The stars of this week's newest contenders for the box office crown, psuedo-CGI beauty Simone and the lovely Liz Hurley, sure would have looked nice wearing it, but they didn't have a prayer against Mel Gibson's former priest in Signs.
As box office dollars dwindle with the waning summer, the supernatural thriller won the heated battle for first place with a mere $14.3 million, while xXx failed to meet expectations that it would be the summer's first three-peat at No. 1 with $13.7 million.
Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams climbed a notch to third place, taking in $7.8 million in its third week.
The indie sleeper My Big Fat Greek Wedding continued to climb up the box office chart in its 19th week. With a $7.5 million weekend take, it came in at No. 4.
This weekend's new releases, including Serving Sara, Simone and Undisputed, hardly put up a fight for the top spot. These wide releases weren't expected to cause a commotion, though, since they each opened in fewer than 3,000 theaters.
In limited release, One Hour Photo, which opened Wednesday in New York and Los Angeles, grossed $315,000 from only seven theaters for a strong $45,000 average per theater.
This weekend's top 12 films were down about 21 percent from last year with $63.8 million versus 2001's $81.6 million. It was the sixth consecutive weekend the box office was down versus last year. The top 12 films were down about 35 percent compared to last weekend's box office, which grossed $99.1 million.
THE TOP TEN
Buena Vista/Touchstone's prediction that Signs would rise to the top once again came true. The PG-13 rated supernatural thriller took top honors with an ESTIMATED $14.3 million (-26%) at 3,453 theaters (+109 theaters; $4,159 per theater). Its cume is approximately $173.2 million.
Directed by M. Night Shyamalan, it stars Mel Gibson and Joaquin Phoenix.
Revolution Studios and Columbia's PG-13 action adventure thriller xXx lost its bid for first place, slipping to a close second with an ESTIMATED $13.7 million (-38%) at 3517 theaters (+129 theaters; $3,895 per theater). Its cume is approximately $106.7 million, making it the 13th film released this year to cross the $100 million mark.
Directed by Rob Cohen, it stars Vin Diesel, Asia Argento and Marton Csokas.
Miramax/Dimension Films' PG rated family comedy Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams gained one spot this week, coming in third place in its third week with an ESTIMATED $7.8 million (-32%) at 3,307 theaters (theater count unchanged; per theater average dropped to a weak $2,359). Its cume is approximately $58.5 million.
Directed by Robert Rodriguez, it stars Antonio Banderas and Carla Gugino.
IFC Films' PG rated comedy My Big Fat Greek Wedding continued to expand in its 19th week, climbing two notches to fourth place with an ESTIMATED $7.5 million at 1329 theaters (+269 theaters; $5,702 per theater). Its cume is approximately $61 million.
Directed by Joel Zwick, it stars Nia Vardalos and John Corbett.
Universal Picture's PG-13 rated surfer girl pic Blue Crush placed fifth in its second week with an ESTIMATED $6.5 million at 3,015 theaters (+13 theaters; $2.156 per theater).
Directed by John Stockwell, it stars Kate Bosworth, Michelle Rodriguez, Matthew Davis and Sanoe Lake.
Paramount's PG-13 rated romantic comedy Serving Sara fared best of the week's new releases and opened sixth to an ESTIMATED $6 million at 2154 theaters ($2,820 per theater).
Directed by Reginald Hudlin, it stars Elizabeth Hurley and Matthew Perry.
New Line's PG-13 rated comedy Austin Powers in Goldmember fell two pegs to seventh place in its fifth week with a not so shagadellic ESTIMATED $5.6 million (-36%) at 2,805 theaters (-308 theaters; $2,005 per theater). Its cume is approximately $193.9 million.
Directed by Jay Roach, it stars Mike Myers, Beyonce Knowles and Michael Caine.
Miramax's R rated urban drama Undisputed opened eighth with an ESTIMATED $4.7 million at only 1,102 theaters, with a solid $4,265 per theater average.
Directed by Walter Hill, it stars Wesley Snipes and Ving Rhames.
New Line Cinema's sophisticated PG-13 rated comedy Simone opened ninth with an ESTIMATED $4 million at 1,920 theaters ($2,109 per theater).
Directed by Andrew Niccol, it stars Al Pacino, Catherine Keener and Evan Rachel Wood.
Rounding out the Top Ten was Warner Bros.' R rated thriller Blood Work, which took in an ESTIMATED $2.8 million at 2,203 theaters ($1,298 per theater).
Produced and directed by Clint Eastwood, it stars Eastwood.
This weekend also saw the arrival of Fox Searchlight's R rated drama One Hour Photo to an encouraging ESTIMATED $315,000 at seven theaters (a whopping $45,000 per theater).
Directed by Mark Romanek, it stars Robin Williams, Connie Nielsen and Michael Vartan.
Fox Searchlight also saw its R rated comedy The Good Girl gain two notches as it expanded this week with an ESTIMATED $1.5 million at 188 theaters (+128 theaters; $8,245 per theater). Its cume after three weeks is approximately $3.1 million.
Directed by Miguel Arteta, it stars Jennifer Aniston, Jake Gyllenhaal and John C. Reilly.
Summer's almost over, so Hollywood's dumping its trash.
Serving Sara, Simone and Undisputed arrived in theaters Friday after enduring production or release delays, which hardly inspires much confidence in their ultimate fates. Accordingly, none of these three new offerings stands a chance of dethroning xXx at the top of the box office. That task lies with fellow holdover Signs. They also won't help reverse a five-week slide in box office takings vs. the same time last year.
Matthew Perry's latest attempt to become a movie star should register the biggest debut simply because the broad comedy opens the widest. Hitting 2,000-plus theaters, Serving Sara stars Perry as a process server who agrees to help Elizabeth Hurley extract revenge against her former business partner. Early reviews confirm that Perry and Hurley are not Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn.
Perry's not had too much luck whenever he's ventured off without his sitcom Friends. Almost Heroes ($6.1 million total) and Three to Tango ($10.5 million total) both tanked. The Whole Nine Yards raked in an acceptable $57.2 million mainly on the strength of Bruce Willis' participation--perhaps that's why Perry's so eager to make the sequel. It also doesn't help that this Midnight Run wanna-be will likely see a regurgitation in stories about Perry's personal problems. He held up production of Serving Sara in 2001 while he checked himself into rehab.
So Serving Sara will have to hustle hard and fast to match the $9.7 million debut of another Perry romantic comedy, Fools Rush In, but it won't come close to exceeding its modest $29.2 million total.
Robert De Niro enjoyed huge success when he poked fun at himself in Analyze This and Meet the Parents. Now it's Al Pacino's turn to reveal his comedic side. Rather than send up his tough-guy image, Pacino instead bites the hand that feeds him with the Hollywood satire Simone, directed by The Truman Show scribe Andrew Niccol.
If The Truman Show offered a tragicomic look at reality TV, Simone provides a hysterical look at how easy it is for Hollywood to manufacture a superstar. In this case, Pacino is the has-been producer who creates a computer-generated actress in order to revive his flagging career. An unsuspecting world falls in love with Simone, initially to Pacino's glee, then to his consternation. Catherine Keener, Jay Mohr and an unbilled Winona Ryder co-star.
New Line originally scheduled Simone for an Oct. 12, 2001, release, but pushed it back to this summer for fear it would lose out to stiffer competition. The smart, sophisticated and sharply written Simone deserves better than a late-summer slot, which is tantamount to a fate worse than death. Simone, which will vie mainly for adult audiences at its 1,700-plus theaters, also faces the severe disadvantage of being about the movie industry. Audiences usually reject such films, perhaps because they read and hear enough about Hollywood news and gossip that they have no desire to see films about the moviemaking process. The rare exception was last year's America's Sweethearts, which earned $93.6 million thanks to a cast that included Julia Roberts and Billy Crystal.
Pacino's star still shines bright--Insomnia clocked up $66.8 million earlier this summer--but Simone will do no better than his 1996 flop City Hall, which opened with $6.7 million and closed with $20.2 million.
Wesley Snipes and Ving Rhames prepare to beat the living daylights out of each other in Undisputed, director Walter Hill's thriller about two incarcerated boxers determined to settle once and for which one of them is the greatest.
Snipes enjoyed his biggest hit of his career earlier this year with Blade 2 ($81.6 million), but Miramax is showing him little respect. Miramax scheduled for March 8, two weeks before Blade 2's March 22 release. Miramax wisely delayed Undisputed, first pushing it back to October before bumping it up to August in place of They. But Miramax bows Undisputed in just 1,100-plus theaters, which severely limits Snipes from doing knockout business.
Undisputed will do a little more than half the business of Snipes' much-maligned baseball thriller The Fan, which opened with $6.2 million and struck out with $18.5 million. That will come as another disappointment for Hill, who removed his name from his last film, Supernova, and saw it implode with just $14.2 million.
Facing three uncompetitive new releases, Vin Diesel's xXx could be the first film since Black Hawk Down to rule the box office for at least three weekends. The noisy spy thriller, directed by Rob Cohen, dropped 50 percent in its second weekend, from $44.5 million to $22.1 million. That's the same as Diesel and Cohen's The Fast and the Furious, which tumbled 49 percent in its second weekend, from $40 million to $20 million. xXx, however, has made $88.9 million total through Tuesday vs. The Fast and the Furious's $84 million ($86.6 million) during 12 days in release.
xXx stands to make $13.5 million this weekend should it follow The Fast and the Furious's third weekend fall of 38.7 percent. Regardless, xXx will cross the $100 million barrier this weekend and end up with a total just a tad north of The Fast and the Furious's $144.5 million. xXx also is the only film with the potential to achieve blockbuster status until October's Red Dragon.
Diesel's extreme sports-driven spy, though, does face a credible threat from hostile extraterrestrials.
Signs' endurance puts it in a strong position to challenge xXx for box office supremacy. M Night Shyamalan's creepy sci-fi thriller lost just 34 percent of its audience in its third weekend, from $29.4 million to $19.3 million, for a total of $154.9 million through Tuesday. Signs recovered nicely after tumbling 51 percent in its second weekend following its $60.1 million debut.
Mel Gibson should walk away from Signs with his first $200 million smash. Signs also should surpass What Women Want's $182.8 million by Labor Day to become Gibson's biggest earner.
Blood Work, though, won't make Clint Eastwood's day. The intriguing thriller, marred only by its obvious ending, dropped 34 percent in its second weekend from a lowly $7.3 million to $4.8 million. With $16.3 million through Tuesday, Blood Work will exceed True Crime's pitiful $16.6 million but barely make more than 1990's underachieving The Rookie ($21.6 million total).
The waves proved too rocky for the spunky ladies of Blue Crush to negotiate, as the teen-oriented surfing drama opened below expectations with $14.1 million. That paves the way for a second-weekend tumble of around 50 percent. With $17.5 million through Tuesday, Blue Crush should hit the shore with about $40 million.
Blue Crush fared better than The Adventures of Pluto Nash, which opened with a career-low $2.1 million for Eddie Murphy. Warner Bros. kept the sci-fi spoof on the shelf for more than one year and did little to promote its long-delayed release. This is shaping up to be a bad year for Murphy, who already stumbled in the spring with Showtime ($37.9 million total). Murphy desperately needs November's I Spy to reverse his flagging fortunes.
Murphy's fellow ex-SNLers fared somewhat better.
Mike Myers' Austin Powers in Goldmember eased by just 33 percent in its fourth weekend, from $13 million to $8.7 million, after experiencing huge losses in its second and third weekends. Goldmember has $186.3 million through Tuesday vs. Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me's $173 million ($174.4 million) through 26 days in release. Goldmember, which could hit $200 million by Labor Day, will make enough people horny to surpass Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me's $206 million total.
Dana Carvey's comeback vehicle Master of Disguise fell a respectable 38 percent in its third weekend, from $5.1 million to $3.1 million. Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams caused untold damage to the family comedy, which suffered a disturbing 59.3 percent in its second weekend after a $12.5 million opening. With $31.2 million through Tuesday, Master of Disguise represents the best showing yet for a Carvey solo venture.
Spy Kids 2 is showing better resilience than the fading Stuart Little 2, which has just $57.7 million through Tuesday. Spy Kids eased by 34 percent in its second weekend, from $16.7 million to $11.5 million, for a $48.7 million total through Tuesday after 14 days in release. Conversely, Spy Kids had $56.6 million ($61.9 million) during the same period. Spy Kids 2 won't match its predecessor's $112.6 million, but its should reach a sturdy $80 million with some ease.
Tom Hanks benefited the most from the lack of interest in the new wide releases. Road to Perdition declined by just 10 percent in its sixth weekend, from $4.2 million to $3.8 million. With $91.1 million through Tuesday, Road to Perdition could become Hanks' sixth consecutive film to cross $100 million by as early as Labor Day.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding, executive produced by Hanks, expanded in its 18th week from 723 theaters to 1,060 theaters. That resulted in an 82 percent jump in business, from $3.1 million to $5.7 million, its best weekend yet. The art house sleeper has a staggering $54.6 million through Tuesday.
The art house also seems the destination of choice for adults looking for films of some substance.
One Hour Photo, starring Robin Williams, debuted Wednesday in limited release. The thriller is the third this year to feature Williams as a bad guy.
Possession, featuring Gwyneth Paltrow and Aaron Eckhart, opened with a solid $1.5 million at 270 theaters. The romantic drama will expand in the coming weeks.
The Good Girl soared by 454 percent in its second weekend, from $151,642 to $840,660, as it widened from four theaters to 60 theater. Jennifer Aniston's excellent reviews are clearly luring audiences. Perhaps Matthew Perry might consider asking Aniston for some post-Friends career advice.
Christopher Nolan, who has directed thrillers like Memento and Insomnia, said he likes to surprise his audiences, to USA Today:
"I think audiences get too comfortable and familiar in today's movies. They believe everything they're hearing and seeing. I like to shake that up."
There's just no accounting for taste, especially from a culture whose sole culinary invention is fish and chips.
The British, in a poll conducted by Heat magazine, named singers Robbie Williams and Kylie Minogue the world's sexiest man and woman, respectively.
Williams won for the second year in a row, besting footballer--their football, not ours--David Beckham and genuine sexy Hollywood star Brad Pitt.
The ubiquitous J.Lo (Jennifer Lopez, to you people not in the know) finished a disappointing second behind Minogue in the voting, with British TV soap star Jessie Wallace in the show position.
Russell Crowe may have A Beautiful Mind, but he sure doesn't have a beautiful body. According to The Daily Star, Hollywood bigwigs have told the 37-year old porker to get himself back into the gym and into shape. Crowe "bulked up" 40 pounds after his split with pixie actress Meg Ryan.
Bruce Willis is still Moonlighting after all these years--as a rocker. The Hollywood hunk and his band The Accelerators are speeding their way through the U.S. on a 13-city tour, which begins in Atlanta on Friday and will include appearances in New Orleans, Austin and Dallas, USAToday reports.
Despite his off-color jokes last week, boxing legend Muhammad Ali is being honored for "illuminating our shared values of freedom, tolerance and democracy" and will be awarded the Broadcast Film Critics Association's inaugural Freedom Award. Bill Maher will emcee the BFCA's Jan. 14 event.
Dave Thomas, founder of Wendy's and star of many, many Wendy's commercials, passed away Tuesday, Reuters reports. Details of his death were not immediately forthcoming.
In an exceptional move, the Screen Actors Guild has thrown out the election results from November's election, invalidating Melissa Gilbert's win over Valerie Harper, Eugene Boggs and Angel Tompkins. If only the Supreme Court would have shown the same integrity and resolve with the November 2000 presidential elections... The new voting period will run from March 15 to April 10.
What's in a name? The Cannes International Festival of Film has officially changed its name to the Festival de Cannes, or Cannes Film Festival, which is what everyone in the English-speaking world has been calling it anyway.
The mummy, she lives! Or, rather, the technology pioneered in the pair of recent Mummy movies will be reused to reanimate the Greek pantheon of gods and monsters in the upcoming movie The Argonauts. (We can't wait to see the Cyclops!)
It's court time for Michael Jordan, and we're not talking about NBA hardcourts. Jordan's wife Juanita filed for divorce last Friday, citing those ever-present "irreconcilable differences," after 12 years of marriage. Juanita is seeking permanent custody of the couple's three children, their mansion north of Chicago and--what else?--half of the family assets.
The bad boy of tennis is taking up television. John McEnroe, winner of 17 Grand Slam tennis titles, will host ABC's upcoming game show The Chair. We can only hope some of the contestants yell at McEnroe for being blind or missing a call.
CNN has pulled ads that called new anchor Paula Zahn "just a little sexy." (Of course, we think Paula is more than just a little sexy.) Walter Isaacson, CNN's chairman and CEO, said he was "outraged" by the piece and that Zahn has proved her credibility with her 20 years of experience. (We still think she's sexy.)
India.Arie says she "wasn't expecting [seven Grammy nominations] at all." Which is OK: we didn't expect her to spell her name with a period in the middle. India's nominations include album of the year, record of the year, song of the year and best new artist.
It's easy being green: Shrek has now pulled in $420 million in DVD and VHS sales after just two months on the shelves, DreamWorks reports. Add that to its global box office take of $472 million, and the green ogre (and DreamWorks) has to be feeling jolly about life.
Gagster Avery Schreiber (Robin Hood: Men in Tights, TV's The Ed Sullivan Show) died Monday of a heart attack. He was 66. Schreiber was a fixture on TV in the '60s and '70s, in a career that spanned four decades and covered TV, film and stage. His wife, Rochelle Isaacs Schreiber, survives him.
The Federal Aviation Administration inspector who gave Aaliyah's pilot permission to fly the plane that killed the R&B singer and seven members of her entourage committed suicide last week, officials told The Post on Wednesday. Officials will not release further information about his possible motive. .In other areas of the investigation, the charter plane's owner, Gilbert Chacon, has filed a complaint about pilot Luis Morales, saying that he "inappropriately logged hundreds of hours as 'pilot in command' when it was questionable whether he was even a pilot on the flights [he logged]," PageSix.com reported. But Gabriel Penagaricano, representing the Morales family, told the publication that the "wild allegations are only trying to deflect the blame, which falls squarely on the shoulders of the aircraft owner."
Arnold Schwarzenegger has sued International Game Technology, Inc. for the unauthorized use of his picture and voice on a Terminator-themed slot machine, the actor's attorney, Marty Singer, told Reuters on Tuesday. The suit claims more than $20 million in damages, which the actor says he could have received if he approved a similar licensing agreement. IGT representatives had no comment about the lawsuit.
Stars attending the 53rd annual Emmy Awards have been asked to wear business attire instead of formalwear to reflect the nation's somber mood, organizers told The Associated Press on Tuesday. Jennifer Price, a spokeswoman for the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, has confirmed that the celebrity arrivals won't be broadcast, either. Comedian Ellen DeGeneres has been confirmed as the host for the show; however, veteran CBS News anchor Walter Cronkite has been asked to open the ceremony. The awards show, to be seen 95 countries, will take a moment during its broadcast to thank people worldwide for their support of America.
Sports stars such as Tiger Woods and Venus Williams have donated items for eBay's "Auction for America." The auction site hopes to raise $100 million within 100 days. People's contribution's -- through buying, selling, or donating cash directly -- will go to benefit work of organizations like the September 11th Fund, The New York State World Trade Center Relief Fund and The Twin Towers Fund, an eBay spokesperson told Hollywood.com on Wednesday. Bidding for Wood's framed autographed pin flag from the 2000 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, has reached $10,000 since its starting date. The auction is set to end on Oct. 1st. Every auction will runs differently, with each seller having up to 7, or even 10 days, to sell their each item. The total of all auctions for "Auction for America." will be collected at the end of 100 days.
The major networks have started including the U.S. flag in their logos, or in many cases, altering their colors to include red, white and blue, Reuters reported. CBS is airing a three-second shot of the flag rustling in the wind as their transparent logo appears in the corner of the screen. NBC filled its feathers with the stars and stripes of the American flag. ABC added red, white and blue stripes to its alphabet sphere logo. WB has put three lightly shaded red, white and blue stripes behind its logo, and Fox's bug, includes an animated flag that turns into the transparent Fox logo.
Lou Waters, who has been a CNN news anchor since its launch in 1980, is leaving the network to become managing editor and on-air personality at NewsProNet, a company that produces prepackaged news features for Atlanta television stations, AP reported. Most recently, Waters and Natalie Allen anchored CNN Live Today on weekday afternoons.
Vivendi Universal said on Tuesday that its Universal Music Group record company will start issuing CDs in October equipped with software to prevent digital copying, Reuters reported. The company hopes that the software will improve poor record sales, which they blame at least in part on users burning copies of CDs from other users or acquiring digital files over the Internet.
American Pie star Jason Biggs is getting ready to hit Broadway as the lead in The Graduate. Biggs will play Benjamin Braddock, the character originated by Dustin Hoffman in the 1967 film. According to the Hollywood Reporter, The Graduate marks the return to Broadway for Biggs, who starred on the New York stage 10 years ago opposite Judd Hirsch in Conversations With My Father.