'Phantom' Holds Lead

In its third weekend “Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace” held the No. 1 spot at the box office, earning $32.2 million since Friday to top the $250 million mark. “Notting Hill,” with Julia Roberts and High Grant, continued to fare well in its second week, taking in $15 million. The only new film opening in wide release was “Instinct,” starring Cuba Gooding Jr. and Anthony Hopkins (the latter as a murderous scientist living among jungle-dwelling apes). It earned only $10.2 million for third place.

  • “The Mummy,” “Entrapment” and “The Matrix” continued to fare well, claiming fourth, fifth and sixth place, respectively. The techno-mystery “The Thirteenth Floor” plunged to seventh place after a poor opening and earned only $1.9 million in its second week.
  • The “Star Wars” prequel is falling short of Hollywood’s hyper-driven expectations, but it continues to do well and will likely top $400 million by summer’s end, said Robert Bucksbaum, a Reel Source Inc. movie analyst. A new test for the George Lucas film is due next weekend with the arrival of the “Austin Powers” sequel, which is expected to bite into the “Star Wars” core audience of young boys.
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