Sideshow | 'Silver Surfer' arrives in the top spot

Posted: June 18, 2007

Hollywood's superhero foursome is still fantastic at the box office.

The 20th Century Fox sequel Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer debuted as the No. 1 weekend flick with $57.4 million in sales, slightly surpassing the $56.1 million opening of Fantastic Four two years ago, according to studio estimates yesterday.

Among other new wide releases, a favorite teen detective had trouble finding an audience as the Warner Bros. mystery Nancy Drew premiered with a so-so $7.1 million to finish at No. 7.

Opening in narrower release was the Weinstein Co. thriller DOA: Dead or Alive, an adaptation of the martial-arts video game that pulled in just $232,000. Playing in 505 theaters, DOA averaged a paltry $460 a cinema, compared with $14,499 in 3,959 theaters for Fantastic Four and $2,732 in 2,612 locations for Nancy Drew.

Despite the big opening for Fantastic Four, Hollywood revenues slipped for the third straight weekend.

After a surge early this year, attendance has slipped to just a fraction ahead of 2006, diminishing prospects of a record summer that many analysts had predicted.

Rosie to replace Bob?

Bob Barker collected his 19th Emmy for outstanding game-show host on Friday night, synching up precisely with his final appearance as Price is Right host, Variety reports. "This proves that the judges have sympathy for an old man who doesn't have a job," Barker quipped in accepting the award. Backstage, the TV icon confirmed that Rosie O'Donnell, despite the View alum's coldly received trade-mag campaign to get the gig, may still be in the running to come on down as the new host. "I do believe they are going to have a meeting with her," he told reporters.

'Junior' Gotti relocating to the South

John "Junior" Gotti is selling his estate and preparing for an eventual move to the South, far from the region where his father was a notorious mob boss.

Gotti, 43, plans to place the 1.96-acre property in Oyster Bay Cove - on Long Island about 30 miles east of the city - on the market in two weeks, The New York Post reported in yesterday's editions.

"We're finishing fixing it up," Gotti told the newspaper. "I can't afford the upkeep."

Gotti spent more than $1 million defending himself in three federal trials against charges that he ordered the 1992 kidnapping of radio-show host and Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa, said his lawyer Charles Carnesi. The trials ended with deadlocked juries and prosecutors decided not to try again. Prosecutors said Sliwa, who survived several gunshot wounds, was attacked in retribution for his on-air rants against Gotti's father, former Gambino family boss John Gotti.

The Oyster Bay Cove property includes a four-bedroom mansion, a guest house, an in-ground pool, a wine cellar and a horse barn.

Drug courts save lives, Sheen says

Martin Sheen says a drug court saved the life of a friend of his who was self-destructing from drug and alcohol abuse. The actor was in Washington last week to urge Congress to provide funding for drug courts, which provide addicts with lifesaving alternatives to prison.

Sheen told George Stephanopoulos in an interview that aired yesterday on ABC's This Week that he used his friend, whom he did not name, as an example as someone whose addiction could have led to death.

"At a critical point, I had to decide who would speak at the funeral, who should carry the casket," he said. "You have to be prepared to say 'I did everything that I possibly could.'

"Well, I had not yet. I had one more option, and that was drug court. That's what saved his life, and mine," Sheen said. He said a large percentage of prison inmates are incarcerated for committing crime under the influence of drugs and alcohol.

"The monies that are spent on drug court and training and in rehab, the dollars are the biggest bargain you can possibly get in public health."

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This column contains information from Web sites and Inquirer wire services.

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