The messages from this week's box-office race are clear: Heavily hyped action movies always seem to attract moviegoers this time of year; early summer can be a good time for studios to release their character-driven films aimed at over-35 audiences; and animated films lacking the Disney brand name face a difficult road.
"Deep Impact" proved that audiences will flock to action films as summer beckons. The movie remained atop the weekly box office for the second week in a row, grossing $23.4 million.
Meanwhile, Robert Redford's new film, "The Horse Whisperer," debuted at No. 2 with strong ticket sales of $13.7 million.
"I think 'The Horse Whisperer' just filled a niche for people who didn't feel like seeing a big action picture like 'Deep Impact,"' said Paul Dergarabedian, executive vice president of the box-office tracking firm Exhibitor Relations Co. Inc.
The news wasn't as good for Warner Bros., however, whose new animated feature "Quest for Camelot" took in only $6 million.