It was not a blockbuster weekend in Hollywood.
Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle did a nosedive as the days progressed past July 4. The total take through last night won't come to $68 million. The folks at Columbia Pictures — who have a $120 million price tag to meet — must be scratching their heads. Where did everything go wrong?
The first thing you'll hear this week is that Demi Moore was the problem — she'll be blamed for bad acting, too much publicity, just about everything you can think of.
But the truth is, Moore probably helped the Angel triumvirate more than she could ever have hurt it. On their own Drew Barrymore, Lucy Liu and Cameron Diaz came off as spoiled Hollywood brats. The movie itself was terrible, with no particular attention to plot, story or characters. All of this emanated from every advance report of the film. Full Throttle just came off as a cynical attempt to cash in on a pretty good idea.
As for Demi, she was never Oscar caliber, but she was always bankable. She's also not stupid. Even if her adventure with Ashton Kutcher was a calculated move, she still managed to grab enough attention to leap back into the public consciousness. Now she has to make a couple of really terrific romantic comedies that show off her vulnerability, not her abs.
Barrymore is another case altogether. She looked terrible in the film and behaved worse in person. Long since passed are the days she could blame her bad PR on either her mother or her ex-husbands. This time she did it all on her own. Here's a quick fix for her problems: Next month Miramax is re-releasing Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, the excellent but overlooked directing debut of George Clooney.
When the movie was first released in December, star Sam Rockwell did all the promotion — a yeoman's job. Now maybe Barrymore will pitch in and do some real work. After all, it's the best performance of her career. She could rebuild a lot of bridges by pitching in to help resuscitate this cult film.
Meanwhile, the holiday weekend was equally rough for The Hulk and Terminator 3. The former will be lucky to have $117 million in the till today after nearly 3 weeks in theatres. It's a stiff, which is hot stuff considering that Universal thought it had a summer megahit on its hands going in. Again, poor execution could not be overcome by hype. The public saw through this exercise quickly. I hope Ang Lee and James Schamus will get back to the classy stuff they do so well.
As for T3, Arnold Schwarzenegger is one more member of the extended Kennedy clan who did not have a jolly July 4. (See the New York papers for the continuing saga of Kerry Kennedy Cuomo and her marriage scandal.)
T3's $72 million take from last Tuesday night through last night — which will probably be corrected downward later today — is wishy washy. The movie escapade is not a breakthrough hit. It's simply attracting T2 fans. By midweek it will have joined Charlie's Angels in the retread bin, along with Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde and Hollywood Homicide.
Maybe next summer we'll get some fresh ideas from the studios. God knows, they're going to be hard pressed to lay out this kind of cash again for such a small return.
Barry White died over the weekend, and as usual, it's another heartbreaking addition to the list of R&B legends who've passed away much too young.
I can still remember the first time I heard Love Unlimited's "Walking in the Rain With the One I Love" on the radio. Right in the middle of the song White announces himself with that deep rumbling bass, seductively telling his girl to come on over — and fast. White's subsequent string of gorgeous lush hits were all based on melody, melody, melody. That's why they stand up so well today, 30 years later, and are sampled by every hip-hopper without a fresh idea who can afford the license fee.
Barry White will be missed.
Sharon Stone and hubby Phil Bronstein, Salma Hayek and Edward Norton, Kerry Kennedy and Andrew Cuomo — all of them in the papers this weekend. All of them undone, and ready I suppose for the full US Weekly treatment.
Shocked? Surprised? Hardly. Stone's illness probably prolonged the inevitable, although the whole story of the adoption of her child — the sale of pictures of the newborn to the tabloids by the couple, etc., almost before the kid was home — did not bode well.
Salma and Ed — wasn't it just a month ago that Norton's family showed up for Hayek's movie premiere in New York for The Maldonado Miracle? But they were not a couple made in heaven, with personalities very different and temperaments at opposite ends of the spectrum.
Finally Kennedy and Cuomo. I am told the trouble was there for a long time, and didn't start with this latest event or on one side. There's a good week's worth of headlines coming on this one. And this is the best time of the year for it, too. Just ask Woody and Mia, or Donald and Ivana. Summer is the season for juicy breakups on page one.