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Box Office Has Room For 'Bugs'

If there's one movie your kids will be bugging you to take them to this Thanksgiving, it will probably be A Bug's Life, reports CBS This Morning Co-Anchor Mark McEwen. Disney's new computer-animated film opens nationwide on Wednesday.

The filmmakers say it's an epic story that tries to make a mountain out of an ant hill.

The story follows the life of Flik, a country ant that comes to the big city on a quest to save his colony. Flik's voice is provided by Dave Foley, star of the sitcom NewsRadio.

"I find my voice grating," says Foley, "and never thought I'd ever be doing voice work."

Frasier's David Hyde Pierce plays a walking stick, and former Cheers barfly John Ratzenberger plays a flea.

How did Ratzenberger prepare himself for the role? "I duct-taped myself to a dogÂ…for five days," the actor deadpans.

David Hyde Pierce (CBS)
Apparently, providing voices for bugs brings out the deadpan humor in more than one actor. Hyde Pierce says he prepared for his part by "a lot of dieting. I took the De Niro approach. I slimmed down."

Veteran comedian Phyllis Diller lends her distinctive tones to the character of the queen ant.

"They wanted someone with mileage and, God knows, I have mileage," Diller says. "I think I was well cast."

A Bug's Life opened to packed houses in its exclusive early run in Hollywood's El Capitan Theater over the weekend. That sets the stage for an animation battle next week when A Bug's Life goes nationwide against Paramount's surprisingly strong The Rugrats Movie (which amassed $28 million in its debut over the weekend) and the resilient Antz.

This is shaping up to be a banner year for animation. Although Warner Bros.' The Quest for Camelot was a disappointment, audiences responded to Disney's Mulan with $120 million and DreamWorks' Antz with $84.2 million, making it the most successful non-Disney animated feature.

After eight weeks, Antz remained in the Top 10 at No. 9 with $2.3 million over the weekend. Next month DreamWorks releases yet another animated feature, The Prince of Egypt, in a campaign of biblical proportions: the movie will be launched on 8,000 to 10,000 screens in 40 countries and in two dozen languages.

Here are estimated grosses at North American theaters for Friday through Sunday as compiled by Exhibitor Relations Co. Inc.:

  1. The Rugrats Movie, $28 million
  2. Enemy of the State,' $20.3 million
    li>The Waterboy, $15.8 million
  3. Meet Joe Black, $8.6 million
  4. I Still Know What You Did Last Summer, $7.2 million
  5. The Siege, $3.5 million
  6. I'll Be Home for Christmas, $2.5 million
  7. Pleasantville, $2.4 million
  8. Antz, $2.3 million
  9. Celebrity, $1.7 million

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