News In Brief

HEY, HOW HARD CAN IT BE?

Like a college student pulling an all-nighter, the new prime minister of Japan has begun a crash course in how to use a computer. Under private tutors, Yoshiro Mori is taking intensive half-hour lessons, beginning with how to use a mouse, published reports say. Why the rush? Partly because he intends to make information technology a keystone of his economic policy. But partly, too, because the subject is high on the agenda for the annual Group of Eight conference of which he is to be the host ... beginning Friday.

I COULDN'T FIND A BUS STATION

Teenage boys often can be found hanging around gas stations in their spare time. Then there's Michael Murphy. He turned up at one in Lyon, France, at 1 a.m. - almost 24 hours after his school mates and four teachers left him behind on a field trip that was returning to Tilehurst, England. Yes, there was a frantic search for him, costing $200,000. Oh, and an official inquiry that may lead to disciplinary action.

Competitors are no match for 'X-Men' at box office

At best, executives at Twentieth Century Fox figured their movie "X-Men" would gross $35 million its opening weekend. They underestimated by about $20 million. The comic-book adaptation about genetic mutants had the best opening to date for a non-sequel set a record for a three-day July weekend ("Men in Black" held the honor previously) and ranked No. 6 in overall three-day standings. Its performance helped put Hollywood on track to match last year's record summer revenues of $3 billion. The top-grossing films (in millions) for the July 14-16 weekend, according to box-office tracker Exhibitor Relations Inc.:

1. X-Men $54.5

2. Scary Movie 26.2

3. The Perfect Storm 17.1

4. The Patriot 10.6

5. Disney's the Kid 10.5

6. Chicken Run 7.9

7. Me, Myself, and Irene 5.7

8. Big Momma's House 2.8

9. Gone in 60 Seconds 2.5

10. Shaft 2.4

- Associated Press/Reuters

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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