BOX OFFICE: ‘Storm’ Sinks ‘The Patriot’

HOLLYWOOD, June 25, 2000 –- In this weekend’s battle of overhyped movies with he-man stars, George Clooney is kicking Mel Gibson‘s butt, to put it bluntly.

Few people expected Clooney’s “The Perfect Storm” to rain on Gibson’s and “The Patriot,” but that’s exactly what’s happening. Estimates released today by box-office trackers at Exhibitor Relations Co. show that “The Perfect Storm” will make $41 million during the first three days of this five-day holiday weekend; “The Patriot” will make about $21 million.

What’s even more interesting is that Gibson’s Revolutionary War action flick opened on Wednesday, two days before “The Perfect Storm,” but even with a head start “The Patriot” i’s still running $10 million behind.

Last weekend’s No. 1 and No. 2 pictures fell down to the 3 and 4 spots, this weekend, but what’s interesting is that “Chicken Run” made more money than “Me, Myself & Irene” this weekend, despite the fact that the claymation clucker is playing on about 600 fewer screens.

And “The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle” opened at No. 5 with a mediocre $6.6 million, which probably proves just how annoying everybody thought those Jay Ward cartoons were in the first place.

Here’s a rundown of the Top 10 for the first leg (Friday through Sunday) of the July 4 holiday weekend:

1. “The Perfect Storm” ($41.7 mil; opening weekend) 2. “The Patriot” ($21.7 mil; $31 mil overall) 3. “Chicken Run” ($12.8 mil; $41.1 mil overall) 4. “Me, Myself & Irene” ($12 mil; $49 mil overall) 5. “The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle” ($6.6 mil, opening weekend) 6. “Shaft” ($6.5 mil; $53.2 mil overall) 7. “Big Momma’s House” ($6.5 mil; $94.7 mil overall) 8. “Gone in 60 Seconds” ($5 mil; $78.6 mil overall) 9. “M:I-2” ($4.8 mil; $196.9 mil overall) 10. “Gladiator” ($2.4 mil; $169.7 mil overall)