Chris Nashawaty
September 21, 2001 AT 04:00 AM EDT

HARBOR-ING RESENTMENT This summer was wall-to-wall with limp blockbusters begging for a backlash. But it looks like the season’s most battered whipping boy, Pearl Harbor, is getting the last laugh. While Michael Bay‘s $135 million war epic raked in a less-than-expected $197 million Stateside, Ben Affleck & Co. wound up as America’s No. 1 box office export, pulling in $235.5 million overseas after all those lire, drachma, and rupees were tallied up (apparently, the phrase ”bad buzz” doesn’t readily translate abroad). In fact, Pearl‘s $432.4 million worldwide haul made it summer’s global boss of the beach, topping both Shrek‘s $426.8 million and The Mummy Returns‘ $418 million. Meanwhile, back in Hollywood—where failure can be both a perception and a reality—the Mouse House just squeezed Pearl into more than 900 additional theaters in a last-ditch attempt to catapult the film’s final domestic gross over the hallowed $200 million mark. Hey, at least that’s 900 fewer screens that Summer Catch can play on.

PARENTS ADVISORY Around this time last year, Ben Stiller and Robert De Niro coughed up a little dysfunctional family comedy called Meet the Parents, whose $166.2 million box office bonanza quickly jump-started talks of the sequel, Meet the Fockers. It was recently announced that Parents director Jay Roach has signed on to helm the third Austin Powers installment, Goldmember. So what’s the delay? Well, Universal says the Fockers script is still in the works. And says Stiller, who’s getting ready to start shooting Duplex opposite Drew Barrymore, ”I don’t know what’s going on with it. Comedy sequels are tough…because so much is based on the freshness of it. So, if they can figure out a way to do it, it would be great. But no one wants to make something that’s just going out there to do it again.” In other words, it looks like we’ll have to wait a little longer to meet Mother Focker.

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