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WEEKEND BOXOFFICE ADVANCE: 'Mummy Returns' Curses the Competition as it Seeks to Entomb No. 1

11 May, 2001 By: Ed Ochs

It's only fitting that The Mummy Returns wraps up No. 1 on Mother's Day, unless you want to risk the curse of the lost debut, like Sony's A Knight's Tale is doing. Mummy Returns may lose its first-week audience buzz to A Knight's Tale, but Mummy Returns will lance any opening weekend bubble built up around A Knight's Tale, as the Universal action-adventure stomps past the $100 million mark this weekend on its march to $200 million.

The PG-13 A Knight's Tale stars Heath Ledger (The Patriot) as a 14th Century squire who impersonates a nobleman in order to enter a jousting tournament. Written and directed by Brian Helgeland (Payback), A Knight's Tale co-stars Shannyn Sossamon as the fair damsel. Ledger's looks will bring in the girls, the action scenes will snag the guys, while the anachronistic '60s rock soundtrack aims to update the action to please the teen date crowd.

Even if A Knight's Tale clicks, will anyone hear about it? The debut of A Knight's Tale certainly will be blown away by this year's Desert Storm -- The Mummy Returns -- in its second weekend.

Universal's The Mummy Returns opened with a colossal $68.1 million, so it has nowhere to go but down. However, The Mummy Returns will hold up far better than The Mummy, and it's decline will be more gradual as word-of-mouth keeps the box office brimming.Sequels tend to wear out their welcome sooner than the originals, but The Mummy Returns is an exception, drawing audiences from across the board, unlike fellow blockbuster, the nasty Hannibal, because it's a better movie than the original.

Opening in limited release this weekend, Sony also offers Trumpet of the Swan, starring Jason Alexander, Reese Witherspoon and Carol Burnett. The G-rated Trumpet is a family film about a boy and his bird. Also opening in limited release this weekend are Lions Gate's Mexican-American comedy Bread & Roses, Miramax's Latin jazz documentary Calle 54, and Dublin romance About Adam, also from Miramax.

But this weekend, again, belongs to the special effects spectacle of The Mummy Returns.

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