Tales from Tinseltown: There really is no big mystery about the new Angels' big draw

The new Charlie's Angels movie had a heavenly opening box-office draw, surpassing dollars 40 million.

A studio source tells me this exceeded even his own lofty expectations for the film. 'We were hoping for something in the 25 to 30 range, but this was an even bigger knockout,' he said. (I'll resist the obvious reference.

No, I won't. It's a knockout of a knockoff.)

This will surely start a new precedent of action flicks starring the fairer sex. Why just watch attractive women linger on screen when you can watch attractive women on screen kicking men in the face?

Plus, as we all know, women jiggle much more when they run. Meaningless creative question: how do we make them run? Answer: doesn't matter, just as long as they're running.

This was, of course, the formula of the original 1970s television series.

I can't remember a single episode when at least one of the Angels wasn't running. Or, for that matter, when I wasn't watching.

Like many of my male classmates, I lived through puberty with the help of Farrah Fawcett's legendary swimsuit pinup. I doubt any other single image has so stoked the prurient interests of young males as much as did that one. It was the ubiquitous symbol of pure wanton lust. In T-shirt or poster variety. (I went poster.)

Columbia Pictures publicity trotted out the original stars of the TV show only after the opening weekend blitz, so as to not create confusion with the cast of the feature film. It was great fun seeing the OGs (original gals) again. They seem genuinely appreciative of having been part of a significant, if somewhat cheesy, television landmark.

Early buzz about the feature film centered on disputes between co-stars Bill Murray and Lucy Liu. Seems like a pretty fair fight to me. Murray did not participate in the film's publicity campaign, but he has agreed to take Liu on in an upcoming WWF bout. We've seen Murray wrestle before (in Stripes), but he was younger then and probably in better condition.

We'll find out if the Angels have any legs (of the box-office kind) in the coming weeks. The Grinch arrives on November 17. Sure, the green old meanie took care of the Whos down in Whoville, but did any of them have the nerve to kick the Grinch right in the gonads? You can bet Chuck's Angels do.

Charlie's Angels has created the new millennium formula for movies: beauty, brains, boobs and brazen bravado equals boffo box-office. It worked on television some 25 years ago. It's working in films now. Men, cover up your privates.

Lawrence Mitchell Garrison is an LA-based freelance publicist and writer.

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