Hugh Grant turns trouble around -- The star of ''Nine Months'' fares well with fans at the box office

By Kate Meyers and Casey Davidson
Updated July 28, 1995 at 04:00 AM EDT

If nothing else, the July 12 opening of Nine Months, starring Hugh Grant, proves an old adage: There’s no such thing as bad publicity. Despite Grant’s naughty act with prostitute Divine Brown, an event that ignited an O.J.-eclipsing media blitz, the result was unanimous: 100 percent of the men and women in our unscientific sidewalk poll at theaters in Boulder, Colo., and Middletown, R.I., absolved the blushing Brit and lauded him for delivering on screen once again. ”I?m a fan, and I thought he did a great job,” enthused one 13-year-old Rhode Island girl. ”I still think he’s clever, witty, and charming,” said a Boulder man.

And while one housewife felt the Sunset Boulevard incident was ”blown out of proportion” (”I’m all for legalizing prostitution — what the hell,” she added), others believed the negative publicity may even have fueled the film, which registered $16.3 million at the box office in its first five days. ”I might not have seen [Nine Months] if it hadn’t been for all the attention,” offered a male psychologist. Yet a Divine encounter might not boost just any actor’s career. As one Portsmouth, R.I., male of 18 — whose mother was clutching an autographed photo of herself with Grant — put it: ”I had to forgive him. I love him. I mean, it’s Hugh. He’s perfect.” Are you listening Ms. Hurley?