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Disney's 'Pearl Harbor' -- A Blockbuster Before It's Out of the Blocks

23 May, 2001 By: Hive News

This weekend's opening of Disney's Pearl Harbor could be huge -- and that's according to one rival studio executive.

"I'll be shocked if it doesn't do $100 million," an unnamed exec tipped Inside.com, perhaps raising the bar too high for Disney to declare total victory if it doesn't hit $100 million.

Either way, Pearl Harbor is looking and sounding -- by the media roar surrounding the film -- like a blockbuster. Rival studio execs who have seen pre-release market research on Pearl Harbor say they've rarely seen indicators as promising as the ones for director Michael Bay's $140 million World War II epic.

Market research firm National Research Group found 75% of a survey group said they were "definitely interested" in seeing the film, with 70% of the primary demographic quads expressing interest. About 43% of those surveyed listed Pearl Harbor as their top viewing choice at the movies this weekend.

A studio source who has seen the report says overall consumer awareness of the film is a roof-raising 95%, that is, almost everyone in the U.S. who is partially aware of what's going on in movies and entertainment.

If, as some studio executives predict, the Jerry Bruckheimer-produced Pearl Harbor grosses between $90 million and $100 million -- or more -- over the four-day Memorial Day weekend, it could shatter the all-time four-day opening record of $90.2 million set by Universal's The Lost World: Jurassic Park in 1997.

Pearl Harbor with a running time of three hours, has little new competition this weekend and is expected to open at between 3,400 and 3,500 theaters, about 150 less than the all-time record-holder, Mission: Impossible 2, last Memorial Day.

DreamWork's CG-animated Shrek, which opened wide last weekend with $43.2 million, should swamp the No. 2 spot with between $35 million and $45 million for the four-day holiday. There is no other serious competition to split the attention of moviegoers.

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