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'Pokemon' tops weekend box office

By The Associated Press
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
November 15, 1999
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Associated Press

LOS ANGELES - The big-screen adventures of Pikachu had children and parents shelling out about $32.4 million to enter the fantasy world of Pok­mon, making it the No. 1 film at the weekend box office, according to industry estimates released yesterday.

"Pok­mon: The First Movie" continues to ride a wave of popularity among elementary school-aged children.

The animated Warner Brothers film, which follows Pikachu and friends as they battle a bio-engineered foe, has earned $52.1 million since its debut Wednesday, a new five-day record for animated features.

"Pok­mon couldn't be hotter than it is right now," said Paul Dergarabedian, president of Exhibitor Relations Co. Inc., which tracks the box office. "Kids are insatiable for entertainment and they'll consume everything that comes out in a big way."

The film has been helped by an ongoing fervor among children for Pok­mon trading cards and a tie-in promotional campaign with Burger King. For the uninitiated, Pok­mon is a blend of the words "pocket monster." It started as a Japanese cartoon and caught on in the United States as a Nintendo game and trading card series.

Last week's top film, "The Bone Collector," took the No. 2 spot with an estimated $12 million in ticket sales.

The debut of director Kevin Smith's controversial film "Dogma" ranked third with $8.8 million. The movie has raised the ire of some Roman Catholics for its irreverent look at the nature of faith.

Moviegoers benefited from a wide range of choices this weekend with films for all ages and backgrounds, Bergarabedian said.

Audiences, for example, continued to spook themselves with "The Sixth Sense," starring Bruce Willis. The movie finished 10th in the weekend tally with $2.7 million and has earned $267.8 million since debuting 15 weeks ago. The film could reach the $300 million plateau if it receives a Golden Globe or Oscar nomination, said Chuck Viane, president of distribution for Disney's Buena Vista Pictures.

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