The Angelina Jolie action flick scores the highest ever opening for a videogame adaptation

By Lori Reese
Updated June 19, 2001 at 04:00 AM EDT
Angelina Jolie, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider

Moviegoers were game for ”Lara Croft: Tomb Raider” this weekend, as the joystick adaptation topped of the box office with a $48.2 million take. The Angelina Jolie action flick blasted past the $31 million record set by 1999’s ”Pokémon: The First Movie” for the highest ever opening for a videogame inspired flick.

Paul Dergerabedian of box office tracking firm Exhibitor Relations credits ”Tomb Raider”’s spectacular debut to a marketing campaign that emphasized the movie’s sexy star. ”Paramount did a really masterful job of putting Jolie in front of everybody,” he tells ”She’s on billboards, on TV, everywhere. If you didn’t know this movie was coming out, you live in a cave.” Of course, the studio hopes the Jolie-centric campaign will help spawn future ”Tomb Raider”s as well, adds Gitesh Pandya, editor of box ”They’re trying to establish Lara Croft as a brand name, and the reason you do that is for sequels.”

Another action oriented cartoon, Disney’s ”Atlantis,” opened wide at No. 2 with a $20.4 million — only a fair performance considering the staying power of the computer generated ‘toon comedy ”Shrek” (No. 3; $12.9 million) when it bowed in May. Last weekend’s No. 1, the hacker thriller ”Swordfish,” flopped to the No. 4 spot with $12.1 million, while ”Pearl Harbor” rounded out the top five with $9.5 million.

CRITICAL MASS Paramount may have plans for a ”Tomb Raider” sequel, but readers might be just as happy if Lady Croft’s game were already over. Voters gave the adaptation a C, right on par with the critics’ average of C. Nearly one third said they saw the movie because of its curvaceous star, Jolie, and another third because of its F/X heavy trailers. But the majority were disappointed: 57 percent said the heavily hyped blockbuster was far worse than they had expected, and 43 percent indicated that they would definitely not recommend in to friends.

Voters were similarly displeased with Disney’s ”Atlantis.” The animated underwater epic earned a C overall, slightly lower than the critics’ average of C+. An overwhelming 67 percent said that the Mouse House feature was much worse than they had expected — and the same number said that they would not recommend the movie to friends. Is it too late to start rethinking any plans for an ”Atlantis” ride at Disneyworld?

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Atlantis: The Lost Empire

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