Johnny Depp

Johnny Depp

By Jill Jackson
HOLLYWOOD … Opie and the King — Ron Howard will join forces with Stephen King when the Oscar-winning director helms the first of three films being made from King’s epic seven-book series, “The Dark Tower.” Howard — little Opie no-more – also will direct the first season of the planned TV series of “The Dark Tower.” This makes a lot of sense when you realize the books have sold more than 20 million copies in 40 countries.

Get ready for 3D movies to invade your living room. Disney needed a television that could show a 3D version of its Johnny Depp hit, “Alice In Wonderland.” Enter Sony, which is desperate to find a way to sell all of us a new Sony Bravia 3D television. The movie industry is determined that every home be equipped to receive 3D. Let us know if you think 3D at home is the coming thing … or the going thing.

And while on Johnny Depp, his “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” is getting special handling. Jerry Bruckheimer, the golden guy who rarely makes anything but top-notch blockbusters (not to mention the “CSI” TV franchise), is having to live down the apparent disappointment of his two summer flicks: “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time,” which made a mere $90 million domestically, and “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice,” which earned just $62 million domestically. (Remember when that was considered a lot of money?) The powers that be have brought in the specialists to make sure nothing goes wrong. The last two “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies made a combined $1.96 billion worldwide, and if the new “Pirates” — due out in May — makes a penny less than the expected $1 billion, heads will really roll!

It seems unusual that The Kennedy Center would honor someone as young and in her prime as Oprah Winfrey. Not that she doesn’t deserve it, but compared to some of the others being honored at the same time — Sir Paul McCartney, Broadway’s Jerry Herman, country music’s Merle Haggard and dancer-choreographer Bill T. Jones — she’s in the middle of her career, especially when you consider she is about to launch her own network. Guess anytime is a good time for a big push! The Kennedy Center Honors will be taped Dec. 5 for a Dec. 28 broadcast on CBS.
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BITS ‘N’ PIECES: The great Woody Allen recently admitted he now makes all his movies in Europe because it’s too expensive to shoot in New York City. What’s next, Woody? BOLLYWOOD? … PBS soon will have a new cartoon series, “The Cat In the Hat Knows a Lot About That,” which will teach kids about science. … And veteran Betty White, who lately seems to turn up everywhere (I’m not complaining, you go, Betty!), will have her biography unfolded in a 32-page comic book — yes, I did say comic book — that will take readers from her radio days, through her life, to her current series “Hot in Cleveland.” It will be out in November and sell for a mere $3.99, a small price to pay for such a rich story!

© 2010 King Features Synd., Inc.