Feel the force: So how much did those midnight screenings of "Star Wars: Episode III -- Revenge of the Sith" rake in the other night? An estimated $16.5 million, according to box-office tracker Exhibitor Relations, breaking previous midnight-run records. "This is extremely impressive," Paul Dergarabedian, president of Exhibitor Relations, told the Associated Press. "It just says so much about how excited people are to see this film that they lined up at midnight and just got on board and went along for the ride." First-day box office numbers for the film should be available today. (Associated Press)
Brace yourself for sweetness overload: Tom Cruise is publicly plumbing the depths of his love for Katie Holmes. "I love this woman," Cruise tells "Access Hollywood" in an interview airing next week. "She's magnificent." Asked why he felt compelled to declare his love so loud and proud, Cruise replied, "I am so happy and I am not going to pretend or hide it or be shy," listing the reasons he's so smitten: "We go scuba diving together. She likes all the stuff that I love to do. She's funny and smart." Young, too. ("Access Hollywood" via Associated Press)
Jackson trial update: Disappointing news for any Jackson trial jurors who may have been hoping to get an earful from TV talker Larry King. The trial judge has ruled inadmissible King's testimony that a former lawyer for Michael Jackson's young accuser and his family, Larry Feldman, once told him that the boy's mother was a "wacko" and that he suspected she was "just in it for the money." "I'm not going to allow it," said the judge of King's testimony, labeling it "hearsay." Feldman insists he never said any such thing to King. Also Thursday, actor Chris Tucker's girlfriend, Azja Pryor, testified that the accuser's mother gave no indication to her at any time that she felt she was being held against her will at Neverland or that Jackson was mistreating her or her family. Pryor, who had raised money for the family, spoke lovingly of the accuser and his siblings. (N.Y. Daily News, N.Y. Post, N.Y. Times)
Also: Uma Thurman's rep is denying speculation that the actress, lately spotted with a "definite belly," may be pregnant with boyfriend Andre Balazs' child. "She's very happy, she's not pregnant, I guarantee you," the flack told the press. "It must have been the dress." (Lloyd Grove's Lowdown) ... Topher Grace has been cast as a villain in "Spider-Man 3," but it is not clear precisely which villain the "That '70s Show" star will play. (Hollywood Reporter) ... The Weinstein brothers have announced that they have received financing from Goldman Sachs to start their own new post-Miramax film studio. (Bloomberg News via N.Y. Times) ... Lindsay Lohan has told People magazine that the key to her new super-skinny physique has been "working out. I just got a trainer." Lohan added to "Access Hollywood," "When you lose a lot of weight and then people are telling you, 'You look great!' You are like, 'So ... did I look fat before?' " (Associated Press) ... Naomi Campbell kept a party -- a benefit being held at Cannes for the Nelson Mandela Children's Foundation that was to include a live auction -- full of peckish celebrities waiting for two hours, denying them the lunch they came for, after a stylist reportedly made off with all her clothing. (Page Six)
Hayden Christiansen on his feelings for President Bush: "[I] wouldn't mind giving George Bush a good shaking with my light-saber." (Rush & Molloy)
The front-page headline on the New York Post, accompanying that instantly infamous photo of Saddam Hussein in prison in his not-so-tighty-whiteys: "Butcher of Sagdad." (The leaked photo, first published Friday by the British tabloid the Sun, has already touched off a U.S. military investigation.) (N.Y. Post)
On Friday night, ABC brings you "The Muppets' Wizard of Oz" (8 p.m. EDT), starring Ashanti as Dorothy, Kermit as the scarecrow, Gonzo as the tin man, Fozzie Bear as the lion and Miss Piggy as all the witches. Then on Sunday night, the season finale watch continues with "Deadwood" (9 p.m EDT on HBO) and "Desperate Housewives" and "Grey's Anatomy" (9 p.m. and 10 p.m. EDT on ABC), all of which will be recapped on Salon on Monday morning.
-- Amy Reiter