The stars may still revolve around it, but has Planet Hollywood gone into eclipse?
The restaurant chain Planet Hollywood has become a forbidden planet for investors, forcing the stable of celebrity endorsers—including Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Demi Moore
and Bruce Willis
—to say hasta la vista to the stock boom they enjoyed, briefly, when the company went public in 1996. Some reportedly three dozen celebs, who together have been given an approximate 18 percent stake in the memorabilia-crammed restaurants in exchange for promotional appearances at any of the 88 worldwide sites, have watched the company's stock drop 74 percent to $5.56 a share during the past 12 months. Financial analysts say that behind those famous smiles could be some grinding molars. "I doubt any of them expected this to be a major source of income, but I'm sure they would like to make a profit on their investment," says financial analyst Stephen Schoene of Wall Street's Miller Tabak Hirsch & Co. But analyst Arnold Ursaner of CJS Securities says Planet Hollywood chief Robert Earl, who has said he is "disappointed" with the recent performance, has an uncanny ability to "motivate these stars to work with him." One problem, analysts say, is that patrons who enjoy checking out Schwarzenegger's Harrier jet from True Lies (Orlando) or Mr. Spock's pointy ears (Costa Mesa, Calif.) quickly discover they can't eat the scenery. "I went to a Planet Hollywood in Beverly Hills about a year ago—for the first and last time," says Rachelle Brewer, 29, an entertainment lawyer. "To me it was interesting once, like going to Disneyland." "It's okay," says Traci Burr, 20, at Planet Hollywood's Miami satellite. "It's more hype, though. It's not an outrageous experience." Another problem is the chain's heavy reliance on merchandising. "Do you want a T-shirt that says, 'I went to Planet Hollywood in Indianapolis'?" asks Ursaner. "I'm not sure that has the cachet."
Less Is More
President Clinton wants to put certain events behind him; Paula Jones is eager to put one thing out front: her new nose. Jones's nose underwent some renovations in a nearly three-hour procedure on July 18 in the Manhattan office of plastic surgeon Dr. Thomas W. Loeb. The plastic surgery "wasn't standard," says a source in Jones's camp. "An easy nose job is a 15-year-old with a little bump on her nose. Something like Paula's, whose nose is very long, that's very difficult. You got all that extra skin that's got to retract and reposition. There has to be a lot more work done to the cartilage, and the skin has to be altered on top. The tip was removed, the bump lowered, the nose narrowed on the side, and the septum straightened." Jones, who now lives in Long Beach, Calif., and whose sexual harassment suit against Clinton was dismissed in April (she's appealing) won't say where she got the money for the reported $9,000 tab. But if the nose fits, say friends, let her wear it. "It's her face and her nose," says one of her lawyers, John Whitehead, "and she has the right to do with it as she sees fit."
Nerdy for '98: It's Hip to Be Rectangular
They're more geek than chic, but those big plastic-frame glasses are framing the hot and hip on both coasts. At the Fred Segal Eyes boutique in Santa Monica, where a pair of Gucci frames runs to $140, owner David Gonzales jokes that the look is "for people who are just below being egomaniacs. You've got to be pretty damn cool," he says, "to wear these glasses and not look like a dork."
FORMER BOND BOLTS BEACHFRONT
Sean Connery arrived on Spain's Costa del Sol 25 years ago, a refugee from British taxes. He set up camp at Casa Malibu, a four-bedroom Andalusian-style villa on two beachfront acres near Marbella. But steady work abroad—and little free time—has led the Avengers costar and his wife, Micheline, to put the spread up for sale for $9 million—with the home's furniture potentially available for an added price. Amenities include a garden, a swimming pool and three guest houses—and Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas, who have a home a few miles away.
They Have the Gifts of Gab
Talk show guests may or may not be gifted when they arrive, but they're almost always gifted—-with a goody bag from the host—when they leave. Sometimes audiences share in the booty. Here's what celebs and onlookers are packing after the yakking:
The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: A nice gift basket (worth up to $200): Soothing teas, votive candles, spa magazines, wafer cookies and chocolates (for women guests); a leather CD case, gourmet crackers, cheeses, popcorn and a travel or stereo magazine (for men). Kids who appear get caramel corn and soccer balls, checkerboards and bath toys. Some baskets are customized: Mel Gibson got Australian candy bars.
Leeza: A six-pack-size insulated cooler, a water bottle and a T-shirt, emblazoned with the Leeza logo are given to guests. Kids get a beach bucket with a Slinky and a plastic puzzle, also with the Leeza tag.
Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher. T-shirts and videotapes of the show on which they appear.
Late Night with Conan O'Brien: T-shirts for guests.
Late Show with David Letterman: Some lucky audience members receive a canned ham. Folks waiting in line on a hot day get treats from an ice-cream truck that stops at the show's theater. The standard gift, though, is a free drink at frequent guest, comedy-cohort Rupert Jee's nearby deli in Manhattan when the show's ticket stub is displayed. Guests get a Letterman mug, T-shirt or cap.
The Rosie O'Donnell
Show: Ring Dings, Yodels, Swiss Rolls, Mini Coffee Cakes, Devil Dogs—whichever products Drake Bakeries provides for O'Donnell to hand out to the audience (along with some low-fat milk) on that day's taping.
Not Mel, but Mel-ifluous
That isn't Mel Gibson reprising his vocal role as John Smith in Disney's new straight-to-video animated sequel, Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World. It's his brother Donal, 40, who's an auditory dead ringer for his big bro. Donal, who has had small roles in several Mel movies, lives in Santa Monica and doesn't get to see as much of Mel, 42, as he'd like. "We're reasonably close," he says, "but he's so busy, we barely get time to spend together. When we do, it's nonstop talking." A bachelor, Donal says being Mel's sib isn't a big deal anymore. "I don't really think about it," he says. "It's one of those things I got used to."