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B.O. turns ‘Menace’-ing

$10.9 mil a record for a non-holiday Monday

If “The Phantom Menace’s” weekend launch flew below some observers’ overhyped expectations, the pic is more than making up for it with stellar mid-week numbers.

The “Star Wars” prequel grossed a spectacular $10.9 million Monday, a record for a non-holiday Monday and a drop of just 50% from its mammoth $21.9 million Sunday.

That’s nearly twice the business Universal’s “The Lost World: Jurassic Park” did on the first weekday following its opening weekend.

The strong hold seems to support early speculation that some parents and other adult viewers, fearing long lines and sold-out shows, chose to wait until after the pic’s initial weekend to venture into the multiplex.

Monday’s grosses also got a boost from the fact that it was Victoria Day, a legal holiday in Canada. The pic dropped 25% to $8.2 million Tuesday.

In what may be an early indication of how the pic will fare as more kids get out of school, towns where summer vacation has already begun are reporting astounding “Star Wars” grosses.

For instance, the Cinemark Tinseltown in Plano, Texas, outside Dallas, grossed $18,541 Tuesday, an incredible figure for a May weekday. The number was up from $10,947 Monday.

In Denver, the United Artists’ Continental grossed roughly $16,900 Monday and $18,400 Tuesday.

The week’s top-grossing engagements were the United Artists Union Square 14 ($473,000) and the Clearview Ziegfeld in Gotham ($343,000), and the Mann Chinese ($309,000) in L.A.

“Lost World,” which opened over the Memorial Day weekend in 1997, grossed $18 million on the holiday Monday before dropping 69% to $5.7 million on Tuesday.

Because “Lost World” opened over the Memorial Day frame, as opposed to “Menace’s” bow on the weekend before the holiday, more school kids were available for the dinosaur sequel than the space battle prequel.