News In Brief

GOING ONCE. GOING TWICE ... When memorabilia of the legendary rocker Eric Clapton is auctioned June 24 in New York, at least one item seems certain to sell, and for some serious money. Clapton, who hopes to raise $1 million for a drug-treatment center he founded, donated 100 of his instruments - one of them the 1956 Fender Stratocaster he played on "Layla," his No. 1 hit. But then he realized one of the guitars - he won't say which - had too much sentimental value and he wished he hadn't let it go. So he'll be bidding in secret to get it back.

LOST AND FOUND DEPT. Kristin Steel is $20 richer because of her good deed. But that isn't the half of it. The young Ashwaubenon, Wis., resident was examining some old books her father had paid $5 for at a rummage sale and then stashed in the family garage. One of them turned out not to be a book, however; it was a box with $500 inside. Kristin returned the cash to the hugely relieved seller, whose mother had misplaced it.

New 'Star Wars' film takes in $200 million in record time

"Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace" reached the $200 million mark in a record 13 days and topped the field in the four-day Memorial Day box-office derby with earnings of $66.9 million, according to industry reports. Meanwhile, the release of a romance movie to battle with "Star Wars" paid off big-time for "Notting Hill." Its gross of $27.7 million was the best opening yet for a Julia Roberts film. Reported grosses at North American theaters May 28-31 (in millions):

1. "Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace" $66.9

2. "Notting Hill" 27.7

3. "The Mummy" 12.9

4. "Entrapment" 7.2

5. "The Thirteenth Floor" 4.3

6. "The Matrix" 3.8

7. "William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream" 2.1

8. "Never Been Kissed" 2.0

9. "Black Mask" 1.6

10. "The Love Letter" 1.4

- Exhibitor Relations Inc./AP

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