STORM Blows Away PATRIOT; CHICKEN Outruns Moose & Squirrel -

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STORM Blows Away PATRIOT; CHICKEN Outruns Moose & Squirrel

First days of the long weekend outdistance last year's performance.

By Steve Biodrowski     July 03, 2000

The three-day weekend frame leading up to the Fourth of July got off with a bang at the box office, but the expected battle between Warner Bros.' The Perfect Storm and Columbia's The Patriot failed to occur. Although final results will not be known until after Independence Day, the Friday-through-Sunday estimates gives some clear indications. Storm took in a studio-estimated $41.7-million, while Patriot lagged well behind in 2nd with $21.7-million. The two debuts blew away last week's box office winner, Fox's Me, Myself, and Irene, which slipped to 4th place, with $12-milliona 50% decline from its freshman performance. The weekend's only genre newcomer, The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle, made a disappointing bow in 5th place with only $6.6-million. The film averaged just $2,685 in 2,458 theaters.

On the other hand, there was good news for DreamWorks' Chicken Run, which saw a respectable 27% decline in its second weekend, earning $12.8-million, good enough for 4th place. With a total of over $41-million so far, it should easily go on to become the highest grossing stop-motion animation film ever, surpassing the Disney release of Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas.

Although Storm's box office was strong, it was not a record breaker, falling behind totals set by Men in Black and Independence Day. Ironically, the makers of the latter film, Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin, had expected to cash in on the holiday once again with another film timed to the date, The Patriot. With Mel Gibson in the lead, and a script by Robert Rodat (Saving Private Ryan), the film seemed poised to fight Storm for the #1 slot, but that didn't happen. Still, producer Devlin was typically upbeat: 'This is great,'' he told Reuters. 'My fear has always been ... that our competition here was much more of a standard summer movie and was just going to wipe us out.' Devlin expects his pic to have longer legs than 1998's Godzilla, which opened bigger than Patriot but faded fast.
Overall, box office was up from last year's Fourth of July frame, when the big opener was Wild, Wild West. And the weekend's not over yet. With Indpendence Day falling on Tuesday, many people are taking Monday off, turning this into a five-day weekend (Hollywood always counts Friday revenues as part of the weekend). All of the top films have a chance at significantly increasing their grosses. We will provid final figures as soon as they are available.


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