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Eminem rules the charts again

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Eminem
Henry McGee/Globe Photos, Inc.

CHARTS Eminem‘s ”The Marshall Mathers LP,” topped the charts for the second week in a row selling 793,000 copies, bringing its total sales up to 2.55 million. Another Detroit man’s latest, Kid Rock’s ”The History of Rock,” debuted at No. 2 with sales of 456,000, putting the Motown City back at the center of the music scene — at least for now. The compilation of pre-stardom recordings knocked Britney Spears’ sales of 442,000 units of ‘Oops!… I Did It Again” into third place. Matchbox Twenty’s ”Mad Season” sold 191,000, while ‘N Sync (No. 5) moved another 175,000 copies — bringing the boy band within a hair of the 6 mil mark for total sales.

COURTS It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. While Eminem‘s album tops the charts, his legal woes continue. The white hot rapper could face a second round of charges, after his arraignment yesterday in Warren, Mich., for assault and concealed weapons possession. Witnesses say that he got into another scuffle, in which he revealed his handgun, with a man in a Royal Oak, Mich., car shop several hours before trailing his wife to the Hot Rocks Cafe. Lawyers and detectives are meeting today to discuss the incident. A handcuffed Em, clad in a neat black blazer, stood mute while his lawyer spoke for him in yesterday’s arraignment. Bond was set at $100,000 cash and a hearing scheduled for July 11. The judge permitted the Slim Shady to leave Michigan, which means that his tour with Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg will go on.

POLICE BLOTTER Recently fired Allman Brothers guitarist Dickey Betts flipped out last weekend at his home in Osprey, Fla., according to the New York Post. The Sarasota Country Sheriff’s Office said that Betts threatened his wife with a knife, turned over furniture, and smashed a TV with his foot before running away. He dodged police dogs and helicoptors until he was taken into protective custody and brought to a crisis unit. As first reported on EW Online, the Allman Brothers had informed Betts he wasn’t welcome on this summer’s tour because of his possible substance abuse problem. There was no comment from the Betts camp about this latest development.

THEFT The British tab the Sun reports that thieves tried to break into Madonna‘s $3 million London home while she attended the premiere of her latest flick, ”The Next Best Thing.” Though they were unable to gain entrance to the house, the crooks gained access to her gardener’s headquarters and made off with a bag containing a credit card, proving once again that it’s always the little guy who suffers.

LEGALESE Mike Myers‘ lawyers accused Universal of using the previously reported breach of contract suit to ”bully” the comedian into making his SNL spin-off ”Dieter” before he approved the script. The lawyer says that Myers plans to file a countersuit against the studio for fraud.

MIFFED Britain’s PM Tony Blair agreed with a parliamentarian yesterday who called ”U-571” an ”affront to the memory of British sailors,” because it inaccurately portrays American, not English soldiers, as the first to seize a WWII German Enigma Code machine. Didn’t they catch the announcement that Hollywood has bought the rights to reinvent world history?

CASTING John Woo has enlisted Christian Slater to join Nicolas Cage in MGM’s ”Windtalkers,” a fact-based WWII drama about bodyguards assigned to protect Navajo Indians who transmit code in their native tongue to thwart Japanese attack. (Hope he runs the script past the British Indians before filming)…. Aaliyah is set to star in a Warner Bros. remake of the 1976 Irene Cara flick ”Sparkle.” Whitney Houston and her partner in BrownHouse Prods., Debra Martin Chase, will coproduce…. Michael Douglas is likely to star in MGM’s ”Godspeed, Lawrence Mann,” an astronaut film directed by Richard Loncraine that Douglas will also produce.

WEB NEWS MP3.com is reportedly nearing a settlement in its copyright infringement suit with the five big labels represented by the Recording Industry Association of America. The beleaguered music site would pay each label an estimated $15-20 mil under the proposed agreement. Uh, at least their stock is doing well…. Disney chief Michael Eisner urged Congress yesterday to construct a law that would require Internet companies to use technology that prevents movie pirating. He warned that without such protection ”creative risk-takers” in the film industry would take their businesses elsewhere, and that the Web would become ”a wonderful delivery system with nothing to deliver”…. Former Disney chair Joe Roth unveiled his plans for a new movie and Internet company called Revolution Studios. It’s backed by $3 billion investment from Fox, Sony, and TV’s Starz Encore Group. In an effort to reduce costs Salon.com shed 13 of its 150 workers throughout the country, and shut down its Seattle office yesterday. Despite its critically lauded content, neither PC Data nor Media Metrix rank Salon in the top 500 websites. What was that they used to say about the Internet taking down big business?

REEL DEALS Walt Disney Co. has greenlit ”At Seventeen,” a romantic drama to be directed by John Stockwell, writer of the upcoming Mark Wahlberg flick ”Metal God”…. Stan Lee has teamed with producer Mark Canton to make a live-action theatrical version of his animated Internet series about a team of 14 all-new superheroes, ”7th Portal”…. Ben Stiller‘s Red Hour Films is developing a feature project about Jack Black and Kyle Glass’ cult band Tenacious D. The movie will lampoon traditional rock conventions. Doesn’t Britney Spears do that already?

WINNER British TV celeb Paula Yates won substantial damages yesterday from Faber & Faber, publishers of a book that said she tricked the late INXS singer Michael Hutchence into a relationship by getting pregnant. Sums were not disclosed, but Yates said she was pleased with the result.

BLAME CANADA Canada’s CTV network will broadcast its own version of ”Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.” One problem: Contestants will compete for Canadian $1 mil, which only equals US $676,000. Guess it’s aBOOT the same thing.

OBIT Brazilian songwriter Joao Nogueira died of a heart attack in Rio de Janeiro. He was 58.

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