Weekend Box Office (January 21 - 23, 2000)

*** 2000 Golden Globe Award Winners ***

THIS WEEKEND As expected by many industry observers, final weekend figures released on Monday proved that New Line Cinema's hit comedy Next Friday was the number one film at the box office while Miramax's teen romance Down To You opened below in second place. The distributor's $8.3M estimate turned out to be far from reality as the Freddie Prinze Jr. picture actually grossed $7.6M over the Friday-to-Sunday period, or $700,000 less than Miramax projected. By comparison, New Line's $8.2M estimate for Next Friday was off by just $200,000. But of course, the damage was done. With its overly optimistic weekend estimate, Miramax grabbed headlines in newspapers and television news programs everywhere on Sunday and Monday when in fact that publicity should have been given to New Line's Next Friday.

Overall, it was a sluggish frame as a deep freeze across much of the United States and championship football matches made moviegoing a low priority for the public. No film has reached number one with such a small gross in over twenty months as low voter turnout at theaters kept national ticket sales mild.

Rapper-turned-actor Ice Cube pulled in $8M with his raunchy comedy Next Friday which remained the number one movie in the land for the second straight weekend. Down 45% from the Friday-to-Sunday portion of its holiday debut, the New Line title has collected a splendid $31.8M to date and needed only eleven days to surpass the $27.4M gross of 1995's original film Friday. Produced for under $10M, Next Friday looks to reach around $50M domestically. Though international prospects seem bleak, the comedy sequel should bring in lots more revenue on home video this summer and may spawn a third installment of the franchise.

Teen audiences spent $7.6M on Miramax's Down to You, a new romantic comedy starring Freddie Prinze Jr. and Julia Stiles. Opening in 1,971 theaters, the film which was not screened for critics averaged a lukewarm $3,857 per site. The debut for Down to You was less than half the size of the $16.1M opening for last year's She's All That which was another young adult romance starring Prinze Jr. released at the end of January from Miramax. Hollywood is more commonly going after young female audiences during the football frenzy of late January as evidenced by Down to You, She's All That, and 1998's Spice World and Great Expectations which opened with $10.5M and $9.6M respectively. Down to You experienced diminishing returns over the three-day period which indicates the spread of poor word-of-mouth that may haunt the picture in the weeks ahead.

Universal added 647 more theaters to The Hurricane's fury and grossed $6.5M to remain in third place. With the help of the additional playdates, Denzel Washington's Golden Globe winning turn as a wrongfully imprisoned boxer eased by just 28% giving it $22.9M so far. The Hurricane's per-theater average of $3,095 was off 50% from last weekend's Friday-to-Sunday figure.

Dropping two spots to fourth, the blockbuster kidpic Stuart Little ate up $6.4M in its sixth outing and has collected $117.1M thus far. Sliding 30% to remain in fifth place was the Tom Hanks prison pic The Green Mile with $5.4M boosting its cume to $109.6M.

Galaxy Quest continued to shine with $4.5M over the weekend giving the Tim Allen comedy $54.3M to date. Sony's Girl, Interrupted, which landed Angelina Jolie a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress, fell a disturbing 47% to $4.3M putting its total at $16.2M. The Talented Mr. Ripley, which failed to capitalize on its five Globe nods, dropped 38% and swiped $3.7M from the wallets of moviegoers lifting its cume to $68.2M.

Buena Vista's boxing pic Play it to the Bone sustained a concussion in its first round of national release with a flabby $3.4M. The Woody Harrelson-Antonio Banderas movie jabbed its way into 1,556 theaters and averaged a poor $2,203 per ring.

Rounding out the top ten was Angela's Ashes, starring Emily Watson and Robert Carlyle, with $3.2M in 610 locations. Produced by Paramount and Universal for $13M, the Alan Parker film averaged a solid $5,275 giving it the second best per-theater average in the top ten. Paramount reported that Angela's Ashes played to an older and more female audience as expected and its 55% Friday-to-Saturday jump could bode well for longevity.

Three films dropped out of the top ten over the weekend. With $2.9M, the Disney/Pixar smash hit Toy Story 2 has raised its domestic gross to a mighty $231.2M. That puts the Golden Globe winner for Best Picture - Musical or Comedy at number 20 among the all-time domestic blockbusters surpassing 1997's The Lost World. Toy Story 2 reunites the voices of Tom Hanks and Tim Allen whose latest live-action films continued to perform well in the top ten this weekend.

With NFL conference finals distracting sports fans this weekend, Any Given Sunday retreated a hefty 49% to $2.4M putting its cume at a solid $70.2M. The $55M Warner Bros. release should finish its season with $75-80M making it one of the highest-grossing films ever for both Al Pacino and director Oliver Stone. For the former Tony Montana, Sunday ranks number three overall after the 1972 masterpiece The Godfather ($135M) and 1990's Dick Tracy ($104M). Stone will end up with his second biggest grosser ever behind 1986's Oscar champ Platoon ($138M).

MGM's sci-fi thriller Supernova imploded by tumbling an alarming 57% in its sophomore frame to $2.5M putting its ten-day total at a mere $10.2M. The $65M failure should end its disappointing run with roughly $15M.

Elsewhere, Sony expanded its romantic drama The End of the Affair into over 600 theaters and grossed $1.7M. The multiple Golden Globe nominee averaged a mild $2,415 getting lost in a sea of acclaimed pictures expanding in January. Buena Vista fared no better with the Tim Robbins-helmed Cradle Will Rock which widened again grossing just $593,899. Cumulative totals for Affair and Cradle stand at $5.1M and $1.9M respectively.

With three Golden Globe wins for Best Picture - Drama, Director, and Screenplay, American Beauty grossed $431,045 (off 16%) pushing its stellar cume to $73.3M. DreamWorks distribution head Jim Tharp noted that the critical and commercial hit will be reissued in mid-February after Academy Award nominations are announced.

Box office grosses for other Golden Globe nominees include $32.6M for Man on the Moon, $26.6M for The Insider, $20.2M for Being John Malkovich, $15.5M for The Cider House Rules, and $15.1M for Magnolia.

Compared to projections, both Down to You and Play it to the Bone debuted a few notches below my respective forecasts of $11M and $6M. Next Friday and The Hurricane came in close to my $9M and $6.5M predictions. Angela's Ashes opened near my $3M projection.

Take this week's NEW Reader Survey on your choice for Best Actor at this year's Oscars. In last week's survey, readers were asked whether they thought Scream 3 would gross at least $100M domestically like the first two in the series did. Of 3,885 responses, 57% said yes while 43% voted no.

Be sure to read the Weekly Rewind column which reports on the current opening weekend records for each month of the year. For a review of Angela's Ashes visit The Chief Report.

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. Also check the list of winners at the 2000 Golden Globe Awards.

The top ten films over the weekend grossed $53.1M which was down 7% from last year when Varsity Blues remained on top with $10.6M, and down 28% from 1998 when Titanic spent its sixth week at number one with $25.2M.

Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when Isn't She Great and Eye of the Beholder both open.

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

# Title Jan. 21 - 23 Jan. 14 - 16 % Chg. Theaters Weeks AVG Cumulative Dist.
1 Next Friday $ 8,009,943 14,465,156 -44.6 1,175 2 $ 6,817 $ 31,843,827 New Line
2 Down To You 7,602,507 1,971 1 3,857 7,602,507 Miramax
3 The Hurricane 6,502,595 9,014,805 -27.9 2,101 4 3,095 22,889,316 Universal
4 Stuart Little 6,407,532 9,410,077 -31.9 3,151 6 2,033 117,086,082 Sony
5 The Green Mile 5,387,502 7,683,391 -29.9 2,483 7 2,170 109,592,337 Warner Bros.
6 Galaxy Quest 4,538,535 6,790,166 -33.2 2,259 5 2,009 54,291,729 DreamWorks
7 Girl, Interrupted 4,314,547 8,123,767 -46.9 1,935 5 2,230 16,165,256 Sony
8 The Talented Mr. Ripley 3,710,484 6,011,252 -38.3 2,215 5 1,675 68,230,758 Paramount
9 Play it to the Bone 3,427,761 1,556 1 2,203 3,454,031 Buena Vista
10 Angela's Ashes 3,217,591 62,320 610 5 5,275 3,635,585 Paramount
11 Toy Story 2 2,948,281 5,072,841 -41.9 1,990 10 1,482 231,228,567 Buena Vista
12 Supernova 2,496,598 5,778,639 -56.8 2,280 2 1,095 10,155,016 MGM/UA
13 Any Given Sunday 2,415,309 4,765,853 -49.3 2,201 5 1,097 70,175,963 Warner Bros.
14 The Cider House Rules 2,256,157 2,824,620 -20.1 823 7 2,741 15,534,227 Miramax
15 Magnolia 2,109,687 3,394,424 -37.8 1,077 6 1,959 15,063,338 New Line
16 Fantasia 2000 2,036,226 2,300,000 -11.5 54 4 37,708 13,789,789 Buena Vista
17 The End of the Affair 1,656,668 525,064 215.5 686 8 2,415 5,081,644 Sony
18 Bicentennial Man 1,553,058 3,350,653 -53.6 1,607 6 966 54,404,394 Buena Vista
19 Deuce Bigalow 1,435,122 3,119,769 -54.0 1,466 7 979 60,937,153 Buena Vista
20 Snow Falling on Cedars 1,401,250 2,644,970 -47.0 1,099 5 1,275 10,388,608 Universal
Top 5 $ 33,910,079 $ 48,697,196 -30.4
Top 10 53,118,997 77,115,947 -31.1
Top 20 73,427,353 99,887,170 -26.5

Last Updated : January 25 at 10:00AM EST

Written by Gitesh Pandya