News for 3/19/2003

Freeman Honored With Star on Walk of Fame

LOS ANGELES - Morgan Freeman said it felt like "high cotton" as he unveiled his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

"This is not something you expect in life. This is a gift. This is serendipity," the 65-year-old actor said Tuesday of star No. 2220, located on Hollywood Boulevard. "If you wait around for it, you may die waiting."

Freeman, a three-time Oscar nominee for his roles in "Street Smart," "Driving Miss Daisy" and "The Shawshank Redemption," expressed surprise when told he's already appeared in 47 movies.

He starred as a reforming high school principal in "Lean on Me," and had major roles in "Glory," "Unforgiven" and "Amistad."

His upcoming films include "Dreamcatcher," which opens Friday.

Rap Diva Eve Hip-Hops to UPN

HOLLYWOOD (Variety) - UPN has greenlit a comedy pilot starring hip-hop diva Eve, while actor Joe Mantegna has been cast in the CBS drama project "Joan of Arcadia."

Should her project make it onto prime time as a UPN series, Eve would join a long string of urban music stars who moved into television at the height of their careers to headline a half-hour sitcom.

Past examples include Will Smith ("Fresh Prince of Bel-Air"), Queen Latifah ("Living Single"), LL Cool J ("In the House") and Brandy ("Moesha").

The Eve project would star the rapper as a fashion designer on the lookout for love. Like her character, in real life Eve is about to launch her own fashion line, called Fetish.

Eve recently appeared in the feature "Barbershop." She shared a Grammy with No Doubt's Gwen Stefani for their song "Let Me Blow Your Mind" and has released two platinum albums.

Executive producer David Janollari, who developed "Living Single" while at Warner Bros. TV, said he saw similarities between Queen Latifah and Eve.

"Queen Latifah stepped onto that stage and we never looked back -- she was a terrific actress," he said. "We have the same feeling about Eve for this project. Eve's a natural to come to TV. Her persona and her fan base (are) absolutely perfect for UPN."

As for CBS' "Joan of Arcadia," with Mantegna attached, Sony Pictures Television is now onboard as a producer alongside CBS Prods.

Given its deal with creator Barbara Hall ("Judging Amy"), 20th Century Fox TV originally was set to co-produce "Joan of Arcadia." But studio insiders said 20th execs didn't think the show would sell well internationally and its commercial prospects didn't justify deficit-financing the show.

But CBS believed in the script and proceeded anyway, bringing Sony onboard. Mantegna will play the father in "Joan of Arcadia," which revolves around a contemporary Joan of Arc who sees God in a different form each week.

Mantegna recently starred in the CBS drama "First Monday" as well as the HBO telepic "The Rat Pack."

Also, Fox's untitled comedy/drama pilot from Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein has added cast members. Joining the project (formerly known as "Splitsville") are Christopher Gartin ("Johns"), Heather Stephens ("Men, Women and Dogs") and Katherine Towne ("Mulholland Drive").

Weekend Boxoffice

"House" Holds Down Top Spot

The House stayed packed.

For the second straight weekend Bringing Down the House dominated movie houses.

Despite the arrival of a clutch of newcomers, the odd-couple teaming of Steve Martin and Queen Latifah earned another $22.4 million. Dropping down only 28 percent, the hit comedy averaged $7,997 per site, pushing its two-week gross to a very royal $61.6 million. Good word of mouth and the Oscar prominence of the leads (he as host of the 75th Academy Awards, she as a Best Supporting Actress nominee for Chicago) are fueling interest, driving the Disney farce swiftly towards the coveted $100 million mark.

The closest anyone came to crashing the House party was Agent Cody Banks. Starring 'teen-appeal TV cuties, Frankie Muniz (Malcolm in the Middle) and Hilary Duff (Lizzie McGuire), the PG-rated MGM release predictably attracting a heavily 'tween crowd, earning $15 million. The pint-sized James Bond flick, which MGM is eyeing as a possible franchise, averaged $4,452 per screen at 3,369 sites.

Hard on Banks' heels was The Hunted, the R-rated chase movie in which persistent tough guy Tommy Lee Jones relentlessly tracks down mayhem-minded military maniac Benicio Del Toro. Debuting on fewer screens--2,516--the Paramount release could only capture a fairly $13.5 million, averaging $5,366 per.

The rat flick, meanwhile, barely got out of the trap. Willard, the remake of the creepy 1971 horror tale about a boy with rodent power, this time starring Crispin Glover in the role originated by Bruce Davison, could only scuttle in eighth. The PG-13 New Line release earned just $4 million from a $2,286 average at 1,761 sites.

However, the PG-13 Fox Searchlight soccer import Bend It Like Beckham, a huge hit in Britain, scored big time in limited release Stateside. The comedy about an Indian girl (Parminder K. Nagra) and her British chum (Keira Knightley ) who dream of playing football in defiance of family culture and prejudice really packed the house, averaging $25,286 over the weekend at just six sites to kick up $181,980 since opening mid-week.

Overall, the top 12 films grossed an estimated $93.3 million, down a little more than 1 percent from last weekend, and 23 percent less than this time last year.

1. Bringing Down the House, $22.4 million
2. Agent Cody Banks, $15 million
3. The Hunted, $13.5 million
4. Tears of the Sun, $8.8 million
5. Chicago, $7.7 million
6. Old School, $6.8 million
7. How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, $4.8 million
8. Willard, $4 million
9. Daredevil, $3.04 million
10. Cradle 2 the Grave, $3 million

News for 3/15/2003

Ex-'Fifth Wheel' Host Aisha Tyler Makes 'Friends'

HOLLYWOOD (Variety) - Former "Talk Soup" and "The Fifth Wheel" host Aisha Tyler has been tapped for a multi-episode story arc on the NBC hit comedy "Friends."

She'll portray a professor of paleontology who becomes involved in a love triangle with David Schwimmer's Ross character and Matt LeBlanc's Joey. The actress will first appear on "Friends" in an episode scheduled to air April 24.

Since leaving her hosting gigs, Tyler has segued into feature work, having just wrapped a role in the tentatively titled indie feature "Meet Market." She's currently shooting the indie "Never Die Alone," with David Arquette and DMX.

Ensemble cast takes 'Vacation' for Searchlight

LOS ANGELES (The Hollywood Reporter) --- Steve Harvey, Vanessa L. Williams, Bow Wow, Solange Knowles and Gabby Soleil are joining Cedric the Entertainer in "Johnson Family Vacation" for Fox Searchlight Pictures. Shannon Elizabeth is also negotiating for a part in the ensemble comedy, which begins shooting March 16 in Los Angeles with Christopher Erskin at the helm.

"Vacation" centers on the comedic misadventures of Nate (Cedric the Entertainer) and his dysfunctional family as they desperately make their way cross-country to their annual family reunion in Missouri. Reluctantly along for the ride are his wife (Williams), their rapper-wannabe son (Bow Wow), their teenage daughter, who's fashioned herself as the next Lolita (Knowles), and their youngest daughter (Soleil), whose imaginary dog Nate can't seem to keep track of.

Harvey will star as Nate's brother Max, while Elizabeth would play Chrishelle, a mysterious hitchhiker the family picks up on their way to the reunion.

Brought to Searchlight by Paul Hall of Hallway Pictures, the film is being produced by Hall along with Hallway executive Wendy Park, Cedric the Entertainer and his manager Eric Rhone. Overseeing the production for Searchlight is executive vp production Claudia Lewis and director of production Lawrence Grey. Brothers Todd and Richie Jones, who pitched the project, penned the screenplay and are currently at work on polishing the script before production.

Harvey is repped by the Firm and law firm Ziffren Brittenham Branca Fischer Gilbert-Lurie. He next stars in "The Fighting Temptations" for Paramount Pictures and "If You Were My Girl" for Warner Bros. Pictures.

Williams is repped by CAA. She recently starred in "Keep the Faith, Baby" for Showtime.

Knowles -- the younger sister of singer-actress Beyonce Knowles of Destiny's Child -- is repped by CAA. She recently released her debut album, "Solo Star," from Columbia Records.

Soleil, who has starred on "The Hughleys" and "My Wife & Kids," is repped by Meredith Fine and Dana Edrick at Coast to Coast Talent Group. "Vacation" marks her feature debut.

Elizabeth is repped by ICM, CMC's Steven Fenton and attorney Marcy Morris at Armstrong Hirsch Jackoway Tyerman & Wertheimer. She next stars in "Love Actually" in November from Universal Pictures.

News for 3/11/2003

Derek Luke and William H. Macy Join Spartan

Derek Luke and William H. Macy will star in Franchise Pictures' political thriller Spartan for writer-director David Mamet, reports The Hollywood Reporter. Production is scheduled to begin April 15 in Los Angeles.

The film follows Scott (Val Kilmer), who is asked to investigate the kidnapping of the president's daughter. Luke will star as Anton, a would-be Secret Service agent, while Macy plays Stoddard, the right-hand man to Burch, the man who is leading the investigation of the kidnapped girl. The Burch character has yet to be cast.

Spartan reunites Macy with Mamet as the duo have collaborated on projects for more than 15 years.

Big night for Washington

LOS ANGELES (The Hollywood Reporter) --- It was Denzel Washington's night at the 34th annual NAACP Image Awards as the actor snagged awards for outstanding actor in a motion picture for New Line's "John Q" and outstanding supporting actor in a motion picture for Fox Searchlight's "Antwone Fisher." Washington's directorial debut, "Fisher," won outstanding motion picture, beating out MGM's "Barbershop," Fox Searchlight's "Brown Sugar," Fox Searchlight's "Drumline" and "John Q."

The motion picture outstanding actress award went to Angela Bassett for Sony Picture Classics' "Sunshine State," while the supporting actress nod went to Halle Berry for her performance in MGM's "Die Another Day."

"I can't think of a better way to end this amazing journey that I've been on because I've had each and every one of you with me as I've been on it," Berry said at the awards show at Universal Amphitheatre on Saturday night, referring to the accolades she's received in the past year, including last year's history-making Oscar win.

In the television comedy categories, Bernie Mac delivered a one-two punch. The actor won outstanding actor in a comedy series, and his show, Fox's "The Bernie Mac Show," was rewarded with outstanding comedy series.

Meanwhile, Tisha Campbell-Martin received the outstanding actress award for ABC's "My Wife and Kids."

Showtime's "Soul Food" also served up a double-blow as it won the award for outstanding drama series and saw Vanessa Williams win for outstanding actress.

Michael Beach received the nod for outstanding actor in a drama series for "NBC's "Third Watch," while the supporting actor and actress wins went to Gary Dourdan for "CSI" and Loretta Devine for "Boston Public," respectively.

And while famed civil rights figure Rosa Parks did not attend (protesting master of ceremonies Cedric the Entertainer, who made disparaging comments about her in MGM's "Barbershop"), she still managed to be a big winner. CBS's "The Rosa Parks Story" won for outstanding TV movie, miniseries or dramatic special while Bassett, in her second win of the night, picked up the category's outstanding actress award for her role as Parks.

"What I am most proud of is the message that our film conveys to today's young people: That in these troubling and confusing times, what you and I do matters," executive producer Howard Braunstein said. "And sometimes -- just sometimes -- those single acts of bravery and doing the right thing can actually make a difference."

The outstanding actor in a TV movie, miniseries or dramatic special went to Charles S. Dutton for Showtime's "10,000 Black Men Named George."

One of the evening's emotional highlights was the induction of filmmaker Spike Lee into the Hall of Fame. After a jubilant standing ovation, Washington and Berry introduced actor Edward Norton, who brought a serious mood to the proceedings, saying of Lee: "There's a lot of suggestions these days that good citizenship and even patriotism is the unequivocal support of leadership and unity, but I don't think so. I think good citizenship is about engagement. Spike inspires me because he is engaged in the times that he is living in, and his films insist that we get engaged, too. And for that, Spike, I thank you."

On a lighter note, former NBA player John Salley joked, "If is wasn't for you (Lee), Michael Jordan would be nothin'."

Before Lee went onstage to accept his award and give special thanks to his parents and his grandmother, he received a razzle-dazzle showstopper-cum-tribute incorporating several musical genres.

Meanwhile, Danny Glover received the chairman's award for his activism, preceded by a poem reading by Bassett and a musical tribute by India.Arie and Ziggy Marley.

Also receiving special honors were tennis superstar sisters Venus and Serena Williams, who accepted the President's Award. "Our goal was to play well, to represent and be colorful," said Venus, laughing and crying at the same time.

In the music categories, LL Cool J grabbed the award for outstanding male artist, India.Arie received outstanding female artist, and Kirk Franklin won outstanding album for his "The Rebirth of Kirk Franklin."

The Image Awards will be broadcast March 13 on Fox.

Zellweger, 'Chicago' Win at SAG Awards

AP Entertainment Writer

LOS ANGELES - The cutthroat musical "Chicago" tap-danced away with a haul of movie honors at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, including best ensemble cast and the lead-actress prize for star Renee Zellweger.

The event Sunday was the last of Hollywood's award ceremonies before the Academy Awards on March 23, where "Chicago" leads nominees with 13 bids, including best picture.

"Chicago" also has won best musical-comedy at the Golden Globe Awards and its filmmaker, movie newcomer Rob Marshall, received the top directing honor last week from the Directors Guild of America.

"From day one, we were a family. We were just a family doing this," said "Chicago" co-star Richard Gere, who lost in the lead-actor class at the guild ceremony but made the acceptance speech on behalf of his castmates. "There was such love in this production."

Daniel Day-Lewis won in the lead movie actor for playing a vicious 19th-century thug in "Gangs of New York," saying all he ever wanted to be was a film performer.

"When I was starting out, we were led to believe quite clearly that our futures — if we were lucky enough to work — were going to be in the theater ... But I had a guilty secret because I had seen a place in the sun," he said, recalling all-night movie-watching sessions that included "On the Waterfront" and "A Streetcar Named Desire."

Catherine Zeta-Jones claimed the supporting movie actress award for playing a jazz-singing murderess whose fame has waned in "Chicago," and Christopher Walken won for playing the father of a con artist in "Catch Me If You Can."

Guild nominations are chosen by 4,200 randomly selected members of the union. The guild's full membership of 98,000 was eligible to vote for final winners.

Over the past eight years, 12 of 16 lead-acting guild recipients went on to win Oscars. Last year, Halle Berry won both honors for "Monster's Ball," while Russell Crowe won the guild award for "A Beautiful Mind" but lost the Oscar to Denzel Washington for "Training Day."

James Gandolfini and Edie Falco won their second guild awards for their starring roles in HBO's gangster drama "The Sopranos," after previously winning dramatic TV performance honors in 2000. However, the show lost the TV dramatic ensemble prize to HBO's "Six Feet Under," about a family-owned funeral home.

The TV comedy ensemble winner was CBS's "Everybody Loves Raymond." For a second consecutive year, TV comedy performer trophies went to co-stars Megan Mullally and Sean Hayes of NBC's "Will & Grace."

Clint Eastwood also was honored with a lifetime achievement award.

Eastwood made his breakthrough on the 1959 TV series "Rawhide" and became a film star playing mysterious gunslingers in Westerns such as "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly," (1966) and the rogue cop in the "Dirty Harry" movies.

Since 1971, he has directed 24 films and starred in most of them, including "Pale Rider," (1985), "The Bridges of Madison County" (1995), and "Unforgiven," (1992), which won Academy Awards for best picture and director.

"I hope this doesn't mean that I'm supposed to collect my pension and head on down the road cause that ain't in the game for me," he said.

Weekend Boxoffice

"House" Parties at Box Office

Forget combat--people want comedy.

The laughs provided by the odd coupling of Oscar nominee Queen Latifah and Oscar host Steve Martin in Bringing Down the House generated a very royal $31.7 million atop the weekend box office.

In contrast, Bruce Willis' infiltration of the African jungle in Tears of the Sun had something to cry about, only bringing in $17.2 million in second place.

House, a PG-13 Buena Vista comedy lampooning racial stereotypes in which a ex-jailee struts her bountiful stuff right into the home of an uptight attorney--with wild and crazy consequences--packed 'em in to 2,801 sites for a $11,317 per-screen average. It was the third best March opener ever and the best ever debut for a Martin movie. All in all, it's good promo stuff for the 75th Academy Awards, to be aired in two weeks time by ABC, the Disney-owned TV network.

The R-rated Sony drama Tears, in which a special-ops agent and his squad penetrate a civil war zone to rescue do-gooders--including Monica Bellucci as a fetching doctor--only did about half as well. At 2,973 sites it averaged $5,785, pulling in only 18 percent of the weekend box office. In comparison, Bringing Down the House pulled in more than 33 percent.

Tom Sherak, a partner in Revolution Studios that produced Tears of the Sun, told Reuters and the Associated Press that his company was pleased with how the movie opened, considering its serious content at this moment in history and its appeal for young males--also the target audience for the rival laffer.

Last week's number one, the hip-hop, kung-fu actioner Cradle 2 the Grave, proved to be already at death's door. Falling a huge 60 percent all the way down to sixth place, the DMX and Jet Li fight flick earned a mere $6.5 million, bringing its two-week haul to just $27 million.

Also barely hanging in was Ben Affleck's comic-book caper Daredevil, which tumbled from third place to seventh, earning only $5.1 million to bring its four-week total to $91.4 million, still a good leap short of the $100 million mark it so desperately covets.

Meanwhile, the Oscar hopeful Chicago, which has garnered acting nominations not just for Latifah but also for John C. Reilly and leading ladies Renée Zellweger and Catherine Zeta-Jones), moved up a notch from fifth to fourth place. Although the Miramax musical dropped 153 sites, losing 12 percent of its previous weekend's audience, it still kicked up $6.9 million and has now earned $114.5 million in 11 weeks of release.

Overall, the combined gross for the top 12 movies was $95.4 million, up more than 10 percent from last weekend and 15 percent from this time last year.

The top 10 estimates stack up like this:

1. Bringing Down the House, $31.7 million
2. Tears of the Sun, $17.2 million
3. Old School, $9.2 million
4. Chicago, $6.9 million
5. How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, $6.7 million
6. Cradle 2 the Grave, $6.5 million
7. Daredevil, $5.1 million
8. Jungle Book 2, $4.2 million
9. Shanghai Knights, $2.7 million
10. The Life of David Gale, $2.1 million

News for 3/4/2003

King & Washington Join Ray Charles Biopic

Regina King and Kerry Washington have joined Crusader Entertainment's biopic Unchain My Heart: The Ray Charles Story, with Jamie Foxx to star as the legendary musician and Mark Rydell directing.

The Hollywood Reporter says production begins at the end of March. A domestic distributor is expected to come aboard the project shortly, with Warner Bros. Pictures emerging as a top contender.

"Charles," written by Jimmy White, follows Charles' rags-to-riches story from his poor beginnings in Albany, Ga., to his rise through the music industry while battling racism, drug use and love problems. Charles, now 72, lost his sight to glaucoma at age 6.

King has been cast as Charles' outrageous mistress Margie Hendrix. She comes to Charles as a singer who joins his band, begins an affair with him, has his baby and later overdoses. Washington will play Charles' wife, Della, a singer who stands by her man and tries to hold their family together despite Charles' womanizing and drug use.

News for 3/3/2003

Weekend Boxoffice

'Cradle 2 the Grave' Tops Box Office

LOS ANGELES - The pairing of a rap star and a martial arts heavyweight pushed "Cradle 2 The Grave" to the top of the box office.

The high-octane action-adventure film featuring rapper DMX as a gang leader and martial arts star Jet Li as a Taiwanese intelligence officer took in $17.1 million in its opening weekend, according to studio estimates Sunday.

"Cradle" follows DMX and Li as they form an unlikely alliance in a film that mixes stolen diamonds, kidnapping and a plot to distribute a deadly new weapon of war.

"That combination of rap and martial arts stars equals big box office pretty consistently," said Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office tracker Exhibitor Relations.

"Old School" aged well in its second weekend, holding onto second place with $13.9 million. The comedy stars "Saturday Night Live" alum Will Ferrell, Vince Vaughn and Luke Wilson as thirtysomething partiers who form a college fraternity.

"Daredevil," Ben Affleck's superhero adventure, dropped to third place with $11 million after two weeks in the No. 1 slot.

The romantic comedy "How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days," with $10.1 million, and the musical "Chicago," with $8.1 million, rounded out the top five.

"Chicago," a front-runner for a best picture Oscar, crossed the $100 million mark over the weekend, making it the highest-grossing musical since "Grease" in 1978. It's now earned $105.2 million in North American theaters.

Serious films continued to struggle against lighter fare.

"People are still enjoying the escapism," Dergarabedian said.

"The Life of David Gale," starring Kevin Spacey as a capital-punishment opponent who lands on death row, earned $4.4 million, finishing in eighth place. The Civil War epic "Gods and Generals" earned $2.8 million to finish ninth.

The weekend's top 12 films grossed an estimated $85.8 million. With just one major studio debut for the weekend, that was a drop of almost 10 percent from last weekend, when four big films opened in the top 10. The weekend box office was up 4.6 percent from the same weekend last year.

1. "Cradle 2 The Grave," $17.1 million.
2. "Old School," $13.9 million.
3. "Daredevil," $11 million.
4. "How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days," $10.1 million.
5. "Chicago," $8.1 million.
6. "The Jungle Book 2," $6.8 million.
7. "Shanghai Knights," $4.8 million.
8. "The Life of David Gale," $4.4 million.
9. "Gods and Generals, $2.8 million.
10. "The Recruit," $2.6 million.

'Ocean's 11' Team Produce Cheadle's Directorial Debut

HOLLYWOOD ( - Steven Soderbergh and George Clooney will be producing Don Cheadle's directorial debut "Tishomingo Blues," through their Section Eight company. Cheadle worked with the duo in the past in "Out of Sight" and "Ocean's Eleven."

Based on Elmore Leonard's best seller of the same name, the story centers on Robert Taylor, a con artist from Detroit who is trying to take over the Dixie mob's Gulf Coast drug business. He finds a way in by aligning himself with a circus high diver who witnessed a murder. The story culminates in the reenactment of a famous Civil War battle.

The project was set up at U.K. independent production company FilmFour in February 2002. But when the company dissolved five months later, the rights reverted back to the author, according The Hollywood Reporter.

Leonard and his manager Michael Siegel are producers on the film.

Casting for the picture is currently under way.

'Barbershop' Helmer to Ride 'Cab'

HOLLYWOOD (Variety) - Tim Story, director of sleeper hit "Barbershop," is being dispatched to helm "Society Cab" -- a drama based on the real-life exploits of the last black-owned, black-run taxi company in Miami-Dade County.

The Universal Pictures ensemble centers on a 50-year-old cab company that Story calls "the only means of safe transportation" in the more dangerous parts of Miami-Dade.

He said the appeal of the script, from "Kingpin" creator David Mills, was its larger-than-life characters who drive the unsafe area, minding residents' children and even policing it themselves, knowing the cops will show up long after they do. One character in the script is based on real-life cabdriver Franklin "Dark N Lovely" Scott, who was shot at nine times on the job in one year alone.

Tom Hanks' Playtone Prods. shingle, the company behind "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," will produce the picture. For now, no discussions have taken place about Hanks taking a role in the picture, which follows a newspaper reporter who becomes a cabbie to write a feature story for the Miami Herald. Still, Story says the door "is being left open for him. We'll write a small part for him, and I'll beg on my hands and knees that he do it," he laughed.

Story, who is developing a sequel to MGM's "Barbershop," is also attached to the DreamWorks comedy "Date School" -- though it's unclear which picture would shoot first. "Society" will soon go out to screenwriters for a polish, which Story will oversee.

News for 2/24/2003

Weekend Boxoffice

"School" Dazed by "Daredevil"

Daredevil was cut in half, but still managed to cling on by the fingertips.

Despite tumbling 53 percent from its marvelous debut, Ben Affleck's outing as the Marvel Comics book hero remained number one at the box-office for a second weekend, earning an estimated $18.9 million. It has now grossed $70.3 million and is aiming to hold on well enough make it past the $100 million mark.

However the fantasy adventure lost out in the screen average race, averaging only $5,448 at 3,474 sites. That was lower than the $6,508 scored by the new comedy Old School, which, debuting at 2,689 theaters, only just failed to tie, inking up $17.5 million in second place.

The R rated Dreamworks boys-will-always-be-boys debauch laugher, starring SNL alumnus Will Ferrell, Vince Vaughan and Luke Wilson as pals who form a fraternity to indulge in the type of wild college capers they missed out on in their youth, was easily the most successful of the clutch of new movies, attracting an audience which, not surprisingly, was about 58 percent male.

The serious death row drama The Life of David Gale, starring Kevin Spacey, Laura Linney and Kate Winslet, opened in sixth place with just $7.1 million. The R rated Universal release averaged $3,580 at 2,002 sites.

The earnest Gods and Generals, a Civil War strategies and battles epic close to four hours in length, managed a $3,115 per screen average at 1,533 sites. So the PG-13 Warners release, starring Jeff Daniels, Stephen Lang and Robert Duvall, with a cameo by producer Ted Turner, who has being energetically banging the promotional drum for the saga, could only land in eighth place with an estimated $4.7 million.

However that was better than yet another gritty tale about a rogue LAPD cop, Dark Blue, starring Kurt Russell as a rule breaking veteran and Scott Speedman as a more idealistic rookie. The R rated United Artists release could only book the ninth spot, earning only $3.7 million, from a $1,723 average at 2,176 sites.

In limited release Till Human Voices Wake Us barely awakened interest. The R rated Paramount Classic release, a mind-trip romance, made in Australia and re-edited for the US market, starring Helena Bonham Carter and Guy Pearce, opened at just five sites where it averaged a mere $1,540 to earn $7,700.

Chicago continued to be the only Best Picture Oscar nominee in the top ten list. The razzle-dazzle musical added 87 screens for a total of 2,355, but dropped 33 percent down to fifth place this week from last weekend's third slot. Earning $8.5 million - from a $3,609 average - the Miramax movie has now grossed $94.3 million in nine weeks of carefully planned release.

Overall the top twelve movies grossed $96.2 million, a drop of 22.2 percent from last week when Daredevil debuted big, but 14 percent up on this time last year.

1. Daredevil, $18.9 million
2. Old School, $17.5 million
3. How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, $11.8 million
4. The Jungle Book 2, $8.6 million
5. Chicago, $8.5 million
6. The Life of David Gale, $7.1 million
7. Shanghai Knights, $6.4 million
8. Gods and Generals, $4.7 million
9. Dark Blue, $3.7 million
10. The Recruit, $3.5 million