Weekend Box Office (January 14 - 17, 2000)

** Read the NEW Studio Spotlight 1999 Year-end Wrapup **

THIS WEEKEND Studio doctors performed a quadruple bypass on the box office as new blood was finally pumped into the marketplace after weeks of the same holiday films dominating the scene. Four movies opened or expanded nationwide and entered the top ten shaking up the status quo. Ticket dollars were spread around as nine films managed a weekend gross of at least $5M over the Friday-to-Sunday portion of the long weekend. Meanwhile, the December hits Stuart Little and The Green Mile broke through the $100M mark in domestic sales. Final figures were released for the four-day Friday-to-Monday Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend.

It was a good day, and a good weekend, for Ice Cube who gave the box office a lethal injection of comedy with Next Friday which opened triumphantly at number one in North America with $16.9M over the four-day period and $14.5M over the Friday-to-Sunday part. The performance is especially impressive since the New Line sequel to the 1995 cult hit Friday opened in just 1,103 theaters giving it a scorching $15,338 average per site. Since its Wednesday launch, Next Friday has grossed a potent $21.5M in just six days. The low-budget film was able to score the fifth best January opening ever, based on the three-day portion.

Many ingredients contributed to Next Friday's strong top spot debut. Anchoring the success was Ice Cube, a well-respected rap music pioneer who has ventured into acting, directing, writing, and producing films. His loyal following turned out in droves for the sequel to Friday which grossed $27.4M five years ago, became a hugely popular home video, and launched the career of comedian Chris Tucker. Cube also supported the film by trekking across the country doing press any chance he could. New Line picked a good weekend to premiere since the box office had been dominated by family fare and adult dramas for weeks allowing for a comedy aimed at young urban males to score. Produced for about $9.5M, Next Friday is sure to become a moneymaking vehicle for the distributor. Box office success is nothing new to Ice Cube. His films Three Kings, Anaconda, Friday, and Higher Learning all opened at number one or number two and his feature debut in Boyz N The Hood shocked the industry when it grossed $56M making it one of the most profitable pictures of 1991.

Slipping a spot from number one was the hit family film Stuart Little which rounded up an impressive $12.5M allowing it to hit the $100M barrier on Saturday, its 30th day of release. Sony's new potential franchise continues to hold on well each week and has put its total at $109.6M.

Denzel Washington brought his Golden Globe-nominated performance in The Hurricane to a national audience over the weekend and connected with $10.5M over the Friday-to-Monday period. Expanding into 1,454 theaters, the Universal release averaged a solid $7,230 per ring and raised its cume to $14.6M. The $38M tale of a boxer wrongly imprisoned for murder hopes that a Globe win and an Oscar nomination in the weeks ahead will keep the public interested in seeing the film.

In its first weekend of wide release, Girl, Interrupted, starring Winona Ryder and Angelina Jolie, took in $9.3M to land in fourth place. Admitted into 1,902 asylums, the $24M Sony release averaged a moderate $4,900 per theater and now stands at $10.1M including its exclusive run in New York and Los Angeles. However, its slim 18% Friday-to-Saturday build could indicate a rocky journey ahead.

The Green Mile gave Tom Hanks the tenth $100M+ domestic blockbuster of his career on Sunday as it grossed $8.8M over the holiday weekend. Down only 9%, the Warner Bros. hit has been one of the more durable titles around and has reached $102.8M to date. The Green Mile is also the record nineteenth motion picture released in 1999 to cross the century mark.

Continuing its leggy run, Galaxy Quest took in $8.5M in its fourth weekend. The DreamWorks sci-fi comedy has zoomed to a sturdy $48.8M to date. Collecting $6.8M, The Talented Mr. Ripley fell 27% and pushed its cume to $63.5M.

Supernova witnessed an opening that was far from explosive as the sci-fi thriller grossed $6.7M in its debut weekend. The $65M MGM/UA entry, which lost its original director right before shooting began, landed in 2,280 theaters and averaged a weak $2,953 per venue. Starring James Spader and Angela Bassett, Supernova follows a medical spaceship which picks up a patient who brings mysterious and evil elements on board.

Toy Story 2 grossed $6.6M over the Friday-to-Monday period and watched its staggering cume hit $227.6M putting it within striking distance of the top 20 all-time domestic blockbusters. Any Given Sunday tackled $5.5M in ticket sales and raised its total to $66.9M.

A quartet of films dropped out of the top ten due to the arrival of the new releases. Friday-to-Monday figures had New Line's Magnolia suffering a 32% fall bringing in $3.9M in its second weekend of national release with a cume of $12.2M.

Buena Vista's Bicentennial Man fell 20% to $4.3M bringing its tally to a moderate $52.4M. The $90M family film starring Robin Williams looks to finish its domestic run with about $60-65M. However, stablemate Deuce Bigalow has turned into a profitable pic with another $3.5M this weekend pushing its rosy cume to $59M. The $18M Rob Schneider film took advantage of the relative lack of comedies this winter and aims to turn its last trick with around $65-70M.

Snow Falling on Cedars, starring Ethan Hawke, slid 21% to $3.1M over the weekend. With $8.4M in the bank, the Universal release may end its run with $15-20M unless some major awards come its way.

Disney's IMAX film Fantasia 2000 conjured up $3.1M over the weekend. Now in its third weekend of global release, the large-screen toon has collected a solid $11.1M domestically from 54 theaters and about $14M worldwide from 75 IMAX cinemas, according to a studio spokeman. While Disney originally planned an exclusive four-month release for Fantasia 2000, the studio is considering lengthening its run due to its success.

Compared to Friday-to-Sunday projections, Next Friday surged ahead of my $10M Friday-to-Sunday forecast while The Hurricane came in below my $12M prediction. Girl, Interrupted and Supernova both opened near my $7M projection for each.

Read the annual Box Office Guru Studio Spotlight reviewing the highlights of 1999. The report includes the projected final grosses of the top 50 films of 1999.

Take this week's NEW Reader Survey on the box office prospects for Scream 3. In last week's survey, readers were asked which of four actresses would they most like to see replace Jodie Foster in Hannibal, the sequel to The Silence of the Lambs. Of 2,835 responses, 50% chose Gillian Anderson, 38% picked Ashley Judd, 7% selected Carrie Anne Moss, and 6% said Sandra Bullock.

Be sure to read the Weekly Rewind column which reports on the top January openings from the last decade. This Wednesday's new column will look at the current opening weekend records for each month of the year. For a review of The Hurricane visit The Chief Report.

The top ten films over the four-day weekend grossed $92.3M which was even with last year when Varsity Blues opened at the top with $17.5M over the long weekend, and up just 1% from 1998's holiday frame when Titanic ruled with $30M.

Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when Down to You and Play it to the Bone open.

Marketplace: Shop for videos, DVDs, music, books, and electronics at discounted prices using search engines

# Title Jan. 14 - 17 Jan. 7 - 9 % Chg. Theaters Weeks AVG Cumulative Dist.
1 Next Friday $ 16,918,226 1,103 1 $ 15,338 $ 21,503,913 New Line
2 Stuart Little 12,515,016 11,214,503 11.6 3,092 5 4,048 109,633,363 Sony
3 The Hurricane 10,512,425 2,531,280 315.3 1,454 3 7,230 14,576,491 Universal
4 Girl, Interrupted 9,320,341 153,135 1,902 4 4,900 10,140,990 Sony
5 The Green Mile 8,841,048 9,731,478 -9.1 2,483 6 3,561 102,844,269 Warner Bros.
6 Galaxy Quest 8,543,011 8,022,853 6.5 2,450 4 3,487 48,758,680 DreamWorks
7 The Talented Mr. Ripley 6,820,619 9,322,535 -26.8 2,369 4 2,879 63,464,631 Paramount
8 Supernova 6,731,940 2,280 1 2,953 6,731,940 MGM/UA
9 Toy Story 2 6,631,416 7,153,489 -7.3 2,326 9 2,851 227,615,332 Buena Vista
10 Any Given Sunday 5,494,572 8,779,880 -37.4 2,505 4 2,193 66,903,873 Warner Bros.
11 Bicentennial Man 4,271,149 5,308,109 -19.5 2,216 5 1,927 52,433,326 Buena Vista
12 Magnolia 3,902,759 5,694,588 -31.5 1,038 5 3,760 12,247,305 New Line
13 Deuce Bigalow 3,533,208 5,032,036 -29.8 1,920 6 1,840 58,964,282 Buena Vista
14 The Cider House Rules 3,350,341 3,077,420 8.9 817 6 4,101 12,621,353 Miramax
15 Fantasia 2000 3,139,276 2,589,728 21.2 54 3 58,135 11,096,797 Buena Vista
16 Snow Falling on Cedars 3,101,195 3,910,055 -20.7 1,155 4 2,685 8,386,753 Universal
17 Anna and the King 2,480,467 3,646,935 -32.0 1,535 5 1,616 34,568,764 Fox
18 Man on the Moon 1,445,720 3,324,650 -56.5 1,220 4 1,185 32,610,100 Universal
19 The World Is Not Enough 1,227,928 1,828,997 -32.9 889 9 1,381 122,651,041 MGM/UA
20 Sleepy Hollow 868,410 1,105,558 -21.5 892 9 974 95,950,884 Paramount
Top 5 $ 58,107,056 $ 47,071,249 23.4
Top 10 92,328,614 74,169,526 24.5
Top 20 119,649,067 94,329,432 26.8

Last Updated : January 18 at 10:00PM EST

Written by Gitesh Pandya