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Don’t blame Roberts for ‘Duplicity’ stumble

While the Roberts-Clive Owen thriller didn't win the weekend at the box office, that doesn't mean the "Pretty Woman" can't still remain a relevant movie star.
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To be fair, Julia Roberts wasn’t calling “Duplicity” her comeback moment. Other film observers attached the comeback moniker, viewing the flick as a chance for Roberts to prove she's still a leading lady.

But since the film cleared just $14.4 million in its first weekend, those folks can put their comeback hopes back on the shelf. Maybe they can dust them off again for “The Friday Night Knitting Club,” which is reportedly Roberts’ next project.

The question at the end of the weekend still remains: is Roberts still a salient box office star?

The answer should be yes. Even though “Duplicity” came in third behind “Knowing,” which was a surprise number one, and “I Love You, Man,” the publicity machine wasn’t out to make this all about Julia.

Roberts didn’t even gun for some of the magazine covers that would be standard for an Oscar winner in her position. The Vogue issue timed to “Duplicity’s” release featured First Lady Michelle Obama, and Roberts’ rep says that she never talked with the mag about a cover appearance.

Also, of the three new releases opening wide this weekend, “Duplicity” played in the smallest number of theaters. It was shown on 2,500 screens, versus 2,700 for “I Love You, Man,” and 3,300 for “Knowing”.

So let’s not begin the week saying Roberts failed to perform against the competition (And even if that were the case, shouldn’t co-star Clive Owen have to take some heat too?). Instead, let’s cut her a break. “Duplicity” wasn’t the only PG-13 film out, and it also wasn’t the only thriller opening on a weekend full of March Madness distractions. All things considered, Roberts’ star is intact.

Sean Penn’s sympathies interfere with flick
Sean Penn has never hidden his sympathy toward Iran’s ayatollahs: the “Milk” actor’s stance was documented in the San Francisco Chronicle in 2005 when he visited the country.

But the New York Post is reporting that Penn’s feelings might be to blame for the box office performance of "Crossing Over."

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According to sources who spoke to the Post, Penn insisted he be cut from the Weinstein Company film because he objected to an "honor killing" scene of an Iranian woman slain by her brother.

Penn's rep told Page Six: "Sean's portion of the film was somewhat experimental as it had a mystical quality that the rest of the film did not have. His not being in the final edit was a creative decision of which he was aware."

Reps for Weinstein declined comment, and director Wayne Kramer has previously been quoted as saying, "I'm not trying to be evasive about it, but that's a question you should ask Sean."

Madonna’s down a nannyMadonna is having a tough time keeping those close to her, well, close to her.

The nanny who looks after David Banda, Madge’s adopted son from Malawi, reportedly turned in her notice over the weekend.

According to the Daily Mail, the move angered Madonna enough that the nanny was sent packing without serving out the end of her notice.

Madonna confirmed last week that she was considering adopting another child from Malawi; it will be up to the country’s courts to decide whether she can do so.

Courtney Hazlett delivers the Scoop Monday through Friday on Follow Scoop on Twitter: @ courtneyatmsnbc.