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November 5, 2001

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Monster madness grips US BO

Som Chivukula

Humongous. Huge. Gigantic. Any of these could be words used to describe the box office performance of Disney Pixar's latest computer animated effort, Monsters, Inc.

Monsters Inc The film, featuring the voices of actors John Goodman and Billy Crystal, opened with $ 63.5 million. The figure is the highest for an animated film and the sixth highest opening ever.

Disney Pixar's Toy Story 2, released in 1999, held the record for an animated film debuting with $ 57.4 million.

Disney executives were estatic about the film's gross. "It's just fabulous," distribution chief Chuck Viane tells the Associated Press. "We knew it was good, but breaking records -- you very seldom expect that."

Monsters, Inc which cost $ 100 million features Goodman voicing a horned-gorilla-like character named Sully and Crystal as his friend Mike Wazowski, a green eyeball with arms and legs. They live in a world appropriately called Monstropolis.

But in monster paradise, trouble is afoot when Sully accidentally lets a young girl wander through Monstropolis, where humans are considered toxic.

Critics reacted to the film favorably, calling it Disney Pixar's best effort in the computer animated film department and building on the success created by A Bug's Life and the two Toy Story movies.

The One But they also pointed out it was a notch below the year's highest grossing film, DreamWorks's Shrek. It had opened with $ 42.4 million and held steady for weeks to finish with $ 265 million in North America.

The weekend also saw two other new releases -- Jet Li's The One debuted with $ 20 million, proving Li's increasing popularity in America. His last film Kiss of the Dragon disappointed with collections just over $ 30 million. But strong action scenes fuel The One, with stunts very much in the tradition of The Matrix.

John Travolta, who had a mild summer hit with Warner Bros' Swordfish, stars in Domestic Disturbance, a thriller which opened third with $ 14.5 million. Critics panned both The One and Domestic Disturbance for their weak plots and performances.

Domestic Disturbance The top 12 films grossed $ 136 million, up 44 percent from the same weekend a year ago. The strong bow of the new releases also gave the box office a much-needed boost, with the gross of the top dozen films up 85 per cent from last weekend.

Last week's releases K-Pax pulled in $ 10.7 million for a total of $ 32.1 million after 10 days. 13 Ghosts, earned another $ 7.6 million for a total of $ 27.8 million.

Monsters, Inc will likely repeat as the champ this week before facing the eagerly awaited Harry Potter film that opens in two weeks.

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