Box Office Analysis: Jan. 5

The onslaught of 2002 holiday films has finally tapered off, making the first movie weekend of 2003 a fairly subdued event. The top 12 films took in only $110.9 million*, down 28 percent from last weekend’s top 12 box office haul of $155.8 million.

Still, one thing remained clear–you just can’t keep a good Hobbit down.

For the third week in a row, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers continued its reign at the top of the box office heap, bringing in another $25.6 million, followed closely once again by the slippery Catch Me If You Can, which took in $21.3 million in its second week.

The dueling romantic comedies Two Weeks Notice and Maid in Manhattan kept their appeal for another week, coming in third ($11.6 million) and fourth ($9 million), respectively, while the Jack Nicholson starrer About Schmidt, now in an expanded run, made it to fifth place with a healthy $8.7 million.


2003 started off with a bang for New Line Cinema. Venturing into Middle-earth for the third week, the studio’s PG-13 fantasy epic The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers held onto the royal crown with an ESTIMATED $25.6 million at 3,622 theaters ($7,082 per theater) but lost some steam, with a 48 percent decrease from last weekend’s tally.

The second installment of J.R.R. Tolkien’s trilogy still continues to surpass its predecessor The Fellowship of the Ring, with approximately $261.6 million in box office totals thus far. The Fellowship of the Ring managed a $205.5 million haul in its third week in theaters.

Directed by Peter Jackson, The Two Towers stars Elijah Wood, Viggo Mortensen, Sean Astin, Ian McKellen, Orlando Bloom and Liv Tyler.

In its second week, DreamWorks’ PG-13 Catch Me If You Can once again ran away with second place with an ESTIMATED $21.3 million (-29%) at 3,170 theaters (+14 theaters; $6,719 per theater). The film’s cume to date is approximately $97.6 million.

Directed by Steven Spielberg, the tale, which chronicles the adventures of real-life con artist Frank Abagnale Jr., stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hanks and Christopher Walken.

Continuing the carbon copy of last weekend’s box office winners, Warner Bros’ PG-13 Two Weeks Notice takes the third spot for the second week in a row with an ESTIMATED $11.6 million (-25%) at 2,755 theaters ($4,216 per theater). Now in its third week, the romantic comedy about a fed-up general counsel giving notice to her demanding but sexy boss has taken in approximately $69.2 million total.

Directed by Marc D. Lawrence, it stars Sandra Bullock and Hugh Grant.

Sony Pictures’ PG-13 Maid in Manhattan, the other romantic comedy, kept its fourth spot with an ESTIMATED $9 million at 3,056 theaters (+118 theaters; $2,945 per theater). Even though the film was down 28 percent from last weekend, it has managed a fairly impressive $76.7 million in total overall.

Directed by Wayne Wang, the film about a hotel maid whose dreams come true stars Jennifer Lopez and Ralph Fiennes.

The real success story this weekend is New Line’s R-rated About Schmidt. Opening in limited theaters Dec. 13, the film expanded its run this weekend and took fifth place with a whopping ESTIMATED $8.7 million at 816 theaters (+782 theaters; $10,723 per theater).

The curious slice-of-life tale about a 66-year-old retiree who learns a few lessons late in life has managed to create strong word-of-mouth buzz, especially with its recent Golden Globe nominations and its spot on several critics’ award lists. About Schmidt‘s cume is approximately $12.2 million.

Directed and co-written by Alexander Payne, it stars Jack Nicholson, Kathy Bates, Hope Davis and Dermot Mulroney.

Never managing to make it very far up the box office list, Miramax’s R-rated Gangs of New York dropped from fifth place to sixth with an ESTIMATED $7.4 million (-32%) at 2,305 theaters (+115 theaters; $3,210 per theater). Even with several Golden Globes nominations, the big-budget 1860s period piece about the history of New York’s mean streets has taken in a meager $47.1 million in its first three weeks.

Directed by Martin Scorsese, it stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Cameron Diaz and Daniel Day-Lewis.

*Box office estimates provided by Exhibitor Relations, Inc.

20th Century Fox’s PG-13 sleeper hit Drumline may have slipped a notch to seventh place this weekend, but the film still managed to drum up an ESTIMATED $5.6 million (-31%) at 1,653 theaters (-16 theaters; $3,388 per theater). Now in its fourth week of release, this classic underdog musical comedy has gained approximately $47.8 million thus far.

Directed by Charles Stone, III, it stars Nick Cannon, Orlando Jones and Zoe Saldana.

Paramount Pictures should feel pretty good about its PG-rated The Wild Thornberrys Movie. The animated film based on the popular Nickelodeon series was pushed down a slot to eighth place but still garnered a respectable ESTIMATED $5.5 million (-25%) at 2,881 theaters (-131 theaters; $1,909 per theater). In its three weeks on the box office charts, this delightful family fare with a message about wildlife conservation has eked out a healthy $31.5 million to date.

Written and directed by Jeff McGrath and Cathy Malkasian, it features the voices of Lacey Chabert, Tom Kane, Rupert Everett, Lynn Redgrave and Marisa Tomei.

Another newbie on the top 10 box office list is Miramax’s PG-13 Chicago, which opened 13th last week, but with an expanded run this weekend, heralded in at number nine with an ESTIMATED $5 million at 304 theaters (+227 theaters; $16,500 per theater). The 1920s musical extravaganza about sex and murder in the roaring Windy City, which also reaped several Golden Globe nominations, goes wide Jan. 24. Its cume is approximately $9.2 million.

Directed by Rob Marshall, it stars Catherine Zeta-Jones, Renee Zellweger and Richard Gere.

Last but not least, Warner Bros. PG-rated Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets magically kept a spot on the box office charts at No.10. With an ESTIMATED $4.5 million at 2,015 theaters (-490 theaters; $2,256 per theater), the second Hogwarts adventure’s cume to date is a spellbinding $251.9 million.

Directed by Chris Columbus, it stars Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson.


This weekend’s top 12 films grossed $110.9 million, up 6 percent from the same weekend last year, which saw a total haul of $104.6 million.

The top three films this time last year were New Line’s The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring at $23 million, followed by Universal’s A Beautiful Mind at $16.5 million and Warner Bros. Ocean’s Eleven at $11 million.

*Box office estimates provided by Exhibitor Relations, Inc.