October 20, 2000 at 04:00 AM EDT

Is three a crowd when it comes to the number of boy bands the market will support? That’s what the music industry is wondering after the tepid debut of the latest 98[degrees] album, Revelation, which some expected to elevate them to the league of ‘N Sync and the Backstreet Boys. Revelation sold only 292,000 units its first week, followed by a 150,000-unit second week, even though Universal shipped a whopping 2.6 million copies (a preorder Billboard says was matched or bettered in the last two years only by ‘N Sync, Eminem, and Britney — all albums that sold a million-plus their first week). Universal prez Monte Lipman admits ”we would have liked it to have sold better, but it’s not where you start, it’s where you finish. And the last album [which went five-times platinum] sold less than 30,000 its first week, so they’ve come a long way.” Billboard‘s Geoff Mayfield blames mass merchandisers’ over-ordering on the basis of the last ‘N Sync album. ”A lot of orders came in before they had a chance to see how the single [”Give Me Just One Night (Una Noche)”] was going to fare at radio,” says Mayfield, ”and while it’s not a flop, it’s no ‘Bye Bye Bye.”’ A second single, ”My Everything,” goes to radio this week, giving 98[degrees] another chance at saying hi hi hi.

Blues Traveler frontman John Popper has cameoed in Kingpin and Private Parts but does his first real acting in the upcoming indie Just for the Time Being. Director Gil Brenton, who lives in a nearby Pennsylvania town, tossed a script onto his driveway. ”I might’ve run over it a few times before I noticed,” says Popper, who plays Patrick O’Neal’s buddy and contributed six songs. ”I got my first movie sex when my movie wife stuck her tongue in my ear. They say you don’t feel a movie kiss, but I was into that.”

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