The sum of all grosses for The Sum Of All Fears was $18.7 million, enough to keep it in first place over a generally blah box office weekend.
Moviegoers said yeah-yeah to Ya-Ya, launching the summer's first chick flick, Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, in second place to $16.4 million.
Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones slid 34 percent to third place with $13.9 million. Bad Company opened fourth to a not-so-good $10.5 million. Spider-Man dropped 30 percent to fifth with $10 million.
Hollywood suffered across the board from the combination of beautiful East Coast weather, major sports competition -- including Friday's NBA basketball finals and Saturday's Stanley Cup hockey finals, Belmont Stakes horse race and Lennox Lewis-Mike Tyson heavyweight championship fight -- and the absence of any new high profile event movie openings.
But even with the weekend's lackluster grosses, ticket sales were still nearly 9 percent ahead of this weekend last year. Key films -- those grossing $500,000 or more -- took in about $103 million versus last year's $94.4 million.
THE TOP TEN
Paramount's PG-13 rated thriller The Sum Of All Fears held on to the top spot in its second weekend with a still powerful ESTIMATED $18.7 million (-40%) at 3,218 theaters (+35 theaters; $5,811 per theater). Its cume is approximately $61.8 million.
Directed by Phil Alden Robinson and produced by Mace Neufeld, it stars Ben Affleck and Morgan Freeman.
"It didn't hold as well as I had hoped it would hold," Paramount distribution president Wayne Lewellen said Sunday morning, noting that the overall marketplace was "extremely soft yesterday."
Asked where Fears is heading, Lewellen replied, "I think it gets to $100 million and a little over, but we certainly had anticipated based on the opening level and the playability of the film that it would go far beyond that. So it's somewhat disappointing. But that's not to say that it can't come back."
What accounted for this weekend's softness across the board? "The quickest thing that jumps out is the fight last night," Lewellen said. "Then, of course, they had the hockey playoff that went into triple overtime. Do I believe that that's what all of this is (about)? No, I don't. I know that the East Coast had extraordinary weather yesterday. It was like 70 degrees and beautiful skies -- one of those '10' New York days, you know. And that always has an impact on you there. But I still find it difficult (to believe) the market is this far below where we had projected it even after we had the Friday figures."
Industry projections circulating Saturday morning had all of this weekend's top films doing considerably better than is reflected in their Sunday estimates. "I had us at $20.5 million yesterday," Lewellen explained, adding that he also had the other Top Five films doing better than they're reporting today.
Warner Bros. and Gaylord Films' PG-13 rated drama Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood kicked off in second place to a cheerful ESTIMATED $16.35 million at 2,507 theaters ($6,522 per theater).
Directed by Callie Khouri, it stars Sandra Bullock, Ellen Burstyn, Fionnula Flanagan, James Garner, Ashley Judd, Shirley Knight, Angus MacFadyen and Maggie Smith.
Ya-Ya's average per theater was the highest for any film playing this weekend.
"We're pleased with Ya-Ya. It's a solid opening," Warner Bros. Distribution president Dan Fellman said Sunday morning. "It performed better than we expected. We were looking at somewhere in the $15-16 million range."
Moviegoers liked the movie and, as a result, it should have favorable word of mouth. "Its CinemaScores and the exit polls that we conducted were great," Fellman said. "All the CinemaScores were A -- even for men. The audience was predominantly younger and older females, but the male response was very, very favorable. With good word of mouth, I think we'll be around for a long time.
"Callie Khouri did a great job. This opening becomes the personal best for Sandy Bullock, whose previous best opening was $14.8 million (for the weekend of July 26-28, 1996) on A Time To Kill."
20th Century Fox and Lucasfilm's PG rated franchise installment Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones dropped one notch to third place in its fourth week, holding well with an ESTIMATED $13.88 million (-34%) at 3,161 theaters (theater count unchanged; $4,391 per theater). Its cume is approximately $255.0 millio n, heading for $300 million or slightly more in domestic theaters.
Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace took in $431.1 million in domestic theaters. Its worldwide total (domestic plus international) was $923 million.
Directed by George Lucas, it stars Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman and Hayden Christensen.
Buena Vista/Touchstone and Jerry Bruckheimer Films' PG-13 rated action film Bad Company, whose plot involves CIA efforts to keep terrorists from obtaining a nuclear device, opened in fourth place to a disappointing ESTIMATED $10.5 million at 2,944 theaters ($3,553 per theater).
Directed by Joel Schumacher, it stars Anthony Hopkins and Chris Rock.
"We had great talent and great filmmakers and they worked their butts off," Buena Vista Distribution president Chuck Viane said Sunday morning. "Unfortunately, as you know, in our business there are no guarantees. Kind of like yesterday's (Belmont Stakes) race where we all thought War Emblem (was the favorite) and he ends up finishing out of the money. Unfortunately, it looks like that happened to us. The good news is that it's a long summer and the CinemaScores were decent so we should be around for a while."
Asked if he thought the male appeal Company was hurt, for example, by the televised NBA finals, Viane replied, "I think it's a combination of things and when you add them all up they mean something, but to point to one item, I just don't know."
Columbia's PG-13 sci-fi fantasy blockbuster Spider-Man slid two pegs to fifth in its sixth week, still showing decent legs with an ESTIMATED $10.0 million (-30%) at 3,235 theaters (-411 theaters; $3,091 per theater). Its cume is approximately $370.1 million heading for $420 million or more in domestic theaters.
Directed by Sam Raimi, it stars Tobey Maguire, Willem Dafoe, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco, Cliff Robertson and Rosemary Harris.
"It's its sixth weekend in double digits," Sony spokesman Steve Elzer said Sunday morning. "Actually, it's its fifth weekend in double digits. One weekend was in triple digits."
DreamWorks' G rated animated feature Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron dropped one slot to sixth place in its third week, holding well with an ESTIMATED $9.4 million (-17%) at 3,362 theaters (theater count unchanged; $2,805 per theater). Its cume is approximately $53.8 million. Spirit's decline of 17 percent was the smallest drop for any film in the Top Ten this weekend.
Directed by Kelly Asbury and Lorna Cook, it was produced by Mireille Soria and Jeffrey Katzenberg.
Universal and Imagine Entertainment's PG-13 rated urban appeal comedy Undercover Brother skidded three pegs to seventh place in its second weekend to an unexciting ESTIMATED $7.31 million (-39%) at 2,169 theaters (+2 theaters; $3,370 per theater). Its cume is approximately $23.6 million.
Directed by Malcom D. Lee, it stars Eddie Griffin, Chris Kattan and Denise Richards. Its producers are Brian Grazer, Michael Jenkinson and Damon Lee.
Alcon Entertainment's R rated thriller Insomnia fell two rungs to eighth place in its third week via Warner Bros. with a less thrilling ESTIMATED $5.89 million (-41%) at 2,458 theaters (-152 theaters; $2,396 per theater). Its cume is approximately $51.8 million.
Directed by Christopher Nolan, it stars Al Pacino, Robin Williams and Hilary Swank.
Columbia's PG-13 rated thriller Enough slipped two slots to ninth place in its third week with a dull ESTIMATED $3.6 million (-47%) at 2,388 theaters (-235 theaters; $1,508 per theater). Its cume is approximately $33.6 million.
Directed by Michael Apted, it stars Jennifer Lopez.
Rounding out the Top Ten was Universal and Studio Canal's PG-13 rated romantic comedy drama About A Boy, from Tribeca and Working Title, down two slots in its fourth weekend with a quiet ESTIMATED $2.74 million (-33%) at 1,619 theaters (-137 theaters; $1,685 per theater). Boy, which only cost $27 million, has a cume of approximately $32.5 million.
Directed by Paul Weitz & Chris Weitz, it stars Hugh Grant, Rachel Weisz and Toni Collette.
This weekend also saw the arrival of Fine Line Features' R rated drama Cherish to an uneventful ESTIMATED $40,000 at 6 theaters ($6,667 per theater). Written and directed by Finn Taylor, it stars Robin Tunney.
There were no national sneak previews this weekend.
On the expansion front this weekend IFC Films' PG rated romantic comedy My Big Fat Greek Wedding went wider in its eighth week with a solid ESTIMATED $1.6 million at 444 theaters (+208 theaters; $3,670 per theater). Its cume is approximately $10.9 million.
Directed by Joel Zwick, it stars Nia Vardalos and John Corbett.
Key films -- those grossing more than $500,000 -- took in approximately $102.73 million, up 8.86 percent from last year when they totaled $94.37 million.
Key films were down 12.87 percent from the previous weekend of this year when they grossed $117.91 million.
Last year, Warner Bros.' opening week of Swordfish was first with $18.15 million at 2,678 theaters ($6,776 per theater); and DreamWorks' fourth week of Shrek was second with $16.52 million at 3,715 theaters ($4,447 per theater). The top two films one year ago grossed $34.6 million. This year, the top two films grossed an ESTIMATED $35.1 million.
Frank Ramaesiri, the St. Louis jewelry salesman who sold the video of a topless sunbather to Penthouse, telling the magazine it was Anna Kournikova, testified on Tuesday he mistakenly thought the woman was the tennis star due to the diameter of her nipples. Now how would Ramaesiri, a non-professional photographer, know the diameter of Kournikova's nipples, you may ask? Reuters reported that the salesman told the court he had seen pictures of the Russian beauty in a sweat-soaked tennis dress revealing her nipples, and "the diameter matched what we had on film," he said. Plus, he added, the sunbather looked Russian.
The "sunbather" was actually Judith Soltesz-Benetton, the daughter-in-law of fashion designer Luciano Benetton. While Penthouse has issued a formal apology to both Kournikova and Soltesz-Benetton, the women are still pursuing cases against the infamous magazine for damages.
Steven Spielberg is finally making his life complete--he's graduating from college. After dropping out nearly three decades ago to pursue his career, the famed director, 55, will receive a bachelor's degree from California State University Long Beach, where he recently finished courses in the film and electronic arts major.
Jason Alexander, on the other hand, wants to teach college. The former Seinfeld star will be instructing other young actors on the University of Southern California campus under the George Burns Distinguished Visiting Professor in Performance program.
Rapper Jay-Z won't be moving into that $6.5 million penthouse in New York's trendy TriBeCa complex, after all. He pulled out of the deal without giving a reason, but owner Peter Arnell blames neighbors for sabotaging the deal. Arnell claims two tenants, Lynn Fisher-Hill and Lewis Taffer, posted notices in the halls, referring to the rapper's criminal record and lifestyle of violence, The Associated Press reports.
Jennifer Lopez shelled out the dough for her new Miami home. She recently bought a $9.5 million waterfront mansion in Miami Beach, with a view of Biscayne Bay. Her celebrity neighbors include Lenny Kravitz, Ricky Martin and the Bee Gees, Barry and Robin Gibb.
Bernadette Peters and Gregory Hines, two veterans of the Broadway stage, will be hosting the Tony Awards June 2. This marks the second time for Hines, who co-hosted with Glenn Close and Nathan Lane in 1994. It'll be the first hosting gig for Peters.
Anne Heche may be heading for Broadway lights. She could replace the departing Jennifer Jason Leigh in David Auburn's Pulitzer Prize-winning play Proof at the Walter Kerr Theater in New York. Mary-Louise Parker originated the play's lead role of Catherine, the grief-stricken, troubled daughter of a math genius, in spring 2000.
In the Biz
Another large ensemble piece for Robert Altman? Go figure. Variety reports the veteran director may sign up to helm The Company, a large ensemble project about ballet dancers, with Neve Campbell (Scream) attached to star as a young dancer distracted by other things. Apparently, there are about 50 roles to be had--piece of cake for Altman.
Jay Kay, the lead singer of the funk band Jamiroquai, was involved in an altercation Wednesday at the post-premiere party for Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones in London. Kay's agent told Reuters the singer found his new car damaged and confronted the suspected culprit. Kay suffered some facial injuries.
There is no love lost between rapper Eminem and Vice President Dick Cheney's wife, Lynne Cheney. She has been very vocal in her criticism of the recording industry, often citing Eminem's music as offensive. He countered by flinging a four-letter word at her in his song, "White America," on his soon-to-be released album The Eminem Show. Now, now, Marshall.
In a rare appearance, three of rock and roll's greatest legends--Chuck Berry, Little Richard and Bo Diddley--were honored by Broadcast Music Inc. They received BMI's Icon Awards at the 50th annual pop music awards show Tuesday and were recognized for their "unique and indelible influence on generations of music makers," Reuters reports.
If you're planning to see Ocean's Eleven, prepare yourself for some deja vu come 2002, as George Clooney will make his directorial with Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, starring Ocean's pals Brad Pitt, Matt Damon and Julia Roberts. The film, set to begin shooting in January, is a comedic biopic about Gong Show host Chuck Barris.
The early list of presenters and performers at the upcoming American Music Awards--set to air January 9 on ABC--has been released. Presenters include Alicia Keys, Chris Klein, LeAnn Rimes, Frankie Muniz, Method Man, Niki Taylor, Tyrese and many more entertainment stars. Performers include Lenny Kravitz, Kid Rock, Brooks & Dunn and Cher.
William Jovanovich, chief executive and chairman of publishing house Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, died of a heart attack on Tuesday in his home in Point Loma, Calif., his family announced Thursday. He was 81.
Cast Away director Robert Zemeckis pulled a disappearing act of his own on Tuesday: he secretively eloped, marrying actress Leslie Harter in Venice, Italy. This is Zemeckis' second marriage.
A life-size bronze statue was dedicated to late actor Cary Grant on Friday in the British city of Bristol, his hometown. Grant's widow, Barbara Jaynes, unveiled the statue, which was paid for by the people of Bristol.
On Thursday, Robert De Niro announced that he plans to launch a new event called the Tribeca Film Festival in lower Manhattan's Tribeca neighborhood. The festival, to be held just north of "ground zero," the location of the World Trade Center collapse, will commence May 1, 2001 and last for five days, showcasing 40 films from around the world.
While CBS pulled off a victory in total primetime viewers in the November sweeps, the Eye Network also performed well in late-night ratings for the month, according to Nielsen Media Research. The Late Show with David Letterman had its best November since 1997, up 21% in viewers 18-49, while The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn shot up 25% in the same key demographic.
After three years on the hit NBC drama ER, actress Michael Michele--who plays Dr. Cleo Finch--is leaving the show due to physical duress caused by constant cross-country flights from New York to Los Angeles. Michele plays Will Smith's wife in the upcoming film Ali.
United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan taped an episode of Sesame Street on Thursday, The Associated Press reports. Annan will serve as a peacekeeper in the episode, teaching Elmo and the gang how to get along as friends.
Hot on the heels of the success of Harry Potter and the buzz surrounding The Lord of the Rings, Walden Media announced on Thursday that they have joined forces with The C.S. Lewis Co. to produce a live-action film based on the novel The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Walden Media, a newcomer on the studio scene, plans to produce all seven of Lewis' popular "Narnia" novels.