GETTING OUT Planet Hollywood just got less muscular: Cofounder Arnold Schwarzenegger gave up his stake in the chain as his five-year contract ended and just four days after the troubled empire emerged from bankruptcy with new investors, according to Reuters. ”I am disappointed that the company did not continue with the success I had expected and hoped for,” he said in a statement. ”I wish Planet Hollywood well, but I want to focus my attention now on new U.S. and global business ventures, and on my movie career.” Chain CEO Robert Earl says that Planet Hollywood will now concentrate on improving its current hotels and restaurants rather than opening more, since wild overexpansion was the source of its financial trouble. (Sorry, people of Zambia.. you won’t be eating a pricey burger underneath Richard Lewis’ ”Robin Hood: Men in Tights” codpiece any time soon.) A spokesperson says that the other original owners (Sylvester Stallone, Demi Moore, Bruce Willis, and Whoopi Goldberg) are still involved.
STILL ON TOP ”Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,” on the other hand, is in no danger of bankruptcy: Its three episodes were the first-, second-, and third-most watched programs of last week. The Reege-a-thon helped ABC win the week, averaging 15.8 million viewers, while CBS was in second with 12.9 million. Meanwhile, knockoff game shows ”Greed” and ”Winning Lines” had mediocre showings, providing merciful reassurance that a Wink Martindale renaissance is not inevitable.
CASTING No more ”Karate Kid” movies for Golden Globe winner Hilary Swank (”Boys Don’t Cry”). Not only was she just named ShoWest’s female star of tomorrow (an award stars of today Winona Ryder, Cameron Diaz, and Nicole Kidman have all won), but she may play the abused wife of Keanu Reeves in ”The Gift,” which also stars Cate Blanchett and Greg Kinnear. So go find someone else to paint the fence, Miyagi, you user and taker!… Meanwhile, Reeves has picked another film to wedge into his schedule before he starts shooting the two ”Matrix” sequels next winter: He’ll play a furniture salesman guarding a terrible secret in ”The Ottoman Empire,” a movie that hopefully has more to back it up than a pun that everyone who has ever put their feet up has made at least once in their lives…. Aaron Eckhart (”Your Friends and Neighbors”) will play opposite Jack Nicholson in the crime drama ”The Pledge,” Sean Penn’s next effort as a director.
SUDDENLY STALKING A man who allegedly stalked Brooke Shields from Oct. 29, 1999, to Jan. 10 while armed with a handgun pleaded not guilty in Los Angeles Superior Court Tuesday. According to Reuters, the criminal complaint alleges that 41-year-old Mark Bailey ”did maliciously and repeatedly follow and harass Brooke Shields and made a credible threat with the intent that she be placed in reasonable fear for her safety and the safety of her immediate family.” Bailey is currently being held in jail because he didn’t pay his $500,000 bail, and will have a preliminary hearing tomorrow to look at evidence.
RUN FOR YOUR LIVES! 1998’s ”Godzilla” taught Hollywood that giant lizard monsters are better left to the Japanese: Sony Pictures has bought the American distribution rights to the Japanese production ”Godzilla 2000: Millennium,” and will dub and release it in theaters this summer, according to the Hollywood Reporter. This is actually the fifth overseas Godzilla adventure that Sony has bought in the last 10 years (you of course saw ”Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla” and ”Godzilla vs. Destoroyah,” right?), but unlike ”Millennium,” this will be the first released theatrically and not just on video.
ON CAMERA A New York supreme court justice has declared that the ruling three years ago that banned cameras in that state’s courtrooms was unconstitutional, so now Court TV is planning to televise the trial of the New York City police officer accused of shooting Amadou Diallo.