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Cops Hiss 'Snakes In A Theater' Story

Phoenix police are denying reports that two diamondback rattlesnakes were released at a movie theater showing the Internet cult film, "Snakes on a Plane," the Arizona Republic reports.

The newspaper quoted Phoenix police Sgt. Joel Tranter as saying there was a small element of truth to the tale. One rattler was found in the hallway of a local AMC multiplex, but Tranter said the rattler had likely slithered into the theater on his own. The snake was removed without incident.

The Reuters news service ran a story quoting an AMC spokeswoman as saying two rattlesnakes had been released at a Phoenix theater where "Snakes" was playing.

"Snakes on a Plane" was last weekend's top-grossing film, but its $15.2 million box-office bite was a disappointment for a film that has been buzzed about on the Internet for months.

The campy horror flick, however, which cost about $30 million to make, should eventually turn a profit for distributor New Line.

The Samuel L. Jackson thriller, about a plane sabotaged by bad guys unloosing a pack of killer snakes, did not meet the lofty expectations created by the early swell of chat-room excitement and fan-generated trailers and gushing praise.

The studio expected the film to top $20 million its opening week.