For the bulk of every Rocky and Bullwinkle episode, moose and squirrel would engage in high concept escapades that satirized geopolitics, contemporary cinema, and the very fabrics of the human condition. With all of that to work with, there's no excuse for why the pair and their Soviet nemeses haven't gotten a decent movie adaptation. But the ingenious Mr. Peabody and his faithful boy Sherman are another story, intercut between Rocky and Bullwinkle segments to teach kids brief history lessons and toss in a nearly lethal dose of puns. Their stories and relationship were much simpler, which means that bringing their shtick to the big screen would entail a lot more invention — always risky when you're dealing with precious material.
For the most part, Mr. Peabody & Sherman handles the regeneration of its heroes aptly, allowing for emotionally substance in their unique father-son relationship and all the difficulties inherent therein. The story is no subtle metaphor for the difficulties surrounding gay adoption, with society decreeing that a dog, no matter how hyper-intelligent, cannot be a suitable father. The central plot has Peabody hosting a party for a disapproving child services agent and the parents of a young girl with whom 7-year-old Sherman had a schoolyard spat, all in order to prove himself a suitable dad. Of course, the WABAC comes into play when the tots take it for a spin, forcing Peabody to rush to their rescue.
Getting down to personals, we also see the left brain-heavy Peabody struggle with being father Sherman deserves. The bulk of the emotional marks are hit as we learn just how much Peabody cares for Sherman, and just how hard it has been to accept that his only family is growing up and changing.
But more successful than the new is the film's handling of the old — the material that Peabody and Sherman purists will adore. They travel back in time via the WABAC Machine to Ancient Egypt, the Renaissance, and the Trojan War, and 18th Century France, explaining the cultural backdrop and historical significance of the settings and characters they happen upon, all with that irreverent (but no longer racist) flare that the old cartoons enjoyed. And oh... the puns.
Mr. Peabody & Sherman is a f**king treasure trove of some of the most amazingly bad puns in recent cinema. This effort alone will leave you in awe.
The film does unravel in its final act, bringing the science-fiction of time travel a little too close to the forefront and dropping the ball on a good deal of its emotional groundwork. What seemed to be substantial building blocks do not pay off in the way we might, as scholars of animated family cinema, have anticipated, leaving the movie with an unfinished feeling.
But all in all, it's a bright, compassionate, reasonably educational, and occasionally funny if not altogether worthy tribute to an old favorite. And since we don't have our own WABAC machine to return to a time of regularly scheduled Peabody and Sherman cartoons, this will do okay for now.
If nothing else, it's worth your time for the puns.
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It was a freaky weekend at the box office this weekend as the horror parody Scary Movie 3 helped moviegoers get into the spirit of Halloween--to the tune of $21.1 million*, making it the No. 1 film for the second consecutive week. But sandwiched between the slasher spoof Scary Movie 3 and the limb hacker pic The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, which came in third with a gory $10.9 million, was a little animated tale called Brother Bear."Brother Bear totally capitalized on a marketplace devoid of family films," Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office tracker Exhibitor Relations told The Associated Press Sunday. "There's always an opportunity where there's a scarcity of product for a particular segment of the audience." The Disney film opened Saturday with a burly $18.4 million, an impressive debut compared to the Mouse House's recent animated features. Although Brother Bear didn't premiere as strongly as the Buena Vista/Disney and Pixar Animation Studios collaboration Finding Nemo, which netted $70.2 million when it hit theaters in May, it surpassed the openings of other Disney pics this year, including Piglet's Big Movie ($6 million) and The Jungle Book 2 ($11.4 million).The lone film to open wide this weekend, Brother Bear was also the only new addition to this week's box office Top Ten. The feel good drama Radio came in fourth with $10.2 million, while the John Grisham thriller Runaway Jury rounded out the Top Five with $6.8 million. The Human Stain, starring Anthony Hopkins and Nicole Kidman, opened in limited release with an impressive $1.2 million, while the re-release of the digitally remastered Alien: The Director's Cut, which boasts six minutes of never-before-seen footage, opened in select cities to the pulsating tune of $ 1 million. THE TOP TENDimension Films' PG-13 rated spoof Scary Movie 3 reigned in the No. 1 spot for the second week with an ESTIMATED $21.1 million (-56%) in 3,505 theaters (unchanged; $6,020 per theater). Its cume is approximately $78.6 million. Directed by David Zucker, it stars Anna Faris, Charlie Sheen, Simon Rex, Regina Hall, Queen Latifah, George Carlin and Leslie Nielsen.Buena Vista's G rated animated film Brother Bear, which opened Saturday, debuted in second place with an ESTIMATED $18.5 million in 3,028 theaters with a $6,119 per theater average--the highest of any film playing wide this week.Set against the majestic natural splendor of the Great American Northwest, the film tells the story of a boy whose life takes an unexpected turn when he is transformed into a bear.Directed by Aaron Blaise and Bob Walker, it features the voices of Joaquin Phoenix, Jeremy Suarez, D.B. Sweeney and Michael Clarke Duncan.New Line Cinema's R rated horror remake The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, slipped from second place to third in its third week with an ESTIMATED $10.9 million (-25%) in 2,970 theaters (-48 theaters; $3,670 per theater). Its cume is approximately $66.1 million.Directed by Marcus Nispel, it stars Jessica Biel, Eric Balfour, Mike Vogel, Erica Leerhsen and Andrew Bryniarski.Sony Pictures' PG-13 rated drama Radio dropped one notch to fourth place in its second week with an ESTIMATED $10.2 million (-23%) in 3,074 theaters (unchanged, $3,318 per theater). Its cume is approximately $26.8 million.Directed by Michael Tollin, it stars Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Ed Harris.Twentieth Century Fox's PG-13 rated courtroom thriller Runaway Jury fell one position to No. 5 in its third week with an ESTIMATED $6.8 million (-19%) in 2,736 theaters (-79; $2,507per theater). Its cume is approximately $33.6 million. Directed by Gary Fleder, it stars John Cusack, Gene Hackman, Dustin Hoffman and Rachel Weisz.Warner Bros.' R rated drama Mystic River fell from its No. 5 position to sixth in its fourth week with an ESTIMATED $6.2 million (-19%) in 1,551 theaters (+58 theaters; $4,046 per theater). Its cume is approximately $33.5 million.Directed by Clint Eastwood, it stars Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, Kevin Bacon, Laurence Fishburne, Laura Linney and Marcia Gay Harden.*Box office estimates provided by Exhibitor Relations, Inc.Miramax Films' R rated gory actioner Kill Bill Vol. 1, held steady in seventh place in its fourth week with an ESTIMATED $4.7 million (-26%) in 2,429 theaters (-204 theaters, $1,939 per theater). Its cume is approximately $60.9 millionDirected by Quentin Tarantino, it stars Uma Thurman, Lucy Liu, Vivica A. Fox, Michael Madsen, Daryl Hannah and David Carradine.Paramount Pictures' PG-13 rated comedy School of Rock, dropped two positions to No. 8 in its eighth week with an ESTIMATED $4.4 million (-33%) in 2,786 theaters (-165 theaters; $1,579 per theater). Its cume is approximately $69.1 million.Directed by Richard Linklater, it stars Black, Joan Cusack and Michael White.Universal Pictures' PG 13 rated romantic comedy Intolerable Cruelty held on to its No. 9 position in its fourth week with an ESTIMATED $2.6 million (-27%) in 1,661 theaters (-629 theaters, $1,600 per theater). Its cume is approximately $32 million.Produced by Ethan Coen and directed by Joel Coen, it stars George Clooney and Catherine Zeta-Jones.Screen Gems' R rated erotic thriller In the Cut expanded in its second week to place tenth with an ESTIMATED $2.3 million at 825 theaters (+819 theaters, $2,788 per theater). Its cume is approximately $2.4 million. In the film, Meg Ryan plays a self-determined NYU professor who, following the brutal murder of a young woman in her neighborhood, tests the limits of her own safety by entering into a risky sexual liaison with a detective. Directed by Jane Campion, it stars Ryan, Mark Ruffalo, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Nick Damici.OTHER OPENINGSMiramax's R rated drama The Human Stain debuted in 160 theaters with an ESTIMATED $1.1 million. Its $7,025 per theater average was the highest of any film playing this week. The film stars Anthony Hopkins as a man who, throughout his life, has been a master of deception and self-reinvention. Years later, when he becomes an esteemed professor, false accusations ruin his career.Directed by Robert Benton, it stars Hopkins, Nicole Kidman, Ed Harris, Gary Sinise and Wentworth Miller.Twentieth Century Fox's R rated sci-fi thriller Alien: The Director's Cut opened in 347 theaters with an ESTIMATED $1 million, with a $2,997 per theater average. In the film, a re-release of director Ridley Scott's 1979 film, seven crewmembers of the commercial ship Nostromo are awakened from their cryo-sleep capsules halfway through their journey home to investigate an S.O.S. distress call from an alien vessel.Directed by Scott, it stars Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, Veronica Cartwright, Harry Dean Stanton, John Hurt, Ian Holm and Yaphet Kotto.WEEKEND COMPARISON The Top 12 films this weekend grossed an ESTIMATED $91.9 million, down 23.16 percent from last weekend's $119.5 million. The Top 12 movies were also down 8.94 percent from this time last year when they took in $100.9 million.Last year, Buena Vista's G rated The Santa Clause 2 debuted in the No. 1 position with $29 million in 3,350 theaters ($8,659 per theater); DreamWorks' R rated thriller The Ring stayed at No. 2 in its third week with $18.1 million in 2,808 theaters ($6,452 per theater); and Sony's PG-13 rated I Spy opened in third with $12.7 million in 3,182 theaters ($4,008 per theater).
Go to our Box Office section for recent weekend movie analysis.
Hollywood.saw sharp declines across the board at the box office over the post-Thanksgiving weekend as moviegoing gave way to holiday shopping.
Buena Vista/Disney and Pixar's G-rated computer-animated blockbuster "Toy Story 2" held on to first place in its third weekend with a 50% drop that reflected how most films in the marketplace performed.
"Toy 2" snapped up a still hefty estimated $28.30 million (-50%) at 3,238 theaters (+2 theaters, $8,734 per theater). Its total is approximately $117.3 million, heading for a domestic theatrical total of $250 million-plus.
"Toy 2's" per-theater average was the highest for any film playing in wide release last weekend. Directed by John Lasseter, it features the voices of Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, Kelsey Grammer, Don Rickles, Jim Varney, Wallace Shawn, John Ratzenberger, Annie Potts, Wayne Knight, Laurie Metcalf, Estelle Harris and R. Lee Ermey. Its score and two new songs were composed by Grammy Award winner Randy Newman.
The original "Toy Story" grossed about $190 million in the United States and Canada in 1995. It did about $360 million in worldwide ticket sales and sold more than 22 million videocassettes in the United States alone. If "Toy 2" hits $200 million by Dec. 31, Buena Vista will become the only distributor ever to have two films reaching $200 million in the same calendar year. The studio's blockbuster "The Sixth Sense" crossed the $200 million mark in early September.
"It's down 50% from Thanksgiving weekend, and I do not consider that bad at all," a Buena Vista distribution executive said Sunday morning. "It took us 11 days to reach $100 million (on Saturday). It is the biggest weekend for the first week in December, (beating) the original 'Toy Story' with $20.2 million."
MGM's PG-13-rated "The World Is Not Enough," the 19th James Bond epic, held on to second place in its third weekend with a quieter estimated $10.60 million (-55%) at 3,163 theaters (theater count unchanged, $3,345 per theater). Its total is approximately $90.4 million, heading for $120 million in domestic theaters. Directed by Michael Apted, it stars Pierce Brosnan in his third performance as 007.
Universal and Beacon Pictures' R-rated action-fantasy adventure "End of Days" came in third again with a less lively estimated $9.71 million (-53%) at 2,599 theaters (+6 theaters, $3,735 per theater). Its total is approximately $45.9 million. Directed by Peter Hyams, it stars Arnold Schwarzenegger.
"We all knew this was going to be a tough weekend. This is traditionally not a great weekend at the box office, but look at the numbers -- they were again record-breaking," Universal Distribution President Nikki Rocco said Sunday morning. "People are going to the movies. The economy is good. They're out there doing things. They're doing their Christmas shopping. That's what happens in a good economy. You don't have to choose between entertaining yourself or buying Christmas presents. You do both."
The rise of Internet shopping may be a helpful factor, as well, according to Rocco: "People have more free time for entertainment. You spend an hour in the morning online (shopping on the Web), and you can still go out and go to the movies and relax. There's more time for recreation."
Paramount's R-rated period action adventure "Sleepy Hollow" continued in fourth place in its third weekend with a sleepier estimated $9 million (-51%) at 3,069 theaters (+2 theaters, $2,933 per theater). Its total is approximately $74.3 million, on its way to $100 million in domestic theaters. Directed by Tim Burton, it stars Johnny Depp and Christina Ricci and is based on Washington Irving's classic "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow."
"It's not unexpected," Paramount Distribution President Wayne Lewellen said Sunday morning, focusing on the post-Thanksgiving marketplace. "Obviously, you'd like for it to hold up better than it is. But it still gets us to a little over $100 million with the picture."
Universal's R-rated suspense thriller "The Bone Collector" rose one notch to return to the top five in its fifth weekend with a strong estimated $3.15 million (-43%) at 2,518 theaters (+18 theaters, $1,250 per theater). Its total is approximately $58.1 million. "Bone's" 43% drop was the lowest for any film in the top five. Directed by Phillip Noyce, it stars Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie. Sony's Columbia Pictures unit is partnered 50-50 with Universal on "Bone's" worldwide film rentals. Sony is releasing the picture internationally.
"We've been very fortunate. Where 'Bone Collector' is playing, it's just lingering in the multiplexes," Rocco said Sunday morning. "It's back in the top five, and it's hanging on. The goal was always $65 million (in domestic theaters) with this picture. It's certainly getting to $65 million, and it probably will get to $70 million."
Rocco noted that "Bone's" success is even greater given its relatively low production cost of about $40 million.
Warner Bros.' G-rated Japanese animated feature "Pokemon: The First Movie" slipped one peg to sixth place in its fourth weekend with a soft estimated $2.21 million (-69%) at 3,043 theaters (theater count unchanged, $726 per theater). Its total is approximately $80.6 million, heading for a domestic theatrical gross in the low $90 millions.
Lions Gate's release of "Dogma," the controversial R-rated irreverent comedy it took over from Miramax, held on to seventh place in its third weekend with an OK estimated $2.15 million (-37%) at 1,292 theaters (theater count unchanged, $1,664 per theater). Its total is approximately $24.5 million. Directed by Kevin Smith, it stars Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Linda Fiorentino, Salma Hayek, Jason Lee, Jason Mewes, Alan Rickman and Chris Rock.
Buena Vista/Touchstone's critically acclaimed R-rated drama "The Insider" rose one rung in its fifth weekend to eighth place with a quiet estimated $1.40 million (-45%) at 1,483 theaters (-189 theaters, $912 per theater). Its total is approximately $23.9 million. Directed by Michael Mann, it stars Al Pacino and Russell Crowe.
USA Films' R-rated comedy "Being John Malkovich" added theaters and jumped one slot to ninth place in its sixth weekend with an encouraging estimated $1.39 million (-33%) at 624 theaters (+35 theaters, $2,224 per theater). Its total is approximately $13.9 million. Directed by Spike Jonze, it stars John Malkovich, playing himself, John Cusack, Cameron Diaz and Catherine Keener.
"It's amazing," USA Films distribution head Jack Foley said Sunday morning. "We probably had the smallest drop among all the films out there from last weekend. At this level (of theaters), it puts you out there so you're going to feel the effects of the marketplace on you. We've held well. I think last weekend more people discovered the picture. And even in these shopping days, we're beginning to benefit (from word of mouth). This is a delight.
"Now as the (year-end critics) lists come in, hopefully, it will keep it buoyed up in everybody's mind. It is defying gravity. You know it's a great film, but to say (such an unusual) picture could have penetrated the markets of America this way and get this response is amazing."
Rounding out the Top 10 was 20th Century Fox's PG-13-rated mother-daughter drama "Anywhere But Here," down two notches in its fourth weekend with a calm estimated $1.30 million (-54%) at 1,628 theaters (-58 theaters, $799 per theater). Its total is approximately $16.4 million. The film is directed by Wayne Wang and stars Susan Sarandon and Natalie Portman.
OTHER OPENINGS Weekend 49 also saw the arrival of 20th Century Fox and Lucasfilms Ltd.'s reissue of "Star Wars: Episode One -- The Phantom Menace" for a one-week charity run, placing 11th with a down-to-earth estimated $1.18 million at 832 theaters ($1,412 per theater). Its total s approximately $429 million.
Columbia's R-rated romantic drama "The End of the Affair" kicked off at 7 theaters, placing 23rd with an engaging estimated $0.20 million ($29,000 per theater). Directed by Neil Jordan, it stars Ralph Fiennes, Julianne Moore and Stephen Rea.
Sony Classics' PG-13 dark comedy "Sweet and Lowdown" opened exclusively in New York at 3 theaters, placing 24th with a strong estimated $0.10 million ($33,333 per theater). Sony Classics does not have its grosses tracked and released to the industry, but distribution insiders said they were hearing that the film did about $100,000. Directed by Woody Allen, it stars Sean Penn and Uma Thurman. Allen's films typically perform best in New York.
TriStar's R-rated youth appeal "Virtual Sexuality" kicked off at 101 theaters, placing 27th with a soft estimated $0.045 million ($450 per theater). Directed by Nick Hurran, it stars Laura Fraser and Rupert Penry.
Miramax's R-rated dark comedy "Holy Smoke" opened an Oscar qualifying run at 2 theaters, placing 28th with a promising estimated $0.032 million ($16,000 per theater). Directed by Jane Campion, it stars Kate Winslet and Harvey Keitel.
"'Holy Smoke!'s' a pretty good start," Miramax's senior vice president, marketing, said Sunday morning. "It's always tricky when you do a one-week qualifying run (for Oscars) because the second week will tell you so much more. But it's pretty good, actually. There were a lot of Academy qualifier (runs this weekend), and we were leading that pack. Jan. 14 we reopen in the top 40 markets on about 100 screens."
Avalanche Releasing's romantic comedy "Spanish Fly" opened in 30th place to a dreary estimated $0.011 million at 7 theaters ($1,570 per theater). Written and directed by Daphna Kastner, it stars Kastner and Toni Canto.
USA Films' R-rated comedy-drama "Agnes Browne," directed by and starring Anjelica Huston, opened an Oscar qualifying run at 2 theaters, placing 31st with an unexciting estimated $0.006 million ($2,929 per theater). The film will open in March, USA Films' Foley said Sunday morning.
Also opening was First Look Entertainment's drama "A Map of the World" in L.A. and New York for a weeklong Academy Awards-qualifying run. No estimates were available since First Look does not have its grosses tracked and released to the industry. Directed by Scott Elliott, it stars Sigourney Weaver and Julianne Moore.
SNEAK PREVIEWS Weekend 49 saw no national sneak previews. EXPANSIONS On the expansion front, Weekend 49 saw Miramax's PG-13-rated comedy "Mansfield Park" widen slightly in its third weekend, placing 22nd with a promising estimated $0.23 million (-33%) at 32 theaters (+2 theaters, $7,031 per theater). Its total is approximately $0.85 million. Directed by Patricia Rozema, it stars Embeth Davidtz, Jonny Lee Miller, Alessandro Nivola, Frances O'Connor and Harold Pinter. USA Films' R-rated Civil War action-drama "Ride With The Devil" added theaters in its second weekend, placing 26th place with a slow estimated $0.053 million at 15 theaters (+4 theaters, $3,554 per theater). Its total is approximately $0.17 million. Directed by Ang Lee, it stars Tobey Maguire, Skeet Ulrich and pop singer Jewel. WEEKEND COMPARISONS Weekend 49's key films, those grossing more than $500,000 for the weekend, took in approximately $75.31 million, up approximately 10.66% from $68.05 million for the comparable weekend last year. Weekend 49's key film gross was down approximately 50.86% from the $153.26 million that key films took in during the Friday-Sunday portion of this year's five-day Weekend 48. Last year, Buena Vista/Disney's second weekend of "A Bug's Life" was first with $17.17 million at 2,701 theaters ($6,358 per theater), and Universal's opening weekend of "Psycho" was second with $10.03 million at 2,477 theaters ($4,050 per theater). The top two films one year ago grossed $27.2 million. This year, the top two films grossed an estimated $38.9 million. For the first 49 weekends of 1999, ticket sales were approximately $4.665 billion, up about 4.84% from 1998's gross of $4.450 billion. Of this year's 49 weekends, 28 were up (one marginally and one because of a four-day vs. three-day holiday weekend comparison) and 21 were down (three only marginally and one because of a holiday vs. nonholiday comparison) vs. last year. STUDIO MARKET SHARES Based on business by key films, the top six distributors in Weekend 49 were the following: Buena Vista (Touchstone and Disney) was first with three films ("Toy Story 2," "The Insider" and "The Sixth Sense") grossing an estimated $30.67 million or 40.7% of the market. Universal was second with three films ("End Of Days," "The Bone Collector" and "The Best Man") grossing an estimated $13.45 million or 17.9% of the market. MGM was third with two films ("The World Is Not Enough" and "Flawless") grossing an estimated $11.55 million or 15.3% of the market. Paramount was fourth with two films ("Sleepy Hollow" and "Double Jeopardy") grossing an estimated $9.54 million or 12.7% of the market. Twentieth Century Fox was fifth with two films ("Anywhere But Here" and "Star Wars: Episode One -- The Phantom Menace") grossing an estimated $2.48 million or 3.3% of the market. Warner Bros. was sixth with one film ("Pokemon: The First Movie") grossing an estimated $2.21 million or 2.9% of the market. ADDITIONAL ESTIMATES (11) "Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace"/Fox: (see OTHER OPENINGS above) (reissue)
(12) "The Sixth Sense"/BV: Theaters: 1,034 (+17) Gross: $0.97 million (-37%) Average per theater: $937 Total: $273.6 million
(13) "Flawless"/MGM Theaters: 478 (0) Gross: $0.95 million (-40%) Average per theater: $1,995 Total: $3.4 million
(14) "American Beauty"/DreamWorks: Theaters: 694 (+109) Gross: $0.78 million (-33%) Average per theater: $1,130 Total: $67.6 million
(15) "The Best Man"/Universal: Theaters: 511 (+5) Gross: $0.59 million (-51%) Average per theater: $1,160 Total: $32.1 million
(16) "The Messenger"/Sony: Theaters: 977 (-995) Gross: $0.55 million (-54%) (tie) Average per theater: $563 Total: $13.7 million
(16) "The Bachelor"/New Line: Theaters: 1,044 (-289) Gross: $0.55 million (-52%) (tie) Average per theater: $527 Total: $20.6 million
(18) "Double Jeopardy"/Paramount: Theaters: 708 (-132) Gross: $0.54 million (-47%) Average per theater: $755 Total: $113.0 million
(19) "The House on Haunted Hill"/Warner Bros.: Theaters: 651 (-390) Gross: $0.37 million (-47%)(tie) Average per theater: $575 Total: $39.2 million
(19) "Music of the Heart"/Miramax: Theaters: 858 (+64) Gross: $0.37 million (-52%)(tie) Average per theater: $435 Total: $14.0 million
(21) "The Omega Code"/Providence: Theaters: 405 (+106) Gross: $0.30 million (-40%) Average per theater: $745 Total: $11.9 million
(22) Mansfield Park/Miramax: (see EXPANSIONS above)
(23) "The End of the Affair"/Columbia: (see OTHER OPENINGS above)
(24) "Sweet and Lowdown"/Sony Pictures Classics: (see OTHER OPENINGS above)
(25) "Liberty Heights"/Warner Bros.: Theaters: 6 (0) Gross: $0.068 million (-32%) Average per theatre: $11,333 Total: $0.4 million
(26) "Ride With the Devil"/USA Films: (see EXPANSIONS above)
(27) "Virtual Sexuality"/TriStar: (see OTHER OPENINGS above)
(28) "Holy Smoke!"/Miramax: (see OTHER OPENINGS above)
(29) "Tumbleweeds"/Fine Line: Theaters: 5 (0) Gross: $0.017 million (-59%) Average per theater: $3,344 Total: $0.077 million
(30) "Spanish Fly"/Lions Gate Films: (see OTHER OPENINGS above)
(31) "Agnes Browne"/USA Films: (see OTHER OPENINGS above)