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10-07-01 news
Gleeson & AI top US box office...

Steven Spielberg's much-hyped film A.I. was last night crowned king of the American box-office over the weekend, but it failed to reach blockbuster status. The film stars Jude Law and 13-year-old Haley Joel Osment as robots which look like humans and the Irish actor Brendan Gleeson.

It took 21.27 million at American cinemas after being released on Friday. The total made it the weekend's biggest film but was less than the biggest films of the previous few weeks, including controversial road-racing movie The Fast and The Furious and Pearl Harbor, which have taken around 28 million pounds in their first weekends.

Bosses at DreamWorks, which made the film, and distributors Warner Bros, were facing a wait to see if the 70 million film will be a hit. Warner Bros' head of distribution, Dan Fellmann, told the New York Post: "It's a movie that people talk about and generates word of mouth, hopefully."

The film, which at two hours and 20 minutes, is longer than the average summer offering, has been given the American equivalent of a PG rating, but is not being marketed for children.

It was made by Spielberg after the death of Stanley Kubrick, who had bought the rights to the story, by science-fiction writer Brian Aldiss, and worked for many years on making it into a film.

Its opening in America puts it on a par with Spielberg's last big film, the Second World War hit Saving Private Ryan which was partly made here in Cork.

"We're very pleased to open in the company of Saving Private Ryan," Mr Fellman told Daily Variety. Last week's number one, The Fast and The Furious, which prompted police to patrol cinema car parks to prevent people recreating its road-racing stunts, was second with 14 million in ticket sales, while Dr Doolittle 2, starring Eddie Murphy, was third with 10.9 million.

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