Apparently movie audiences have grown tired of fantastical creatures and epic battles and are finally in the mood for a little screwball romantic comedy.
The wacky new release Just Married took over first place with a small but significant $18 million,* ending The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers‘ three-week run as top dog. Coming in second, The Two Towers took in $14.9 million.
Making it to the charts this weekend were two Oscar-touted films which had their first wide releases–the biopic Antwone Fisher which came in at No. 9 with $3.8 million and the dark comedy Adaptation which took the 10th spot with $2.9 million.
Overall, however, the box office has slowed down considerably since the December onslaught of films, with the grosses for key films (top 12 grossers) dropping 18 percent from last weekend to only $88.5 million.
THE TOP TEN
20th Century Fox’s newest release the PG-13 rated Just Married captured the top spot with an ESTIMATED $18 million at 2,764 theaters ($6,512 per theater).
Generally panned by the critics, the light-hearted film about two mismatched newlyweds who go on an horrific honeymoon in Italy certainly appealed to a younger generation, with 65 percent of its audiences under 21, according to the Associated Press.
Just Married broke even this weekend. recouping the cost of its production. “I can’t say too often I’ve actually grossed the budget on opening weekend,” Bruce Snyder, head of distribution for 20th Century Fox told AP.
Slipping into second place, New Line Cinema’s PG-13 The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers stepped off its throne with an ESTIMATED $14.9 million (-40%) at 3,477 theaters (-145 theaters; $4,300 per theater). Don’t feel too sorry for Frodo and his crew, though. The film has still managed to take in approximately $283.6 million thus far. Nice pocket change.
Coming in just barely under The Two Towers, DreamWorks’ PG-13 Catch Me If You Can was pushed down to the third spot with an ESTIMATED $14.8 million (-30%) at 3,225 theaters (+55 theaters; $4,589 per theater). The con-man story has made approximately $119.5 million, which makes Catch Me the 23rd film released last year to gross over $100 million. That makes 2002 a record year for films grossing over the $100 million mark.
With box office numbers dropping off dramatically, Warner Bros. PG-13 Two Weeks Notice took fourth place, eking out an ESTIMATED $6.7 million (-40%) at 2,755 theaters ($2,432 per theater). The romantic comedy about a lawyer, her demanding boss and their growing attraction to one another has earned approximately $78.8 million so far.
New Line’s R-rated About Schmidt determinedly holds on to the No. 5 spot with an ESTIMATED $6.2 million (-27%) at 865 theaters (+49 theaters; $7,225 per theater). Continuing its expansion, the quirky comedy about a retiree making a life-altering cross-country journey has taken in approximately $21.4 million in total.
Miramax’s PG-13 Chicago sang and danced its way up three spots to sixth place, taking in an ESTIMATED $5.6 million (+13%) at 362 theaters (+58 theaters; $15,470 per theater). The film’s cume is approximately $17 million, but it’s still awaiting its first wide release Jan. 24.
While its competition remains high on the list, Sony Pictures’ PG-13 romantic comedy Maid in Manhattan dropped from fourth to seventh place with an ESTIMATED $5 million (-42%) at 2,926 theaters (-124 theaters; $1,709 per theater). After five weeks in theaters, the film has taken in approximately $83.7 million.
Tying with Maid in Manhattan was Miramax’s R-rated Gangs of New York, also with an ESTIMATED $5 million (-32%), at 2,340 theaters (+35 theaters; $2,137 per theater). Audiences don’t seem to be flocking to a history lesson about the mean streets of 1860s New York, however. So far, Gangs has only reached around $55 million, though it may pick up if it wins any Golden Globes.
Making its first wide release, Fox Searchlight’s PG-13 Antwone Fisher garnered a solid ninth place with an ESTIMATED $3.8 million (+161%) at 1,006 theaters (+814 theaters; $3,777 per theater). The biopic is about a Navy man whose childhood traumas cause him to rebel, but eventually, with the help of his friendly psychiatrist, he searches out his family to mend the wounds. Released in limited theaters Dec. 19, the film’s has mad approximately $10.4 million so far.
Along with Antwone Fisher, Sony Pictures finally gave a wide release to its R-rated dark comedy Adaptation, which entered the Top 10 on the bottom rung 10 with an ESTIMATED $2.9 million (+221%) at 560 theaters (+451 theaters; $5,179 per theater). Released originally on Dec. 6, this quirky look at Hollywood, following a screenwriter as he tries to adapt a novel about flowers into a movie, has made approximately $9.5 million so far.
OTHER WIDE RELEASES
Paramount Pictures’ R-rated Narc, a gritty look at undercover narcotics detectives in search of a cop-killer, churned up an ESTIMATED $2.7 million in 822 theaters (+816 theaters; $3,327 per theater). Since opening Dec. 20, its total box office take is approximately $3 million.
This weekend’s top 12 films grossed $88.5 million, down less than 1 percent from the same weekend last year, which saw a total haul of $89.4 million.
The top three films this time last year were New Line’s The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring with $16.2 million, followed by Universal’s A Beautiful Mind with $15.2 million and Paramount’s Orange County with $15 million.
*Box office estimates provided by Exhibitor Relations, Inc.