Last week the movie industry told the public which films of 1984 it considers the best -- and this week the public told Hollywood it would just as soon see movies with no artistic aspirations. "Amadeus" did benefit from its eight Oscars -- it was the only winner to bring in more than $1 million over the past weekend, picking up $2 million for a respectable $3,663 per screen. That average beat out "Friday the 13th, Part V," "Porky's Revenge" and "The Last Dragon," but since each of those films was playing in more than 1,000 theaters and "Amadeus" in only 546, it couldn't compete with their totals. "The Killing Fields," meanwhile, lost half its theaters and made just under $1 million, becoming the most profitable of Oscar's other winners. But overall, nothing could compete with "Police Academy II," which had what Warner Bros. claims is the biggest March opening ever -- $10.7 million. . . .
Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer -- the production team responsible for "Flashdance" and "Beverly Hills Cop" who were rewarded for their efforts last week when Paramount gave them a more lucrative four-year contract -- have signed Tom Cruise to play the lead in "Top Gun," a drama about a trainee in the Navy's top-of-the-line jet-fighter program. Simpson said they chose Cruise because his "all-American, straightforward, proper" looks fit in with the tale of the country's "best and brightest" fighter pilots. While the film won't be jingoistic, he added, it will be a positive look at the program, and will be shot at San Diego's Miramar Naval Air Station -- a k a "Fightertown, U.S.A." -- with the technical advice of a former Navy ace. To ready himself for the June 3 start, Cruise has already taken one test flight with the Air Force's Thunderbirds squadron, during which the pilot went into a tight turn and Cruise, said Simpson, "lost his lunch in his face mask."
Simpson and Bruckheimer's two big hits have taught them the importance of a top-notch sound-track album, and this time they've already got their ears on Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the U.S.A." LP, which has an American flag on the cover but deals more with broken dreams than with the best and brightest. The producers know it'll be tough to get the rights -- witness Peter Bogdanovich's troubles securing Springsteen music for "Mask" -- and somebody ought to advise them not to waste too much time. Springsteen let the music be used in the off-Broadway play "Tracers," which is written and performed by Vietnam veterans, but the chances of his allowing it in a film about fighter pilots is, to be kind, remote . . .
Brian De Palma may not pull many punches on screen, but he's made a few changes in his "Wiseguys" script on the advice of Atlantic City casino executives. The comedy stars Danny DeVito and Joe Piscopo as low-level mobsters fleeing a hit man with the help of mob-buddy-turned-casino-manager Harvey Keitel. Executives at Resorts International Hotel Casino, where the film is currently being shot, objected to the casino/mob link, so the script was rewritten to remove Keitel's mob connection and eliminate his help in a staged shooting. "We did it," said a Resorts International executive, "in the name of realism . . ."
It's hard to think of Detective Joe Friday without picturing Jack Webb, but if Dan Aykroyd has his way, the hard-nosed L.A. cop may soon have a new face. Producer David Permut came up with the idea for a big-screen version of the long-running TV show "Dragnet" and subsequently interested Universal Pictures and Aykroyd, who wrote the screenplay and is now working on a rewrite. Aykroyd himself will play the lead role. Friday's right-hand man, played on TV by Harry Morgan, hasn't been cast, but John Candy is reportedly under consideration. Providing Universal gives the final okay, shooting may get under way late this year . . .
Roll over, Glenn Miller. There's a new Frankenstein movie in the works -- no, not "The Bride" with Sting and Jennifer Beals, but a comedy starring Jeff Goldblum and Ed Begley Jr. as reporters investigating the fabled monster -- with a title that some Miller fan was bound to use sooner or later: "Transylvania 6-5000."