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Box Office A Picnic For 'Antz'

Antz, a movie about the lives of tiny bugs, scored big at the weekend box office and established DreamWorks as a force in animated features, collecting $17.2 million for the biggest debut for an October movie.

The year's first of two computer-animated bug movies - Disney's A Bug's Life comes out next month - Antz topped the $16.6 million debut by Stargate in 1994. Featuring the voices of Woody Allen, Sharon Stone, and Gene Hackman, Antz also is the first of two animated projects this year for DreamWorks, which will release The Prince of Egypt in December.

What Dreams May Come, starring Robin Williams, also had a strong opening with $15.8 million for second place, according to figures released Monday. With the movie receiving mostly bad reviews, producers are counting on word of mouth and Williams' box office clout to recoup the film's $85 million cost.

Rush Hour remained strong in its third week, with $14.5 million for third place. A Night at the Roxbury opened with $9.6 million for fourth, Ronin lost 43 percent of its business to finish fifth in its second week with $7.2 million, and Urban Legend had $6.7 million.

Rounding out the Top 10 were There's Something About Mary with $3.4 million, One True Thing with $2.7 million, Saving Private Ryan with $1.7 million, and Simon Birch with $1.5 million.

The top 20 movies at North American theaters Friday through Sunday, followed by studio, gross, number of theater locations, average receipts per location, total gross and number of weeks in release, as compiled by Exhibitor Relations Co. Inc.:

  1. Antz, DreamWorks, $17.2 million, 2,449 locations, $7,021 average, $17.2 million, one week.
  2. What Dreams May Come, Polygram, $15.8 million, $2,526 locations, $6,268 average, $15.8 million, one week.
  3. Rush Hour, New Line, $14.5 million, 2,701 locations, $5,365 average, $84 million, three weeks.
  4. A Night at the Roxbury, Paramount, $9.6 million, 1,865 locations, $5,150 average, $9.6 million, one week.
  5. Ronin, MGM/UA, $7.2 million, 2,487 locations, $2,896 average, $23.9 million, two weeks.
  6. Urban Legend, Sony, $6.7 million, 2,257 locations, $2,972 average, $20.1 million, two weeks.
  7. There's Something About Mary, 20th Century Fox, $3.4 million, 2,174 locations, $1,562 average, $158 million, 12 weeks.
  8. One True Thing, Universal, $2.7 million, 1,636 locations, $1,630 average, $17.3 million, three weeks.
  9. Saving Private Ryan, DreamWorks, $1.7 million, 1,510 locations, $1,109 average, $184.3 million, 11 weeks.
  10. Simon Birch, Disney, $1.5 million, 930 locations, $1,604 average, $13.9 million, four weeks.
  11. Blade, New Line, $1.05 million, 1,388 locations, $760 average, $66 million, seven weeks.
  12. Rounders, Miramax, $1 million, 1,475 loations, $684 average, $21.6 million, four weeks.
  13. Ever After, 20th Century Fox, $796,325, 1,111 locations, $717 average, $62.6 million, 10 weeks.
  14. Everest, MacGillivray, $657,270, 61 locations, $10,775 average, $44.5 million, 31 weeks.
  15. Armageddon, Disney, $505,724, 726 locations, $697 average, $197.9 million, 14 weeks.
  16. Lethal Weapon 4, Warner Bros., $431,079, 901 locations, $478 average, $128.7 million, 13 weeks.
  17. Pecker, Fine Line, $379,618, 163 locations, $2,329 average, $1.1 million, two weeks.
  18. Dee Snider's Strangeland, Artisan, $373,288, 315 locations, $1,185 average, $373,288, one week.
  19. A Soldier's Daughter Never Cries, October, $369,864, 149 locations, $2,482 average, $706,135, three weeks.
  20. Dr. Dolittle, 20th Century Fox, $337,533, 600 locations, $563 average, $142.2 million, 15 weeks.

Written by Michael Fleeman