STRONG 'FORCES'

Oscar boosted the box office fortunes of “Shakespeare in Love” and “Life is Beautiful” — but not enough to topple the almighty “Forces of Nature” from the weekend’s No. 1 spot (with $9.6 million), according to industry estimates. As in the past few weekends, the studios rolled out several duds, including a feature version of the old TV series “The Mod Squad” ($6.1 million, for fourth place). Ticket sales for the weekend’s top 12 films were 18% lower at $58 million than the post-Oscar weekend a year-ago, when “Titanic” and the “Grease” reissue led the field.

  • “EDtv,” director Ron Howard’s comedy about a dim video-store clerk (Matthew McConaughey) whose life goes on TV, came in second place, with $9 million (nowhere near the $31.5 million opening weekend gross of last summer’s “The Truman Show,” another tale of a life led on TV). “Analyze This,” with $8.8 million, dropped to No. 3 in its fourth weekend.
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