The cheerleaders of "Bring It On" easily topped the chart, despite tracking studies suggesting a closer race for first place with "The Art of War."
Universal's opening of Beacon Pictures' PG-13-rated dark comedy about cheerleaders kicked off to a cheerful ESTIMATED $17.41 million at 2,380 theaters ($7,315 per theater). Its per-theater average was the highest for any film playing in wide release this weekend.
"In an environment this year where there were lots of teen films that didn't work, finding the appropriate release date for this picture was (very important)," Universal distribution president Nikki Rocco said Sunday morning. "We've become this summer's biggest surprise.
"What marketing (under president Marc Shmuger) did was to find the hook to bring the message to the target audience. The hook was the competitiveness of the film (with its white and black cheerleading teams). That's what worked. We didn't sell it as another teen comedy with sex and raunch. We sold it as a competitive film with these kids pitted against each other, which is what the movie really is about. Our marketing did the impossible in an environment where there have been lots of films that didn't work for this target audience (of young females)."
The film's low production cost should make it very profitable for Universal and Beacon. "This picture only cost Universal $10 million," Rocco noted. "Our partners at Beacon - and particularly Marc Abraham (president of Beacon Communications and producer of 'Bring' with Thomas Bliss) - have become such a viable part of Universal. They are the ones that gave us 'Hurricane.' They're giving us a Christmas film, 'Family Man' (a romantic comedy fantasy directed by Brett Ratner and starring Nicolas Cage and Tea Leoni). And we're looking forward to 'Spy Game' next year."
Universal's exit polls over the weekend are very encouraging, according to Rocco: "Overall, 75% in the Top Two Boxes (excellent and very good) and 53% definite recommend. For young females (under 25), it's 90% in the Top Two Boxes and 62% definite recommend." She noted that it was playing particularly well to the under 17 crowd.
Directed by Peyton Reed, it stars Kirsten Dunst, Eliza Dusku, Jesse Bradford and Gabrielle Union.
Warner Bros.' R-rated martial arts drama "The Art of War" opened in second place to a solid ESTIMATED $11.19 million at 2,630 theaters ($4,253 per theater).
Directed by Christian Duguay, "War" stars Wesley Snipes, Anne Archer and Donald Sutherland.
New Line's R-rated fantasy suspense thriller "The Cell" slipped two slots to third place in its second weekend with a less sexy ESTIMATED $9.6 million (-45%) at 2,430 theaters (+19 theaters; $3,961 per theater). Its cume is approximately $33.7 million.
Directed by Tarsem, "Cell" stars Jennifer Lopez, Vince Vaughn and Vincent D'Onofrio.
Warner Bros. PG-13 sci-fi action adventure "Space Cowboys" dropped one rung in its fourth week to fourth place, still showing good legs with an ESTIMATED $6.61 million (-30%) at 2,795 theaters (-40 theaters; $2,365 per theater). Its cume is approximately $63.8 million.
"'Space Cowboys' had a phenomenal night last night (Saturday). It was up 69% over Friday. It was huge," Warner Bros. Distribution president Dan Fellman said Sunday morning. "It continues to hold well and continues to benefit from great word of mouth. It's got playability. People enjoy the movie.
"At the end of this week, we'll be at $66 million - where 'Unforgiven' was at $67 million and 'In the Line of Fire' was at $71 million. Now we have Labor Day weekend coming up, so we'll have a terrific hold. The movie's now got a shot at, maybe, north of $90 million."
Fellman also noted that "Cowboys" should also benefit from the fact that it has the next four weeks ahead of it with little or no competition for its adult audience. "We had a great playdate," he said, "and it's turning out that the film is reaping the benefits of it."
Directed by Clint Eastwood, "Space" stars Eastwood, Tommy Lee Jones, James Garner and Donald Sutherland.
Paramount's R-rated Spike Lee documentary comedy "The Original Kings of Comedy" fell three notches to fifth place in its second week with a less funny ESTIMATED $6.1 million (-45%) at 875 theaters (+28 theaters; $6,971 per theater). Its cume is approximately $21.4 million.
Directed by Spike Lee, "Kings" stars Steve Harvey.
DreamWorks PG-13-rated supernatural thriller "What Lies Beneath" slid one peg in its sixth week to sixth place with an okay ESTIMATED $4.5 million (-33%) at 2,568 theaters (-192 theaters; $1,752 per theater). Its cume is approximately $130.8 million.
"Beneath" is a co-production of DreamWorks, which is releasing it domestically, and 20th Century Fox, which is distributing it internationally.
Directed by Robert Zemeckis, "Beneath" stars Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer.
Warner Bros.' PG-13-rated football action comedy "The Replacements" fell three notches to seventh place in its third week with a lower scoring ESTIMATED $4.11 million (-43%) at 2,717 theaters (-37 theaters; $1,511 per theater). Its cume is approximately $30.8 million.
Directed by Howard Deutch, "Replacements" stars Keanu Reeves and Gene Hackman.
Buena Vista/Touchstone's PG-13-rated Mafia comedy "The Crew" opened in a virtual tie for seventh place to a quiet ESTIMATED $4.1 million at 1,510 theaters ($2,715 per theater).
Directed by Michael Dinner, "Crew" stars Richard Dreyfuss, Burt Reynolds, Dan Hedaya and Seymour Cassel.
Universal and Imagine Entertainment's PG-13-rated comedy sequel "Nutty Professor 2: The Klumps" skidded three slots to ninth place in its fifth week with a calm ESTIMATED $3.34 million (-47%) at 2,543 theaters (-426 theaters; $1,315 per theater). Its cume is approximately $109.8 million.
Directed by Peter Segal, it stars Eddie Murphy, Janet Jackson and Larry Miller.
Rounding out the Top Ten was MGM's PG-13-rated romantic drama "Autumn in New York," down two pegs in its third week with a slower ESTIMATED $3.15 million (-42%) at 2,260 theaters (-22 theaters; $1,393 per theater). Its cume is approximately $26.7 million.
Directed by Joan Chen, it stars Richard Gere and Winona Ryder.
This weekend also saw the arrival of Lions Gate Films' unrated romantic comedy "Love & Sex" in New York and Los Angeles, placing 26th with an encouraging ESTIMATED $64,000 at 8 theaters ($8,000 per theater).
Directed by Valerie Breiman, it stars Famke Janssen and John Favreau.
"It was a gorgeous weekend in New York and L.A., so that cuts the Friday to Saturday bumps down a little bit," Lions Gate co-president Tom Ortenberg said Sunday morning.
"But people seem to like this movie, so hopefully they will tell all their friends."
Looking ahead, Ortenberg added, "Sex" will move into the Top 20 markets Sept. 8.
There were no national sneak previews this weekend.
On the expansion front this weekend, Artisan Entertainment's R-rated dark comedy "Cecil B. Demented" went wider in its third week, placing 23rd with an okay ESTIMATED $0.18 million (+13%) at 69 theaters (+39 theaters; $2,650 per theater). Its cume is approximately $0.6 million.
Directed by John Waters, it stars Melanie Griffith and Stephen Dorff.
USA Films' director's cut reissue of the R-rated 1984 thriller "Blood Simple" added theaters in its eighth week, placing 25th with a quiet ESTIMATED $70,000 (-18%) at 63 theaters (+2 theaters; $1,105 per theater). Its cume is approximately $1.5 million.
Directed by Joel Coen and written by Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, it stars John Ge z, Frances McDormand, Dan Hedaya, Samm-Art Williams and M. Emmet Walsh.
Key films -- those grossing more than $500,000 for the weekend -- took in approximately $84.92 million, down about 4.28% from the comparable weekend last year when key films grossed $88.71 million. This weekend's key film gross was down about 10.54% from this year's previous weekend when key films grossed $94.92 million.
Last year, Buena Vista's fourth week of "The Sixth Sense" was first with $20.10 million at 2,763 theaters ($7,274 per theater); and Buena Vista's opening week of "The 13th Warrior" was second with $10.27 million at 2,306 theaters ($4,453 per theater). The top two films one year ago grossed $30.4 million. This year, the top two films grossed an ESTIMATED $28.6 million.
STUDIO MARKET SHARES
Based on business by key films (those grossing $500,000 or more), last weekend's top six distributors were:
Universal was first with two films ("Bring It On" and "Nutty Professor 2: The Klumps"), grossing an ESTIMATED $24.75 million or 29.2% of the market.
Warner Bros. was second with four films ("Space Cowboys," "The Art Of War," "The Perfect Storm" and "The Replacements"), grossing an ESTIMATED $23.21 million or 27.3% of the market.
New Line was third with one film ("The Cell"), grossing an ESTIMATED $9.6 million or 11.3% of the market.
Paramount was fourth with two films ("The Original Kings of Comedy" and "Bless the Child"), grossing an ESTIMATED $8.9 million or 10.5% of the market.
Buena Vista (Disney and Touchstone) was fifth with three films ("The Crew," "Coyote Ugly" and "Disney's The Kid") grossing an ESTIMATED $7.52 million or 8.9% of the market.
Sony Pictures Releasing (Columbia and TriStar) was tied for sixth with two films ("Godzilla 2000" and "The Hollow Man"), grossing an ESTIMATED $4.5 million or 5.3% of the market.
DreamWorks was tied for sixth with two films("What Lies Beneath" and "Chicken Run"), grossing an ESTIMATED $4.5 million or 5.3% of the market.
(11)Hollow Man/Columbia: Theaters: 2,481 (-475) Gross: $2.8 million (-53%) (tie) Average per theater: $1,129 Cume: $66.6 million
(11)Coyote Ugly/BV/Touchstone: Theaters: 2,296 (-243) Gross: $2.8 million (-43%) (tie) Average per theater: $1,220 Cume: $49.3 million
(11)Bless the Child/Paramount: Theaters: 2,350 (-171) Gross: $2.8 million (-42%) (tie) Average per theater: $1,191 Cume: $22.8 million
(14)Godzilla 2000/TriStar: Theaters: 2,111 (0) Gross: $1.7 million (-61%) Average per theater: $805 Cume: $7.6 million
(15)The Perfect Storm/Warner Bros.: Theaters: 1,205 (-212) Gross: $1.3 million (-27%) Average per theater: $1,090 Cume: $175.7 million
(16)X-Men/Fox: Theaters: 1,175 (-449) Gross: $1.3 million (-49%) Average per theater: $1,095 Cume: $151.1 million
(17)Saving Grace/Fine Line: Theaters: 255 (0) Gross: $0.79 million (-24%) Average per theater: $3,085 Cume: $3.2 million
(18) Scary Movie/Miramax/Dimension: Theaters: 1,051 (-450) Gross: $0.71 million (-45%) Average per theater: $675 Cume: $148.6 million
(19)Disney's The Kid/Buena Vista/Disney: Theaters: 919 (-303) Gross: $0.62 million (-45%) Average per theater: $669 Cume: $65.6 million
(20)Chicken Run/DreamWorks: Theaters: 823 (-179) Gross: $0.48 million (-47%) Average per theater: $583 Cume: $102.8 million
(21)Gladiator/DreamWorks: Theaters: 507 (+223)(sub-run) Gross: $0.4 million (+34%) Average per theater: $785 Cume: $182.7 million
(22)Pokemon: The Movie 2000/Warner Bros.: Theaters: 538 (-100) Gross: $0.3 million (-50%) Average per theater: $485 Cume: $42.5 million
(23)Cecil B. Demented/Artisan: (See EXPANSIONS above)
(24)Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle/Universal: Theaters: 362 (-74) Gross: $0.18 million (-20%) Average per theater: $485 Cume: $25.3 million
(25)Blood Simple/USA: (See EXPANSIONS above)
(26)LOVE & SEX/Lions Gate: (See OTHER OPENINGS above)
(27)Alice & Martin/USA: Theaters: 13 (-1) Gross: $34,000 (-6%) Average per theater: $2,650 Cume: $0.3 million
For all the controversy and hype surrounding "Eyes Wide Shut," the film will most likely be remembered as director Stanley Kubrick's last opus -- finished just days before he died in his sleep March 7.
The 70-year-old eccentric filmmaker's career was founded on spectacle, from the shocking "A Clockwork Orange" to the profound "2001: A Space Odyssey." It somehow seemed fitting that "Eyes Wide Shut," despite the star talent of Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, would make its mark by bearing the director's ghost.
The year that was marked the passing of other legends, as well -- from George C. Scott (Kubrick's "Dr. Strangelove" star) to singer Mel Tormé to movie critic Gene Siskel.
Some, like Sylvia Sidney and DeForest Kelley, died after long, rich careers; others, such as Dana Plato and David Strickland, succumbed in relative youth to their inner demons.
From marquee names to behind the sceners, Hollywood will mourn:
Kirk Alyn, 88, died March 14. In 1948, the first actor to play Superman on the big screen.
Hoyt Axton, 61, died Oct. 26, heart attack. Singer-actor who wrote hits such as Three Dog Night's "Joy to the World"; appeared in "Gremlins" and "The Black Stallion."
Ian Bannen, 71, died Nov. 3, car accident. Theater veteran who starred in "Waking Ned Devine," appeared in "Braveheart" and was nominated for an Oscar in 1965 for "Flight of the Phoenix."
Mary Kay Bergman, 38, died Nov. 11, suicide. Actress who voiced numerous "South Park" characters in the TV series and film.
Dirk Bogarde, 78, died May 8, heart attack. British veteran of more than 70 films, including "Death in Venice."
Rory Calhoun, 76, died April 28, emphysema and diabetes. Western film actor in the 1940s and '50s and star of CBS' "The Texan" series.
Allan Carr, 62, died June 29, cancer. Producer of the hit 1978 musical "Grease" and Tony Award winner for "La Cage aux Folles" on Broadway.
Iron Eyes Cody, about 90, died Jan 4, natural causes. American American actor best known as the "Crying Indian" in 1970s anti-litter public-service announcements.
Ellen Corby, 87, died April 14. Oscar nominee for the 1948 film "I Remember Mama"; Emmy winner for her grandmother role on TV's "The Waltons."
Harry Crane, 85, died Sept. 14, cancer. Co-created the TV sitcom "The Honeymooners''; wrote for entertainers such as the Marx Brothers, Red Skelton and Bing Crosby.
Charles Crichton, 89, died Sept. 14. Acclaimed British director of film comedies, including "The Lavender Hill Mob" and "A Fish Called Wanda."
Frank De Vol, 88, died Oct. 27, congestive heart failure. Film composer who received Oscar nominations for "Hush ... Hush, Sweet Charlotte," "Pillow Talk" and "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner.'' Wrote the theme music for TV's "The Brady Bunch."
Edward Dmytryk, 90, died July 1, heart and kidney failure. Directed films such as "The Caine Mutiny"; one of the blacklisted Hollywood Ten during the 1940s Red Scare.
Allen Funt, 84, died Sept. 5, complications from stroke. Hosted and created prankster TV show "Candid Camera."
Betty Lou Gerson, 84, died Jan. 12, stroke. Provided the voice for villainess Cruella De Vil in Disney's 1961 animated "One Hundred and One Dalmatians."
Ernest Gold, 77, died March 17, complications from stroke. Composer for films such as "It's a Man, Mad, Mad, Mad World"; won an Academy Award for "Exodus."
Sandra Gould, 73, died July 20, stroke. Played nosy neighbor Gladys Kravitz on TV's "Bewitched."
Huntz Hall, 78, died Jan. 30, heart failure. Starred in more than 100 "Dead End Kids" and "Bowery Boys" films in the 1930s through the '50s.
Brion James, 54, died Aug. 7, heart attack. Played the murderous droid Leon in Ridley Scott's "Blade Runner."
Madeline Kahn Madeline Kahn, 57, died Dec. 3, ovarian cancer. Oscar-nominated actress-comedian who starred in "Blazing Saddles" and "Paper Moon."
Garson Kanin, 86, died March 13, heart failure. Oscar-nominated screenwriter ("Adam's Rib," "Pat and Mike"); penned hit play "Born Yesterday." DeForest Kelley
DeForest Kelley, 79, died June 11, long illness. Starred as Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy on TV's original "Star Trek" series and in several of the franchise's big-screen movies.
Richard Kiley, 76, died March 5, bone marrow disease. Actor/singer best known for introducing audiences to original power ballad, "The Impossible Dream," via Broadway's "Man of La Mancha."
Stanley Kubrick, 70, died March 7 in his sleep. Acclaimed director of films such as "Dr. Strangelove," "Spartacus," "2001: A Space Odyssey," "A Clockwork Orange" and "The Shining."
Desmond Llewelyn, 85, died Dec. 19, car accident. British actor who played James Bond's gadget-guru Q through "From Russia With Love" (1963) to "The World Is Not Enough" (1999).
Victor Mature, 86, died Aug. 4, cancer. Hunky star of the 1940s and 50s, with leading roles in "Samson and Delilah" and "My Darling Clementine."
Jay Moloney, 35, died Nov. 16, suicide. Talent agent known as the "boy wonder," who once represented Hollywood heavies such as Steven Spielberg and Leonardo DiCaprio.
Clayton Moore, 85, died Dec. 28, heart attack. Longtime star of TV's "The Lone Ranger."
Dana Plato, 34, died May 8, apparent accidental drug overdose. Former child star of the 1970s sitcom "Diff'rent Strokes."
Abraham Polonsky, 88, died Oct. 26, heart attack. Oscar-nominated screenwriter ("Body and Soul"); one of the blacklisted Hollywood Ten.
Mario Puzo, 78, died July 2, heart failure. Novelist/screenwriter ("The Godfather") who two Oscars for his screenplays for "The Godfather" (1972) and "The Godfather Part II" (1974).
Irving Rapper, 101, died Dec. 20. Golden-era director best known for collaborating with Bette Davis on four films, including "Now, Voyager" (1942).
Oliver Reed, 61, died May 2, apparent heart attack. British actor best known for starring in "Oliver!" and "Women in Love."
Charles "Buddy" Rogers, 94, died April 21, natural causes. Starred in 1927's "Wings," the first film to win the Best Picture Oscar; widower of silent-star Mary Pickford.
George C. Scott George C. Scott, 71, died Sept. 22, ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm. Gruff-voiced leading man who starred in "Dr. Strangelove" and "Anatomy of a Murder." Won (and refused) the Oscar for 1970's "Patton"; won Emmy and Golden Globe for 1997's Showtime film "12 Angry Men."
Sylvia Sidney, 88, died July 1, throat cancer. Veteran actress whose career spanned the 1930s through the 1990s. Nominated for an Oscar for 1973's "Summer Wishes, Winter Dreams." Gene Siskel
Gene Siskel, 53, died Feb. 20, brain tumor. With Roger Ebert, the nation's most influential movie critic and purveyor of the "thumbs up/thumbs down" rating system on their syndicated TV series. Writer for Chicago Tribune.
Susan Strasberg, 60, died Jan. 21, breast cancer. Theater/TV/film actress ("The Diary of Anne Frank"); daughter of famed acting guru Lee Strasberg; cohort of Marilyn Monroe.
David Strickland, 29, died March 23, suicide. Co-star of the NBC sitcom "Suddenly Susan"; played a lovelorn ex-boyfriend in "Forces of Nature" (1999).
Mel Torme, 73, died June 5, complications from stroke. Velvety crooner of jazz and pop, who co-wrote "The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)."
Norman Wexler, 73, died Aug. 23, heart attack. Oscar-nominated screenwriter of "Joe" and "Serpico." Also wrote "Saturday Night Fever" and "Stayin' Alive."
John Woolf, 86, died June 28, heart failure. British producer of "Oliver!" and "The African Queen."