May 25, 1999 12:00 AM

Despite reviews you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy, “Patch Adams” debuted as No. 1 at the holiday box office this weekend with $25.3 million, while the dying mother story “Stepmom” (with Julia Roberts and Susan Sarandon), with $19.4 million, battled “You’ve Got Mail” ($19.1 mil) for second place, estimates showed Sunday. “The Faculty” and “Mighty Joe Young” opened to mediocre box office tallies against tough competition, while “The Prince of Egypt” got a small boost in its second week. (Even so, with a cumulative gross of about $40 million, it has only a remote chance of recouping its budget — estimated as high as $100 million — in the initial domestic theatrical run.) “The Thin Red Line” and “A Civil Action” opened to packed houses in limited-release, Oscar-consideration runs.

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