Box Office News

Box Office Analysis: Dec. 29

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Dec 30, 2002 | 5:52am EST

Fantasy prevailed over reality this weekend as Steven Spielberg's fact-based Catch Me If You Can failed to con its way past the chimerical The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. Together, however, they helped make the last weekend of 2002 the biggest Christmas weekend in box office history.

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, the second installment of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings trilogy, wore the box office crown again with a regal $48.9 million*, while Catch Me If You Can managed to snare second place, bagging a crafty $30 million.

Marred by unfavorable reviews, Pinocchio--the only other film to open nationwide Friday--lumbered its way into theaters with a painfully truthful $1.1 million, averaging $954 in 1,195 theaters.

Gangs of New York expanded onto 686 more screens and made a bit of headway, scrounging another $11.2 million.

The top 12 films this weekend grossed $157 million--up 6.8 percent from last year when they totaled $147 million.

THE TOP TEN

New Line Cinema's PG-13 fantasy epic The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers hardly lost any sovereignty in its second week at the box office with a strong ESTIMATED $48.9 million (-21% at 3,622 theaters; $12,508 per theater).

After 12 days of release and a cume of approximately $200.1 million, The Two Towers is outpacing its predecessor The Fellowship of the Ring, which charmed audiences to the tune of $174 million in its first two weeks.

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

DreamWorks' PG-13 rated crime biopic Catch Me If You Can failed to catch the No. 1 spot, but still bilked an impressive ESTIMATED $30 million from moviegoers at 3,156 theaters ($9,506 per theater).

Catch Me If You Can is based on the true story of Frank W. Abagnale, Jr., a successful con artist who assumed several different identities, all the while skirting an FBI agent hot on his trail.

Directed by Steven Spielberg, it stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hanks, Christopher Walken, Martin Sheen and Nathalie Baye.

Warner Bros.' PG-13 rated romantic comedy Two Weeks Notice dropped a notch to third place with an ESTIMATED $16.1 million at 2,755 theaters ($5,849 per theater) in its second week. Its cume is approximately $43.6 million.

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

Another romantic comedy, Sony Picture's PG-13 rated Maid in Manhattan, followed in fourth place in its third week with an ardent ESTIMATED $13 million (+21%) at 2,938 theaters (+72 theaters; $4,425 per theater). Its cume is approximately $57.4 million.

Directed by Wayne Wang, it stars Jennifer Lopez and Ralph Fiennes.

*Box office estimates provided by Exhibitor Relations, Inc.

Miramax Films' R rated period drama Gangs of New York fought its way down to fifth place in its second week with an ESTIMATED $11.2 million (+18%) at 2,190 theaters (+686 theaters; $5,114 per theater). Its cume is approximately $30.1 million.

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

Twentieth Century Fox's sleeper hit, the PG-13 rated musical comedy Drumline, skipped one beat down to sixth place in its third week with an ESTIMATED $8.3 million (+17%) at 1,668 theaters -169 theaters; $5,006 per theater). Its cume is approximately $36.8 million, heading for $50 million.

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

Paramount Pictures' PG rated animated family pic The Wild Thornberrys Movie dropped a peg to seventh place with an ESTIMATED $7.4 million at 3,012 theaters ($2,457 per theater). Its cume is approximately $18.4 million.

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.

Warner Bros.' PG rated fantasy sequel Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets gained a spot and finished eighth in its seventh week with an ESTIMATED $6.5 million (+49%) at 2,505 theaters (-245 theaters; $2,599 per theater). Its cume is approximately $240.3 million.

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

Buena Vista's PG-13 rated comedy The Hot Chick slipped to ninth place in its third week with an ESTIMATED $4.8 million (+5%) at 2,246 theaters (+29 theaters; $2,137 per theater). Its cume is approximately $22.2 million.

Directed by Tom Brady, it stars Rob Schneider and Rachel McAdams.

Rounding out the Top 10 was MGM's PG-13 rated spy actioner Die Another Day, which remained in tenth place with an ESTIMATED $4.5 million (+10%) at 1,875 theaters (-200 theaters; $2,373 per theater). Its cume is approximately $146.7 million.

Directed by Lee Tamahori, it stars Pierce Brosnan and Halle Berry.

OTHER OPENINGS

Miramax's G rated fantasy adaptation Pinocchio opened wide with a disappointing ESTIMATED $1.1 million at 1,195 theaters--with a wooden $954 per theater.

The film is a remake of the classic children's tale, which centers on a wooden puppet who wants to become a real boy.

Dirceted by Roberto Benigni, it stars Benigni, Nicoletta Braschi and Carlo Giuffre.

*Box office estimates provided by Exhibitor Relations, Inc.

This weekend also saw the arrival of four new limited releases, including Chicago, The Hours, The Pianist and Nicholas Nickleby.

Miramax's PG-13 musical Chicago opened with an ESTIMATED $2.1 million at 77 theaters, with a whopping $27,299 per theater average. The film expands Jan. 3.

Chicago is based on the 1975 Kander & Ebb/Bob Fosse Broadway musical of the same name, which in turn had three predecessors: the 1942 film Roxie Hart, starring Ginger Rogers, a 1927 silent film titled Chicago and, finally, the original play by Maurine Dallas Watkins.

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

Paramount's PG-13-rated literary drama The Hours opened to a solid $0.3 million at 11 theaters, with a per theater average of $40,000--the highest of any film this week. The film goes wide on Jan. 17.

The Hours revolves around three very different women--one being Virginia Woolf--in various time periods, all wrestling with issues of freedom, responsibility and identity.

Directed by Stephen Daldry, the film stars Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, Julianne Moore, Ed Harris and Claire Danes.

Focus Features' R rated drama The Pianist opened with an ESTIMATED $0.1 million at 6 theaters, with a $17,342 per theater average.

The film is based on the autobiography of the acclaimed Polish composer, Wladyslaw Szpilman, detailing his survival during World War II and his narrow escape from a roundup that sent his family to a death camp.

Directed by Roman Polanski, the film stars Adrien Brody.

Finally, MGM released the PG rated drama Nicholas Nickleby, which opeend to an ESTIMATED $.04 million at 5 theaters, with an estimated $8,600 per theater average.

The film is an adaptation of the classic novel by Charles Dickens.

Directed by Doug McGrath, it stars Charlie Hunnam, Jamie Bell, Nathan Lane, Christopher Plummer, Jim Broadbent and Anne Hathaway.

WEEKEND COMPARISON

The top 12 films this weekend grossed an ESTIMATED $157.1 million, up about 18.47 percent from last weekend when they totaled $132.6 million.

The top 12 were also up 6.8 percent from last year when they totaled $147 million.

Last year, New Line's second weekend of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring was first with $38.6 million at 3,359 theaters ($11,520 per theater); and Warner Bros.' fourth week of Ocean's Eleven was second with $16.9 million at 3,075 theaters ($5,498 per theater). The top two films one year ago grossed $55.5 million. This year, the top two films grossed an ESTIMATED $90.4 million.

*Box office estimates provided by Exhibitor Relations, Inc.

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