Rolling Over the Competition: The Rolling Stones won the battle of the stadium tours this year in North America, grossing nearly $11 million more than U2 at the box office, according to Performance magazine, which released preliminary figures Friday on its annual year-end concert industry tally. The Stones grossed nearly $87 million in 33 shows, while U2 grossed about $76 million in 43 shows. While U2 actually drew more fans (approximately 1.5 million to the Stones’ 1.4 million), the Stones tickets carried a higher price in most markets. Metallica and Fleetwood Mac finished third and fourth with about $36 million each, based on 82 and 44 dates, respectively. The Reba McEntire/Brooks & Dunn tour grossed $33 million in 69 stops. Garth Brooks finished sixth with a gross of $26 million in 109 shows. Brooks actually drew about the same number of fans as the Stones, but his tickets are normally priced at $18, less than a third of the Stones’ average top price.
Music Center Premiere: James Bond will take in culture in a big way when MGM premieres “Tomorrow Never Dies,” starring Pierce Brosnan, on Tuesday at the Music Center’s Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. An MGM spokeswoman said the studio chose to break with the usual premiere sites such as Hollywood’s Mann’s Chinese because “James Bond is a very special movie franchise, in a class by itself, and it deserves something really special.” Plus, the spokeswoman said, the Chandler’s auditorium and ballroom are one of the few sites where up to 2,000 people can view the screening and attend the post-party without having to walk outside--thus risking an encounter with rain (a force that even Bond could be powerless to stop). The last Bond flick, “GoldenEye,” premiered at New York’s Radio City Music Hall.
Another Spielberg Suit: Steven Spielberg--currently fighting author Barbara Chase-Riboud over the origins of his new movie “Amistad"--has been hit with another lawsuit, this one by an unemployed video maker who claims the director ripped off his work for 1994’s “The Pagemaster.” Jay L. Rappoport alleges that “The Pagemaster,” which starred Macaulay Culkin, lifted scenes from Rappoport’s 1992 video “Critical Scrutiny.” In both projects, characters from classic novels come to life. Spielberg attorney Marshall B. Grossman said he had not yet received a copy of the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in New Jersey.
Sold!: A two-day auction of the personal effects of the late composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein brought more than $1.1 million at Sotheby’s New York auction house this week. The top lot was a signed Bosendorfer ebonized semi-concert grand piano that fetched $387,500, far surpassing its top pre-sale estimate of $80,000. Among other items, four conductors’ batons sold for a total of $49,450, including an ivory, gold, ruby and diamond number that went for $18,400. Auction proceeds will benefit the Bernstein Education Through the Arts Fund.
‘Bastard’ Support: Author Tabitha King, the wife of horrormeister Stephen King, is among those funding the distribution of free copies of the controversial novel “Bastard Out of Carolina” to students in several Maine high schools. (The 1992 book, an autobiographical novel by Dorothy Allison that deals with a young girl’s experiences with incest, was the basis of last year’s critically acclaimed Showtime movie directed by Anjelica Huston.) The plan is a protest against attempts to ban the novel’s use in the classroom and against a recent ruling by the Maine Supreme Court granting school boards broad power to limit how the book can be taught.
Tube Notes: Award-winning political and media analyst Jeff Greenfield is leaving ABC for CNN, where he will be based in New York. Greenfield will begin work for the cable channel in January. Also joining CNN in January is Judd Rose, a former correspondent for ABC’s “PrimeTime Live.” . . . Former “Baywatch” babe Pamela Lee is getting her own weekly syndicated series, “V.I.P.,” set to premiere next fall on Fox stations including KTTV-TV Channel 11. Lee will play the flamboyant head of a personal security firm; J.F. Lawton, who wrote “Pretty Woman,” is the writer and executive producer. . . . Paramount Television’s “The Howie Mandel Show,” a daily syndicated talk show scheduled to premiere next June on KCBS-TV Channel 2, will be produced at NBC’s Studio 1 in Burbank, the former home of “The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson.” (Jay Leno’s “Tonight Show” is taped in a different studio.) The set is already familiar to Mandel, who made more than 20 guest appearances on Carson’s show. . . . CBS is again flopping its freshman drama, “Dellaventura,” with “48 Hours.” Starting next week, the Danny Aiello series returns to Tuesday at 10 p.m., and the news magazine moves back to Thursday at 10 p.m.
Cable’s MTV will show a 90-minute Oasis concert, performed in the British group’s hometown of Manchester, on Sunday at 10 p.m. . . . David Mamet’s “Oleanna” will fill the last vacancy in South Coast Repertory’s current season, running March 6 to April 5 on the Second Stage. . . . “ER” star Noah Wyle has been named one of two artistic producers of the Blank Theatre Company. One of Hollywood’s more prominent sub-100-seat companies, Blank operates out of 2nd Stage on Santa Monica Boulevard.