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WEEKEND BOXOFFICE ADVANCE: 'Mummy' Meets Its Monster Match in Ogre 'Shrek'

18 May, 2001 By: Ed Ochs

Is The Mummy Returns finally unraveling? DreamWorks' computer-animated comedy Shrek and Warner Bros.' new Jennifer Lopez thriller Angel Eyes are the latest contenders to get in the ring with the Scorpion King. Regardless of the outcome, this weekend's two newcomers will surely stimulate overall boxoffice activity, and with school winding down and summer heating up, movie theaters are looking more and more like the coolest escapes in town.

But will Angel Eyes or Shrek loosen The Mummy Returns' grip on No. 1? Put your money on Shrek.

The PG-rated Shrek, featuring the voices of Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy and Cameron Diaz, is one of the most advertised movies of theyear so far, and will enjoy the second widest opening in movie history after MM2. The idea is for everyone to know who Shrek isbefore setting foot in the theater. Producer Pacific Data Images last collaborated with DreamWorks on 1998's Antz, which grossed over $170 million worldwide. Geared to build through positive word-of-mouth, Shrek should mean a trek to the theaters for family audiences searching for the anti-Disney antidote to sequelitis. With Spy Kids fading and no real competition through Memorial Day, expect Shrek to dig in for a long summer's run.

Hey, what is a Shrek, anyway? Shrek is a good green ogre (Myers) trying to rescue a princess (Diaz) with the help of his wise-ass donkey sidekick (Murphy). Now you know, but does it really help?

Jennifer Lopez is on a roll, and Warner Bros.' R-rated Angel Eyes keeps the heat turned up high. Directed by Luis Mandoki (Message in a Bottle, When a Man Loves a Woman), Angel Eyes casts Lopez asa Chicago cop who falls for a mysterious stranger, played by Jim Caviezel (Frequency), himself a mystery man playing opposite everywhere girl Lopez. If you miss this one, you can always fill in with Suge Knight's J.Lo: Tha Real Story video, available this summer in a plain brown paper bag.

Opening early in New York and LA two weeks before its national bow is Fox's PG-13 over-the-top glam musical Moulin Rouge. Starring Nicole Kidman as a dancer and Ewan McGregor as a writer who falls for her, and directedby Baz Luhrmann, Moulin Rouge is set in 19th century Paris -- and might as well be set on 23rd century Mars considering it's hardly your typical summer release. Obviously, Fox is aware of this and figures that short of opening on Bastille Day in France, no date is the best date to open Moulin Rouge that would offer any distinct advantage in theU. S. So here it is, in it's own "Twilight Zone," duking it out with Shrek and Angel Eyes.

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