John Horn

Newsmakers

On the Trail of 'X-Men'No fewer than four Marvel comic books will be teleported into movies next year: "Daredevil," "Hulk," "The Punisher" and "X2," the sequel to "X-Men," the 2000 blockbuster that started the superhero stampede.

Hollywood: The New Movie Math

Hollywood seems to set a new box-office record every weekend. Or is it just concocting them? "Signs" was "the biggest debut for a film starring Mel Gibson." "Austin Powers in Goldmember" claimed "the biggest opening ever for a comedy and the biggest July opening for a movie of any genre." "Scooby-Doo" was "the best June opening for a movie based on a cartoon show starring a crimefighting Great Dane." (OK, we made that one up.)What the studios aren't saying is that in the second weekend, most of...

Hanks Hits The 'Road' To Ruin

Is it really true? Our sweet Tommy Hanks, cast as a cold-blooded hit man? Yes, for "The Road to Perdition," Hanks adds a pencil-thin mustache and 10 tons of moral baggage to play Michael Sullivan, a 1930s-era Chicago mobster who, along with his eldest son, sets out for revenge after his wife and young boy are murdered. "The simple line is, 'Tom Hanks kills people!

Swinging Into Summer

Happily married Diane Lane has an affair with a piping-hot book dealer (Olivier Martinez), and husband Richard Gere--well, let's just say he doesn't take it well.

The Empire Bounces Back

You want a free tie? Here, take one. Take three! Just be forewarned: They've got Yoda on them. And Jar Jar Binks. And Anakin Skywalker, the cheeky little punk from "The Phantom Menace"--the one you probably wanted to muffle, ideally with the tie.

December Delusions

It's the most agonizing split-second in show business. As millions of television viewers and thousands of panicky filmmakers look on, the Academy Award presenter grips the envelope, breaks open its seal and announces the winner.

The Flip Side Of A Flop

Four days before the Walt Disney Co. opened "Monsters, Inc.," Attorney General John Ashcroft went on national television to alert the country of the potential for "additional terrorist attacks." The vague--and, to some, chilling--warning did little to deter moviegoers.

Heeeeeeere's Harry!

Brendan Vinnicombe lives, breathes and trick-or-treats Harry Potter. The 8-year-old has read all four of J. K. Rowling's books (and no, you may not borrow any of them).

Periscope

In investigating the Sept. 11 attack, few tasks are more difficult--and potentially more ominous--than unraveling the role of a mysterious Iraqi official named Ahmed Khalil Ibrahim Samir al-Ani.

L.A. Story

In Richard Greenberg's 1988 play "Eastern Standard," a Manhattan restaurant patron flags down an attractive waitress by calling out, "Oh, actress!" The server stops dead in her tracks to take his order.

Virgin Loses Its Innocence

It's a rock-and-roll saga tailor-made for VH1's "Behind the Music." A distinguished British record mogul shepherds his 19-year-old girlfriend into a powerful position at his label, provoking the ire of several colleagues.

Moviemaking's New Math

When Disney opens its fairy-tale story "The Princess Diaries" on Aug. 3, the studio is confident young girls will stampede movie theaters. But the film's ultimate performance will rest on whether dad merely unloads his daughter at the curb or parks the SUV and buys himself a ticket as well.

Periscope

EXCLUSIVE The Reviewer Who Wasn't There David Manning of The Ridgefield Press is one of Columbia Pictures' most reliable reviewers, praising Heath Ledger of "A Knight's Tale" as "this year's hottest new star!" and saluting "The Animal" as "another winner!" The studio plastered Manning's raves over at least four different movie advertisements, including "Hollow Man" and "Vertical Limit." But Manning's own life story should be called "Charade," because he doesn't exist.

Blockbuster At Sony

Sony Pictures suspended Thursday two employees without pay for one month for their alleged role in the scandal over a manufactured movie critic who provided fictional quotes on four Sony movies.Sony did not identify the two employees, but four sources familiar with the investigation said the senior executive is Josh Goldstine, Sony's senior executive vice president for advertising.

The Reviewer Who Wasn't There

David Manning of The Ridgefield Press is one of Columbia Pictures' most reliable reviewers, praising Heath Ledger of "A Knight's Tale" as "this year's hottest new star!" and saluting "The Animal" as "another winner!" The studio plastered Manning's raves over at least four different movie advertisements, including "Hollow Man" and "Vertical Limit." But Manning's own life story should be called "Charade," because he doesn't exist.

The Land Of Baz

Inside the house of Iona, Baz Luhrmann's magnificent estate on a Sydney hill, the Australian director paces in a huge room as night falls, sorting out a dance routine as the '70s anthem "Children of the Revolution" blares from a boom box.

Where The Action Isn't

Art imitates life--and so, it turns out, do Sylvester Stallone movies. The actor's new drama, "Driven," tells the heroic story of Jimmy Bly, an auto racer who must overcome both personal doubts and a cocky rival to win a championship.

The Coming Storm

As hundreds of advertisers streamed into ABC's season preview last week, the background music included the theme from "Goldfinger." The promised lineup included new series from "Seinfeld's" Jason Alexander and producer Steven Bochco.

Movieland's Mystery Man

The cost of movie tickets just soared to a wallet-busting $10 in Manhattan, a large popcorn and soda will set you back as much as two Happy Meals, and for all that you get Kevin Costner's psychotic Elvis impersonator in "3,000 Miles to Graceland." Does anyone think going to the movies is a good deal?

Arts Extra: Food Fight!

It's not quite as bloody as Hannibal vs. the FBI. But the stakes in this duel at your local multiplex are higher-billions of dollars a year-and the competition is sometimes just as ruthless.

The Pick Of The Glitter

Oscar Nominees The ceremony will be on March 25 BEST PICTURE 'Chocolat' 'Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon' 'Erin Brockovich'BEST ACTRESS Joan Allen, 'The Contender' Juliette Binoche, 'Chocolat' Ellen Burstyn, 'Requiem for a Dream' Laura Linney, 'You Can Count on Me'BEST DIRECTOR Stephen Daldry, 'Billy Elliot' Ang Lee, 'Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon' Ridley Scott, 'Gladiator' Steven Soderbergh, 'Erin Brockovich'BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR Jeff Bridges, 'The Contender' Willem Dafoe, 'Shadow of the...

Robert Downey Jr. Takes One Day At A Time

Early in "The Last Party," Robert Downey Jr.'s 1993 documentary about the Clinton-Bush presidential contest, the actor gives a startling description of his own internal psychic face-off. "I call it the Good Boy and the Goat Boy," he says in a voice-over. "You know, those parts of me that are only out for my own instant gratification.

Where's The Beef?

What was scarier in "The Silence of the Lambs": Anthony Hopkins strapped into his grotesque face mask--or without it, his teeth ready to tear into a succulent chunk of human flesh?

Downey And Out Again

Starring in a hit television show is full-time work. So is staying sober when you are a recovering addict. Over Thanksgiving weekend in a swank desert hotel, Robert Downey Jr.