GALACTIC CLASH WINS OUT ON MAY COVERS

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Star Wars: Episode 1 -- The Phantom Menace" forced its way onto newsstands across the galaxy during May, proving practically no one is immune to the biggest tide of movie hype since Scarlett and Rhett heated up Atlanta.

From the usual silver-screen coverage of Entertainment Weekly, Movieline, People and Premiere to the supermarket checkout lanes with National Enquirer and Star, and into fashionable territory of GQ and Vanity Fair, all and more contributed to the science fiction grand slam, toting up 18 points for the latest chapter in George Lucas' mythic journey through the universe.

The movie and its stars -- including Liam Neeson, Ewan McGregor and Natalie Portman -- appeared on 10 covers, including one Newsweek cover story devoted to the hoopla surrounding the flick.

Lagging behind in second place is Celine Dion, adding up 8.5 points as the Canadian singer announced plans to step back from her career to concentrate on her family.

The Columbine High School shootings added a horrific note to newsstands, with the Colorado tragedy earning third place, and 7.5 points.

Supermodel Christie Brinkley took the No. 4 slot, with appearances on McCall's and In Style earning her 6.5 points. Newly minted Oscar winner Gwyneth Paltrow shared fifth place with "Mummy" star Brendan Fraser, with both picking up 6 points.

"Ally McBeal" star Calista Flockhart kept battling anorexia rumors, with 4.5 points and the No. 7 spot. And eighth place was a three-way tie between dueling divas Whitney Houston and Diana Ross and "Entrapment" star Catherine Zeta-Jones each grabbing 4 points.

Cover Story is Ad Age's monthly ranking of celebrities' popularity as reflected by their appearances on the covers of more than 30 of the nation's leading

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