Sharon Knolle Freelance Writer

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June 20, 2000

George Clooney: I'm No. 2!

George Clooney's realistic about his chances in going up against Mel Gibson over the weekend of June 30th.

Clooney's disaster-at-sea flick, The Perfect Storm, will run smack-dab into Gibson in epic mode in The Patriot — and Clooney says he's ready to concede defeat already.

In an interview on Monday's edition of CNN's Showbiz Today, Clooney said, "We'll get beat by Patriot the first week. It's Mel Gibson, you know, I mean — that's OK," says the salt-and-pper-haired hunk, whose films, such as Out of Sight, and Three Kings, have been lauded by critics but not embraced wholeheartedly by the moviegoing public.

"It's also supposed to be a good film," Clooney says of his box-office competition. "But I think we'll stick around for a while. We've got good legs," he says, referring not to his manly appendages or those of his beefcake co-star, Mark Wahlberg, but, of course, to the film's staying power. And, most importantly, Clooney says, "It's good. It's a film I'm really proud of."

Ironically, the two A-listers who were originally sought for the lead in Storm, Gibson and Nicolas Cage, are now the bigger fish who may swamp Clooney at the box office.

Gibson opted to take a reported $25 million payday for Patriot and Cage decided to be Gone in 60 Seconds, to the tune of $20 million. The Patriot marches into theaters June 28 and The Perfect Storm hits June 30.

Sharon Knolle

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