Will 'Prince of Egypt' get lost in the glut of holiday-season kids' films?
The Prince of Egypt
Credit: Dreamworks Pictures

This weekend is the calm before next week’s movie-blitz storm: Only two major films are opening, compared to Christmas Day’s six national debuts.

”Prince of Egypt,” DreamWorks’ second animated venture (after ”Antz”), is a grand retelling of the story of Moses leading the Hebrews out of Egypt. It uses the Disney formula (perfected by DreamWorks head Jeffrey Katzenberg when AT Disney) of majestic drawings, songs, and recognizable voices, including those of Val Kilmer, Ralph Fiennes, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Sandra Bullock. ”Prince” is the fourth animated movie of the season, and the previous three — ”Antz” ($86.4 million), ”The Rugrats Movie” ($73.2 million), ”A Bug’s Life” ($83.5 million) — have been big draws. Katzenberg hopes he’s giving ”Prince” (which EW’s Owen Gleiberman graded a B) enough distance from those competitors: When ”Babe: Pig in the City” opened the same day as ”Bug’s” and five days after ”Rugrats,” it was largely ignored and has grossed only $13.6 million so far.

Also opening tomorrow is the romantic comedy ”You’ve Got Mail,” which reunites writer-director Nora Ephron with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, her leads in 1993’s ”Sleepless in Seattle.” Although the critical response hasn’t been as favorable for ”Mail” as for ”Sleepless” (EW’s Lisa Schwarzbaum gave ”Mail” a B), the new film has little competition in the light-romance market and should profit from parents desperate to see real actors on screen.

The Prince of Egypt
  • Movie
  • 99 minutes