‘Impact’ outstrips tornado

Pic blows away 'Twister', sets May record

DreamWorks and Paramount’s disaster pic “Deep Impact” streaked to a $41.2 million finish for the Mother’s Day weekend, according to final figures reported Monday by the studio.

The tally was about $700,000 below Paramount’s Sunday projection, but still managed to set a new three-day (non-holiday) weekend record for May. The pic came in $100,000 ahead of the previous record-holder, “Twister,” which bowed to $41.1 million in 1996.

The spectacular May 10 debut of “Twister” marked the first time a high-profile popcorn film was launched on the second weekend in May. Before that, the weekend before Memorial Day had long been considered the official start of the movie summer.

“Twister,” which opened in 2,414 theaters and eventually widened its run to 2,808, enjoyed spectacular holds in its second and third weekends, dropping just 10% and 20% respectively. The film finished with about $242 million in domestic ticket sales.

That will be a hard act to follow for “Impact” which bowed considerably wider in 3,156 situations and faces competition for older auds from “The Horse Whisperer” which bows Friday. Sony’s big-budget sci-fi extravaganza “Godzilla” starts on the evening of May 19.