Inside Move: Exhibs ready for ‘Clones’

Screening creates positive vibes in the force

Even before “Spider-Man” demolished B.O. records over the weekend, the mood of exhibitors had already been pumped up thanks to exhib screenings of “Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones.”

“You cannot have wanted any better reaction from exhibitors,” said Rick Myerson, 20th Century Fox exec VP of distribution. “There’s something for everyone in this movie.”

After Thursday night’s screening in Westwood, exhibs rated “Clones” as significantly improved over 1999’s “Phantom Menace” and were most impressed by ILM’s special effects generally and Yoda’s fight scenes specifically.

Question of whether the fifth installment of George Lucas’ “Star Wars” saga can match initial grosses from “Spider-Man” will undoubtedly be mulled over at length for the next two weeks. “Clones” opens May 16, a Thursday, at about 3,300 locations — 300 fewer than “Spider-Man” — and will play on about 5,000 screens.

“We’re not looking to break any records in terms of how wide it goes out,” Myerson added.