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March 1998



2
Two New Zealand playwrights file a lawsuit in Los Angeles claiming that the year's most profitable film, The Full Monty, is based on their 1987 play, Ladies Night. Andrew McCarten and Stephen Sinclair are seeking all profits from the film, as well as future earnings from television and video sales. The film's producers and distributor, Fox Searchlight, deny the claim, saying it's a frivolous suit timed to coincide with the Oscars. The film is once again in the news, as it has been nominated for Best Picture and Best Director. Producer Uberto Pasolini said “the film is a wholly, completely original piece of work. No one connected with the film has seen the play.” In recent months, both Amistad and Twister have been the center of plagiarism suits, both of which were settled in favor of the filmmakers.
4
Jodie Foster announces that she's pregnant, though she doesn't disclose daddy's name. “I couldn't be happier,” the actress/director/producer said. “But no, I'm not going to discuss the father, the method or anything of that nature.” The baby is due in September.
5
Producers of Paul Simon's much-maligned Capeman announce the $11-million musical will close March 28, after running only two months. The opening of the musical about Salvador Agron, who, at age 16, killed two teenagers on a New York playground, was delayed twice, has endured three different directors and was entirely retooled before its January premiere.
7
Yet another milestone for Titanic. James Cameron wins the 50th Annual Directors Guild of America Feature Film Award for his mega-hit, mega-budget disaster-epic, Titanic. This bodes well for him for an Oscar; only four times in DGA history has the winner not gone on to take home the Academy Award for direction. The television awards go to Andy Ackerman for the Seinfeld episode “The Betrayal” and Barbara Kopple for Homicide: Life on the Street's “Documentary” episode.
8
As Good as It Gets' Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt win best actor honors at the Screen Actors Guild Awards. Kim Basinger and Gloria Stuart tie in the best supporting actress category for their roles in L.A. Confidential and Titanic, respectively. In the television awards, ER wins for best drama ensemble and Seinfeld takes the award for best comedy ensemble.
9
Legendary actor Lloyd Bridges dies of natural causes at his Los Angeles home. He was 85. His film credits include High Noon, Sea Hunt and Airplane! The gritty actor began his acting career in theater in the 1930s and made his film debut in 1941's forgettable The Lone Wolf Takes a Chance.
12
In a move that recalls the holdouts by the casts of Seinfeld and Friends, several actors who provide the voices of The Simpsons characters threaten to walk from the show unless they receive substantial pay increases. Nancy Cartwright, Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Yeardley Smith, Hank Azaria and Harry Shearer reportedly earn about $30,000 per episode and are looking to make more than $100,000 each show.
14
Model prisoner Christian Slater earns a get-out-of-jail-early card, having served 59 days of his 90-day sentence for assault. “All I want to do is stay sober and help others do the same,” the actor said. He was sentenced to three months in jail after pleading no contest in December to assaulting his then-girlfriend and a police officer and to being under the influence of drugs during an August brouhaha. He was released three weeks early for his good behavior behind bars.
15
In a potentially profitable twist of fate, an ad for the upcoming Primary Colors runs during 60 Minutes, just after Kathleen Willey's tell-all interview in which she claimed she was the victim of unwanted sexual advances from President Clinton. CBS said the placement of the ad was a “fluke.”
16
The countdown is finally over. After a record-setting straight 13 weeks as the country's No. 1 film at the box office, Titanic surpasses Star Wars as the highest-grossing U.S. film of all time. James Cameron's epic has grossed $471.4 million, while the sci-fi classic has earned $461 million domestically.
Alan Parker confirms he has signed on to direct the big-screen adaptation of Frank McCourt's best-selling, Pulitzer-Prize-winning Angela's Ashes for Paramount Pictures.
Watch out Quentin, there are new kids in town. Good Will Hunting ousts Pulp Fiction as Miramax's highest-grossing film of all time. Good Will has earned $109.8 million domestically, topping Pulp Fiction's $107.9 million.
19
Major League Baseball owners approve Rupert Murdoch's Fox Group's purchase of the Los Angeles Dodgers for a reported $350 million. The sole dissenter in the National League is, not surprisingly, Ted Turner, who owns the Atlanta Braves and has been engaged in a bitter, often childish, battle with Murdoch.
20
George Clooney drops a bomb on ER faithfuls when he tells Howard Stern that the 1998–1999 season will be his last as Dr. Doug Ross on the top-rated medical drama.
21
Robert Duvall cleans up at the Independent Spirit Awards, the laid back, hip alternative to the Oscars. Duvall's The Apostle,which he wrote, directed, starred in and bankrolled, wins Best Picture, and he also gets top directing and acting honors. Julie Christie takes the Best Actress award for her role in Afterglow.
22
Kevin Costner and his The Postman sweep the Razzies, the annual awards that laud Hollywood's most sorry films of the year. The film takes Worst Movie, Worst Actor, Worst Director and Worst Screenplay. For the second year in a row, Demi Moore earns the dubious distinction of being dubbed Worst Actress, this time for her role in G.I. Jane.
23
It's a night of few upsets and less controversy (even the gowns are conservative), with Titanic capturing 11 Academy Awards, tying the record set by 1960's Ben-Hur. The year's most talked-about, most expensive and highest grosser of all time takes Best Picture, Best Director, Best Editing, Best Score and Best Song, along with a slew of technical awards. Helen Hunt and Jack Nicholson both bring home best acting trophies for their turns in As Good as It Gets. “It” boys of the moment, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, who wrote and starred in Good Will Hunting, win Best Screenplay honors.
What a day for Helen Hunt. Not only does she win a Best Actress Oscar, she also signs a lucrative contract to return to Mad About You for a seventh season. Both she and co-star (and executive producer) Paul Reiser will earn about $1 million per episode, up from the $250,000 they currently receive.
27
Things just got brighter for The X-Files — literally. Chris Carter, the show's creator and executive producer, announces that starting next season, the show will move from rainy Vancouver to sunny Los Angeles. This comes as no big shock, as David Duchovny had threatened to bail unless the show relocated so he could be closer to his wife, Téa Leoni, who starred in the recently cancelled The Naked Truth.
Will the awards season ever end? Pharmacia & Upjohn, the drug company that makes Rogaine, announces the First Annual Rogaine Hair Awards for “the best-tressed male and female stars at the Academy Awards.” Minnie Driver and Arnold Schwarzenegger share the Fullest Hair prize, while Oscar-winner Kim Basinger and Alec Baldwin are named Best-Tressed Couple.
30
Former star Macaulay Culkin and Broadway actress Rachel Miner announce plans to marry. Don't fret, you're not getting old; the lovebirds are only age 17. No date has been announced.

Information Please® Database, © 2007 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.

February 1998The Year in Entertainment: 1998April 1998

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