Box Office News

Box Office Analysis: Aug. 26

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Aug 31, 2001 | 8:15am EDT

Moviegoers ate more Pie than anything else at the box office for a third straight weekend.

Universal's R rated youth appeal comedy hit sequel American Pie 2 held on to first place in its third week with a mouth-watering ESTIMATED $12.8 million (-39%) at 3,157 theaters (+85 theaters; $4,055 per theater). Pie 2, which cost about $30 million to make, has a cume of approximately $109.6 million, heading for $125-135 million in domestic theaters.

Directed by J B Rogers, it stars Jason Biggs, Shannon Elizabeth, Alyson Hannigan, Chris Klein, Natasha Lyonne, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Tara Reid, Sean William Scott, Mena Suvari, Eddie Kaye Thomas and Eugene Levy.

"It hasn't been done since Spy Kids," Universal distribution president Nikki Rocco said Sunday morning, pointing to Pie's three weeks atop the chart. Spy Kids, from Miramax's Dimension Films label, nailed down the top spot for three weeks from March 30 through April 15.

"It's a fitting way to end a great summer season for Universal," Rocco noted. "Plus, we broke $100 million with American Pie 2. With this kind of hold (it will go) past $125 million, that's for sure."

New Line Cinema's PG-13 rated action comedy blockbuster sequel Rush Hour 2 held on to second place in its fourth week with a still solid ESTIMATED $11.43 million (-40%) at 3,001 theaters (-79 theaters; $3,807 per theater). Its cume is approximately $183.3 million, heading for $210-215 million in domestic theaters.

Directed by Brett Ratner, it stars Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker.

"If it gets to $210 million, it will be the second biggest gross of the year after Shrek," New Line distribution president David Tuckerman said Sunday morning.

DreamWorks' animated summer blockbuster Shrek has grossed about $261.4 million to date. Universal's The Mummy Returns has done about $201.5 million through this weekend.

Dimension Films' R rated youth appeal comedy Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back kicked off in third place to a solid ESTIMATED $11.1 million at 2,765 theaters ($4,014 per theater).

Jay's average per theater was the highest for any film playing in wide release this weekend.

Jay had been flying high on Hollywood's advance radar screen, suggesting to some observers that it would open to a noisier $15 million or more. While the film was number one Friday with about $4.5 million, it fell by about 23 percent on Saturday to about $3.5 million, a clear sign that it was not going to hold on to the top spot.

Written and directed by Kevin Smith, it stars Smith, Ben Affleck, Shannon Elizabeth, Will Ferrell, Jason Lee, Jason Mewes and Chris Rock.

"Jay and Bob had a solid opening," David Kaminow, senior vice president, marketing for Dimension's parent company Miramax Films, said Sunday morning. "We were number one on Friday and obviously Kevin Smith has his diehard fans, who went out (to see it immediately). That's his core (audience) and I don't know how much he necessarily crosses over. We also snuck the picture last weekend and that gave his fans an opportunity to get in early. And that might have played a role in the (results this) weekend."

Asked who was on hand opening weekend, Kaminow replied, "It was young males. Young women and females (in general) weren't as strong as the males."

Dimension Films' PG-13 thriller The Others held on to fourth place as it continued to expand in its third week, still showing good legs with an ESTIMATED $8.6 million (-21%) at 2,436 theaters (+283 theaters; $3,530 per theater). Others, which cost only $17 million to make, has a cume of approximately $46.2 million.

Directed by Alejandro Amenabar, it stars Nicole Kidman.

"The Others is doing terrifically and it's holding terrifically," Miramax's Kaminow said.

Paramount's PG-13 comedy Rat Race fell two rungs in its second week to fifth place, still running hard with an ESTIMATED $8.3 million (-29%) at 2,551 theaters (+1 theater; $3,254 per theater). Its cume is approximately $25.6 million.

Directed by Jerry Zucker, it stars Rowan Atkinson, John Cleese, Whoopi Goldberg, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Seth Green, Jon Lovitz, Breckin Meyer and Amy Smart.

Warner Bros.' PG-13 baseball theme romantic comedy Summer Catch got on base in sixth place, opening to an ESTIMATED $7.54 million at 2,335 theaters ($3,227 per theater).

Directed by Mike Tollin and produced by Tollin, Brian Robbins and Sam Weisman, it stars Freddie Prinze, Jr., Jessica Biel and Matthew Lillard.

"I'm pleased with that opening," Warner Bros. Distribution president Dan Fellman said Sunday morning. "The film had a very modest production cost (reportedly only about $19 million) and the exits with our core audience, which is females under 25, are very favorable. They scored 80 percent in the Top Two Boxes (excellent and very good) and the definite recommend is 66 percent."

Looking ahead, Fellman noted, "Next weekend, Labor Day weekend, the only two movies opening are R rated (MGM's suspense horror film Jeepers Creepers and Lions Gate Films' drama O). I think we'll hold well. We don't need a lot of money to make money on this movie and we should excel in the ancillary markets as his movies do."

Buena Vista/Disney's G rated family comedy hit The Princess Diaries slid two notches to seventh place in its fourth week, still holding well with an ESTIMATED $6.7 million (-30%) at 2,749 theaters (+23 theaters; $2,441 per theater). Its cume is approximately $82.5 million, heading for about $95 million in domestic theaters.

Directed by Garry Marshall, it stars Julie Andrews and Anne Hathaway.

Universal's Captain Corelli's Mandolin dropped two rungs to eighth place in its second week with an unexciting ESTIMATED $3.88 million (-46%) at 1,612 theaters (+17 theaters; $2,405 per theater). Its cume is approximately $14.0 million.

Directed by John Madden, it stars Nicolas Cage and Penelope Cruz.

Screen Gems' R rated sci-fi thriller John Carpenter's Ghosts of Mars opened quietly in ninth place to an ESTIMATED $3.8 million at 2,048 theaters ($1,855 per theater).

Directed by John Carpenter, it stars Ice Cube and Natasha Henstridge.

Rounding out the Top Ten was 20th Century Fox's PG-13 sci-fi action adventure Planet of the Apes, down three pegs in its fifth week with a slow ESTIMATED $3.53 million (-51%) at 1,927 theaters (-1,133 theaters; $1,832 per theater). Its cume is approximately $167.8 million, heading for $175-180 million in domestic theaters.

Directed by Tim Burton and produced by Richard D. Zanuck, it stars Mark Wahlberg, Tim Roth, Helena Bonham Carter and Michael Clarke Duncan.

OTHER OPENINGS

This weekend also saw the arrival of DreamWorks Pictures' PG-13 rated comedy The Curse of the Jade Scorpion with a not-so-funny ESTIMATED $2.5 million at 903 theaters ($2,769 per theater).

Written and directed by Woody Allen, it stars Allen, Dan Aykroyd, Helen Hunt and Charlize Theron.

"It's very close to our expectations based on the mixed reviews, especially in Woody's core markets of New York and other large cities," DreamWorks distribution head Jim Tharp said Sunday morning.

Last summer DreamWorks released Allen's Small Time Crooks, which performed much better than the filmmaker's movies have done in recent years. "It opened to $3.8 million," Tharp said. "The reviews were good in the major markets."

Crooks, which opened May 19-21, 2000 to $3.88 million at 865 theaters ($4,486 per theater), wound up doing about $17.1 million in domestic theaters. "So this one will probably be more in line with the average of $8-10 million, which is what most of his films do," Tharp explained.

Buena Vista/Touchstone's PG-13 comedy Bubble Boy floated into theaters with a disappointing ESTIMATED $2.0 million at 1,605 theaters ($1,230 per theater).

Directed by Blair Hayes, it stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Swoosie Kurtz.

USA Films' R rated comedy Maybe Baby checked in with a quiet ESTIMATED $0.09 million at 2 theaters ($4,455 per theater).

Directed by Ben Elton, it stars Hugh Laurie and Joely Richardson.

SNEAK PREVIEWS

There were no national sneak previews this weekend.

EXPANSIONS

On the expansion front, this weekend saw Fox Searchlight Pictures R rated thriller The Deep End go wider in its third week with a still encouraging ESTIMATED $1.23 million at 208 theaters (+150 theaters; $5,890 per theater). Its cume is approximately $2.6 million.

Written produced and directed by Scott McGehee and David Siegel, it stars Tilda Swinton, Goran Visnjic and Jonathan Tucker.

"It was an excellent expansion," Fox Searchlight distribution president Stephen Gilula said Sunday morning. "We will be expanding further this weekend to over 250 theaters."

Gilula said he is, "thrilled at this expansion because to go this much wider we quadrupled our number of theaters and held very respectable screen averages. We've gone fairly deep into the country. We're in a lot of smaller cities (such as) Tucson, Syracuse and Tulsa, Oklahoma. And a lot of those cities actually did quite well. I'm very pleased with that."

Miramax's R rated Apocalypse Now Redux widened in its fourth week with a still promising ESTIMATED $0.39 million (-20%) at 62 theaters (+12 theaters; $5,863 per theater). Its cume is approximately $2.0 million.

Directed by Francis Ford Coppola, it stars Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall, Martin Sheen, Laurence Fishburne, Dennis Hopper and Harrison Ford.

MGM's release of United Artists' R rated youth appeal comedy Ghost World widened in its sixth week with a still lively ESTIMATED $0.35 million (-23%) at 64 theaters (+10 theaters; $5,525 per theater). Its cume is approximately $2.5 million.

Directed by Terry Swigoff, it stars Thora Birch, Scarlett Johansson, Brad Renfro, Illeana Douglas and Steve Buscemi.

Artisan's R rated comedy Made widened in its seventh week with a soft ESTIMATED $0.21 million (-44%) at 167 theaters (+6 theaters; $1,280 per theater). Its cume is approximately $4.1 million.

Written and directed by Jon Favreau, it stars Favreau, Vince Vaughn, Sean Combs, Famke Janssen, Faizon Love and Peter Falk.

INTERNATIONAL

On the international front, Universal celebrated a milestone as its Bridget Jones's Diary cracked $100 million. Bridget is only playing in 22 countries now and still has 60 percent of the international territories in which to open.

Bridget's opening this weekend in Germany gave it a terrific $1.4 million with 494 playdates. In the U.K., where it's now in its 20th week, Bridget's cume is $59.5 million, making it the sixth highest grossing movie ever in the U.K.

Bridget's next openings are Sept. 1 in Korea and Sept. 29 in Japan.

In its domestic theatrical run via Miramax, which made the $26 million film with Universal, Studio Canal and Working Title Films, Bridget grossed about $71.4 million.

Universal also saw its international release of Jurassic Park III hit $130 million. The film still has 18 countries in which to open, including Australia and Italy this coming weekend. With its domestic theatrical cume now at $172.6 million, JP III's worldwide cume is already at $302.6 million.

WEEKEND COMPARISONS

Key films -- those grossing more than $500,000 -- took in approximately $93.27 million, up about 8.94 per cent from the comparable weekend last year when key films grossed $85.62 million.

This weekend's key film gross was down about 15.49 per cent from last weekend this year when key films took in $110.37 million.

Last year, Universal's opening week of Bring It On was first with $17.36 million at 2,380 theaters ($7,295 per theater); and Warner Bros.' opening week of The Art of War was second with $10.41 million at 2,630 theaters ($3,959 per theater). The top two films one year ago grossed $27.8 million. This year, the top two films grossed an ESTIMATED $24.2 million.

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