Hollywood was suffering from the box office blahs over the weekend, just as Hollywood insiders anticipated. For the first time since Oct. 22, no films cracked double-digits.
Miramax's PG-13-rated teen-appeal romantic comedy "Down To You" managed to top the chart with only an estimated $8.30 million at 1,971 theaters ($4,211 per theater).
"I think it's great," Miramax Senior Vice President, Marketing, David Kaminow said Sunday morning. "Freddie Prinze Jr. cannot deny the fact that he has a following. He really can do a great job of opening a picture.
"I think our (marketing) materials were good, and it just looked like a fun movie for its core audience of young girls. There hasn't been anything for them for a while.
"The PG-13 (helped). 'Girl, Interrupted' definitely has a female appeal, but with its R rating, it sort of gets limited a little (to older teen girls). With 'Down To You's' PG-13, it really opens up that lower end of the age range."
New Line's R-rated urban-appeal comedy sequel "Next Friday" was a close No. 2, sliding one slot in its second weekend with a still solid estimated $8.20 million (-43%) at 1,175 theaters (+72 theaters, $6,979 per theater). Its total is approximately $32 million.
Directed by Steve Carr, it was written by, stars and was produced by Ice Cube.
"I think we've got $45 million in the bag," New Line Executive Vice President, Distribution, David Tuckerman said Sunday morning. "I would have been happy with (a drop of) 50%, so we're thrilled (with 43% off).
"It was a very inexpensive film. The negative cost was about $10 million -- very profitable for New Line."
Universal's critically acclaimed R-rated drama "The Hurricane" held on to third place as it continued to expand in its fourth week with an OK estimated $7.01 million (-22%) at 2,101 theaters (+647 theaters, $3,335 per theater). Its total is approximately $23.4 million.
"'Hurricane' still has its velocity," Universal Distribution President Nikki Rocco said Sunday morning. "In a very soft marketplace, it continues to show legs."
Noting that the film is a top contender for Golden Globes, Rocco said that is helpful because, "It's the visibility. You get a lot of television coverage on the Golden Globes nationally. So Golden Globes always helps. I think it will do well."
Columbia's PG-rated family comedy "Stuart Little" continued to hold well in its sixth weekend, down two pegs to fourth place with a less exciting estimated $6.50 million (-31%) at 3,151 theaters (+59 theaters, $2,063 per theater). Its total is approximately $117.2 million, heading for $140 million or more in domestic theaters.
"As usual, it's nothing but good news on 'Stuart,'" Sony Pictures Releasing President Jeff Blake said Sunday morning. "It certainly seems to be rolling to at least $140 million."
Warner Bros. and Castle Rock Entertainment's R-rated prison death-row drama "The Green Mile" held on to fifth place in its seventh week with a still respectable estimated $5.50 million (-29%) at 2,483 theaters (theater count unchanged, $2,219 per theater). Its total is approximately $109.7 million, heading for $130 million in domestic theaters.
DreamWorks' PG-rated sci-fi fantasy comedy "Galaxy Quest" held on to sixth place in its fifth week with a less high-flying estimated $4.80 million (-29%) at 2,259 theaters (-191 theaters, $2,125 per theater). Its total is approximately $54.6 million, heading for $60 to $70 million in domestic theaters.
Directed by Dean Parisot, it stars Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver and Alan Rickman. Columbia's R-rated drama "Girl, Interrupted" dropped three notches to seventh in its fifth week with a less attractive estimated $4.40 million (-46%) at 1,935 theaters (+33 theaters, $2,274 per theater). Its total is approximately $16.3 million. Directed by James Mangold, "Girl" stars Winona Ryder and Angelina Jolie.
Paramount's R-rated drama "The Talented Mr. Ripley" dropped one rung to eighth place in its fifth week with a less lively estimated $3.88 million (-36%) at 2,215 theaters (-154 theaters, $1,750 per theater). Its total is approximately $68.4 million.
"Ripley" looms as a top candidate for Oscar nominations, having received five Golden Globe nominations -- best picture/drama, actor/drama (Damon), supporting actor (Law), director (Minghella) and score (Gabriel Yared).
"Awards will be a big factor," Paramount Distribution President Wayne Lewellen said Sunday morning. "I figure it's going to get to around $80 million, but if it gets some awards, that could carry it on up there. Certainly, the Academy, if it comes in there, (would be a big help)."
Buena Vista/Touchstone's R-rated boxing-theme comedy-drama "Play it to the Bone" went wide quietly in its fifth week, placing ninth with an estimated $3.5 million at 1,556 theaters (+1,556 theaters, $2,249 per theater). Its total is approximately $3.5 million.
Rounding out the Top Ten was Paramount's R-rated drama "Angela's Ashes," which went wide in its fifth week with a subdued estimated $3.28 million at 610 theaters (+604 theaters, $5,369 per theater). Its total is approximately $3.7 million.
"We got hurt pretty bad by the weather, on Friday, particularly," Paramount's Lewellen pointed out, noting that while the numbers were disappointing, there is the potential of growth, especially if the film does well with Oscar nominations. He added that the snow and bitter cold weather that hit a number of East Coast markets this weekend tend to keep people home, "particularly the older audience, which this film appeals to."
Last weekend also saw the arrival of Miramax's PG-13-rated drama "Diamonds," placing 32nd with a low-carat estimated $0.019 million at 13 theaters in Kansas City ($1,727 per theater). Its total, including its Academy Award qualifying run in December, is approximately $.033 million.
USA Films reissued its PG-rated suspense drama "Rear Window," the Alfred Hitchcock classic starring James Stewart and Grace Kelly. The 1954 film, restored by Robert Harris and James Katz, placed 33rd with an appreciative estimated $0.013 million at one theater in New York ($13,229 per theater).
Last weekend saw no national sneak previews.
On the expansion front, last weekend saw Columbia's R-rated drama "The End of the Affair" go wider in its eighth week, placing 17th with an unromantic estimated $1.55 million at 686 theaters (+594 theaters, $2,255 per theater). Its total is approximately $5 million.
"It's a little rough on all the expansi ns this year," Sony's Jeff Blake said Sunday. "It's such a crowded field, you're always bumping into something. It's hard to pick that perfect moment when to expand."
Focusing on the fact that Golden Globes and Oscars would be very helpful in driving "Affair," Blake noted, "Look, if we get a Golden Globe tonight, that would certainly be a plus."
Buena Vista/Touchstone's R-rated drama "Cradle Will Rock" expanded in its seventh week, placing 22nd with a calm estimated $0.60 million at 506 theaters (+450 theaters, $1,186 per theater). Its total is approximately $1.8 million.
USA Films' R-rated drama "Topsy-Turvy" went wider in its sixth week, placing 25th with a brisk estimated $0.34 million at 40 theaters ($8,545 per theater). Its total is approximately $0.5 million.
Warner Bros. and Alcon Entertainment's PG-rated family drama "My Dog Skip" added theaters in its second week, placing 30th with an OK estimated $0.12 million at 28 theaters (+23 theaters, $4,300 per theater). Its total is approximately $0.18 million.
Fox Searchlight Pictures' R-rated drama "Titus" went a little wider in its fifth week, placing 29th with an OK estimated $0.15 million at 17 theaters (+9 theaters, $8,500 per theater). Its total is approximately $0.5 million.
Key films -- those grossing more than $500,000 for the weekend - took in approximately $78.95 million, down approximately 1.19% from $79.90 million for the comparable weekend last year. The total would have been $76.90 million and down 3.76% if it were not for Buena Vista/Disney's IMAX run of "Fantasia 2000," which placed 16th with an estimated $2.05 million at 54 theaters in the United States (theater count unchanged, $37,963 per theater). Its total is approximately $17.5 million worldwide.
Last weekend's key film gross for three days cannot be compared with the previous weekend, which was a four-day holiday weekend.
Last year, Paramount's second week of "Varsity Blues" was first with $10.57 million at 2,339 theaters and Universal's fifth weekend of "Patch Adams" was second with $8.10 million at 2,909 theaters. The top two films one year ago grossed $18.7 million. This year, the top two films grossed an estimated $16.5 million.
STUDIO MARKET SHARES
Based on business by key films (those grossing $500,000 or more), last weekend's top six distributors were the following:
Sony Pictures Entertainment (Columbia, TriStar) was first with three films ("Stuart Little," "Girl, Interrupted" and "The End of the Affair") grossing an estimated $12.60 million or 16% of the market.
Buena Vista (Touchstone and Disney) was second with six films ("Play it to the Bone," "Toy Story 2," "Fantasia 2000," "Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo," "Cradle Will Rock" and "Bicentennial Man") grossing an estimated $12.25 million or 15.5% of the market.
(11) "Toy Story 2"/BV/Disney: Theaters: 1,990 (-336) Gross: $3 million (-39%) Average per theater: $1,508 Total: $231.3 million
(12) "Any Given Sunday"/Warner Bros.: Theaters: 2,201 (-304) Gross: $2.53 million (-47%) Average per theater: $1,149 Total: $70.3 million
(13) "Supernova"/MGM: Theaters: 2,280 (0) Gross: $2.40 million (-58%)(tie) Average per theater: $1,059 Total: $10.1 million
(13) "The Cider House Rules"/Miramax: Theaters: 823 (+6) Gross: $2.40 million (-15%) (tie) Average per theater: $2,916 Total: $15.7 million
(15) "Magnolia"/New Line: Theaters: 1,077 (+39) Gross: $2.25 million (-34%) Average per theater: $2,089 Total: $15.2 million
(16) "Fantasia 2000"/BV/Disney: Theaters: 54 (0) (all IMAX theatres and all in U.S.) Gross: $2.05 million (% decline N/A) Average per theater: $37,963 Total: $17.5 million (worldwide total)
(17) "The End of the Affair"/Sony Pictures (see EXPANSIONS above)
(18) "Bicentennial Man"/BV: Theaters: 1,607 (-609) Gross: $1.60 million (-53%) Average per theater: $996 Total: $54.4 million
(19) "Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo"/BV: Theaters: 1,466 (-454) Gross: $1.50 million (-53%) Average per theater: $1,023 Total: $61 million
(20) "Snow Falling On Cedars"/Universal: Theaters: 1,098 (-57) Gross: $1.47 million (-44%) Average per theater: $1,340 Total: $10.5 million
(20) "Anna and the King"/Fox: Theaters: 945 (-560) Gross: $0.90 million (-57%) Average per theater: $950 Total: $35.9 million
(21) "The World Is Not Enough"/MGM: Theaters: 889 (0) Gross: $0.64 million (-39%) Average per theater: $720 Total: $123.5 million
(22) "Cradle Will Rock"/BV: (see EXPANSIONS above)
(23) "Sleepy Hollow"/Paramount: Theaters: 758 (-134) Gross: $0.55 million (-30%) Average per theater: $726 Total: $96.7 million
(24) "Man On the Moon"/Universal: Theaters: 592 (-628) Gross: $0.44 million (-65%) Average per theater: $745 Total: $33.3 million
(25) "Topsy-Turvy"/USA Films: (see EXPANSIONS above)
(26) "Being John Malkovich"/USA Films: Theaters: 190 (-28) Gross: $0.32 million (-27%) Average per theater: $1,680 Total: $20.2 million
(27) "End of Days"/Universal: Theaters: 334 (-112) Gross: $0.23 million (-34%) Average per theater: $675 Total: $65.5 million
(28) "The Bone Collector"/Universal: Theaters: 341 (-43) Gross: $0.20 million (-35%) Average per theater: $575 Total: $65.1 million
(29) "Titus"/Fox Searchlight: (see EXPANSIONS above)
(30) "My Dog Skip"/Warner Bros. (see EXPANSIONS above)
(31) "The Best Man"/Universal: Theaters: 151 (+7) Gross: $0.076 million (-35%) Average per theater: $500 Total: $34.1 million
(32) "Diamonds"/Miramax: (see OTHER OPENINGS above)
(33) "Rear Window"/USA: (see OTHER OPENINGS above)