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Morning Briefing

Arts and Entertainment Reports From The Times, News Services and the Nation's Press

April 02, 1999|SHAUNA SNOW

TV & MOVIES

'Matrix' Filling the Easter Basket: After a somewhat mediocre first quarter for feature film box office, "The Matrix" looks to be a breakout spring hit, based on Warner Bros.' reports of a $5-million opening day Wednesday on 2,704 screens. Although rival studio figures were slightly lower, the Easter recess that began in earnest Thursday night should generate enthusiastic opening-weekend figures for the sci-fi film starring Keanu Reeves. According to Warner Bros. distribution chief Dan Fellman, "Matrix" attracted the expected older and younger male contingent as well as a healthy showing of older females, with positive exit polls all around. Opening day numbers were particularly strong for this time of year: $24,000 to $27,000 in several Manhattan and Los Angeles houses, and $15,000 or better in areas such as Orange County and Santa Clara. Even with normally weak moviegoing on Easter Sunday, some industry sources guesstimate that the film's hefty urban appeal could lead to as much as $20 million for the weekend, pushing the five-day tally toward $30 million. Additionally, Disney reported a solid $1.2 million Wednesday on 2,223 screens for its low-budget teen comedy "10 Things I Hate About You," which is also expected to perform well over Easter break.

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Black Film Nominees: "How Stella Got Her Groove Back" topped the nominees for the Black Film Awards with seven nods, while "Beloved" and "He Got Game" got five nominations each. All three are nominated for best film, along with "Down in the Delta" and "The Negotiator." In the acting categories, the nominees are Taye Diggs ("Stella"), Denzel Washington ("Game"), Danny Glover ("Beloved"), Samuel L. Jackson ("Negotiator") and Larenz Tate ("Why Do Fools Fall in Love"), and Angela Bassett and Whoopi Goldberg (both for "Stella"), Alfre Woodard ("Delta"), and Kimberly Elise and Oprah Winfrey (both for "Beloved"). The annual awards, recognizing the achievements of African Americans in Hollywood, will be presented June 12 during the Acapulco Black Film Festival in Mexico, where Jackson will receive a career achievement award.

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Carson 'Doing Great': Johnny Carson, recovering from quadruple bypass heart surgery, should be home in time for Easter. "He's in good condition. He's doing great," a St. John's Health Center spokeswoman said late Wednesday. "Hopefully, he will be going home by the end of the week." Doctors expect the 73-year-old Carson--who had the surgery at the Santa Monica hospital on March 19--to make a full recovery.

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Sports en Espan~ol: Spanish-language station KVEA-TV will broadcast six Anaheim Angels baseball games this season, beginning with tonight's exhibition game with the Dodgers from Edison International Field. The station also has signed to broadcast four Los Angeles Galaxy soccer matches, beginning with Saturday's 7 p.m. game at San Jose. The contract marks the first local Spanish-language television deal with a Major League Soccer club.

POP/ROCK

Parks No Outkast Fan: Civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks has filed a $25,000 suit against the rap group Outkast because the group titled a song after her. "Her name [is] associated with lyrics that contain vulgarity and profanity that she does not appreciate," Parks' attorney said of the reasons for the suit, which claims the group used Parks' name without permission and asks that her name be removed from all Outkast products. Members of the Atlanta-based Outkast said it was never their intention to defame Parks, who "has inspired our music and our lives since we were children," and that they hope to settle the case amicably. Lyrics to the Grammy-nominated song "Rosa Parks" don't contain her name; Parks' attorney claims the song isn't even about her and called the title an attempt by the group to sell more records.

QUICK TAKES

Writer-director Anna Deavere Smith has decided to join the cast of the Mark Taper Forum's April 9-18 presentation of her new work-in-progress, "House Arrest: An Introgression." . . . The San Diego Museum of Art has appointed Don Bacigalupi as its director, effective this summer. Bacigalupi--who replaces the retiring Steve Brezzo, who led the museum for nearly 20 years--is director and chief curator of the University of Houston's Blaffer Gallery. Meanwhile, Caron Smith, the museum's deputy director of administration and curator of Asian art, will serve as interim director until Bacigalupi's arrival.

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