A dark-haired comedic actress with pixieish looks and the ability to dramatically alter her appearance with small facial manipulations, Toronto-native Jennifer Irwin did some child acting work in Cana...
DreamWorks' animated Shrek
performed even better at the box office on Sunday than originally estimated, earning $42.3 million in ticket sales over the weekend, according to final figures released on Monday. It pushed The Mummy Returns, which had held the top spot during the previous two weeks, to No. 2. Nevertheless, the sequel earned an outstanding $20.4 million to bring its three-week total to $146.5 million. The only other new film opening wide, the Jennifer Lopez starrer Angel Eyes, opened with an OK $9.2 million, for fourth place. But the real jaw dropper was the sell-out performance of the musical Moulin Rouge, which averaged $83,770 on each of two screens in New York and Los Angeles. Despite the strong performances by Shrek and Mummy, the top 12 films grossed 6.2 percent below the figure for the same weekend last year when Dinosaur and Gladiator topped the box office.
DreamWorks' Shrek, propelled by strong reviews and word-of-mouth -- as well as saturated distribution on 3,587 screens -- overwhelmed the box office over the weekend as it took in an estimated $42.1 million. It was the best opening ever for an animated feature except for Toy Story 2, which earned $57.4 million in its debut over the Thanksgiving holiday in 1999. Most analysts had predicted that the film would earn about $35 million. "I don't think anyone thought it would do this well," entertainment analyst Art Rockwell told Bloomberg News. The only other film opening wide, the Jennifer Lopez starrer Angel Eyes, took in an estimated $9.5 million, for fourth place. The biggest surprise was the astonishing $185,095 in ticket sales produced at only two theaters, one in New York, the other in Los Angeles, for Moulin Rouge. Trade-paper writers were checking record books to see whether the $82,543-per-screen average had ever been achieved by any other film. A spokesman for 20th Century Fox said that audiences repeatedly broke into spontaneous applause during the screenings.
This is the weekend that The Mummy Returns will almost certainly become unraveled. It will face competition from three imposing rivals: first and foremost, DreamWorks' computer-animated Shrek (which opened in limited release on Wednesday) and could pull in $40 million or more, according to some analysts; the flashy Moulin Rouge, starring Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor, and Angel Eyes, with box-office magnet Jennifer Lopez. Many analysts are predicting a record turnout.
Judging from critics' comments, Angel Eyes was calculated to appeal to men as a cop thriller (with the sexy Jennifer Lopez as the cop) and to women as a weepy love story. The critics disagree on how well the filmmakers have been able to make such a hybrid viable. Clearly (male) critic Jonathan Foreman in the New York Post wasn't reaching for the Kleenex. "During an endless, maudlin last act, it becomes more and more difficult not to laugh -- or barf -- as the protagonists tearfully come to terms with their issues," he writes. (Female) Rita Kempley begins her review in the Washington Post this way: "When she's not slamming thugs the size of sumo wrestlers upside the hood of her squad car, Jennifer Lopez's butt-busting heroine in Angel Eyes is boo-hoo-hooing in the privacy of her lonely room. J-Lo is Jell-O on the inside. Sniff." On the other hand, Ray Conlogue in the Toronto Globe and Mail describes the film as "a smoothly written romantic film which has the discipline to avoid what its producer Mark Canton calls the 'otherworldly forces' (ghosts, angels) which have infected recent popular romances like City of Angels and Ghost." Jay Carr, also describes the movie positively for the most part. It's "a billowy romance that has date movie written all over it," he writes. "This is a surprisingly effective film," says Roger Ebert in the Chicago Sun-Times. "For what it is, [it's] not bad," Bob Longino remarks in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Michael Wilmington in the Chicago Tribune, however, has a less benevolent attitude -- perhaps because it is set in Chicago. The movie, he says, "tries to pump real emotions into a never-never Chicago that has been glamorized and thrillerized almost out of recognition. It's not the usual kind of big-studio mediocrity. It's a slicker sellout, full of phony-sounding greeting-card idealism."
Was a regular on the NBC sitcom "Inside Schwartz", playing the ambitious wife of the title character's best friend
Acted in the action feature "Exit Wounds"
Had a featured role in the E! Entertainment Television TV-movie comedy "Spinning Out of Control"
After college, began acting with Toronto's legendary Second City comedy troupe; left in 1998
Moved to Los Angeles
Played a nun in the sequel "Blues Brothers 2000"
Appeared in the Showtime TV-movie "Harlan County War", a dramatized adaptation of Barbara Kopple's famed documentary "Harlan County USA"
Made guest appearance on the CBS sitcom "The Ellen Show"
Featured in the Catholic school-set comedy "Superstar", based on Molly Shannon's "Saturday Night Live" character Mary Katherine Gallagher; nominated for a Canadian Comedy Award for her performance
Appeared in the comedy "Mrs. Winterbourne", directed by Richard Benjamin
Had a cameo as a DEA secretary in the fact-based TV-movie "Elvis Meets Nixon" (Showtime)
Had early television credit in the Canadian miniseries adaptation "Anne of Green Gables" (PBS)
Acted in the Canadian four-part series "More Tears", aired on PBS in the US
Had early feature credit in the horror thriller "The Gate"
Acted in the ABC TV-movie "Easy Prey"
A dark-haired comedic actress with pixieish looks and the ability to dramatically alter her appearance with small facial manipulations, Toronto-native Jennifer Irwin did some child acting work in Canadian productions like "Anne of Green Gables" (PBS, 1986) and the horror feature "The Gate" (1987) before joining the Second City comedy troupe. A graduate of Montreal's McGill University, Irwin worked with Second City from the mid-1990s, appearing in dozens of varied comedic stage performances including challenging improvisational pieces. With Canada as a hotbed of film production, Irwin landed supporting roles in many features, including 1996's "Mrs. Winterbourne" and 1998's "Blues Brothers 2000" while her performance in "Superstar", the 1999 feature adaptation of Molly Shannon's "Saturday Night Live" favorite Mary Katherine Gallagher merited a Canadian Comedy Award nomination. Other credits included a role in the Showtime TV-movie "Harlan County War", a dramatization based on Barbara Kopple's groundbreaking documentary "Harlan County USA", and supporting parts in the 2001 E! Entertainment Television original TV-movie comedy "Spinning Out of Control", starring a skewed Kathie Lee Gifford, and the action feature "Exit Wounds", starring Steven Seagal and DMX in a Detroit setting that bore all the landmarks of Toronto. Having made it in her hometown. Irwin set her sights on Los Angeles, where she hoped to launch a career as a comedic actress. Within weeks of arriving, she was cast on the NBC sitcom landed a guest role on CBS' "The Ellen Show" (2001) and a regular spot on the sitcom "Inside Schwartz" (NBC, 2001- ), where she portrayed Emily, the ambitious wife of David Cobert (Bryan Callen), the edgy best friend of Breckin Meyer's titular character.