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H’wood pix pump heat into Poland’s summer

'Diary,' 'Shrek,' 'Pearl,' 'Mummy 2,' among movies lifting B.O.

WARSAW — The Hollywood majors have succeeded in transforming the Polish summer from a theatrical dead zone into a boffo box office season.

Over the past two years, distribs have made a concerted effort to open up the summer, traditionally Poland’s quietest cinema-going period along with Christmas. This year, with eight big Hollywood titles launched between June and August, they have been rewarded with a buoyant 5.4 million admissions.

United Intl. Pictures has led the charge with four of the summer’s top six hits. U’s “Bridget Jones’ Diary” heads the chart with 925,000 admissions, followed closely by Dreamworks’ “Shrek” with 900,000.

Buena Vista’s “Pearl Harbor” took third with 502,000, then comes U’s “The Mummy Returns (391,000), “Hannibal” (378,000) and Par’s “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider” (257,000). There were weaker showing for “Dr. Dolittle 2” (101,000) and “Evolution” (78,000).

“We have very strong films, and when we launch them we don’t go by the season of the year,” UIP’s Polish head Urszula Malska, said. “We show our movies right after the American premiere. I believe that quality is what determines a film’s success, and not the weather.”

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