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Russell Crowe mania resurges with the record setting ''Gladiator'' DVD release

Plus, the Beatles’ ”1” is England’s fastest selling CD, Rosie O’ may quit her show, Ozzy sues Ozzfest crashers, and more

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Ridley Scott, Russell Crowe, ...
Gladiator: Jaap Buitendijk

GLAD MAN Maybe it’s the biceps…or his inscrutable slave boy smirk. Either way, we know it isn’t likely that Russell Crowe‘s foray as a rock star has prompted DreamWorks to ship a record 2.6 million copies of the ”Gladiator” DVD to retailers for its release on Tues., Nov. 21. The digital version of last summer’s blockbuster — which has grossed $180 million domestically and $440 million worldwide — is on track to sell some 3 million units total. Even before the flick hit video stores, it was already No. 1 on Amazon.com’s pre- order list.

This may have prompted DW to cash in on yet another format for director Ridley Scott‘s sword and sandal saga. The 35 millimeter formatted feature was rereleased yesterday on IMAX screens in L.A., New York, Chicago and Atlanta. Likewise, Fox Home Entertainment has decided to put its own slice of the Russell mania pie up for sale. Crowe‘s 1991 flick, ”Romper Stomper” — a truly edifying film in which he plays a Melbourne, Australia, neo- Nazi — is also available at retailers on DVD beginning Tuesday. (Note: This is the feature that prompted Sharon Stone to cast Crowe in his first major crossover flick, ”The Quick and the Dead.” The rest is ancient history.)

REEL DEAL Of course, Crowe isn’t the only star to come out of ”Gladiator” swinging. Director Scott is pretty hot in Hollywood, too. After wrapping the upcoming ”Silence of the Lambs” sequel, ”Hannibal,” the helmer — who made his name with the 80s classic ”Blade Runner” — will segue into a pirate feature for Disney, Variety reports. Scott has committed to direct ”Captain Kidd”, a Jerry Bruckheimer production about a 17th century swashbuckler. Kidd was allegedly the scourge of Britain in the 1600s, but well loved by those he worked with for providing an even split of the loot. Can we have a Viking saga next, please?

BEATLES We may be Crowe crazy in the States, but it appears that the U.K. has yet to recover from its three decade paroxysm over the Beatles. The Fab Four’s latest release — a compilation of 27 chart toppers titled ”1” — has become the fastest selling record in England this year. ”The Beatles are extremely chuffed,” a spokesperson for the remaining members told Reuters. ”The record has sold more than 319,000 copies in Britain in its first week. Robbie Williams sold 313,000 albums earlier this year so the Beatles have topped him.” They’ve also managed to top other big acts such as U2, Madonna, and the Spice Girls. But this has nothing to do with the current quality of pop music.

TV NEWS Rosie O’Donnell may be taking over a new mag, but it isn’t likely that she’ll become the newest Queen of All Media. During a recent ”Today” show appearance, O’Donnell indicated that ”The Rosie O’Donnell Show” would likely end when her contract expires in spring 2002. This year, the show has suffered a decline in ratings, which some attribute to O’Donnell’s determination to put the nice girl act aside in favor of a strong political stance on subjects like gun control. ”Why don’t you just say, ‘I’m not going to do it,” Katie Couric asked Rosie. ”Then you’d really make news this morning.” O’Donnell replied, ”All right, I’m not going to do it.”

LEGALESE Ozzy Osbourne isn’t biting the heads off bats these days, but he’s definitely fighting mad. The veteran rocker has filed a $20 million lawsuit over a pay per view telecast of an OZZfest 2000 concert, which he says was taped solely for Internet play. The suit accuses digital music company MCY.com of copyright infringement, trademark dilution, and unlawful appropriation of artists’ names and likenesses, according to the Associated Press. The company, of course, disputes the allegation. ”MCY’s contract with Osbourne Management and our rights to both the Webcast and the broadcast are clear and unambiguous,” the company said in a statement. ”MCY paid Osbourne Management for the pay per view rights to OZZfest 2000 and Osbourne Management will continue to share in the proceeds of the pay per view.” Hopefully, they won’t bring in any character witnesses.

AILING Country star Freddy Fender,63, is suffering from Hepatitis C — and doctors say he is need of a kidney transplant. The Grammy winning singer of ”Before the Next Teardrop Falls” and ”Wasted Days and Wasted Nights” was diagnosed with the disease last Wednesday, according to his publicist. ”His liver is only working at 10 percent,” he said. ”His liver is so damaged he has also experienced kidney problems.”