July 05, 1993|BETH KLEID | Arts and entertainment reports from The Times, national and international news services and the nation's press

'The Firm' Beats Box Officosaurus Rex: "Jurassic Park" did reach the $200 million mark during the weekend, but the box-office powerhouse has already fallen from the No. 1 spot. "The Firm," Paramount's legal thriller starring Tom Cruise, gained a firm hold on No. 1 with a $26-million gross, according to early industry estimates. Universal's "Jurassic Park" was in second place for the first time since it opened three weeks ago, with $20 million. In third, TriStar's romantic comedy "Sleepless in Seattle" with $12 million. The rest of the box office results from the long Fourth of July weekend will be printed on Tuesday.

* Little Bro on the Big Screen: Roger Clinton's film career is going strong. President Clinton's little brother has been cast in his second role--he'll star as Mayor Bubba in "Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings." He'll also write and sing the film's theme song. The movie, from the Motion Picture Corp. of America, is due out in time for Halloween. Clinton will also appear in "National Lampoon's Last Resort."


* Campion's Tragedy: The newborn son of film director Jane Campion, who became the first woman to win the Golden Palm at the Cannes Film Festival last month, died last week at age 10 days. Campion, who won the award for "The Piano," had flown home to Australia from Cannes to rest before the baby's birth. Her son, Jasper, died in his parents' arms, Campion's agent said in a statement. The New Zealand-born Campion's film stars Holly Hunter and Sam Neill; it opened last month in France to box-office success.

* The Honeymooners: Julia Roberts says new hubby Lyle Lovett is no ugly duckling. Here's the scoop from Lovett's Friday concert at Northrop Auditorium in Minneapolis: Lovett sang his song "She's Hot to Go," which includes a phrase "This girl is so ugly" (during the song he crowned Roberts with a cowboy hat onstage). Lovett's backup singers retorted in his direction, "You are too." Then Roberts grabbed the mike and stood by her man. "No, he's not," she said.


* Hola Geraldo: "Geraldo" is going bilingual. The talk show will be available in Spanish on a separate audio track to TV sets capable of receiving second audio programming telecasts. It will be the first nationally syndicated talk show to be telecast in Spanish.

* Joke Watch: The Center for Media and Public Affairs says President Clinton was the target of 323 jokes by the late-nighters Jay Leno and David Letterman between Jan. 1 and May 31--more than twice the 115 that then-President Bush and then-Vice President Quayle together attracted from the two NBC late-night shows four years ago. Clinton was the target of six times the number of jokes made about Vice President Gore, the runner-up in the group's "joke watch" with 55.


* Nunsensical: A production of "Nunsense" will play the Westwood Playhouse Aug. 11-Sept. 5, featuring Loretta Devine as Sister Mary Hubert and director Robin Taylor as Sister Mary Amnesia. Previews begin Aug. 4.


* Debt Rockers: Two nonprofit groups have come up with a creative way to reduce the huge national debt. Get ready for "Rock the Debt," a rock concert put on by San Diego-based Challenge America Now and the Washington-based Fund to End the Deficit Inc., along with Hal Uplinger, the producer of the 1985 Live Aid concert. Participating groups will be announced later. Organizers say they're not expecting to eliminate the debt with the February concert, only to send a message that it's time to tackle it.


* Don Gibson, Merle Haggard, Harlan Howard, Willie Nelson and Ray Price are this year's finalists for the Country Music Hall of Fame. The winner, chosen by an anonymous committee from the Country Music Assn., will be announced Sept. 29 during the group's 27th annual awards show on CBS. . . . Former "In the Heat of the Night" co-star Anne-Marie Johnson will show off her comedy skills next season when she joins the ensemble cast of Fox' "In Living Color."

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