in for a treat! Just beautiful! See ya’ll tomorrow…. Love, Mister D
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Reminder: April 21 at Carnegie Hall

From Liz Smith NYP.com 03-31-04 BIG DOINGS April 21 at Carnegie Hall. The 12th annual Rainforest Foundation concert. “Great Songs From the Movies” is the theme. =&0=&, Billy Joel, James Taylor, Antonio Banderas, Melanie Griffith and Elton John are on board. Producer Trudie Styler says that Elton, famously subtle, will sing “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend.”
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Stepford Wives Looking Bright For Ms. M

Paramount Previews Movie Line-up Tue, Mar 30, 2004, 07:03 PM PT By Mike Szymanski LOS ANGELES (Zap2it.com) — On Tuesday, Paramount Pictures offered the press first glimpses of their upcoming movies for the rest of the year. “The Stepford Wives” looks campily funny, “Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow” looks darkly noirish and “Suspect Zero” looks horrifyingly scary. And Jude Law, well, he looks like a contract player for Paramount. Law stars in “Sky Captain” as well as “What’s it All About, Alfie?” and is the voice of narrator “Lemony Snicket” in the film “Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events” which stars Jim Carrey. The “Lemony Snicket” scenes got the most reaction from those assembled. The characters of the best-selling books come to the big screen with actors Emily Browning and Liam Aiken as the children sent to live with the wacky Count Olaf. Almost Grinch-like in his appearance, Carrey seems to be his unpredictable over-the-top self in another classic role. That movie is set to hit theaters on Friday, Dec. 17. Meryl Streep also stars in “Lemony” as well as the studio’s remake of “The Manchurian Candidate,” taking on the role Angela Lansbury made famous. Scheduled for Friday, July 30, “Manchurian Candidate” is being produced by Tina Sinatra, daughter of Frank, who starred in the 1962 classic. This time, Streep is with fellow Oscar winners Denzel Washington and Jon Voight in the film with Liev Schreiber as the aspiring politician. It looks like it could be another Oscar-nominated performance for Streep, just as it was for Lansbury. Oscar winners are widely touted in the upcoming Paramount films, such as the yet-unscheduled “Weather Man” with winners Nicolas Cage and Michael Caine, and “Alfie” with past winners Susan Sarandon and Marisa Tomei. Then, there’s past winners Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie, along with Law, in “Sky Captain,” which has a distinct WWII, dark cartoonish feel to it. Paltrow portrays a reporter who links up with Law, an ace aviator, in the fight to stop an evil mastermind who’s kidnapping famous scientists. Airplanes fly under water, giant robots invade cities and jets flap their wings like birds in this futuristic sci fi pic. Jolie and Paltrow’s characters appear to have an intense rivalry going on, and both sport British accents. =&0=& which also stars Oscar winner Nicole Kidman, Matthew Broderick, Glenn Close and Christopher Walken. Midler is shown transformed from a shrill shrew to a model robotic housewife while Kidman’s character becomes more suspicious of this new town of Stepford. Kidman is shown losing her job as a TV exec and looking up information on the Internet and then being confronted by her husband (Broderick) and the other men from town. Unlike the original, feminist cautionary tale, this version Tis purposefully being played for laughs and is scheduled for Friday, June 11. “The Spongebob Squarepants Movie” set for Friday, Nov. 19 looks like it’s going to have the usual fishy humor from the popular Nickelodeon cartoon. Paramount is planning on playing off its promotion for their hit “South Park Movie” by touting it as “Bigger, Squarier and Spongey-er!” In a few of the scenes, Spongebob is shown folding his pants like a carton box before slipping them on and becoming a hero in Bikini Bottom by saving a fish at the Crabby Patty Diner. “Suspect Zero” stars Ben Kingsley (Oscar winner), as a serial killer who preys on serial killers with Aaron Eckhart and Carrie-Anne Moss as the detectives trying to stop him. That’s not yet on the schedule, but will be released sometime before the end of the year, along with the Matthew McConaughey adventure film “Sahara,” the true-story, tough-teacher tale starring Samuel L. Jackson, “Coach Carter,” and “Without a Paddle,” a wacky comedy about three friends on a river trip that re-teams “Scooby-Doo 2” stars Seth Green and Matthew Lillard. In that one, Burt Reynolds plays a wild-haired mountain man who makes the expected “Deliverance” jokes when he comes across the guys in their underwear Also coming up, Paramount has Julia Stiles’ romance “The Prince and Me” premiering this Friday (April 2) and Tina Fey’s first screenplay “Mean Girls” set for Friday, April 30 and a 2005 line-up including “Elizabethtown” with Orlando Bloom, “John Carter of Mars” directed by Robert Rodriguez, Adam Sandler and Chris Rock in “The Longest Yard” remake and Tom Cruise’s “Mission Impossible 3.”
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Gossip, But I Just Had To Laugh…

00340522.jpg =&0=& =&1=& Who knows if this is true…sounds more like one of the characters Bette would play or maybe our image of her on stage…but I thought it was funny, nonetheless…:-) The Village Voice by Michael Musto March 30th, 2004 11:00 AM The upcoming Stepford Wives remake has already been robotically deconstructed by the press, but I’m still as wound up as a mechanical housewife in my burning urge to see it, praying it’ll be mesmerizingly offbeat, not just downright bizarre. The cast alone is a Who’s Who of wait a minute, but in a potentially appealing, Oscar-winner-meet-country-star-on-the-way-to-Hollywood Squares sort of way. Well, my on-the-set moles have finally stepped forward to categorize the wildly diverse thesps’ behavior during production. It seems that the always Stepford-y NICOLE KIDMAN was not horrible (though she wasn’t too chatty, seeing as she was in her “acting zone”); FAITH HILL was a total lovebug (and even brought that hunky hubby around); GLENN CLOSE made faces and was kinda fun; MATTHEW BRODERICK was rather remote (in fact, he exhibited “the personality of a rock”—maybe sensing Nicole didn’t want him there); CHRISTOPHER WALKEN was not happy (well, Gigli had just come out); and director FRANK OZ was such a doll that people feared he was a cyborg. And BETTE MIDLER? She was the queen of kvetching and annoyed some observers, but in a way a lot of us can easily appreciate. When one scene’s filming dragged on too long for her, Bette reportedly approached co-star ROGER BART and moaned, “What the fuck are we still doing here?” “Collecting a paycheck, maybe,” the actor dryly responded. Another time, my sources say, Bette became fed up with being surrounded by so many tall, too-thin beauties. “I’d rather look like SHELLEY WINTERS than one of these anorexic freakshows,” she squawked. One of the gals heard that and, amazingly enough, started crying—but I’m totally with Bette. Put some poundage on, people! (And FYI, crying doesn’t lead to weight loss, OK?)
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Bigger Boobs For Faith and Nicole

Faith Promotes “Stepford Wives” Junket for remake kicks off. by Neil Haislop, Country Forever Productions Monday 3.29.2004 /www.j98.com/ — The producers for “Stepford Wives” began the promotion effort for the film in Las Vegas this week at the Sho-West marketing convention of Theater Owners. The stars, Nicole Kidman, Faith Hill, Glenn Close, Jon Lovitz, Matthew Broderick, and Bette Midler appeared together on the various magazine TV shows. Funny moment on E.T. came when both Nicole and Faith admitted that the robot versions of their Stepford Wives characters were given bigger breasts. The film is set for summer release.
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Charles Adams To Show Off Work

BetteInBackground.jpg =&0=& Retired Hollywood photographer to display images Nevada Appeal Karl Horeis March 30, 2004 A retired Hollywood photographer will show his work during a meeting of the Carson City Historical Society on Saturday. Charles Adams, who lives off of Kings Canyon Road, worked as a set director and a still photographer in Southern California for many years. Members of the society asked him to speak after seeing his collection of antiques and photos. “My house is not an old, historic Carson City house,” he said. “But what I have here is a lot of art objects that are old, and I’ve got memorabilia from Hollywood of people I’ve photographed.” Peering from the walls of his home are Dean Martin, Evander Holyfield, Ray Charles, Johnny Cash, Sonny and Cher, Madonna, =&1=&, Marvin Gaye, Sharon Stone, Marlon Brando, Lou Gosset Jr. and more celebrities. Click Here For Full Article
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