'The Grinch' is unstoppable.
Jim Carrey's "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas" edged out Chris O'Donnell's mountain-climbing "Vertical Limit" and held on to the No. 1 spot at the weekend box office, taking in an estimated $18.46 million, according to estimates obtained by Hollywood.com's box office analyst Martin Grove.
"The Grinch," directed by Ron Howard and also starring Christine Baranski, Molly Shannon and Jeffery Tambor, reached a four-week total gross of $195.5 million.
Bowed Friday, outdoor thriller "Vertical Limit" was only good enough for the No. 2 spot with a $16 million take.
The week's other new releases: Meg Ryan and Russell Crowe's "Proof of Life" and the game adaptation "Dungeons and Dragons" opened this weekend at No. 3 ($10.41 million) and No. 5 ($7 million), respectively.
And M. Night Shyamalan's "Unbreakable" took the No. 4 spot with $7.5 million. The Bruce Willis-Samuel L Jackson starrer has thus far grossed $77.4 million.
Here are the weekend's Top 10 films (final figures will be released Monday):
1. "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas," $18.47 million ($195.5 million total)
2. "Vertical Limit," $16 million (new)
3. "Proof of Life," $10.41 million (new)
4. "Unbreakable," $7.54 million ($77.4 million total)
5. "Dungeons and Dragons," $7 million (new)
6. "102 Dalmatians," $6.3 million ($44.3 million total)
7. "Rugrats in Paris: The Movie," $4 million ($60.5 million total)
8. "Meet the Parents," $2.97 million ($157.1 million total)
9. "Charlie's Angels," $2.7 million ($119.3 million total)
10. "Bounce," $2.6 million ($34.1 million total)
Uh oh, "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas" might just hit its limit this weekend at the box office.
And who might bring Jim Carrey's megahit film down?
Answer: Former boy wonder Chris O'Donnell and his bunch of mountain-scaling unknowns in "Vertical Limit", that's who.
"I think 'Vertical Limit' and 'The Grinch' are neck and neck for No. 1, but I would give the edge to "Vertical Limit." The film is a spectacle, the studio is going for the adrenaline rush, and they have been marketing it very aggressively," says Brandon Gray, editor of boxofficemojo.com. "And it really doesn't matter that the film doesn't have any stars in it, that's irrelevant for this kind of film.
"But obviously, 'The Grinch' is a major player also, it did $27 mil last week (which was not a huge drop). Plus, it has the momentum, [which] definitely makes it a top contender for the No. 1 spot this weekend" Gray says.
And those two films are not the only battle going on in town, for there're also the Meg Ryan-Russell Crowe half romance, half drama "Proof of Life" and the big screen materialization of the role-playing game "Dungeons & Dragons" with Jeremy Irons, Justin Whalin and Marlon Wayans, among others.
So without further ado, let's take a peek at all the major releases coming out this weekend.
THE SKINNY: Chris O'Donnell plays a disillusioned mountain climber who's been pulled out of early retirement to save the life of his sister (Robin Tunney) trapped in a really cold and dangerous peak. What a guy!
THE UPSIDE: The film has being brand new on its side, "The Grinch" does not. Or in Gray's words, "I think it should be able to just edge out 'The Grinch.' It should be good enough for the high teens."
THE DOWNSIDE: It's probably utterly predictable and shamelessly cliche -- but that's fine as long as you don't care about plot development, character development or, uh, stuff like that. "PROOF OF LIFE"
THE SKINNY: Russell Crowe roars as a hostage negotiator who is charged to save an American captive in Latin America but ends up hooking up with the poor guy's wife, played by, ahem, Meg Ryan.
THE UPSIDE: Finally, we get to watch the film which during its shooting Crowe and Ryan shacked up! But that is if you even cared in the first place.
THE DOWNSIDE: "The press seems more concerned with the Crowe-Ryan romance than the film itself. The marketing campaign for the film seems to highlight Crowe rather than the romance between the two actors. That could hurt the picture because audiences associate Ryan with romantic comedies. [Still,] it will have a decent opening, [albeit] a soft one. It could put it in the low to mid teens," says Gray, who puts the film at a solid No. 3 for the weekend. "DUNGEONS & DRAGONS"
THE SKINNY: Jeremy Irons, Justin Whalin, "American Beauty's" Thora Birch, Marlon Wayans and others play medieval in this rather untimely adaptation of the popular role-playing game in the 1980s.
THE UPSIDE: Well, the film certainly gives the avid fans and players of the game one reason to leave the house.
THE DOWNSIDE: "This film is going to remain in the dungeon," Gray said. "Fantasy pictures tend not to do well. It's possible for the film to be No. 5 -- and it's basically between that and '102 Dalmatians'. Probably $5 mil, give or take a million or so."
"CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON"
THE SKINNY: Taiwanese director Ang Lee's homage to a long and persistent Chinese cinematic tradition: the swordsman epic. And oh, it stars two of Hong Kong's raddest actors: Chow Yun Fat and Michelle Yeoh ("Tomorrow Never Dies").
THE UPSIDE: Hey dude, it's sort of like "The Matrix." Or dude, is it actually the other way around?
THE DOWNSIDE: Not to be a tease, but the film only opens in New York this weekend. Why? "[Because] the studio is trying to build a word of mouth for this film. They're probably praying for an Oscar nomination and have the film go wide," Gray said.
And don't forget films such as "Rugrats in Paris," "Men of Honor," "Charlie's Angels" and "Unbreakable," which Gray predicts will take the No. 4 spot this weekend.
Hey, a man's got to make movies, too.
And that apparently is what seasoned emcee Billy Crystal is telling the Academy Awards people when it comes to hosting the gala event this year, the Associated Press says.
"I can't do it, you have to understand," Crystal told Fox News. "If everything goes according to plan, I'll just be finishing a new movie on March 22. I can't host the show five days later."
And how can you blame him. After all, the funnyman is getting to stretch His muscle in the high-profile comedy "America's Sweethearts" with Julia Roberts and Catherine Zeta-Jones.
But Crystal didn't exactly leave the Academy people high and dry, since he did jokingly nominate Jim Carrey, Jay Leno or David Letterman for the job.
HONORED: You don't get to a big-time producer for nothing. Brian Grazer, 48, who produced this year's moneymakers "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" and "Nutty Professor II," will receive this year's David O. Selznick Award from the Producers Guild of America. He will be honored at the group's annual Golden Laurel Awards event in March.
Is "The Grinch" breakable?
That's the question this weekend as kiddie dog flick "102 Dalmatians" and M Night Shyamalan's "The Sixth Sense" follow-up "Unbreakable" look to dethrone Carrey's mad moneymaking "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas."
"'The Grinch' is certainly the picture to beat here. I think 'Grinch' would still be No. 1. It has the momentum behind it right now," says Brandon Gray, box office analyst from boxofficemojo.com. "It could make another $50 mil over the five-day holiday."
But, of course, this being a game of speculation, anything could happen.
And as we wait for the results this Sunday, here's a look at the two big films opening this weekend.
"102 Dalmatians" THE SKINNY: A follow-up to 1996's successful "101 Dalmatians," the sequel has Cruella De Vil (Glenn Close) once again hooked on the Dalmatian fur coat she has always coveted. THE UPSIDE: The original film took in more than $130 million in domestic box office. THE DOWNSIDE: But that was four years ago. "I see no indication that people are desiring a sequel [to the film]," Gray says. "I say this one's going to be in the low $20 mil for the five days."
"Unbreakable" THE SKINNY: Bruce Willis plays a man whose life is spared in a devastating train accident. Samuel L. Jackson plays the nice black man who helps him through this difficult time. THE UPSIDE: "[It has] the momentous reteaming of 'The Sixth Sense' team. The film is unique in the marketplace right now," Gray says. "It's quite feasible for the film to make somewhere around $30 mil over the five-day range." THE DOWNSIDE: What's up with Jackson's hair?
Don't forget holdovers such as "Rugrats in Paris: The Movie," "Charlie's Angels," "Men of Honor," "Meet the Parents," "The 6th Day" and "Bounce." And for those feeling nostalgic, the Russell Crowe blockbuster "The Gladiator" gets a re-release at Imax theaters today.
There's no doubt about it ... Christmas has definitely arrived early in theaters.
Perhaps rewarding him for being a very good boy all year, audiences came out in droves over the weekend to see Jim Carrey's personification of the classic Dr. Seuss miser the Grinch. And the results?
"Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas" took in an estimated $55.1 million at the box office this weekend, making it the second highest-grossing film this year its first week out after Tom Cruise's summer actioner "M:1-2," per estimates released today.
"The Grinch's" hefty take more than doubles Carrey's last box office debut, "Me, Myself & Irene's" $24 million back in June.
Undoubtedly a weekend for the kiddies, the animated "Rugrats in Paris: The Movie" came in at No. 2 with a strong $23 million. The first installment of the franchise, "Rugrats: The Movie," grossed more than $100 million domestically in 1998.
After having reigned the box office for two consecutive weeks, "Charlie's Angels" dropped to the third spot with an estimated $13.7 million. The film has so far grossed $93.6 mil and is poised to break the $100 million mark this coming week.
Coming in at fourth is Arnold Schwarzenegger's return-to-form actioner "The 6th Day" with $13.2 million. And rounding out the Top Five is the Ben Affleck-Gwyneth Paltrow romance "Bounce" with an estimated $11.5 million.
Meanwhile, notable drops include Adam Sandler's "Little Nicky", which went from last weekend's second place to this week's No. 7 spot with an estimated $7.7 million, and the Mars flick "Red Planet," which debuted at No. 5 last week but barely locked in the No. 10 spot this weekend with $2.7 million.
Here are the weekend's Top 10 films, per estimates released by Exhibitor Relations (final figures will be released Monday):
1. "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas," $55.1 million (new) 2. "Rugrats in Paris: The Movie," $23 million (new) 3 "Charlie's Angels," $13.7 million ($93.6 million total) 4. "The 6th Day," $13.2 million (new) 5. "Bounce," $11.5 million (new) 6. "Men of Honor," $8.01 million ($25 million total) 7. "Little Nicky," $7.7 million ($26.5 million total) 8. "Meet the Parents," $6.4 million ($138.5 million total) 9. "The Legend of Bagger Vance," $2.92 million ($25.3 million total) 10. "Red Planet," $2.74 million ($13.4 million total)
(POSTED: 11/19/00 at 2 p.m. ET)
After looting the box office this summer with "Gladiator," helmer Ridley Scott is about to do the same thing on the high seas.
Daily Variety is reporting that the lauded director will direct Disney's "Captain Kidd," an adventure tale based on the life of the notorious 17th century pirate.
The project will be produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and will be written by "Double Jeopardy" scribes Doug Cook and David Weisberg.
Scott has just finished wrapping "Hannibal," the sequel to "The Silence of the Lambs," and will immediately segue into the big-budget flick "Black Hawk Down."
A SOUND 'MIND:' Ed Harris knows what's hot. Variety says that the actor has aligned himself with red hot director Ron Howard and red hot actor Russell Crowe in the project "A Beautiful Mind."
In the true story, "Gladiator" Crowe will play John Nash, a paranoid-schizophrenic and Nobel Prize winner. Harris will co-star as an intelligence officer in the film.
Howard, of course, just came off helming a little holiday film called "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas" with Jim Carrey.
ANOTHER GENERATION: "Star Trek" fans can rejoice. Variety says that "Gladiator" scribe John Logan has been tapped to write the next "Star Trek" flick in the sci-fi franchise. The project will be No. 10 for the big-screen series.
No director has been named yet, but veteran Trekkies Patrick Stewart and Brent Spiner are set to return.
He's a movie star, Broadway actor and multiple Tony Award winner. Now you can add one more title to Matthew Broderick's resume -- television's "The Music Man." Daily Variety reports today that the "Inspector Gadget" guy will star in the TV version of the Tony-winning Broadway musical "The Music Man."
In the telepic, Broderick is slated to play Professor Harold Hill, a con man trying to unload band instruments in a small Iowa town but instead falls in love with the town librarian. According to Variety, Broderick's wife, "Sex and the City" star Sarah Jessica Parker, is being courted for the role of Marian the librarian.
Broderick won two Tony Awards for his roles in the revival of "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" and the Neil Simon play "Brighton Beach Memoirs."
The three-hour "The Music Man" will air on ABC's "Wonderful World of Disney" some time next year.
ANNE AND 'ALLY': Anne Heche is switching sides again, but this time she's going from the silver screen to the boob tube. The Hollywood Reporter says that the actress has signed on to guest star in Fox's legal eagle dramedy "Ally McBeal." Heche, an Emmy winner during her days on the soap "Another World," will reportedly play a picky client in her three-episode deal. Her guest appearance will air during November sweeps.
'KISS ME,' DANNY: The Associated Press says that Danny Nucci ("Titanic," "Crimson Tide") has landed a starring role on a CBS comedy series. The show, called "Kiss Me, Guido," is about a guy (Nucci) who unknowingly ends up rooming with a gay man (Jason Bateman). The CBS series will debut in midseason, according to the report.
PEE-WEE'S BACK: Rejoice, Pee-Wee's back on TV! OK, not exactly, but it's close enough. Paul Reubens, the man who once brought to daytime kid TV the strange world of Pee-Wee Herman, will return to the tube as the host of ABC's long-delayed gameshow "You Don't Know Jack." In case you haven't heard, the show is based on a mega-popular CD-ROM game of the same name.
PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: Set your VCR! AP tells us that PBS stations will turn over two and a half minutes of airtime for eight nights so that presidential candidates George W. Bush and Al Gore can deliver their campaign messages. The arrangement starts Wednesday after Jim Lehrer's "NewsHour".
The $20 million club might soon welcome another member. Daily Variety says today that funnyman Martin Lawrence, whose last laugh fest was the summer hit "Big Momma's House," is in talks to star in two pictures. If signed, the comedian will make an upward of $20 million for each project.
The hike will put Lawrence in the same salary ranking as Jim Carrey, Adam Sandler, Eddie Murphy and Chris Tucker. Lawrence previously got $16.5 million for starring in the Fox film "The Black Knight."
The two films -- "National Security" and "Blue Streak 2," a sequel to the 1999 hit -- are both action comedies being developed at Columbia Pictures. "National Security" is about a white cop wrongly accused of beating a black man (Lawrence). And in "Blue Streak 2," the actor would reprise his role as a thief turned cop when the Luke Wilson character enlists him once again to solve a crime.
No word on which of the two projects will go into production first. But shootings for the two films will be back to back, with the first one starting in spring and the second in July if the Hollywood actors and writers strike doesn't occur.
What does Russell Crowe have in common with Tom Cruise, Jim Carrey and Harrison Ford?
Answer: The "Gladiator" roughtrade might soon be making the same type of cash as those A-list leading men.
British Web site Popcorn reports that Crowe has been offered a cool $20 mil for the lead in a new World War II project titled "Giant." If Crowe accepts the role, the salary offer will be his career high.
Directed by John Frankenheimer ("Reindeer Games") and penned by Dan Gordon ("The Hurricane"), the film's slated for a January start date.
ROBIN PLAYS 'DEATH': Daily Variety reports that Robin Williams is close to taking the lead in "Death to Smoochie." He'll be playing a costumed children TV star (a la Barney) who seeks vengeance after being replaced by another character. The comedy will costar Danny DeVito, who'll also serve as director.
LUKE GOES 'BLONDE': Luke Wilson, who has the coveted duty of playing Cameron Diaz's lover in the upcoming "Charlie's Angels," will costar with Reese Witherspoon in "Legal Blonde," according to Variety.
BATES TAKES BAIT: The Hollywood Reporter says that Kathy Bates might join Kevin Costner in the thriller "Dragonfly." The film is about a bereft widower (Costner) who believes that his dead wife is trying to communicate with him. If talks go well, Bates will play his neighbor.
HOLLYWOOD, Aug. 22, 2000 - Emmys, anyone?
Taking the Emmys to the street, the folks at the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences unveiled the first-ever public viewing of the famous gold statuettes in Universal Studios Hollywood today.
An armored motorcade (well, actually, more like an armored truck with two motorcycles trailing it) delivered the 27 Emmys to Universal's Globe Theatre this morning. The statuettes will remain there, on public display, until Sept. 5, just prior to the Emmy broadcast.
Academy of Television Arts and Sciences President Jim Chabin and Emmy award-winning actress Camryn Manheim from "The Practice" were at hand for the unveiling ceremony.
The Emmy Awards will be handed out Sept. 10.