Send in the Clones

Ecstatic Exhibitors Ready to Send in ‘Clones’

Even before “Spider-Man” demolished box office records over the weekend, movie theater owners were already pumped up after catching advance screenings of “Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones.”

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

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

The 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.