Arts and entertainment reports from The Times, national and international news services and the nation’s press.
‘101' Box Office: “101 Dalmatians” appears on its way to breaking a Thanksgiving box-office record, with Disney officials projecting Friday that it will finish the five-day holiday weekend taking in $45 million. (The previous record-holder was “Back to the Future II,” which grossed $43 million in 1989.) The dappled doggy movie, which is playing on 2,794 screens, took in $11.8 million Wednesday and Thursday, but officials said the biggest family moviegoing business traditionally kicks in Thursday night and continues through Sunday. The live-action movie, starring Glenn Close, was expected to surpass Disney’s “Toy Story,” which opened on Thanksgiving weekend last year. “Toy Story” grossed $39.8 million on 2,457 screens in its first five days, $9.9 million of that on Wednesday and Thursday.
So What Will a Dozen Buy?: Has all that early Christmas shopping left you too broke to spring for a movie? Well, according to Russia’s Itar-Tass newspaper, authorities in a small Siberian agricultural community apparently feel the pain of their townsfolk, and have started accepting eggs--yes the kind you keep in your refrigerator before scrambling--as payment for movie tickets. Workers from the collective farm in Klyuchi, who, like many Russian workers, have not been paid for months, now can pay two eggs to watch films instead of the usual entrance fee of 14 cents. And the system appears to be paying off, because the cinema’s showings are now full. But it remains unknown what happens to the eggs; a cinema spokesman said that was a “commercial secret.”
Giving Thanks for Earplugs: A whopping 2,854 youngsters from all over Britain pounded drums, strummed instruments and blew into horns, trumpets and oboes on Thursday to set a record as the world’s largest orchestra. Noted conductor Simon Rattle attempted to keep the children in harmony as they topped a record set July 14 by 2,023 musicians from various British orchestras. British actor and musician Dudley Moore conceived the idea after providing the voice for a cartoon piano character named Oscar, who promotes music for children.
Attitudes on Gays: The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation is speaking out against radio station KROQ-FM (106.7), which it claims has aired “several anti-gay incidents,” including “liberal use of [a] hateful slur” on its “Kevin & Bean” morning show. In a media release, the group claims that despite three separate letters sent to KROQ management, the show’s hosts, Kevin Ryder and Gene “Bean” Baxter, “somehow think that anti-gay epithets make a good punch line.” KROQ General Manager Trip Reeb, acknowledging that such comments have occasionally been made on the air, told The Times, “we allow our personalities to express their opinions, but don’t as a radio station necessarily endorse their attitude on the air.” However, Reeb said: “If I believed that there was a pervasive anti-gay sentiment around the station, that is something I would unquestionably deal with. . . . We certainly don’t wish to offend the gay community, but Kevin and Bean have protected rights under the 1st Amendment and we staunchly protect those rights.” The morning show hosts could not be reached for comment.
Home With the Viewers: NBC’s annual Thanksgiving-night telecast of Macaulay Culkin’s “Home Alone” again bashed the prime-time competition in the ratings, attracting 23% of the available audience in 35 major cities monitored by Nielsen Media Research. That compares to 12% for CBS’ presentation of the restored “My Fair Lady.” ABC, meanwhile, drew 18% of the audience with an episode of “Home Improvement” but only 13% for a half-hour special promoting “101 Dalmatians,” the new movie released by ABC’s parent company, Walt Disney.
Change in Lineup: KCBS-TV Channel 2 will show repeats of “Hard Copy” and “Real Stories of the Highway Patrol” from 3-4 p.m. weekdays beginning Jan. 6, followed by Geraldo Rivera’s talk show. Off the schedule will be the magazine show “Day & Date,” which has been canceled. . . . ABC brings back the animated “Winnie the Pooh” to its Saturday-morning schedule starting Jan. 6, replacing the Disney series “Flash Forward.”
The upheaval continues at classical radio station KUSC-FM (91.5), as the station’s afternoon host, Rene Engel, has been let go less than one year after moving to KUSC from KPCC-FM (89.3). Engel said Friday that he was told his dismissal was “content-related” and not because of the station’s ongoing financial difficulties. Station management could not be reached for comment. . . . The Hollywood Women’s Press Club has nominated Michael Jackson, Dennis Rodman and Howard Stern for its Sour Apple Award, given annually to “the entertainer considered the most uncooperative or presenting the worst image of Hollywood.” The “winner” will be named Dec. 15. . . . A female farmhand who was fired in May from her job at country singer Wynonna’s Nashville property, has sued the singer and her husband, Arch Kelley, for sexual harassment and discrimination. Among her claims, Andria Surles accuses the couple of making suggestive comments about her buttocks. Wynonna’s spokesperson could not be reached for comment. . . . Legendary singer Curtis Mayfield will chat with fans at 6:30 p.m. Monday at Warner Bros. Records’ America Online forum (keyword: Warner).