HOLLYWOOD

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Johnny Depp

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HOLLYWOOD —  Johnny Depp, one of the highest paid actors in Hollywood, has box-office woes. His latest film, “Transcendence,” has all the earmarks of being a dud. The film cost $100 million to make, but only took in $11.1 million its first weekend, which translates to being an underachiever. Two other recent films didn’t fare well either. “The Rum Diary” cost $45 million but only made $24 million, and even though “The Lone Ranger,” which cost $250 million, earned $260.5 million, it didn’t cover publicity and advertising costs. Depp’s only hope to remain on top is the success of his upcoming films: “Into the Woods,” “Mortdecai,” “Black Mass,” “Mortimer Wintergreen” and the sequels to “Alice in Wonderland” and “Pirates of the Caribbean.”
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We knew when we saw a woman and a man, on the news, who’d been surgically altered to look like Barbie and Ken, it wouldn’t be long before Mattel partnered with a studio like Sony Pictures to give us a live-action Barbie film. If it succeeds, it will become a new franchise for them.
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If you love Bette Midler and want to know her innermost thoughts as she prepared for a European tour, then “A View from A Broad,” written by The Divine Miss M herself, is for you. It’s an often amusing and informative account of taking on the “broad” challenge of playing European cities where you don’t speak the language.

In 1993, Midler played Mama Rose in a TV version of “Gypsy.” The original Mama Rose in “Gypsy” was the legendary Ethel Merman (1959). She starred on Broadway as Annie Oakley in Irving Berlin’s “Annie Get Your Gun” in 1946, and in a hit revival in 1966, as well as “Hello Dolly” in 1970. Film buffs may remember her from “Call Me Madam” (1953), “There’s No Business Like Show Business” with Marilyn Monroe (1954), “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World” (1963), and her last film, “Airplane” (1980).

In a new book, Tony Cointreau, heir of the French liqueur family, writes about befriending Agnes Bojaxhue, better known as Mother Teresa, and his mentor and “other mother,” Ethel Merman. He shares his experiences at Mother Teresa’s facilities in the U.S. and Calcutta, India. He also was with Ethel Merman backstage during the creation of “Gypsy.” “Ethel Merman, Mother Teresa … And Me” is available at Amazon in hardcover and for Kindle.

Merman had a wry sense of humor. In her memoirs, she wrote a chapter about her highly
publicized marriage to Oscar-winning actor Ernest Borgnine. The marriage ended on their honeymoon. You turn to that chapter in the book, and it’s only one page … and blank!

© 2014 King Features Synd., Inc.

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