Mariah Does Milli Vanilli Thing, Cries, Finds Love In 'Glitter' Flick

Singer to attend screening of film Thursday night, her first public appearance since her breakdown.

Fittingly, Mariah Carey will sing "Hero" when she hits the stage for the first time in months as part of the star-powered benefit show "America: A Tribute to Heroes" on Friday. That won't be her first public appearance since receiving psychiatric care for a physical and emotional breakdown, though — on Thursday night, Carey will go to the movies.

A spokesperson for 20th Century Fox said the singer will sit among contest winners from Los Angeles radio station Power 106 and watch a screening of her Hollywood debut, "Glitter," which opens nationwide Friday (September 21). Carey plays Billie Frank in the big screen rags-to-riches tale of a foster kid who turns into a music biz phenom almost overnight.

Carey was not in the audience when a group of publicists, film critics and journalists showed up for a screening Wednesday in New York. On the screen, she wore a streak of silver body paint near her shoulders, and occasionally broke down in tears.

Carey plays a hard-knock girl whose boozing, chain-smoking mother hands her over to the state of New York in the late '70s. She meets her two best friends, Louise and Roxanne (played by Da Brat, who seems especially comfortable playing the unapologetically frank Louise, and Tia Texada, respectively), and then the film fast-forwards to New York circa 1983, where the three, now young adults, are struggling entertainers in a club.

They're scooped up by a local producer, Timothy Walker (played by Terrence Howard), who pulls a Milli Vanilli with Billie, using her vocals as a front for his tone-deaf girlfriend. The hoax is discovered by a hot, brooding club DJ named Dice (Max Beesley). He hooks up with Billie as her producer, they make a hit record, fall in love and she gets a dream record deal, all in less than an hour. Then the drama starts.

The loudest applause the movie garnered on Wednesday was for a momentary shot of the World Trade Center's twin towers. While the producers of other new movies, such as "Spider-Man," have edited out shots of the fallen buildings, the response to them in "Glitter" showed that to some, at least, it's uplifting to see them on screen.

With the film's star under the care of doctors during the critical few weeks before release (see "Mariah Carey Reportedly Under Psychiatric Care Again"), the spokesperson at Fox said the company had to call upon her co-stars Da Brat and Eric Benét to do the press for "Glitter."

The effects of Carey's seclusion may have caused a dip in the soundtrack's first-week sales. That LP will debut at #7 on next week's Billboard 200 albums chart. It sold just over 117,000 copies its first week in stores, and will enter the chart behind albums from Jay-Z, Nickelback, Fabolous, Bob Dylan and P.O.D. (see "Jay-Z's Dynasty Continues As Blueprint Debuts At #1").

"America: A Tribute to Heroes" will be broadcast live and commercial-free on all the major networks and several other channels, including MTV and VH1, at 9 p.m. ET and 8 p.m. CT Friday, and on tape delay in the Mountain and Pacific time zones (see "Mariah Carey To Resurface For 'America' TV Tribute").