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''Dinosaur'' tramples an enduring ''Gladiator''

Plus, teens earn their keep on a ”Road Trip” and ”Small Time Crooks” is surprisingly strong

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Dinosaur
Disney

Disney’s kid-friendly ”Dinosaur” stomped Ridley Scott’s ”Gladiator” this weekend, earning $38.6 million at the box office and knocking the Roman epic into second place. The animated prehistoric romp won Disney its third highest opening ever, after last year’s ”Toy Story 2” ($57.4 million) and 1994’s ”The Lion King” ($40.9 million). (”Gladiator”’s weekend total fell to $19.1 million, bringing its three-week gross to $102.5 million.) Though Disney execs can claim this summer’s biggest debut yet, the ”Dinosaur” era is likely to be short lived. Wednesday’s opening of the much anticipated Tom Cruise flick ”M:I-2” should make that prehistoric film’s top finish extinct.

DreamWorks’ ”Road Trip,” an adventure of a very different sort, debuted at No. 3 with $15 million, earning back its budget allowance in full. The raunchy teen comedy skidded past the submarine drama ”U-571” (No. 4, $4.6 million), the time travel thriller ”Frequency” (No. 5, $4.3 million), and John Travolta’s critically maligned fantasy film ”Battlefield Earth” (No. 6, $3.8 million). Woody Allen’s ”Small Time Crooks” premiered at No. 7, also heisting $3.8 million, but on just 865 screens — compared to 3,307 screens for Travolta’s never-to-be blockbuster. Despite tepid reviews (EW gave it a B-), ”Crooks” was the famously neurotic director’s best opening in at least 20 years, according to DreamWorks execs.

CRITICAL MASS Memorial Day moviegoers will boost the winnings for ”Dinosaur,” but judging by EW Online’s readers poll, adults liked the film even better than their kids. Readers concurred with EW’s critic; both graded the film a B overall. More than 60 percent said ”Dinosaur” was better than expected. One third said they would see it again, and 50 percent said they would recommend it to friends. But surprisingly, voters aged 30-39 raised the grading curve for ”Dinosaur” with an A-, while the younger set (ages 1-29) was less easily impressed by the film’s widely acclaimed high-tech graphics, marking it with a mere B-.

Meanwhile, ”Road Trip” may lose a little mileage in the weeks to come. Overall, Online voters gave the film a B-, slightly lower than EW’s B. Women were less inclined to embrace the film’s puerile humor, grading it a C, while men were slightly more indulgent, marking it a B. Still, more than half of the voters said that they would definitely recommend the movie to friends and a third said they were very likely to see it again. This time, the lowest grades came from the 30-39 (C+) set while the highest marks came from the aged 1-29 crowd, many of whom — thank god — are still too young to drive, not to mention imitate the film’s other goofball antics.

To vote on these and other current movies, visit our Critical Mass Movie Poll.