George Lucas and 20th Century Fox can stop worrying -- "Star Wars: Episode II -- Attack of the Clones" is a hit.
The fifth "Star Wars" adventure led the U.S. box office in its opening weekend with $86.2 million from Friday to Sunday -- running its four-day total to $116.3 million. The picture grossed a mid-week record $30.1 million on its opening day Thursday.
The $86.2 million was the third-biggest Friday-Sunday ever -- after the two-week old record of $114.8 million set by "Spider-Man" and the $90.3 million rung up last November by "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone."
"Clones" joined "Spider-Man" as the second film to reach the $100 million mark in four days or less. "Harry Potter" and "Star Wars: Episode I -- The Phantom Menace" each got there in five.
"Clones" finished ahead of "Spider-Man," but Spidey still had legs -- grossing $46 million to run its 17-day total to $285.6 million. That makes it the 15th biggest U.S. box-office hit ever.
Between them, "Clones" and "Spider-Man" grossed an eye-popping $132.2 million -- leaving the next eight box-office finishers to split $36 million among them. "Unfaithful" took in a third of that amount -- $10.3 million -- in its second, and the new Hugh Grant comedy-drama, "About a Boy," opened in fourth with $8.4 million.
So far this year, the U.S. box office has pulled in $3.1 billion -- 16 percent more than the take at this time last year.
The prospects are good for more huge numbers over the upcoming Memorial Day holiday weekend.
"Clones" and "Spider-Man" are expected to continue to do big business, while the animated feature "Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron," the Jennifer Lopez drama "Enough" and the Al Pacino-Robin Williams thriller "Insomnia" are expected to generate sizeable grosses as well.
The Drama Desk -- an organization of theater critics and journalists -- has named "Thoroughly Modern Millie" best musical of the New York theater season.
"The Goat" and "Metamorphoses" shared the prize for best play in awards presented Sunday.
All told, "Millie" took five awards -- lead actress in a musical (Sutton Foster), featured actress in a musical (Harriet Harris), director of a musical (Michael Mayer) and orchestrations (Doug Besterman and Ralph Burns).
Alan Bates of "Fortune's Fool" and Lindsay Duncan of "Private Lives" were named best actor and actress. Frank Langella of "Fortune's Fool" and Katie Finneran of "Noises Off" picked up best featured actors and actress awards.
John Lithgow won for best actor in a musical for "Sweet Smell of Success."
"Metamorphoses" also won for best director of a play (Mary Zimmerman) and music in a play (Willy Schwarz).
"Private Lives" and "Into the Woods" won for best play and musical revivals.
Elaine Stritch won for best solo performance, for "Elaine Stritch at Liberty" -- which also won for best book of a musical.
HONORS FOR ANTHONY, 'RESURRECTION BLVD.,' 'PINERO'
Musician Marc Anthony, the Showtime series "Resurrection Blvd." and the feature film "Piñero" picked up three awards each in Los Angeles Saturday night as the National Council of La Raza handed out the 2002 American Latino Media Arts (ALMA) Awards, honoring outstanding achievement by Latinos in film, television and music.
Anthony won for performance in a music, variety or comedy special ("Christmas at Rockefeller Center," NBC), Spanish language album of the year ("Libre") and male performer of the year.
"Resurrection Blvd." -- which led the field with eight nominations -- won for TV series of the year, supporting actor in a TV series (Luis Avalos) and script for a TV drama or comedy (Adam Fierro, "Bruja").
"Piñero" -- based on the life of Puerto Rican-born hip-hop poet Miguel Piñero -- was named outstanding motion picture and screenplay. Benjamin Bratt won for best actor in a motion picture for his performance in the title role.
"Tortilla Soup" -- which had the most nominations in the movie categories, seven, took just one award. Elizabeth Peña tied with Elpidia Carrillo of "Bread and Roses" for supporting actress in a motion picture.
Laura Elena Harring of "Mulholland Drive" won for best actress in a motion picture. Andy Garcia of "Ocean's Eleven" won for supporting actor in a motion picture. Robert Rodriguez was named best director for a motion picture for his family action-comedy Spy Kids."
ROSIE'S PERFECT SIX
Rosie O'Donnell is finishing her daytime TV talk show run with a perfect record -- six hosting Emmys in six seasons on the air.
O'Donnell also took top talk show honors for a fifth consecutive year as the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences handed out the 29th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards in ceremonies in New York.
"It's truly been an honor to be a part of the daytime family for the past six years," said O'Donnell. "It's been the best six years of my life. Honestly, the amount of grace I've been able to experience through this job has been life-altering."
"Jeopardy!" won best game show for the eighth time, but it was Bob Barker of "The Price Is Right" who took best game show host. Barker now has 15 Emmys -- including one for lifetime achievement award.
ABC's "One Life to Live" won for best drama -- the show's first top award in 33 years on the air. Peter Bergman of "The Young and the Restless" was named best actor in a daytime drama and Susan Flannery of "The Bold and the Beautiful" won for best actress.
CBS won 15 Emmys overall. ABC won 12, and PBS won 11 -- including six for "Sesame Street."
FINEST TOP BRAVEST IN NY FOOTBALL GAME
With an estimated 15,000 looking on at Giants Stadium, the New York City Police Department beat the New York City Fire Department, 10-0, Saturday in "Fun City Bowl XXX" -- the 30th annual meeting of the teams -- in a game tempered by the tragedy of Sept. 11.
The fire department lost 343 members in the World Trade Center terrorist attack -- including seven active players and 15 former players from the department's football team. The police department lost 23 officers on Sept. 11 -- none who had played for the NYPD football team.
The Bravest Football Club honored the families of its lost members by presenting them with their loved ones' jerseys -- framed and bearing plaques that said: "Forever a hero on our team."
Proceeds from ticket sales benefited the NYPD and FDNY Widows and Children's funds.
NBC will tell the stories of the fire and police department football teams in a one-hour primetime special, "America's Heroes: The Bravest vs. The Finest," at 8 p.m. on May 25. The special will combine game footage with feature stories on the players, their families and the heroes and victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
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UPI Almanac for Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014