Moviegoers ate more Pie than anything else at the box office for a third straight weekend.
Universal's R rated youth appeal comedy hit sequel American Pie 2 held on to first place in its third week with a mouth-watering ESTIMATED $12.8 million (-39%) at 3,157 theaters (+85 theaters; $4,055 per theater). Pie 2, which cost about $30 million to make, has a cume of approximately $109.6 million, heading for $125-135 million in domestic theaters.
Directed by J B Rogers, it stars Jason Biggs, Shannon Elizabeth, Alyson Hannigan, Chris Klein, Natasha Lyonne, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Tara Reid, Sean William Scott, Mena Suvari, Eddie Kaye Thomas and Eugene Levy.
"It hasn't been done since Spy Kids," Universal distribution president Nikki Rocco said Sunday morning, pointing to Pie's three weeks atop the chart. Spy Kids, from Miramax's Dimension Films label, nailed down the top spot for three weeks from March 30 through April 15.
"It's a fitting way to end a great summer season for Universal," Rocco noted. "Plus, we broke $100 million with American Pie 2. With this kind of hold (it will go) past $125 million, that's for sure."
New Line Cinema's PG-13 rated action comedy blockbuster sequel Rush Hour 2 held on to second place in its fourth week with a still solid ESTIMATED $11.43 million (-40%) at 3,001 theaters (-79 theaters; $3,807 per theater). Its cume is approximately $183.3 million, heading for $210-215 million in domestic theaters.
Directed by Brett Ratner, it stars Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker.
"If it gets to $210 million, it will be the second biggest gross of the year after Shrek," New Line distribution president David Tuckerman said Sunday morning.
DreamWorks' animated summer blockbuster Shrek has grossed about $261.4 million to date. Universal's The Mummy Returns has done about $201.5 million through this weekend.
Dimension Films' R rated youth appeal comedy Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back kicked off in third place to a solid ESTIMATED $11.1 million at 2,765 theaters ($4,014 per theater).
Jay's average per theater was the highest for any film playing in wide release this weekend.
Jay had been flying high on Hollywood's advance radar screen, suggesting to some observers that it would open to a noisier $15 million or more. While the film was number one Friday with about $4.5 million, it fell by about 23 percent on Saturday to about $3.5 million, a clear sign that it was not going to hold on to the top spot.
Written and directed by Kevin Smith, it stars Smith, Ben Affleck, Shannon Elizabeth, Will Ferrell, Jason Lee, Jason Mewes and Chris Rock.
"Jay and Bob had a solid opening," David Kaminow, senior vice president, marketing for Dimension's parent company Miramax Films, said Sunday morning. "We were number one on Friday and obviously Kevin Smith has his diehard fans, who went out (to see it immediately). That's his core (audience) and I don't know how much he necessarily crosses over. We also snuck the picture last weekend and that gave his fans an opportunity to get in early. And that might have played a role in the (results this) weekend."
Asked who was on hand opening weekend, Kaminow replied, "It was young males. Young women and females (in general) weren't as strong as the males."
Dimension Films' PG-13 thriller The Others held on to fourth place as it continued to expand in its third week, still showing good legs with an ESTIMATED $8.6 million (-21%) at 2,436 theaters (+283 theaters; $3,530 per theater). Others, which cost only $17 million to make, has a cume of approximately $46.2 million.
Directed by Alejandro Amenabar, it stars Nicole Kidman.
"The Others is doing terrifically and it's holding terrifically," Miramax's Kaminow said.
Paramount's PG-13 comedy Rat Race fell two rungs in its second week to fifth place, still running hard with an ESTIMATED $8.3 million (-29%) at 2,551 theaters (+1 theater; $3,254 per theater). Its cume is approximately $25.6 million.
Directed by Jerry Zucker, it stars Rowan Atkinson, John Cleese, Whoopi Goldberg, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Seth Green, Jon Lovitz, Breckin Meyer and Amy Smart.
Warner Bros.' PG-13 baseball theme romantic comedy Summer Catch got on base in sixth place, opening to an ESTIMATED $7.54 million at 2,335 theaters ($3,227 per theater).
Directed by Mike Tollin and produced by Tollin, Brian Robbins and Sam Weisman, it stars Freddie Prinze, Jr., Jessica Biel and Matthew Lillard.
"I'm pleased with that opening," Warner Bros. Distribution president Dan Fellman said Sunday morning.
"The film had a very modest production cost (reportedly only about $19 million) and the exits with our core audience, which is females under 25, are very favorable. They scored 80 percent in the Top Two Boxes (excellent and very good) and the definite recommend is 66 percent."
Looking ahead, Fellman noted, "Next weekend, Labor Day weekend, the only two movies opening are R rated (MGM's suspense horror film Jeepers Creepers and Lions Gate Films' drama O). I think we'll hold well. We don't need a lot of money to make money on this movie and we should excel in the ancillary markets as his movies do."
Buena Vista/Disney's G rated family comedy hit The Princess Diaries slid two notches to seventh place in its fourth week, still holding well with an ESTIMATED $6.7 million (-30%) at 2,749 theaters (+23 theaters; $2,441 per theater). Its cume is approximately $82.5 million, heading for about $95 million in domestic theaters.
Directed by Garry Marshall, it stars Julie Andrews and Anne Hathaway.
Universal's Captain Corelli's Mandolin dropped two rungs to eighth place in its second week with an unexciting ESTIMATED $3.88 million (-46%) at 1,612 theaters (+17 theaters; $2,405 per theater). Its cume is approximately $14.0 million.
Directed by John Madden, it stars Nicolas Cage and Penelope Cruz.
Screen Gems' R rated sci-fi thriller John Carpenter's Ghosts of Mars opened quietly in ninth place to an ESTIMATED $3.8 million at 2,048 theaters ($1,855 per theater).
Directed by John Carpenter, it stars Ice Cube and Natasha Henstridge.
Rounding out the Top Ten was 20th Century Fox's PG-13 sci-fi action adventure Planet of the Apes, down three pegs in its fifth week with a slow ESTIMATED $3.53 million (-51%) at 1,927 theaters (-1,133 theaters; $1,832 per theater). Its cume is approximately $167.8 million, heading for $175-180 million in domestic theaters.
Directed by Tim Burton and produced by Richard D. Zanuck, it stars Mark Wahlberg, Tim Roth, Helena Bonham Carter and Michael Clarke Duncan.
This weekend also saw the arrival of DreamWorks Pictures' PG-13 rated comedy The Curse of the Jade Scorpion with a not-so-funny ESTIMATED $2.5 million at 903 theaters ($2,769 per theater).
Written and directed by Woody Allen, it stars Allen, Dan Aykroyd, Helen Hunt and Charlize Theron.
"It's very close to our expectations based on the mixed reviews, especially in Woody's core markets of New York and other large cities," DreamWorks distribution head Jim Tharp said Sunday morning.
Last summer DreamWorks released Allen's Small Time Crooks, which performed much better than the filmmaker's movies have done in recent years. "It opened to $3.8 million," Tharp said. "The reviews were good in the major markets."
Crooks, which opened May 19-21, 2000 to $3.88 million at 865 theaters ($4,486 per theater), wound up doing about $17.1 million in domestic theaters. "So this one will probably be more in line with the average of $8-10 million, which is what most of his films do," Tharp explained.
Buena Vista/Touchstone's PG-13 comedy Bubble Boy floated into theaters with a disappointing ESTIMATED $2.0 million at 1,605 theaters ($1,230 per theater).
Directed by Blair Hayes, it stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Swoosie Kurtz.
USA Films' R rated comedy Maybe Baby checked in with a quiet ESTIMATED $0.09 million at 2 theaters ($4,455 per theater).
Directed by Ben Elton, it stars Hugh Laurie and Joely Richardson.
There were no national sneak previews this weekend.
On the expansion front, this weekend saw Fox Searchlight Pictures R rated thriller The Deep End go wider in its third week with a still encouraging ESTIMATED $1.23 million at 208 theaters (+150 theaters; $5,890 per theater). Its cume is approximately $2.6 million.
Written produced and directed by Scott McGehee and David Siegel, it stars Tilda Swinton, Goran Visnjic and Jonathan Tucker.
"It was an excellent expansion," Fox Searchlight distribution president Stephen Gilula said Sunday morning. "We will be expanding further this weekend to over 250 theaters."
Gilula said he is, "thrilled at this expansion because to go this much wider we quadrupled our number of theaters and held very respectable screen averages. We've gone fairly deep into the country. We're in a lot of smaller cities (such as) Tucson, Syracuse and Tulsa, Oklahoma. And a lot of those cities actually did quite well. I'm very pleased with that."
Miramax's R rated Apocalypse Now Redux widened in its fourth week with a still promising ESTIMATED $0.39 million (-20%) at 62 theaters (+12 theaters; $5,863 per theater). Its cume is approximately $2.0 million.
Directed by Francis Ford Coppola, it stars Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall, Martin Sheen, Laurence Fishburne, Dennis Hopper and Harrison Ford.
MGM's release of United Artists' R rated youth appeal comedy Ghost World widened in its sixth week with a still lively ESTIMATED $0.35 million (-23%) at 64 theaters (+10 theaters; $5,525 per theater). Its cume is approximately $2.5 million.
Directed by Terry Swigoff, it stars Thora Birch, Scarlett Johansson, Brad Renfro, Illeana Douglas and Steve Buscemi.
Artisan's R rated comedy Made widened in its seventh week with a soft ESTIMATED $0.21 million (-44%) at 167 theaters (+6 theaters; $1,280 per theater). Its cume is approximately $4.1 million.
Written and directed by Jon Favreau, it stars Favreau, Vince Vaughn, Sean Combs, Famke Janssen, Faizon Love and Peter Falk.
On the international front, Universal celebrated a milestone as its Bridget Jones's Diary cracked $100 million. Bridget is only playing in 22 countries now and still has 60 percent of the international territories in which to open.
Bridget's opening this weekend in Germany gave it a terrific $1.4 million with 494 playdates. In the U.K., where it's now in its 20th week, Bridget's cume is $59.5 million, making it the sixth highest grossing movie ever in the U.K.
Bridget's next openings are Sept. 1 in Korea and Sept. 29 in Japan.
In its domestic theatrical run via Miramax, which made the $26 million film with Universal, Studio Canal and Working Title Films, Bridget grossed about $71.4 million.
Universal also saw its international release of Jurassic Park III hit $130 million. The film still has 18 countries in which to open, including Australia and Italy this coming weekend. With its domestic theatrical cume now at $172.6 million, JP III's worldwide cume is already at $302.6 million.
Key films -- those grossing more than $500,000 -- took in approximately $93.27 million, up about 8.94 per cent from the comparable weekend last year when key films grossed $85.62 million.
This weekend's key film gross was down about 15.49 per cent from last weekend this year when key films took in $110.37 million.
Last year, Universal's opening week of Bring It On was first with $17.36 million at 2,380 theaters ($7,295 per theater); and Warner Bros.' opening week of The Art of War was second with $10.41 million at 2,630 theaters ($3,959 per theater). The top two films one year ago grossed $27.8 million. This year, the top two films grossed an ESTIMATED $24.2 million.
# # #
SANTA MONICA, Calif., Feb. 9, 2000 -- The infectious bug that has been plaguing TV series of late -- you know, the "I feel that my time with the show is up and I've decided to move on" epidemic -- has claimed another victim.
The latest casualty is none other than "Veronica's Closet's" Kathy Najimy. Trade papers report today that the actress, who plays Olive, Veronica's (Kirstie Alley) trusted sidekick and confidant, will bid farewell to the NBC comedy at the end of this season.
Najimy tells Variety that her decision to leave the show is based purely on personal reasons. With "Veronica's Closet" behind, Najimy reportedly plans to spend more time with her 3-year-old daughter, not to mention more of the same said time on a would-be "feature career."
Of course, the concept of "leaving" "Veronica's Closet" might become a moot point. The unbeloved comedy series, now in its third season, was already benched once this season by NBC for low ratings. It is currently mired in 85th place among all shows and is considered a long shot for fall renewal.
SUPERHERO SAVES FOX: Patrick Warburton, the guy who played Elaine's mechanic beau Dave Puddy on "Seinfeld," will return to the tube in the form of a blue superhero in the Fox comedy pilot "The Tick."
Once a Saturday morning toon on Fox, "The Tick" follows the adventures of a dim-witted crime fighter and his ex-accountant sidekick as they battle bad guys with names such as Chairface Chippendale, El Seed and Breadmaster.
The new live-action half-hour pilot will be directed by the enthusiastic Barry Sonnenfeld ("Wild Wild West").
"I've been a huge fan of 'The Tick' for years," Sonnenfeld told the Hollywood trade papers. "I like it even more than my 6-year-old daughter. It's really up my alley. It doesn't feel like anything on television today."
(Let us guess -- Mr. Sonnenfeld doesn't have cable.)
Warburton, meanwhile, has handled superhero duties prior to "The Tick." Dig this, "Seinfeld" fiends, the actor was the voice of Superman in those American Express commercials starring Jerry Seinfeld.
'LEEZA' IS DEAD: No, not Leeza Gibbons, but her fast-sinking eponymous talk show. Cause of its likely death? Ultra-bad ratings.
Word on the street is that "Leeza" will not live to see a second season in syndication.
The daytime talk show went through various transformation and network shuffles in its (technically) 7-year history. It was first conceived by NBC in 1993 as "John & Leeza," the John, of course, being Gibbons' "Entertainment Tonight" co-hort John Tesh. The show downsized to simply "Leeza" in 1994 when the above-mentioned Tesh bailed. In September, NBC decided to sell the show to non-NBC outlets, thereby banishing the show to syndication.
"LIP" SERVICE: Oscar- and Emmy-winning director-producer James L. Brooks ("Terms of Endearment," "As Good As It Gets," "Jerry Maguire") is set to endow the tube with a live-action romantic comedy series for ABC.
The comedy, still untitled, will be based on a character from the 1988 radio series "Lip Schtick." Joan Cusack, whom Brooks collaborated with on the 1987 flick "Broadcast News," will stake the title role.
Slated for a slot in ABC's 2000-2001 lineup, the show will mark Cusack's prime-time debut and Brook's first TV gig since his stint as the executive producer of the animated series "The Critic" in 1994.
RANDOM BITS: NBC has picked up a half-hour comedy pilot starring David Alan Grier ("In Living Color"). Grier is slated to play a Secret Service man in charge of protecting the first lady. ...
... CBS has greenlit a Jerry Bruckheimer-produced ("Armageddon," "Pearl Harbor") drama pilot for the new fall season. The project is said to be an hour-long drama called "CSI." Starring William Petersen, the series revolves around forensic crime-scene investigators working in Vegas. ...
THE COURT OF POPULAR OPINION: Democracy sometimes flourishes in the most unlikely places, just ask Judge Judy -- one of the many, many finalists chosen by TV viewers of America for the 2nd Annual TV Guide Awards.
More than 1.5 million viewers cast ballots to determine nominees in 22 categories. NBC led all networks in mentions with 20 finalists. Winners will be announced March 5 in a Fox broadcast.
Here's the complete list of the TV Guide Award nominees, as announced today:
Favorite Actor in a New Series David Boreanaz, "Angel" (WB) Billy Campbell, "Once and Again" (ABC) Dan Futterman, "Judging Amy" (CBS) Martin Sheen, "The West Wing" (NBC)
Favorite Actress in a New Series Amy Brenneman, "Judging Amy" (CBS) Tyne Daly, "Judging Amy" (CBS) Mariska Hargitay, "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (NBC) Sela Ward, "Once and Again" (ABC)
Favorite Actor in a Comedy Bill Cosby, "Cosby" (CBS) Michael J. Fox, "Spin City" (ABC) David Hyde Pierce, "Frasier" (NBC) Ray Romano, "Everybody Loves Raymond" (CBS)
Favorite Actress in a Comedy Jenna Elfman, "Dharma & Greg" (ABC) Calista Flockhart, "Ally McBeal" (FOX) Lisa Kudrow, "Friends" (NBC) Phylicia Rashad, "Cosby" (CBS)
Favorite Actor in a Drama David Duchovny, "The X-Files" (FOX) David James Elliott, "JAG" (CBS) Dennis Franz, "NYPD Blue" (ABC) Sam Waterston, "Law & Order" (NBC)
Favorite Actress in a Drama Gillian Anderson, "The X-Files" (FOX) Roma Downey, "Touched by an Angel" (CBS) Melina Kanakaredes, "Providence" (NBC) Julianna Margulies, "ER" (NBC)
Favorite New Series "Judging Amy" (CBS) "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (NBC) "Once and Again" (ABC) "The West Wing" (NBC)
Favorite Comedy Series "Ally McBeal" (FOX) "Everybody Loves Raymond" (CBS) "Frasier" (NBC) "Friends" (NBC)
Favorite Drama Series "ER" (NBC) "Providence" (NBC) "The Practice" (ABC) "Touched by an Angel" (CBS)
Favorite Soap Opera "All My Children" (ABC) "Days of Our Lives" (NBC) "General Hospital" (ABC) "The Young and the Restless" (CBS)
Favorite Sportscaster Terry Bradshaw (FOX) Bob Costas (NBC) Howie Long (FOX) John Madden (FOX)
Favorite Daytime Talk Show "Judge Judy" (Syndicated) "Live With Regis and Kathie Lee" (Syndicated) "The Oprah Winfrey Show" (Syndicated) "The Rosie O'Donnell Show" (Syndicated)
Favorite Game Show "Hollywood Squares" (Syndicated) "Jeopardy!" (Syndicated) "Wheel of Fortune" (Syndicated) "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" (ABC)
Favorite News Personality Tom Brokaw (NBC) Katie Couric (NBC) Peter Jennings (ABC) Matt Lauer (NBC)
Favorite Late Night Show "Late Show With David Letterman" (CBS) "Politically Incorrect With Bill Maher" (ABC) "Saturday Night Live" (NBC) "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno" (NBC)
ONLINE NOMINEES Favorite Sci-Fi/Fantasy Show "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" (WB) "Charmed" (WB) "The X-Files" (FOX)
Favorite Reality TV "Biography" (A&E) "Behind the Music" (VH1) "The Real World" (MTV)
Favorite TV Pet Eddie, "Frasier" (NBC) Happy, "7th Heaven" (WB) Salem, "Sabrina, the Teenage Witch" (ABC)
Favorite TV Movie or Miniseries "Annie" (ABC) "Joan of Arc" (NBC) "Tuesdays with Morrie" (ABC)
Favorite News Program "Dateline NBC" (NBC) "Entertainment Tonight" (Syndicated) "20/20" (ABC)
Favorite Music Show "Behind the Music" (VH1) "Total Request Live" (MTV) "Pop-Up Video" (VH1)
Favorite Children's Show "Blue's Clues" (Nickelodeon) "Rugrats" (Nickelodeon) "Sesame Street" (PBS)
AOL KEYWORD: TV GUIDE EXCLUSIVE CATEGORY
Favorite Teen Show "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" (WB) "Dawson's Creek" (WB) "Popular" (WB)
Psychiatric nurse Maggie O'Connor (Kim Basinger) raises her drug-addicted sister's baby who grows up to be a girl with "special" gifts like the ability to rock a dead bird back to life. When Cody turns 6 her mother returns to claim her. The trouble is mom is now married to Eric Stark (Rufus Sewell) leader of a Satanic cult masquerading as a self-help group. Stark wants Cody to use her powers for the "dark side " and will kill her if she refuses. Aunt Maggie enlists the aid of FBI agent John Travis (Jimmy Smits) to help her track down and save Cody.
Basinger 's passive bearing and scrubbed-down glamour seem out of place in the dingy New York settings. When Stark's snarling teenage-runaway groupies attack her they seem as angry at her smooth blond coif as anything else. Sewell does what he can with lines like "death would be a kinder fate" and "she will be ours" (this last line uttered while practically shaking his fist at the heavens). Vastly underused is Smits whose all-talk-and-no-action FBI agent wouldn't have lasted a day in "NYPD Blue's" precinct.
Although director Chuck Russell captures a rich textured look and lays on the ghoulish special effects (a river of red-eyed rats ominous whispers wraithlike demons) "Bless the Child" doesn't generate any real chill. It's not helped by the script which throws in every clich‚ possible about angels demons hellfire and brimstone. There's no avoiding comparison with "The Sixth Sense " the success of which surely must have put some heat under this project. Unfortunately it's a little too cooked.