Scoop: Aniston Will be Part of ‘Girls Gone Wild’ Case

Also in the Scoop: Bruce Willis gets the shaft and Jackson earns mags cash

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Jennifer Aniston will be name dropped in Joe Francis' tax evasion case.

    If all goes well when “Girls Gone Wild” founder Joe Francis’ criminal trial concludes, he might have Jennifer Aniston to thank.

    Francis is facing tax evasion charges that could result in a maximum 10-year prison term; the case goes to trial in October, and The Smoking Gun obtained a series of slides his defense team plans to show during opening arguments.

    The prosecution plans to prove that Francis sought to conceal income in offshore companies and deducted millions in phony business expenses. So, Francis’ defense team plans to identify Aniston, Jack Nicholson, Vince Vaughn and Orlando Bloom as “celebrity guests” who stayed at Francis’ Mexican home in order to argue that the estate was an investment property leased to wealthy tenants, which warrant certain business deductions.

    Bruce Willis left off ‘Surrogates’ promos
    Has Bruce Willis’ star finally fallen? Promotions have begun for his upcoming sci-fi film, “Surrogates” and Willis, far and away the movie’s biggest name, is noticeably absent from the vast majority of promotional posters and billboards.

    The consensus among the screenwriters, actors and producers I spoke with was choosing to leave Willis off the promo material amounts to believing that he can’t open a film. “If Bruce could be relied on for opening a movie, like say, Brad Pitt did with ‘Inglourious Basterds,’ then they’d have him on the posters,” said one veteran screenwriter. “It makes it look like he’s over.”

    Looking at the numbers, unless the film’s title included “die” and “hard,” Willis hasn’t had an impressive non-animated opening since 1999’s “The Sixth Sense.”

    There is another perspective though: It’s possible that the marketing team behind “Surrogates” is trying to sell a concept, not a movie. “If it works, it will be brilliant. You can sell a concept, not just an actor? That would be great,” said another screenwriter.

    Jackson tribute mags made $55 million
    Michael Jackson’s estate isn’t the only entity to see a bump in revenue following his June 25 death. Jackson tributes and book-a-zines — many rushed into publication just days after his death — have generated $55 million in additional newsstand sales for magazine publishers.

    “We’re at about almost $67 million in Michael Jackson product,” said Gil Brechtel, president-CEO of the Magazine Information Network, also known as MagNet which tracks such data. Because some of that $67 million comes from regular magazine sales that happened to cover the death, and not just the $11.99 People magazine tribute, or Time’s 64-page extra issue that retailed for $5.99, the number was adjusted to $55 million.

     

    Weekend box office
    Opening movies of the same genre on the same weekend generally isn’t done — it usually splits the audience and both films suffer. So the only logic that can be applied to releasing two horror films, “The Final Destination” and “Halloween II” in wide release this weekend is the studios hope fans of the genre will actually see both. That said, the box office won’t be an even split between the two. For starters, “Inglourious Basterds” will continue to perform well, and buzz could draw some of the horror demo away from the new releases. In terms of how the gore score will pan out: “The Final Destination” is being released in 3-D, which definitely bolsters the bottom line. “My Bloody Valentine 3D,” which opened in January, brought in $21.2 million its first weekend in theaters, so there’s definitely a market for the 3-D horror experience. Expect “The Final Destination,” then, to be atop the charts come Monday.

    Courtney Hazlett delivers the Scoop Monday through Friday on msnbc.com. Follow Scoop on Twitter: @ courtneyatmsnbc.