'SNL' Tidbits for October 17, 2000

by Sean Bradley

Leon Goes Limp at Box Office

"Ladies Man," the latest in the line of movies based on characters from "SNL," debuted in fourth place over the weekend with a mild $5.4 million. Appearing in 2,022 theaters, the Tim Meadows vehicle averaged a weak $2,671 per screen.

The Paramount comedy's opening did not reach the heights of last year's "Superstar" ($8.9 million) or 1998's "A Night at the Roxbury" ($9.6 million), both of which were also given October bows. Budgeted at $11 million, "The Ladies Man" may have been adversely affected by its R rating which prevented many of Leon Phelps's younger fans from buying tickets. Most "SNL"-based films have carried a PG-13 rating.

Poor word of mouth currently circulating and exceedingly negative reviews will likely result in "The Ladies Man" slipping out of the top ten fairly quickly.

11/18: Gray Joins Green

Welsh singer/songwriter David Gray will perform as "SNL's" musical guest on November 18, with host Tom Green.

Gore Learns from 'SNL' Parody

Did you notice the second Presidential debate between Al Gore and George W. Bush, held last week, was a lot more boring than the first? The second time around: Gore wasn't rolling his eyes, moaning, or interupting his opponent. "SNL's" October 7 parody of the first faceoff may have served as a learning tool for the candidate.

Aides to Gore acknowledged showing the "SNL" parody to the Vice President in hopes of both loosening him up and making a point. In the sketch, Gore (played by Darrell Hammond) rattled on mechanically, used the word "lockbox" nine times, and said at one point, "I'd like to interrupt here and answer that question as if it were my turn to speak."

Excerpts from the sketch, which also portrayed Bush (Will Ferrell) as a word-butchering dunce, were shown last Wednesday on the "CBS Evening News," ABC's "World News Tonight," several CNN programs, and MSNBC's "The News With Brian Williams," in which it was the lead story.

"You can't really tell the difference between that guy [Hammond] and Al Gore, can you?" CNN's Robert Novak said.

Matchbox Wants 'SNL' Gig

Matchbox Twenty frontman Rob Thomas says he wants to get the alternative rock group on "SNL" this season.

"I'm dying to fit 'Saturday Night Live' into our schedule," he tells Wall of Sound. "To me, that's an institution. Twice we were supposed to do it, but our schedule never caught up."

The group's sophomore album, "Mad Season," debuted in late May at No. 3 on the Billboard charts and is already certified double-platinum.

Premiere Ratings Down for 'SNL'

7.1 million viewers tuned in for the 26th season premiere of "SNL" on October 7, according to "Variety." Compared to last year's premiere, ratings were down 20% in total viewers and 18% among adults 18-49 (to 4.1/19).

It should be noted that "SNL" was disadvantaged by its weak baseball lead-in, the lowest-rated primetime playoff game in history, which ran until nearly midnight in the East.

Meanwhile Fox's "Mad TV," delivered its highest season premiere numbers since its 1995 series premiere. The rival sketch-comedy show pulled in 6.2 million total viewers. Among teens, "Mad TV" out-rated the premiere of "SNL" by 90% (4.0/19 vs. 2.1/13).

Something About Stiller

Tim Meadows may not have topped the box office over the weekend, but another former "SNLer" did. Ben Stiller, who briefly appeared on the show as a featured player during the 1988-89 season, is starring in the No. 1 movie in America.

"Meet the Parents," starring Stiller and Robert De Niro, took in $21.2 million in its second weekend of release and has grossed a total of $58.5 million through Sunday. The comedy's debut weekend set a record for an October opening and a sequel is already in the early planning stages.

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