'Idol' Parody Hits Sour Note at the Box Office

Hugh Grant, as Not Simon Cowell, with Sam Golari, Mandy Moore and Adam Busch, in
Hugh Grant, as Not Simon Cowell, with Sam Golari, Mandy Moore and Adam Busch, in "American Dreamz," the "Idol" spoof that got very few votes at the box office in its opening weekend. (By Glen Wilson -- Universal Studios)

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By Lisa de Moraes
Tuesday, April 25, 2006

NBC Universal's sendup of the hit Fox singing competition "American Idol" bombed at the box office over the weekend.

"Idol" executive producer Ken Warwick is not surprised.

Although nearly 30 million viewers were bombarded with ads for "American Dreamz" during recent "Idol" broadcasts, after the flick finally opened Friday it copped a hugely lousy estimated weekend box office of $3.7 million.

Divide that by $6.41 -- the average movie ticket price in the country, according to the National Association of Theatre Owners and the Motion Picture Association of America -- and it would appear that slightly fewer than 600,000 people went to see "American Dreamz" in its opening weekend.

The flick stars Hugh Grant as Honest I'm Not Playing Simon Cowell and Dennis Quaid as Really I'm Not Supposed to Be President Bush.

Quaid's dim-bulb, non-newspaper-reading President Staton, on the advice of his slimy chief of staff, tries to bolster his terrible approval ratings by becoming a guest judge on a wildly successful television singing competition show headlined by Grant's snippy Brit judge, Martin Tweed.

Things get complicated when one of the competition's finalists turns out to be an al-Qaeda-trained terrorist whose dream is to sing Broadway show tunes.

Of course, anyone who watches "Idol" knows they no longer use celebrity guest judges -- they use celebrity guest coaches , who advise the competitors as they prepare for performance night, in return for getting to sing a tune from their latest album on the results broadcast the next night.

Verisimilitude, people!

"What fascinated me is that every single person" with a role in the film has gone on a talk show and said they've never seen "American Idol," Warwick said during a phone news conference yesterday.

He speculated that the actors were all told by the studio, "Whatever you do, don't say you'd seen ['Idol']" or that it "influenced your performance in any way."

Actually, Quaid, on a recent edition of "The Daily Show," was pretty frank about Staton being Bush and "American Dreamz" being "American Idol," although he added, "This is all fictional, though."


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