1 of 2
Sarah Shatz, Dreamworks
Ricky Gervais is very good in the underrated "Ghost Town."

I guess it just depends on your perspective ... you know, in regards to which actors and actresses are box-office "draws" and which of them are not.

For example, it's pretty clear what DreamWorks Pictures officials' views are on Ricky Gervais, from the British version of "The Office" and "Extras."

The studio all but scrapped the dry, acerbic British comic actor's first American starring vehicle, the supernatural romantic comedy "Ghost Town." DreamWorks released it in half the theaters of most studio features last weekend — then gave it next to no promotion.

That's a shame. "Ghost Town" is pretty charming and wryly funny. And, aside from a couple of unfortunate bits (two uses of the supposed, "R-rated" curse word), it's pretty old-fashioned.

Despite DreamWorks' bungling of the film, it still had a better per-screen-average (based on tickets sold) of seven of the other films in last weekend's top 10.

You can only imagine what the movie might have done if the studio had actually let people know it was being released.

And then there's alleged comedian Dane Cook. Just look at his recent track record. He's not exactly box-office gold, to put it mildly.

"Good Luck Chuck?" "Mr. Brooks?" "Employee of the Month?" "Waiting ... ?"

The only real hit he's been in was "Dan in Real Life," and that's only because it was the best of this otherwise sorry lot. That, and because he's not in it very much. Or at least enough to ruin the movie.

Still, that hasn't stopped distributor Lionsgate from going all out to promote Cook's latest, the R-rated romantic comedy "My Best Friend's Girl."

The film pairs him with the slumping Kate Hudson, and with Jason Biggs, who hasn't been been in a hit since the "American Pie" movies.

By the way, "My Best Friend's Girl" wasn't pre-screened for critics but is getting scathing post-opening reviews. As compared to "Ghost Town," which got mostly glowing ones.

· · · · ·

THE OLD TICKETING SONG-AND-DANCE: Tickets are already on sale for "High School Musical 3: Senior Year," the big-screen version of the Disney Channel musicals for teens and tweens.

Details on locations and show times — at least for those theaters that have already booked the movie on its national release date, Oct. 24 — are available at www.disney.com/hsm3. Other sites, such as www.movietickets.com, www.fandango.com and www.moviefone.com, should have that information shortly as well.

It will be interesting to see just how big the advanced ticket sales for the film are. "High School Musical 3" is expected to be one of the fall's biggest hits, at least based on the staggering success of their first two, produced-for-television movies.

(Like those others, this one was shot mostly at East High School.)

The question is whether the die-hard "High School Musical" fans will be willing to shell out $8 or so to see what's been free on television. My guess is yes.


E-mail: [email protected]