By Amy Ryan
June 27, 2005 at 06:28 PM EDT

The weekend’s box office was a test of the idea that (to paraphrase Oscar Wilde) the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about. The second-week victory for Batman Begins, the $20 million-plus opening for Bewitched despite less-than-magical reviews, the $18 million out of the starting gate for Herbie: Fully Loaded (which stars tabloid fixture Lindsay Lohan, left), and the $125 million earned in three weekends by Mr. & Mrs. Smith — all of these indicate that there’s no downside at the box office to negative gossip about the stars. So says an analysis by the New York Times. I’d say the Times is overstating the case; did anyone really think of Batman Begins as a Katie Holmes movie? Still, it seems moviegoers have no trouble separating gossip about the stars from hype about the movie. We’ll know for certain after War of the Worlds opens this week, but I predict that the boycott anticipated by some PopWatch readers who are nauseated by Cruise’s public pronouncements won’t materialize.

addCredit(“Herbie: Fully Loaded: Richard Cartwright”)

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