''Star Wars''' opening tally was inflated. Plus, news about Martin Scorsese, Jennifer Lopez, Ben Affleck, Kevin Smith, Michael Jackson, Pierce Brosnan, Sean Penn, ''Survivor,'' Destiny's Child, Dido, The Strokes, and others
Hayden Christensen, Star Wars: Episode II -- Attack of the Clones
Credit: Star Wars Episode 2: Attack of the Clones: © & TM Lucasfilm Ltd., All Rights Reserved

REEL DEALS All is not quite so rosy for ”Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones.” ‘s estimate that the movie earned $116 million in its first four days were over optimistic by about $6 million ($4 million on Sunday and $2 million on Saturday). That’s a steeper falloff than for ”Episode One,” which was the model Fox used to guess this weekend’s grosses. While studios often inflate their opening-weekend guesses, $6 million is an unusually large overestimate. Still, ”Clones” retains its titles as the weekend champ, the second fastest movie ever to reach $100 million (after ”Spider-Man”), and the third best three-day debut weekend (after ”Spider-Man” and ”Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”).

The 20-minute preview thing worked so well at Cannes last year for New Line’s Christmas release, ”The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring,” that it’s no wonder Miramax tried it this year with its December opus, Martin Scorsese‘s long-awaited ”Gangs of New York.” The footage from the 160-minute feature won strong applause at Monday’s screening. Still, afterwards, reporters couldn’t stop asking Scorsese and Miramax mogul Harvey Weinstein about the movie’s difficult production history, with its cost overruns, long delays, and clashes between Scorsese and Weinstein (all of which Entertainment Weekly reported on at length here). Weinstein, who’s been playing nice in the press lately and downplaying his tussles with Scorsese, has apparently reached his limit on this topic, saying, ”This whole story is totally f—ing exaggerated.” He added, ”This is an attempt at art,” unlike ”half the s— you see in goddamn Hollywood.”…

Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck apparently enjoyed working together so much on the upcoming thriller ”Gigli” that they’re going to do it again. They’re in talks to co-star in ”Jersey Girl,” the latest from frequent Affleck director Kevin Smith. The Jersey guy’s movie will be about a man dealing with the changes wrought in his life by a new wife and daughter. George Carlin, who appeared opposite Affleck in Smith’s ”Dogma” and ”Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back,” may play Affleck’s father. Shooting would begin in late summer or early fall, after Affleck finishes ”Daredevil.”…

Michael Jackson keeps making movie deals, even though the closest he’s come in decades to making a film has been his upcoming cameo in ”Men in Black 2.” Still, he continues to announce projects; the latest is a werewolf movie he’d produce and star in called ”Wolfed.” Jackson says he’s already enlisted Oscar-winning makeup artist Rick Baker, whose best-known monsterpieces include the makeup he did for Jackson’s ”Thriller” video and for ”An American Werewolf in London.”…

Making the scene at Cannes, Pierce Brosnan has announced two movies in which he’ll star and produce. One is the medieval adventure epic ”The Legend of Lochenbar,” based on the poem by Sir Walter Scott. The other is a romantic comedy called ”Laws of Attraction,” about two feuding divorce lawyers. Brosnan has also said he’d like to make a fifth James Bond movie; his fourth, ”Die Another Day,” opens in November….

Gangs of New York
  • Movie
  • 165 minutes