January 25, 2004 1:59pm EST
It was a tough sell, but New Line Cinema's supernatural drama The Butterfly Effect, starring Ashton Kutcher in his first non-comedic role, soared to the top of the box office this weekend with a colorful $17.1 million*.
The Butterfly Effect's ripples were enough to send last week's box office topper, Along Came Polly, to second place with $16.6 million, followed by this week's only other new wide release, Win a Date With Tad Hamilton!, which won the No. 3 position with a rather trivial $7.5 million.
After weeks of close calls, Tim Burton's Big Fish finally overcame The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, defeating Peter Jackson's fantasy epic with a lofty $7.3 million. Return of the King, meanwhile, rounded out the Top Five with a still noble $6.8 million.
This week's box office also saw the reemergence of Mystic River. Warner Bros. decided to expand the film's release to approximately 1,194 sites Friday because of the critical praise it's received during the awards season. Since its release Oct. 10, Mystic has collected numerous nominations and awards for its director Clint Eastwood and the ensemble cast. This weekend, the film came in at No. 10 with $3.1 million, bringing its cumulative total to $58.5 million.
THE TOP TEN
New Line Cinema's R rated supernatural drama The Butterfly Effect kicked off in the No. 1 position with an ESTIMATED $17.1 million in 2,605 theaters, with a $6,564 per theater average.
In The Butterfly Effect, a college student discovers a way to travel into the past to access sublimated childhood memories. He soon realizes that in occupying his childhood body, he can stop the unsettling events before they occur.
Directed by Eric Bress and J. Mackye Gruber, it stars Ashton Kutcher, Amy Smart, Elden Henson and Ethan Suplee.
Universal Pictures' PG-13 rated romantic comedy Along Came Polly, last week's box office champ, dropped to second place in its second week with an ESTIMATED $16.6 million (-40%) in 2,995 theaters (+11 theaters; $5,543 per theater). Its cume is approximately $53.5 million.
Directed by John Hamburg, it stars Ben Stiller, Jennifer Aniston, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Debra Messing.
DreamWorks' PG-13 rated romantic comedy Win a Date With Tad Hamilton! debuted in the No. 3 spot with an ESTIMATED $7.5 million in 2,711 theaters with a $2,767 per theater average.
In the film, a grocery clerk in rural West Virginia wins a date with big-screen idol Tad Hamilton, much to the chagrin of her best friend and co-worker Pete, who is secretly in love with her.
Directed by Robert Luketic, it stars Kate Bosworth, Josh Duhamel and Topher Grace.
Sony's PG-13 rated drama Big Fish dropped a notch to third place in its seventh week with an ESTIMATED $7.3 million (-29%) in 2,438 theaters (-76 theaters; $2,994 per theater). Its cume is approximately $49.1 million.
Directed by Tim Burton, it stars Ewan McGregor, Albert Finney, Billy Crudup, Jessica Lange, Helena Bonham Carter and Alison Lohman.
New Line Cinema's PG-13 rated fantasy epic The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King fell three rungs to fifth place in its sixth week with an ESTIMATED $6.8 million (-33%) at 2,558 theaters (-445 theaters; $2,678 per theater). Its cume is approximately $337.8 million.
Directed by Peter Jackson, it stars Elijah Wood, Viggo Mortensen, Orlando Bloom, Ian McKellen, Sean Astin, Liv Tyler, Miranda Otto, Billy Boyd and Dominic Monaghan.
*Box office estimates provided by Exhibitor Relations, Inc.
Twentieth Century Fox's PG rated family comedy Cheaper by the Dozen dropped two notches to sixth place in its fourth week with an ESTIMATED $6.6 million (-27%) in 2,810 theaters (-215 theaters; $2,349 per theater). Its cume is approximately $122.7 million.
Directed by Shawn Levy, it stars Steve Martin, Bonnie Hunt, Hilary Duff and Tom Welling.
Miramax Films' R rated Civil War drama Cold Mountain fell one place to seventh place in its fifth week with an ESTIMATED $5.3 million (-22%) at 2,802 theaters (unchanged; $1,892 per theater average). Its cume is approximately $72.9 million.
Directed by Anthony Minghella, it stars Jude Law, Nicole Kidman and Renee Zellweger.
Warner Bros. PG-13 rated actioner Torque dropped three pegs to eighth place in its second week with an ESTIMATED $4.4 million in 2,463 theaters (unchanged; $1,797 per theater). Its cume is approximately $17.2 million.
Directed by Joseph Kahn, it stars Ice Cube, Martin Henderson, Monet Mazur, Matt Schulze and Jaime Pressly.
Sony Pictures' PG-13 rated romantic comedy Something's Gotta Give dropped two spots to ninth in its seventh week with an ESTIMATED $4.1 million (-29%) at 2,143 theaters (-359 theaters; $1,913 per theater). Its cume is approximately $107.1 million.
Directed by Nancy Meyers, it stars Jack Nicholson, Diane Keaton, Keanu Reeves, Amanda Peet and Frances McDormand.
Warner Bros.' dramatic R rated Mystic River expanded again after 16 weeks of release to round out the Top Ten with $3.1 million (+851%) at 1,327 theaters (+1,194 theaters; $2,355 per theater). Its cume is approximately $58.5 million.
Directed by Clint Eastwood, it stars Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, Kevin Bacon, Laurence Fishburne, Laura Linney and Marcia Gay Harden.
This week, the Top 12 films grossed an estimated $83.4 million, down 12.21 percent from last week's $95.05 million, but up 4.39 percent from last year's $79.9 million.
Last year, Sony Pictures' PG-13 rated horror pic Darkness Falls debuted at the No. 1 spot with $12 million at 2,837 theaters with a $4,239 per theater average; Warner Bros. PG rated comedy Kangaroo Jack came in second in its second week with $11.5 million in 2,848 theaters (+30 theaters; $4,055 per theater average); and Miramax's PG-13 rated Chicago came in at No. 3 with $8.2 million in 2,848 theaters+59 theaters; $13,375 per theater).
As Love Actually begins we are told that perhaps the world isn't such a dire and hateful place that "love actually is all around." Around London anyway. The film explores no less than seven different romantic scenarios within the bustling British capital--all of which interconnect and eventually resolve on Christmas Eve. There's the newly elected dashing Prime Minister (Hugh Grant) who is smitten with his secretary the earthy Natalie (Martine McCutcheon); Karen (Emma Thompson) whose husband Harry (Alan Rickman) has strayed with his seductive secretary Mia (Heike Makatsch); Sarah (Laura Linney) the American wallflower who has a crush on her colleague Carl (Rodrigo Santoro); Jamie (Colin Firth) who falls for his pretty Portuguese housekeeper Aurelia (Lucia Moniz)…there are lots more but you get the gist. As love goes things may not get tied up neatly in brightly colored packages for everyone but there's still enough good cheer to spread around.
Showcasing some of Britain's finest actors Love Actually doesn't have a bad banana in the bunch. Floppy-haired Hugh Grant turns in an endearing performance and proves there isn't a romantic comedy he can't handle. He has an uncanny knack for connecting with any actress he happens to be romancing; in this case it's the adorable McCutcheon best known for the hit British TV drama EastEnders. Rickman and Thompson are quite good as the couple whose long-term marriage is beginning to crack; Thompson especially does a nice job trying to hide her pain while being a happy mom. Linney too shines as Sarah who glows with excitement when she finally gets what she so ardently wished for. Veteran stage and film actor Bill Nighy (Underworld) however steals the show as a carefree aging rock star desperate for a comeback. His Billy Mack smacks of Mick Jagger Keith Richards and Rod Stewart all rolled into one.
"I'm worried that we don't have the word 'massacre' in the title " writer/director Richard Curtis fretted to Entertainment Weekly referring to how horror-loving American audiences might not take to his new romantic comedy that is already a huge hit in Britain. True perhaps a romantic comedy starring a multitude of A-list British actors might not bring in the required masses. But who cares about the money (did I just say that)? Curtis who has written some of the best romantic comedies of the last decade including Four Weddings and a Funeral Notting Hill and Bridget Jones' Diary steps behind the camera for the first time here and is able to give each story a unique point of view from the lovesick to the wacky. There actually may be too many stories in Love Actually but it's a small gaffe. Love Actually is a refreshing good old fashioned warm and gushy movie that takes your mind off the bad things for the holiday season and Curtis should feel confident about his directing debut.
Two movies opened nationwide and battled for box office booty this weekend, but in the end, as the pirates sharpened their swords, the gentlemen walked the plank.
The swashbuckling tale Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl sailed away with a $46.4 million* booty over the weekend. Since its release July 9, Pirates has tallied $70.4 million.
But not even Allan Quartemain and his legion of historic superheroes could help Fox's The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen muster up a defense against Disney's gang of mutinous pirates. The literary action thriller traipsed away with a rather ordinary $23.2 million.
Pirates, which is based on a popular Disneyland attraction, took in an estimated $23.8 million in its first two days in theaters and didn't lose momentum through the weekend.
"It amazes us," Disney Film distribution chief Chuck Viane told Reuters Friday. "Johnny (Depp) is so fabulous. This movie plays great, and that is why you jump out on a Wednesday and go see it."
Last week's box office topper, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, dropped to third place with $19.6 million, followed by Legally Blonde 2: Red, White and Blonde, which settled in fourth position with $12 million. The summer season's mainstay movie, the animated fish tale Finding Nemo, rounded out the Top Five with $8.2 million.
Lead by Pirates, this weekend was the first up weekend after four down weekends in a row. The Top 12 films this weekend grossed an estimated $135.9 million, up 3.4 percent from the same weekend last year.
THE TOP TEN
Buena Vista Pictures' PG-13 rated fantasy actioner Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl bowed in first place at the box office this weekend with an ESTIMATED $46.4 million at 3,269 theaters. Its $14,194 per theater average was the highest of any film playing this weekend. Its five-day cume is $70.4 million.
The film, based on a Disney theme park attraction, centers on the roguish yet charming pirate who comes to the rescue of a young woman and teams up with the blacksmith who loves her to exact revenge on his mutinous shipmates.
Directed by Gore Verbinski and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, it stars Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley.
Twentieth Century Fox's PG-13 rated period thriller The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen debuted in second place with an ESTIMATED $23.2 million at 3,002 theaters with a $7,745 per theater average.
Set at the start of the Industrial Age, a league of extraordinary gentlemen, a collection of literary figures with superpowers, must come together to stop an evil force from starting a war between the world's nations.
Directed by Stephen Norrington, it stars Sean Connery, Naseeruddin Shah, Peta Wilson, Tony Curran, Stuart Townsend, Shane West and Jason Flemyng.
Warner Bros.' R rated Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines dropped two notches to third place in its second week with an ESTIMATED $19.6 million (-55%) at 3,504 theaters (unchanged; $5,598 per theater). Its cume is approximately $110.4 million.
Directed by Jonathan Mostow, it stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, Nick Stahl, Claire Danes and Kristanna Loken.
MGM's PG-13 rated Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde fell two rungs to fourth spot in its second week with an ESTIMATED $12 million (-46%) at 3,375 theaters (+25 theaters; $3,556 per theater). Its cume is approximately $62.8 million.
Directed by Charles Herman-Wurmfeld, it stars Reese Witherspoon, Sally Field, Regina King, Bob Newhart and Jennifer Coolidge.
Buena Vista/Disney and Pixar Animation Studios' G rated computer-animated feature Finding Nemo fell only one spot in its seventh week to round out the Top Five with an ESTIMATED $8.2 million (-29%) at 2,643 theaters (-259 theaters; $3,103 per theater). Its cume is approximately $290.8 million and is on the way to surpassing the $300 million mark.
Directed and co-written by Pixar veteran Andrew Stanton, it features the voices of Albert Brooks, Ellen DeGeneres, Alexander Gould, Willem Dafoe and Brad Garrett.
Sony Picture's PG-13 rated Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle dropped three places to sixth in its third week with an ESTIMATED $7.3 million (-48%) at 3,202 theaters (-283 theaters; $2,280 per theater). Its cume is approximately $81.6 million.
Directed by McG, it stars Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz, Lucy Liu and Bernie Mac.
*Box office estimates provided by Exhibitor Relations, Inc.
DreamWorks' PG rated animated feature Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas jumped a notch to sixth place in its second week with an ESTIMATED $4.6 million at 3,086 theaters (unchanged; $1,491 per theater). Its cume is approximately $19.1 million.
Directed by Patrick Gilmore and Tim Johnson, it features the voices of Brad Pitt, Michelle Pfeiffer, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Joseph Fiennes.
Fox Searchlight's R rated sci-fi thriller 28 Days Later dropped one place to eighth in its third week with an ESTIMATED $4.2 million (-29%) at 1,396 theaters (+78 theaters; $3,044 per theater). Its cume is approximately $28.4 million.
Directed by Danny Boyle, it stars Cillian Murphy, Naomi Harris, Brendan Gleeson and Megan Burns.
Universal Pictures' PG-13 rated The Hulk plummeted four places to No. 9 in its fourth week with an ESTIMATED $3.7 million (-55%) at 2,575 theaters (-716 theaters, $1,437 per theater). Its cume is approximately $124.7million.
Directed by Ang Lee, it stars Eric Bana, Jennifer Connelly, Sam Elliott and Nick Nolte.
Paramount Pictures' PG-13 rated actioner The Italian Job moved two places to tenth in its seventh week with an ESTIMATED $2.7 million (-34%) at 1,364 theaters (-220 theaters; $1,364 per theater). Its cume is approximately $88.8 million.
Directed by F. Gary Gray, it stars Mark Wahlberg, Charlize Theron, Jason Statham, Seth Green, Mos Def and Edward Norton.
Paramount Classics' PG-13 rated drama Northfork opened in five theaters with an ESTIMATED $61,364 with a strong $12,273 per theater average.
Set in 1955, the film centers on the town of Northfork, which is about to be flooded to make way for a new hydroelectric project. A team of six trenchcoated men has been assigned to remove the last few stragglers before its Heartland houses will be swept away.
Directed by Michael Polish, it stars James Woods, Nick Nolte, Daryl Hannah and Anthony Edwards.
Sony Picture Classics' PG-13 rated romantic drama Cuckoo opened in six theaters with an ESTIMATED $17,209 and a $2,868 per theater average.
The film revolves around a Russian idealist, a Finish college student and a Swedish peasant woman who find themselves confined to a tiny backwoods hut near the end of WWII. Unable to speak each other's language, the two men begin to fall in love with the woman and are forced to let their body language speak for them.
Directed by Alexander Rogozhkin, it stars Anni-Kristina Juuso, Wille Happsalo and Viktor Bychkov.
The Top 12 films this weekend grossed an ESTIMATED $135.9 million, up 7.28 percent from last week's take of $126 million. The Top 12 films were also up from the same weekend last year they grossed $131.5 million.
Last year, Sony's PG-13 rated Men in Black II was No. 1 at the box office in its second week with $24.4 million at 3,611 theaters (+54 theaters; $6,760 per theater); Dreamwork's R rated Road to Perdition bowed to No. 2 with $22 million at 1,797 theaters ($12,287 per theater), while Buena Vista's PG-13 rated fantasy actioner Reign of Fire debuted in third place with $15.6 million at 2,629 theaters ($5,946 per theater).
Loosely based on the (rather lame) 1960 Rat Pack film dashing understated-but-cool thief Danny Ocean (George Clooney) orchestrates the most sophisticated elaborate casino heist in history less than 24 hours after being released from jail. In one night Danny's handpicked 11-man crew of specialists--including an ace card sharp (Brad Pitt) a young-but-masterful pickpocket (Matt Damon) and a demolition genius (Don Cheadle)--will attempt to steal over $150 million from three Las Vegas casinos owned by Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia) the elegant ruthless entrepreneur who just happens to be dating Danny's ex-wife Tess (Julia Roberts). To score the cash Danny will have to risk his life and risk his chance of ever reconciling with Tess. But if all goes according to his intricate nearly impossible plan Danny won't have to choose between his stake in the heist and his high-stakes reunion with Tess. Or will he?
The star wattage in this movie could solve all of California's electricity problems in one fell swoop. George Clooney easily passes himself off as suave mastermind Danny Ocean playing the role with understated class and elegance. Brad Pitt takes a similar arc as Rusty though he's slightly more dispassionate and professional than Clooney's visionary Ocean. Matt Damon is convincing as the inexperienced-but-talented pickpocket who's essential to getting in the vault. And Julia is simply Julia--glamorous and charming a smart cookie who is being wooed by the evil ruthless (and anal-retentive) casino mogul so elegantly portrayed by Andy Garcia. Affecting a Cockney accent and attitude Don Cheadle's portrayal of the demolition expert is a tour de force. Carl Reiner is absolutely hilarious as Saul Bloom an aging old-timer who comes out of retirement to infiltrate the casino as a debonair arms dealer. Elliott Gould Bernie Mac Scott Caan and Casey Affleck round out the cast nicely with inspired performances especially Gould's and Mac's.
Soderbergh cemented his reputation last year as a director of serious weight when both Traffic and Erin Brockovich were nominated for the Best Film Academy Award and garnered him two Best Director nominations---an unprecedented feat. Ocean's Eleven marks Soderbergh's departure from the serious to the seriously fun. This is one of the most stylish most elegantly filmed movies I have ever seen. Not only are all the actors beautiful but so are the locations clothes and shot selections. The speed and pacing of the flick belie the movie's length; Soderbergh clearly had fun making this movie. He shot this film very intimately often allowing the camera to stay close on the actors a tad longer than expected which lets their personas shine through--thus their personalities draw you into the movie as much as the caper itself. It's not often you see a movie where the direction has as much wit and cleverness as the plot itself. Ocean's Eleven makes no pretense to be something other than a jaunty cheeky exhilarating heist movie. So while the plot's not too deep all is forgiven considering the level of acting and direction.