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WEEKEND BOXOFFICE REPORT: 'Shrek' Rescues No. 1 From 'Mummy' With $42.1 Million Debut, DreamWorks' Biggest Yet

20 May, 2001 By: Ed Ochs

An ogre’s journey to rescue a princess was story enough to slay The MummyReturns and launch Shrek to No. 1 this weekend. With the media drum thumping weeks in advance, DreamWorks' original, computer-animated comedy opened at No. 1 with an estimated $42.1 million -– the biggest opening in the young studio’shistory (surpassing Gladiator’s $34.8 million) and secondbiggest in animated film annals (behind Disney’s Toy Story 2 at $57.4 million).

With the national breakout of Shrek, a nontraditional fairy tale for a variety of audiences, DreamWorks has finally achieved one of itscornerstone goals –- beating Disney at its own animated game -- to match Disney as aforce in animation features.

Did audiences come to “hear” the stars of Shrek? Of course. By now, everyone knows that the PG Shrek features the voices of Mike Myers as the ogre, Eddie Murphy as his donkey sidekick, Cameron Diaz as the princess and John Lithgow as the evil villain. It's all part of a winning formula. Shrek’s theatrical journey should receive another boost on the upcoming Memorial Day Weekend and zoom through June.

It should be noted that The Mummy Returns didn’t exactly roll over and play dead in its third weekend, and actually strengthened its bandaged hand by slowing its decline while capturing an estimated $20.5 million to bring its 17-day total to $146.5 million,far ahead of the pace set by 1999’s The Mummy. It's now a huge international hit as well.

Sony’s A Knight’s Tale landed at No. 3 with an estimated $10.7 million, its novelty mix of rock and chivalry still surprisingly more than a bright curiosity for dreaming teens.

If you didn’t buy Jennifer Lopez as a Chicago cop, you were not alone. Warner Bros.’ thriller Angel Eyes checked in at No. 4 with a decent $9.5 million, but these numbers are mild compared to the flame burning under her headline-grabbing public profile, which places her in the position of competing with herself -- right now her public life is winning. At this moment, the R-rated Angel Eyes simply may be less interesting than Lopez’s grocery list.

Propelled by a hit soundtrack and top five single of “Lady Marmalade” -- featuring some of pop's top female singers -- Fox's Moulin Rouge, starring Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor, enjoyed a tremendous reception in its pre-national debut at two theaters, in New York and Los Angeles. So far, Fox’s bold, against-the-grain strategy ofreleasing this lavish, 1890s Parisian love story in the summer is working. Interestis building on this Baz Luhrmann-directed spectacle that premiered with much fanfare at the Cannes Film Festival. Moulin Rouge goes wide on June 1.

Holding on to the last rung on the top 10 ladder is Newmarket’s indie success story Momento,which continues to sell tickets as it adds theaters, bringing its total to $12 million in limited release.

Tumbling out of the top 10: Paramount sequel Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles ($22.6 million total) and Sony’s The Tailor of Panama (around $13 million).

With next weekend’s launch of Pearl Harbor, Shrek will have to goto war to hold on to No. 1.

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