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Will Katie Holmes Play Wonder Woman?

You never know, but she'd be better than Lohan in my view. Still, Holmes is not the best choice in my view.

Lindsay Lohan Wants To Play Wonder Woman


Personally, I'm not hot about the idea. I think a really buffed actress should play her

From www.imdb.com:

Herbie: Fully Loaded star Lindsay Lohan is desperate to play Wonder Woman in the forthcoming movie version of the comic book superhero. The 19-year-old Freaky Friday actress admits she'd like to showcase her talents outside of kid and teen films, but feels the role would be too fun to turn down. She says, "Wonder Woman would be cool. I'm trying to find roles right now that are different to anything I've done to show my abilities, to show that I have some sort of stretch in me. Because most of the things that I've done so far are aimed at younger girls and are light-hearted."

Wonder Woman Script Should Be Finished By Now According to Sci-Fi Wire

Not too long ago, I got after Josh Whedon, the writer / director for the new "Wonder Woman" movie, for seemingly dragging his feet on the project. Now, he tells Sci-Fi Wire that it should be finshed by this week.

This is what he said:

"I'm probably going to turn it in in a few days," Whedon said of his Wonder Woman script. "It's coming along. ... There will be all of the expected stuff. Of course there will be the bracelets; there will be the invisible jet, the lasso, all of that."

Whedon likened the character to another one of his creations, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, adding: "It's about girls maturing, a rite of passage, that kind of thing."

Whedon said it's too early to speculate on casting for the project. He will be turning the script in to Warner Brothers and hopes to begin production later this year.

"Beth's Oscar Party" - A Video Of Our Trip To "The Academy of Friends" Oscar Party in San Francisco For The Academy Awards


My great friend Beth Schnitzer throws the best parties. One of them is an annual gathering of friends to watch the Academy Awards, and where this author has served as ballot scorer and three-time first prize winner (in six years!)

This year, Beth wanted to try something different, and with that decided to arrange for us to attend the San Francisco Academy of Friends Benefit Party. Held at the Concourse Exhibition Center, this emormous event drew an estimated 2,500 people. It features food and drink from 32 San Francisco Restaurants, an auction, and just plain fun all to raise money to attack AIDS.

A good portion of the attendees are Gay (maybe the majority), and so it presents a great slice of San Francisco life. And candidly I write that it's an event everyone should attend at least once and if only to just get over whatever "stuff" they may be dealing with and learn to just plain enjoy people. Everyone's very nice and funny, and if you're a single straight guy like me there's loads of attractive women. But that written, our group was full of beautiful, smart women so there was no real need to go elsewhere.

The video I took (which you can see with a click here or on the title of this post and with the QuickTime application) presents Beth at her best: always with a smile, introducing us not just to anyone, but heavy-hitters, energetic, lively, fun, and yet very professional all at the same time. I keep telling her she should run for office, as I think she'd make an excellent San Francisco Supervisor--or Mayor!

The video is also a celebration of our friends, including the very talkative and expressive Mr. Abraham (that's me). I don't resist a time to get my face in the video as you're going to see. And even when I'm not in the picture, you can hear my voice and that cacaling laugh of mine.

Also, listen for the Oscar picts of our friends. It's interesting to see who picked what and their inflections of confidence that "Brokeback Mountain" was going to take the best picture award.

The flick itself has parts where it seems like the camera's on while being carried in a rush. It is. I started to edit out that part but as I watched it, I felt just like I did at the time when the camcoder was on: in a chaotic, fun rush. I know you'll feel the same way!

San Francisco Station KGO's TalkGuy Ronn Owens Gets Award For "News/Talk Local Personality of the Year"


Yep. He was awarded this at the R&R 2006 News/Talk Industry Achievement Awards on March 4, in Washington D.C.

Ya know, since I've got the entire press release, and I'm not feeling well, here it is:

San Francisco, CA – March 7 2006 – KGO NEWSTALK AM 810 made a clean sweep at the R&R 2006 News/Talk Industry Achievement Awards on March 4, in Washington D.C. KGO Radio was honored with News/Talk Station of the Year, KGO's Ronn Owens was awarded News/Talk Local Personality of the Year, tied with a Los Angles Station and KGO's Jack Swanson was awarded News/Talk Program Director of the Year. Radio and Records Inc. is a radio broadcast industry magazine.

Ronn Owens' exceptional interviewing skills have made him one of the best in the business. Ronn recently celebrated 30 years at KGO Radio. Owens' unique style, contemporary approach and wide-ranging knowledge on local, national and international issues has additionally won him the prestigious Marconi Award for Major Market Personality of the Year by the 2003 National Association of Broadcasters, recognizing the most outstanding radio personality in the country. The Ronn Owens Program can be heard 9am-Noon, weekdays on KGO AM 810.

Jack Swanson joined KGO Radio in 1979 as News Director. He later became Program Director for eight years maintaining KGO's top-rated status. Jack's second stint at KGO Radio as Program Director began in 1994 and his reign continues today preserving KGO's 107+ consecutive #1 Arbitron surveys. Jack has enjoyed a tremendous run of success and recognition having been voted the #1 Program Director several times by industry organizations and has been the recipient of this R&R award in 2001, 2002 and 2006.


As Mickey Luckoff, President and General Manger, accepted the Station of the Year award, he stated, "It is the personnel past and present that makes KGO great. That is why we have won this award 3 times over the past 6 years."

The Balboa Theatre in San Francisco Showing All Oscar-Nom Documentary Shorts

The Balboa Theatre (www.BalboaMovies.com ) is showing all the Oscar-nominated documentary shorts through Thursday. Our own Dan Krauss and Steve Okazaki will be speaking after select screenings.

Through Thursday, March 9:

THIS YEAR'S OSCAR NOMINATED SHORT DOCUMENTARIES

The rarely seen short documentary category hits the big screen. All 4 nominated shorts on one program. Filmakers in person. Details below.

The Mushroom Club -Steve Okazaki examines the terrible personal toll that followed the bombing of Hiroshima 60 years ago; 10 people whose lives were marked by the explosion are profiled. 35min.

A Note of Triumph: The Golden Age of Norman Corwin -Corinne Marrinan and Eric Simonson explore the lasting impact of radio broadcasting legend Norman Corwin's work focusing on his landmark "On a Note of Triumph," which aired on the evening of VE Day. 40min. OSCAR WINNER (2:55), 5:45, 8:35

The Death of Kevin Carter: Casualty of the Bang Bang Club -Dan Krauss- After shooting an award-winning photograph that captured the full horror of starvation in the Sudan, South African photojournalist Kevin Carter found himself tormented by doubts about the ethical implication of his work. 27 min

God Sleeps in Rwanda - Kimberlee Acquaro and Stacy Sherman - The genocide that devastated Rwanda in 1994 also left in its wake a population that was suddenly 70% female. Five courageous women struggle to rebuild their lives in a society still reeling from its bloody recent history. 30min. (1:40), 4:30, 7:20

Intermission between each pairing. -
One admission price for all 4 films.

DIRECTORS IN PERSON:
Dan Krauss, director of THE DEATH OF KEVIN CARTER
will speak Wednesday after the 7:20 showing.

Steve Okazaki, director of THE MUSHROOM CLUB,
will speak Thursday after 8:35 showing.

More information on the nominees:
Oscar.com

BALBOA THEATRE
3630 Balboa Street at 37th Avenue.
San Francisco, CA 94121
(415) 221-8184
http://www.BalboaMovies.com

Ang Lee At The Governor's Ball Last Night


In this photo from Oscar.org, Ang Lee's spotted with movie producer James Schamus and Schamus' wife.
For the 12th year, Wolfgang Puck provided the food for Oscar's major party. What did they have? Well, I got this from the Menu posted online at Oscar.org:

Tray Passed Hors d'oeuvres

Spicy Tuna Tartare in a Sesame Miso Cone
Mini Prime Burgers with Aged Cheddar and Remoulade
Warm Gougeres with Potato, Cheese and Herbs
Baby Potatoes with Caviar and Chives
Steak Tartare in a Black Pepper Parmesan Cone
Smoked Salmon Pizza with Dill Creme Fraiche and Caviar
Duck Sausage Pizza with Leeks and Spinach
Four Cheese Pizza with Tomato and Fresh Basil

Antipasto Assortment

Marinated Baby Artichokes with Lemon Aioli
Tuna Tataki with Sweet Soy
Smoked Salmon "Oscar" Matzo with Osetra Caviar
Chopped Vegetable Salad
Sweet Crab Stuffed Tiny Spanish Peppers
Citrus Marinated Shrimp
Green and White Asparagus with Prosciutto

Celery Root Soup with Fuji Apples and 24k Gold

Pan Roasted Organic Chicken with Black Truffle Risotto

Dessert:

Oscar's "Sweet Fantasy"

Menu Courtesy of Wolfgang Puck

78th Annual Oscar: Ratings Down 10 Percent from 2005

This happened because the most decorated movies were not box office blockbusters. Even King Kong failed to break records, but I attribute that to it's December start.

Oscars Ratings Drop 10 Percent From 2005
Associated Press - Mar 06, 08:22

ABC is in for a "Crash" landing in the Oscar ratings.

The Academy Awards were down 10 percent from last year's ceremony, based on preliminary Nielsen Media Research ratings from the nation's 55 biggest markets. If the full national ratings follow suit later Monday, this year's ceremony will likely be the second least-watched Oscars telecast behind 2003, when "Chicago" won best picture.

The ceremony, where "Crash" won a surprise best picture trophy, drew a 27.1 rating and a 40 share. Each rating point is equivalent to 1.1 million homes, while the share indicates that 40 percent of the TVs in use last night were tuned to the awards.

Last year's metered markets had a 30.1 rating and 43 share, Nielsen said.

The ceremony's central lesson: Play a real person enmeshed in wrenching drama, win an Academy Award.

It worked last year for Jamie Foxx in "Ray" and this time around for Reese Witherspoon's portrayal of June Carter Cash in "Walk the Line" and Philip Seymour Hoffman as the glory-hungry writer in "Capote."

Sunday's Oscars were anything but predictable, however, as the explosive race drama "Crash" denied "Brokeback Mountain" the best-picture Oscar despite the gay Western love story's front-runner status and its best-director award for Ang Lee.

"Crash" Upsets All Predictions for A "Brokeback Mountain" Sweep - Including Mine

"Crash" -- Paul Haggis' wonderful film about race relations in LA -- took home the "Best Picture" award at the 78th Annual Academy Awards, upsetting front-runner "Brokeaback Mountain" and shattering all predictions boards, including mine.

In part because of this outcome, I scored 20 of 24 correct, missing on "Best Picture", "Cinematography", "Documentary Short", and "Animated Short." But in two of those categories, I picked the front-runner, which missed on both.

I think Tom O'Neill of the LA Times called it right when he predicted this awards outcome due to homeophobia in the Academy.

More on this, and my good time at the San Francisco Academy of Friends Party, later today.

Wonder Woman: If This Variety Article's Any Indication, I May be Right: Whedon's Too Busy for Her

See. This article shows that Wonder Woman writer / director Josh Whedon has too much on his plate to give Wonder Woman the time she needs. Yes, he has time given by the exec producers, but he lacks the passion to really get it done.

Whedon's a goner for U
Universal pacts with 'Buffy' man for spec script

By MICHAEL FLEMING - Variety.com - Thursday, Sept 22, 2006

Universal Pictures has paid seven figures for "Goners," a fantasy thriller spec script Joss Whedon wrote and will direct.

Film will be produced by Mary Parent and Scott Stuber. The studio premiered Whedon's directorial debut, "Serenity," on Thursday night at Universal City Walk. Pic opens Sept. 30.

Whedon was cryptic in describing the project, but the title conveys that it will tread on supernatural turf comparable to his series creations "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and the bloodsucker spinoff "Angel."

"It's the story of a young woman's journey that involves a great deal of horror and some heroics," he said. "It's certainly darker than 'Serenity,' and there are a lot of left turns along the way. It is something I had in mind for a while, and it just poured out of me when I finished my film."

Timing isn't clear, since Whedon is writing to direct "Wonder Woman," the Warner Bros. film based on the DC Comics heroine. That may take some time, as Whedon started his script from scratch.

"I was given license to purely make it my own and yet she is already an iconic Amazon princess," Whedon said. " 'Goners' has some similarities, but the heroines could not be more different, and the story is a bit more intimate and less complicated than 'Wonder Woman.' "

Whedon, who began his career writing features "Speed" and "Toy Story," shuttered his TV operation this year to focus on features. He will continue to spend the majority of his time with bigscreen fare but acknowledged he has been toying with a TV project that would continue the "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" universe, focusing on Spike, the punk-haired vampire played by James Marsters.

Whedon's challenge is to figure a way to do it and be able to keep directing movies.

"Directing a film was as exciting and daunting as it was supposed to be," said the CAA-repped Whedon. "I learned a lot on 'Serenity' and hope I hid that from the audience."

"Wonder Woman" Writer / Director Josh Whedon Still Working on Script After One Year


This is an excerpt from the interview from Empire, which can be read with a click on the title post. It's the only part that mentions Wonder Woman, but when I combine it with other comments of his I've seen, it reads as if he's got his time divided between the Amazon Princess and other tasks, which doesn't make for a good story. I'm concerned that he's not really committed to the project.

How about Goners and Wonder Woman? Can you tell us more about those?
Not a whole lot. I am still writing Wonder Woman. It is very awesome but incredibly unfinished, but I should be finishing that in a little while and then I’ll have a better idea of which film is actually going into production. But I can tell you that the film will be about introducing you to Wonder Woman. She'll be wearing the outfit and there will be the bracelets, the golden lasso and Greek gods. She comes from a civilisation where she's rather perfect, so she's the opposite to Buffy in many ways, but she's going through an adolescent rite of passage because she's new to the world.

2006 Independent Spirit Awards uplifts 'Brokeback'


Western nabs feature, helmer prizes

By PAMELA MCCLINTOCK - Variety.com

Ang Lee and his oater romance "Brokeback Mountain" rode off with the top ribbons at the 2006 Independent Spirit Awards on Saturday, while tyro director Paul Haggis' "Crash" took best first feature.

Although Focus Features' "Brokeback" scored as best feature and best director, the wealth was spread among a quartet of films. Receiving two awards each were "Brokeback," Lionsgate's "Crash," Sony Pictures Classics' "Capote" and the Weinstein Co.'s "Transamerica."

Indie Spirits, administered by Film Independent and held at a beachside tent in Santa Monica, came just one day before the Academy Awards, where the same pics were set to compete in an awards year dominated by smaller indie titles.

"Transamerica" star Felicity Huffman picked up the Indie Spirit for best female lead for her portrayal of a male transsexual about to become a woman.

Best male lead went to much-honored "Capote" star Philip Seymour Hoffman for his portrayal of Truman Capote.

The other "Capote" Indie Spirit went to scribe Dan Futterman for best screenplay. Award for best first screenplay went to Duncan Tucker for "Transamerica."

Matt Dillon won the award for best supporting male for his role as a racist cop in "Crash," while "Junebug" star Amy Adams was recognized as supporting actress for her role as a Chicago art dealer who visits her new in-laws in North Carolina. Pic was distribbed by Sony Classics.

Another awards favorite this season, helmer George Clooney's "Good Night, And Good Luck." picked up one Indie Spirit award, for Robert Elswit's cinematography.

Warner Independent Pictures' "Paradise Now," the Palestinian film directed by Hany Abu-Assad, won best foreign film.

Director Alex Gibney's "Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room," from Magnolia Pictures, was voted best documentary.

The John Cassavetes Award, which recognizes the best feature made for under $500,000, went to writer-director Mora Stephens "Conventioneers" from Cinema Libre Studios. Stephens co-wrote the screenplay with Joel Viertel, who produced the film.

Sony Pictures Classics nabbed three Indie Spirit Awards, the most of any distrib. Focus, Lionsgate, TWC and Warner Independent each took two.

"Brokeback" producers are Diana Ossana and James Schamus. "Crash" producers are Cathy Schulman, Don Cheadle, Bob Yari, Mark R. Harris, Bobby Moresco and Haggis.

And the winners are...

BEST FEATURE
"Brokeback Mountain"

BEST DIRECTOR
Ang Lee, "Brokeback Mountain"

BEST SCREENPLAY
Dan Futterman, "Capote"

BEST FIRST FEATURE
"Crash," Paul Haggis

BEST FIRST SCREENPLAY
Duncan Tucker, "Transamerica"

JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD
(for the Best Feature made for under $500,000)
"Conventioneers"

BEST SUPPORTING FEMALE
Amy Adams, "Junebug"

BEST SUPPORTING MALE
Matt Dillon, "Crash"

BEST FEMALE LEAD
Felicity Huffman, "Transamerica"

BEST MALE LEAD
Philip Seymour Hoffman, "Capote"

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Robert Elswit, "Good Night, and Good Luck"

BEST FOREIGN FILM
"Paradise Now"

BEST DOCUMENTARY
"Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room"

AMC/AMERICAN EXPRESS PRODUCERS AWARD
Caroline Baron, "Capote" and "Monsoon Wedding"

IFC/ACURA SOMEONE TO WATCH AWARD
Ian Gamazon and Neill Dela Llana, "Cavite"

TRUER THAN FICTION AWARD
Ian Olds and Garrett Scott, "Occupation: Dreamland"

INDEPENDENT SPIRIT AWARD WINNERS BY DISTRIBUTOR
Cinema Libre Studio 1
Focus Features 2
Lionsgate Films 2
Magnolia 1
Sony Pictures Classics 3
Warner Independent Pictures 2
The Weinstein Company 2

What Will Halle Berry Wear at The Oscars?


Well I hope it's a repeat of this dress! Wow, what an eye-popper! I'd like to carry that train. We will see tommorrow night.

Transvestite King Kong billboard attacks L.A.

From www.upi.com

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 26 (UPI) -- An underground global movement called the "Guerrilla Girls" has rankled Oscar officials with a billboard of a transvestite King Kong in Los Angeles.

The billboard -- near the Kodak Theatre where the Oscars will be handed out next Sunday -- depicts Kong wearing a dress and makeup holding an Oscar statuette, the Los Angeles Times reported Sunday.

The sign -- which cost $4,500 a month -- reads: "Unchain the Women Director. Women directed only 7 percent of the top 200 films of 2005," and "No woman director has ever won the Oscar. Only 3 have been nominated."

The sign was created and funded by 13 women's organizations, including Women in Film and the Fund for Women Artists.

The "Guerrilla Girls" have been around more than 20 years, pushing the worldwide entertainment industry to be more female-friendly, the newspaper said.

The latest attempt to ruffle feathers at the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences drew a terse, "No comment," the Times reported, noting that the Oscar in the billboard is a trademarked image.

"King Kong" DVD Release March 28th 2006

I can't wait for this one, and I'm not kidding. I still think "King Kong" was unfairly snubbed by the Academy in the nominations process. Time will prove that it's one of the best movies ever made. The only massive error was releasing it in December, rather than in August, thus drawing summer box office traffic.

"King Kong" Set To Sweep Sony Empire Awards

From: www.news.com.au

KING Kong is set to sweep the board at this year's Empire awards - after receiving five nominations.

After being snubbed by the Oscars, the Golden Globes and the Bafta's, the remake of the 1933 monster movie has been nominated for a host of top honours, including Best Film, Best Director and Best Actor.
Pride and Prejudice, Crash, and Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit also faired well with four nominations each.

The Best Actor category will be a fight between Matt Dillon for his performance in Crash, Batman Begins' star Christian Bale, Johnny Depp for his portrayal of Willy Wonka in Charlie And The Chocolate Factory and Viggo Mortensen in the critically acclaimed A History Of Violence.

Similarly, the Best Actress category will be an equally tough choice between Dillon's Bafta-winning Crash co-star Thandie Newton, Pride and Prejudice's Keira Knightley, Renee Zellweger for her role in Cinderella Man, Hilary Swank for turn in Million Dollar Baby and King Kong star Naomi Watts.

The Sony Ericsson Empire Awards - which will be presented by British comedian Bill Bailey - will take place at the Hilton London Metropole on March 13.


Full list of Sony Ericsson Empire Awards nominees:



Best Newcomer

Leo Gregory (Stoned)
Kelly Reilly (Mrs. Henderson Presents/Pride & Prejudice)
Georgie Henley (Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe)
James McAvoy (Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe)
Nathan Fillion (Serenity)


Sony Ericsson Scene of the Year

Wallace & Gromit: The Curse Of The Were-Rabbit - The Dogfight
War Of The Worlds - Arrival of the First Tripod
The Descent - First Attack of the Crawlers
Star Wars Episode III: Revenge Of The Sith - Birth of Vader
Crash - The Car Rescue



Best Comedy

The Wedding Crashers
The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy
The League Of Gentlemen's Apocalypse
Team America: World Police
Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit



Best Thriller

The Constant Gardener
Sin City
Batman Begins
Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang
A History Of Violence



Best Horror

The Skeleton Key
The Descent
Land Of The Dead
Wolf Creek


Best Sci-fi/Fantasy

King Kong
Serenity
Star Wars Episode III: Revenge Of The Sith
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe
Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire


Best Director

Steven Spielberg - War Of The Worlds
Peter Jackson - King Kong
Christopher Nolan - Batman Begins
Ron Howard - Cinderella Man
Nick Park and Steve Box - Wallace & Gromit: The Curse Of The Were-Rabbit
Joe Wright - Pride & Prejudice


Best Actor

Christian Bale - Batman Begins
Johnny Depp - Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Andy Serkis - King Kong
Matt Dillon - Crash
Viggo Mortensen - A History of Violence


Best Actress

Naomi Watts - King Kong
Keira Knightley - Pride & Prejudice
Thandie Newton - Crash
Renee Zellweger - Cinderella Man
Hilary Swank - Million Dollar Baby


Best British Movie

Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
The Descent
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Pride & Prejudice
Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire
Stoned


Best Film

King Kong
War of the Worlds
Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
Crash
Sin City

Hilary Swank - What Will She Wear This Time?


As the 78th Annual Academy Awards approach, the question I have is what will Hilary Swank wear? All I can say is last year, she was totally hot in this blue body fitting dress. I'll bet she got so many date offers it screwed up her marriage to Chad Lowe. Note to Chad: you're still friends; be the dog! Go after that bone!

Jack Nicholson Joins Presenters for 78th Annual Academy Awards


My question: will he wear sunglasses?

Presenters Announced
for 78th Academy Awards®

Beverly Hills, CA — Academy Award® - winning actor Jack Nicholson will join Oscar® nominee Jake Gyllenhaal, Eric Bana, Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Stiller, John Travolta and Ziyi Zhang as presenters at the 78th Academy Awards ceremony, telecast producer Gil Cates announced today.

These presenters will join Hilary Swank, Jamie Foxx, Morgan Freeman, Jessica Alba, Owen Wilson, Luke Wilson, Jennifer Aniston, Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock, Keanu Reeves, Will Ferrell, Queen Latifah, Terrence Howard, Meryl Streep, Will Smith, Steve Carell, Nicole Kidman, Chris "Ludacris" Bridges, Uma Thurman, Charlize Theron, Naomi Watts, Lily Tomlin, Reese Witherspoon, George Clooney, Jennifer Lopez and Salma Hayek on the telecast.

Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2005 will be presented on Sunday, March 5, 2006, at the Kodak Theatre at the Hollywood & Highland Center®, and televised live by the ABC Television Network beginning at 5 p.m. PST. A one-hour red carpet arrivals show will precede the telecast at 4 p.m.

# # #

A.M.P.A.S.
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
8949 Wilshire Boulevard Beverly Hills, CA 90211-1972
(310) 247-3000
www.oscars.org
publicity@oscars.org

Madea's Family Reunion Rules Week's Box Office

Wow! This is a sure sign of the changing tastes of the American public. Madea's Family Reunion, a movie about, well here's the plot line: "While planning her family reunion, a pistol-packing grandma (Perry) must contend with the other dramas on her plate, including the runaway who has been placed under her care, and her love-troubled nieces." --but really features a black man -- Tyler Perry -- in drag, is a hit as he explores black issues and family matters in a humorous way. But in a (thankfully) increasingly interracially mixed America, Perry plays to a wide audience.

Weekly:
Feb. 24 - Mar. 2, 2006
in millions

1 Madea's Family Reunion
$35.1

2 Eight Below
$19.2

3 The Pink Panther
$13.0

4 Date Movie
$10.9

5 Curious George
$8.6

6 Firewall
$8.3

7 Final Destination 3
$7.0

8 RUNNING SCARED
$4.6

9 Doogal
$4.2

10 Freedomland
$3.8
Expanded 'Idol' rolls again
Morning Ratings Flash - Rick Kissell

By RICK KISSELL - Variety.com

With the hot "American Idol" again accounting for more than 75% of its sked, Fox cruised to victory on Wednesday in key young-adult demos, while the night's top scripted dramas delivered low-range scores.

According to preliminary nationals from Nielsen, "American Idol" averaged roughly a 12.1 rating/31 share in adults 18-49 and 29.4 million viewers overall from 8 to 9:31, dominating in each half-hour. That big score provided nice sampling for a special preview episode of slacker comedy "Free Ride" (roughly 6.1/14 in 18-49, 13.5 million viewers overall), which will regularly air on Sundays.

"Idol" seemed to have an effect on both ABC hit "Lost" (roughly 6.9/16 in 18-49, 16.5 million viewers overall from 9 to 10:03), which hit a firstrun season low, and CBS drama "Criminal Minds" (3.6/9 in 18-49, 12.4 million viewers overall), which posted its second lowest tally.

The Eye was also on the low end but still won as usual at 10 with "CSI: NY" (4.4/12 in 18-49, 13.7 million viewers overall), topping NBC's "Law & Order" (4.0/11 in 18-49, 12.4 million viewers overall) and ABC's "Barbara Walters Oscar Special" (roughly 3.8/10 in 18-49, 9.8 million viewers overall); latter had run on the night of the Academy Awards prior to this year.

From 8 to 9, NBC's "Deal or No Deal" (3.3/9 in 18-49, 10.6 million viewers overall) placed second to "Idol" with the net's best series showing opposite "Idol" in the hour since May 2004.

Preliminary 18-49 averages on the night: Fox, 10.6/27; ABC, 4.3/11; CBS, 3.3/9; NBC, 3.2/8; WB, 1.2/3; UPN, 0.7/3.

In total viewers: Fox, 25.5 million; CBS, 11.1 million; ABC, 10.8 million; NBC, 10.4 million; WB, 3.0 million; UPN, 1.7 million.

Night Before ups its score - Oscar eve party wraps up $6 million

By NICOLE LAPORTE - Variety.com, March 3, 2006

The annual Night Before party, held on Oscar eve at the Beverly Hills Hotel, continues its ascent as the hottest pre-Academy Awards ticket. This year's event has raised more than $6 million, up from $4 million last year.
Proceeds from the party benefit the Motion Picture & Television Fund. The Night Before accounts for more than a third of the $15 million the MPTF has raised over the last year.

"The numbers are staggering, given the fact that (the Night Before) didn't exist four years ago," said MPTF chief exec Ken Scherer.

Because of fire marshal-enforced safety requirements, guest list is limited to about 800. Among those who will be attending are Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, George Clooney, Jamie Foxx, Hilary Swank and Night Before host Jeffrey Katzenberg.

Producers, directors, studio executives and lawyers also will be part of the crowd. The only non-invitees are press agents and members of the press -- an attempt to keep things more personal and low-key.

"What we set out to do four years ago was provide an environment where people could talk and have conversations," Scherer said. "We wanted to make it a real community effort."

The Night Before was started by Katzenberg and Variety in 2002 as a charitable solution to what was always a fairly dull evening in Hollywood -- the night before the Oscars, when industryites are typically recovering from Friday night events, such as Ed Limato's pre-Oscar party, and preparing for post-Oscar fetes, such as the Vanity Fair party and the Governors Ball, held on Sunday.

Another tradition is the Night Before the Night Before, on Friday, when there'll be a dinner at Spago for sponsors. Border Grill chef-owners Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger will be on hand to teach guests how to make tamales; Mariah Carey will perform after dinner.

The number of Night Before corporate sponsors has grown by two and includes Variety, McDonald's, L'Oreal, Lexus, Hewlett-Packard, Target and AOL.

Scherer said the surge in raised funds resulted from the increase in sponsors, which each contribute $350,000, and from a greater number of contributors who made a five-year commitment of $10,000 a year to the MPTF (in exchange for getting their names placed on retirement cottages on the fund's Woodland Hills campus).

Tickets to the Night Before start at $25,000 for a group of four.

Katzenberg also has rallied to raise money.

"He's the man," Scherer said of the DreamWorks Animation head. "Jeffrey and (wife) Marilyn both step up and give the same amount that sponsors give. More importantly, his passion for this charity is so strong -- he just spends hours calling people and making sure people support the organization, which is so critical to our success."

Besides charity, of course, there's swag, and the Night Before ranked high on the free goodies list last year, with guests taking away expensive sneakers and computers. This year Lexus is giving away a car, Hewlett-Packard has donated 58-inch plasma TVs and color printers and AOL is giving away a Fender guitar.

The nonprofit MPTF, headquartered in Woodland Hills, was founded in 1921 to offer charitable relief for those in the film industry who had fallen on hard times. Today, the fund provides the industry with a full-scale residential retirement community and child-care center, as well as health care, human services and financial assistance.