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WEEKEND BOXOFFICE ADVANCE: Will 'Tomb Raider' Plunder 'Atlantis' to Capture No. 1?

15 Jun, 2001 By: Ed Ochs

Two new summer contenders bid to become the next Mummy and Shrek, and since they don't compete with each other, how high each debuts depends on how deep and wide they're able to spread their audiences. Lara Croft: Tomb Raider attempts to bring the hit video game to screen life, while the animated fantasy adventure Atlantis: The Lost Empire -- which has its own video game -- plunges under the sea to mine the legend of the mysterious underwater kingdom.

Paramount's PG-13 effects-driven Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, starring Angela Jolie as Lara, should leap into contention for the top spot on the sheer strength of savvy marketing. Directed by Simon West (Con Air, The General's Daughter), the movie may play best to audiences who know little about the game and are just looking for an action-packed roller-coaster ride this weekend, rather than to the gamers who made Tomb Raider a best-seller and don't necessarily pine for a movie version. Expect a big opening, but nowhere near the hype, as Jolie may not be enough to keep Tomb Raider from an exciting but early burial at the box office.

Disney's PG animated adventure tale Atlantis: The Lost Empire, starring the voice of Michael Fox, follows deep-sea explorers searching for the underwater city. This storyline may make it easier for kids and parents to move on after Shrek. On the other hand, family audiences waiting for the singing and comedy to start in Atlantis may be disappointed, since The Little Mermaid it's not.And Shrek it's definitely not. But it is Disney, and as Shrek turns into the backstretch, the momentum toward what's next for families will send moviegoers under the sea to Atlantis to see what all the bubbles are about.

These newcomers weigh in against last week’s No. 1 Swordfish and, must we say it again, Shrek, which should exit the weekend with a total of about $195 million, passing The Mummy Returns to the vocally talented CG comedy the year's highest-grossing movie -- on its way to becoming DreamWorks' biggest movie yet.

Opening in limited release this weekend are Lions Gate’s period drama Songcatcher, starring Janet McTeer and Aidan Quinn, Fox Searchlight’s crime thriller Sexy Beast, starring Ben Kingsley, and Sony Entertainment Television’s Hindi-language drama Lagaan, starring Aamir Khan.

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