Hollywood revs up a quartet for action

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ACTION AHEAD: Four new films coming in late April or early May will warm up thrill seekers before the traditional Memorial Day start of the big box office summer season. DreamWorks Pictures' "Gladiator" is poised as the biggest action on the list. This Ridley Scott-directed film stars Russell Crowe as an out-of-favor Roman emperor tests his mettle against a gladiator.

The movie, which teased TV audiences with a Super Bowl commercial in January, has soared into the H$92.65 range on the Hollywood Stock Exchange (hsx.com). According to HSX, that figure indicates $92 million in box office revenue over four weeks.

Universal Studios' "U-571" is a World War II action thriller about a U.S. attempt to steal a top secret encryption device hidden aboard a German U-boat. Since October, the movie's stock price has more than doubled -- though in recent weeks it fell back 13.5% to mid-60s levels. Matthew McConaughey, whose StarBond is near its 52-week high, stars.

Dennis Quaid stars in New Line Cinema's "Frequency," about a firefighter in 1969 who mysteriously communicates via ham radio with his son, a homicide cop 30 years in the future. The movie's numbers have risen 42% since the beginning of the year. Stellan Skargard is another star whose StarBond is close to a 52-week high as well. But his movie "Time Code," from Columbia Pictures, is seeing lackluster activity. Mike Figgis directs this thriller focusing on a woman, Salma Hayek, whose murderous past comes back to haunt her.

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