WHAT IT’S ABOUT?
Kicking off the new label DisneyNature Earth represents a return to the kind of filmmaking that won eight Oscars for Walt Disney between 1948 and 1960 under the umbrella name True Life Adventures. This time the focus is on three different animal families as cameras follow their remarkable migrations across the planet — literally — as the film was reportedly shot in 68 countries over seven continents. There’s the polar bear mother trying to protect her cubs from melting ice caps and overbearing sun as the father desperately searches for food; there’s the elephant and her calf trying to keep up with the rest of the herd through a stormy Kalahari Desert in search of water while fending off dangerous nighttime attacks by predatory lion packs; and finally there’s the mother whale and her calf traveling 4 000 miles from the tropics all the way to Antarctica.
WHO’S IN IT?
Beautifully narrated by James Earl Jones Earth avoids the hokey cutesy antics some nature films and television shows succumb to in their scripting. Jones’ distinctive elegant storytelling adds a moving layer to the overwhelmingly powerful images we see on screen. No cute talking animals in this film folks.
New technologies and more sophisticated cameras have energized this kind of filmmaking since the more primitive days when Walt Disney was regularly turning these movies out. Directors Alastair Fothergill and Mark Linfield (Discovery’s Planet Earth) take their cameras into places no one has seen before and get incredible footage some of it heartbreaking some of it thrilling some of it funny. But with brilliant editing and a stunning musical score by George Fenton it all adds up to a breathtaking motion picture achievement adults will enjoy just as much as the kids.
Only that we have to wait another year for the next installment of the series Oceans from the talented filmmakers who gave us the equally amazing Winged Migration.
Just in terms of its haunting effect the richly-detailed sequence in which the slowly-starving father polar bear tries to get food by infiltrating a large pack of crafty walruses is both fascinating to watch and unforgettable in its impact. It’s that unstinting realism and sense that we are watching nature as it really unfolds that gives Earth its gravitas. Another grainy nighttime scene — captured on hidden cameras — shows determined lions out to kill a baby elephant as his mom and her pack try to protect him. Incredible stuff.
INTERESTED IN TRIVIA?
If this seems familiar Earth originally opened in several countries around the world in 2007 and had Patrick Stewart as narrator. Disney eventually picked up the film retooled it and now launches its U.S. premiere on Earth Day. This is the first of six annual films all also intended for release around Earth Day including the aforementioned Oceans.
NETFLIX OR MULTIPLEX?
Although the BBC and the Discovery Channel are partners in this venture this is a MUST on the big screen.
Nearly 30 years after an infectious plague ravaged Scotland and forced the closing of the nation’s borders the plague recurs in London--prompting the government to send a crack team of commandos into Scotland to locate and retrieve the cure if indeed there is one. Of course it’s not as simple as all that. The hordes of crazed and in some cases cannibalistic survivors of the plague are more than willing to give a (very) warm welcome to these interlopers led by the foxy and fierce Eden Sinclair (Rhona Mitra). Meanwhile back in Merrye Olde England the virus is continuing to spread but some of the powers-that-be don’t seem altogether concerned about that being more preoccupied with protecting their image sullied as it already is. In short it’s every man and woman for himself and herself--survival of the fittest 21st-century style. It’s also derivative and not necessarily in a negative way of such sci-fi classics as John Carpenter’s Escape from New York and George Miller’s Mad Max trilogy--replete with appropriate nods and in-jokes from Marshall who clearly has a great respect and affection for those who came before. Sigourney Weaver may not lose any sleep but Milla Jovovich might. As the one-eyed two-fisted ferociously fit action heroine Eden Sinclair Mitra stakes her claim to become the next cult heroine and there’s plenty of room left here to accommodate Eden’s potential future adventures. It’s always nice having Bob Hoskins around even if only for an extended cameo appearance as Eden’s down-to-earth boss Bill Nelson. Hoskins has played some heavies in his time but here he’s one of the good guys. Alexander Siddig no stranger to science-fiction given his Star Trek: Deep Space Nine stint plays the (rightly) worried Prime Minister and the ever-scowling David O'Hara plays his ruthless aide-de-camp amusingly and ironically named Canaris (World War II buffs will get the reference) who really is the power behind the throne. Adrian Lester Nora-Jane Noone Darren Morfitt and reliable Sean Pertwee play members of Eden’s assault team--shades of James Cameron’s Aliens--although few of them are in one piece by the end credits. Such are the perils of being an actor in this sort of film. Another “old-school” favorite Malcolm McDowell provides expository narration (a lot of it) and his own brand of tasty British ham (sliced just right) to his role of the scientist Kane who has forsaken science--and society--for a more medieval motif in a world gone wild. Like Hoskins McDowell hasn’t much time onscreen but there’s something pleasing about having him here. This is a film that favors style over substance but there are opportunities for the actors to strut their stuff in spirited fashion. As bruised bloodied or beheaded as the actors get they all seem to be having fun.
Without question Neil Marshall is one of the fast-rising talents in the fantasy genre--a genre he has clearly studied well. He brings a keen insight and manages to “borrow” elements and inspiration from other films in a way that doesn’t insult those films doesn’t diminish his own work and--more importantly--doesn’t insult the audience some of whom will surely recognize those inspirations and nods (Doomsday is filled with them). This is however one of the more cold-blooded efforts of Marshall’s young career. It’s about an inhumane future and the film is suffused with that emotional resonance--or lack thereof. The humor such as it is is blunt and bloody and the irony no less smoothly rendered. Nevertheless this promises slam-bang action and it certainly delivers. In an era where so many horror and science-fiction films are cut to achieve a PG-13 rating often to the detriment of the end result Doomsday is bloody proud to go for that R rating!
The Bushes gathered together Hollywood celebrities and musicians Monday at the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts for a musical tribute honoring the first anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. At the second Concert for America (the first took place 13 days after the attacks), opera tenor Placido Domingo joined Latin pop star Enrique Iglesias and country singer Alan Jackson in a musical performance, while actors Angela Bassett and James Earl Jones gave dramatic readings. The show will air on NBC Wednesday.
Let's hope this the last time we have to write about this, now that it's official: The Russian Space Agency sent a letter to NASA Monday stating 'N Sync member Lance Bass will not be visiting their international space station anytime soon. Last week, the agency kicked Bass off the flight crew for his failure to raise the $20 million fee in time, but Bass' sponsors hoped to continue the negotiations. Not anymore. "The letter speaks for itself," NASA spokeswoman Debra Rahn told the Associated Press. "They've officially withdrawn Mr. Bass from the flight."
After establishing a nonprofit summer camp to help girls develop self-esteem in California, supermodel Tyra Banks plans on opening one in South Florida. Called T-Zone, the weeklong, all-expenses-paid camp for girls ages 13 to 15 helps the teenagers deal with body image, self-doubt and pressures from boys. Banks wants to open camps all over the country. "I want to take it national as soon as possible," Banks told Sun-Sentinel. "But I want quality control. I want it to be like McDonald's or Coca-Cola. It's the same everywhere."
Actor Brad Renfro has dropped out of the film Freddy vs. Jason, the ultimate horror showdown between to two infamous killers--Nightmare on Elm Street's Freddy Krueger and Friday the 13th's Jason Voorhees. Renfro will be replaced by Jason Ritter (Swimfan), son of actor John Ritter.
Director Charles Herman-Wurmfeld (Kissing Jessica Stein) will direct Reese Witherspoon in Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde. The sequel to the 2001 summer sleeper hit Legally Blonde continues the adventures of Harvard Law School grad Elle Woods as she heads to Washington to take on the politicians.
Get ready for more Mr. French and Mrs. Beasley. The WB has remade the sappy '60s show Family Affair, where cute twins Jody and Buffy Davis, along with their teenage sister Sissy, descend upon their Uncle Bill (Gary Cole), a devout bachelor and his stuffy butler, Mr. French (Tim Curry). The one-hour series pilot airs Thursday at 8 p.m. What's next? The Courtship of Eddie's Father?
A tour bus for Eminem's Anger Management Tour caught fire Sunday on a highway in Michigan, when friction from a flat tire ignited the vehicle. AP reports only the bus driver was on board the bus, which was reserved for Eminem's managers, when the fire started and was not injured. Eminem finished his tour Sunday night at the Palace in Auburn Hills, Mich.
Canadian folk singer Gordon Lightfoot, known for his '70s hits such as "If You Could Read My Mind" and "Sundown," was recovering in the intensive care unit Monday in Toronto after suffering from internal bleeding in his abdomen. He is stable but doctors told Reuters his condition is serious and will have to be closely monitored over the next few days.
XXX still marked the top spot at the box office with $23 million.
Signs held strongly in second place with $19.5 million.
Blue Crush made a nice splash in third place, opening to $15.2 million.
Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams was a quiet fourth with $11.6 million. Austin Powers in Goldmember was still laughing in fifth place with $8.7 million. A major expansion in its 18th week of release sent My Big Fat Greek Wedding into sixth place with a big fat $5.8 million.
The weekend's other wide opening, The Adventures of Pluto Nash, was orbiting in box office outer space with a cold as ice $2.2 million in tenth place.
With no new blockbusters driving ticket sales, key films -- those grossing $500,000 or more -- were down about 3 percent from last year with $106.8 million versus $110.4 million. It was the fifth consecutive weekend in which the marketplace was down compared to last year.
THE TOP TEN
Revolution Studios and Columbia's PG-13 rated action adventure thriller XXX showed strong legs, holding on to first place in its second week with a solid ESTIMATED $23.0 million (-48%) at 3,388 theaters (+14 theaters; $6,789 per theater). Its cume is approximately $84.9 million.
XXX's average per theater was the highest for any film playing in wide release this weekend.
Directed by Rob Cohen and produced by Neal H. Moritz, it stars Vin Diesel, Asia Argento and Marton Csokas.
"Down only 48 percent is one of the best holds of the summer," Sony Pictures Entertainment worldwide marketing & distribution president Jeff Blake said Sunday morning.
"It's a tick better (hold) than even Signs last week (which had dropped 51 percent), which obviously is a good holding picture going forward. It looks like we are, too. And it's a tick better than what Fast and the Furious' drop was, as well (last summer with a 50 percent fall in its second weekend)."
Asked where XXX is heading, Blake replied, "Fast and the Furious is as good a guidebook as any and, as I say, we're tracking better. At the end of 10 days, they had in $77.8 million and had had a second weekend of $20 million, down 50 percent, so we're definitely tracking better just about every day so far. They ended up with a very nice total of $144.5 million. I'd have to say we're setting our sights slightly higher than that. To be honest, as we look ahead there's a lot less to stop us."
Looking ahead, Blake said, "I think, clearly, XXX and Signs are the two pictures emerging out of the summer that are really going to get sampled as the summer winds down and fall begins. We are number one for the second week in a row, joining Spider-Man, Star Wars, Sum of All Fears and Men in Black II, very nice company, as the only pictures to be number one two weeks in a row this summer. And we've got a real shot to be number one three weeks in a row, which nobody has done. Nobody made it three weeks in a row. Spider-Man had (competition from the opening of) Star Wars in week three. And Star Wars had Sum of All Fears.
"I don't share the thought that the opening was anything but terrific, but I think it does make the point that if you can't get open to a big level even though it's a little harder to produce the box car numbers in late summer the advantage is that you can hold for a while if you're a picture that plays. And this picture certainly plays."
Buena Vista/Touchstone's PG-13 rated supernatural thriller Signs held very well in second place in its third week with a steady ESTIMATED $19.5 million (-34%) at 3,344 theaters (+34 theaters; $5,843 per theater). Its cume is approximately $150.7 million.
Directed by M Night Shyamalan, it stars Mel Gibson.
Universal and Imagine Entertainment's PG-13 rated romantic surfer girl comedy Blue Crush opened third to a sexy ESTIMATED $15.18 million at 3,002 theaters ($5,055 per theater).
Directed by John Stockwell and produced by Brian Grazer and Karen Kehela, it stars Kate Bosworth, Michelle Rodriguez, Matthew Davis, Sanoe Lake and Mika Boorem.
"The Blue Crush results are a solid opening for what is a fun film that delivers to its target audience," Universal distribution president Nikki Rocco said Sunday morning.
Focusing on what went in to achieving the solid launch, Rocco noted, "We're very proud of what everybody (at the studio) has done. Certainly, marketing created an incredible hype for young females and distribution did a tremendous job in dating the film. I think the producers of the film delivered something that was very different and unique.
"We have a picture that has a subject matter (bikini babes at the beach and summer romance) that is 40 years old. To take it and reinvent this old genre for today's audience is quite an accomplishment. And I'm very pleased with the results."
Miramax/Dimension Films' PG rated family comedy sequel Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams slipped one peg to fourth place in its second week with a low energy ESTIMATED $11.6 million (-31%) at 3,307 theaters (theater count unchanged; $3,508 per theater). Its cume is approximately $45.7 million.
Directed by Robert Rodriguez, it stars Antonio Banderas and Carla Gugino.
New Line's PG-13 rated comedy sequel Austin Powers in Goldmember fell one notch to fifth place in its fourth week with a less frenetic ESTIMATED $8.7 million (-33%) at 3,113 theaters (-395 theaters; $2,795 per theater). Its cume is approximately $183.9 million.
Directed by Jay Roach, it stars Mike Myers, Beyonce Knowles and Michael Caine.
Gold Circle Films and HBO's PG rated romantic comedy sleeper hit My Big Fat Greek Wedding continued to expand in its 18th week via IFC Films, rising two slots to sixth place with an outstanding ESTIMATED $5.8 million at 1,060 theaters (+337 theaters; $5,472 per theater). Its cume is approximately $52.8 million, heading for $60 million or more in domestic theaters.
Directed by Joel Zwick, it stars Nia Vardalos and John Corbett.
Warner Bros.' R rated thriller Blood Work dropped two posts to seventh place in its second week with a less thrilling ESTIMATED $4.8 million (-33%) at 2,525 theaters
(theater count unchanged; $1,901 per theater). Its cume is approximately $15.3 million.
Produced and directed by Clint Eastwood, it stars Eastwood.
DreamWorks and 20th Century Fox's R rated adult appeal drama Road to Perdition slipped one peg to eighth place in its sixth week, holding very well with an ESTIMATED $3.8 million (-9%) at 1,914 theaters (-297 theaters; $1,999 per theater). Its cume is approximately $90.3 million.
Directed by Sam Mendes, it stars Tom Hanks, Paul Newman and Jude Law.
Revolution Studios and Columbia's low budget PG rated family comedy Master of Disguise dropped three levels to ninth place in its third week with a calm ESTIMATED $3.3 million (-35%) at 2,137 theaters (-431 theaters; $1,544 per theater). Its cume is approximately $30.4 million.
Directed by Perry Andelin Blake, it stars Dana Carvey.
Rounding out the Top Ten was Castle Rock Entertainment's opening via Warner Bros. of its (in association with Village Roadshow Pictures and NPV Entertainment) PG-13 rated sci-fi action comedy The Adventures of Pluto Nash to a soft ESTIMATED $2.15 million at 2,320 theaters ($927 per theater).
Directed by Ron Underwood, it stars Eddie Murphy and was produced by Martin Bregman, Michael Bregman and Louis A. Stroller.
Pluto, a very expensive special effects picture, was originally developed at Universal, which put it in turnaround years ago. With Pluto, having bounced around Warners' release schedule for some time, insiders were not anticipating a good opening.
This weekend also saw the arrival of Focus Features' romantic drama Possession to a very encouraging ESTIMATED $1.61 million at 270 theaters ($5,975 per theater).
Directed by Neil LaBute, it stars Gwyneth Paltrow and Aaron Eckhart.
"We had a good weekend," Focus Features distribution president Jack Foley said Sunday morning. "It competed nicely in the marketplace. It ranked up among the more competitive films in a lot of the multiplexes -- in the top three and four and five ranks.
That's not bad considering XXX and Signs are still pounding in there. In commercial houses we were very, very well attended. And in the upscale and art houses around the country we were ranking in the number one and two positions.
"So we're really happy with this opening. It puts us in a position to think that we can persist very nicely through the upcoming weeks and months and serve a demo out there that really isn't being served aggressively at this stage of the game outside of what Greek Wedding is doing. A lot of those people have seen Greek Wedding, so we can easily fill that slot for an alternative kind of programming picture."
Looking ahead, Foley explained, "Next week we're going to expand the top 17 markets a bit that we're in right now. Then on Labor Day we'll go wide with the picture. I'm very, very happy that the country embraced the film."
Paramount Classics' PG rated German romantic comedy Mostly Martha opened to a hopeful ESTIMATED $41,000 at 2 theaters ($20,445 per theater).
Written and directed by Sandra Nettelbeck, it stars Martina Gedeck.
There were no national sneak previews this weekend.
On the expansion front this weekend Fox Searchlight Pictures' R rated comedy The Good Girl went wider in its second week with a still impressive ESTIMATED $0.83 million at 60 theaters (+56 theaters; $13,800 per theater). Its cume is approximately $1.1 million.
Directed by Miguel Arteta, it stars Jennifer Aniston, Jake Gyllenhaal and John C. Reilly.
"We had a very, very good expansion," Fox Searchlight distribution president Stephen Gilula said Sunday morning.
"We added 56 theaters in an additional 18 cities (for a total of) 20 cities across the country. It's terrific. The regional cities have supported the film extremely well.
"The four holdover theaters held extremely well even though we added quite a few theaters in Manhattan and L.A. We picked up very good momentum. The regional reviews were very, very strong around the country. So we're quite optimistic about the next wave of our expansion."
This Friday, Gilula said, "We'll open up in 29 more cities and expand further into 50 cities. So we should be on Friday, Aug. 23 in approximately 175 theaters. The following week, which is Labor Day weekend, we'll expand nationally to 500 or more theaters."
Miramax's PG-13 romantic comedy Tadpole expanded in its fifth week to a slow ESTIMATED $0.31 million at 151 theaters (+59 theaters; $2,019 per theater). Its cume is approximately $1.5 million.
Directed by Gary Winick, it stars Sigourney Weaver, John Ritter, Bebe Neuwirth and Aaron Stanford.
Focus Features' R rated The Kid Stays in the Picture, the "unbelievable true tale of Robert Evans," continued to widen in its fourth week, holding well with an ESTIMATED $0.18 million at 56 theaters (+11 theaters; $3,257 per theater). Its cume is approximately $0.8 million.
Produced and directed by Brett Morgen and Nanette Burstein and produced by Graydon Carter, Kid is based on the book by Robert Evans.
"It's very steady and very solid in the previously expanded markets," Focus Features' Jack Foley said. "It didn't experience much of a drop in them, particularly in New York and L.A., where it's really got a great foothold."
United Artists' R rated comedy 24 Hour Party People, released through MGM, expanded in its second week to a still happy ESTIMATED $0.16 million at 18 theaters (+16 theaters; $8,674 per theater). Its cume is approximately $0.2 million.
Directed by Michael Winterbottom, it stars Steve Coogan.
Key films -- those grossing more than $500,000 -- took in approximately $106.84 million, down 3.19 percent from last year when they totaled $110.37 million.
Key films were down about 21.71 percent from the previous weekend of this year when they grossed $136.44 million.
Last year, Universal's second week of American Pie 2 was first with $21.1 million at 3,072 theaters ($6,870 per theater); and New Line's third week of Rush Hour 2 was second with $19.02 million at 3,080 theaters ($6,177 per theater). The top two films one year ago grossed $40.1 million. This year, the top two films grossed an ESTIMATED $42.5 million.
Was there a better way for Adam Sandler to put behind him the hellish disaster that was Little Nicky than to give Frank Capra's Oscar-winning comedy Mr. Deeds Goes to Town a 21st-century makeover?
Critics will tear Sandler to shreds for bastardizing such a beloved classic, but audiences won't care. The majority of the former SNLers devotees doubtless know anything about Capra or his legendary body of work. All they want to see is Sandler slide down banisters, belittle shallow corporate bigwigs and rough up anyone who mortally offends him. To this end, Sandler doesn't disappoint, so expect Mr. Deeds to more than double the disappointing $39.4 million that Little Nicky could only muster.
Mr. Deeds finds Sandler's eponymous small-town nice guy whisked off to New York City after he inherits a media empire worth a measly $40 billion. While financial officers plot to wrestle control of the company, Sandler loses his heart--but none of his valuables--to Winona Ryder, an undercover TV tabloid reporter out to get the dirt on the Big Apple's newest mover and shaker.
Audiences just want Sandler to be Sandler. Little Nicky was Sandler's Cable Guy mostly on the strength of the infantile voice and creepy look that he adopted as the son of Satan.
Thus Longfellow Deeds is a classic Sandler man-child underdog. He's as much a goofball as Billy Madison, only with a better work ethic. He's just tender as The Waterboy, but he's lousy when it comes to wooing women, a la The Wedding Singer. He throws a punch harder than Happy Gilmore.
This should find Sandler in good graces with audiences who turned out in droves to see Big Daddy ($164.3 million) and The Waterboy ($161.4 million) but stayed away from Little Nicky.
Sandler's cooled off since achieving those back-to-back hits in 1998 and 1999, so Mr. Deeds won't open on the scale of Big Daddy's $41.5 million or The Waterboy's $39.4 million. Instead, Mr. Deeds should top the The Wedding Singer's $21.9 million's opening by about $5 million.
Mr. Deeds, however, will do no better than The Wedding Singer's $80.2 million for the simple reason that everyone, with the notable exception of Ryder, is funnier than the somewhat subdued Sandler. Co-stars John Turturro and Steve Buscemi steal the show. Rob Schneider's obligatory cameo also earns more snickers than Sandler provides in 90 minutes.
Also, sparks fail to fly between Sandler and Ryder, who reveals amazingly little comic aptitude in Mr. Deeds. Ryder's ongoing legal woes will lure curiosity seekers to Mr. Deeds, but her presence will disappoint those who enjoyed Sandler's efforts to romance Drew Barrymore in The Wedding Singer.
To matters worse, Mr. Deeds distributor Sony Picture will release Men in Black II next week. That long-awaited sequel will doubtless siphon away the same audience of young adults that it shares with Mr. Deeds.
Mr. Deeds should add some shine to Sandler's tarnished star appeal, but he may have to wait until he spars with Jack Nicholson in next year's Anger Management before enjoying another runaway smash.
Corporate America receives more bashing this weekend, this time courtesy of Nickelodeon Pictures. Hey Arnold! The Movie, based on the popular animated TV show, pits the young boy and his buddies against a ruthless developer out to ruin their quaint inner-city neighborhood.
Slowly, but surely, Nickelodeon Pictures is turning itself into a force to be reckoned with when it comes to animation.
The cable TV channel's movie arm has already transformed The Rugrats into a viable film franchise. Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, which served as the basis of an upcoming new show, earned an Oscar nomination this year for Best Animated Picture. The Wild Thornberrys, another TV spin-off, will storm theaters Dec. 20.
A Nickelodeon staple, Hey Arnold! The Movie arrives with a built-in audience of tiny tots. But parents face too many choices this weekend when it comes to entertaining their young ones, what with Lilo & Stitch and Scooby-Doo making their presence felt. This stiff competition should result in a better opening for Hey Arnold! The Movie than Jimmy Neutron's $13.8 million but less than Rugrats in Paris' $22.7 million.
Hey Arnold! The Movie might not enjoy a splashy opening, but it should amuse children throughout the summer. Arnold's community-minded ways should yield a total close to Jimmy Neutron's $80.9 million and Rugrats in Paris' $76.5 million.
Disney's Lilo & Stitch, which should hold up admirably against Hey Arnold! The Movie, barely lost its surprising bid for box office supremacy last weekend against Minority Report. The spunky Elvis Presley fan and her naughty little friend from outer space, however, should have the last laugh.
The Tom Cruise-Steven Spielberg sci-fi epic opened at No. 1, as expected, with $35.7 million. Lilo & Stitch sold more tickets, but many at reduced child rates, to debut with a hip-shaking $35.3 million.
The fight continued into the week, with Lilo & Stitch earning more in its first full week than Minority Report. Lilo & Stitch has $55.5 million through Thursday vs. Minority Report's $51.8 million. Lilo & Stitch will likely best Minority Report this weekend now that die-hard Phillip K. Dick fans have seen Spielberg's version of his short story.
Lilo & Stitch also proves that 2-D animation can still thrill audiences now accustomed to such CGI-executed adventures as Shrek and Ice Age. Lilo & Stitch's opening isn't on a par with Disney's CGI Monsters, Inc. ($62.5 million) or Toy Story 2 ($57.3 million), but it is the best for a Disney 2-D animated offering since Tarzan ($34.2 million).
Lilo & Stitch is ahead of Tarzan, which had $53.5 million in its first seven days in wide release. With competition from Scooby-Doo and Hey Arnold! The Movie, Lilo & Stitch might not equal Tarzan's second weekend haul of $24 million or $171 million total, but it will break Disney's recent drought when it comes to 2-D animated smashes.
Come the end of the July Fourth holiday weekend, Lilo & Stitch should surpass the disappointing grosses of both The Emperor's New Groove ($89.2 million) and Atlantis: The Lost Empire ($84 million). Expect a second weekend of about $22 million and a $140 million total.
Lilo & Stitch also stole off with their share of Scooby Snacks. The live-action version of Scooby-Doo fell by a worrying 54.8 percent in its second weekend, from $54.1 million to $24.5 million. With $111.5 million through Thursday, Scooby-Doo should easily scamper past The Flintstones' $130.5 million total. But the Great Dane will likely take a long nap--until 2004's sequel--at around $150 million and $160 million.
Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron went lame as Lilo & Stitch galloped off with its audience. Spirit dropped a disheartening 62 percent in its fifth weekend, from $5.3 million to $1.9 million. DreamWorks' animated adventure, which has $68.3 million, had displayed some signs of staying power prior to facing Lilo & Stitch.
Despite being upstaged by Lilo & Stitch, Minority Report registered a stronger debut than the most recent offerings from either Cruise or Spielberg.
Cruise's much-maligned Vanilla Sky, an ill-conceived remake of Open Your Eyes, opened with $25 million. Its $100.6 million total stands a remarkable testament to Cruise's audience-friendly smile.
A.I.: Artificial Intelligence, conceived by Stanley Kubrick and executed by Spielberg, clocked up $29.3 million in its first weekend. Hindered by a directionless marketing campaign, A.I. faded quickly, earning just $78.6 million to become Spielberg's first summer release not to break $100 million.
Minority Report, which also represents Spielberg's best debut since 1997's The Lost World: Jurassic Park ($72.1 million), should tumble to about $20 million in its second weekend. That should allow Minority Report to surpass A.I.'s total by the start of the July Fourth holiday weekend. Minority Report will doubtless take a hard hit when Men in Black II arrives July 4, leaving Cruise and Spielberg looking at a possible $130 million total.
The prospect of Spielberg directing Cruise stopped many from sampling aging hits Spider-Man and Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones for a second or third time.
Attack of the Clones dropped 45 percent in its sixth weekend, from $9.4 million to $5.2 million. With $282.5 million through Thursday, Attack of the Clones won't even manage to creep past Return of the Jedi's $309.2 million.
Spider-Man eroded 39 percent from $7.5 to $4.5 million. Still, Spider-Man's $392.7 million total through Thursday indicates that the web slinger will swing past $400 million at the end of the July Fourth holiday weekend.
Two CIA operatives--one rogue, the other making career strides--successfully continued to thrill audiences.
The Bourne Identity, with Matt Damon as amnesiac CIA gunman Jason Bourne, dropped an acceptable 44 percent in its second weekend, from $27.1 million to $15 million.
With $61.7 million through Thursday, The Bourne Identity reestablishes Damon's drawing power after the dismal showings of The Legend of Bagger Vance ($30.6 million) and All the Pretty Horses ($15.5 million). The Bourne Identity should top The Talented Mr. Ripley's $81.2 million total and pave the way for The Bourne Supremacy, the second in Robert Ludlum's literary trilogy, assuming all involved resolve their differences resulting from The Bourne Identity's troubled production.
The Sum of All Fears, with Ben Affleck replacing Harrison Ford as CIA analyst Jack Ryan, has $100.5 million through Thursday, making it the fifth 2002 release to break $100 million. That would make it the third of the quartet of Ryan yarns do so. The Sum of All Fears eased by 42 percent in its fourth weekend, from $13.4 million to $7.7 million. Still, Affleck's younger and more vital Ryan needs more stamina if The Sum of All Fears can come close to challenging Clear and Present Danger ($122 million) as the top-grossing film in the franchise.
It wasn't fun and spy games for Anthony Hopkins and Chris Rock, as Bad Company plummeted out of the Top 10 in just its third week in release after earning just $2.1 million. The CIA comedy-thriller has $26.4 million through Sunday, continuing the pattern of mediocrity for those films delayed as a result of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Eddie Griffin's Undercover Brother also fell out of the Top 10 after four weeks, after earning $2.1 million, but the low-budget blaxploitation spoof has a respectable $35.4 million total through Sunday.
Griffin lost much of his urban audience to Juwanna Man, a pro-basketball take on Tootsie. The cross-dressing comedy, with banned hoops star Miguel A. Nunez Jr. forced to play basketball in drag, shot an OK $5.4 million opening in just 1,325 theaters. Seems the NBA Draft proved a more exciting prospect than the long-delayed Juwanna Man, which was originally scheduled to debut at the start of the NBA's 2001-02 season.
Juwanna Man's $7.5 million through Thursday probably owes more to the limited drawing power of co-star Vivica A. Fox. Her last two comedies, Two Can Play that Game ($7.7 million opening; $22.2 million) and Kingdom Come ($7.5 million opening; $23.2 million), fared better, but at least Fox should give Juwanna Man enough of a push to hit $15 million.
Suppose gave a war and no one came?
That's the problem facing MGM's Windtalkers, starring Nicolas Cage as a U.S. marine ordered to protect Navajo-American code talker Adam Beach.
John Woo's expensive World War Two epic collapsed in its second weekend, freefalling a disheartening 55 percent from $14.5 to $6.5 percent.
Windtalkers has a mere $29.6 million through Thursday. That's better than the $25.5 million earned by Captain Corelli's Mandolin, Cage's last tour of duty. A $40 million total would position Windtalkers as one of the biggest bombs of the year.
Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood exploited its position as the only wide release catering to female audiences by gabbing up $6 million in its third weekend. That was just a 32 percent drop from its second weekend of $8.8 million. Ya-Ya Sisterhood has $51.3 million through Thursday, with $60 million to $70 million a certainty.
Still, with a cast that includes Sandra Bullock and Ashley Judd, Ya-Ya Sisterhood is fading faster than expected after its $16.1 million debut. Either these Southern belles' secrets aren't that thrilling, or women can't resist their invitation to My Big Fat Greek Wedding.
The romantic comedy continues to do great business in just 444 theaters, earning $1.7 million in its 10th weekend. Its $16.3 million total through Sunday makes it the top-grossing limited new release of 2002. Does that mean we can expect a big fat Greek divorce?
Forget about 'N Sync boy Lance Bass going into space--let's send supermodel Cindy Crawford! She confessed Thursday at a jewelry show in Moscow that she'd be interested in taking a space trip on a Russian spaceship, The Associated Press reports. But she'd have to be back in a week to take care of her two young children.
U.N. goodwill ambassador Angelina Jolie joined Secretary of State Colin Powell at a celebration of World Refugee Day on Thursday in Washington, D.C. AP reports Powell quipped, "Ms. Jolie is the only ambassador I deal with who has her own fan club." The event paid tribute to the women and children who make up most of the world's 22 million refugees. Jolie has been tirelessly visiting refugee camps in Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Cambodia, Pakistan and Ecuador.
Newlyweds Charlie Sheen and Denise Richards exchanged more than just rings. In People's latest cover story, Richards, 31, told the magazine that Sheen, 36, had her name tattooed on his left wrist. "I love that!" said Richards, who now plans to tattoo his name on her ankle. "I've never had anyone tattoo anything for me!"
The hardest-working performer in the business is at it again. Jackie Chan will star in a remake of the Jules Verne classic Around the World in 80 Days. The original 1956 movie starring David Niven followed the adventures of inventor Phileas Fogg and his hapless companion Passepartout around the globe on a bet they could do it in 80 days. In the remake, the focus will be on Passepartout (Chan) who guides and defends Fogg on the journey (emphasis on defends, we're sure).
Oscar-winning Halle Berry is in negotiations to star in Need, a psychological thriller in which she would play a psychiatrist who victimizes a suicidal female patient after she discovers the young woman is having an affair with her husband. Berry as a bad girl--interesting.
At last! TBS is producing a biopic on John F. Kennedy Jr., the handsome and famous son of the late president whose own fairy-tale life ended in tragedy. America's Prince: The JFK Jr. Story will focus on the women in his life--his mother, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (played by Jacqueline Bisset), and his wife, Carolyn Bessette Kennedy (played by Ally McBeal's Portia de Rossi). No one has yet been cast to play John-John. TBS plans to air the movie in late December 2002-early January 2003.
Sean "P.Diddy" Combs' Bad Boy Records and parent company Arista Records have ended their decade-long joint venture. AP reports Combs announced Wednesday that he now owns 100 percent of Bad Boy, including its catalogs and all its current artists, including R&B singers Faith Evans and Carl Thomas, group 112 and teen pop quartet Dream. The split was described as amicable.
Hip-hop artist R. Kelly is already singing a song about his recent criminal charges of child pornography. The song "Heaven, I Need a Hug" debuted this week on a Chicago radio station. In the song, Kelly says he hopes to regain his fans' support.
February 21, 2002 12:51pm EST
Russia's space agency squelched rumors that Lance Bass from the boy band 'N Sync could be going 'N space.
Bass' agents and the Amsterdam-based space travel company MirCorp released statements earlier today saying the singer was negotiating to travel on a Russian rocket in November.
MirCorp noted that the plan to fly to the International Space Station still required the approval of the Russian space agency Rosaviakosmos and its partners, the United States, Russia, Japan, Canada and Europe.
But a spokesman for Rosaviakosmos said that no such talks had taken place.
"It is as if I said I had bought Australia," Sergei Gorbunov told Reuters. "MirCorp has no right to sell these flights. They have no link to Rosaviakosmos, we have no contract linking us.
"[Bass' flight] is just an advertising stunt, I can promise you, " he added. "This is better advertising than he could ever pay for."
MirCorp was behind initial negotiations to send U.S. millionaire Dennis Tito into space for $20 million, but the deal was eventually brokered by the U.S. company Space Adventures.
Bass, who attended space camp near Titusville, Fla., when he was 12, said Thursday he was looking forward to completing this lifelong dream and was "completely overwhelmed."
According to MirCorp, the Los Angeles TV production company Destiny Productions, along with several corporations, offered to sponsor the 22-year-old singer's trek in the hopes of documenting it for a television special, Celebrity Mission: Lance Bass.
MirCorp said in a press release: "We look forward to working with the Russian Space Agency Rosaviakosmos to reach an agreement allowing Mr. Bass to realize his dream.
"MirCorp has fought for the past several years to open the exploration of space to all. We believe firmly that the excitement and beauty of this frontier should not be limited to a handful of professionals."
The company also claims to be in discussions with other candidates for the November mission. The earnings, they say, would help support the Russian cosmonauts' training center and mission control.
Meet the captain of the next Star Trek frontier: Scott Bakula.
A veteran sci-fi actor, Bakula (TV's Quantum Leap) will play Capt. Jonathan Archer in the fourth spin-off of the original Star Trek series, Star Trek: Enterprise.
Bakula follows in the formidable shoes of William Shatner, Patrick Stewart, Avery Brooks and Kate Mulgrew as leader of a Federation starship boldly going where no one else has gone.
"Obviously, I love the genre and am a longtime fan of Star Trek," Bakula said in a statement.
Executive producer and co-creator Rick Berman returns the sentiment.
"We couldn't be happier," Berman said. "Scott personifies the charm and intelligence that the role calls for."
Bakula's Archer is described as "a physical and intensely curious captain with a bold personality," according to a statement by Paramount Network Television. "Although he has a strong sense of duty, he is a bit of a renegade and is not afraid to question orders or even disobey them if he feels in his gut that he is right."
The fan site trektoday.com says that one aspect of Archer's personality is that he blames Vulcans for slowing human progress, which is a source of friction between Archer and his science officer Sub Commander T'Pau, a Vulcan.
Paramount is banking that Bakula (American Beauty, Life as a House, Necessary Roughness) will have the same effect that other big name actors have had on recent sci-fi television shows. Formerly MacGyver, Richard Dean Anderson now solves problems on Stargate SG-1. Kevin Sorbo (The Adventures of Hercules) is now the hero of Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda.
Bakula, a Golden Globe winner and Tony award nominee, recently filmed the pilot episode of CBS' Late Bloomers, filling in after Burt Reynolds pulled out. But Bakula won't reprise his role in the serial, even if it does get a commitment for further episodes.
Paramount's press release did not officially confirm the next series' setting, but this news makes it all but certain that the series will indeed be set aboard a 22nd-century Enterprise, predating the period of the first TV series. Other cast members include John Billlingsly, Jolene Blaylock, Linda Park, Anthony Montgomery, Dominic Keating and Connor Trinneer.
Star Trek: Enterprise is expected to air on Paramount's UPN Network, though a deal hasn't been finalized yet. Shooting begins Monday on the new series.
UPN officials would not comment.
Enterprise is picking up soon after Star Trek: Voyager ends. Voyager, whose series finale will air May 23 on UPN, has had a seven-year run. Voyager was the third spin-off since the original Star Trek hit the airwaves in 1966. In between, there has been The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and finally Voyager, which stars Kate Mulgrew as Capt. Kathryn Janeway at the helm of the 24th-Century spaceship.
Meanwhile, elsewhere in the Star Trek universe, writer John Logan (Gladiator, Any Given Sunday) is currently working on a second revision for the 10th movie in the Star Trek filmography. The film will reportedly be set for a Thanksgiving 2002 release.
Rumor has it - on a number of Trek-centric Web sites - that most of the Trek characters that currently appear in the movies will be killed, paving the way for a new crew to take over. A new villainous race is also rumored to appear, nothing quite like anything seen before in the Star Trek pantheon. All this supposedly follows Commander Riker and Counselor Troi's marriage in the first scene.
Moviegoers' eyes were on "The Watcher" as Hollywood's fall season got off to an unexciting start.
Box office levels across the board were considerably less than insiders had anticipated going into the weekend. With many studio executives out of town attending the Toronto Film Festival, few insights were offered as to what went wrong. Overall, key films were estimated to have grossed about 22 percent less than this time last year.
With televised coverage of the Olympics expected to provide stiff competition from Sept. 15 through Oct. 1, Hollywood is holding back on opening high-profile films in September. That will almost certainly be reflected in ticket sales for the month.
"With the Olympics and everything else, I think it's going to be a lousy fall," predicted one insider.
"Watcher," an R-rated psychological thriller from Universal, needed only single digit grosses to capture first place. It opened to a calm estimated $9.1 million at 2,742 theaters ($3,320 per theater).
With Universal having reportedly picked "Watcher" up from Interlight for only $5 million, it won't have to do much more business to turn a profit for the studio.
Directed by Joe Charbanic, "Watcher" stars James Spader, Marisa Tomei and Keanu Reeves.
"It is what it is," an insider explained Sunday morning. "It's one of those movies that if you target it, you can do fine -- especially on a weekend like this when there isn't a whole lot of competition."
USA Films' R-rated dark comedy "Nurse Betty" was a solid number two, opening to a healthy estimated $7.27 million at 1,459 theaters ($4,981 per theater).
"Betty's" per-theater average was the highest for any film playing in wide release last weekend.
"The picture performed extremely well," USA Films distribution president Jack Foley said Sunday morning. "In Manhattan, it was through the roof. San Francisco, Seattle and Portland played beautifully, too. An upscale audience for sure. The high-end people came out massively, and we had a lot of good numbers all over the country - even as far as Tulsa and Oklahoma City, and runs in New Orleans were very strong, with $7,000 and $8,000 weekend grosses on the picture."
USA isn't planning to go wider with "Betty" next weekend. "It's the right number," Foley noted.
The studio's exit polls were very positive, he added: "It's playing to males and females over 25 very, very nicely. It was females 51 percent and males 49 percent. The response to the film is quite high. The majority of the people (attending) are over 35, which is exactly what the poling said. The Top Two Boxes (excellent and very good) were about 60 percent. A real good opening."
Looking at how the film played from Friday to Saturday, Foley pointed out that "the overall jump was 50 percent. The jump from Friday to Saturday in the high-end theaters was anywhere from 80 percent to 90 percent and well over that. We should have a good day today (Sunday)."
Directed by Neil La Bute, "Betty" stars Morgan Freeman, Renee Zellweger, Chris Rock and Greg Kinnear.
The encouraging launch for "Betty" was not only good news for USA Films, but also for Universal, which actually owns the film. Insiders said Universal had acquired "Betty" as part of its purchase of PolyGram. Universal is reportedly paying USA a distribution fee to release "Betty" domestically.
Universal and Beacon Pictures' PG-13-rated comedy "Bring It On" fell two pegs to third place in its third week with a less cheerful estimated $6.55 million (-43 percent) at 2,416 theaters (+6 theaters; $2,710 per theater). Its cume is approximately $44.5 million.
With only about $10 million invested in "Bring," Universal is already seeing profits from it.
Directed by Peyton Reed, "Bring" stars Kirsten Dunst, Eliza Dusku, Jesse Bradford and Gabrielle Union.
New Line's R-rated fantasy suspense thriller "The Cell" slid two rungs to fourth place in its fourth week with a less lively estimated $3.48 million (-51 percent) at 2,476 theaters (+32 theaters; $1,403 per theater). Its cume is approximately $51.2 million.
Directed by Tarsem, "Cell" stars Jennifer Lopez, Vince Vaughn and Vincent D'Onofrio.
"I think it should wind up north of $60 million," New Line distribution president David Tuckerman said Sunday morning.
Warner Bros. PG-13 sci-fi action adventure "Space Cowboys" dropped two notches in its sixth week to fifth place with an aging estimated $3.32 million (-51 percent) at 2,607 theaters (-188 theaters; $1,273 per theater). Its cume is approximately $78.8 million, heading for $90-100 million in domestic theaters.
Directed by Clint Eastwood, "Space" stars Eastwood, Tommy Lee Jones, James Garner and Donald Sutherland.
"We've got a shot at $100 million," Warner Bros. Distribution president Dan Fellman said Sunday morning. "I would say it looks right now like $90 million unless we get some kick at the end of the year (from awards nominations). We're not going to go to video (quickly). We're going to hang on and wait and see Top Ten lists and all of that."
DreamWorks PG-13-rated supernatural thriller "What Lies Beneath" held on to sixth place in its eighth week with a slower estimated $2.9 million (-38 percent) at 2,166 theaters (-241 theaters; $1,342 per theater). Its cume is approximately $142.5 million.
"Beneath" is a co-production of DreamWorks, which is releasing it domestically, and 20th Century Fox, which is distributing it internationally.
Directed by Robert Zemeckis, "Beneath" stars Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer.
Paramount's R-rated Spike Lee documentary comedy "The Original Kings of Comedy" held on to seventh place in its fourth week with a less funny estimated $2.5 million (-47 percent) at 997 theaters (+45 theaters; $2,508 per theater). Its cume is approximately $32.0 million.
Directed by Spike Lee, "Kings" stars Steve Harvey.
Warner Bros.' R-rated martial arts drama "The Art of War" from Franchise Pictures fell four trenches to eighth place in its third week with a quieter estimated $2.4 million (-60 percent) at 2,370 theaters (-260 theaters; $1,013 per theater). Its cume is approximately $25.0 million.
Directed by Christian Duguay, "War" stars Wesley Snipes, Anne Archer and Donald Sutherland.
Artisan Entertainment's opening of its R-rated suspense drama "The Way of the Gun" was ninth with a disappointing estimated $2.2 million at 1,515 theaters ($1,452 per theater).
Insiders had expected "Gun" to open to more than twice as much business and make the Top Five.
Written and directed by Christopher McQuarrie, "Gun" stars Ryan Phillippe, Benicio Del Toro, Juliette Lewis and James Caan.
Rounding out the Top Ten was Dimension Films' R-rated fantasy action adventure sequel "Highlander: Endgame," down five pegs in its second week with a slow estimated $1.8 million (-65 percent) at 1,545 theaters (+2 theaters; $1,165 per theater). Its cume is approximately $9.0 million.
Directed by Douglas Aarniokoski, "Highlander" stars Adrian Paul and Christopher Lambert.
OTHER OPENINGS This weekend also saw New Line's R-rated urban appeal drama "Turn It Up" arrive in a tie for 19th place to a slow estimated $0.6 million at 661 theaters ($908 per theater). Its cume after 5 days is approximately $0.8 million.
Directed by Robert Adetuyi, "Turn" stars Pras and Ja Rule.
Dimension Films' opening of its R-rated urban appeal drama "Backstage" placed 23rd with an unexciting estimated $0.51 million at 322 theaters ($1,583 per theater). Its cume after 5 days is approximately $0.7 million.
Directed by Chris Fiore, it stars Jay-Z, DMX, Method Man and Redman.
Also arriving was MGM's limited release reissue of its 1984 comedy "This Is Spinal Tap," placing 28th with a restrained estimated $54,000 at 10 theaters ($5,400 per theater).
Directed by Rob Reiner, "Spinal" stars Christopher Guest, Michael McKean, Harry Shearer, Rob Reiner and Fran Drescher.
Columbia's R-rated drama "Anatomy" checked into 29th place with a lifeless estimated $6,000 at 8 theaters ($750 per theater).
Written and directed by Stefan Ruzowitzky, it starsFranka Potente and Benno Furmann.
SNEAK PREVIEWS DreamWorks held 125 sneak previews in the Top Ten markets Saturday night of its R-rated dramatic comedy "Almost Famous."
A DreamWorks spokesperson said the sneaks played to 60 percent capacity. Those on hand -- 50 percent males and 50 percent females and 70 percent over 25 - scored it 88 percent in the Top Two Boxes (excellent and very good).
DreamWorks said it was "very pleased" with how the sneaks went and will hold 600-700 sneaks of "Almost" this Saturday night (Sept. 16) in the remaining Top 100 markets.
Using a distribution pattern similar to what it did very effectively this time last year with "American Beauty," DreamWorks plans to launch "Almost" in New York and Los Angeles on Wed., Sept. 13, and then put it in limited release Sept. 15 at 125-140 theaters. It will expand in the weeks that follow.
"Famous" is being released internationally by Sony's Columbia Pictures, which co-financed the production and will share equally with DreamWorks in its success.
Written and directed by Cameron Crowe ("Jerry Maguire"), "Almost" starsBilly Crudup,Frances McDormand, Kate Hudson, Jason Lee, Patrick Fugit, Anna Paquin, Fairuza Balk, Noah Taylor and Philip Seymour Hoffman.
EXPANSIONS There was no significant activity on the expansion front this weekend.
WEEKEND COMPARISONS Key films -- those grossing more than $500,000 for the weekend -- took in approximately $53.96 million, down about 22.46 percent from the comparable weekend last year when key films grossed $69.59 million.
This normal three-day weekend's key film gross cannot be compared to this year's previous weekend, a four-day holiday weekend.
Last year, MGM's opening week of "Stigmata" was first with $18.31 million at 2,899 theaters ($6,316 per theater); and Buena Vista's sixth week of "The Sixth Sense" was second with $16.51 million at 2,782 theaters ($5,935 per theater). The top two films one year ago grossed $34.8 million. This year, the top two films grossed an estimated $16.2 million.
STUDIO MARKET SHARES Based on business by key films (those grossing $500,000 or more), last weekend's top six distributors were:
Universal was first with three films ("The Watcher," "Bring It On" and "Nutty Professor 2: The Klumps"), grossing an estimated $17.18 million or 31.8 percent of the market.
Warner Bros. was second with four films ("Space Cowboys," "The Art Of War," "The Perfect Storm" and "The Replacements"), grossing an estimated $8.04 million or 14.9 percent of the market.
USA Films was third with one film ("Nurse Betty"), grossing an estimated $7.27 million or 13.5 percent of the market.
New Line Cinema (New Line and Fine Line Features) was fourth with three films ("The Cell," "Saving Grace" and "Turn It Up"), grossing an estimated $5.13 million or 9.5 percent of the market.
Paramount was fifth with two films ("The Original Kings of Comedy" and "Bless the Child"), grossing an estimated $3.29 million or 6.1 percent of the market.
DreamWorks was sixth with one film("What Lies Beneath"), grossing an estimated $2.9 million or 5.4 percent of the market.
ADDITIONAL ESTIMATES (11)The Replacements/Warner Bros.: Theaters: 2,058 (-427) Gross: $1.72 million (-51 percent) Average per theater: $833 Cume: $39.2 million
(12)Nutty Professor II: The Klumps/Universal: Theaters: 1,694 (-439) Gross: $1.53 million (-50 percent) Average per theater: $900 Cume: $116.9 million
(13)Coyote Ugly/BV/Touchstone: Theaters: 1,412 (-410) Gross: $1.3 million (-46 percent) Average per theater: $921 Cume: $55.3 million
(14)Autumn in New York/MGM: Theaters: 1,801 (-415) Gross: $1.2 million (-45 percent) (tie) Average per theater: $666 Cume: $33.9 million
(14)The Crew/Buena Vista: Theaters: 1,487 (-28) Gross: $1.2 million (-67 percent) (tie) Average per theater: $595 Cume: $10.9 million
(16)Saving Grace/Fine Line: Theaters: 875 (0) Gross: $1.05 million (-55 percent) Average per theater: $1,205 Cume: $9.3 million
(17)Hollow Man/Columbia: Theaters: 1,184 (-765) Gross: $0.8 million (-61 percent) (tie) Average per theater: $676 Cume: $71.4 million
(17)Bless the Child/Paramount: Theaters: 1,165 (-777) Gross: $0.8 million (-59 percent) (tie) Average per theater: $675 Cume: $27.4 million
(19)Whipped/Destination: Theaters: 1,561 (0) Gross: $0.6 million (-72 percent) (tie) Average per theater: $385 Cume: $3.8 million
(19)The Perfect Storm/Warner Bros.: Theaters: 705 (-299) Gross: $0.6 million (-56 percent) (tie) Average per theater: $851 Cume: $178.6 million
(19)TURN IT UP/New Line: (see OTHER OPENINGS above) (tie)
(22)X-Men/Fox: Theaters: 682 (-166) Gross: $0.55 million (-48 percent) Average per theater: $810 Cume: $154.0 million
(23)BACKSTAGE/Dimension: (see OTHER OPENINGS above)
(24)Gladiator/DreamWorks: Theaters: 583 (+76) Gross: $0.44 million (-14 percent) Average per theater: $760 Cume: $184.2 million
(25)Chicken Run/DreamWorks: Theaters: 621 (-136) Gross: $0.31 (-52 percent) Cume: $104.6 million
(26)Disney's The Kid/Buena Vista/Disney: Theaters: 585 (-196) Gross: $0.29 million (-58 percent) Average per theater: $495 Cume: $67.4 million
(27)Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle/Universal: Theaters: 289 (-17) Gross: $0.10 million (-36 percent) Average per theater: $350 Cume: $25.8 million
(28)THIS IS SPINAL TAP/MGM: (see OTHER OPENINGS above)
(29)ANATOMY/Columbia: (see OTHER OPENINGS above)
Denzel Washington scored a box office touchdown, finally giving Hollywood some ticket sales to "Remember."
Buena Vista/Disney's PG-rated football drama "Remember the Titans," from producer Jerry Bruckheimer, kicked off in first place with a muscular ESTIMATED $21.2 million at 1,865 theaters ($11,383 per theater).
"Titans" had the highest per-theater average for any film playing in wide release last weekend.
"Titans" marks the first $20 million-plus since the arrival of Columbia's "Hollow Man" last Aug. 4. It ranks as Denzel Washington's biggest opening, out-performing the $18.6 million that "Crimson Tide" kicked off with in May 1995.
Despite the strong performance by "Titans," key films in the marketplace continued to under-perform compared to a year earlier. Overall, the marketplace was down over 27% from last year.
Asked what accounted for "Titans'" strong launch, Buena Vista Distribution president Chuck Viane said Sunday morning, "I think (it was) the blend of the Disney label, Jerry Bruckheimer, and Denzel Washington. The filmmakers really delivered a product that the public loves. Our exit polls are absolutely terrific."
Viane said he was still waiting to get exit poll numbers from National Research Group, but pointed to Disney's in-house exit research done by college students in various markets. "They ranked it a 92%," he said. "They had 74% excellent and 23% very good, which is just a remarkably high number. The audience just absolutely (loved it).
"The make up last night (Saturday) was 55% male and 45% female. 49% of the groups in there last night were couples. 27% were families. To me this is the outstanding numbers - 24% were teens. Normally teens are just Friday, but they were out there again last night."
Viane applauded the studio's marketing team for its campaign on "Titans." "You've got to admit, the marketing department really made this one happen," he said. "They did a fabulous job. It was easy for me (in distribution). There was nothing out there. Everybody was dying to play our movie. We were only going to go to 2,400 (theaters) next Friday. I think that's going to be closer to 2,500 or 2,600, because we're not going to turn people down who ask this time. It's playing so well across the board. There's not a soft spot in the country. And in Canada, which is not an ethnic market and doesn't do American football, we still had a screen average there of $3,800-and-something."
Directed by Boaz Yakin and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and Chad Oman, "Titans" stars Denzel Washington.
Warner Bros.' reissue of its R-rated 1973 horror classic "The Exorcist" expanded in its second week, holding on to second place with a still-powerful ESTIMATED $7.43 million (-9%) at 1,150 theaters (+486 theaters; $6,457 per theater). Its cume is approximately $17.9 million. Directed by William Friedkin, "Exorcist" stars Ellen Burstyn, Linda Blair and Max von Sydow.
"It was terrific," Warner Bros. Distribution president Dan Fellman said Sunday morning about the film's expansion. "We're going to have another expansion. We're going to go with a big television campaign Friday, Oct. 13. We're going to push this baby. We're going to do, maybe, $40 million (in domestic theaters).
"What's important is that it's the back-end that's going to be the most lucrative for Warners. Because of this, we're going to do a new video and a new DVD release. This reopens the opportunities for television sales worldwide. This is, let's say, a movie that did $40 million, and we're starting all over again with it. It's going to have an international release. It'll be the whole thing. It looks like it's a $100 million movie (in theatrical release worldwide).
"The DVD sales alone on this version will be enormous. Even though there's been other videos, this is going to be a collector's item for people. DVD is going to be gigantic. The pay-per-view (will be big). This starts it all over again. Every ancillary that we have will be reinstated into the marketplace."
In addition to the success of "Exorcist," Fellman was delighted with Warners' platform opening of its PG-13-rated comedy "Best in Show"(see OTHER OPENINGS below for details) at 13 theaters (2 in New York, 2 in L.A., 1 in Toronto and 8 in San Francisco).
"It did $31,000 per theater," Fellman said. "This movie is going to be a smash. It's Christopher Guest. They loved his 'Waiting For Guffman.' They loved (him in Rob Reiner's) 'This Is Spinal Tap.' His audience has been building and building from video and just hit. This is going to be a huge movie.
"We're meeting tomorrow morning, and we're going to start expanding on Friday. We'll probably get up to somewhere around 40 to 60 theaters."
DreamWorks' R-rated dramatic comedy "Almost Famous" continued to expand in its third week, holding on to third place with a solid ESTIMATED $5.6 million (-20%) at 1,635 theaters (+442 theaters; $3,402 per theater. Its cume is approximately $17.8 million, heading for about $60 million in domestic theaters.
Written and directed by Cameron Crowe ("Jerry Maguire"), "Almost" stars Billy Crudup,Frances McDormand, Kate Hudson, Jason Lee, Patrick Fugit, Anna Paquin, Fairuza Balk, Noah Taylor and Philip Seymour Hoffman.
"Famous" is being released internationally by Sony's Columbia Pictures, which co-financed the production and will share equally with DreamWorks in its success.
Columbia's R-rated horror sequel "Urban Legends: Final Cut" from Phoenix Pictures fell three pegs to fourth place in its second week with a less lively ESTIMATED $4.7 million (-45%) at 2,539 theaters (theater count unchanged; $1,851 per theater). Its cume is approximately $15.0 million.
Directed by John Ottman, "Urban" stars Jennifer Morrison.
Universal and Beacon Pictures' PG-13-rated comedy "Bring It On" fell one notch to fifth place in its sixth week with a less energetic ESTIMATED $2.91 million (-32%) at 2,466 theaters (+9 theaters; $1,180 per theater). Its cume is approximately $59.6 million.
Having an investment of only about $10 million in "Bring," Universal is already in profit on the picture.
Directed by Peyton Reed, "Bring" stars Kirsten Dunst, Eliza Dusku,Jesse Bradford and Gabrielle Union.
Universal's R-rated psychological thriller "The Watcher" fell one rung to sixth place in its fourth week with a quieter ESTIMATED $2.25 million (-39%) at 2,636 theaters (-141 theaters; $855 per theater). Its cume is approximately $26.0 million.
Universal reportedly picked "Watcher" up from Interlight for only $5 million, so the studio is clearly turning a profit on its investment.
Directed by Joe Charbanic, "Watcher" stars James Spader, Marisa Tomei and Keanu Reeves.
USA Films' R-rated dark comedy "Nurse Betty" held on to seventh place in its fourth week with a calmer ESTIMATED $2.07 million (-36%) at 1,489 theaters (-2 theaters; $1,387 per theater). Its cume is approximately $21.0 million, heading for $25 million in domestic theaters.
"Betty" actually is owned by Universal, which acquired it as part of its takeover of PolyGram and then brought in USA to handle its domestic release.
Directed by Neil La Bute, "Betty" stars Morgan Freeman, Renee Zellweger,Chris Rock and Greg Kinnear.
DreamWorks PG-13-rated supernatural thriller "What Lies Beneath" held on to eighth place, still showing decent legs in its 11th week with an ESTIMATED $1.7 million (-21%) at 1,674 theaters (-145 theaters; $1,040 per theater). Its cume is approximately $150.7 million.
"Beneath" is a co-production of DreamWorks, which is releasing it domestically, and 20th Century Fox, which is distributing it internationally.
Directed by Robert Zemeckis, "Beneath" stars Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer.
Warner Bros. and Castle Rock Entertainment's R-rated action comedy "Bait" dropped three pegs to ninth place in its third week with a dull ESTIMATED $1.68 million (-50%) at 2,010 theaters (-342 theaters; $836 per theater). Its cume is approximately $13.2 million.
Directed by Antoine Fuqua, "Bait" stars Jamie Foxx.
Rounding out the Top Ten was Warner Bros. PG-13 sci-fi action adventure "Space Cowboys," down one orbit in its ninth week with an okay ESTIMATED $1.435 million (-33%) at 2,006 theaters (-164 theaters; $715 per theater). Its cume is approximately $87.0 million, heading for $90 million-plus in domestic theaters.
Directed by Clint Eastwood, "Space" stars Eastwood, Tommy Lee Jones, James Garner and Donald Sutherland.
The weekend's other wide opening, Destination Films' PG-13-rated comedy drama "Beautiful," was virtually tied for 10th place with a not-so-pretty ESTIMATED $1.429 million at 646 theaters ($2,212 per theater).
Directed by Sally Field, it stars Minnie Driver and Joey Lauren Adams.
OTHER OPENINGS This weekend also saw the arrival of Warner Bros.' PG-13-rated comedy "Best in Show" in 22nd place, barking loudly with an ESTIMATED $0.403 million at 13 theatres ($31,000 per theater). Its cume after 5 days is approximately $0.5 million. Directed by Christopher Guest, it stars Jennifer Coolidge, Christopher Guest and John Michael Higgins.
Sony's Screen Gems' R-rated drama "Girlfight" arrived in 25th place with a punchy ESTIMATED $0.21 million at 28 theaters ($7,500 per theater).
"A good start for 'Girlfight,'" Sony Pictures Releasing president Jeff Blake said Sunday morning. "We go to 200-plus runs next Friday, mainly big city multiplexes."
Directed by Karyn Kusama, "Girlfight" stars Michelle Rodriguez.
SNEAK PREVIEWS There were no sneak previews this weekend.
EXPANSIONS There were no significant expansions outside the Top Ten this weekend.
WEEKEND COMPARISONS Key films -- those grossing more than $500,000 for the weekend -- took in approximately $57.90 million, down about 27.59% from the comparable weekend last year when key films grossed $79.97 million. This weekend's key film gross was up about 3.29% from this year's previous weekend when key films grossed $56.06 million.
Last year, Paramount's second week of "Double Jeopardy" was first with $17.02 million at 2,884 theaters ($5,901 per theater); and Warner Bros.' opening week of "Three Kings" was second with $15.85 million at 2,942 theaters ($5,387 per theater). The top two films one year ago grossed $32.8 million. This year, the top two films grossed an ESTIMATED $28.6 million.
STUDIO MARKET SHARES Based on business by key films (those grossing $500,000 or more), last weekend's top six distributors were: Buena Vista (Disney and Touchstone) was first with two films ("Remember the Titans" and "Coyote Ugly"), grossing an ESTIMATED $21.73 million or 37.5% of the market.
Warner Bros. was second with four films ("The Exorcist," "Bait," "Space Cowboys," and "The Replacements"), grossing an ESTIMATED $11.18 million or 19.3% of the market.
DreamWorks was third with two films ("Almost Famous" and "What Lies Beneath"), grossing an ESTIMATED $7.3 million or 12.6% of the market.
Universal was fourth with three films ("The Watcher," "Bring It On" and "Nutty Professor 2: The Klumps"), grossing an ESTIMATED $5.8 million or 10.0% of the market.
Sony Pictures Releasing (Columbia and TriStar) was fifth with one film ("Urban Legends: Final Cut"), grossing an ESTIMATED $4.7 million or 8.1% of the market.
USA Films was sixth with one film ("Nurse Betty"), grossing an ESTIMATED $2.1 million or 3.6% of the market.
ADDITIONAL ESTIMATES (11)BEAUTIFUL/Destination: (see TOP 10 above)
(12)Woman On Top/Fox Searchlight: Theaters: 1,086 (+1) Gross: $1.1 million (-45%) Average per theater: $1,019 Cume: $3.8 million
(13)The Cell/New Line: Theaters: 1,423 (-480) Gross: $0.98 million (-39%) Average per theater: $685 Cume: $58.9 million
(14)Scary Movie/Dimension Films: Theaters: 1,253 (-425) Gross: $0.83 million (-36%) Average per theater: $665 Cume: $155.2 million
(15)The Original Kings of Comedy/Paramount: Theaters: 1,049 (-33) Gross: $0.78 million (-29%) Average per theater: $745 Cume: $36.6 million
(16)Nutty Professor II: The Klumps/Universal: Theaters: 1,083 (-127) Gross: $0.64 million (-48%) Average per theater: $590 Cume: $120.8 million
(17)The Replacements/Warner Bros.: Theaters: 1,156 (-209) Gross: $0.63 million (-44%) Average per theater: $550 Cume: $43.4 million
(18)Coyote Ugly/BV/Touchstone: Theaters: 725 (-158) Gross: $0.53 million (-34%) Average per theater: $734 Cume: $58.5 million
(19)Duets/Buena Vista: Theaters: 577 (-6) Gross: $0.46 million (-50%) Average per theater: $802 Cume: $4.3 million
(20)Saving Grace/Fine Line: Theaters: 632 (-74) Gross: $0.45 million (-35%) Average per theater: $715 Cume: $11.5 million
(21)The Art of War/Warner Bros.: Theaters: 720 (-365) Gross: $0.43 million (-48%) Average per theater: $600 Cume: $29.5 million
(22)BEST IN SHOW/Warner Bros.: (see OTHER OPENINGS above)
(23)Autumn in New York/MGM: Theaters: 827 (-355) Gross: $0.38 million (-45%) Average per theater: $455 Cume: $37.1 million
(24)Gladiator/DreamWorks: Theaters: 407 (-115) Gross: $0.28 million (-32%) Average per theater: $685 Cume: $186.1 million
(25)GIRLFIGHT/Screen Gems: (see OTHER OPENINGS above)
(26)Dancer in the Dark/Fine Line Theaters: 3 (0) Gross: $0.11 million (+20%) Average per theater: $36,708 Cume: $0.25 million
(27)Under Suspicion/Lions Gate: Theaters: 19 (0) Gross: $0.046 million (-58%) Average per theater: $2,445 Cume: $0.2 million
(28)Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle/Universal: Theaters: 128 (-37) Gross: $0.045 million (-29%) Average per theater: $355 Cume: $26.0 million
(29)Into the Arms of Strangers/Warner Bros: Theaters: 5 (0) Gross: $0.015 million (-46%) Average per theater: $2,984 Cume: $0.1 million
(31)The Fantasticks/MGM/United Artists: Theaters: 6 (0) Gross: $0.008 million (-65%) Average per theater: $1,391 Cume: $0.040 million
A four-part special commemorating the 20th anniversary of man's first moon landing. Includes NBC television and radio coverage, Russian news clips, historical newsreel footage and interviews with those who made space history.