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June 2003
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Roberts Joins Berry At CAA

Julia Roberts has landed alongside Halle Berry and many other female stars at management agency CAA. The actress stunned industry insiders last month when she left ICM after more than 10 years at the agency. Signing Roberts is a coup that bolsters CAA’s position as the home of many of Hollywood's top female movie stars. In addition to Oscar winner Halle Berry, CAA also reps Nicole Kidman, Renee Zellweger, Gwyneth Paltrow, Julianne Moore, Cameron Diaz, Sandra Bullock and Kate Hudson.


Matrix Breaks Opening Record

The R-rated thriller sci-fi sequel "The Matrix Reloaded," opened at 3,600 locations across the country, making it the one film with the largest number of opening weekend screens ever for a domestic release. Mann Theaters CEO Ben Barboza said, "It's definitely a phenomenon."


Matrix Soundtrack Sales Soars

In anticipation of the release of "The Matrix Reloaded," fans flocked to buy the film's Maverick/Warner Bros. Records soundtrack, which entered the charts at No. 8 based on 93,650 units scanned. The two-disc release features songs by Rob Zombie, Marilyn Manson, P.O.D., Rage Against the Machine and Deftones.


Spike Strikes Out At Viacom

Director Spike Lee has filed suit against Viacom over its plans to rename the TNN cable network Spike TV. In court documents filed in New York, Lee asked for an injunction to prevent the name change from occurring. "I was extremely upset to see my name connected with a network when I had never given my consent to use my name," Lee said.


Fisher DVD Outsells Box Office

The Denzel Washington movie Antwone Fisher made more in its first week of DVD sales than it grossed in total at the box office! Something that rarely happens with major feature releases in the film business. Washington's directorial debut made about 21 million dollars when it was released last year, but surprised industry insiders by selling more than 26 million dollars worth of DVDs in its first week in stores.


"Biggie & Tupac" Filmmaker Intimidated

"Biggie & Tupac" filmmaker Nick Broomfield said he received intimidating phones calls while making the documentary about the unsolved murders of hip-hop's Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G. Broomfield says the calls never resulted in a direct death threat, but that "I received a lot of unpleasant nagging phone calls from Death Row asking where I was staying and what plane I was going to be on, sort of you know intimidating kind of things. I never received an out-and-out death threat." Death Row Records is now called Tha Row Records and is headed up by Suge Knight.



Feds Want Forfeit Of Snoop Dogg Movie Revenue

A recently released gangster rap movie starring Snoop Dogg, Ice-T and Ja Rule was financed with drug money, according to prosecutors who say revenue from the project should be forfeited. The civil complaint in federal court in Brooklyn alleges that convicted drug kingpin Kenneth McGriff bankrolled the low-budget, straight-to-video film, "Crime Partners." The movie was marketed by the successful Murder Inc. music label. Federal agents have learned that "McGriff's drug cash was delivered to various video shoots for the 'Crime Partners' movie," and that the money "would be used to pay for various movie expenses," the complaint said. McGriff was one of the film's executive producers; Murder Inc. helped market the film and finance the soundtrack. The papers were filed by federal prosecutors as part of their ongoing money laundering investigation of Murder Inc.


Oprah Will Stay On The Air

Once actress/talk show maven Oprah Winfrey said she was going to hang up her microphone for good. But now it appears she has changed her mind about wrapping up her talk show in 2005-06. She has decided to renew her run for two more seasons until 2007-08. The ABC stations re-upping to carry Winfrey into the future are paying significantly higher license fees to lock in the highest-rated talk show in syndication.


WIF Celebrates 30 Years

Women in Film, Los Angeles, recently celebrated its 30th anniversary and awarded its Crystal and Lucy Awards at the Century Plaza Hotel in Century City. The organization's inception was in 1973 and now the organization is looking to remain relavent considering the great strides women have made in films since then. "The glass ceiling has exploded," WIF president Iris Grossman said. "So why do we still need Women in Film? We need to give back to the next generation so that they can have the careers that we dreamed about and that we have." Host Christine Lahti noted that while women occupy major positions as studio and television execs, the rest of industry is still a man’s world. "Ninety-three percent of films last year were directed by men, and 72% of all parts in movies went to men," she said. "My dream is that in 30 years from now, we won't need a Women in Film."


Berry Named 'World’s Sexiest Woman’

"Die Another Day" star Halle Berry has been crowned the sexiest woman in the world by the British-based men’s magazine FHM. Berry is the first black woman to receive the honor, and at age 34, is also the oldest woman to win the crown. The Oscar-winning actress ranked 33rd in the men's magazine poll last year. More than five million votes were tallied by the magazine to compile this year's annual "100 Sexiest Women In The World" list.



Halle Breaks Arm On Set

Halle Berry was injured in Montreal, on the set of her new movie, "Gothika," breaking her arm. She was taken to the hospital in an ambulance, where it was determined that she had broken her ulna. She was treated and released. According to a spokesman from Warner Bros., she was back to work the next week. "It wasn't a stunt scene," the spokesman said, "it was just one of the physical scenes in a movie. Her arm didn't go the way it was supposed to." Now, all producers Robert Zemeckis and Joel Silver have to figure out is how to film around Halle's cast.


Whoopie Moves To Small Screen

Comedienne /actress Whoopi Goldberg will star in one of two new comedy sitcoms on NBC’s fall lineup. The other will star former Saturday Night Live cast member, Tracy Morgan. Like the Fox network, NBC will place these
black comedies back-to-back on one night. According to sources, the comedies will be paired with one another on Tuesday nights.


Jada Miffed At Producer

Pagesix.com reports that Jada Pinkett Smith has had a "major falling out" with Matrix Reloaded producer Joel Silver. According to the report, it began when the actress refused to do a promotional appearance on MTV that included a video shopping tour because she thought the idea was cheesy and awful, so she said no. The actress became angrier when she learned that she would not be able to stay in her usual suite at the Four Seasons Hotel in New York following the movie’s premiere because the producer said they weren’t renting suites for anyone.


Black Comic Book Hero Heads For Theaters

Anant Singh's international film financing, production and distribution company, Distant Horizon, has announced plans to adapt urban-underground comic book "Brotherman" for the big screen. The comic book series, developed by three brothers, Jason and Guy Sims and Dawud Anyabwile, follows Antonio Valor, a black superhero -- public defender by day and costumed avenger by night -- who goes up against dark forces that seek to pull the black community apart in Big City, U.S.A.. The "Brotherman" comic book, now in its 12th volume, has independently sold over 750,000 issues without a major comic book distributor.


Queen Named Entertainer Of The Year

Queen Latifah has been named"Entertainer Of The Year" by Essence magazine readers. The rapper/ actress/ will be recognized at the 16th Annual Essence Awards in June. The magazine's editorial director, Susan L. Taylor, said, "As a multi-talented, creative force, Queen Latifah embodies the spirit of African-American women." In 2002, Janet Jackson was named the first-ever "Entertainer Of The Year" at the awards. The awards will air June 27th at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT on Fox.