News In Brief

AW, YOU KNOW WHO I MEAN The audience listened raptly as former pop music star Ramon Ortega wound up an emotional speech at a political rally in Buenos Aires. In order to ensure victory by his Peronist Party in Argentina's Oct. 24 election, Ortega dramatically announced he'd sacrifice his presidential ambitions in favor of a "unity ticket." Turning to Buenos Aires Gov. Eduardo Duhalde, whose running mate he proposes to be, Ortega proclaimed with a flourish: "And that ticket is ... Eduardo Menem and Ramon Ortega!" Menem, the brother of Argen-tina's outgoing president, isn't a candidate. Duhalde had the grace to chuckle at the gaffe.


Two years late, Yugoslavia's motion picture academy has decided to honor a US feature film with its top award. Can you guess which popular 1997 release it selected? Right: "Wag the Dog," in which an American president fabricates a war in the Balkans to divert attention from scandal.

Eddie Murphy rebounds in new prison-comedy film

"Life," a prison comedy starring Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence, locked up the top spot at North American box offices in its weekend debut. It was an impressive recovery for Murphy, who seems to follow each success with a flop. Last fall his "Holy Man" had a paltry total gross of $12 million, while "Dr. Dolittle" earned $144.1 million during the summer. Although the box office has been languishing most of this year, weekend ticket sales were 13 percent higher than for the same weekend in 1998. Reported grosses April 16-18 at North American theaters (in millions):

1. "Life" $20.4

2. "The Matrix" 17.9

3. "Never Been Kissed" 8.4

4. "Analyze This" 3.9

5. "10 Things I Hate About You" 3.7

6. "The Out-Of-Towners" 3.1

7. "Go" 3.0

8. "Forces of Nature" 2.5

9. "Cookie's Fortune" 1.8

10. "Shakespeare in Love" 1.7

- Exhibitor Relations Inc./AP

Compiled by Robert Kilborn and Lance Carden

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