There were 14 of them in all. Each gracefully flowed out of the other. Fourteen minutes that gelled Tuesday night at the House of Blues in San Diego and made history. They were

Britney Spears

' minutes, woven together by the words, rhythms and the beats of ". . . Baby One More Time" ("Oh baby baby, the reason I breathe is you") and "Toxic" ("I'm addicted to you, don't you know that you're toxic?"). In a

(faux

-) surprise drop-in at the club Tuesday, Brit drew screams and tears as she took the stage for 14 minutes to perform one of the greatest comebacks in pop history. She lip-synched masterfully and went through, like, dozens of costume changes. She even had a pack of backup dancers. (I love it when something spontaneous like this just happens!) Tuesday marked the first time in three years the pop tart- turned-divorced mother of two has played live. She's warming up, and she plans to do more lil' shows in the next few weeks. I still have goosebumps. Fourteen minutes' worth of them.

Spidey hegemony

Now

this

is box office power: Before

Spider-Man

3 has even opened in America (which it will do tonight, i.e., tomorrow morning, at midnight), that most hyped and hopped-up summer blockbuster, broke records yesterday - most of them set by

Spider-Man 2

- "in every one of the eight Asian territories in which it bowed" and in various countries across Europe, Variety reports. The

Tobey Maguire

-engined Spidey sequel hauled in $4 mil in Italy. (It's sobering to see that

$3.3 mil

were spent to market the pic - just in Italy.) France also has fallen, though final numbers were not available yesterday afternoon, except for Paris alone, which gave up $1.4 mil to Tobey.

Meanwhile, in the East . . .

Across the Shiny Spidey Seas, Spidey made $3.47 mil on its first day in Japan; $3.44 mil in Korea; and $958,984 in Hong Kong. The flick also dominated and conquered the cultures of Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines.

The Sam Raimi-helmed comic book pic, which explores human duality and the dialectical relationship of good and evil, is rumored to have cost $350 mil, making it the most expensive picture ever made in western civ.

Spidey's Method act

In other Spidester news, it has been revealed that

Topher Grace

probably had plenty of pain, anger, envy, hatred, loathing, jealousy, and self-pity to draw upon to portray Spider-Man's villainous rival in

Spider-Man 3

.

In a chat with his adversary, Tobey Maguire, on Moviefone.com's talking show, Unscripted, Topher said "I lost about 500 roles to you, Tobey."

Say Neve(r)

My Neve gone? Never.

The New York Post reports that Scream's scream queen Neve Campbell plans to marry Royal Shakespeare Company thesp John Light, who shone as the Prince of Darkness in two installments of the horror movie series The Prophecy.

The wedding - super-secret, small, closed, intimate, rumors say - is to take place Saturday at a secret spot in Malibu, Calif. The couple look pretty hot together.

MTV-VMA to LV, NV

Having done New York for so many years and having already had a taste of Miami, MTV television's awards extravaganza, the MTV Video Music Awards, will take over the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas for its Sept. 9 show.

The long haul . . .

Beating out a number of Hollywood power hitters, B-listers

Jennifer Esposito

and

Bradley Cooper

lasted four months before calling it quits. Jennifer filed for divorce Tuesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court. Reason: irreconcilable differences. Respect her privacy, Jennifer's rep says.

It's (Frank) Miller time

Looks like another one of

Frank Miller

's take-no-prisoners graphic novels is about to slaughter the silver screen. Variety says

Ronin

, about a disgraced samurai warrior who fights nasty, shape-shifting demons across time, has been optioned by Warner Bros. for a live action flick to be directed by

Stomp the Yard

helmer,

Sylvain White.

Scary scares up a suit

So, where's your

Gumbi

outfit now, big boy?

Melanie "Scary Spice" Brown, 31, who claims Eddie Murphy is still and always has been da to her month-old daughter, Angel Iris, is taking her dispute on TV again.

Syndicated entertainment news show Extra released excerpts yesterday from an interview with Scary, in which the former Spice Girl said the mess started when she and Eddie broke up last year, after which he refused to acknowledge the baby was his.

Scary also countered widely held belief that the baby was the result of an unwanted pregnancy. "This baby was planned and he knows it's his," the singer said. "This is what's mind-boggling."

Scary said - yet again - her lawyers are working on getting Eddie to submit to a paternity test.

Film or secret weapon?

Is director

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu

's exquisite piece of cinematic art

Babel

actually a secret weapon, which like the TVs in

David Cronenberg

's

Videodrome

make you do crazy things and make your head explode?

Seems so.

Babel's Japanese distributor yesterday said it has received 15 complaints of nausea and headaches, apparently contracted since the film opened on Saturday. And 300 theaters nationwide posted notes on Tuesday warning that the film contains scenes with powerful images that have already made some viewers sick.

Japan is the only country to experience this phenomenon.

Contact "SideShow" at sideshow@phillynews.com. This column contains information from Inquirer wire services.