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The Movies

Culture | The top 5 movies in popularity as measured by box office receipts for the weekend of June 18

Issue: "Nifty 50 Books," July 1, 2000
Shaft $21.1 million
1 week in release
$21.1 million to date
CAST / DIRECTOR / STUDIO
Samuel L. Jackson, Vanessa Williams / John Singleton (Boyz N the Hood) / Paramount Pictures

PLOT
An update of the 1973 blaxploitation thriller about a street-smart African-American police detective fighting the underworld in New York.

MESSAGE
James Bond goes to Harlem: Charismatic beautiful people fight crime far better than ordinary mortals.

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CAUTION
Rated R for violence and bad language.

Gone in 60 seconds $14.7 million
2 weeks in release
$51.9 million to date
CAST / DIRECTOR / STUDIO
Nicolas Cage, Angelina Jolie / Dominic Sena (Kalifornia) / Touchstone Pictures

PLOT
Remake of obscure 1974 action movie about car thieves trying to steal 50 cars in four days.

MESSAGE
Committing crimes isn't so bad if you have a really good reason.

CAUTION
Rated PG-13 for violence, sexuality, and bad language.

Big Momma's house $11.3 million
3 weeks in release
$70.7 million to date
CAST / DIRECTOR / STUDIO
Martin Lawrence, Nia Long / Raja Gosnell (Never Been Kissed) / Twentieth Century Fox

PLOT
Extremely lowbrow comedy about an FBI agent who poses as a cranky Southern granny to catch an escaped convict.

MESSAGE
Appearances can be deceiving; the real person lurks behind the costume.

CAUTION
Rated PG-13 for crude humor, bad language, and violence.

Mission: Impossible 2 $10.9 million
4 weeks in release
$176.1 million to date
CAST / DIRECTOR / STUDIO
Tom Cruise, Ving Rhames / John Woo (Face Off) / Paramount Pictures

PLOT
A band of agents searches for a traitor who holds a killer virus in the sequel that only vaguely resembles the original series.

MESSAGE
Watered- down James Bond bravado: Save the world, get the girl, look cool.

CAUTION
Rated PG-13 for violence, bad language, and sensuality.

Titan A.E. $9.5 million
1 week in release
$9.5 million to date
CAST / DIRECTOR / STUDIO
Voices of Matt Damon, Drew Barrymore / Don Bluth (An American Tail) and Gary Goldman (Anastasia) / Twentieth Century Fox

PLOT
A scientist's teenage son must find a legendary spaceship to save humanity from the aliens who destroyed Earth.

MESSAGE
Heroes will risk their own lives to save others.

CAUTION
Rated PG for action violence, mild sensuality, and brief bad language.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Cock-a-doodle-doo! Chicken Run (DreamWorks; rated G) is like Hogan's Heroes set in a Claymation henhouse, with a band of poultry trying to escape a farm in 1950s England. Egg production is down and villainous Mrs. Tweedy (voiced by Miranda Richardson) wants to slaughter the whole lot to make them into chicken pot pies. The farm is portrayed as a big prison camp, and a ringleader named Ginger tries everything imaginable to get free, but keeps getting caught. In a Bug's Life-style twist, in drops circus escapee Rocky the Rooster (voiced by Mel Gibson), who says he can teach them all how to fly. The retro-British setting, Babe-esque anthropomorphism, and endless imagination make this several notches above the usual. The action scenes, including a daring escape from a chicken pie-making machine, are something to see, though the movie's darker moments may be too much for some small kids. The film comes from the animators at Aardman studios, who are best known for the Wallace and Gromit shorts.

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