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‘Star Wars’ Launches Record Weekend

“Star Wars” continued its domination to lead the box office to what is expected to have been the best four-day Presidents Day weekend total ever.

“This is a tremendous weekend, and of course it’s all led by ‘Star Wars,’ ” said Exhibitor Relations President John Krier Monday. “It’s going to be a record-breaker.”

Although final figures won’t be available until today, the weekends grosses were expected to easily exceed last year’s four-day take of $95.4 million, Krier said.

“Star Wars” continued its reign with a spectacular $21.3 million estimated for the four days, which would bring its three-week total in re-release to a whopping $98.6 million. That would make the movie’s all-time gross climb to $421.3 million; last week it surpassed Steven Spielberg’s $399.8-million take for “ET” to become the highest grossing movie of all time.

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Clint Eastwood’s “Absolute Power,” which was greeted with mixed reviews, was expected to take second place at the box office, with an estimated $16.2 million on 2,568 screens.

“Dante’s Peak,” the volcano disaster film in its second week of release, apparently was third with a projected $14.3 million on 2,727 screens. “Star Wars” was showing on 2,104 screens.

The fourth through six spots all seem to have gone to new releases, according to Monday’s estimates: Chevy Chase’s “Vegas Vacation,” fourth with $13.1 million; “Fools Rush In,” with Salma Hayek and Matthew Perry, fifth with $9.7 million; and Disney’s “That Darn Cat,” sixth with an expected $6.5 million.

Also of note, “The English Patient,” which received 12 Oscar nominations last week, apparently rose from 14th to eighth place with a take of $5 million, and “Shine,” which got seven nominations, apparently moved from 13th to 10th place with $3.5 million.

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