Intruder slips past Britney Spears' home security. Plus, news about Mary J. Blige, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rudy Giuliani, Richard Linklater, Anna Nicole Smith, Conan O'Brien, ''Boston Public,'' and others
SOUND BITES Are the security guards hired to protect Britney Spears‘ Hollywood home sleeping on the job? Monday morning, the guards called the police, saying they were holding an intruder they’d caught in the garage, but when police arrived, the guards ”refused” to press charges, an officer said, so the man was let go. Spears was out of town during the incident, but she told TV’s ”Extra” yesterday that her house’s security system had been inadvertantly turned off during the weekend. Still, she praised the crew, saying, ”This is the first time something like this has happened, so it makes you appreciate your security and the people that are protecting you.” Let’s just hope that trespassers don’t hit her one more time….
It was a big week for Mary J. Blige: new fiance, gig at the Super Bowl, and new top 10 record — sort of. Her new version of last year’s successful ”No More Drama” CD was the only new entry in the top 10 of the Billboard chart this week. The disc, which contains a remix of the title track featuring P. Diddy and two new tracks, including a duet with Ja Rule, leapt 18 spots to No. 10 and sold nearly 62,000 copies (according to SoundScan), adding to the 1.8 million the record sold last year.
Otherwise, the top 10 was a photocopy of last week’s. Alan Jackson‘s ”Drive” topped the charts for a third week, selling 188,725 copies. Creed‘s ”Weathered” held at second (108,575 sold), followed again by Linkin Park‘s ”Hybrid Theory” (90,500 units). At No. 4, Ludacris‘ ”Word of Mouth” was the only top five disc to show a sales spike instead of a drop, up nearly 5,000 copies to 86,175. Nickelback held at No. 5 with ”Silver Side Up” (78,250 sold). Also holding in place, for the third straight week, were Ja Rule’s ”Pain is Love” (No. 6), Nas‘ ”Stillmatic” (No. 7), Usher‘s ”8701” (No. 8), and Pink‘s ”M!ssundaztood” (No. 9).
REEL DEALS Arnold Schwarzengger‘s ”Collateral Damage” continues to provoke ire over its storyline of a firefighter seeking revenge against the Colombian terrorist whose bomb killed his family; both Colombian activists and emergency workers have protested the film. While Colombian-Americans have complained that the film slurs their countrymen as terrorists and drug smugglers, firefighters and cops complain that the film exploiting the plight of the families of rescue workers lost at the World Trade Center to boost the film’s profile. At issue was last night’s New York premiere, which Warner Bros. announced would feature former mayor Rudy Giuliani, police officers, firefighters, EMS workers, and members of the Twin Towers Fund. ”It saddens us any time a tragedy is used to promote anything like a movie,” said Peter Gorman, president of the Uniformed Fire Officers Association. Police union president Pat Lynch said, ”While we have nothing against Mr. Schwarzenegger and his movie, we consider it exploitative and in bad taste to promote the film by associating with the tragedy of Sept. 11.” The studio had to issue another press release, saying that Giuliani, the rescue workers, and the Twin Towers folks were only guests, not sponsors of the screening.
Schwarzenegger answered criticism of the movie yesterday on ”Today,” saying, ”This is a story about what America is doing to Colombia, and what Colombians, a few Colombian terrorists, are doing to America and what damage does it cause.” Still, Warner Bros. banned press from the screening at Schwarzenegger’s request, a studio spokesman said. At the premiere, Giuliani said, ”Let’s see the movie before criticizing it.” That’s a new sentiment for Giuliani, who as mayor frequently criticized works of art (like those at the Brooklyn Museum’s notorious ”Sensation” exhibit, or the play ”Corpus Christi”) without having seen them and routinely threatened to cut city funding to arts organizations that produced or staged controversial shows.
MGM, which vigorously protested New Line’s use of the word ”Goldmember” in the title of the next Austin Powers movie because it allegedly infringed on the copyright of the 1964 James Bond film ”Goldfinger,” made no similar protest over Sony’s ”Slackers,” despite that title’s similarity to 1991’s ”Slacker,” the indie classic that MGM now owns. MGM complained that the word ”Goldmember” would dilute the value of the 007 franchise and successfully lobbied the Motion Picture Association of America to force New Line to drop the title. ”Slacker” director Richard Linklater makes the same argument. ”It’s really distressing,” he told USA Today. ”I was really shocked. I’m looking into legal recourse. I’m checking out if I have any rights here.”