Star power at Chi Planet eclipses poor weather

GOOD MORNING FROM CHICAGO, where Arnold Schwarzenegger was leaving for Japan, Sylvester Stallone was returning to Hollywood to complete “Demolition Man,” and Bruce Willis, who had been commuting between two movies, jammed with his rock band to the delight of thousands of fans who had sat in the rain for hours. It was for Sunday’s bow of Planet Hollywood here. The phenomenon goes on. Despite torrential rain that shut down O’Hare and private airports, the fans turned out and patiently awaited the arrivals of stars who once again winged in from all points to attend another opening of the clever eateries …”I can take it,” an affable Arnold said in response to the critics who disapproved of his enthusiasm in helping to sell his movies — in particular “Last Action Hero.” “Just look at the ones who are doing it (brickbatting him),” he smiled. Sure, he was disappointed that the movie didn’t match previous pix, but agreed that his partners in Planet Hollywood (Stallone and Willis) had also bounced back to regain their box office championships … Mark Canton also winged in (wearing his Planet Hollywood jacket) with wife Wendy Finerman to cheer Arnold as he left for the Orient “Hero” sell … Also here, a first time for him at an opening of an eatery, Jeff Wald, whose possible United Artists appointment was the topic of conversation among the group … Producer Keith Barish and Robert Earl, the two originators of the Planet Hollywood chain, are cooking up sites in Hong Kong, Tokyo, Australia, Singapore, Paris, plus the Stateside openings in Minneapolis, D.C., Aspen, Vegas and L.A. Whatta success story!

ROSEANNE AND TOM ARNOLD showed up in matching farm outfits, overalls and plaid shirts. Tom joins Arnold Schwarzenegger in “True Lies,” you recall. They told me their home in flood-ravaged Ottumwa, Iowa, is ruined after 13 months of construction; three walls are down. Woody Harrelson, shooting Oliver Stone’s “Natural Born Killers” here, arrived wearing a “Planet Hollywood” cap, but the fans in the stands urged him to take it off as I interviewed him. He reluctantly agreed — and revealed his head totally shaved for his serial-killer role. Oliver Stone, a rare attendee at such events, also came up to the stand to receive the movie fans’ applause. The stand was larger than the usual premiere size — and for good reason. After the crowds had all filed into the eatery, Willis brought out his group. He was so taken up with his music, he stripped down to his shorts, shades and cap and had all the fans in the stands screaming. They weren’t alone. Sharon Stone joined him on stage and was as wild as Willis, singing and dancing to the utter amazement of fiance Bill MacDonald. There was more: Jim Belushi and Don Johnson made the scene on the stand, and the crowd went wilder.

CHICAGO’S POLICE COOPERATED with the Planet Hollywood group by closing down streets in the immediate vicinity. Stands for fans extended along a blocklong red carpet. A gigantic metal mural fronting the eatery boasts a giant dinosaur snorting steam into the already steamy Chicago air. The dinosaur holds aloft a giant planet (Hollywood), natch. He’s neither the likeness of “Jurassic Park’s” pets, nor is he purple like “Barney.” Inside are memorabilia from Chicago-made movies: Kevin Costner’s bat from “Field of Dreams,” the bomb from “The Untouchables,” Arnold’s pistol from “Red Heat,” plus other items such as Sean Connery’s costume from “The Untouchables,” Elizabeth Taylor’s head piece from “Cleopatra,” Demi Moore’s pottery wheel from “Ghost,” a Darth Vader helmet, etc. Monday, Jean-Claude Van Damme, here with his father, presented a prop from “Hard Target”… Before heading to Sunday night’s commercial activities, Schwarzenegger quietly met with several youngsters from the Make-a-Wish Foundation for terminally ill kids … Melanie Griffith and husband Don Johnson winged in from L.A. and Aspen. She was injured in a freak home accident but is OK to start “Milk Money” next month. Johnson has a deal to direct a movie for Disney this fall …”Beverly Hills, 90210’s” Luke Perry got an enormous hand from the fans. He told ’em about the rodeo pic he just wound, “Lane Frost,” in which he did many of his own stunts. Among others there, Cindy Crawford — a big favorite — she’s a local Chicago girl. Also getting a hefty hand was Patrick Swayze plugging his pic “Father Hood.” Another Northwestern grad there, Kimberly Williams, soon to be in the sequel of “Father of the Bride,” which she says may not be called “Father’s Little Dividend,” as was the original movie starring Elizabeth Taylor. Also on hand, Damon Wayans, and many players from the hot Chicago White Sox, loudly cheered by the happy locals smelling a World Series … Chicago is heavy with showbiz activity: In addition to Stone’s movie, there’s the “Untouchables” series, plus Oprah Winfrey’s MOW, “There Are No Children Here,” in which she goes dramatic again. Oprah has a restaurant around the corner from the Planet Hollywood … And we’re back in the real planet Hollywood tomorrow.

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