News for 1/24/2006

'Anatomy' Creator Goes to Press with ABC

During the 2002-03 season, Shonda Rhimes wrote a pilot script for Touchstone TV about a group of female war correspondents. It was the first script she wrote for television, and it didn't advance too far up development pipeline.

Rhimes' fortunes in the TV business have changed a bit since then -- she's the creator of one of ABC's biggest hits, "Grey's Anatomy." And now that old project is getting new life at Touchstone and ABC.

The network has given a pilot order to the untitled project, which will undergo a few changes from its original incarnation. Instead of war correspondents, the lead characters will work for a news organization in the United States. The show, like "Grey's Anatomy" will delve into their personal as well as their professional lives.

"It's going to be really sexy, and it's going to be fabulous," Rhimes tells The Hollywood Reporter.

Rhimes is likely to take up the project after finishing work on "Grey's" in the spring. The pilot won't film until the summer, meaning it's likely to be a contender for ABC's midseason lineup in 2006-07.

Mark Gordon and Betsy Beers, executive producers of "Grey's Anatomy," will serve in the same capacity on the new show, along with Rhimes and Julie Lynn ("Nine Lives").

UPN, WB Joining Forces for New Network

The WB and UPN will cease to exist as separate networks in the fall, with their parent companies joining forces to create a new broadcast network that will alter the TV landscape.

CBS Corp., which owns UPN, and WB parent Warner Bros. Entertainment made the unexpected and rather stunning announcement Tuesday morning (Jan. 23). The new network will be called The CW and will reach about 95 percent of the country.

"This new network will serve the public with high-quality programming and maintain our ongoing commitment to our diverse audience," CBS President and CEO Les Moonves says in a statement. "It will clearly be greater than the sum of its parts, delivering excellent demographics to advertisers, and building a strong new affiliate body."

Adds Warner Bros. Entertainment Chairman/CEO Barry Meyer: "Every key constituency of the network will now greatly benefit from this combination by being part of a highly rated, competitive, fifth broadcast network that is financially sound."

UPN and The WB have been locked in a battle for young viewers virtually since they came into being in 1995. And while each net has a handful of shows with loyal followings -- "Gilmore Girls" and "Smallville" on The WB, "America's Next Top Model" and "Everybody Hates Chris" on UPN -- neither one has gained a definitive upper hand in recent years. This season, UPN is drawing about 3.4 million viewers per night and The WB 3.3 million.

Dawn Ostroff, currently president of UPN, will become president of entertainment at The CW. The WB's COO, John Maatta, will take the same job at the new network, which will have the same six-night prime-time schedule The WB currently employs.

Way up in the air at this point is just what the new network will air when it comes online next fall. The press release announcing The CW mentions the likes of "Chris," "Gilmore Girls," "Veronica Mars," "Girlfriends," "Top Model" and "Smallville" as possibilities for the network's lineup, along with pro-wrestling franchise "Friday Night Smackdown!," but just where or when they might air is an open question.

Tribune Co., which has been The WB's lead affiliate partner, will partner with the new network in 16 major markets, and CBS-owned UPN affiliates in 12 other cities will also join The CW. (Tribune is also the parent of Those stations will cover close to half of the country, and the remaining affiliates will come from current UPN and WB stations.

Tribune-owned WB affiliates in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Dallas, Washington, Houston, Miami, Denver, St. Louis, Portland, Ore., Indianapolis, San Diego, Hartford, Conn., New Orleans and Albany, N.Y., will become part of The CW.

The CBS-owned UPN stations joining the new network are in Philadelphia, Atlanta, San Francisco, Seattle, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, Calif., Tampa/St. Petersburg, Fla., Oklahoma City, West Palm Beach, Fla., Providence, R.I., and Norfolk, Va.

Foxx Promises an 'Unpredictable' Night

By Daniel Fienberg

When it comes to Jamie Foxx's NBC music special "Unpredictable," the Oscar winner's creative inspiration is perhaps the most unpredictable thing of all.

"Carol Burnett is what I watched when I was coming up," Foxx says of the television variety icon. "It really is like that, only it's wrapped in urban and hip-hop and R&B. Basically, it's a chronological tale of me, as a young kid and it follows me up to this point."

Foxx continues, "We take a page from that, because I don't think you've seen that here for a long time. Television has definitely changed, with reality and everything like that."

As Foxx suggests, "Unpredictable" is more than just the "Jarhead" star standing alone on the stage of Los Angeles' Orpheum Theatre singing tracks off his new album. The guest list is loaded with fellow artists who also appear on his CD, Foxx's first foray into the recording studio since the 1994 joint "Peep This."

"It's beautiful in the sense that you have people that are gonna be legends," enthuses Foxx. "Snoop [Dogg] is going to go down in the world of hip-hop as a legend, probably Game also and Common. Mary J. Blige is already making her mark on music that is absolutely unprecedented. Then you have people like Angie Stone and Stevie Wonder."

Surrounding the performances, though, are the vignettes that make up the tale Foxx refers to. Each song is prefaced by scenes from the actor's life, childhood conversations with influential people and recollections from growing up in Texas.

"It's almost like a hip-hop/R&B play, in a sense," Foxx explains. "It's gonna excite some people and maybe this'll spark a different way we look at television."

Although he moved to A-list acting status in 2004 with his Oscar nominated work in "Collateral" and his endlessly lauded turn in "Ray," Foxx isn't about to turn his back on the medium that made him a household name. He got his start, of course, on the FOX sketch show "In Living Color" and even when his movie career was still dedicated to gems like "Booty Call," he kept a steady gig with his eponymous sitcom on The WB.

"I love television," says Foxx, who also hosted to 2004 CBS special "Genius: A Night for Ray Charles." "When you look back at what television has offered, television offers you chances -- whatever mistakes you made in the show before, you can clean it up. I would never run from the idea of doing television, because to me, it's the funnest ride you can ever have."

Talking to reporters about his NBC special, Foxx makes a somewhat unpredictable choice when asked for his current preference between acting and music.

"Singing, right now, singing would be the thing right now," he says. "It's a brand new frontier right now and it's a place where we've always wanted to go and hadn't had a chance to go. When we get a chance to get on stage and perform, it's a lovely thing and we can create so many feelings."

"Jamie Foxx: Unpredictable" airs on Wednesday (Jan. 25) night at 8 p.m. ET.

Summer Yields 'Windfall' of 'Treasure' for NBC

As the temperatures start rising in June and July, NBC plans to have viewers singing, "Summer days, drifting away, to uh-oh those summer nights."

On Sunday (Jan. 22) morning, the Peacock network set out its plans to fill the summer months with original programming, mixing in both new drama and a variety of alternative offerings.

NBC has saved the midseason drama "Windfall" for a summer slot. The FOX transplant focuses on a group of 20 friends who split a $386 lottery prize and are surprised to discover that instant wealth doesn't necessarily bring instant happiness. Luke Perry ("Beverly Hills, 90210"), Jason Gedrick ("Boomtown"), Lana Parrilla ("Boomtown"), Sarah Wynter ("24"), D.J. Cotrona ("Skin"), Jon Foster ("The Door in the Floor"), Alice Greczyn ("The Dukes of Hazzard") and Jaclyn DeSantis ("Road Trip") star in the series, executive produced Laurie McCarthy ("CSI: Miami").

The possibility of vast wealth also drives the alternative series "Treasure Hunters," which is described as a "fast-paced, adventure-reality series." Teams face intellectual and physical challenges as they travel to historically significant locations on a quest for a mysterious treasure.

In addition, as was previously reported, NBC will resurrect "Last Comic Standing" in the summer months, more than a year after the network nearly killed the reality franchise by fasttracking a third installment in the fall of 2004.

"We want people to know that NBC is not taking the summer off, and in fact, we are offering an engaging new drama in 'Windfall,' a riveting new competition series in 'Treasure Hunters' and the return of the audience favorite 'Last Comic Standing,'" says NBC Entertainment President Kevin Reilly.

In addition to those shows, Reilly said that NBC will be joining the multi-network rush toward English-language telenovelas, working with corporate sibling Univision on a fresh version of "Body of Desire."

Specific premiere dates and time slots are yet to be announced.

Weekend Boxoffice

'Underworld' Conquers Weekend Box Office

Vampires and werewolves trumped Little Red Riding Hood at the box office this weekend, with the blood-drenched sequel "Underworld: Evolution" taking the top spot from the animated tale "Hoodwinked."

The top 20 movies at U.S. and Canadian theaters Friday through Sunday, followed by distribution studio, gross, number of theater locations, average receipts per location, total gross and number of weeks in release, as compiled Monday by Exhibitor Relations Co. Inc. are:

1. "Underworld: Evolution," Sony/Screen Gems, $26,857,181, 3,207 locations, $8,375 average, $26,857,181, one week.

2. "Hoodwinked," Weinstein Co., $10,409,378, 3,002 locations, $3,467 average, $28,635,878, two weeks.

3. "Glory Road," Disney, $8,769,735, 2,396 locations, $3,660 average, $27,709,549, two weeks.

4. "Last Holiday," Paramount, $8,711,606, 2,514 locations, $3,465 average, $25,996,444, two weeks.

5. "Brokeback Mountain," Focus Features, $7,831,767, 1,196 locations, $6,548 average, $42,131,062, seven weeks.

6. "The Chronicles of Narnia: the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," Disney, $6,236,570, 2,757 locations, $2,262 average, $271,852,138, seven weeks.

7. "Fun With Dick and Jane," Sony, $5,751,700, 2,826 locations, $2,035 average, $101,368,957, five weeks.

8. "End of the Spear," Rocky Mountain Pictures, $4,281,388, 1,162 locations, $3,684 average, $4,281,388, one week.

9. "Hostel," Lionsgate, $4,246,471, 2,258 locations, $1,881 average, $42,674,185, three weeks.

10. "King Kong," Universal, $4,222,560, 2,205 locations, $1,915 average, $209,875,885, six weeks.

11. "The New World," New Line, $4,029,715, 811 locations, $4,969 average, $4,219,579, five weeks.

12. "Tristan & Isolde," 20th Century Fox, $3,165,026, 1,845 locations, $1,715 average, $11,801,377, two weeks.

13. "Walk the Line," 20th Century Fox, $3,065,796, 1,125 locations, $2,725 average, $102,076,758, 10 weeks.

14. "Munich," Universal, $3,032,070, 1,437 locations, $2,110 average, $37,985,445, five weeks.

15. "Match Point," DreamWorks, $2,935,733, 441 locations, $6,657 average, $10,167,645, four weeks.

16. "Cheaper By the Dozen 2," 20th Century Fox, $2,791,413, 2,067 locations, $1,350 average, $78,070,178, five weeks.

17. "Memoirs of a Geisha," Sony, $2,684,497, 1,404 locations, $1,912 average, $51,191,654, seven weeks.

18. "The Ringer," Fox Searchlight, $1,384,752, 998 locations, $1,388 average, $33,700,040, five weeks.

19. "Rumor Has It ...," Warner Bros., $1,047,358, 1,055 locations, $993 average, $41,685,614, five weeks.

20. "Casanova," Disney, $922,217, 770 locations, $1,198 average, $10,457,989, five weeks.

News for 1/18/2006

'Glory Road' scores narrow box office victory

By Brian Fuson
The Hollywood Reporter

"Glory Road" narrowly took the No. 1 spot at the holiday box office from preliminary leader "Hoodwinked" when final data were issued Tuesday.

A mere $48,187 separated the two films: Disney's college hoops saga tallied $16.93 million during the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend, while the Weinstein Co.'s Little Red Riding Hood cartoon ended up with $16.88 million.

Both films did much better than originally estimated because business on Monday turned out to be stronger than anticipated. When the studios issued projections Monday morning, "Glory Road" came in with $16.5 million, compared with $16.6 million for "Hoodwinked."

Projections are not an exact science, and often the final gross is adjusted down or up slightly when the actual grosses are reported -- usually down. The projections used by both distributors in this case were based on what like films did during previous King four-day holiday weekends.

Meanwhile, Paramount's comedy adventure "Last Holiday" slipped $200,000 from early estimates, taking the No. 3 spot with a debut of $15.5 million. The only other wide release was 20th Century Fox's "Tristan & Isolde," which arrived at No. 8 with $7.6 million, down $300,000 from early estimates.

After the box office shuffling was done, it was the third-highest-grossing King weekend on record. The four-day gross for the 93 films tracked by The Hollywood Reporter was $154.3 million, down 8% from last year's $168.5 million.

The outlook for "Glory Road" looks bright as the James Gartner-helmed sports drama scored a dazzling 99% favorable grade from moviegoers, according to CinemaScore -- a rating that all but guarantees positive word-of-mouth.

The PG-rated "Glory" skewed male slightly with 57% checking off that column in exits, and a bit older, with 68% in the 25-and-up category.

The computer-animated "Hoodwinked" was given a positive grade by a moderate 83% of those polled, according to CinemaScore. The family comedy was fairly even in the gender demographic, leaning slightly female, and played younger, with 58% in the under 25 group. As expected, a sizable 49% were younger than 18.

The Wayne Wang-helmed "Holiday" could hold up in the weeks to come, as the Queen Latifah vehicle scored a respectable 93% positive grade. The PG-13 film appealed largely to females, with 69% comprising that gender, and slightly older, with 60% in the 25-and-older grouping.

"Tristan" attracted a larger female audience than "Holiday," with 74% comprising that gender. The romantic drama, directed by Kevin Reynolds and starring James Franco and Sophia Myles, found a younger audience this weekend, with 65% in the under-25 demo.

Golden Globe winners 20th Century Fox's "Walk the Line" and Focus Features' "Brokeback Mountain" couldn't take advantage of those kudos this weekend, but look for those awards in advertisements next weekend. "Brokeback" placed ninth with $7 million from 683 houses, moving the total to $32.1 million, and "Walk the Line" has grossed $98.3 million to date.

Singleton Tackles Clancy's 'Remorse'

LOS ANGELES ( "Four Brothers" helmer John Singleton is expected to transition into adapting and directing the Tom Clancy tome "Without Remorse," a thriller set up at Paramount.

That's already pretty darned exciting, but what really sets a fire to Hollywood Reporter britches is the news that Michael Ovitz will make a triumphant return, producing the potential franchise pic.

"Without Remorse" focuses on Clancy's popular CIA operative John Kelly. The Kelly character, whose code name is John Clark, was played by Willem Dafoe in Phillip Noyce's adaptation of "Clear and Present Danger." Liev Schreiber took over the character for Phil Alden Robinson's "The Sum of All Fears."

The film will reunite Singleton with Ovitz, the former agent who repped Singleton coming out of college. Ovitz, who also used to represent Clancy, owned the rights to the "Without Remorse" properly.

Premiering in a late summer slot, "Four Brothers" was a sleeper hit for Paramount, taking in nearly $75 million. Singleton has also had directing hits with "2 Fast 2 Furious" and "Boyz n the Hood."

Tate Is 'Just a Guy' on 'Love Monkey'

By Rick Porter

When "Love Monkey" premieres on CBS Tuesday night, you won't see a ton of co-star Larenz Tate. And he's okay with that.

The first episode of the CBS dramedy is dominated by Tom Cavanagh ("Ed"), who stars as New York record-company executive Tom Farrell and narrates the show. Tate, Jason Priestley and Chris Wiehl play his best friends.

That's not to say, though, that Tate's character, Shooter, comes in as a blank slate. In fact, as the actor describes the character, it's clear that series creator Michael Rauch and the show's writers have taken time to give the guy a fairly sizable life.

"I run a real-estate company with my father, and it's a multimillion-dollar company. We're trying to overtake Donald Trump," says the 30-year-old Tate, who's probably best known for roles in "Menace II Society" and, more recently, "Ray" and "Crash." "And who I am among the guys is the fellow who has all the answers when it comes to relationships. He has all these philosophies about what women want, what they don't want, what men should and shouldn't do."

"Love Monkey," based on a novel by Kyle Smith, follows the romantic lives of Cavanagh's character, Tom Farrell, and his buddies, who also include a close female friend played by Judy Greer. As such, the show has drawn comparisons to "Sex and the City," but Tate doesn't quite see it that way.

"To me it really stands on its own merit," he says. "When people see the show, they'll get a chance to see it has its own voice. And although it's from a male perspective, I don't believe you lose the female point of view. You see it through Tom's eyes, but you see it all, because we're all dealing with relationships."

For Tate, that includes parental relationships as well. Future episodes will find him butting heads with his powerful dad (played by "NYPD Blue" alumnus James McDaniel) over whether he'll take over the family business.

"Shooter doesn't really want to do what he's doing," Tate says. "He was raised, bred to be that guy, but he wants to find his own identity, separate from his father, who has a very heavy influence on what he should and shouldn't be doing. So he really doesn't take the real estate thing as seriously as his father. And with these guys, he can just be himself."

That last thing, in fact, was a big part of what made Tate want to be part of "Love Monkey." As he puts it, Shooter is "just a guy."

"He wasn't a black guy, wasn't a white guy. He was just a guy," Tate says. "Sometimes when I read scripts that people want me to do, [the character] is very specific -- boom boom, cut and dried. It wasn't cut and dried with this. ...

"He's a smart guy, but he also has these flaws that have nothing to do with any negativity, other than the fact that he likes women, and women like him. That to me was really interesting. I liked the idea that this is just being a guy and allowing him to be among others and really have his own voice and his own ideas, and actually fit in."

"Love Monkey" premieres at 10 p.m. ET Tuesday, Jan. 17 on CBS.

Alicia Keys bringing childhood story to UPN

By Nellie Andreeva

UPN, riding high with its new Chris Rock sitcom "Everybody Hates Chris," has joined forces with Grammy-winning R&B singer Alicia Keys to develop a drama loosely based on her childhood.

The coming-of-age story will follow a girl from a biracial family. Keys, 24, was born to a white mother and a black father, who split up when she was two. She was raised in the gritty Hell's Kitchen area of New York by her mother, started learning classical piano at six, and frequently ventured up to Harlem to absorb the lifestyle.

Keys will serve as an executive producer of the project, which has received a script commitment from the network. The script will be written by Felicia Henderson, whose series credits include Showtime's "Soul Food," UPN's "Moesha" and NBC's "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air."

News for 1/17/2006

Starbucks to promote Lionsgate movie

By Gina Keating

Starbucks Corp. said on Thursday it will promote Lionsgate's low-budget film "Akeelah and the Bee" in its stores, a deal that is likely to be a marketing boon for the small studio and takes the coffee shop chain further into the entertainment arena.

Starbucks said it would promote the Lionsgate film about an inner city girl who strives to win a national spelling bee in exchange for an undisclosed share of all revenue from the film. "Akeelah" is set for release on April 28.

A Starbucks executive also said the company plans to add DVDs and books to the music CDs already sold at its coffee shops but will limit the number of music and movie titles to 20 at a time to avoid cluttering its stores.

The international coffee chain has parlayed successful sales of music compilation CDs into deals for exclusive content with major artists like Bob Dylan and Alanis Morissette.

It began shopping for a film to promote about a year ago, and plucked "Akeelah" out of a group of 12 finalists, Starbucks Entertainment President Ken Lombard said on Thursday.

"Not only was ('Akeelah') compelling and inspirational, it was very fitting with Starbucks from a brand perspective," Lombard said. "Lionsgate was the right partner. They are very innovative. We were very impressed with the quality of films they select."

Lionsgate, which spends $15 million to $20 million to market its films and even less to produce or acquire them, had recent box office hits with "Crash," the "Saw" horror films and the just-released "Hostel." "Akeelah" cost less than $10 million to make, a Lionsgate spokesman said.

"Crash" went on to earn $80 million in worldwide box office, and the two "Saw" films more than $220 million.

Lionsgate Vice Chairman Michael Burns said the company expects the Starbucks promotion to extend the reach of the marketing campaign for "Akeelah" -- and hopefully its box office take.

"We would sure hope that it was giving us some sort of multiple of our expected current (print and advertising) spend," Burns said.

The "Akeelah" promotion is set to appear in 5,500 U.S. and Canada Starbucks stores starting immediately. Customers will receive flash card-themed cup sleeves and will be offered an "Akeelah" trailer on the chain's in-store Wi-Fi network.

Starbucks employees will be able to screen the movie before its release, and customers can get sneak previews.

Oppenheimer analyst Thomas Eagan said the promotion held much upside for Lionsgate -- limiting the studio's expenses and risk on the film and "heightening the probability" that it will surpass $100 million in free cash flow for the fiscal year.

Sanders Morris Harris analyst David Miller said the film "has to work on its own whether or not Starbucks promotes it. If the word-of-mouth is positive it will work no matter what Starbucks does."

Ribisi, Dourdan are perfect for 'Stranger'

By Tatiana Siegel

Giovanni Ribisi and "CSI" star Gary Dourdan are joining the cast of the psychological thriller "Perfect Stranger." Halle Berry and Bruce Willis already have signed on to star.

The film is set in the world of Internet intrigue, where Berry plays a woman who goes undercover both online and off to investigate a friend's murder.

Ribisi will play Miles Haley, an IT wiz and hacker who helps Berry's character track the killer online. Dourdan portrays Cameron, Berry's on-again, off-again boyfriend.

Production on the Revolution Studios project is expected to begin in the first quarter. James Foley ("Confidence") is directing. Ribisi's recent credits include "Flight of the Phoenix" and "Cold Mountain."

'Hustle' Star Heads Sundance Awards Jury

LOS ANGELES ( Terrence Howard, whose breakout career year was sparked by last January's Sundance premiere of "Hustle & Flow," will sit on the dramatic competition jury for this winter's Festival.

Joining the "Crash" and "Four Brothers" co-star on the Sundance dramatic journey are filmmakers Miguel Arteta ("The Good Girl"), Alan Rudolph ("Choose Me"), Audrey Wells ("Under the Tuscan Sun") and cinematographer Nancy Schreiber ("November").

An interesting assortment of filmmakers will lead the documentary competition jury. Leading the pack is Oscar winner Alexander Payne ("Sideways"), who will be working Zana Briski ("Born Into Brothels"), Andrew Jarecki ("Capturing the Friedmans"), Heather Rae ("Trudell") and editor Joe Bini ("Grizzly Man").

According to media reports, the world cinema dramatic competition jury will feature "Celebration" helmer Thomas Vinterberg, Lu Chuan and Irene Bignardi. Kate Amend, Jean-Xavier de Lestrade and Rachel Perkins will be on the world cinema documentary jury.

All Sundance winners will be announced as the Festival closes on Jan. 28.

Weekend Boxoffice

'Hoodwinked,' 'Glory Road' Top Box Office

Associated Press Writer

The animated fairy tale "Hoodwinked" and the inspirational sports flick "Glory Road" topped a family oriented box office for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend, according to estimates released Monday.

"Hoodwinked," an animated update of the Little Red Riding Hood story, debuted with $16.6 million in ticket sales over the four-day weekend while "Glory Road" was a breath behind with $16.5 million.

A new Queen Latifah movie, "Last Holiday," opened in third place with $15.7 million.

The only other new movie to make the top 10 list was the romance "Tristan & Isolde," which opened in eighth place with a gross of $7.9 million.

The Golden Globe-winning "Brokeback Mountain," director Ang Lee's story of two rugged Western family men concealing their homosexual affair, had the highest per-location average of any movie in the top 10, at $10,330 per location. It was ranked No. 9 in ticket sales over the long weekend.

In spite of or perhaps because of the controversy over its gay theme, "Brokeback Mountain" has done well in every market where it has played.

It was nominated for seven Golden Globes and won a leading four at Monday night's ceremony in Beverly Hills. It captured the best motion picture drama award and the Golden Globe for best original song for "A Love That Will Never Grow Old" and Lee was honored as best director. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association also honored Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana with the Golden Globe for best original screenplay.

"This film has everything going for it: the critical acclaim, the word of mouth and, of course, the seven Golden Globe nominations never hurt," Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office tracker Exhibitor Relations, said before Monday's awards.

"Hoodwinked" received mixed critical reviews but its opening day was a financial triumph for a movie that was made for a relatively paltry $15 to $20 million. Weinstein Co. hoped to expand its showings this week to as many as 3,000 screens.

The movie was held back to January so it would not have to face the big Christmas-season releases such as "King Kong" or "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," which was fourth for the weekend and has now grossed more than $260 million.

"We're getting mainly families with young children," said Weinstein's Mike Rudnitsky, senior executive vice president for domestic distribution. "We know our target audience. We picked a holiday weekend because people are always looking to take their family out and looking for a family film."

It was the second independently produced movie to make No. 1 in two weeks, after the horror film "Hostel," from Lions Gate.

Another PG-rated film, "Glory Road," was in second place and made some $3 million dollars more in its opening than expected. The movie tells the story of how underdog Texas Western, fronted by an all-black starting lineup, beat the all-white powerhouse University of Kentucky to win the NCAA title in 1966.

Critics praised its inspirational qualities but panned its cliches.

Overall, the top 12 films grossed an estimated $125.4 million, down about 12 percent from last year's $142.7 million.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Monday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Exhibitor Relations Co. Final figures will be released Tuesday.

1. "Hoodwinked," Weinstein Co., $16.6 million.
2. "Glory Road," Disney, $16.5 million.
3. "Last Holiday," Paramount, $15.7 million.
4. "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," Disney, $12.2 million.
5. "Hostel," Lions Gate, $11.7 million.
6. "Fun With Dick and Jane," Sony, $10.3 million.
7. "King Kong," Universal, $9.2 million.
8. "Tristan & Isolde," 20th Century Fox, $7.9 million.
9. "Brokeback Mountain," Focus, $7.1 million.
10. "Cheaper by the Dozen 2," 20th Century Fox, $6.8 million.

News for 1/10/2006

NAACP Image Awards Announces Nominations

The Associated Press

LOS ANGELES -- Kanye West, Alicia Keys and Mariah Carey earned four nominations each for the NAACP Image Awards, including best song and album, while Terrence Howard had two acting nominations for the films "Hustle & Flow" and "Crash."

"Crash," an ensemble drama weaving multiple story lines over a tumultuous 36-hour stretch in Los Angeles, led movie contenders with six nominations, including best picture and four of the five supporting-actor slots, for Howard, Chris "Ludacris" Bridges, Don Cheadle and Larenz Tate.

Thandie Newton earned a supporting-actress nomination for "Crash."

Howard had a lead-actor nomination for "Hustle & Flow," in which he plays a pimp and drug peddler trying to start a rap-music career. The film also was nominated for best film.

Other best-picture nominees were "Coach Carter," "Diary of a Mad Black Woman" and "Hitch."

Best-album nominees included Keys ("Alicia Keys Unplugged"), Carey ("The Emancipation of Mimi") and West ("Late Registration"). All three had best-song nominations, Keys for "Unbreakable," Carey for "We Belong Together" and West for "Diamonds From Sierra Leone."

Kimberly Elise had two nominations, for best movie actress ("Diary of a Mad Black Woman") and actress in a TV drama ("Close to Home").

Other television nominees included Halle Berry for best actress in a movie, miniseries or dramatic special ("Their Eyes Were Watching God"), Dennis Haysbert for best actor in a drama series ("24"), and "The Bernie Mac Show" and "Everybody Hates Chris" for best comedy series.

The 37th annual Image Awards, for achievement by blacks in movies, television, music and literature, will be presented Feb. 25 in Los Angeles, with the ceremony airing on Fox on March 3.

Click here to see the list of nominees.(Adobe Reader is required)

Weekend Boxoffice

'Hostel' Gets $19.6 Million Debut

"Hostel," the bloody tale about buddies trapped in a den of torture, checked in at the top of the box office with $19.6 million.

The top 20 movies at U.S. and Canadian theaters Friday through Sunday, followed by distribution studio, gross, number of theater locations, average receipts per location, total gross and number of weeks in release, as compiled Monday by Exhibitor Relations Co. Inc. are:

1. "Hostel," Lionsgate, $19,556,099, 2,195 locations, $8,909 average, $19,556,099, one week.

2. "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," Disney, $15,643,135, 3,514 locations, $4,452 average, $247,777,824, five weeks.

3. "King Kong," Universal, $12,622,285, 3,482 locations, $3,625 average, $192,678,805, four weeks.

4. "Fun With Dick and Jane," Sony, $11,918,995, 3,182 locations, $3,746 average, $81,077,547, three weeks.

5. "Cheaper By the Dozen 2," 20th Century Fox, $8,432,616, 3,109 locations, $2,712 average, $66,553,553, three weeks.

6. "Munich," Universal, $7,566,075, 1,485 locations, $5,095 average, $25,350,740, three weeks.

7. "Memoirs of a Geisha," Sony, $6,111,193, 1,589 locations, $3,846 average, $39,861,859, five weeks.

8. "Brokeback Mountain," Focus, $5,726,662, 483 locations, $11,856 average, $22,436,190, five weeks.

9. "Rumor Has It," Warner Bros., $5,702,435, 2,766 locations, $2,062 average, $35,202,061, three weeks.

10. "The Family Stone," 20th Century Fox, $4,607,787, 2,085 locations, $2,210 average, $53,175,323, four weeks.

11. "The Ringer," Fox Searchlight, $4,249,864, 1,688 locations, $2,518 average, $27,761,220, three weeks.

12. "Casanova," Disney, $3,778,824, 1,004 locations, $3,764 average, $4,977,280, three weeks.

13. "Grandma's Boy," 20th Century Fox, $3,009,341, 2,016 locations, $1,493 average, $3,009,341, one week.

14. "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," Warner Bros., $2,858,384, 1,555 locations, $1,838 average, $281,516,498, eight weeks.

15. "Match Point," DreamWorks, $2,709,289, 304 locations, $8,912 average, $3,618,079, two weeks.

16. "The Producers," Universal, $2,244,115, 937 locations, $2,395 average, $15,116,722, four weeks.

17. "Walk the Line," 20th Century Fox, $2,111,049, 1,027 locations, $2,056 average, $95,367,226, eight weeks.

18. "Syriana," Warner Bros., $2,065,292, 1,202 locations, $1,718 average, $42,079,173, seven weeks.

19. "Bloodrayne," Romar Entertainment, $1,550,000, 985 locations, $1,574 average, $1,550,000, one week.

20. "Wolf Creek," Weinstein Co., $1,100,176, 1,479 locations, $744 average, $15,336,285, three weeks.

'Brokeback' leads SAG Award nominations

Directors Guild also names picks

(CNN) -- "Brokeback Mountain" continues rustling up honors, picking up nominations Thursday for best ensemble, best actor, best supporting actor and best supporting actress for the 12th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards.

Heath Ledger was tapped by his peers for a best actor nomination, while his co-star in the story of two cowboys who fall in love, Jake Gyllenhaal, was nominated for best supporting actor.

Michelle Williams, who plays Ledger's wife in the movie, was nominated for best supporting actress.

The film also picked up a nomination for director Ang Lee from the Directors Guild of America, which announced its nominations a few hours after SAG.

Other SAG best film ensemble nominations -- an honor similar to the Academy Awards' best picture designation -- are "Capote," "Crash," "Good Night, and Good Luck" and "Hustle & Flow." (Watch who topped the nominations -- 8:30)

In the best film actor category, Ledger was nominated along with Russell Crowe ("Cinderella Man"), Philip Seymour Hoffman ("Capote"), Joaquin Phoenix ("Walk the Line") and David Strathairn ("Good Night, and Good Luck").

The nominees for best actress in a film are Judi Dench ("Mrs. Henderson Presents"), Felicity Huffman ("Transamerica"), Charlize Theron ("North Country"), Reese Witherspoon ("Walk the Line") and Ziyi Zhang ("Memoirs of a Geisha").

Huffman nabbed two nominations Thursday morning: she's also up for best actress in a television comedy for "Desperate Housewives."

The nominees for best supporting actor in a film are Don Cheadle ("Crash"), George Clooney ("Syriana"), Matt Dillon ("Crash"), Paul Giamatti ("Cinderella Man") and Gyllenhaal.

The nominees for best supporting actress in a film are Amy Adams ("Junebug"), Catherine Keener ("Capote"), Frances McDormand ("North Country"), Rachel Weisz ("The Constant Gardener") and Williams.

The SAG Awards, voted on by members of the Screen Actors Guild -- who form the largest contingent of Academy Award voters -- are considered one of several harbingers of the Oscars. Given the nominations, "Brokeback," "Capote," "Crash" and "Good Night, and Good Luck" are considered likely Oscar front-runners. All four films were also nominated by the Producers Guild of America for its top honor.

Somewhat surprisingly, though Terrence Howard's performance in "Hustle & Flow" earned the lion's share of the film's raves, he wasn't nominated for best actor -- though the film ensemble earned a SAG nod, beating out such films as "Walk the Line," "Syriana" and "Munich."

"Munich's" Steven Spielberg did get a nomination from the Directors Guild. Other DGA nominations went to Paul Haggis ("Crash"), George Clooney ("Good Night, and Good Luck") and Bennett Miller ("Capote").

Since the DGA Award's inception, 51 of 57 winners have gone on to win the Oscar, though two in the last six years -- Ang Lee in 2000, nominated for "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon"; and Rob Marshall in 2003 ("Chicago") -- did not.

Television nominations

SAG also gives awards for television acting. Among the leading nominees for the small screen were "Boston Legal," which earned picks for best comedy ensemble and three of its actors, and "Grey's Anatomy," nominated for best drama, best actor and best actress.

The nominees for best comedy ensemble are "Arrested Development," "Boston Legal," "Curb Your Enthusiasm," "Desperate Housewives," "Everybody Loves Raymond" and "My Name Is Earl."

The nominees for best drama ensemble are "The Closer," "Grey's Anatomy," "Lost," "Six Feet Under" and "The West Wing."

Best actor in a TV drama nominees are Alan Alda ("The West Wing"), Patrick Dempsey ("Grey's Anatomy"), Hugh Laurie ("House"), Ian McShane ("Deadwood") and Kiefer Sutherland ("24").

Best actress in a TV drama nominees are Patricia Arquette ("Medium"), Geena Davis ("Commander in Chief"), Mariska Hargitay ("Law & Order: Special Victims Unit"), Sandra Oh ("Grey's Anatomy") and Kyra Sedgwick ("The Closer").

Best actor in a TV comedy nominees are Larry David ("Curb Your Enthusiasm"), Sean Hayes ("Will & Grace"), Jason Lee ("My Name Is Earl"), William Shatner ("Boston Legal") and James Spader ("Boston Legal").

Best actress in a TV comedy nominees are Candice Bergen ("Boston Legal"), Patricia Heaton ("Everybody Loves Raymond"), Felicity Huffman ("Desperate Housewives"), Megan Mullally ("Will & Grace") and Mary-Louise Parker ("Weeds").

The HBO movie "Empire Falls" earned four acting nominations, including nods for husband and wife Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward.

The Screen Actors Guild Awards will air at 8 p.m. ET January 29 on TNT and TBS. Both networks are units of Time Warner, as is CNN.

News for 1/4/2006

'Crash,' Singleton win critics awards

By Rene Lynch
Times Staff Writer

The African American Film Critics Assn. has named "Crash" a gritty drama about race relations in Los Angeles its top film pick of the year.

Terrence Howard was selected as best actor for his performance in "Hustle & Flow." In what was termed a "surprise move," Felicity Huffman earned recognition as best actress for her gender-bending performance in "TransAmerica": "Although our organization pays special attention to work by artists of African descent," said AAFCA President Gil Robertson IV, "in the end, merit carries the day and Ms. Huffman is undeniably amazing in this role."

The group bestowed top honors on filmmaker John Singleton for a "banner year" in which he produced "Hustle & Flow" and directed "Four Brothers." In addition to "Crash" and "Hustle & Flow," the organization's top 10 list included "The Constant Gardener," "Good Night, and Good Luck" "Brokeback Mountain," "Syriana," "Walk the Line," "Capote," "Batman Begins" and "North Country."

"The films selected for 2005 boldly reflect a bridge toward tolerance," Robertson said. "The film industry made great strides this year to explore the more subtle shades of humanity. What 'Crash,' 'Brokeback Mountain' and 'North Country' all share is the expression of the universal similarities we all have. We hope that next year these expressions will feature more performers of color, particularly African Americans."

Terrence Howard Gets Three Black Reel Nods

NEW YORK (AP) - Terrence Howard has received three nominations for the 7th annual Black Reel Awards, hosted by the Foundation for the Advancement of African-Americans in Film.

Howard was nominated for best actor for his role in "Hustle & Flow," best supporting actor for "Crash" and best supporting actor in a TV film for "Lackawanna Blues," it was announced Tuesday.

Leading in the theatrical category with six nominations each are "Crash" and "Hustle & Flow." "Roll Bounce" follows with five nominations.

In the television category, HBO's "Lackawanna Blues" leads with nine nominations, followed by ABC's "Their Eyes Were Watching God" with seven nominations.

Winners will be announced Feb. 18 at the Black Reel Awards gala in Washington.

Nominees were selected by a panel of national television, radio, print and Web site film critics. The same panel of film critics, along with past Black Reel Awards nominees, will select the winners.

Weekend Boxoffice

'Narnia' Topples 'King Kong' at Box Office

AP Movie Writer

LOS ANGELES (AP) - A strong New Year's weekend led by "The Chronicles of Narnia" and "King Kong" still left Hollywood with the holiday blues over a weak year in which movie attendance fell to its lowest in eight years.

"The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" finished at No. 1 over the long Friday-to-Monday weekend with $33.7 million, edging "King Kong," which came in second with $31.8 million.

The overall box office rose, with the top-12 movies grossing $131.4 million from Friday to Sunday, up 6 percent from New Year's weekend a year earlier.

Yet a slump that lasted most of 2005 put Hollywood in the hole, with domestic revenues finishing at $8.945 billion, down 5.2 percent from 2004's and the first time since 2001 that total grosses dipped below $9 billion.

Factoring in higher ticket prices, the picture was bleaker, with attendance off 7.1 percent compared to 2004's. Movie theaters sold 1.41 billion tickets in 2005, the least since 1997, when attendance totaled 1.39 billion.

Many studio executives say 2005's downturn largely resulted from a relatively weak crop of movies that failed to excite fans. Studios hope to see revenues rebound in 2006, particularly this summer, whose big movies include "Mission: Impossible 3," "Superman Returns," "The Da Vinci Code," "X-Men 3," "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" and the animated tales "Cars" and "Over the Hedge."

While 2005 may have been an off year for movie quality, competition from other entertainment _ including video games and home-theater systems _ likely took a toll on the industry.

"The younger male audience, if you ask 10 of them if they'd rather go to the movies or play a video game, a lot of them are going to say they'd rather play a video game," said Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office tracker Exhibitor Relations. "Hollywood cannot release mediocre movies and expect people to line up in record numbers when consumers have so many options for their entertainment."

The top 20 movies at U.S. and Canadian theaters Friday through Monday, followed by distribution studio, gross, number of theater locations, average receipts per location, total gross and number of weeks in release, as compiled Tuesday by Exhibitor Relations Co. Inc. are:

1. "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," Disney, $33,712,024, 3,853 locations, $8,750 average, $225,703,346, four weeks.

2. "King Kong," Universal, $31,826,925, 3,627 locations, $8,775 average, $175,559,825, three weeks.

3. "Fun With Dick and Jane," Sony, $21,025,463, 3,056 locations, $6,880 average, $64,607,789, two weeks.

4. "Cheaper By the Dozen 2," Fox, $18,857,703, 3,211 locations, $5,873 average, $54,684,215, two weeks.

5. "Rumor Has It," Warner Bros., $11,790,273, 2,815 locations, $4,188 average, $26,865,647, two weeks.

6. "The Family Stone," Fox, $10,297,267, 2,464 locations, $4,179 average, $46,334,354, three weeks.

7. "Memoirs of a Geisha," Sony, $10,215,915, 1,547 locations, $6,604 average, $30,633,403, four weeks.

8. "The Ringer," Fox Searchlight, $8,050,428, 1,853 locations, $4,345 average, $21,652,504, two weeks.

9. "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," Warner Bros., $7,635,442, 2,316 locations, $3,297 average, $277,083,157, seven weeks.

10. "Munich," Universal, $6,436,850, 532 locations, $12,099 average, $15,949,005, two weeks.

11. "Syriana," Warner Bros., $5,275,483, 1,725 locations, $3,058 average, $38,913,027, six weeks.

12. "The Producers," Universal, $5,110,290, 978 locations, $5,225 average, $11,723,457, three weeks.

13. "Brokeback Mountain," Focus, $4,847,443, 269 locations, $18,020 average, $15,102,697, four weeks.

14. "Wolf Creek," Weinstein Co., $4,756,767, 1,761 locations, $2,701 average, $13,159,405, two weeks.

15. "Walk the Line," Fox, $3,356,236, 1,160 locations, $2,893 average, $92,436,258, seven weeks.

16. "Yours, Mine & Ours," Paramount, $1,609,765, 1,174 locations, $1,371 average, $51,173,331, six weeks.

17. "Pride & Prejudice," Focus, $1,366,606, 407 locations, $3,358 average, $34,118,092, eight weeks.

18. "Chicken Little," Disney, $1,119,459, 803 locations, $1,394 average, $132,265,084, nine weeks.

19. "The Polar Express," Warner Bros., $948,727, 66 locations, $14,375 average, $172,796,043, six weeks of IMAX re-release.

20. "Casanova," Disney, $551,673, 37 locations, $14,910 average, $1,037,872, two weeks.

News for 12/21/2005

Adrian Lester Joins Spider-Man 3

Source: Venom07

UK's What's on TV magazine reports that Hustle and The Day After Tomorrow star Adrian Lester will join Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst in Spider-Man 3.

"I'll be going straight from promoting 'Hustle' to filming 'Spider-Man 3'," he said. "I haven't even had a script yet. All I know is that I'm playing a research scientist who tries to cure the baddie of whatever badness he's got. I don't even know who the new baddie is!"

Might his character try to cure Sandman, played by Thomas Haden Church? Or perhaps a second villain that hasn't been revealed yet? We'll have to wait and see when the third installment hits theaters on May 4, 2007.

Wayans' Little Man Starts Filming

Source: Revolution Studios

Production is underway in Vancouver, B.C. on Revolution Studios' Little Man, a comedy directed by Keenen Ivory Wayans and starring Marlon Wayans, Shawn Wayans, Kerry Washington (Fantastic Four, Mr. and Mrs. Smith) and Tracy Morgan (Saturday Night Live), it was announced today by Revolution Studios. The film will be released by Columbia Pictures over the Memorial Day weekend on May 26, 2006.

The original screenplay was written by Keenen Ivory Wayans, Shawn Wayans and Marlon Wayans, who are also producing the film for Revolution Studios, along with Rick Alvarez (White Chicks, Scary Movie 2) and Lee R. Mayes (White Chicks, 2 Fast 2 Furious, Scary Movie, Scary Movie 2).

In the hilarious comedy Little Man, Shawn Wayans plays a man so anxious to become a father that he mistakes a short-statured, baby-faced thief on the run, played by Marlon Wayans, for an abandoned toddler. He and his wife, played by Kerry Washington, take the "baby" into their home and care for him. The "baby's" partner-in-crime in a jewelry store heist, played by Tracy Morgan, tries to break him out and recover a stolen diamond.

Fishburne Helming The Alchemist

Source: Production Weekly

Laurence Fishburne will adapt, direct and star in an adaptation of Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist, reports Production Weekly.

Fishburne will play the part of Santiago, well-educated and who had intended to be a priest. A desire for travel, however, prompted him to become a shepherd instead. He's contented, but then he dreams twice about hidden treasure, an a seer tells him to follow the dream's instructions: got to Egypt's pyramids, where he fill find a treasure. Santiago makes it to the pyramids and there learns where his fortune is actually to be found.

The film will shoot in Dubai, amongst other locations including Jordan, next year.

Weekend Boxoffice

'Kong' Opens Shy of Blockbuster Standards

AP Movie Writer

LOS ANGELES (AP) - "King Kong" was not the 900-pound box-office gorilla Hollywood expected during its opening weekend, debuting with a merely respectable $50.1 million and leaving the studio pinning its hopes on the film's possible long-term staying power.

In its first five days since premiering Wednesday, Peter Jackson's remake of the great-ape adventure took in $66.2 million. Some box-office analysts had predicted "King Kong" would gross at least $60 million during its opening weekend and as much as $100 million in its first five days.

But distributor Universal compares "King Kong" to the first of Jackson's "The Lord of the Rings" films, "The Fellowship of the Ring," with the three-hour lengths of both films limiting the number of screenings theaters can squeeze in each day.

"The Fellowship of the Ring" took in $47.2 million its first weekend and $75.1 million in its first five days. But then came a steady climb to blockbuster status, with a $315 million take domestically.

"King Kong" also lacked the pent-up demand of the fan base that waited decades for J.R.R. Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings" to hit the big screen.

With schools letting out, "King Kong" could hold strongly through the holidays, buoyed by critical acclaim and audience word of mouth. Crowds for the film surged Saturday compared to Friday, generally a sign that fans are talking a movie up to friends.

But if grosses for "King Kong" drop significantly over Christmas weekend, it would dash Hollywood's hopes that the movie would help the industry recover from a prolonged slump in which admissions are off 7 percent compared to 2004.

It also would raise a broader question in an era when movie theaters face stiff competition from DVDs and other entertainment options: If a movie as big as "King Kong," created by a director as big as Jackson, is not a guaranteed blockbuster, then what is?

The top 20 movies at U.S. and Canadian theaters Friday through Sunday, followed by distribution studio, gross, number of theater locations, average receipts per location, total gross and number of weeks in release, as compiled Monday by Exhibitor Relations Co. Inc.:

1. "King Kong," Universal, $50,130,145, 3,568 locations, $14,050 average, $66,181,645, one week.

2. "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," Disney, $31,837,683, 3,680 locations, $8,652 average, $113,169,644, two weeks.

3. "The Family Stone," 20th Century Fox, $12,521,027, 2,466 locations, $5,077 average, $12,521,027, one week.

4. "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," Warner Bros., $5,952,452, 3,185 locations, $1,869 average, $252,598,259, five weeks.

5. "Syriana," Warner Bros., $5,605,167, 1,775 locations, $3,158 average, $22,462,362, four weeks.

6. "Walk the Line," 20th Century Fox, $3,688,031, 2,667 locations, $1,383 average, $82,607,528, five weeks.

7. "Yours, Mine & Ours," Paramount, $3,511,110, 2,723 locations, $1,289 average, $45,202,963, four weeks.

8. "Brokeback Mountain," Focus, $2,508,494, 69 locations, $36,355 average, $3,474,311, two weeks.

9. "Just Friends," New Line, $2,080,852, 1,882 locations, $1,106 average, $29,572,142, four weeks.

10. "Aeon Flux," Paramount, $1,751,220, 2,058 locations, $851 average, $23,215,672, three weeks.

11. "Pride & Prejudice," Focus, $1,579,825, 1,141 locations, $1,385 average, $29,237,853, six weeks.

12. "Memoirs of a Geisha," Sony, $1,302,331, 52 locations, $25,045 average, $2,274,320, two weeks.

13. "The Polar Express," Warner Bros., $1,091,215, 66 locations, $16,534 average, $168,201,420, four weeks in IMAX re-release.

14. "Chicken Little," Disney, $1,054,952, 1,602 locations, $659 average, $128,829,279, seven weeks.

15. "Rent," Sony, $752,122, 926 locations, $812 average, $28,274,336, four weeks.

16. "Derailed," Weinstein Co., $368,918, 547 locations, $674 average, $35,402,054, six weeks.

17. "Good Night, and Good Luck," Warner Independent, $341,905, 322 locations, $1,062 average, $22,432,374, 11 weeks.

18. "Capote," Sony Pictures Classics, $301,468, 193 locations, $1,562 average, $10,790,585, 12 weeks.

19. "The Squid and the Whale," Samuel Goldwyn, $218,053, 132 locations, $1,652 average, $4,299,500, 11 weeks.

20. "In the Mix," Lions Gate, $211,653, 348 locations, $608 average, $10,105,281, four weeks.

Get Ready for Another 'Johnson Family Vacation'

LOS ANGELES ( Audiences aching to have all of the plotlines resolved from the original "Johnson Family Vacation" will get to tie up all loose ends when the Cedric the Entertainer comedy gets sequel treatment.

Under normal circumstances, a comedy that made under $32 million in theaters worldwide wouldn't necessarily be a leading contender for a second entry. However, with a budget of an estimated $12 million, "Johnson Family Vacation" was a solid spring performer for Fox Searchlight, hence the decision to greenlight the follow-up.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Fox Searchlight has already hired Wayne Conley to put pen to paper (or fingers to computer keyboard) for the next film. Might we perhaps suggest "Johnson Family European Vacation," "Johnson Family Vegas Vacation" or, in desperation, "Johnson Family Christmas Vacation"?

In the original film, Cedric the Entertainer, expected to return for the sequel, led his family on a trip across the country to the annual Johnson reunion.

Conley's credits include New Line's "King's Ransom" and "Say Uncle," a pitch purchased by Fox Searchlight last year.

Foxx Takes Paramount's 'Blood' Money

LOS ANGELES ( Oscar winner Jamie Foxx is reportedly attached to "Blood on the Leaves," a Paramount-based adaptation of Jeff Stetson's novel.

According to Variety, Foxx will star in the film and the project will also be overseen by the actor's production shingle, which has a deal with Paramount.

Stetson is set to adapt his own book, which was first published in 2004. "Blood on the Leaves" focuses on an ambitious district attorney prosecuting an African-American professor charged with murdering two Mississippi racists. The part of the professor has yet to be cast, but if you don't think the studio already has Morgan Freeman on speed-dial, you don't know Hollywood.

Foxx followed up his "Ray" Oscar with "Stealth" and "Jarhead" earlier this year. The former was a box office disappointment, while the latter was a critical disappointment. Foxx's CD "Unpredictable" hits stores just in time for the Christmas buying season and his 2006 slate is headed by Michael Mann's "Miami Vice."

News for 12/13/2005

'Brokeback Mountain' leads Golden Globe nominations

Clooney tapped for work in 'Good Night, and Good Luck,' 'Syriana'

LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- "Brokeback Mountain," the story of two cowboys grappling with their love for each other, was the top Golden Globe contender Tuesday, picking up seven nominations, including best dramatic picture.

It also was nominated for best director (Ang Lee), best actor in a drama (Heath Ledger) and best supporting actress in a drama (Michelle Williams) as well as best screenplay, best original score and best original song.

"Good Night, and Good Luck," "The Constant Gardener," "A History of Violence" and "Match Point" also were nominated for best dramatic picture. (Watch CNN's Sibila Vargas discuss the top contenders -- 3:25)

The nominations came a day after "Brokeback Mountain" won the New York Film Critics Circle's best picture, best director and best actor (Ledger) awards. (Full story)

The nomination for "Good Night, and Good Luck" was one of four for George Clooney, who produced and directed the Edward R. Murrow biography, co-wrote the screenplay and played a supporting role in it.

He also was nominated for best director, best screenplay (with Grant Heslov) and picked up a best supporting actor nod for his role in the political drama "Syriana."

In addition to Clooney and Lee, best director nominations went to Woody Allen ("Match Point"), Peter Jackson ("King Kong"), Fernando Meirelles ("The Constant Gardener") and Steven Spielberg ("Munich").

In addition to Ledger, the best actor nominees for drama were Russell Crowe ("Cinderella Man"), Philip Seymour Hoffman ("Capote"), Terrence Howard ("Hustle & Flow") and David Strathairn ("Good Night, and Good Luck").

Best actress in a drama nominations went to Maria Bello ("A History of Violence"), Felicity Huffman ("Transamerica"), Gwyneth Paltrow ("Proof"), Charlize Theron ("North Country") and Ziyi Zhang ("Memoirs of a Geisha").

Huffman also was nominated on the television side for her role in the hit series "Desperate Housewives." Her Wisteria Lane neighbors Marcia Cross, Teri Hatcher and Eva Longoria also were nominated in the best actress in a television musical or comedy category, along with "Weeds" star Mary-Louise Parker.

Last year, Longoria was the only one of the "Desperate Housewives" stars who was not nominated.

The nominees for best musical or comedy motion picture include "Mrs. Henderson Presents," "Pride & Prejudice," "The Producers," "The Squid and the Whale" and "Walk the Line."

Best actor in a musical or comedy nominations went to Pierce Brosnan ("The Matador"), Jeff Daniels ("The Squid and the Whale"), Johnny Depp ("Charlie and the Chocolate Factory"), Nathan Lane ("The Producers"), Cillian Murphy ("Breakfast on Pluto") and Joaquin Phoenix ("Walk the Line"). (Watch: Where will Daniels put the award should he win? -- 4:24)

Judi Dench ("Mrs. Henderson Presents"), Keira Knightley ("Pride & Prejudice"), Laura Linney ("The Squid and the Whale"), Sarah Jesica Parker ("The Family Stone") and Reese Witherspoon ("Walk the Line") were nominated for best actress in a musical or comedy.

Besides Clooney (for "Syriana"), best supporting actor nominations went to Matt Dillon ("Crash"), Will Ferrell ("The Producers"), Paul Giamatti ("Cinderella Man") and Bob Hoskins ("Mrs. Henderson Presents").

In addition to "Brokeback Mountain's" Williams, supporting actress nominations went to Scarlett Johansson ("Match Point"), Shirley MacLaine ("In Her Shoes"), Frances McDormand ("North Country") and Rachel Weisz ("The Constant Gardener")

In the television category, the best drama nominations went to "Commander in Chief" (ABC), "Grey's Anatomy" (ABC), "Lost" (ABC), "Prison Break" (Fox) and "Rome" (HBO).

Best actor nominations in a drama went to Patrick Dempsey ("Grey's Anatomy"), Matthew Fox ("Lost"), Hugh Laurie ("House"), Wentworth Miller ("Prison Break") and Kiefer Sutherland ("24").

The nominations for best actress in a drama went to Patricia Arquette ("Medium"), Glenn Close ("The Shield"), Geena Davis ("Commander in Chief"), Kyra Sedgwick ("The Closer") and Polly Walker ("Rome").

"Curb Your Enthusiasm" (HB0), "Desperate Housewives" (ABC), "Entourage" (HB0), "Everybody Hates Chris" (UPN), "My Name Is Earl" (NBC) and "Weeds" (Showtime) picked up best musical or comedy series nominations.

Best comedy/musical actor nominations went to Zach Braff ("Scrubs"), Steve Carell ("The Office"), Larry David ("Curb Your Enthusiasm"), Jason Lee ("My Name Is Earl") and Charlie Sheen ("Two and a Half Men").

Click here to see entire list of nominees.