Weekend Box Office (January 17 - 20, 2003)

THIS WEEKEND The kids film Kangaroo Jack led the North American box office over the four-day Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday frame while most holdovers remained healthy. Moviegoers spread their money around as five films grossed over $12M each over the Friday-to-Monday span despite facing small-screen competiton from the Golden Globe Awards and the NFL championship football games.

Superproducer Jerry Bruckheimer found himself in his usual number-one position this weekend with his family comedy Kangaroo Jack which debuted in the top spot with $21.9M over four days, according to final figures. Starring Jerry O'Connell and Anthony Anderson, the Warner Bros. release hopped into 2,818 theaters and averaged a solid $7,770 per site. With no other major kidpics in the marketplace, and most children having no school for the long weekend, the PG-rated film faced virtually no competition. Kangaroo Jack saw sales that were almost identical to those of Disney's Snow Dogs which bowed this weekend a year ago to $23.7M, although it was from 500 fewer theaters. The future for the $60M Jack looks promising as no other family films are hitting theaters for nearly a month and audiences polled by CinemaScore.com gave the comedy an A- grade.

Martin Lawrence debuted in second with his latest action-comedy National Security which opened with $16.8M. The Sony release played in 2,729 locations and averaged an arresting $6,161 per venue. For Lawrence, the performance was slightly better than the openings for his last two feature films Black Knight ($11.1M) and What's the Worst That Could Happen? ($13M). Moviegoers were mostly pleased with National Security which earned a B+ grade from CinemaScore.com.

Last weekend's number one film, the honeymoon comedy Just Married, dipped to $13.8M and boosted its ten-day cume to $35.3M. Budgeted at $18M, the Fox release should make its way to about $70M giving the studio its second straight surprise hit after Drumline.

DreamWorks' Catch Me If You Can followed grossing $12.5M. The DiCaprio-Hanks collaboration raised its total to $136.3M.

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers followed in fifth with $12.5M as well pushing its cume to $300.1M. The Hobbit sequel now sits at number 14 on the list of all-time domestic blockbusters, after 1996's Independence Day ($306.2M).

Miramax's musical extravaganza Chicago stayed put in sixth place but increased its weekend gross by 71% to $9.7M. The Renee Zellweger-Richard Gere pic added 195 playdates for a total of 557 and averaged a sizzling $17,494 per location giving it the best average in the top ten once again. Cume to date is $29.4M. Should Chicago score an Oscar nomination for Best Picture, it is likely to see its gross climb past the $100M mark. The Rob Marshall-directed film expands into national release on Friday.

MGM's new romantic comedy A Guy Thing opened in seventh place with $8M from 2,515 theaters for a disappointing $3,183 average. The Jason Lee film about a man who questions his upcoming wedding after a wild bachelor party did not do very well with audiences as those polled by CinemaScore.com gave it a B-.

The Jack Nicholson drama About Schmidt took eighth place with $6.8M for a total of $30.7M.

Paramount's The Hours made its top ten debut this weekend with a ninth-place showing grossing $5.7M from 402 sites. The Streep-Moore-Kidman triple threat averaged a solid $14,277 per theater and expanded from 45 venues. The Hours has taken in $8.4M to date but earned a discouraging B- grade from CinemaScore.com audiences.

Rounding out the top ten was Two Weeks Notice which fell 31% to $4.7M giving the Warner Bros. film $85.6M to date.

Four films fell from the top ten over the weekend. Miramax's big-budget epic Gangs of New York collected $4.6M and lifted its total to $61.4M. Look for the Martin Scorsese film to finish with over $75M. Sony's Maid in Manhattan dropped 28% to $3.7M and pushed its cume to $89M. The highest-grossing film of Jennifer Lopez's career should end its run with $95-100M.

Denzel Washington's Antwone Fisher slipped to $3.4M and brought its sum to $14.9M. A final gross of around $25M is likely. Kidpic The Wild Thornberrys has grossed $37.7M to date and should end with $40-42M.

The top ten films grossed $112.5M over four days which was down 8% from last year when Black Hawk Down opened nationally at number one with $33.6M; but up from 2001's non-holiday frame when Save the Last Dance remained on top with $15.4M.

Compared to projections, Kangaroo Jack opened a few notches higher than my $14M three-day forecast while National Security debuted on target with my $15M prediction. A Guy Thing and The Hours both debuted close to my projections of $5M and $4M, respectively.

Take this week's NEW Reader Survey on Chicago. In last week's survey, readers were asked if they thought Catch Me If You Can would eventually reach $175M domestically. Of 1,480 responses, 61% said Yes while 39% thought No.

Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when Darkness Falls opens and Chicago goes wide.

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

# Title Jan 17 - 20 Jan 10 - 12 % Chg. Theaters Weeks AVG Cumulative Distributor
1 Kangaroo Jack $ 21,895,483 2,818 1 $ 7,770 $ 21,895,483 Warner Bros.
2 National Security 16,813,517 2,729 1 6,161 16,813,517 Sony
3 Just Married 13,771,777 17,548,993 -21.5 2,769 2 4,974 35,329,299 Fox
4 Catch Me If You Can 12,524,998 14,630,444 -14.4 3,050 4 4,107 136,318,125 DreamWorks
5 The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers 12,503,990 14,755,306 -15.3 3,110 5 4,021 300,122,052 New Line
6 Chicago 9,744,060 5,690,875 71.2 557 4 17,494 29,403,704 Miramax
7 A Guy Thing 8,006,232 2,515 1 3,183 8,006,232 MGM
8 About Schmidt 6,822,657 6,403,691 6.5 946 6 7,212 30,689,435 New Line
9 The Hours 5,739,165 907,621 532.3 402 4 14,277 8,428,972 Paramount
10 Two Weeks Notice 4,716,308 6,833,423 -31.0 2,240 5 2,105 85,611,004 Warner Bros.
11 Gangs of New York 4,625,550 4,829,938 -4.2 2,170 5 2,132 61,399,206 Miramax
12 Maid in Manhattan 3,715,850 5,144,633 -27.8 2,171 6 1,712 88,971,392 Sony
13 Antwone Fisher 3,419,087 3,783,122 -9.6 1,021 5 3,349 14,947,613 Fox Searchlight
14 25th Hour 2,775,673 2,832,622 -2.0 490 5 5,665 7,584,011 Buena Vista
15 My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2,601,083 2,102,547 23.7 1,171 40 2,221 234,268,965 IFC Films
16 Narc 2,308,939 2,825,807 -18.3 822 5 2,809 6,633,525 Paramount
17 Adaptation 2,251,634 2,636,924 -14.6 564 6 3,992 12,307,166 Sony
18 The Wild Thornberrys 2,103,608 2,844,770 -26.1 2,061 5 1,021 37,707,036 Paramount
19 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets 1,904,561 2,408,476 -20.9 1,077 10 1,768 257,897,677 Warner Bros.
20 Drumline 1,744,674 2,803,256 -37.8 1,117 6 1,562 53,637,010 Fox
Top 5 $ 77,509,765 $ 60,171,857 28.8
Top 10 112,538,187 82,465,195 36.5
Top 20 139,988,846 103,341,654 35.5
Top 10 vs. 2002 139,988,846 144,549,318 -3.2

Last Updated : January 21, 2003 at 9:30PM EST