Romans, ‘Road’ rule May for D’Works

'Mission' pops Par to third place

DreamWorks extended its 2000 hot streak by dominating the May B.O.

Studio, which nabbed several big Oscar wins for “American Beauty” in March, kicked off the summer by gobbling up 28.8% of the May movie market. Its tally for May 1-29 was $176.3 million. Disney finished a distant second with $114.7 million, or 18.7%.

The month will be remembered for a juggernaut Memorial Day frame, which set an all-time record for overall weekend grosses: $183.8 million.

Driving DreamWorks were “Gladiator” and “Road Trip,” which wound up as the No. 1 and No. 4 pics, respectively, of the period.

Epic summer launch

“Gladiator,” helmer Ridley Scott’s Roman epic, has collected $127 million to date. It scored convincing wins in the first two weekends of May — an increasingly pivotal release period that has given rise to hits such as “The Mummy” and “Twister.”

Studio execs figure the Russell Crowe starrer will finish with $175 million to $200 million domestically. It’s also been an overseas smash, though co-finance partner Universal is the foreign distrib.

“Road Trip,” a gross-out comedy that cost DreamWorks around $15 million to make, has shown plenty of spunk; cume is $35.2 million.

Long legs

Both “Gladiator” and “Road Trip” seem likely to play well through July.

Paramount parlayed the month’s No. 2 title, “Mission: Impossible 2,” into a third-place finish. Tom Cruise actioner’s eye-popping $92 million haul in just six days gave Par $101.7 million for May, 16.6% of the market.

Mouse House’s pricey toon “Dinosaur” ended the period as the No. 3 pic with $80.4 million.

U’s April hit “U-571” rounded out the top five with $30.8 million.

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