Stars hit big screen during spring break

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GIMME A BREAK: Major films with wide releases from big studios-such as Universal, Warner Bros., Buena Vista and Sony Pictures, with openings on at least 2,000 screens-will be searching for some buried beach treasure during spring break.

Julia Roberts shifts to action-thrillers with "Erin Brockovich," in which she plays a legal secretary involved in the U.S.' largest class-action lawsuit. The movie's stock on the Hollywood Stock Exchange (hsx.com) had been moving nicely through the H$70-a-share level recently when it hit a bump in the road during the last week in January. Salma Hayek is looking for some major limelight with the Warner Bros. comedy "Chain of Fools." She plays a cop who gets involved with a suicidal barber (Steve Zahn). The movie has nearly doubled its price in the past three months.

"Mission to Mars," the big action-thriller from Walt Disney Co.'s Buena Vista Motion Pictures starring Gary Sinise, had been rocketing near the H$100 level. But now "Mars" has drifted to the H$77 level. Sony Pictures Entertainment will offer the comedy "What Planet Are You From?" with Garry Shandling as an alien sent to Earth to procreate; the movie has climbed steadily.

Madonna's StarBond, at H$1,553, is near its all-time high for the debut of Warner Bros.' "The Next Big Thing," in which she plays a single woman who adopts a baby with her gay best friend. Johnny Depp's numbers are at the other end of the spectrum at H$1,058, with his new movie, "The Ninth Gate," from Artisan Entertainment. Mr. Depp plays an expert on rare books who becomes entangled in a conspiracy while tracking down copies of a demonic text.

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