EW Staff
January 17, 1997 AT 05:00 AM EST

The ash-kicking showdown between Universal’s Dante’s Peak and Twentieth Century Fox’s Volcano is suddenly dormant — now that Fox’s eruption won’t debut until later this year. Yet, despite the new release dates, some theaters are still running trailers back-to-back, which has left more than a few audience members lost in the lava. Here’s a guide to telling the movies apart.

— David Poland

[BOX]

DANTE’S PEAK VOLCANO

MOVIE

The $115 million (estimated) The $95 million (estimated) Dante’s Peak, now due Feb. 7 Volcano, now due in May or October

STARS

Pierce Brosnan Tommy Lee Jones

PLOT

Think Jaws with lava. A Think The Beverly Hills Blob. volcano in the Pacific A long-dormant volcano under the Northwest is huffing and La Brea Tar Pits erupts, wreaking puffing, but no one will heed urban havoc. Enter city emergency the warnings of mayor expert Jones as savior. Linda Hamilton and geologist Brosnan.

1996 EQUIVALENT (THEY HOPE)

Twister Independence Day

BIG SCENE

The eruption Molten lava makes parking at the Beverly Center a bitch.

REALITY CHECK

”It’s very possible,” says Not likely. ”There’s been no Steve Brantley, of the U.S. volcanism in the L.A. basin in Geological Survey. ”There are millions of years,” says seven volcanoes that have a Tar Pits museum spokesman. erupted in the Northwest in the last 200 years.”

TAG LINE

”The pressure is building…” ”The coast is toast.”

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