At Box Office, All's Fair for Love and 'Wars'

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There is life in the shadow of "Star Wars: Episode I." Lots of it. The everyman-meets-It Girl romantic comedy "Notting Hill," boasting good reviews, Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant all in one, packed in the couples like never before, bringing in a romantic-comedy record $27.8 million over Memorial Day weekend. Besides proving that Hugh Grant may yet live up to his billing as a shaggy incarnation of Cary Grant, it also shows that teens haven't completely taken over the movie business yet.

They were just at another theater. Reports of the sluggishness of "Episode I" seem to have been greatly exaggerated; the Lucasian toyfest collected another $64.8 million over the three-day weekend, putting its total gross at $205 million after just 13 days (that's another record -- "Independence Day" took three weeks to hit that mark in 1996). Certainly, a heartening second weekend for Fox execs burdened by stratospheric hype expectations. But Universal, without a proven property like "Phantom," gets the calendar award. "The Mummy" has already scored a quick $117 million (including a decent $12.7 million this week) by sopping up the pre-"Phantom" sci-fi dollars -- now "Notting Hill" is scoring with, well, the folks planning on scoring afterward. Moral: There's plenty of fannies to go around.

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