Monday, August 18, 2003

Slashers Freddy, Jason scare up No. 1 at box office

Los Angeles -- The horror tag-team "Freddy vs. Jason" had a killer weekend as the showdown between the bad guys of the "Friday the 13th" and "A Nightmare on Elm Street" franchises debuted with $36.4 million.

The idea of pairing "Nightmare's" Freddy Krueger and "Friday's" Jason Voorhees had been kicked around since the early 1990s, so there was great fan anticipation.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at North American theaters, according to Exhibitor Relations Co. Inc.:

2. "S.W.A.T.", $18.6 million.

3. "Open Range," $14.1 million.

4. "Freaky Friday," $13.1 million.

5. "Uptown Girls," $11.2 million.

6. "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl," $8.5 million.

7. "American Wedding," $8.2 million.

8. "Seabiscuit," $8.1 million.

9. "Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over," $5.2 million.

10. "Bad Boys II," $3.2 million.

Role of a lifetime

New York -- Russell Crowe may be a formidable looking guy, but he seems to have met his match in impending fatherhood.

"I'm amazed and humbled by it," the Oscar-winning actor told USA Today.

Crowe's wife, singer-songwriter Danielle Spencer, is expecting their first child in January. The couple have known each other since 1990.

After the upcoming films "Cinderella Man," due next year, and this November's "Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World," it might be a while before Crowe returns to the big screen.

"It will be hard to find reasons to work once the baby is here," Crowe said. "I've told Danielle, write your next album now, so you can tour after you've given birth, and I'll stay home."

Zellweger's big, fat bonus

Los Angeles -- Renee Zellweger is being paid a $3.2 million bonus to pack on the pounds for her reprised role as Bridget Jones, reports

The petite Chicago star already is on a high-fat diet in order to achieve the rounder figure needed for the British singleton -- and film producers have guaranteed her $112,000 for every pound out of the 30 she manages to put on.

"Renee's getting nearly $15 million for the sequel and the bonus is on top of that," said a source. "She hates gaining weight to play Bridget and knows she's going to have a hard time losing it again."

Magazine has Hulking presence

Los Angeles -- Hulk Hogan has wrestled his way to magazine cover boy.

Hogan is featured on the cover of duPont Registry's new automotive lifestyle magazine -- Celebrity Car. It debuts on newsstands Tuesday.

The inaugural issue of the quarterly publication also features the wild wheels of Washington Wizards all-star Jerry Stackhouse, adventure author Clive Cussler, former NBA and NFL cheerleader Bonnie-Jill Laflin, the NFL's Barber twins Ronde and Tiki, and Hogan.

"I've had a passion for cars for years, collecting anything from Harleys to hot rods, and I wanted to share this with my fans and car enthusiasts alike," Hogan said, showing off his 1994 "Hulkster" Dodge Viper. "There isn't any substitute for horsepower."