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'Troy' triumphs at theaters

| Tuesday, May 18, 2004

He came, he saw, he conquered the box office for five days.

Whether Brad Pitt, playing Achilles in Wolfgang Petersen's epic "Troy," can sustain momentum long enough for Warner Bros. to recoup its production budget, which was north of $150 million, plus $50 million in prints, promotion and advertising, is another issue.

The picture is off to a healthy, if unspectacular, start. But a lot of multiplexes will start bumping it into smaller auditoriums Wednesday to make room for "Shrek 2," which is expected to be the movie du jour for at least nine days.

"Troy" tops the local and national box-office charts, followed on both by last week's champ, "Van Helsing," which is off 49 percent here and 61 percent nationally.

The sturdy "Mean Girls" is third on both charts, down 18 percent here and 26 percent across North America.

Possibly because there was no new competition for its demographic, "13 Going on 30" climbs back into fourth place locally with a tiny 8 percent dip in attendance.

"Man on Fire" slips to fifth here, off 24 percent.

"New York Minute" falls 39 percent and lands in sixth place here.

"Breakin' All the Rules," in which Jamie Foxx writes a book about dumping lovers, is running seventh in its fair debut.

No. 8 locally is "Laws of Attraction," skidding 43 percent.

"Ella Enchanted" takes ninth, losing just 20 percent.

"Kill Bill, Volume 2" is No. 10 here with a 34 percent decline.

Wednesday's debut of "Shrek 2" will be followed Friday by the district premieres of "Broken Wings," "Secret Things," "Latter Days," "Bon Voyage" and "Hard Goodbyes: My Father."

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