This weekend also saw the arrival of Artisan Entertainment's R-rated dark comedy "Chuck and Buck," placing 21st with an encouraging estimated $70,000 at 7 theaters in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco ($9,995 per theater).
Directed by Miguel Arteta, it stars Mike white and Chris Weitz.
Fine Line Features' R-rated comedy drama "The Five Senses" opened in 22nd place with a hopeful estimated $25,000 at 2 theaters in New York ($12,561 per theater).
Written and directed by Jeremy Podeswa, it stars Mary-Louise Parker and Brendan Fletcher.
Miramax's R-rated vampire tale "The Wisdom of Crocodiles" arrived in 23rd place with a quiet estimated $10,000 at 1 theater in New York.
Directed by Po-Chih Leong, it stars Jude Law.
SNEAK PREVIEWS There were no national sneak previews this weekend.
EXPANSIONS On the expansion front this weekend, USA Films' director's cut reissue of the R-rated 1984 thriller "Blood Simple" went wider in its second week, placing 16th with an okay estimated $0.18 million at 33 theaters (+30 theaters; $5,445 per theater). Its cume is approximately $0.25 million.
Directed by Joel Coen and written by Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, it stars John Getz, Frances McDormand, Dan Hedaya, Samm-Art Williams and M. Emmet Walsh.
Lions Gate Films' R-rated sex comedy "But I'm A Cheerleader" expanded in its second week, placing 20th with a cheerful estimated $79,000 at 12 theaters (+8 theaters; $6,620 per theater). Its cume is approximately $0.18 million.
Directed by Jamie Babbit, it stars Natasha Lyonne, Clea Duvall, RuPaul Charles and Cathy Moriarity.
WEEKEND COMPARISONS Key films -- those grossing more than $500,000 for the weekend -- took in approximately $150.39 million, up about 36.25 percent from the comparable weekend last year when key films grossed $110.39 million.
This weekend's key film gross was up about 8.63 percent from this year's previous weekend when key films grossed $138.18 million.
Last year, Universal's opening week of "American Pie" was first with $18.71 million at 2,508 theaters ($7,460 per theater); and Warner Bros.' second week of "Wild Wild West" was second with $16.83 million at 3,342 theaters ($5,037 per theater). The top two films one year ago grossed $35.5 million. This year, the top two films grossed an estimated $83.6 million.
STUDIO MARKET SHARES Based on business by key films (those grossing $500,000 or more), last weekend's top six distributors were:
20th Century Fox was first with three films ("X-Men," "Me, Myself & Irene" and "Big Momma's House"), grossing an estimated $65.95 million or 43.9 percent of the market.
Miramax (Miramax and Dimension) was second with one film ("Scary Movie"), grossing an estimated $26.1 million or 17.4 percent of the market.
Warner Bros. was third with one film ("The Perfect Storm"), grossing an estimated $17.49 million or 11.7 percent of the market.
Buena Vista (Disney and Touchstone) was fourth with two films("Gone in 60 Seconds" and "Disney's The Kid"), grossing an estimated $13.1 million or 8.7 percent of the market.
Sony Pictures Releasing (Columbia and TriStar) was fifth with one film ("The Patriot"), grossing an estimated $11.0 million or 7.3 percent of the market.
DreamWorks was sixth with two films("Chicken Run" and "Gladiator"), grossing an estimated $9.3 million or 6.2 percent of the market.
ADDITIONAL ESTIMATES (11)Mission: Impossible 2/Paramount: Theaters: 1,709 (-348) Gross: $2.38 million (-27 percent) Average per theater: $1,390 Cume: $207.7 million
(12)Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle/Universal: Theaters: 2,328 (-154) Gross: $2.36 million (-40 percent) Average per theater: $1,015 Cume: $20.5 million
(13)Gladiator/DreamWorks: Theaters: 1,034 (-176) Gross: $1.5 million (-26 percent) Average per theater: $1,454 Cume: $176.5 million
(14)Dinosaur/Buena Vista/Disney: Theaters: 704 (-145) Gross: $0.48 million (-27 percent) Average per theater: $682 Cume: $132.8 million
(15)Boys and Girls/Dimension Films: Theaters: 389 (-485) Gross: $0.25 million (-54 percent) Average per theater: $642 Cume: $20.2 million
(16)Blood Simple/USA Films: (See EXPANSIONS above)
(17)U-571/Universal: Theaters: 312 (-45) Gross: $0.17 million (-27 percent) Average per theater: $530 Cume: $76.0 million
(18) The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas/Universal: Theaters: 350 (-18) Gross: $0.15 million (-26 percent) Average per theater: $430 Cume: $34.3 million
(19)Erin Brockovich/Universal: Theaters: 204 (-38) Gross: $0.11 million (-25 percent) Average per theater: $540 Cume: $125.1 million
(20)But I'm A Cheerleader/Lions Gate: (See EXPANSIONS above)
(21)CHUCK & BUCK/Artisan: (See OTHER OPENINGS above)
(22) THE FIVE SENSES/Fine Line: (See OTHER OPENINGS above)
(23)THE WISDOM OF CROCODILES/Miramax: (See OTHER OPENINGS above)