ShoWest 2000 Signs Off

Lord of the Rings, Patriot, Me, Myself and Irene among biggest buzzes

By Marcus Errico, Anderson Jones Mar 11, 2000 1:00 AMTags
LAS VEGAS--The Y2K edition of ShoWest pulled up stakes last night, following a celeb-studded awards presentation to the Oscar-contending likes of Annette Bening, Angelina Jolie, Hilary Swank and Michael Clarke Duncan and residual buzz from the sneak peeks of several would-be blockbusters.

The awards banquet, really just an excuse for photo ops with the previously announced winners, was the final event in the weeklong film-biz pow-wow. Jim Carrey, Ving Rhames and Drew Barrymore were also on hand for the finale.

Designed for theater owners to preview upcoming studio projects, ShoWest had several key defections this year as Warner Bros., Paramount, Disney, DreamWorks, MGM and Universal skipped out on the big-ticket, star-heavy luncheons that this convention-cum-schmoozefest has become known for.

The studios that did show--notably New Line, Sony and 20th Century Fox--trotted out a slew of A-listers to hype future fare.

New Line spoon-fed exhibitors generous portions of Adam Sandler's devil-in-New-York laffer, Little Nicky; the Vince Vaughn-Jennifer Lopez serial-killer thriller, The Cell; and the Chris Tucker-Jackie Chan buddy flick, Rush Hour 2, all of which are due between summer and Christmas. But New Line's hottest clip was for The Lord of the Rings trilogy--the brief frames of finished footage and behind-the-scenes snippets had theater owners whooping it up. The studio has slated the LOTR films for Christmas 2001, 2002 and 2003 releases.

Sony's buzz-worthy entries included Mel Gibson's Revolutionary War epic, The Patriot; the Japanese import Godzilla 2000; Chris O'Donnell's mountain-climbing thriller, Vertical Limit; and Barrymore's big-screen take on Charlie's Angels.

X-Men, space 'toon Titan A.E. and Jim Carrey's return to lunacy in Me, Myself and Irene got the biggest ovations at the Fox presentation, which focused on the studio's short-term slate.

And although they were no-shows for the luncheons, DreamWorks and Paramount did make cameos at the conference's trade show. DreamWorks unspooled a gut-busting clip of the R-rated Road Trip featuring an old man knocking stuff off a coffee table with a certain Viagra-boosted body part; Paramount's extended Mission: Impossible 2 trailer also had theater types salivating.

In industry news, Motion Picture Association of America boss Jack Valenti trumpeted 1999's record $7.5 billion box office (thanks to higher ticket prices, not more admissions), as well as the falling costs of making movies (the average price of a film slipped $1.2 million to $51.5 million last year) and marketing them (down $780,000 to $24.5 million per feature).

As for the show-closing awards, here's a complete rundown of who took home hardware last night: Female Star of the Year: Annette Bening Male Star of the Year: Jim Carrey Comedy Star of the Year: Drew Barrymore Female Star of Tomorrow: Hilary Swank Male Star of Tomorrow: Michael Clarke Duncan Supporting Actress of the Year: Angelina Jolie Supporting Actor of the Year: Ving Rhames Director of the Year: Anthony Minghella Producer of the Year: Armyan Bernstein Screenwriter of the Year: Alan Ball Maestro of the Year: John Williams