Stephen M. Silverman
January 09, 2004 10:00 AM

SCREEN GEMS: Moviegoers flocked to see Jim Carrey and Nicole Kidman in 2003, making them last year’s two No. 1 box-office stars, according to a poll of theater owners. Variety reported that the pair were followed on the list by (in order) Jack Nicholson, Tom Cruise, Julia Roberts, Johnny Depp, Russell Crowe, Tom Hanks, Will Ferrell and Renee Zellweger. Ashton Kutcher and Scarlett Johansson also were selected as the future stars of tomorrow.

ANOTHER ARQUETTE: On TV’s “Friends,” Courteney Cox‘s Monica and Matthew Perry‘s Chandler are adopting because she can’t have a baby. But the real Cox, 39, and her real-life husband, actor David Arquette, 32, had some news to share: She’s pregnant. “It’s true,” a rep for the actress told, though no additional details were made available. Since last fall there’s been word that the couple might be expecting, ever since Arquette’s brother Alexis opened his mouth about the family matter while on Sharon Osbourne‘s syndicated talk show. But Alexis’s report was subsequently denied — until now.

CROCODILE TEARS: A highly emotional Steve Irwin, star of “The Crocodile Hunter,” appeared on Monday’s “Today” show to defend himself after holding his 1-month-old son, Bob, while feeding Murray, a 13-foot crocodile. After child welfare groups expressed their outrage en masse, Irwin, 40, told “Today”: “I applaud those people for thinking that. That’s saying everyone’s an expert, and that’s the democratic way. But … I am so hurt, and so sorry and in such pain that people were scared.” Irwin, his temper rising, insisted that he was safer with a croc than most drivers are on the open road.

STEWART SELECTION: The initial round of jury selection in the trial of Martha Stewart began in federal court in Manhattan Tuesday, with hundreds of potential jurors being asked about conflicts of interest in what is the highest-profile corporate fraud case in years. Lawyers for the domestic diva, 62, had the potential jurors fill out a lengthy questionnaire to determine which 12 of them will be allowed to sit on the case. Both sides have until Jan. 12 to tell the court which jurors they want removed for case.

CRUISE CONTROL: Tom Cruise took the term “celebrity friendly” to new heights in London Tuesday night. The star, who apparently never saw a camera he didn’t love, spent two full hours on a lengthy walk around Leicester Square — ambitiously signing nearly 1,000 autographs for the crowd of 5,000 while chatting amiably into, and posing for, any cell phone camera that passed his way — for the overseas premiere of “The Last Samurai,” reported PEOPLE. So adept was Cruise, 41, at glad-handing people that perhaps he should consider popping into New Hampshire and sealing the Democratic nomination.

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