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'Pearl Harbor' soars at box office

| Wednesday, May 30, 2001


No bomb this 'Pearl Harbor.'

Not at the box office, anyway.

A year of hype, which reached its crescendo within the past week, drove moviegoers by the millions into the three-hour wartime romance.

The film, which reportedly cost somewhere between $135 million and $150 million, with estimates of another $50 million to $100 million going into advertising and promotion, was expected to do as much as $90 million to $100 million over the Memorial Day weekend.

That it did just three-quarters of that is still impressive.

About half of the gross over a film's full run goes back to the film company.

Only 'The Lost World: Jurassic Park II' had a bigger Memorial Day weekend debut, with $90.2 million over four days in 1997.

'Pearl Harbor' is in 3,214 theaters playing on about 6,000 screens. Most of the multiplexes here are running three or four prints.

Some are doing their best business of 2001 with it. Others had a better opening weekend with 'Hannibal' on Feb. 9-11 or 'The Mummy Returns' on May 4-6.

'Shrek' is the No. 2 movie everywhere, and as expected, word-of-mouth is making the big hit bigger.

Using just the Friday-to-Sunday portion of the holiday weekend as a barometer for all of this week's comparisons, business was up here for 'Shrek' a tremendous 44 percent in its second week.

'The Mummy Returns' is third here, off 17 percent.

'Bridget Jones's Diary' at No. 4 and 'Along Came a Spider' at No. 5 clearly are benefiting the most from 'Pearl Harbor' turnaways.

The seven-week-old 'Bridget' is up 25 percent this week, and the eight-week-old 'Spider' is up 11 percent.

Despite the holiday weekend, 'A Knight's Tale' took a 47 percent cut in attendance. It's No. 6 here.

Seventh is the fast-fading sophomore 'Angel Eyes,' with Jennifer Lopez, which is down 34 percent and not picking up much 'Pearl Harbor' spillover.

'Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles,' 'Blow' and 'Memento' round out the local top 10.

Overall revenue here was up a whopping 98 percent from the previous weekend.

Joining the fray Friday will be 'Moulin Rouge,' 'The Animal,' 'What's the Worst That Could Happen?' and three limited-release films, 'The Luzhin Defence,' 'Pavilion of Women' and 'Chopper.'

Ed Blank is the Tribune-Review's film critic. He can be reached at (412) 854-5555 or eblank@tribweb.com .

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