The Summer of Movie Money

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The movie industry is on target to pocket a record-shattering $2.49 billion by the end of the season. This would top last year's $2.22 billion take, led by Sony's "Men in Black." The key to this summer's success is diversity, according to Robert Bucksbaum, an analyst at box office watchers Reel Source. "You saw a wide range of films that you normally don't see in the summer: 'There's Something About Mary,' a slapstick comedy; 'Saving Private Ryan,' an Oscar-contending drama; and 'The Truman Show,' a warm-hearted satire," Bucksbaum says. "Family films did better than expected -- there's 'Mulan,' and 'The Parent Trap.' Even 'Ever After' is turning out to be a solid hit. It wasn't just a typical summer full of action-adventure blockbusters."

Of course, those action-adventure staples contributed their share to the box office bonanza. "Armageddon" is the summer's biggest moneymaker at $180 million (although "Private Ryan," the No. 1 film for the past four weeks, has the asteroid flick in its crosshairs). Look at the rest of the top grossing movies of the season so far, though, and you'll see that the summer box office heroes came in all shapes and sizes:

"Armageddon," $180 million
"Deep Impact," $139 million
"Dr. Dolittle," $135 million
"Godzilla," $133 million
"Saving Private Ryan," $126 million
"The Truman Show," $123 million
"Lethal Weapon 4," $121 million
"Mulan," $115 million
"There's Something About Mary," $92 million
"The X-Files," $82 million
"The Mask of Zorro," $79 million
"The Horse Whisperer,"$74 million