BOX OFFICE: ‘Gladiator’ Kills ‘Battlefield’

HOLLYWOOD, May 14, 2000 – The Roman spectacle that is an embattled Russell Crowe in a thigh-length skirt asserted its supremacy over other spectacles at the box office once again this weekend.

For the second time in as many weeks, the loincloth-filled “Gladiator” put its competition to shame, pulling in an estimated $24.3 million, according to box-office tracking firm Exhibitor Relations Inc.

Taking the No. 2 slot was the John Travolta sci-fi bonanza “Battlefield Earth” with an estimated $12.3 million — almost 50 percent less than the Russell Crowe starrer.

The rest of the Top Five couldn’t even ring up double digits as far as the million-dollar mark goes. The submarine WWII actioner ” “U-571,” with $5.8 million, dropped another spot from last week to No. 3. The ballet teen flick ” “Center Stage” debuted at No. 4 with $4.8 million, finishing in a tie with the lingering ” “The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas” and ” “Frequency.” Placing in the fifth spot was the Natalie PortmanAshley Judd weepy “Where the Heart Is” with $3.6 million.

As for other new debuts, the Norm MacDonald comedy “Screwed” came in with $3.4 million at No. 6, and the new Jamie Foxx flick “Held Up” debuted (such as it was) at No. 11 with a paltry $1.1 million.

Here’s a complete rundown of the weekend Top 10, according to Exhibitor Relations estimates:

1. “Gladiator,” $24.3 million 2. “Battlefield Earth,” $12.3 million 3. “U-571,” $5.8 million 4. “Center Stage,” $4.8 million 4-TIE. “The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas,” $4.8 million 4-TIE “Frequency,” $4.8 million 5. “Where the Heart Is,” $3.6 million 6. “Screwed,” $3.4 million 7. “Love and Basketball,” $2.0 million 8. “Keeping the Faith,” $1.9 million 9. “Rules of Engagement,” $1.8 million 10. “Erin Brockovich,” $1.6 million