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Monday, 3 July, 2000, 10:48 GMT 11:48 UK
Clooney wins box office fight
George Clooneyt (right) and Mark Wahlberg
George Clooney with Perfect Storm co-star Mark Wahlberg
George Clooney's new film The Perfect Storm trounced Mel Gibson's latest offering when the pair opened in the US over the weekend.

The Perfect Storm took $41.7m (27.5m) - almost double that of The Patriot, which pulled in $21.7m (14.3m).

Nick Park's latest animated adventure Chicken Run, which features Gibson's voice, claimed third spot in the US box office charts, making $12.8m (8.4m).

Overall, it was a good weekend for Hollywood, with the top 12 films grossing $121.8m (80.4m) to reverse disappointing figures of recent weeks.

Mel Gibson
Mel Gibson's film The Patriot took $21.7m in its opening weekend

The Perfect Storm, based on the true story of a fishing crew caught up in a tempest, accounted for more than a third of the overall takings.

Clooney stars as Captain Billy Tyne, the skipper of sword-fishing boat the Andrea Gail, which hits trouble in the North Atlantic.

The film has been praised for its attention to detail and stunning special effects to recreate the waves.

A spokesman for Warner Bros, who released the movie, said: "It really was a cutting-edge effort.

"It was the first time anyone has been able to generate those kinds of effects on water."

Dean Devlin, who produced The Patriot, said they were content with its opening weekend performance.

Reluctant soldier

"I'm just happy we weathered the storm. I was really worried they would wipe us out," he admitted.

The film stars Gibson as reluctant soldier Benjamin Martin, who takes on the British army after joining the American Revolution when the war threatens his family.

Devlin insisted: "We have broken a stigma in Hollywood that movie-goers aren't interested in the American Revolution.

"I don't think people are sitting around saying they can't wait for the next movie about the American Revolution, but I definitely think we have broken that curse."

The weekend's other big release, The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle, limped into fifth place after taking a disappointing $6.6m (4.4m), but Jim Carrey's Me, Myself and Irene continued to do well, raking in $12m (8m) to take fourth spot.

Overall, takings were up 5.3% on last year, in what is viewed as Hollywood's pivotal weekend of the summer season, with Americans enjoying a holiday to mark Independence Day on 4 July.

See also:

01 Jul 00 | Entertainment
Hollywood's patriotic battle
02 May 00 | UK
Hollywood fights the facts
29 Jun 00 | Entertainment
Park and Lord's fowl play
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