The Ben Affleck war epic barely edges out ''Shrek''

By Lori Reese
Updated June 05, 2001 at 04:00 AM EDT
Pearl Harbor: Andrew Cooper

”Pearl Harbor” held onto the No. 1 spot for the second weekend, with an estimated $30 million take. ”Shrek,” meanwhile, took a close second, earning $28.4 million to bring its 17-day gross to a mean green $148.6 million. The revisionist fairy tale has a shot at passing the $246 million earned by ”Toy Story 2” to become the second biggest animated film of all time (”The Lion King” is No. 1 with $313 million).

Robert Bucksbaum of box office tracking firm Reel Source says the lovelorn ogre’s continued success can be partly credited to repeat viewers. ”You go in thinking you’re getting this light hearted children’s comedy, then you find out it has all these layers,” he says. ”You miss some of the jokes because they come so fast, so you’ve got to go back and see it again.”

Three new films captured the remaining spots in the top five. The Rob Schneider DNA comedy ”Animal,” which costars ”Survivor”’s Colleen Haskell, took No. 3 with $19.8 million. The Nicole Kidman – Ewan McGregor musical ”Moulin Rouge” opened in wide release with a solid $14.2 million for No. 4, while the Martin Lawrence – Danny DeVito crime caper debuted with $13.3 million for the No. 5 spot.

CRITICAL MASS Mainstream audiences aren’t used to seeing musicals these days, so analysts thought the quirky ”Moulin Rouge” might be a tough sell. But’s readers have had no trouble warming to the Baz Lurmann directed song and dance act. Voters gave the film a B+, the highest grade of this week’s newcomers. (The critics’ average grade was B-.) Moreover, an overwhelming 74 percent said that the movie was far better than they had expected, and the same number indicated that they would recommend Kidman and McGregor’s lovestruck duets to friends.

Meanwhile, voters gave ”Animal” a hohum C+ (critic scored the film a B-). Though 40 percent said they saw the movie for Schneider and his ex castaway costar, less then half indicated that they would recommend the experience to friends. ”What’s the Worst That Could Happen?” likewise earned a C+ from readers, which was more generous than the critics’ grade of D+. But nearly 70 percent of voters said they would be unlikely to tell their friends to see the movie. Maybe Lawrence and DeVito should consider taking up singing lessons.

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